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Supported Single-Arm Dumbbell Row

Supported Single-Arm Dumbbell Row

Hold a dumbbell in your right hand, place your left hand on a bench in front of you, and assume a staggered stance, left foot forward. Hold your elbow in as you row the wight to the side of your torso. Do 10 reps, switch arms and leg positions, and repeat the movement.

Dumbbell Triceps Kickback

Dumbbell Triceps Kickback

Grab a pair of dumbbells, bend your knees and lean forward so your torso is nearly parallel to the floor. Tuck your upper arms next to your sides, bend your elbows, and hold your forearms about parallel to the floor, palms facing up. Simultaneously extend your arms straight back and rotate the weight so your palms end up facing each other. Return to the starting position. Do 15 reps.

Dumbbell Hammer Curl and Press

Dumbbell Hammer Curl and Press

Standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, hold a pair of dumbbells at arm's length by your sides, palms facing each other. Without moving your upper arms, curl the weights to your shoulders, and then press them overhead until your arms are straight. Reverse the move to return to the starting position. Do 10 reps.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Muscle Building Diets

Muscle Building Diet

All good muscle building diets should consist of the three macro-nutrients:

There are many different views as to how much of each one you should consume. For the average Joe it is recommended obtaining about 50% of your calories from carbs, 25% from protein and 25% from fats.

However I would adjust these figures for a muscle building diet. I would recommend getting about 45% of your daily calories from carbs, 40% from protein and 15% from fats.

Your diet should also consist of the micro-nutrients element of nutrition. That is Vitamins and Minerals

Having said that how many calories should you consume on a muscle building diet?

Well this changes from person to person and can be worked out by looking at your metabolism. If you don’t want to do all the calculations and leave to work to someone else check out The Muscle Maximizer.

If you want to learn about the science about your calories then read on. When working out how many calories you need we need to look at your metabolism.


Metabolism is a complex science and without a scientific background most of us are unable to understand it fully. However, if you want to build muscle you should have at least some knowledge of the subject in order to appreciate the importance of good nutrition.

Metabolism is the term used to describe all of the biochemical reactions and processes that take place in the body. There are many scientific explanations but put simply metabolism is the rate at which you burn energy or calories.

There are many different elements that affect your metabolism:

Age - metabolism slows 5% per decade over 40 years old, meaning you need to eat less or workout more to stop putting on weight.

Sex - men burn more calories at rest than women.

Lean body mass - the more muscle you have the higher the metabolic rate tends to be.

Stress - stress can lead to a slow metabolism, plus people tend to over eat when stressed.

Activity level - more active people tend to have a higher metabolic rate.

Hydration - not having enough water in your body can slow down your bodies processes.

Genetics - some people just have slower metabolisms than others.

Speeding Up Your Metabolism

If you have ever in the past blamed your weight on your metabolism then today is your lucky day. Because it is possible to speed up your metabolic rate and improve your fat burning capabilities.

The main method is by exercising. You should undertake both aerobic and weightlifting. The aerobic exercise burns calories in the short term while weightlifting increases muscle mass to boost your metabolism in the long run. Metabolism can be increased for as long as 48 hours after a bout of intense exercise.

Also it has been shown that 1lb of muscle mass burns 35-50 calories per day while 1lb of fat burns as little as 2 calories per day. Therefore you see how a little change in your body composition can magnify changes in your diet by burning more and more calories.

The second way to speed up your metabolism is by eating more often. By eating smaller more frequent meals throughout the day you can have your metabolism running in high gear through the entire day.

Calculating Your Metabolism

There are two main methods for calculating your metabolism. They are RMR – resting metabolic rate and BMR - basal metabolic rate. These are essentially one and the same and are interchangeable. The only difference is that your BMR should be calculated under much more controlled and stringent circumstances. The result of both will give you the basic amount of calories your body needs just to function throughout the day. For example just to keep your heart beating and lungs breathing and your body functioning properly.

Harris-Benedict equation for BMR

Men (13.75 x w) + (5 x h) – (6.76 x a) + 66
Women (9.56 x w) + (1.85 x h) – (4.68 x a) + 655

Mufflin equation for RMR
Men (10 x w) + (6.25 x h) – (5 x a) + 5
Women (10 x w) + (6.25 x h) – (5 x a) -161

W=weight in kg
H= height in cm

You can use either of the equations, however I prefer the BMR.

In order to work out how many calories you need for your activity level you need to take the figure you worked out above and multiply by activity factor.

Exercise 1-2 times per week BMR x 1.2
Exercise 2-4 times per week BMR x 1.4
Exercise 4-6 times per week BMR x 1.6

The final figure is then the amount of calories you should consume in a day. If you want to lose weight you should eat fewer calories than this number. If you want to gain weight you need to eat more calories than this number.

Nutrition and Metabolism

Good nutrition plays a vital role in maintaining metabolism at optimum levels. The body needs a wide range of nutrients to function optimally and even a slight deficiency of one vitamin or mineral can slow down metabolism and cause chaos throughout the body.

Maintaining a fully functioning metabolism is therefore critical for the athlete or strength trainer. Adhering to the principles of the food pyramid is a great start in achieving the correct balance.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Muscle Building Supplements

Muscle Building Supplements are not an absolute must for bodybuilders, but can be used alongside a well-balanced diet to show off all that hard work in the gym. If you feel like you want to supplement your diet then the following guide should help find the right supplement for you. At we only recommend substances approved by the International Natural bodybuilding Association (INBA).

Protein Powder

Looking for a quality protein powder is not hard as there are so many. Points to look for are the levels of protein and the levels of the BCAA’s leucine, isoleucine and valine. Taste will be an issue with a lot of people. However over recent years the flavors have really improved. The best thing here is to check product reviews to see what people are saying. One bad review is ok, but if everyone is complaining about taste, that’s generally stay away territory. Price for some people can be an issue. However, I personally believe and found that paying a little extra does get you a better quality product.

Whey Protein

Whey protein is one of the most popular protein shakes on the market. This is due to it being high in the muscle building amino acids leucine, isoleucine and valine. It also has a high BV rating making it a fast acting protein source which is also filling. Whey protein accounts for around 20% of protein in milk and is a by-product of cheese production.

Whey Isolate

Whey isolate is a more expensive due to its superior quality, higher BV, as well as containing less fat and lactose per serving than whey protein. Isolate is roughly 90% to 98% protein whereas whey concentrate is 70% to 85% protein.

Whey Blends

Whey blends are a specialized formula containing both concentrates and isolates making it more cost effective than buying isolates alone.

Casein Protein

Accounting for 80% of protein in milk, it is a much slower digesting protein than whey protein. Casein protein has a protein value of 92% and is very popular with weight gainers. Although having a lower BV than whey protein it is more efficiently used to build muscle.
Casein is popular as it is used by the body to build muscle and less is used as an energy source. This way casein encourages the body to use carbs and stored fat as energy. Casein protein is also popular as it is high in the body building supplement glutamine.

Soy Protein

Soy protein is a high quality protein however is not as efficient as whey protein or casein in building muscle. Soy protein is a fast digesting with a fairly average amino acid profile. Soy isolate has a higher BV, but lower quality than soy protein.


Protein content here isn’t the number one focus however it is usually a good high level. For recovery you should look for whether or not it has high levels of amino acids and BCAA’s (branched chain amino acids). Some of the recovery shakes will contain creatine which is a bonus. However when choosing your recovery shake keep a close eye on the sugar levels and sometimes this can be higher than desired.

Meal Replacements

These are more than just a protein source, rather a complete nutritious meal. Some of these are designed for dieting and some for mass gain so make sure you get the right one for your needs. Meal replacements often come in the form of a bar. These are great if you are looking to bulk and need to add extra calories through a snack.

Weight Gainers

The ultimate muscle building supplements for newbies and hardgainers looking to bulk. Quality carb intake is just as important as protein intake. Weight gainer supplements provide a good quality mix of simple and complex carbs with good protein content.
When choosing a weight gainer price v quality may become an issue. In my experience paying a little extra will get you the superior product. The more quality product will have lower sugar levels as well as lower levels of cholesterol and saturated fats.
The protein content should be around 30g per serving, however this shouldn’t be a problem to find as many come as high as 50-60g per serving.


Creatine is a hugely popular nutrition nutrient due its ability to improve stamina and endurance as well as muscle growth and development. A widely studied nutrient it has been found to be both safe and effective for muscle builders and athletes alike.
Creatine comes in powders and pills. It may be beneficial to use an all in one product that contains whey protein and creatine.


The most common amino acid found in your muscle glutamine makes up 61% of skeletal muscle tissue. During intense exercise glutamine levels become heavily depleted and can take some time to recover. Therefore supplementing can be of great benefit to restore the levels and improve muscle growth.
You should note that some protein supplements and foods in your diet already contain levels of glutamine. Therefore check these first before adding more to your nutrition plan. ON gold standard whey is useful as it contains over 4 grams of glutamine per serving.

Supplement v Food

-The BV of supplements helps get protein to the body fast when needed. This is first thing in the morning and post-workout.
-Supplements tend to be cost effective when looking at 30g servings.
-The supplement is a much more complete protein source often containing vitamins and minerals.
-Supplements come in a wide variety of flavors.
-Red meat can contain high levels of saturated fats.
-Can be stored easily.
-Convenient- much less cleaning up.
-A protein shake can be easier on the body before bed.

Food v Supplement

-Knowing where it came from and what’s in it is essential for proper nutrition.
-some foods are more cost effective
-foods are more versatile
-some shakes can cause bloating
-beef has been shown to pack on more muscle than other forms of protein

When to take protein

When following an exercise plan it is desirable to eat 5-6 small meals evenly spaced throughout the day. This is the case whether you want to lose weight or gain weight. Eating throughout the day keeps your metabolism engine running. This means your body will body will burn more fat and store less of what you consume. Therefore when it comes to when to take protein, it should be alongside these meals.
The following is a sample plan telling you what point in the day protein supplementation will be beneficial.


First thing in the morning, the body will be in a fasting condition. This is known as catabolic state, the opposite of anabolic where is the body is in a state of growth. Therefore the body needs a fast acting protein to get the body into a positive nitrogen balance again. At this point it will good to use whey protein to feed the body. It will also be good to consume a slow digesting protein such as casein. This will keep you running until your next meal.


Eating a meal with carbs about 2-3 hours before you work-out will ensure you have the energy to push out those reps. However you will need to supply your body with the protein to get you through it. Therefore taking a slow digesting protein will keep your body in an anabolic state as you work-out. Again, casein will be useful here due to its muscle building capabilities.


This will be the same as the morning where your body will be breaking down muscle to feed itself. By using fast and slow acting proteins you feed the muscles with what they need immediately and keep you going for next few hours.


By taking a slow digesting protein before bed, your body will stay in the anabolic state for longer. Your muscles will rest and grow most when you are sleeping. Therefore this is possibly one of the most important times to take protein.


There are many products for you to supplement your diet with for that extra edge. Just remember that these products are supplements. This means you should have a good diet in place on which to build upon. You will get much better results by obtaining your nutrients from a number of different sources.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Plateful of Problems

Loss of appetite, clinically known as anorexia, means a reduced desire to eat. Anorexia can be confirmed if there is a weight loss of at least 25 per cent of the original body weight or the weight is 25 per cent below what is normal for the age and height. Mostly seen in the elderly, it can affect people of any age group. 

Loss of appetite may not be serious as such but can lead to complications if the underlying condition is not promptly diagnosed and treated, as anorexia can be a manifestation of several serious clinical conditions.

Anorexia can be a symptom of:
  • Tuberculosis;
  • Hepatitis;
  • Aids;
  • Atypical pneumonia;
  • Appendicitis;
  • Lymes disease (bacterial infection spread by tick bites);
  • Brain tumour;
  • Cancers of colon, ovary, stomach and pancreas;
  • Tonsillitis;
  • Pharyngitis;
  • Ulcerative gingivitis (infection of gum tissues);
  • Pregnancy;
  • Liver failure;
  • Kidney failure;
  • Congestive heart failure;
  • Hypothyroidism;
  • Addison's disease (chronic adrenal insufficiency);
  • Ulcerative colitis (inflammatory bowel disease);
  • Crohn's disease (inflammatory bowel disease);
  • Dementia
  • Alcohol abuse.
Psychological conditions:
  • Anorexia nervosa (obsession od being thin to the point of self salvation);
  • Depression and emotional disturbances;
  • Anxiety;
  • Phagophobia (fear of eating);
  • Emetophobia (fear of vomiting).
Home Care:
  • Practice stress relief measures;
  • Maintain healthy dietary habits;
  • Planning several small meals may help;
  • Maintain pleasant atmosphere while eating;
  • Keep a food diary (a record of what you eat and drink);
  • Do moderate exercise;
  •  Prepare the patient's favourite food to help stimulate appetite.
Consult a doctor if you have:
  • Unintentional weight loss;
  • Loss of appetite along with depression and alcohol abuse;
  • Amenorrhoea (abnormal absence pf menstruation) in women and loss of sexual interest in males;
  • Hypotention;
  • Decreased heart rate;
  • Peripheral cyanosis (blue tint in fingers or extremities due to inadequate circulation).
  • Complete blood count and ESR;
  • Liver and renal tests;
  • Thyroid function test;
  • Ultrasound scan of the abdomen;
  • Barium enema;
  • Sigmodoscopy (to check the large intestine);
  • Colonoscopy;
  • Urine drug screening.
Did You Know ?

Women constitue 80-95% of anorexics;

Chemo-therapy drugs and certain antibiotics are also known to cause anorexia;

Ingestion of caffeine, cocaine and nicotine can cause anorexia;

Anorexia is the third most common chronic illness affecting adolescents;

Anorexia without any apparent cause is seen mainly in the elderly whereas anorexia nervosa is common teenage girls;

Oestrogen and gastrointestinal hormone CCK-PZ cause reduction in food intake, leading to anorexia;

Mortality rate associated with anorexia nervosa is 12 times higher than the death rate of all causes of death of women 15-24 years old.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Protein for Muscle Building

What is protein?

Protein is one of three macronutrients needed and used by the body. These are Protein, Carbohydrates and Fats. Basically proteins are a series of Amino Acids linked in a chain. There are 22 amino acids and the body needs all of them in order to function correctly. The amino acids contain Carbon, Hydrogen, Oxygen and Nitrogen, combining in different structures to form different types of protein.


The positive Nitrogen balance created by consumption of protein is essential for muscle building.
The 22 amino acids are made up of 8 essential and 14 non-essential.* Non-essential amino acids occur in the body whereas we must get our essential amino acids from our diet. Therefore you should eat a wide and varied diet in order to obtain all that the body requires. *(over the years the actual number of essential and non-essential amino acids has varied due to different research. As to have the amount that is required of each.)

Asides from the great muscle building properties protein is required for growth, maintenance and repair of every cell in the body. It is a major component of muscles, tissue and organs and is responsible for just about every process in the body.


  1. Protein is responsible for transporting nutrients and oxygen in the blood.
  2. It is important in the production of antibodies keeping the immune system healthy.
  3. Keeps the body in a state of anabolism. This is essential for building muscle.
  4. Growth Hormone regulation.
  5. Muscle preservation during dieting cutting phases.
  6. It is used as an energy source when there are no carbs available.
  7. Helps blood clot.


The most popular protein sources are meat, fish, shellfish, dairy and poultry. Eggs are a popular source as they contain the highest amounts of essential amino acids. Protein can also be obtained from pulses, soya beans, oatmeal, rice, peas, lentils and wholemeal foods. These days it is very popular to obtain protein from supplements.

How much protein do I need?

Protein in the body is used daily and therefore must be constantly replenished. There are huge variances in what is considered the right amount. Let’s have a look. Guidelines suggest that for the average female a daily intake of 45g is right while for an average male this rises to 55g.

The US dietary guidelines suggest 0.8g of protein per kg of bodyweight for the average person.

This would mean for a person weighing 80kg (165lb), protein would = 0.8×80 = 64g

It is also suggested that anyone preforming regular exercise should increase their protein intake. In this case it is suggested consuming 1.5g-1.8g per kg of bodyweight. This is purely for recovery of the body’s muscle tissue. If protein consumption is low this is what causes soreness the day after exercise.

It is said and can be found that some are taking levels as high as 2g- 2.5g per kg. This kind of consumption is mainly by bodybuilders or those looking to pack on muscle mass.

How much is too much?

For normal healthy people it is believed that high levels of protein intake will not have any detrimental effect on the body. However, it should be noted that if the person is suffering from diabetes they should limit to 0.8g-1g per kg of bodyweight. (The American Diabetes Association).
As high protein intake can put strain on the liver and kidneys, those with liver or kidney disease should avoid high levels of protein. There is also a higher risk of high cholesterol among those with high protein diets.

On the other hand, too little can cause tiredness due to muscle breakdown as well as a generally tired appearance and skin problems.


Following the daily guidelines for your bodyweight, sex, age and level of activity will ensure that you get the optimal amount for your personal requirements to build and maintain muscle strength.
But getting the right amount of protein and making your diet interesting is not always easy.

Ultimate 30's Workout

Increase the amount of testosterone and growth hormone your body produces by working multiple muscle groups and keeping rest periods short. For cardio, your lactate threshold can still be increased throughout your thirties, so intervals are king to counter any loss of lung power.

Ultimate 40's Workout

Short, sharp shocks are the way to fire up your body in your middle years - which means you can forget long-winded weights workouts. Vary exercises, intensity and timings to keep your muscles guessing.

Ultimate 50's Workout

You may not be able to lift the heaviest weight, but that's okay. Instead, stretching and yoga should be part of your training, and body-weight moves can replace heavy workouts. Do three sets of 10 reps of the following exercises to protect your joints and maintain muscle mass and testosterone.