Weight Lifting Tips

Top 10 Tips for Building Strong Chest Muscles

Strong chest muscles should be the core of your exercise program because they help all of the other exercises that you are going to do. As your chest bulks up, you are going to be able to lift more when you do arm, shoulder and back exercises. You may even notice that running gets easier since you are going to be pumping your arms, an often underrated part of running that is very valuable. Strong chest muscles are also incredibly beneficial for any sport, helping you block in football, throw a check in a hockey game or drive a spike into the sand while playing volleyball.

No matter why you want the strong chest muscles, also known as pectorals, you can use these tips to help you get there.

The Tips

1. Always increase your weight when you hit the full amount of reps for each one of your sets. Do not just keep doing the same amount because you are not gaining any ground.

2. Use a set schedule and stick to it. Repetition is the key, along with dedication.

3. Give your muscles time to recover. Only do the chest exercises every other day so that you have building days and recovery days.

4. Use muscle confusion by pushing different, related muscle groups, rather than targeting the same one every time. This forces them all to build up evenly.

5. Similarly, you want to do a number of different exercises, not just one. The bench press may be your staple, for instance, but you also need to do flies and inclined bench.

6. Push yourself to the limit. Do not give up as soon as it gets difficult. Use a spotter so that you can only stop when you finish your reps or when you physically, not mentally, cannot finish the last one.

7. Give your body the protein and nutrients that it needs to build strong muscles. Eat balanced meals.

8. If you want an extra boost, think about using protein shakes to give yourself more than you would get from a standard meal.

9. Drink plenty of water. Your body needs water to feel less fatigued and to keep from cramping up, which helps you lift more effectively.

10. Learn to love working out. Relish the feeling of being exhausted when you head home after a good session. If you embrace this lifestyle, you will have far more success.

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The 5 Most Common Dieting Mistakes

The 5 Most Common Dieting Mistakes

When done right, a diet is a good way to lose weight and become healthier. The problem is that most people do not diet correctly, which leads them not losing any weight. While there are a wide variety of dieting mistakes that people make, these are the five most common.

1. Skipping Meals

Many people think that they can skip a meal to reduce calories, but it ultimately lowers your blood sugar and creates overeating throughout the rest of the day. Not skipping meals also gives you extra energy that will make you feel better the whole day. This extra energy can then be used to exercise a few times a week to help drop the pounds even faster.

2. Crash Dieting

The idea of crash dieting involves eating very little food throughout the day to lose weight in a quick manner. This is not a sustainable weight loss plan because your body is not going to be able to survive very long with little to no food. Crash diets also do not work because they leave the dieter hungry, which only leads to eating undesirable foods.

3. Drinking Calories

Replacing just one can of soda a day with a bottle of water can allow you to lose up to 16 pounds in a year. Since liquid calories do not help the body from feeling hungry, you are essentially just adding extra calories to your diet. Drinking water not only makes the body feel less hungry, it also eliminates unnecessary calories.

4. Not Planning

If you head into a new diet without a plan, then you are almost guaranteed to fail. A detailed plan allows you to go into your diet knowing exactly what you have to do in order to be success. It also allows you to stock your house with healthy foods to eliminate cheating on your diet because you do not have any thing else in the house to eat but junk food.

5. Eliminating Your Favorite Foods

Nobody is going to be able to stay on a diet if they can never eat any of their favorite foods. If one of your favorite foods is not very healthy, then you just need to reduce your portions or find a healthier version. This will give your body the indulgence it needs without completely ruining all of the hard work that you put into your diet.

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Glutamine St. Petersburg

How Can Glutamine Help Me?

L-Glutamine supplementation can help your body repair and recover from the stresses and inflammation caused by regular strength training. Additionally, L-Glutamine supplementation will aid your body’s natural immune defense system by supporting good intestinal health, where many illnesses and diseases originate.

The amino acid L-Glutamine is the most abundant free form amino acid in the body. L-Glutamine is present in nearly every cell and particularly concentrated in skeletal muscles, brain and the intestines.  L-Glutamine is a non-essential amino acid, which simply means the body can produce L-Glutamine from the foods we consume or from other amino acids.  However it is important to note that L-Glutamine can become conditionally essential under certain circumstances. This means that when stressed, the body rapidly uses up more L-Glutamine than it can produce thereby becoming deficient.  Under these circumstances, supplementation with L-Glutamine can become imperative to maintaining health.

So what are the circumstances where L-Glutamine supplementation can become essential? Illness, injury, inflammation, surgery and recovery are prime instances where supplementation with L-Glutamine will support the body’s ability to repair itself.

In the context of physical exercise, for strength athletes training regularly, L-Glutamine supplementation is conditionally essential to maintain the body in an anabolic, muscle building state. Exercise is a physical stress, tearing down muscle fibers and causing inflammation. Exercise results in a high rate of constant consumption of the body’s caches of L-Glutamine. When there is not enough L-Glutamine present to support repair and recovery, over training may occur, performance may suffer and gains may be lost.

Further, L-Glutamine supplementation is critical for maintenance of a healthy immune system via bolstering the gut, where most disease and sickness originate.  Natural sources of L-Glutamine can be found in whole foods including eggs, meat, dairy and some vegetables, however the amount of whole food required to supply adequate L-Glutamine for the strength trained athlete introduces excessive and unwanted calories that may lead to weight gain and decreased performance.

So how do you supplement with L-Glutamine? L-Glutamine supplements come in both powder and pill form. Recommendations for strength trained athletes are to consume 5g of L-Glutamine 4 times per day to maintain the body in an anabolic, muscle sparing state of repair and recovery.  L-Glutamine is a relatively inexpensive supplement but should be of high quality and High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) tested to assure proper absorption and assimilation.

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Playing Sports and Pre Workout Drinks

Is It Unhealthy to Drink a Pre Workout Drink Before Playing Sports?

It is not only healthy to drink a pre workout drink before playing sports but it can be extremely desirable, so long as the pre workout drink contains the types of nutrients required by the sport or activity and does not have excessive or banned ingredients that are detrimental to health or performance.

Specifically the pre workout drink should contain the macro nutrients carbohydrates and proteins in a ratio of roughly 2:1 to 3:1. Other vitamins, minerals, electrolytes and cofactors are desirable to help the body assimilate the macro nutrients efficiently and effectively. A moderate amount of caffeine is acceptable, provided the dosage is below 200 mg. Caffeine levels above 200 mg may promote dehydration, constriction of blood vessels and elevated heart rates which could impede performance. Other ingredients and amino acids may be present to further enhance performance including as creatine, beta alanine, BCAA’s (L-Leucine, L-Valine, and Iso-Leucine) and L-Glutamine.

To answer this question more completely, one must first understand a few basic principles of human biology.  In overly simplified terms, the human body derives energy to function from two pathways: anaerobic (without oxygen) and aerobic (with oxygen).

Anaerobic energy is stored in muscles in the form of creatine phosphate and ATP (adenosine tri-phosphate). This type of energy source is responsible for bursts of energy at maximum effort and for a limited duration of around four to ten seconds. Examples would include a sprint, a deadlift or a long jump.

Once this energy source is fully depleted, the body turns to glucose (or glycogen) as a fuel source. Glucose is stored in muscles and the liver in the form of glycogen and is available for use to create ATP through a process called anaerobic glycolysis. This process is slower than stored creatine phosphate, less efficient and results in a build-up of the performance limiting waste product lactate. This pathway provides energy for bouts of exercise in durations of up to a few minutes.

As the fuel stores of ATP and glucose are depleted and the anaerobic energy pathways fail; aerobic energy pathways take over releasing stored fat into the blood stream as an available energy source for production of glucose. This process is even slower and less efficient than anaerobic glycolysis. This type of energy is typically used by long distance endurance athletes such as marathon runners. As mentioned, this is an overly simplified explanation of a very complex biological process.

Pre workout drinks consumed 15 minutes to up to 2 hours prior to bouts of physical exercise are intended to load the body with the nutrients it will need to perform at higher levels for extended periods of time as compared to performance without supplementation. While consuming water during physical exercise at the rate of 8 ounces per every 15 minutes of moderate intensity is vital to health, the consumption of an additional ergonomic aid such as a pre workout drink can provide other essential nutrients in concentrated doses that are not readily available from whole foods without consuming excessive, unwanted calories or experience gastric stress (i.e. cramps).

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How Much Cardio is Enough Cardio?

How Much Cardio is Enough Cardio?

Cardiovascular exercise is a great way to burn fat, maintain a healthy weight and stay in shape. It also releases endorphins that elevate your mood. However, even with exercise, you can have too much of a good thing. Knowing how much cardio you should do each day depends on the following:

Intensity

How much cardio exercise you should do in one day depends a lot on the intensity level of the activity. If your preferred exercise is walking, 60 minutes each day is sufficient to gain desired health benefits, among which are lowering blood pressure, lowering cholesterol, decreasing arthritis pain and reducing the risk of heart disease. If, however, you are doing moderate to high intensity aerobic exercises or jogging, 30 minutes per day is sufficient for maintaining cardiovascular health.

Desired Goals

If your primary goals are to stay in shape, maintain your current weight and reduce the risks of heart disease, 30 minutes per day of moderate to high intensity cardio will do the trick. Extremely intense, high impact activity can even be shortened to 20 minutes. However, lower intensity workouts, like walking, can be extended to 60 minutes per day.

On the other hand, if your goal is to lose weight and burn fat, you may need to increase your moderate and high intensity cardio to about 60 minutes per day. That’s because your body does not begin to burn fat until about 15-20 minutes into your cardio session. It attacks glycogen first and it is only once the glycogen is depleted that your body begins to turn to stored fat for energy. You will want to give your body at least 30 minutes each day to burn off fat in order to achieve your weight loss goals.

Risks of Too Much Cardio

Too much cardio can be a very bad thing. First, there’s the risk of injury. High impact activity, like running every day, can be very taxing on your body. You become more prone to muscle cramping, muscle tears and sprains. You can damage your joints and tissues, not to mention your bones can become weaker from the constant pressure. Weaker bones only increase your risk for injury.

Another downside is that too much cardio can burn out your adrenal glands, which can lead to muscle deterioration. Your body responds to stress by releasing cortisol, the “stress hormone.” Too much of it can lead to adrenal failure, which can make you feel exhausted and, if prolonged, you may experience bouts of depression. Extra cortisol can also cause you to store fat, especially around your stomach.

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How to prevent a weight lifting injury

How Can I Avoid Injury When Lifting Weights?

Lifting weights is a great way to bulk up, to gain muscle mass and to get in shape. If you are interested in bodybuilding, intensive weight lifting is going to be the best place to start. Even if you are just interested in getting into good shape and you want to go hiking, play sports and do other athletic activities, weight lifting should be part of your daily routine.

However, one of the pitfalls of weight lifting is that you could be injured if you do not take the right steps to prevent it. Use the following tips to stave off injuries so that you can work out on a consistent basis and stay in excellent shape.

Always Use a Spotter

This is most important with the bench press or the inclined bench, but it can be used for many different exercises as well. You want a spotter who can look out for you so that a slip of the hand does not lead to serious injury.

Stretch Before You Begin

Prior to starting, take five minutes and go through some basic stretches for the muscle groups that you are going to be targeting with your weight lifting session. This warms the muscles up and also makes them more limber so that you do not strain them too much. Neglecting to stretch can lead to cramps or even muscle tears.

Drink Plenty of Water

Another thing that can help you keep from getting cramps or tearing your muscles is to have plenty of water in your system. If your body is well hydrated, it functions more effectively and is less likely to be hurt. If you are going to ere on one side or the other, you are better off to drink too much water before you hit the gym or the weight room.

Build Your Way to Success

You never want to push yourself too hard right from the beginning. Weight lifting is all about building yourself up to success, about working your way toward your goals. Maybe you want to bench press 135 pounds, which would be two 45 pound weights, the biggest ones you will find, on each side. If you have never lifted before, start with just ten or fifteen pounds on each side, and only increase it when you can do all of your reps for each set.

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Protein Tips

How to Choose a Protein That’s Right for You

Eating correctly is absolutely essential to getting the most out of your exercise routine, especially if it involves building muscle. When it comes to developing muscles, a high quality source of protein is a must. However, it can be difficult to find a consistent protein source from our diets alone. Many protein sources also come laden with calories and fat that can actually undo much of the work we have done.

This is why protein powder is so helpful. A good protein powder can provide your body with the building blocks to create healthy muscle and power you through your exercise. Let’s take a look at how to find the protein powder that is right for you.

A Protein Meal Replacement

To determine the right protein powder, you should consider what you are using it for. If you need to replace your main meal, you will need a protein powder with enough energy per serving and appropriate levels of protein and carbs. It should contain low-to-moderate levels of fat with a minimum of 25 percent Recommended Daily Allowance of essential vitamins and minerals.

Workouts

If you need a powder before or after your workouts, you will need a protein powder that has enough carbs to fuel your muscles during your exercise and replenish your energy stores following your workout. You will also need one that is high in protein, but low in fat.

Protein Types

Whey Protein Isolate (WPI) is a type of protein powder containing less fat and more protein than any other milk-derived form. Most of these contain about 90 percent protein. They are quickly digested and assimilated by the body. This form of protein powder also contains substances that speed muscle recovery, making them a perfect choice for training.

Whey Protein Concentrate (WPC) ranges from 70-85 percent protein content. It has somewhat higher carb and fat levels than WPI and also contains lactose for improved taste. WPC powders are relatively inexpensive relative to WPI and are great for everyday consumption.

Whey Protein Caseinate

Casein is a form of protein that is released slowly. This may be a good form of protein powder if you need a steady protein release while you sleep to help with muscle recovery. Casein is not normally consumed after exercise because fast-absorbing forms of protein are preferable for this purpose.

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Why YOU might benefit from a nutrition plan?

As we enter a new year, it is quite common for people to set resolutions to become more healthy, lose weight, get in shape or otherwise improve their lives. Sadly, many resolutions are never met or worse yet, abandoned soon after they’re set due to a host of reasons. People join gyms, go on fad diets and spend significant amounts of money on quick fixes only to become disappointed, fail and give up. If this is you, then you will benefit from a nutrition plan!

First and foremost, I do not believe in “DIE”TS! I believe a diet does not work and cannot provide for long term healthy body composition. To me, a diet is based around restriction or elimination of calories and nutrients.  A nutrition plan is about spending time with you to understand what you like to eat, and then putting together an approach of how to eat the foods you like and enjoy but in the proper quantities and at the proper times to achieve the right body composition.

I believe in Max Muscle St. Pete’s ability to be the missing link between that New Year Resolution and YOUR real long term success.

We can help you set your goal, put together the plan and work with you to see the results.  We can provide the education for a nutritional foundation of a healthy approach to eating whole foods, recommend only the right vitamins/supplements that are going to help you meet YOUR specific goal and if you desire, connect you with other local professionals who can guide you through a fitness routine that is fun and one that you enjoy doing.

A nutritional plan includes the following steps:

a) you complete a questionnaire about your lifestyle, schedule, food intake, preferences and activities

b) we complete a non-invasive near infrared body composition analysis to determine your basic metabolic rate, your hydration level, the amount of lean muscle mass, essential fat and excess fat.

c) based on your input, we develop a step by step weekly plan of what to eat, how much to eat, when to eat…complete with a shopping list and recipes.

d) weekly you check in and get re-tested with the infrared hardware to monitor your progress.

e) during the process we are available for support and to answer questions along the way.

This structured approach with weekly check-ins creates a system of accountability that will help you through the initial phase of your resolution and helps you to avoid giving up. We provide you with realistic goals and celebrate your successes. After 30 to 60 days your resolution will have become your lifestyle and will no longer seem foreign, in fact, not following this new lifestyle will now seem odd!

 

 

 

 

 

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Stay in shape

Surprise Holiday Foods That Are Actually Good for You!

The holiday season typically brings people extra errands, enjoyable activities and fun parties that usually provide a bounty of delicious holiday dishes. Instead of cringing about the food temptations you fear you will have to face, do a little research. There are sure to be some surprises in store for you!

Everything is Good in Moderation

For example, a small plate of lean turkey breast and cranberry sauce is actually a healthy choice. The lean turkey obviously provides a good protein source. In addition, you will receive a dose of folic acid, vitamin B, zinc and potassium. The lovely cranberry sauce accompaniment is sure to load you up with antioxidants, which will aid your body in fighting against free radicals and winter germs.

When the pumpkin pie is offered you should feel free to indulge in a small slice. By doing so you will be nourishing your body with extra radical defenses and natural fiber, which is healthy for your heart. The vitamin A dose you consume in this yummy pie will assist with eye and skin health. It will also boost your immune health. For extra health points you could volunteer to bring the pie to the party insuring that it will contain healthy ingredients like organic milk and eggs.

If you want to go the distance for your health, then roast your own pumpkins for the pie. The puree is simple to make and the seeds can become a bonus treat! Once the seeds have dried you can roast them in heart-healthy extra virgin olive oil, spices and sea-salt. One-quarter cup of this crunchy snack will equip your body with extra liver support, additional fat burning help and some cell strengthening abilities.

What About Party Drinks?

You have several good options, but the following two may surprise you! For starters, a cup of non-alcoholic eggnog is very helpful for cell production as the egg yolks in this delicious holiday favorite contains lecithin, which aids in the body’s ability to repair skin tissue. After you can end your evening with a fragrant cup of peppermint tea. By sipping this beverage either hot or cold, you can soothe a full tummy and also supply your body with pore tightening menthol, which is fabulous for your skin.

Don’t be afraid to embrace these delicious foods while nourishing your body with some vital nutrients that your body will love you for.

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When Should I Drink Protein

When Should I Drink Protein?

If you are attempting to build muscle mass, it’s important to know when to drink protein. While there are many aspects to building muscle, the consumption of protein is one of the most important. If you’re a body builder, you already know that it’s of great importance to consume a protein shake after you complete a workout. However, this is not the only time you should consider drinking protein.

It’s been said that drinking protein both before and after a workout is good for your body, but experts believe that drinking it prior to working out is more beneficial to your body. The amino acids in your protein are best explained as having the same function as gasoline for your vehicle. You don’t wait to put gas in your car until you’re out and your car will no longer run. You put gas in prior to running out so that you can go longer distances in your vehicle.
Amino acids work the same way. They are fuel for the muscles in your body. By consuming them prior to a workout, you can work your muscles harder and with a more strenuous workout.

Additionally, studies also show that once you digest protein it helps you to burn more calories. Typically, after consuming protein your body can burn more calories for a 24-hour period of time. The final reason you should drink your protein prior to your workout is because you will experience fewer muscle aches and cramps once your workout is over. This is called the carryover effect. The protein in your muscles will stay elevated for as many as three hours post-workout, making you feel better and stronger during this period of time.

Burn More Fat

If you’re attempting to build more muscle while also on a low carb diet, you might benefit even more from drinking protein prior to your workout. The low level of glycogen in your body will burn more fat when you drink a protein shake prior to a workout. This means you’ll lose more weight, burn more fat, and build more muscle all at once.

While there’s nothing wrong with drinking your protein shake post-workout, there’s a great deal more benefit to drinking it prior to your workout. Consider this the next time you get ready to hit the gym.

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