Friday, December 24, 2010

ABC of getting ripped

I want to give you people an overview of how to get a ripped physique following certain pointers. We always marvel looking at the ripped physiques of fitness models or bodybuilders, how is it possible for one to be obtaining such a ripped physique and maintain it? Well the answer is simple it takes a lot of dedication, hard work and knowledge. I would say it can be broken down into two phases, phase one is to bulk up so as to add muscle mass to the body to gain muscle size. Second phase is to shred the unwanted body fat by high intensity workout and cardio to achieve that ripped look. Now, when you are trying to gain muscle mass you tend to gain a lot of fat along with muscle, It’s something unavoidable. Bulking up is like you’re trying to make a beautiful statue and you need a big stone (muscle size) once that’s done, you need to chip away the rough edges to finish the sculpture that’s when you get the perfect statue (ripped physique). Well bulking up is an entirely different ball game which I am going to discuses in my future articles.

Once you are done with the bulking phase and added substantial amount of muscle mass to your body you are ready to get into the cut-up phase. When you’re trying to get ripped your main objective is to shred as much fat as possible without losing lot of muscle mass, although you do lose quite of bit of muscle size depending on the way you train. Two things play a very important role when you’re in cut-up phase, they are training and diet. Training usually becomes very difficult when you’re  in cut-up phase because firstly you have to increase the overall training volume like sets and repetitions then there is another challenge which is to work out while your cutting down on calories and carbohydrate  depletion. Dieting plays a key role when you’re trying to get ripped, there are lots of dieting strategies that you need to look into and remember “what you eat is what you are”. I recommend not diet to extreme rather than that, take it in phases so as the body gets ample time to adjust to training and dieting demands. Well I am going to tackle both the subjects in detail in my future articles.

Main objective of Cut-up phase is to get you that perfect muscularity and definition. Firstly you need to avoid simple carbohydrates from your diet and substitute it with complex carbohydrates, so as to make sure carbohydrate is not converted into fat. Ideally stick to broccoli and green beans. Increase your protein consumption by say 2 grams per pound of body weight so as to not lose the muscle size you have gained. Avoid red meat but can eat more of grilled chicken breast, turkey and lots of egg whites. Since fat is also required you can eat nuts, avocados. Next part is to reduce the calorie intake not drastically but gradually, eat 5-6 smaller meals. 
"Ripped Body"

You need to do a lot of cardio say 4-5 days a week and has to be say 20mins a day then there again gradually increase it to 40mins a day , but make sure you don’t burn up too much and lose lot of muscle mass. Cardio works best in the morning and on an empty stomach, follow this cut-up phase for 8-10 weeks and you should achieve the ripped physique you always desired.
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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Awesome physique of Bruce lee

It’s an honor and great pleasure writing about the greatest martial artist of all time the legendary “Bruce lee”. It’s my tribute to the man who was a perfect combination of body and soul a legendary martial artist and renowned philosopher. Whenever I hear or think of muscularity first name that pops up in my mind is “Bruce lee”, he was lean, razor–sharp cuts, dense muscle not to the degree of professional bodybuilders but chiseled and well defined muscles. He was not genetically gift with great genetics unlike our professional body builders; he built his awesome physique with sheer hard work and dedication. Just standing five feet and seven and a half inches tall and weighed around 126 to 145 pounds, he turned his body into an ultimate weapon which not only looked awesome but was also very strong and powerful.

Bruce’s interest in weight training mainly grew as part of martial arts training. He was a renaissance’s man; he had achieved the muscularity, definition and proportion to the same degree as that of body builders of today. Bruce’s main focus was towards strength and speed, the chiseled and ripped to the bone physique was byproduct of his intense training. His body was graceful and tremendously functional; he would leap eight feet in the air to kick out a light bulb in one of his movies. He would demonstrate one inch punch which could generate so much of power that it would send the person on the receiving end flying in the air. Bruce was a pound for pound fighter , his reflex’s were so quick that he had to slow down for his movies, so as to capture his punches and kicks on screen, man he was lightening quick. He termed his approach towards physical training as “the art of expressing the human body”. He demonstrated extreme flexibility, lighting quick reflexes, grace and colossal power. He didn’t believe in being huge or big but believed in being capable of converting one’s strength efficiently and quickly.  Bruce had a well proportioned physique, but his best body part was his abs, it is said that he loved to work his abs and forearms.

Some of Bruce’s feats of strength are he could perform one hand push-ups or thumbs only push –ups. He was able to support a 125-pound barbell at arm length right in front of him, mind you he weighted between 126 to 145 pounds. How can we forget his one inch punch? That would send the opponent flying in air. He could side kick 300 pound heavy bag slapping against the ceiling. Lee was always on the look out to train his muscles in new and unique ways to stimulate more muscle fibers; he had a huge collection of books ranging from bodybuilding to philosophy in his personal library.
Below is lee’s workout program:
Clean & press 2 sets – 8 reps
Squats 2 sets – 12 reps
Bench press 2 sets – 6 reps
Pullovers 2 sets – 8 reps
Good mornings 2 sets – 8 reps
Barbell curls 2 sets - 8 reps

Bruce was well ahead of his time, be in terms of fitness or nutrition, he was a great martial artist and a wonderful human being. He can also be termed as first one who introduced MMA (mixed martial arts) in way because he didn’t not believe or limit himself to one style of fighting.  I would like to conclude this article with one of his quotes on martial arts and fitness, he said “if you’re talking about combat- as it is – well then, baby you’d better train every part of your body!”
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Saturday, October 16, 2010

An overview of supplements and steroids

From an average guy trying to gain few pounds of muscle to elite fitness athletes are eluded by supplements. They are always on the lookout for cutting edge supplements. From your local neighborhood gym to the high profiled and exceptionally equipped gyms cater supplements. Supplements are available in health food stores, grocery stores, supermarkets, pharmacies and on internet. Supplement industry is fastest growing industry in fitness world, more like a backbone to run fitness and bodybuilding shows hence helping to keep the sport of bodybuilding alive.

Now the question arises, what are supplements? As the name suggests it’s an alternative source of carbs or proteins, vitamins, herbs or minerals and amino acids which are taken as part of your nutritional diet. They come in form of tables, pills, powders or liquid form. Consumption of supplements is purely “Need Based”, meaning it can be either taken when you’re unable to get the complete amount of carbs or proteins from your daily diet or if you have a tight work schedule due to which you’re unable to eat substantial amount of proteins or carbs on a regular basis. Another scenario would be if you are a professional athlete or say an aspiring bodybuilder then its best advised to take these supplements along with the nutritional diet that you follow. In order to counter grueling workouts in the gym or the daily rigors of other demanding sports, you need to aid your body with lots of calories by means of proteins and carbs in form of supplements to help your body recovery and perform at its best.

Supplements are also available to get rid of fat and lean out, its available in form of fat burners and other supplements in general. In regards to distinguish which supplements works and which doesn’t, you can Google and get abundant download on that. On a personal note, I am not here to advocate whether consumption of supplements is right or wrong nor am I here to oppose it. As I have mentioned earlier it’s strictly “Need Based”. I am not here to sell products but yes I want to help people comprehend its functionality and purpose. I suggest anyone who’s just started weight training to first and far most focus on the exercises and the form you need to maintain while performing these exercises. As far as the nutrition goes get your carbs and proteins and other essentials through natural wholesome food, like meat, vegetables and fruits. Once you progress, depending on your nutritional demands, schedules and your goals decide to whether you need to incorporate supplements into your daily diet.

Steroids on the other hand are an entirely different story. Steroids are frequently referred as juice or roids; they are synthetically produced hormones, more like androgens produced in our body. There is hell lot of variations of steroids available today like anabolic steroids and growth hormones they are compounds derived from testosterone which helps build and repair body. It’s well known fact that steroids minister to gain muscle mass rapidly, reduce body fat considerably. Steroids makes us bigger ,better and faster ,however all said and done most important thing about steroids is these magical benefits are temporary. If you use steroids, you have more to lose than to gain considering the consequences of steroid abuse. Cardiovascular problems, baldness, prostate enlargement, high blood pressure, kidney problems, immune system changes, liver damage and the “Roid rage”, these are the few side effects of steroids. Itinerary of such side effects can give anybody a heart attack, and then the question that lingers in one’s mind is why people take steroids. Well I guess that question depends on each individual’s perception and thought process. We all are adults and we should be acquainted with the choices we make in life, steroid use is no different weigh the pros and cons then make a decision. It’s you as individual who needs to validate whether it’s worth doing steroids or not, you are the one who needs to answer that question to yourself eventually.
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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Hiking for fitness and body transformation

In this article I am going to write about a friend of mine who transformed his body from a chubby 203lbs to 180lbs of lean mean physique. My friend is software professional and works abroad, now his story was also the same as the other typical software engineers who always have a hectic work schedule and a pretext to support saying they lack time to work out. He wasn’t the kind of guy always though, he was lean and fit during college days and but started to accumulate lot of weight as he began his career as an IT professional. He did try to work out in gym but couldn’t do it not because of the will issue but because of the back problem he had developed due to nature of his work, he did undergo physical therapy to heal the problem. The therapy was quite effective but was also advised by the doctor not to do any sort of weight training as its going to jeopardize his back problem and might cause great damage to his ailing back.
Unfortunately for my friend he was back to square one, all his efforts went in vain as he had dedicated his time and energy to get back in shape however having been there and done, I know how frustrating it can be when all your efforts fall apart as house of cards. He again began to gain weight at a quick rate due to his body type, well yet another obstacle in his way. As he was figuring out ways and means to shred that enormous weight he had gained, one of his friends invited him to be a part of their hiking expedition to Washington; little did he expect that his onetime surprise activity would become his lifelong obsession. He finished his expedition and did notice a change in his mood and stamina; now mind you hiking is no joke even though it appears to be simple because you don’t notice the amount of cardio vascular fitness it builds due to constant walking on hiking trails.
He again went on couple of hiking expeditions and he began to think this could be a way or activity which helps him shred his weight. Once he finished these couple of expedition he noticed that he started to lose weight however, he had to modify his diet so as to build his stamina and also to keep up with his buddies. They began to hike quite frequently and on difficult trails. He did tune his life style by try to get physical activity as much as possible; walk to work (currently take bus and walk from the transit center to work place about 15 minutes). He continued his Physical therapy as part of back problem. Now his diet was as follows:
Breakfast - banana or couple of cereal bars
Lunch - regular food;
Dinner - 4 chapatti’s; avoid fatty and other junk foods; calorie conscious.
Well within 6 to 8 months he was shredded to mean lean 180lbs for his 5’11’ frame. Well I am in for some serious competition I suppose; here he is now with the best shape he can be in despite the back injury and the initial setbacks he had to face.
Well I am a firm believer in the saying “there are many ways to be on the top but the view is always the same”. I emphasize on being super fit and leading a healthy life style which has to be achieved by natural means, irrespective of the tools you use to achieve it. It can be weight training or doing a heavy bag work or even going for hiking, basics remains the same to be fit and do what you enjoy. There is no point in going to gym when you don’t have the drive for it or doing something which don’t enjoy, remember everyone is unique we have our own limitations so never compare yourself with others but try to outdo yourself every time.

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Friday, July 23, 2010

Pitfalls of Dieting

Dieting is an integral part of one’s journey to achieve the desired physique and vitality. I would say dieting is as important as training because, training is more like stimulation and dieting is making sure you get all the nourishment by eating foods that help you build muscle and have a healthy life without overdoing it. Dieting is a pre-designed prototype of food intake to attain certain specific short-term goal, but it’s not an ongoing thing. The most over-rated word today by fitness freaks is “dieting”; the sad part of it is that, there is a big misconception that you diet all throughout the year. Well that’s not how exactly you achieve a shredded physique.

Well I am not trying to preach you that “this or that is the right way to diet” but to suggest you to not to go on a diet that needs a drastic change in your food habits. The reason I am suggesting you not to do so is: firstly in order to go under such diet your body should already be tuned to such diets by prior experience with dieting. You should start by small changes in your diet by cutting oily food and bit of sugar and reduce the calories a bit. Now, this sort of approach forms a foundation and gives you body ample time to tune and recuperate to future changes to the body and minister to endure the  extreme dieting. A word of caution though these extreme dieting techniques that you hear or read often has to be followed only for a brief period of time, because if you overdo it; not only  do you screw up your whole effort being put to achieve your desired result but also you would end up being sick and unhealthy. Best example would be the so called crash diet, Many people have fallen into ensnare of crash dieting; a crash diet refers to willful nutritional restriction (except water) for more than 12 hours. People normally do this in order to burn a lot of body fat for energy with the aim of losing a significant amount of weight in a short time. This sort of restriction causes the body to react by preserving fat stores and burning lean muscle tissue, hence has to be done only for brief period of time. Some of the side effects of theses diets are headaches; nausea, Dizziness, lethargy or low energy, cause cramping, kidney and liver damage. Before you jump into any sort of these crazy diets I would suggest you to just bear in mind that everything in life comes with a price, physical conditioning is no exception.

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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Workout for Women simplified - Myths and Facts

It’s an immense pleasure writing this article because it’s one of the most talked and a myth kind of subject. It’s a well known fact that everybody cannot gain muscle mass to the same degree as any other person comparatively, because we all are different in terms of our body make up. Now we always see women either hesitant or confused on whether to train with weights as they think, training with weights can make them muscle bound. Ladies I got good news for you! Weight training doesn’t make you muscle bound; yes you heard me right, matter of fact it can be counter-productive if you train smart enough.
The reason I say women have a less tendency to become muscle bound or gain muscle mass is simply because it’s to do with hormones. The key muscle building hormone is testosterone, this hormone is found in men at a much higher levels compared to women, where as women have higher levels of estrogen. Now lack of testosterone in women to a considerable degree makes it difficult to gain muscle, so becoming muscle bound is literally not possible until unless you are training like a professional bodybuilder. More over the presence of estrogen makes women more susceptible to gain fat. Women have a higher percentage of body fat and loose fat slowly compared to men, this higher percentage of fat in women helps them to have a healthy body during pregnancy. Women find it difficult to stay leaner for a longer period of time compared to that of men and this is due to the lack of testosterone comparatively, thus the possibility of women becoming muscle bound without high intensity workout is ruled out.

Now that the theory is ruled out let’s talk about the way women should train. The most important thing in women’s workout is to include lots of cardio, so as to not only burn off fat but also burn off fat at specific areas. Women have different problem areas when it comes to burning fat like hips, thigh’s and waist. As I said earlier women should include lots of cardio training along with weight training and also initially when they start their workout they should do circuit training. Circuit training is more like a perfect combination of weight training and cardio, even though no cardio exercise is done, the reason I call it cardio is because you are constantly moving. You move from one place to another to perform one exercise after another; however I am going to discuss the topic of circuit training in my future article.
So I would suggest women to do say 40 percent of cardio and 60 of weight training with light weight and high repetitions, that should be the ratio of cardio and weight training in their workout program. The light weight and high repetitions with cardio will aid them to achieve fitter and leaner toned physique. So, spice up your workout keeping these details in mind and you would see great result.
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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Goal Setting

In this article I am not going to talk about the nuts and bolts of training but how to set realistic goals and progress in your quest to achieve fit and well toned body. It’s always been a pleasure helping people training to get in shape, be it a college going kid, IT professional or even a middle aged businessman everybody wants to get in shape investing very minimal time. Now as trainer and someone who has been training for years, I can tell you there are no shortcuts to achieving that rock-hard physique, but yes there are few things that we can do to quicken the process. In my day to day interaction with people, lots of guys come up to me and ask questions like; can I have a six-pack in a month’s time? Or have a well toned body say with 8% body fat in couple of months? Now my answer to those people is simple, have a realistic and well defined goal.

Goal setting is a vital aspect of training which is always overlooked , goal setting not only saves time and endless effort you Putin the gym but also gives you a positive outlook towards your training. Now let’s say, your arms are 13inches and you want it to be 16inches in couple of months, that’s not something which would be realistic until unless you are ready to gain fat and not lean muscle mass. When someone sets such unrealistic goals they end up getting frustrated with little or no result, same goes for weight loss following crash diet and all those crazy stuff. I would urge all you people who are trying to reduce weight or gain muscle mass, you need to set realistic goals in phases, example you will reduce 3pounds in a month’s time investing at least 25-30minutes cardio thrice a week along with the weight training. Now the same theory can be applied to getting your arms to 16inches, first you have to train them for couple month or so to bring it up to say 14inches and then move on altering your arms workout to take it to the next level. To have well toned body, you not only need to set goals, train hard but also train smart. Training smart means to making sure you don’t over workout or train less frequently, but striking the balance which is apt for conditioning you. Before you plan your workout take a moment and set some realistic goals and I’ll bet it would be rewarding.
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Monday, February 15, 2010

Why to Stretch

Stretching is a vital aspect in your daily workout, if you are trying to maximize your muscular development and fitness. People who already invest say ten minutes a day stretching need not worry to read this article. Stretching helps you strengthen & develop quickness, endurance and most importantly flexibility. Stretching is awesome activity that can be used to avoid injuries and muscle damage. Ever wondered why martial artist emphasize on stretching? Not just to do those fancy kicks. Yes stretching is what makes them develop speed, power and balance. Those round house kicks are not only great to watch but are also very powerful. Best example would be martial arts expert & Hollywood action star Jean-claude Van damme also known as “muscles from Brussels”.

First important thing one must do is to thoroughly warm-up before stretching. Stretching a cold muscle is not a good idea, muscles are like rubber band. If you stretch a rubber band when it’s cold, it won’t stretch beyond a certain point and it breaks, same applies to muscles. So way to stretch is to warm-up first, then do the stretching exercise followed by your workout or you can do post- workout stretching. The best thing about post-workout stretching is that your muscles are already warmed-up and trained so need not bother about improper warm-up.
One of the biggest misconception about stretching is it’s mistook for warm-up. Now warm-up and stretching are two different things, Stretching is not warming up! It is, however, a very important part of warming up. Warming up is elevating the body temperature to a specific degree say about 1.5 to 3 degrees Fahrenheit. Stretching is beneficial in avoiding injury to joints, muscles, and tendons, reduce muscular soreness and muscular tension. Helps develop kinesthetic senses, enhances physical fitness. If you stretch too aggressively, it reduces flexibility and can cause injury, thus the way to stretch correctly is to avoid the pain threshold. Help yourself in a position where the target muscle feels tight but still comfortable and hold this position for 10-20seconds, and then release the stretch. Once you’re done with earlier discussed way of stretching then move further to bit intensify the stretching technique. Stretch the same muscle group again for say around 20 to 30seconds but focus on greater relaxation; it helps loosen up the muscles. 2-3 circuits of this system of stretching are enough to warm-up and cool down your body. Some of the body parts you can stretch before starting any weight training would be: Achilles tendon, Hamstrings, Adductors, Hip flexors, Lateral torso. We’ll try implementing these techniques in your daily quest for fitness and trust me will notice a difference.

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