HARDGAINERS’ ARSENAL FOR PACKING ON MUSCLE MASS

This article is dedicated to the ‘hardgainers’. You know those guys who cannot get any muscle size no matter how much they eat, no matter what they do. I have 10 tips that can help.
As always, see your primary healthcare provider before starting any fitness regimen. This site and the advice given here does not replace sound medical advice or opinion. Now the list.

1) 60 Minutes or less. Keeping your training under an hour will defeat the killer of many hypertrophic hopes and dreams- you guessed it, overtraining. Overtraining is a killer. Destroyer of gains due to overzealousness. Keeping your training under 60 minutes is a sure way to make overtraining irrelevant to you.
2) Become a member of the ‘Clean Your Plate Club’. Yes… eating has everything to do with building muscle mass. No matter what you eat, for the hardgainer- eating is and should be a habit. Without those extra calories, how will you gain that extra muscle mass you long after?
3) Stop relying on supplements. We all know that suplements are great. Supplements get the job done in ways that you couldn’t on your own. In this case, however, lay off most (not all) supplements. It’s a safe bet to only focus on supplements that will help with your gains (more on that later).
4) Take it Easy. Aside from this being a truism of life, this shuld be a goal for those of you seeking to put on muscle mass. Cutting out stress triggers (situations, people) will help your central nervous system do its job better and more effectively.

5) Overload on Calories. For the hardgainer, caloric intake is the name of the game. In fact, it is something that will dominate this article (as it dominates the hardgainer’s thoughts). Eat, eat, eat some more.
6) Think Progress. As mentioned above, your workouts should really be under an hour if even that. The main thing is to make sure you are progressing at a workout.
Now some things will work for a while and you may see some results. But if you want to gain weight, you’re better off focusing on progressing in either the number of reps or an increase in weight lifted within your main program.
7) Rep Range: The Right Mix! Keep the rep range between 6-8 repetitions. Outside of that, you risk overtraining (that will decimate any gains you have made).

8) Use a Mass Gainer. Remember me saying earlier about how most supps are not to be relied upon? This is why. You have mass gainers that are made just for increasing appetite or simply packing on extra pounds. Mass gainers are fantastic for hardgainers because it will slow metabolism somewhat. Metabolism is the hardgainer’s ‘frenemy’.

9) Hit the Buffet. Once a week…. hit a buffet line. Load it up, eat, eat and eat some more. Besides, buffets are cheap and you can eat all you want.

10) Slow it Down! Lastly, is a concept powerlifters and strength athletes have been using for the longest. Slow the pace of your reps down and use frequent breaks in your sets. Also you need to focus on the big presses ( e.g. bench press and squats). The concept of slowing your rep pace down will have an effect of building big muscle, just not lean muscle. The breaks will give the muscle time to grow. Visualization is another great trick you need in your ‘gainer arsenal’.

In closing, the hardgainer has the metabolism the rest of us want. The rade-off for the hard gainer… a great metabolism, but he cant gain muscle weight/size/mass for anything. These tips will get the hardgainer on the road to mass and strength, just as he has dreamt of.

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15 Ways for Success with Your Fitness Regimen

How many of you have kept with your New Year’s pledge to lose weight, perhaps turn your life around? If you’ve fallen off track, that’s no big deal (over 85% of Americans break their New Year’s pledges in under 45 days). In case any of you all need a refresher, or a plan to get over the hump (or just to stay the course), here is my list of 15 ways to have success with any fitness regimen. This is by no means a comprehensive list… but hopefully it will work for you. There is no shortcut to ideal health (whatever that is for you), no magic pill that lets you hit your five-a-day target and no single exercise that gives you a shredded physique in minutes. It takes time, hard work and an educated approach to get in shape and stay in shape. Following these tips will make your fitness quest (and life) a whole lot easier.

1. Prepping for Success
The better path to a sound diet is found by using your weekends wisely. Use the extra time you have on your weekends to make large batches of healthy meals that you can portion up to cover at least a couple of midweek lunches and dinners, avoiding the certain death of your fitness goals via fast food.

2. Mix Up Your Exercise

Variety is – cliché alert! – the spice of life, and many sports and activities support each other in ways you won’t realise until you try it. For example, strength training for your legs and core will make you a better runner, while those addicted to dumbbells will find Pilates works muscles they’d never even considered.

3. Calibrate Your Fitness Technology
If you invest in a fitness tracker, don’t just sit back and assume that following the preset targets will lead you to glory. Adjust the steps, active minutes and calorie targets regularly to build on your progress, or make them more realistic if you never get close and have started to ignore them. If you don’t engage with your fitness tech, you’ll quickly discard it.

4. Add In Extra Activity
This one of the oldest tricks in the book: take the stairs not the escalator, or get off the bus a stop early and walk. Any activity is better than none, and will only encourage you to do more. And if you really want to up the ante, try sprinting up the stairs (safely) each time you take them – clinical studies found that short bursts of high-intensity stair-climbing can make a significant difference to your cardiorespiratory fitness.

5. Keep Tabs On Your Visceral Fat

You can be skinny on the outside (at least your arms and legs), but fat on the inside. Visceral fat is the type that builds up around your organs and often results in a pot belly. It’s linked with heart disease, several types of cancer and type 2 diabetes. Check your waist-to-height ratio (WtHR) to see if you’re at risk. Grab a piece of string and use it to measure your height, then halve it. If it doesn’t fit around your waist, get exercising – visceral fat is the first type to go when you start a health regimen.

6. Value Your Rest Days
When you start on a fitness kick, it’s tempting to exercise every day while motivation is high. This is a bad move, and one that may see your motivation flame out within weeks, because you’re always exhausted and won’t see the massive improvements you expect for your efforts. Why? You’re not giving your muscles the time and rest they need to recover and grow.

7. Up The Intensity If You’re Short On Time
Health and wellness experts still promote the 150 minutes of moderate activity a week minimum, but now offer an alternative option of 75 minutes of vigorous activity a week. That’s running or singles tennis, for example, rather than cycling or walking, which count as moderate. You can also mix the two, so 60 minutes of vigorous cardio plus 30 of moderate will do the trick also. Bear in mind the guidelines also demand strength exercises on two or more days a week alongside your aerobic activity.

8. Treat Your Body Right
Nothing derails a health kick as quickly as injury, as many serious injuries will start out as small ones- you may think it’s OK to push through. Scaling back the intensity for a few days is better than having to shut it down for a few months. If you have an urgent desire to hit the gym, target a different part of the body from the one that’s bothering you.

9. The Drive for Five
Eating at least five portions of fruit and veg a day should be at the cornerstone of your healthy diet plan. What’s not wise is getting in a rut and eating the same five every day, because different types of fruit and veg contain different vitamins and minerals. A good way to vary your five-a-day is to eat different colors, as the hue is a decent indication of the nutrients they contain.

10. Don’t Undervalue Your Sleep
There is tendency for people who sleep very little to brag about it, as if it’s an indication of their commitment to life. However, getting the full seven to eight hours is vital to a healthy lifestyle, as it provides the energy for your exercise and even influences dietary choices – a 2016 study found that in the day following a night of limited sleep, people ate an extra 385 calories on average. You don’t snooze, you lose.

11. Increase Your Cadence On Your Runs
If you are consistently picking up injuries when running, one change it’s definitely worth trying is to up your rate of strides per minute (your cadence). If you overstrike, thus taking fewer steps, you put extra pressure on your knee and hip joints. Try and take more steps, which means your feet will land more beneath your body, reducing the impact on your joints.

12. Give It Your All or Turn It Loose
The first time you try an exercise it’s very hard, but at least quite novel. The second time the novelty is gone, and it’s still hard, leading to the temptation to quit. Try it at least once more, as the third time is often the charm – when a sport or workout starts to become as enjoyable as it is tough.

13. Count Reps Backwards
This is a mental trick that might make resistance workouts a little easier. Counting down the reps means by the time it’s really hurting you’re at the 3,2,1 stage, which feels closer to the end than 8,9,10 or whatever target you’re going for. It won’t work for everyone, but it’s worth a try.

14. Make Full Use Of Your Street Furniture
Exercising outdoors is a great way to ensure you get your hit of vitamin D (if it’s sunny) as well as a good workout, and it doesn’t have to be all cardio. As well as the exercise machines that litter many parks, you can nearly always finds a bar or ledge for pull-ups, or a bench or wall to do dips on. Rarer treats can even include chains to use as ersatz TRX ropes.

15. Record Stats and Progress

 

Nothing builds motivation as efficiently as seeing signs of improvement, so make sure you keep some kind of record of your activity. It can be as simple as noting your record five-rep max or fastest 5K time, using either one of the many excellent fitness apps available or old-fashioned pen and paper.
In closing, these tips and tricks will help in your fitness goals. Knowledge is power. Knowledge is a fundamental building block in fitness and in life. Knowledge (alongside hard work and dedication) is the most essential of the basics. THE BASICS ALWAYS WIN!!

TOP FIVE WEIGHT LOSS HACKS THAT WORK

NOTE: THIS ARTICLE IS NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR SOUND MEDICAL ADVICE. PLEASE CONSULT YOUR PRIMARY CARE PROFESSIONAL FOR THE BEST WELLNESS REGIMEN THAT FITS YOUR NEEDS.

 

This article is for those either approaching or are enduring plateaus in their weight-loss regimen. This article is also for those who are interested in finding new ways to lose weight. Here are my top five weight-loss hacks you can do, at home. And they work.

  • DRINK MORE WATER. This will fill your stomach, clear your skin and help with metabolism. This is the absolute best thing you can do for your body in general.
  • GET SOME SLEEP. Studies have shown consistently that those who get less sleep are more likely to be overweight. Getting proper rest will enhance your life (better moods, better brain function for starters).
  • SWITCH OUT YOUR CONDIMENTS. You like ketchup, tartar sauce, stuff like that? A great (and tasty) alternative would be substituting these sauces for salad dressings and other low-calorie dipping sauces and marinades. You might discover a new favorite.
  • Stop Drinking SODA. Aside from obesity, diabetes and several other debilitating diseases that have been linked to soda consumption, you can definently use a break from the soda addiction. Try drinking more water. It’s calorie-free, not addicting and there’s no crash when it wears off. Just try it. Your brain and your body will love you for it.
  • ENTER INTERMITTENT FASTING (IF). This popular weight-loss method does work. The methodology of it is simply eat what you’d normally eat in a smaller time frame. See the attached IF planner for more.

In closing, these tips are not the be-all end-all for weight-loss and fitness, but every little bit does help. Never be afraid to experiment, try new things and basically go for it!! Only thing stopping you is you. This is “thinking person’s fitness: some assembly is required”.

 

RESOURCES

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/05/13/lose-weight-do-nothing-without-diet-exercise_n_7260710.html

https://lifehacker.com/top-10-simple-weight-loss-hacks-you-can-implement-right-1695542566

https://youtu.be/Zu6vI0Nge9U

8 Habits of Successful People

These days, we all read about the successful ones- entrepreneurs, trust fund babies, athletes, entertainers and the like. Regardless of how they started out, I can guarantee you most of them had some difficulty climbing that ladder of success, with some overcoming extreme difficulties (cultural, internal and others) to get to where they are today. This list is nowhere near comprehensive, but it should prove useful as a starting point (or to at least jog your memory).

NOTE: This article (and this site) is no substitute for sound medical advice. Please consult your primary care provider for all things health/wellness related.

  1. Keep it Moving. Constant movement, especially exercise, keeps the feel-good endorphins pumping, which keeps you pumping on the uptick.
  2. Think! Deep thought and meditation works wonders.Take a few minutes and reset, set your mind at ease.
  3. Eat! Hydrate! Eating and hydrating within the first hour of wakefulness lends to you being less stressed, more focused and yes, more productive throughout the day.
  4. Fake It Til You Make It. Yes, it sounds cheesy, but it does work- you’re laying the foundation in your heart of hearts. The words you use create your reality. Throughout history, various faiths attest to this tactic.
  5. Create a routine. We all have (and cultivate) habits over time. This is your chance to make a positive impact on your life.
  6. Expect Excellence. From yourself. If you really get down to the bare bones of it all, your expectation of yourself should supersede the expectations you have of others. Basically focus on nothing other than yourself. There’s no shame in it.
  7. Work Your @$$ Off. Without this, everything else is a waste of time. Having a work ethic, hard work… sets the table for everything else. Having this foundation makes success possible. Hard work and keeping your vision in front of you at all times will usher you into the place in life you’ve always wanted to be.
  8. Attitude. It’s really not about having “the right attitude” (whatever that is). It’s about having an emboldened sense of being, a healthy self-image and a thirst for success. Something that this world cannot tame, quench or stop in any way. The dreams and visions take time to be established, so throw in some patience and a KILLER INSTINCT to the mix as well.

I hope you all take this to heart, even if it’s just a passing fancy. From time to time, we all need to self-evaluate and reinvent ourselves.

THE BASICS ALWAYS WIN.

Meal Planner Sample

The Total Self: Carbs for Weight Loss

 

NOTE: This article (and this site) is not a substitute for sound medical advice. Please consult your primary care provider in regards to diet and exercise.

With the advent of popular diets dating back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries, people have developed a love-hate relationship with carbs. With recent 21st century diets, namely the immensely popular Keto diet, carbs have become supposedly anathema to the average fitness enthusiast everywhere. This article focuses on the 10 best carbs for weight loss.

1) Barley. One of the original “superfoods”, this ancient grain can keep you fuller longer, preventing overeating and regulating metabolism.
2) Whole Grain Breads. This pick does somewhat fly in the face of “conventional diet wisdom”. A recent Penn State study revealed that people who had whole grain products in low-calorie diets (12 weeks) lost a significant amount more belly fat than those who ate processed/enriched breads.
3) Chickpeas. This dynamic member of the legume family called “pulses” are a godsend for those seeking a way not to overeat.
4) Pears. This fruit is not only tasty, fibrous and filling, but it is also a natural stimulant. Studies have proven that adults who eat 30 grams of fiber daily (the average medium pear has 6 grams of fiber) lost on average 5 lbs a year.
5) Quinoa. This popular ancient grain has nearly twice as much fiber as its peers (i.e. wheat). Quinoa is a “complete protein”- you get the amino acids like you would in a steak without the saturated fats.
6) Black beans (frijoles). Packed with soluble fiber, these tasty beans help cut the visceral fat around the heart and waist. This reduces the risk of cancer, diabetes and heart disease.
7) Sweet Potatoes. Packed with 27 grams of carbs, this tasty vegetable increases the levels of the important hormone adiponectin. Adiponectin lowers blood sugars and helps stabilize metabolism. Plus sweet potatoes are fat free and has fewer calories and sodium than white potatoes.
8) Oatmeal. This celebrated staple of many meal plans has been around forever, having its origins dating back to the Mediterranean Basin (ca. 1250 B.C.). Just don’t eat it with artificial sweeteners and fillers. Use natural sweeteners like coconut sugar, almond butter, cinnamon and/or cane sugar.
9) Teff. Termed “The New Quinoa”, teff is bringing Vitamin C, iron and protein. It also is packing calcium in the mix, with one cup (cooked) having as much calcium as one-half cup of spinach.
10) Kamut. This ancient grain has a lower fat content than oatmeal. It’s high in B6 (enhancing metabolism) and also contains the entire RDA of selenium along with a dose of Vitamin E for good measure- both proven and trusted antioxidants.

These (10) carbs are fantastic. Whatever your nutrition goals are, you cannot go wrong with any combination of these. Please read/view the related articles/videos below for more information. As I always say, knowledge is a crucial element. Without knowledge, you could not tell the good from the bad.
THE BASICS ALWAYS WIN.

RESOURCES
http://www.sheknows.com/food-and-recipes/articles/1063356/kamut-versus-oatmeal
http://www.redbookmag.com/body/healthy-eating/g2573/16-best-carbs-to-eat-for-weight-loss/?slide=15

HACK

In all my time writing, lifting and working out, I have always placed a heavy emphasis on knowledge. Knowing how a thing came to be is big for me to understanding the true value of an exercise. In this fitness game we all love, there are several iconic exercises that come to mind, especially for you lifters out there:
Bench Press. Coined “the granddaddy of all weight training exercises”, this venerable exercise started out in the early 20th century as a floor exercise by Russian-British athlete George Hackenschmidt (who benched 315 the first time he did the exercise).
Hack Squat. Not nearly as popular, but just as effective, this was also invented by Hackenshmidt (the name Hack was obviously a play on his name).
Note: This article is not a substitute for sound medical advice. Please consult your primary care provider for all help with fitness regimens and diet.
I thought that this would be a bit of a fun history piece on an icon of nt only sports, but fitness as well. George Hackenschmidt (1877-1968) was a Russian-British athlete, author and vegetarian advocate. In his lifetime, he participated in over 3000 wrestling matches and was involved in probably the most iconic wrestling rivalry ever: Hackenschmidt/Gotch. He was billed as the first “World’s Heavyweight Champion” and was credited with inventing the Bear Hug (a wrestling hold). He was a writer of some note, penning several books such as “Fitness and Your Self”(1937), “The Complete Science of Wrestling” (1909) amongst others. He was also a strict vegetarian (and an advocate of the lifestyle) with a strict diet limited to fruit, nuts and vegetables. He drank 11 pints of milk per day, avoided smoking and caffeine.
Aside from the history tidbit, I have provided a pretty good video you can watch on Hackenschmidt (SHOUT-OUT TO NICK’S STRENGTH AND POWER for the inspiration), plus a short biography on him.
In closing, I can truly say that being knowledgeable is a big part of the basics. Knowledge, being studious and acting on the knowledge are also part of the basics.
THE BASICS ALWAYS WIN.

RESOURCES:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George/Hackenschmidt