5 Most Important Exercises for a Beginner

fat loss muscle growth Nov 20, 2017

One of the most common mistakes novice trainees, or anyone looking to change their physique, makes is in their selection of exercises. So many fitness celebrities on Instagram and YouTube promote the utilization of crazy, and “sexy variations” as I like to call them, of very basic exercises. While these exercises may be a nice addition into the routine of someone who has been training for quite some time, exercises like the single arm incline machine press with a rotated torso do not belong in a novices’ program. I am a firm believer that anyone looking to either make immediate or long term progress in their appearance (from a performance and aesthetic standpoint) should cut the aforementioned type of fluff, and start with the tried and true following FIVE BEST EXERCISES FOR A BEGINNER:

1. Barbell Back Squat: This is the proverbial “King of All Exercises”. While its cousin, the front squat, is every bit as good I believe it has too many biomechanical...

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3 Tips for Better Muscle Growth

Muscle. We all want it NOW, but the bodybuilder tells you “BODY PART SPLITS”, and powerlifter says “HEAVY DAYS/DYNAMIC DAYS”. It’s easy to get lost in analysis paralysis. I’ll be going over 3 tips for stimulating muscle growth.

Not Training to Failure 

The point where the full repetition cannot be completed without assistance or drop in form. We start our first workout program. We grow. We plateau. We think “more is better!” We kick up the intensity and max out every set till we’re burnt. No pain no gain right? Ehhh maybe not so much.

The issue lies within your nervous system. We get “central fatigue” after it's been taxed from a couple failure sets. Simply put, we lose the capacity to perform at the same intensity on subsequent sets. Your 3 sets of 10 becomes a set of 10,8,6. If you kept 2-3 reps in the tank, you’d be able to get all 3 sets for 10.

When you’re training to failure, you’re...

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You Need Emotional Strength to Be Healthy

emotional strength Nov 16, 2017

True Health spans far beyond the physical world: it encompasses the emotional, mental, and spiritual sides of ourselves as well.

What exactly is emotional strength? It is our ability to handle the day-to-day trials and tribulations and to bounce back after periods of deep struggle. We cannot avoid challenging times; they’re something we each face on a micro or unfortunately macro scale daily. But, it’s how we handle them that has the true impact on our wellbeing and quality of life.

There’s no denying that there is a huge correlation between our emotional and physical wellbeing. This is where the mind/body connection comes into play. I invite you to think about when you feel stressed or anxious. Typically, there is some physiological response to that undesired feeling state: maybe your heart starts to race, your breath shallows, or your palms get sweaty. Maybe over time you develop more serious conditions like high blood pressure, or stomach ulcers. Weak emotional...

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How Often Should I Go to the Gym?

fat loss muscle growth Nov 15, 2017

#beastmode... #teamnodaysoff... Buff dudes on social media bombard us with it constantly. “#trainharderthanme” they dare us. Everyone in the fitness industry seems to be telling you MORE is the answer. MORE supersets. MORE days in the gym. MORE intensity. You’ve been following their workouts, but results aren’t near what you expected. So what gives?

What if I told you training HARDER isn’t the answer?

More doesn’t always equal more

Training intensity and the ability to push yourself are extremely important to muscle growth. The problem is, it’s easy to forget that OUTSIDE of the gym is when your muscles are actually repairing and growing. Studies show that pushing too hard, too often can actually hinder your progress significantly, leading to decreased strength, elevated cortisol levels, lower levels of IGF-1 (an essential hormone to growth), and a plethora of other negative side effects. (Izquierdo, 2006) (González-Badillo, 2005)

...

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Cardio Sucks for Fat Loss

fat loss Nov 14, 2017

Author: Sal Di Stefano

Yup it is totally true. Focusing on cardiovascular activity for fat loss is a fantastic way to fail at fat loss. Before I explain the reason for my shocking statement let me give you some background history.

I have been a professional in the fitness industry for over 20 years. I have seen every fad diet and workout plan you can imagine. Most of them are simple re-hashes of old ideas. Although fads come and go and return again most peoples goals tend to be the same. The number one goal for men and women when it comes to exercise is fat loss hands down. Nothing else comes close. This makes sense when you consider the average American is fatter today than they were yesterday and the obesity epidemic doesn’t show any real signs of slowing down. A large part of the reason for this exploding epidemic has to do with diet.

However, the other side of the coin has to do with lack of activity…or so we thought. We have been told that if we just moved...

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Fire up your Central Nervous System to maximize Muscular Adaptation

muscular adaptation Jun 25, 2016

Maximizing your central nervous system for your heavy lifts will increase your overall strength and the adaptive response you gain from heavy lifts by a significant margin. How do we do this?? By tightening and calling upon all your muscles…

Years ago I witnessed a strength athlete bench pressing an ungodly amount of weight. What was truly impressive was his size…he was a SMALL GUY yet he was lifting a weight that most pro bodybuilders would crumble under. I watched him as he grounded his feet into the floor and tightened his hips, thighs and core. His grip was so tight it looked like he was trying to squeeze through the bar. He lowered the weight slowly, paused at his chest and BOOM lifted the weight for a heavy single rep. At this moment it finally made sense to me why powerlifters always gave the advice to have “good leg and hip drive” when bench pressing. I never understood why they did this “leg drive” before..aside from stabilizing your...

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The Myth of Optimal Protein Intake

Author: Sal Di Stefano

No doubt you have heard the old muscle building adage “eat A MINIMUM of 1 gram (or more) per pound of bodyweight for maximum muscle.” This is absolute bullshit. I always try to remain objective and I love questioning “common knowledge, and most times I discover that common knowledge is rooted in mythology and dogma and not in actual evidence based science…protein intake recommendations are one of the biggest myths that permeate the muscle building world.

First a personal account…I used to eat 1.5 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight every single day for YEARS. This meant that if I weighed 200 lbs my protein intake was 300 grams a day. I got good results but I always had digestive issues and my grocery bill was astronomical. It hadn’t occurred to me to question this since it was such a staple in bodybuilding recommendations. About 6 years ago I decided to look deeper…motivated by my lack of progress and my...

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Sore muscles…what does it mean?

Sore muscles…what does it mean

Here are two myths regarding sore muscles:

“Getting sore means you had a good and effective workout.”

If this were true then anything that caused soreness and pain in your muscles would mean you stimulated muscle growth. Boy I wish it was that simple. To be honest there is quiet some debate as to what exactly causes normal sore muscles…we know there is some inflammation and some potential buildup of lactic acid but other than that we really aren’t too sure. Any exercise or routine outside your normal training can cause soreness. I train my body with weights on a very regular basis and at an advanced level but if I were to go swim for a mile I can assure you I would be sore the next day. Does this mean that the swim stimulated more strength and muscle growth than my regular weight training workouts? Nope…not at all. The only way to tell if a workout is effective is your PROGRESS, plain and simple. Are you...

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The Pump: Ego Booster or Muscle Builder?

We often hear bodybuilders and strength athletes refer to a physiological phenomenon known as “the pump.” This is when a muscle becomes engorged with blood and feels very tight. The pump is a temporary phenomenon; typically lasting about 30 minutes at most, however, it is valued among all those who lift weights to build muscle. As a matter of fact, there is an entire category of supplements designed to maximize this effect, selling millions of dollars of pills and powders a year. Aside from the psychological satisfaction of temporarily adding an inch to your arms and feeling more muscular is there any real benefit to getting a pump?

First, we must examine what actually happens when we get a pump. The pump, which is technically known as transient hypertrophy, occurs when more blood is coming into the muscle than is leaving which causes fluid retention in the interstitial and intracellular spaces of the muscle. That’s it plain and simple. This occurs because the...

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The Meal Frequency Myth

meal frequency nutrition Jun 13, 2016

We have all heard the following statements…

“If you don’t eat frequently your body will go into starvation mode and it will store fat!”

“If you don’t feed yourself protein every few hours your muscles will become catabolic and will deteriorate.”

“Eating small frequent meals is best for energy and it staves off hunger!”

We have heard these statements so many times it has become accepted as truth.

Well, guess what? ITS JUST MORE BULLSHIT! Yes, you have been fed a line of crap for years and it all started with breakfast cereals…  I will tell more about that in a moment, but first a personal story…

For over 12 years I ate every 2-3 hours RELIGIOUSLY. Even while running my busy personal training/wellness studio I was extremely consistent. I can be incredibly obsessive about my goals…I RARELY missed a meal. However, I always found that when I wanted to get really lean (sub 8%) I had a very tough time. Now...

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