Wednesday, February 17, 2010

How Do I Start Bodybuilding?

Do you want to become a world class bodybuilder? Do you want to create a spectacular body and win competitions because of it? Are you ready to take the next step towards the body of your dreams? Are you asking yourself ?how do I start bodybuilding???

In order to start bodybuilding you need more than just some weights, a protein supplement, and the time to work out. There is a lot more to bodybuilding than just simply lifting weights and eating protein rich foods.

Bodybuilding is a career and like most careers you have to be willing to invest a large amount of time and energy into it. Most bodybuilder spend the better part of 5-6 hours at the gym 5 days a week. They also spend time registering for competitions and making sure their bodies get the necessary food to grow.

Most bodybuilders don?t start out with their own trainer, but eventually they will hire one. In order to become a bodybuilder you are going to need a solid workout routine, the desire to succeed no matter what, and the right combination of nutrition and supplements.

You could try to put this all together on your own, but you will just end up frustrated and confused. You need to start by consulting your doctor about your new workout and eating habits. Your doctor will be able to give you some advice on what to do, but then you will need to do some research.

You need to know what supplements bodybuilders are taking and why. You want to find out their secrets to their exercise routines and the reasons they use them. You also need to find out what they do for recovery and how they work out when a competition gets closer.

These are the things you will need to start bodybuilding. It is a journey and will take some time and serious dedication, but you can achieve your goals if you set your mind to it.

Do you want to become a bodybuilder and want to know the secrets of the most successful body builders in the world? Learn all the things you need to know to become a body builder at the following website:

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Bodybuilding: Big Calves Without High Rep Sets

"Get big calves with only 10 sets of 20 repetitions every other day". Just imagine the amount of time required for that program! Unfortunately many calf-training articles preach ridiculously high-repetition sets and training frequencies in comparison to routines for most other muscles. Granted, the calves are a difficult muscle group to increase in muscle mass, BUT/ there is no evidence to support the notion that the muscles respond better to high-repetition and light load training.

Alternatively, some people completely neglect the calves in their training routines. Obviously this is not the way to go either. The calves are a very large and strong muscle group and are important in bodybuilding and many athletic events. If you improve your calf strength you will be stronger in other standing leg exercises such as the lunge, squat, and step-up. Furthermore, the large muscle mass of this muscle group makes it essential to include in any metabolic-weightlifting programs designed to increase the metabolism and reduce body fat. Everyone in the gym will benefit by giving the calves some work!

The calf area is composed of two muscles, the underlying soleus and the prominent gastrocnemius (it is the gastrocnemius that most people traditionally identify as the "calf" muscle). Muscle biopsies of these muscles reveal both to be generally higher in T-I or "slow-twitch" (ST) muscle fibers. The gastrocnemius averages ~60% ST fibers and the soleus ~75% ST fibers in comparison to the 50% ST fiber composition of the vastus lateralis (quadriceps) or 30-40% ST composition in the triceps brachii.

These differences in NO way support calf-training programs to require the extreme workout prescriptions presently recommended by other trainers. Fast-twitch fibers have repeatedly been shown to have a greater potential to hypertrophy (get bigger) and the best way to recruit the FT fibers is with a high-intensity load. As well, the gastrocnemius can hardly be considered a slow-twitch muscle as only about 60% of its fibers are ST and in elite sprinters the ST proportion may be as low as 25%!

Calf training, like strength training and bodybuilding for any other muscle group, requires the correct application of basic strength training principles in order to add muscle mass to the area. The basic function of the "calf" is to plantar flex the ankle (raise the heels off the ground and support the body weight on the balls of the feet), so we simply must overload it in this position.

"Overload" is the most important concept: you must demand more of your muscles than they are regularly accustomed to and in response the muscle will adapt by growing and becoming stronger.

The problem is that most athletes and bodybuilders forget the overload principle and end up failing in their calf training attempts by continuing to train with countless repetitions and an intensity that is too low. Remember that muscle growth occurs in response to the intensity of the stimulus imposed. More specifically, the muscle grows in response to lifting a heavy load for a sufficient number of repetitions. I therefore suggest the number of repetitions be reduced and the magnitude of the weight increased. The muscle fibers are not going to respond and grow if the load is too light!

As far as calf-training exercises go, don't concentrate on the seated calf raise. This does not provide the optimal stimulus for the gastrocnemius, but rather for the smaller, deeper soleus muscle. You want your calf exercises to require plantar flexion with only a slight bend at the knee joint. This will ensure the optimal recruitment of the larger and more prominent gastrocnemius.

Let's take a look at a "high-intensity, moderate-volume" training program...You will be sore for a couple of days after this workout, BUT/ more importantly, your calf muscles will be stimulated for growth not endurance!

Single-leg calf-raise

* hold DB in hand and support yourself with other hand

* perform on platform and allow heal to drop as far as possible

* do 3 sets of 6-8 repetitions for each leg with no rest between sets

Leg press calf-raise

* place only the balls of the feet on the bottom end of the leg press platform

* contract the calf muscles to plantar flex the ankle

* do a set using a weight that allows 10 repetitions, then quickly remove 20% of the weight and perform another set to failure (X), then quickly remove 10% percent of that weight and perform the third "drop-set" to failure (X)

* rest 1-2 minutes

* repeat for a second "drop-set"

Eccentric machine calf-raise

* use either a standing OR angled calf-raise machine (OR continue to use the leg press)

* set the pin at weight that can be comfortably lifted with both legs

* perform the concentric phase with both legs (plantar flex the ankles), BUT/ use only one leg to lower the weight to the starting position

* alternate between legs and perform 6 eccentric reps for each side

* quickly reduce the weight by 10% and perform 6 more eccentric reps for each side

* continue for a third set if desired (yeah right!)

Craig Ballantyne is a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist and writes for Men's Fitness, Men's Health, Maximum Fitness, Muscle and Fitness Hers, and Oxygen magazines. His trademarked Turbulence Training fat loss workouts have been featured multiple times in Men?s Fitness and Maximum Fitness magazines, and have helped thousands of men and women around the world lose fat, gain muscle, and get lean in less than 45 minutes three times per week. For more information on the Turbulence Training workouts that will help you burn fat without long, slow cardio sessions or fancy equipment, visit

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Bodybuilding and Nutrition

Nutrition is one if not the most important element in bodybuilding. This is the source for your body?s energy, muscle regeneration and muscle growth that is the purpose of bodybuilding. Without a proper nutrition and diet, a level of performance cannot be reached and the progress will be immaterial.We will now focus on what are some of good bodybuilding nutrition?s basics. Improve your body?s growth and metabolism with frequent but smaller feedings. An increase in metabolism means that your body will burn fat.

Another reason for having more frequent meals a day is the following. If not fed for about four hours straight, the body will start feeding in muscular tissue and believing this is the start of a starvation period, it will start to accumulate calories and fat. This is surely not something you would want when you are trying to become a successful bodybuilder. Letting the body get used to a fixed calorie level, will lead to a plateau and your muscle development and growth will stagnate. What you have to do in order to avoid this situation is cycle the calorie levels for example five days of high levels of calories followed by two with a low calorie level for those seeking muscle growth. If you are looking to burn fat and gain muscle mass at the same time, just do the opposite with five days of low calorie content meals.

What you are aiming for is a very good balance between the necessary nutrients that your body requires. If you find you have a deficit in one area, even out you vitamin and mineral levels with the help of vitamin and food supplements. Also, balance your meals to contain the right amount of carbohydrates, protein and a lower level of fats. There are many ways that you can create your meals to best suit your purpose, but always remember to include these three nutrients or else the results of your program will fail to appear.

bodybuilding, diet, body building | body building interviews

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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Cutting Exercises: A Bodybuilding Myth?

One of the most common goals of fitness enthusiasts is to have low levels of body fat covering their hard-earned muscles. Whether the individual is an athlete that wants to look good in and out of uniform or a fitness instructor that wants to have ?toned? arms, everyone is looking for the most effective exercises to reach their goals.

There is certainly no shortage of opinions when it comes to training programs and exercises that trainers and magazines seem to promote to reach these goals, so it is understandable that many bodybuilders and gym-goers can be overwhelmed by information. But what really confuses me is the claim made by gym employees and fitness authors that certain resistance training exercises are for definition and ?cutting up?.

Believe it or not, but no strength coach or exercise physiologist has been able to prove that one exercise rather than others can promote more ?definition? or ?toning?! Can someone explain how leg extensions are a better exercise for muscle definition than squats? This article will dispel these myths and will reveal the best exercises for meeting the goals of increased muscle definition, which is the correct term for ?toning?, ?cutting up? or ?getting ripped?. In fact, let?s just eliminate ?toning? from our vocabulary all together.

First a little background for those without a long history of weight training experience. Bodybuilders (that includes any man or woman that is seeking to improve their body?s appearance!) traditionally perform a number of exercises for a body part during a single resistance training session. For example, in a chest workout one might start with bench presses, move to incline dumbbell press, and finish with dumbbell flyes or the pec-deck.

Now according to many personal trainers and fitness magazines, the rationale behind this type of program is that the pressing exercises are best for strength and mass development and the pec-deck would provide for definition. Also, people believe that these ?definition? exercises should be emphasized in order to develop a ?ripped? body (that is, low levels of body fat). Unfortunately, it seems bodybuilders and fitness buffs alike have been led astray, and the end result is a poorly planned program that does not lead to the desired results.

Next we need a brief, yet simplistic, review of human anatomy and physiology to reason why these ?cutting? exercises (i.e. pec-deck) do not do the job. For our purposes there are 2 components determining body composition, muscle and fat. For most people it is the amount of fat that is the limiting factor for them in the development of muscular definition and not the ?quality? of their muscle. If an overweight individual were to be stripped of all their fat, they too would have muscle definition.

On the other hand, a skinny individual can increase their muscle definition by lifting weights and increasing muscle hypertrophy (growth). The body cannot tell the difference between exercises! It responds according to the demands applied to the body. If you lift weights the muscle will grow so that it is stronger and can lift the weight easier the next time. If you eat too much and do not exercise, the energy is deposited as fat and your muscle definition will be lost. It is a very simple equation!

The pec-deck can still be incorporated into workout designs, but it is not the best exercise for promoting a better body composition. In fact, this isolation exercise recruits only the chest muscles and ignores the triceps and deltoids, unlike the previously mentioned presses. And remember that more muscles result in greater energy expenditure and a greater overall training stimulus.

Another myth that seems to propagate is that sets performed for a very high number of repetitions are most effective for ?cutting up?. Refer back to the basic anatomical principle that the body?s appearance is determined by the amounts of both muscle and fat, and most importantly that low levels of body fat are necessary for muscle definition. Using a lightweight to do a huge number of repetitions might not ?show off? your muscles better than using a moderate weight and performing a moderate number of repetitions.

Why not? Because there would likely be no difference in the amount of total calories burned between the two workouts provided each performed a similar exercise volume in the workout. The greater number of repetitions in the one workout would be offset by the greater intensity (weight) used in the other workout. However, a heavier weight will stimulate more muscle growth. More muscle results in a faster metabolism and theoretically greater energy expenditure at rest. So over the long haul the more intense (heavier lifting) workout may be the optimal choice for reducing body fat. In addition, larger muscles are easier to see!

Okay, so what is going to bring you the results (i.e. definition) that you want? Keep the exercises basic and intense (i.e. moderate to heavy weight). Most bodybuilders are better off to do 4-5 sets of bench and incline presses (for a total of 8-10 sets) rather than including 3 sets of pec-deck in the traditional manner. The volume of exercise will be the same but the difficulty of exercise will be harder and the cumulative effects will greater.

Aerobic exercise is not essential for low levels of body fat but can certainly promote greater cardiovascular fitness and help prevent excessive weight gain. Interval training has now been shown in 2 studies to be more effective than slow cardio.

So stick with multi-muscle strength exercises and interval training to burn more calories out of the gym. It really adds up to more calorie burn and less body fat. That is a far better approach than relying on cutting exercises.

And finally, make the proper dietary changes to promote muscle gains and body fat reductions. Nutrition is the #1 factor for fat loss. If you don't have good nutrition, no exercise program will help you lose fat. In the end you will be healthier and will achieve superior muscle definition!

Craig Ballantyne is a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist and writes for Men's Health, Men's Fitness, Maximum Fitness, Muscle and Fitness Hers, and Oxygen magazines. His trademarked Turbulence Training fat loss workouts have been featured multiple times in Men?s Fitness and Maximum Fitness magazines, and have helped thousands of men and women around the world lose fat, gain muscle, and get lean in less than 45 minutes three times per week. For more information on the Turbulence Training workouts that will help you burn fat without long, slow cardio sessions or fancy equipment, visit

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5 Noticeable Benefits that You can Get Out of Bodybuilding

The Benefits of Bodybuilding

When taking up bodybuilding for the first time, you may notice some benefits after a few months. You may feel more energetic and seem to have more self-confidence. You will have the resolve to complete task that seemed impossible just a few months ago. Below is just a short list of the many benefits that can be gained by taking up bodybuilding.

Increased Strength

When you take up bodybuilding, you will start to carry weights to build up your muscles. Your muscle strength also increases as you steadily increase the poundage. As a result of the stress placed on your muscles, they become more efficient and stronger. An increase in strength also helps prevent muscle atrophy as you become older. Muscle atrophy is defined as the wasting or loss of muscle tissue that results from disease or the lack of use.

Prevent injuries

Having stronger muscles will lead to a better control of your reflexes, balance and body coordination. You can perform daily more efficiently and effectively. Having stronger muscles, bones and tendons that is provided by taking up bodybuilding, will lessen the risks of injuries.

Helps Control Your Weight

When you take up bodybuilding either to put on mass or to lose weight, you will be following a proper diet. You will avoid junk foods and foods that are high on sugar and calories. When training regularly, you will increase your metabolic rate. This will cause your body to burn more calories throughout the day.

Improves Appearance

One of the most noticeable effects of bodybuilding is that your appearance will change for the better. As you train regularly, you will notice that your muscles will become bigger and more defined. After a few months, people around you will start making comments, as they will be able to see the marked changes in you. Your posture, the way you walk will all change for the better, as you will feel more confidant of your body.

Strengthens Bones

Osteoporosis is a disease where bones become brittle. This usually happens when you grow older. Bodybuilding delays the onset of this symptom. This is because, when you carry weights, stress is placed on your bones. This causes the bones to become stronger.

In conclusion, this is just a few of the many benefits that can be derived from taking up bodybuilding. To find out more on how to get started without spending months on instructions and guides that do not work, visit the link below now

Mathiwanen is a amatuer bodybuilder and contributor of bodybuilding articles in general. Visit his website to learn how to get started on bodybuilding without the need of a steep learning curve.

Click on this link to find out more

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Bodybuilding: Is Time-Under-Tension Important for Muscle Growth?

The term "Time-under-tension" (TUT) is really hot in the bodybuilding, athletic consulting, and fitness industries. It refers to the amount of time per rep (or set, or exercise, or workout) that the muscle is under tension. For example, if an athlete takes 4 seconds to perform a biceps curl, it is said that the TUT was 4 seconds. If someone performs 100 repetitions, then the workout TUT was 6 minutes and 40 seconds.

Many people want to know, "What is the best TUT for growth?"

A really good question, but unfortunately, you will not find any peer-reviewed research on the optimal time under tension. All TUT claims are merely anecdotal and have simply been promoted by popular strength coaches, leading to this belief. At present, no one, not even the most experienced exercise physiologist truly can prove what is the optimal TUT for growth, let alone prove the exact mechanism that controls muscle hypertrophy. Is it training to failure, an optimal TUT, an optimal resistance, or a specific number of reps that gives you the greatest muscle growth from training?

Unfortunately, none of the TUT schemes, nor any other bodybuilding method, has been proven to be more effective than others in a research setting. Muscle growth is merely an adaptation to the correct intensity and volume of work. Your muscle responds to the demand (training) by adapting (growing) so that the next time you ask your muscle to lift that same weight, it will have an easier time doing so. Almost all programs will work, and that is why anyone and everyone can write training articles, provided it has some common sense behind.

However, having said all that, strength coaches, bodybuilders, and researchers are obviously on the right track with TUT philosophies. Muscle tension is undoubtedly one of the most important factors in muscle growth. After all, if you train too lightly and with too many reps, your body will adapt by increasing endurance properties...and muscle growth may actually be the last thing your body will do in preparation for the next training session. Basically, this is why endurance exercise doesn't cause growth. Muscle doesn't need to get bigger to have better endurance.

Using extremely heavy weights that allow only 1-2 repetitions per set or performing a few explosive repetitions may not provide enough tension for muscle growth. Therefore, if muscle mass is your goal, sets lasting only 5-10 seconds are probably not going to be optimal for gains. On the other hand, you don't want to go too light, because performing 100 reps with the 5 lb dumbbells is not likely to prove effective either, even though this represents a huge TUT.


The answer is probably no, your muscles don't distinguish between time under tension or the number of reps. Muscles simply respond to the demands imposed on the body. If the exercise demands the muscle to grow bigger in preparation for the next session, then that is what will happen, regardless of exercise choice.

The fact is that a lot of guys go in the gym, lift hard, and get big without giving the slightest thought to TUT. General recommendations for "hypertrophy training" are 8-12 reps per set, with multiple sets per exercise, and multiple exercises per body part. The debate over the best training program is endless. What is the optimal training frequency? How often should you train a body part?

The number of training questions is infinite, as the precise knowledge is limited, despite the success of top-level bodybuilders and athletes. The lack of uncertainty regarding TUT and almost all training parameters gives good anecdotal evidence that people should constantly be varying their programs (after 3-4 weeks or when gains begin to slow down or disappear). Don't get hung up on one specific TUT. You can get growth on sets shorter and longer than just one specific time period.

So, there are no scientific conclusions, only theories. You are better off seeking research that shows significant muscle growth with a certain number of reps, and then extrapolate a TUT...because you will find very little, if any, science that controls the speed of repetition. However, even repetition data is scarce.

On a related note, you must remember not to look at TUT as an isolated factor in growth...You can train in the perfect rep range with the perfect intensity, but if you neglect adequate nutrition (i.e. a calorie surplus), then you can forget about growing. In contrast, if you eat 5000kcal a day, you will grow no matter how you train. Same with shouldn't neglect it.

In closing, think of muscle growth this way...does the construction worker worry about "Time under tension"? NO! He simply carries as many bricks as he can handle. Then next week, after he has grown bigger and stronger, he carries more bricks...week in and week he eats big. According to Men's Health consultant Michael Mejia, "The bottom line is that there is TONS of great information out there, but often we make this stuff out to be rocket science when it really isn't."

Craig Ballantyne is a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist and writes for Men's Health, Men's Fitness, Maximum Fitness, Muscle and Fitness Hers, and Oxygen magazines. His trademarked Turbulence Training fat loss workouts have been featured multiple times in Men?s Fitness and Maximum Fitness magazines, and have helped thousands of men and women around the world lose fat, gain muscle, and get lean in less than 45 minutes three times per week. For more information on the Turbulence Training workouts that will help you burn fat without long, slow cardio sessions or fancy equipment, visit

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Women's Bodybuilding

Our society is seeing a revolution in health and wellness. Thanks to smart diet choices and fitness regimes, men and women are enjoying newfound strength and vitality. It's important to note however, that women may need to follow a different exercise routine than their male counterparts.

Women's bodybuilding is very different than men's. The best way to understand these differences is to learn about the complex biology that is unique to women's bodies. To be successful at bodybuilding, a woman should know what exercises, diets and supplements are best suited to her particular needs.

Trainers suggest that if a woman is serious about bodybuilding, she should choose bodybuilding minerals, vitamins and supplements that are formulated especially for women. Formulations for men are not the best choice for a woman who is involved in bodybuilding. Steroids for instance, while dangerous for men, can cause particularly disturbing side effects in women. In the sport of women's bodybuilding, many women are taking steroids and as a result, getting way too much testosterone in they systems. These women are growing more hair than normal on their faces and bodies. Increased aggression and mood swings are other consequences of steroid use. These drugs do little to benefit a woman's bodybuilding efforts, and the side effects will only cause harm in the long run.

Other supplement options for women include creatine. While using creatine will not make you huge, it will help your bodybuilding routine result in a good healthy physique. If considering creatine, choose a formulation made just for women. Men's creatine supplements do not work well with a woman's body and can cause excess water retention. In addition to helping add bulk, creatine can give you the energy to keep up with your bodybuilding routine.

Women's bodybuilding offers many options. You need to find out what's available, and learn which one is best for your health and lifestyle. Try to avoid chemical formulations that will cause harmful side effects. If you are taking up women's bodybuilding it's to stay healthy, so it only makes sense to avoid substances that can be unhealthy. Of course, you should always talk to your doctor before starting any intense physical training, and especially before taking women's bodybuilding supplements.

Dorothy Williams is a writer for several web sites, on recreation tips and hobbies and recreation themes.

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