Featured Stories
8 best exercises for inner thighs Bob Odenkirk Didn Dating App Sees Record Numbers During Snowstorm These Are The Star-Shaped Snowflakes That Fell All Over The East Coast This Week Summer Shredded: Get A Beach-Ready Body Body Transformation: Hector Paschal Got Pulled Down And Peeled Up!
 

8 best exercises for inner thighs

Plie squatsThis fun variation of the classic bodybuilder favourite hits the inner legs and can be performed with no equipment (holding a dumbbell or kettlebell is an option).How to1. Standing upright, move your feet so that you are in the classic 'plie' position – toes pointing out, core tight and stance as wide as you are able to properly and comfortably execute the move (aim for shoulder width).2. Keeping your pelvis straight and upper body straight (this is not a squat per se, we are not sitting back), lower your body until your thighs are close to or at parallel with the floor. Don't force it but work toward it.3. I like to stay for a moment to squeeze my glutes before returning to the starting position.4

Adductor squeeze with Pilates ring

Adductor squeeze with Pilates ring This Pilates move will strengthen your inner thighs and glutes, which weaken with prolonged sitting.Target: The inner thighs, obliques and glutesHow to1. Start by lying on your side with a Pilates ring or squishy ball between the ankles and the arm outstretched with head relaxed2. Exhale and press the top leg down. Inhale to release. Keep the movement slow and controlledTip: For a harder movement, reach the top arm to the ceilingReps: 12 to 15 each sidePeta Serras, Polestar Pilates instructor

Targeted training for six-pack abs

Targeted training for six-pack abs Defining your abs calls for targeted training, says trainer Angie Di Franco.You need to target the rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis and obliques in turn. (Each time you complete an ab exercise, also throw in one for your lower back and obliques.)To hit the whole region at once, go for planks with perfect form. Confused?Option B is joining Guy Leech’s record attempt for the world’s largest core fitness circuit class on 14 March in Melbourne. If nothing else, you’ll leave with the recipe for a chick pack.To register, visit aca2015.com.auP.S.

U pose

U pose Boost your core muscles with the U Pose. Nikki Fogden-Moore demonstrates.You don’t have to have perfectly straight legs for this one.But you do need to ensure you are not leaning back onto the lower back or bringing your knees into your chest. Sit and lift up your feet to the sky.Bring your upper body into a V position and hold there as long as you can.Beginner versionGently clasp behind your hamstrings to support.Bending your knees to start with is okay to get the connection working in your lower back.Photography: Keith Hamlyn

Andréa Albright’s bikini workout

Andréa Albright's bikini workout Want a fitness model body? Our January cover model Andréa’s Albright shares her bikini blaster tri-set.The rules: A tri-set is simply three exercises back to back.1. Walking lungesStart by doing lunges across the room. No weight is needed.

Bob Odenkirk Didn’t Watch ‘Breaking Bad’ For Almost Two Years

Bob Odenkirk Didn’t Watch ‘Breaking Bad’ For Almost Two Years

While some of us may be guilty of binge-watching "Breaking Bad" more than once (not me, definitely not me), Bob Odenkirk didn't even watch the show half of the time he was on it.Odenkirk made his first appearance as a witty, corrupt lawyer, Saul Goodman, on Season 2 of "Breaking Bad." But when he got the job, he'd only seen 10 minutes of the series. In a recent New York magazine profile on the actor and his upcoming spin-off, "Better Call Saul," Odenkirk revealed that he didn't watch "Breaking Bad" for another year and a half after joining the show.His excuse? In October, Odenkirk told The Hollywood Reporter that he avoids watching his work -- his approach to acting is to "not know what the fuck is going on." Apparently his attempts to watch the series were hindered by his kids walking in the room. "I’d think: They can’t be in here when Gus is gutting someone with a carpet cutter," Odenkirk told New York. (Agreed.)Bryan Cranston even called out his co-star once for lack of knowledge about the show when Odenkirk incorrectly delivered a line. But Walter White still has respect for his co-star. “I was happy to learn that he was joining the roster," Cranston recently told New York, "though when he arrived and came clean that he’d never seen the show, I said, ‘Man, you don’t have a lot of brains, but you’ve got some balls.’" That's pretty much Saul Goodman in a nutshell.For the full profile, head to Vulture."Better Call Saul" premieres Feb. 8 at 10:00 p.m. ET on AMC.

Dating App Sees Record Numbers During Snowstorm

As East Coasters prepared to hunker down for a supposedly historic blizzard, locals in search of a cuddle partner flocked to mobile dating app Hinge.The service, which connects people based on mutual social connections and physical location, experienced a surge in usage on Monday. Karen Fein, director of marketing at Hinge, told HuffPost via email that before the snow started falling, Monday had been a typical day for the app. But around 3 p.m., once the wintry weather had descended and many young professionals began making their way home, people started signing on in droves.Fein said Hinge experienced an average of 4.75 logins per user on Monday -- a record for the app. "User sessions" -- the number of times an individual logs into the app -- spiked by 27 percent at peak. "Activity," which is measured by individual sessions, increased by 22 percent.Fein declined to disclose the average number of logins for a normal day, or the number of people these percentages translate to.Check out this graph provided by Hinge:These data points are limited to the app's East Coast users; the vertical axis measures the number of sessions. The chart looks at data from Monday, which it calls a "pre-snow day," since the storm was expected to shut down many areas of the Northeast on Tuesday.The 27 percent lift in Hinge sessions began around 3 p.m. and fell off around 10 p.m., when usage typically starts winding down, according to Fein."Most of our users are young professionals and knew work would be closed [Tuesday]," said Fein. "Who wouldn't want a playdate on a snow day?"Used in 29 cities nationwide, Hinge is a mobile dating app that introduces people to friends of friends through Facebook. The app curates daily potential matches based on interactions with past Hinge connections. According to figures provided by the company, 99 percent of users are college-educated, and their most popular industries include banking, consulting, media and fashion.

These Are The Star-Shaped Snowflakes That Fell All Over The East Coast This Week

The blizzard that was Winter Storm Juno descended upon the East Coast this week, bringing with it a melange of wind gusts, icy temperatures and admirably geometric snowflake masterpieces.Residents of cities like Manhattan reported seeing a mix of star-shaped flakes falling upon them, posting impressive shots of the unique configurations across the Internet. We scoured the web for some examples of these stunning dendrites, and the results are appropriately beautiful.The complex ice crystals are part of a natural art-making process that you might have learned about in your grade school science class. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, a snowflake begins to form when exceedingly cold water droplets freeze onto certain particles in the sky, like pollen or dust. The meeting of water and particle creates an ice crystal, and as that crystal falls to the ground, water vapor freezes onto it to produce new crystals –- essentially, the six points of the snowflake that make that stunning star shape.“There are many different types of crystal patterns and these star-shaped snowflakes are just one example," weather.com meteorologist Chris Dolce explained. "The dendrite, a star-shape with varying patterns, is the most common shape of a snowflake.”See the collection of photos below for more of Juno's star-shaped wonders. Let us know about the flakes that fell before you in the comments. For a closer look at the actual crystal lurking below the snow, check out the work of macrophotographer Alexey Kljatov. kweime1/Instagram kdorothyl/Instagram phsumerlin/Instagram theisaacjames/Instagram melaniekann/Instagram mikelalv/Instagram junepark___/Instagram atspera/Instagram jungkimphoto/Instagram

Summer Shredded: Get A Beach-Ready Body

Vital StatsTRAIN MAGAZINEThe Official Print Partner of Bodybuilding.comWebsite: https://train.magcs.com/Facebook: TRAINmagazineTwitter: TRAINmagIf you're like most guys, then your Pavlovian response to tighter trousers is to make a beeline for the cardiovascular machines and start reading a diet book.For all the hours spent leafing through pages of a dietary manual while on treadmills, stationary bikes, and the like, most people's trousers should be hugging their ankles. Unfortunately, that strategy won't get you anywhere.But here's some good news: The fast track to weight loss is far easier and takes the opposite approach.You need a delicate balance of weights, cardio, and plenty of eating to get rid of any unwanted pounds. That's because lifting weights significantly speeds up your metabolism.A study by the fat-burning mathematicians at West Virginia University1 supports this. They found that weightlifters peeled off an average of 14.5 kg and watched their metabolisms speed up by four percent.The reason for this? Well, the more stacked you are, the more calories you'll burn during everything you do. Lifting your coffee mug or watching your favorite show suddenly becomes more productive as you burn fat for free.You need a delicate balance of weights, cardio, and plenty of eating to get rid of any unwanted pounds.The guys in the study who did just aerobic exercise, such as running, lost more weight, but that also included four kilograms of muscle. Consequently, their metabolisms slowed down by an average of 14 percent. In the future they'll have more trouble keeping the weight off—a problem easily avoided if you build muscle while dropping fat.So, what's the best way to dive in? We've carefully stacked the scales to create a perfectly loaded fat-burning plan which will see you losing up to three pounds every seven days for the next six weeks.Be warned, you may have to shell out for a new wardrobe.YOUR FAIL-SAFE STRATEGYThis plan involves three full-body workouts and limits each training session to just 60 minutes, the amount of time that maximizes the effect of the muscle-building hormone testosterone.What's more, the lab coats at the University of Alabama2 found that full-body regimens gave on average 2.27 kg (or 5 pounds) greater muscle gain per month than sessions that focused on single muscle groups.This plan involves three full-body workouts and limits each training session to just 60 minutes.You'll combine these lifting workouts with short, sharp interval training sessions. Research at Laval University3 found this burns up to three times more fat than exercising at the same pace.This three-pronged attack is a surefire way to earn you more muscle and less fat. Repeat this workout 3-5 times per week to keep building muscle and burning fat, or alternate between the workouts listed below.WORKOUT PRINCIPLESFollow these golden rules in every workout to build muscle and blast fat fast: Choose a weight that's 80% of the most weight you can push or press just once. Do just one set of every exercise using 8-12 reps. When you can do 12 reps, add 5% more weight. Take four seconds to raise the weight and four seconds to lower it. If the routine takes more than 45 minutes, you're taking way too long. Do 3-4 workouts per week, leaving a day's rest between each one. If you want to do cardio, do it after lifting to burn more fat. Don't rest between sets. The setup time for a new exercise is enough. Push out the reps until your muscles fail and cry for mercy. Use perfect form for all exercises to avoid injury. 3 Workout Options Barbell Squat1 set of 8-12 reps Barbell Deadlift1 set of 8-12 reps Seated Leg Curl1 set of 8-12 reps Seated Cable Rows1 set of 8-12 reps Barbell Bench Press - Medium Grip1 set of 8-12 reps Barbell Shoulder Press1 set of 8-12 reps Parallel Bar Dip1 set of 8-12 reps Barbell Curl1 set of 8-12 reps Triceps Pushdown1 set of 8-12 reps Side Lateral Raise1 set of 8-12 reps Sit-Up1 set of 8-12 reps Leg Press1 set of 8-12 reps One-Legged Deadlift1 set of 8-12 reps Glute Ham Raise1 set of 8-12 reps Overhand Pullups1 set of 8-12 reps Barbell Incline Bench Press - Medium Grip1 set of 8-12 reps Arnold Dumbbell Press1 set of 8-12 reps Bench Dips1 set of 8-12 reps Hammer Curls1 set of 8-12 reps Close-Grip Barbell Bench Press1 set of 8-12 reps Reverse Flyes1 set of 8-12 reps Turkish Get-Up (Squat style)1 set of 8-12 reps Front Barbell Squat1 set of 8-12 reps Snatch1 set of 8-12 reps Good Morning1 set of 8-12 reps Wide-Grip Lat Pulldown1 set of 8-12 reps Dumbbell Flyes1 set of 8-12 reps Front Dumbbell Raise1 set of 8-12 reps Push-Ups - Close Triceps Position1 set of 8-12 reps EZ-Bar Curl1 set of 8-12 reps Lying Triceps Press1 set of 8-12 reps Upright Barbell Row1 set of 8-12 reps Hanging Leg Raise1 set of 8-12 reps POST-WORKOUT CARDIOChoose a cardio machine (rowing, cycling, treadmill, etc.) and do one of these sessions after each workout. Pick a new session after each workout to keep your muscles guessing and adapting to the new stimulus.Session 1: 8 sets of 30 sec. 60 sec rest. Session 2: 10 sets of 20 sec. 40 sec rest. Session 3: 12 sets of 10 sec. 20 sec rest. Session 4: 8 sets of 35 sec. 15 sec rest. Session 5: 5 sets of 40 sec. 40 sec rest. ReferencesBryner, et al. "Effects of resistance vs. aerobic training combined with an 800 calorie liquid diet on lean body mass and resting metabolic rate." J Am Coll Nutr. 1999 Apr;18(2):115-21. McLester, Jr., J. R., Bishop, P., & Guilliams, M. (1999). Comparisons of 1 and 3 days per week of equal volume resistance training in experienced subjects. "Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise," 31(5), Supplement abstract 443. A. Tremblay et al. "Impact of high-intensity exercise on energy expenditure, lipid oxidation and body fatness." International J of Obesity. 2001 Mar;25(3): 332-39. Recommended For YouCaptain America's Training Plan To look like a superhero on screen, you need to train like a superhero in the gym. These fitness tips from actor Chris Evans will make you stronger, bigger, and better!Race God To Norse God: Chris Hemsworth Thor Two Workout Chris Hemsworth had to change his body dramatically twice in 12 months for Rush and Thor: The Dark World. How did this action hero pull it off?The True Beast Unleashed: How Hugh Jackman Became The Wolverine It took Hugh Jackman more than a decade to perfect the look of Wolverine, his Marvel comics inspired alter ego. Now, aged 45, the Golden Globe winning actor believes he's finally cracked it.

Body Transformation: Hector Paschal Got Pulled Down And Peeled Up!

Name: Hector PaschalEmail: hectorpaschal@gmail.comBodySpace: HectorPaschalCountry: United KingdomWhy I decided to transformI used to be the smallest guy around, had an unhealthy diet, avoided sports, and always quit when things got hard. My grades were bad and I wasn't outgoing. I needed a change and was fed up after never achieving anything.I wanted to be first instead of last and to prove to friends and family that I could change. I had a dream and a goal and was determined to reach it. I didn't care how many times I fell and failed because I was going to get back up on my feet.I realized that it was my life; my book. I had to start writing the pages and decided to adopt a proactive lifestyle to eat clean and get fit. I quickly became addicted to pushing myself to the max. From there, I made sure to give 110 percent.My passion for weightlifting, fitness, and dieting increased greatly. I became stronger physically and mentally. The knowledge I gained about proper nutrition, supplements, and workouts was invaluable. I spent every spare moment reading and studying about bodybuilding and the human body, which helped me understand what I needed to maximize my results.Before After AGE 16 / HEIGHT 5'6" / BODY FAT 16%AGE 17 / HEIGHT 5'8" / BODY FAT 6%Post To FitboardI ignored the naysayers and learned that winners believe to succeed. A winning belief is strong even though it's filled with failure. Winners find motivation to stand up again, face the same challenges, learn from previous mistakes, and make it happen.A year and a half later, I've gone further than I ever thought possible. My defeatist attitude has been washed away and my whole life changed. My determination and motivation to succeed brought me this far and I'm not stopping.I've done many fitness photo shoots and have more upcoming this year. My hard work spilled onto my family and friends who decided to follow my path. I love helping others achieve goals and give advice to anyone who wants it. Every day is an opportunity to improve physically and mentally. I stay motivated and keep pushing myself with the hope to gain a sponsor and land a cover.How I accomplished my goalsThere's no fundamental secret. It comes down to sheer determination, hard work, and sweat. Life isn't going to give it to you on a silver platter. There will never be a perfect storm of opportunity. You have to take what's yours, start an action plan, and learn about training and nutrition.I fell in love with the lifestyle. I ate properly, cooked healthy, and was in the gym every day. For the first time ever, I self-generated success and changed my life. I changed my routine every six weeks, woke up at the crack of dawn every day, did cardio, and never stopped giving my best.I admire people who were there before me and told myself that if they managed to do it, so could I. I trained hard and effective. I gave my body the nutrition it needed and stayed focused on my goals.Apply Here To Be A TransformationOf The Week! Bodybuilding.com honors people across all transformation categories for their hard work and dedication. Learn how our featured transformers overcame obstacles and hit their goals!Supplements that helped me through the journey Optimum Gold Standard 100% Whey Optimum Micronized Creatine Powder Optimum Gold Standard 100% Whey Optimum Glutamine 1000 Caps Optimum ZMA Diet plan that guided my transformation Muesli 3 cups Almond Milk 1 serving Fruit 1 serving Oatmeal 3 cups Almond Milk 1 serving Optimum Gold Standard 100% Whey 1 serving Bananas 2 Almonds 1 serving Chicken Breast 2 servings Sweet Potato 1 serving Green Salad 1 serving Banana 1 Coffee 1 serving Optimum Gold Standard 100% Whey 1 serving Almond Milk 1 serving Mango 1 Tuna 8 oz Green Salad 1 serving Quinoa 1 cup Vegetables 1 serving Beans 2 cups Whole Wheat Bread 1 slice Fat-free Yogurt 1 cup Mixed Nuts 1 cup Apple 1 Optimum Glutamine 1000 Caps 1 cap Optimum ZMA 2 caps Training regimen that kept me on trackI start every workout with a 5-minute cardio warm-up and end every workout with abdominal work and stretching. Incline Dumbbell Flyes4 sets of 8-10 reps Cable Crossover4 sets of 8-10 reps Incline Cable Flye2 sets of 12-16 reps Dumbbell Flyes4 sets of 8-10 reps Push-Up Wide1 set to failure Flat Bench Cable Flyes2 sets of 12-16 reps Decline Dumbbell Flyes4 sets of 8-10 reps Alternate Hammer Curl3 sets of 8-10 reps Close-Grip EZ Bar Curl3 sets of 8-10 reps Lying Triceps Press3 sets of 8-10 reps Seated Dumbbell Curl3 sets of 8-10 reps Barbell Curl3 sets of 8-10 reps Machine Preacher Curls3 sets of 8-10 reps Triceps Pushdown - Rope Attachment3 sets of 8-10 reps Superset EZ-Bar Skullcrusher3 sets of 8-10 reps Close-Grip Barbell Bench Press3 sets of 8-10 reps Dips - Triceps Version3 sets to failure Seated Triceps Press3 sets of 8-10 reps Dumbbell Shoulder Press4 sets of 8-10 reps Front Dumbbell Raise3 sets of 12-16 reps Dumbbell Incline Shoulder Raise3 sets of 8-10 reps Side Lateral Raise3 sets of 10-12 reps Cable Rear Delt Fly3 sets of 8-10 reps Cable Seated Lateral Raise3 sets of 10-12 reps Dumbbell Shrug6 sets of 14-16 reps Standing Dumbbell Upright Row3 sets of 8-10 reps Barbell Shrug4 sets of 8-10 reps Barbell Squat4 sets of 12-16 reps Dumbbell Lunges4 sets of 8-10 reps Smith Machine Squat4 sets of 8-10 reps Lying Leg Curls3 sets of 8-10 reps Seated Leg Curl3 sets of 8-10 reps Glute Kickback3 sets of 8-10 reps Standing Calf Raises4 sets of 12-16 reps Calf Press On The Leg Press Machine2 sets of 8-10 reps Pullups (Wide-grip)3 sets of 8-10 reps Seated Cable Rows3 sets of 8-10 reps One-Arm Dumbbell Row3 sets of 8-10 reps Shotgun Row3 sets of 8-10 reps Wide-Grip Lat Pulldown3 sets of 8-10 reps Lying T-Bar Row4 sets of 8-10 reps Bent Over Barbell Row3 sets of 8-10 reps Barbell Deadlift4 sets of 12-16 reps Hyperextensions (Back Extensions)3 sets of 8-10 reps Close-Grip EZ Bar Curl3 sets of 8-10 reps Seated Dumbbell Curl2 sets of 8-10 reps Alternate Hammer Curl2 sets of 12-16 reps Incline Dumbbell Flyes3 sets of 8-10 reps Barbell Incline Bench Press - Medium Grip3 sets of 8-10 reps Incline Cable Chest Press1 set of 12-16 reps Dumbbell Bench Press3 sets of 8-10 reps Barbell Bench Press - Medium Grip3 sets of 8-10 reps Cable Chest Press1 set of 12-16 reps Decline Dumbbell Flyes2 sets of 8-10 reps Decline Barbell Bench Press3 sets of 8-10 reps Seated Triceps Press2 sets of 8-10 reps Superset EZ-Bar Skullcrusher3 sets of 8-10 reps Close-Grip Barbell Bench Press3 sets of 8-10 reps Triceps Pushdown - Rope Attachment2 sets to failure Future Fitness PlansMy only goal is to give 110 percent every day. Getting a sponsor and landing a cover would be a dream come true, but for the moment all I can do is keep my lifestyle up and help people who want to achieve their goals.What aspect challenged me the mostEvery day was a challenge. The workouts were intense, the diet was strict, and I felt exhausted, but I knew it was a much better feeling than throwing in the towel. You remember the journey most."Get the mind right and the body will follow."Suggestions for aspiring transformersGet the mind right and the body will follow. When you hit failure, smile because you're improving. Stay motivated, stay focused, and remember that your efforts aren't wasted. The more effort you put in, the more you gain. You can only get better! How Bodybuilding.com helped me reach my goalsI wouldn't be where I am today without the motivation from BodySpace. Bodybuilding.com kept me motivated and taught me about nutrition, supplements, and workouts.Bodybuilding.com allowed me to follow the footsteps of others who went down the same journey and achieved their goals and aspirations.Hector's Top 5 Gym Tracks"Numb/Encore" by Jay-Z (Feat. Linkin Park) "Till I Collapse" by Eminem "Android P0rn" by Kraddy "Can't Stop Now" by Southpaw Swagger "You're Nobody 'Till Somebody Loves You" by James Arthur Recommended For YouBody Transformation: Brandon Petrasso Went From 41% Bodyfat To 14% Brandon bulked for football and ate recklessly during his youth. Check out the nutrition and training plan this teen used to lose 120 pounds before prom!Body Transformation: Raphael Gabiazon Lifted His Body Into The Stratosphere! Raphael had little purpose in life until his ripped uncle introduced him to bodybuilding. Now he lives with passion, self-discipline, and pride. See how you can too!Body Transformation: David Zalec Is Transformation Motivation! David's bullies became his bros after he get ripped and garnered positive attention. Check out the training, nutrition, and supplement plans he uses to attack the weights!About The AuthorTeen Transformation Of The WeekVIEW AUTHOR PAGEHave you made a dramatic change either by gaining muscle of by losing all the weight you have been hoping for?View All Articles By This Author

Jamie Eason's Toasted Coconut Protein Haystack Cookies

In your grandmother’s kitchen, haystack cookies are probably a staple. Today, I’m going to give you a healthier option so you can enjoy this classic favorite with an extra protein bonus!

So grab your coconut flakes, favorite protein powder, and a spatula. Let’s get cooking!

Jamie Eason’s Toasted Coconut Protein Haystack Cookies Recipe
Watch The Video – 03:24

  • Large cookie sheet
  • Large skillet
  • Large bowl
  • Rubber spatula/spoon
  • Zester
  • Measuring spoons
  • Measuring cups
  • Cute plate or napkin for presentation
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees and spray 2 large cookie sheets with non-stick spray, set aside.
  2. Toast the coconut in a dry saute pan over medium heat, stirring often.
  3. The finished product should look lightly brown with half of the coconut still white.
  4. Transfer the toasted coconut to a large bowl.
  5. Next, lightly toast the sliced almonds over medium/low heat. The almonds should be toasted just enough to enhance the flavor, but not add much color.
  6. While the almonds toast, add the sweetener, protein powder, and salt to the coconut and stir until evenly distributed.
  7. Remove the almonds from the heat to let cool. Zest lemons.
  8. Stir in almonds, lemon zest, and finally egg whites. Mix until everything is incorporated.
  9. Use a tablespoon to drop the cookies onto the cookie sheet.
  10. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.

Nutrition Facts
Recipe makes approximately 20 cookies

Amount per serving

Calories 56

Total Fat3g

Total Carbs3g

Protein3g

Recipe notes

  1. Be sure to let the toasted almonds cool before you stir them into the batter, or they will cook your egg whites!

  2. These cookies won’t spread out like a regular chocolate chip cookie does. They’ll stay exactly how they are when you drop them onto the cookie sheet, which makes for fun shape and texture!

Toasted Coconut Protein Haystack Cookies PDF (29.5 KB)

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About The Author

Jamie Eason has become the world’s fittest model and continues her hard work and dedication by contributing her knowledge about fitness and nutrition.

Taken from: 

Jamie Eason's Toasted Coconut Protein Haystack Cookies

Posted in Bodybuilding, Diets, Exercises, Nutrition, Uncategorized0 Comments

James Grage's Rewired 9-Week Fitness Trainer – Day 22 Arms

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Congrats—you’ve pushed yourself past the first phase of the Rewired Trainer! You’ve gotten a taste of James Grage’s superset-heavy approach to building excellent arms, and now it’s time to take things a step further. Bring a new sense of intensity to your training with this second stage by hitting the gym twice daily.

During this phase, you’ll learn to wake up to an energizing morning sweat session with 30 minutes of steady-state cardio. During your second workout, you’ll make your muscles burn with compound sets. Targeting the same muscle group with two or more consecutive exercises will force you to recruit muscle fibers that weren’t initially engaged. Consider it proofreading for your muscles.

Morning

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About The Author

James Grage is the Co-Founder and Vice President of BPI Sports. He started training at age 15 and built an impressive body for sports.

Originally from: 

James Grage's Rewired 9-Week Fitness Trainer – Day 22 Arms

Posted in Bodybuilding, Exercises, Nutrition, Uncategorized, Warm up, Weight Training0 Comments

How To Build Muscle Without Adding Fat

When I first got interested in gaining size in order to play football, I didn’t worry much about fat gain. On one hand, the amount of running and exertion I experienced playing the sport made it almost impossible for me to gain noticeable fat. And even if I did, well, it was football. A little fat wasn’t a crime; it was extra armor.

Everything changed once I switched my focus from football to bodybuilding. Now, at sub-8 percent body fat, my focus is on gaining muscle without fat, and since I don’t have the huge amounts of conditioning work from football, I have to be much more careful about what I put in my body.

This is the point in the process where far too many people hit a wall. As a college student, I face no shortage of challenges, from sticking to a budget to making good choices when I’m out with friends, to saving time to focus on my studies. It definitely takes a little more planning and prep work to make it through those long days on campus.

But it can be done, and without breaking the bank. The key is simply to make quality your highest priority!

The Most Important Parts of Building Muscle

Eight words: Eat quality food. Increase your protein. Train hard.

“The key is feeding your muscles consistently with high-quality fuel.”

Those rules may seem obvious, but here’s the catch: the order they’re in matters. The fact that I stay lean eating sometimes more than 5,000 calories each day surprises people. But, the more muscle you have, the more you have to feed. The key is feeding your muscles consistently with high-quality fuel.

So what do my macros look like, you ask? As an economics major, you’d better believe I can tell you the numbers. But I’d prefer to tell you the priorities, because the way they break down for everyone is going to be different. Here are the three guiding principles that determine what goes on my plate:

  1. Balance meals around lean protein
  2. Include nutrient-rich, low-glycemic carbs
  3. Enjoy generous portions of healthy fats

Now let’s break down how they look in action, starting—where else?—with protein.

The Protein Way of Life

Protein, you may have heard, is what your muscles are made of. Well, not quite. The amino acids that make up protein are the building blocks of muscle, and your body needs—not wants, needs—these substances during and after training for repair and recovery. It breaks down the protein into the respective aminos, uses them for their various functions, and then you convert what doesn’t get used. I break down a lot of tissue in my daily workouts, so balancing it out with adequate amounts of protein throughout the day is important.

I aim to take in 1.5 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight per day and divide that total number by the number of meals I’m going to eat. For me, that means I eat approximately 360 grams of protein each day. I spread this across 6 meals, which turns out to be approximately 60 grams of protein per meal, depending on the day. The reason I eat protein frequently throughout the day is that muscles are built outside the gym. I may spend an hour or two training each day, but it’s the other 22 hours or so when I earn my results.

But as I said earlier, the amount of protein you eat is a secondary concern. Quality comes first, so think “what” before “how much.” For me, the “what” is lean and not fried. If you adhere to eating lean, non-fried sources of protein, you maximize your chances of gaining maximum amounts of muscle with minimal increases in body fat. My favorite sources of lean protein are standard: egg whites, chicken breast, 98 percent or leaner ground beef, turkey, fish, and quality protein supplements like Lean Pro8.

Another benefit of protein is that it doesn’t raise insulin like carbs do. Insulin is a powerful hormone, and elevating levels at non-optimal times—basically any point in the day besides post-workout—can lead to increased fat storage. By eating lean protein often and carbs more strategically, I keep my insulin levels in-check until the time comes when I want to raise them.

Find the Sweet Spot

Protein is the cornerstone of my bodybuilding nutrition plan in that it determines how many meals I eat each day. But carbs and healthy fats are equally important—and so is their quality. One of the most common questions I get from people is if I eat a low-carb diet to stay sub 8-percent body fat. The answer: absolutely not!

On harder training days, I consume upward of 500 g of carbs. It all comes down to finding the amount of carbs your body can actually utilize and consuming them strategically, rather than letting cravings or social situations determine it for you. Out-of-control carb intake leads to unwanted spikes in insulin, which lead to fat gain. It’s that simple.

“Just like with protein, quality is crucial. My carbs come from high-fiber, high-nutrient foods.”

Carbohydrates give my working muscles the energy to do their job. Without them, I would feel tired, and my gym sessions would definitely struggle as a result. Just like I approach my protein intake as a way to repair my muscles after training, I aim for the carb “sweet spot” where I can maximize energy and glycogen replenishment. And just like with protein, quality is crucial. My carbs come from high-fiber, high-nutrient foods. I include plenty of sweet potatoes, oatmeal, and brown rice, among others.

Healthy Fats

Back in the days when my dad, Lee Labrada, was racking up pro bodybuilding titles, the idea of “healthy fats” seemed like a contradiction in terms. Today, luckily, we know better. Like carbohydrates, fats often get a bad rap, but you need them—and in no small doses.

When trying to gain size, fat is a great source of calories, offering double that of both carbs and protein. Fat gives 9 calories per gram. Carbs and protein both give 4 calories per gram.

More calories? How could that be good when you’re trying to avoid getting fat? Remember, the quality of the calories you pack in is the first priority when you’re trying to pack on quality muscle. Enjoy—that’s right, I said enjoy—the following five sources first and foremost, and you can’t go wrong:

  • Avocado
  • Canola oil
  • Fish
  • Nuts and nut butters
  • Olives/olive oil

There are nutrients within these fat sources which decrease inflammation, improve mental function, improve eyesight, and give you healthier skin, hair, and nails. When I’m crushing the iron in the gym each day, my goal is to be strong and big, but also healthy and mobile. To get that way, I eat all of these generously on a regular basis, and I also take omega-3 supplements daily, in the form of fish oil or krill oil.

There’s some cool science showing how omega-3 fats might actually burn fat as well as provide other benefits. Those are a no-brainer for me. Cheap, processed fats from things like butter, chips, and ranch dip, on the other hand, are simply a “no.”

Quality Training Deserves Quality Fuel

I loved football and football culture. But bodybuilding is more than a culture—it’s a lifestyle. You can’t do it sloppily and succeed, especially if you have high-level competitive ambitions like I do. Your results speak for themselves, and your hard work pays off in ways that you can see, feel, and measure. There’s nothing like the feeling when it all comes together.

“All this time spent on nutrition is for naught if you’re not busting your tail in the gym, too.”

Of course, all this time spent on nutrition is for naught if you’re not busting your tail in the gym, too. Combine a training-day meal plan like the one here with a hard leg workout like I discussed in my previous article, and you’ll give your body everything it needs to grow the right way!

Sample Training Day Meal Plan

30 minutes before training
Immediately After Training



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Overcome 9 Training Mistakes Everybody Makes

Ever catch one of those YouTube videos showing a guy in the gym secretly caught on camera using the most ridiculous form? Typically it’s someone attempting to do simple bodybuilding exercises without a clue as to how to isolate the target muscle group: the barbell curl with a simultaneous pelvic thrust and low-back extension, the painful-looking bounce off the chest in the bench press, and the squat which descends an inch or two with way too many pounds on the bar. Yeah, there’s a good laugh in all of those.

A month or two after that hilarious fail video, that guy with the bad form probably gave up on training—not for the first time, nor the last. That can seem like a blessing for those of us waiting in line behind him for equipment. But take a slightly larger perspective and you’ll see that his errors were a symptom of something we’re probably guilty of, as well.

Everyone, from green-gilled beginners to seasoned pros, makes mistakes. If that wasn’t the case, then we’d all win the Olympia, the Olympics, and the BodySpace Spokesmodel Contest every year. Some are blunders from lack of knowledge; others are important signs that our training is growing and progressing.

Have you committed one of these nine sins that afflict beginning, intermediate, and advanced lifters? If you haven’t yet, well, you probably will at some point. The sooner you see it, the sooner you can fix it!

Beginner Mistakes

With the right approach, beginning lifters regularly achieve the sort of dramatic gains that leave intermediate and advanced lifters ‘miring. You deserve to make the most of this early period, and your success here is crucial to building your passion for training moving forward. The key is to keep these three classic miscues from stopping you before you get the chance to start.

Beginner mistake 1

A staunch commitment to building muscle is a good start, but you can get too much of a good thing. If your efforts to gain muscle size are so all-consuming that you spend more than about 60-90 minutes of training in the gym each day, especially if you’re a beginner, your training can quickly turn counterproductive, leaving you discouraged, exhausted, and potentially injured.

“A staunch commitment to building muscle is a good start, but you can get too much of a good thing.”

It doesn’t seem fair, right? Your body starts producing exponentially greater amounts of the catabolic hormone cortisol as your workout approaches the hour mark. A certain amount of this is normal and beneficial, but too much, too often will eat away at your muscles and health, negating all the good work you’ve been doing. As you get more experienced, your capacity for hard work will definitely rise, but until then, it’s important to stay within your limits.

Work hard for no more than 45-60 minutes total, and no more than 30 minutes for a given body part. You can’t maintain the intensity of a hard training session when your fatigue levels skyrocket, and there’s no benefit to trying. Remember, the muscle damage you inflict during training is the stimulus for growth, but the growth occurs during your recovery period.

Beginner mistake 2

While big arm and chest muscles might sit atop your wish list, your first year—that’s right, year—of training should be devoted to building a foundation of strength and muscularity with classic movements like squats, deadlifts, presses, and rows. These compound exercises will help you build muscle all over your body, because they demand that many muscle groups work in coordination. For example, the bench press calls the front delts, pecs, and triceps into play. Standing moves like the squat and overhead press train the core to stabilize the torso.

In addition, you can lift far heavier weights when doing compound (also called multi-joint) exercises over single-joint moves such as leg extensions, flyes, or delt raises. In response, your body experiences a greater natural hormonal response—in the form of testosterone and growth hormone—from heavy compound moves versus lighter-weight isolation exercises. One other benefit: Compound lifts help you develop better symmetry and prevent the type of muscular imbalances which could lead to injury down the road.

“Compound exercises will help you build muscle all over your body, because they demand that many muscle groups work in coordination.”

Beginner mistake 3

Pro bodybuilders don’t come up with their routines accidentally. Through years of trial and error, they’ve discovered what moves work best for them. Their routines reflect a preference for some kinds of equipment over others—say, dumbbells over barbells if they have a pre-existing shoulder problem—and to target weak or lagging areas. In addition, the large volume of exercises, sets, reps in their plans reflects their highly advanced status, something a novice shouldn’t try to duplicate.

On a more functional level, their training splits also reflect the amount of time they have available, their recuperative abilities, and nutritional support, all of which vary based on individual circumstance. To put it in concrete terms, you may want jump right into the Arnold Blueprint trainer, but with your current work schedule, budget, and abilities, LiveFit might be a better fit. A year from now, the opposite might be true.

That being said, you can still gain useful insight from top competitive bodybuilders. They have years of in-the-trenches experience and can provide insight into subtle techniques and ways of doing particular movements that are incredibly useful, even for beginners.

There’s much to be learned from dissecting a pro’s routine, but chances are good it’s not one you want to repeat exactly. That goes for blindly copying the routines of other gym members as well.

Intermediate Mistakes

If the workout which gave you fantastic gains as a beginner doesn’t challenge and push you anymore, congratulations! You are now an intermediate lifter. Look around your gym, and you’ll see plenty of individuals who stall at this point, and who have, sadly, made no appreciable progress on their physique in months or years. That’s the curse of being an intermediate: If you just do your same-old workout, you’re bound to get the same-old results.

At this stage, your workout shouldn’t be considered so sacred that it must be followed to the letter. It becomes a living and breathing instrument that can be tweaked and massaged to ensure that it keeps working for you rather than against you.

Intermediate mistake 1

Knowing how to perform a given move with perfect form is critical, and it will help you build a solid base of muscularity. But once you get that base, it’s important to explore the full range of subtle variations of classic movements. Learning—and practicing—all these variations will help you build thicker, denser muscle because you train the target muscle at slightly different angles. Over time, incorporating all the variations into your workout will build more strength, size, and balance.

The most obvious way to grow is by mastering barbell, dumbbell, cable, and machine moves. Some exercises can be done on every one of these implements; each provides a slightly different growth stimulus.

There are many other ways to introduce small degrees of change into a movement. Take the standing dumbbell lateral raise for your middle delts, for example:

  • From a seated position to decrease momentum and increase difficulty
  • One arm at a time while standing to increase the focus on each side
  • On the cable to utilize constant tension and a range of angles
  • On a machine to make it easier to work to failure
  • Leaning away from a vertical post to increase the range of motion

With imagination, the options for exercise variations are limitless.

“There are many ways to introduce small degrees of change into a movement.”

Intermediate mistake 2

Everybody has their favorite exercise. That’s OK, and you should respect your preferences. But, if you’re not getting results, you need to make changes. This could be exercise selection, but it could also be exercise order, sets, reps, weight, intensity technique, or even the overall makeup of your training.

Instituting these changes to your workout has the added benefit that it helps keep you mentally fresh as well. Don’t bounce around willy-nilly, though. Give the changes you make some time to work before you ditch them for another fun-looking scheme.

Intermediate mistake 3

Many bodybuilders take either a 90-second or a 2-minute break between sets, and over time, they stick to those guidelines come hell or high water. But there are a number of reasons why you should adjust your rest periods, depending on the circumstances.

Here are just a few:

  • Rest longer for a more complete recovery at the beginning of your workout when you do your heaviest sets.
  • Rest longer when doing back or leg-focused work to allow your breathing and heart rate to return to normal.
  • Rest shorter toward the end of the workout, when you’re training for a muscle pump rather than strength.
  • Rest significantly shorter on smaller body parts like arms, abs, and calves, which tend to recover more quickly.
  • Rest shorter to implement advanced techniques like supersets or rest-pause, which can encourage superior muscle gains.

Advanced Mistakes

For beginners and even some intermediates, gains in strength and size come relatively quickly. But the longer you play in the iron game, the more difficult it is to continue making progress. Your size gains eventually slow to a crawl, and adding even five pounds to the bar can take monumental effort.

Sure, switching up exercises and rearranging your training split can help for a time, but many advanced lifters find they have no choice but to entirely rethink their approach. Advanced lifters must try some extraordinary methods in order to keep growing.

“The longer you play in the iron game, the more difficult it is to continue making progress.”

Advanced mistake 3

Listening to your body becomes more important the more advanced you become. Rather than worrying about reps and sets all the time, focus instead on feeling the muscle work and generating a pump.

With a more free-form approach to training, you quickly discover new ways to challenge yourself. Do exercises you hate or usually avoid or try high-intensity methods you never used before—like rest-pause, negatives, or cycling heavy and light workouts. If you’re still searching for new ideas, spend some time on Bodybuilding.com and BodySpace for techniques and tips from experts who have faced the same challenges as you.

Advanced mistake 2

Along with being able to lift heavier weights, advanced bodybuilders also know about sore joints and mysterious aches. The repetitive nature of bodybuilding makes such nuisances a matter of everyday life. The longer and heavier you train, the more common these occurrences become. That means that all the things you skipped as a beginner, including warming up, doing rotator-cuff exercises, foam rolling, and even stretching, become even more critical if you want to lift relatively pain-free for years to come.

In addition, the advanced bodybuilder must know the difference between “good” and “bad” pain, when to pull back, and when to push through. Tendinitis and other joint aches related to repetitive motion are common, and they can get much worse if not treated properly. Ignore them, and you run the risk of setting your training back a month or two to rest an injury.

While the use of acetaminophen and other NSAIDs can help relieve symptoms, they don’t address the underlying cause and shouldn’t be taken long-term. Listen carefully to your body and see a sports medicine physician or chiropractor when you’re hurting. Joint supplements can also help, providing the raw materials your body needs to repair damaged tissue and restore normal function.

Advanced mistake 3

It’s entirely possible to become an advanced lifter while training entirely on your own. As many veterans can attest, a lazy, undependable, or inattentive partner can actually hold your progress back. But once you become well-versed in strength training, a responsive and motivating lifting partner can push you well past your previous limits and help you make gains you otherwise wouldn’t achieve. The precise mechanism might be a mystery, but research confirms that in the presence of another person, weightlifters have the ability to push more weight or do more reps than likely alone.

Having a partner is priceless on your heaviest sets when you need a watchful eye to spot your free-bar squats, incline and decline barbell presses, or overhead shoulder presses, and especially when you attempt advanced-training techniques such as forced reps, rest-pause, dropsets, and negatives. Your toolbox of exercises and advanced training techniques increases exponentially with a solid training partner.

The only caveat: You need to return the favor to your partner as well. That way, everybody—and everybody’s body—comes out ahead.

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Overcome 9 Training Mistakes Everybody Makes

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We 'Mirin Vol. 67: Stacked & Shredded

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We 'Mirin Vol. 67: Stacked & Shredded

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Dwayne Johnson's Rock-Hard Hercules Workout And Diet Plan

After watching Hercules” in theaters on July 25, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson wants you to come away with one thing on your mind: that you’ve just witnessed the biggest, meanest, baddest and, more importantly, most definitive version of Hercules ever seen on the big screen.

For the majority of Hollywood’s action stars, the task of realistically portraying an ancient Greek demigod would be more challenging than combining all 12 labors the mythical son of Zeus had to undertake. Many have tried in the past, and many have failed. Even for Johnson, with 260 pounds of muscle already clinging to his massive 6-foot-5 frame, it would prove no mean feat.

But after spending the majority of his life in the gym training to be a professional football player, world-renowned pro wrestler, and one of Hollywood’s highest-ever grossing movie stars, it was a labor he had all the weapons to overcome.

Here, in his own words, Johnson reveals how he obtained the skin-stretching muscle he needed for his starring role as Hercules, and explains why nutrition is the most important facet of getting big.


Herculean Effort

When you’re an athlete-turned-actor who already has a physique idolized by millions around the world, you might think it would be easy to rest on your laurels. Not so with Dwayne Johnson. That’s why he was Hollywood’s highest-grossing movie star of 2013, with his four films pulling in $1.3 billion at the box office.

If there’s one thing life has taught the former national championship-winning footballer, it’s that you only get what you’re willing to put in. That’s why he dedicates so much of his time and energy to making sure he’s at his physical peak when he steps onto the movie set.

“For different roles my condition and training and diet does alter,” Johnson states. “Depending on the role, it will really dictate the type of training I do. For ‘Hercules,’ it was a 22-week diet, while for ‘G.I. Joe: Retaliation’ it was about a 14-week diet, and for ‘Pain & Gain’ I wanted to come out looking bulky, big, and dangerous, so we adjusted accordingly.

“When you’re playing a character like the son of Zeus, you only get one shot.”

“For ‘Hercules,’ I went for the demigod look: big and mean. When you’re playing a character like the son of Zeus, you only get one shot. The intensity of the training was definitely up, as was the volume of training. I really wanted to make it the definitive version of Hercules. We wanted to make it darker in tone and we based it off Steve Moore and Admira Wijaya’s ‘Hercules: The Thracian Wars’ graphic novel, which is pretty dark.”

He adds: “And then the intensity of preparation for the movies depends on the role. The training, nutrition, fight choreography, weapons training, and stunt planning are all altered accordingly. I always go in committed and try to make it the best it can be. For ‘Hercules,’ I wanted to respect the mythology, or with “Fast & Furious,” I wanted to respect this massive franchise. For the G.I. Joe movies, it was similar because it’s already an established brand and already an established character. You’ve got to look the part.”

To look the part for “Hercules,” Johnson elevated his training significantly, using a six-days-on, one-day-off schedule for six months to help him bulk up. At the beginning of each morning, Johnson would complete a 50-minute cardio session before working on a specific body part depending on what day it was, with his legs being the only muscle group that received more than one workout per week.

“I start working out pretty early, around 4 a.m. When I’m filming, I do cardio and I lift before going to set. I train about six days a week, and even when I’m not filming I get up between 3 and 5 a.m. just to train. I love training when the sun is coming up because it allows me to put on my headphones and step off the crazy treadmill that is everyone’s life. I have my headphones on and I’m listening to my music, and I’m 100 percent focused. There’s no wasted time or effort when it comes to me and the weights.

“I work out for about 90 minutes, or maybe an hour and 45 minutes. When I hit the gym, I’m coming! I train hard, I come to kick ass—clanging and banging. With something like “Hercules,” I was in costume and make-up for a few hours before shooting, so I’d have to get in the workout early.”

And while other actors may slack off with their training schedules once they’ve got a movie in the can, Johnson is among the minority of people who is in the gym all year round.

“Working out anchors my day,” he says. “For me, training is my meditation, my yoga, hiking, biking, therapy all rolled into one. I love it. Generally, I’m always shooting or preparing to shoot for something, so that’s why I like keeping my conditioning in a certain zone. But even if I wasn’t it would launch my day. It makes me feels good.”

A Feast For the Gods

Although Johnson will be the first to tell you his vigorous training sessions have helped him get where he needs to be physically, he also follows an incredibly strict diet before and during filming.

But once again he felt he needed to up his game for “Hercules,” so Johnson and his nutrition team created his “12 Labors” diet, filled with large amounts of protein, carbs and fats, to make sure he was in the best shape of his life.

“Generally, I eat six or seven times a day,” he says. “It’s about getting enough protein to aid lean muscle growth, and everything is very precisely measured depending on what targets I’m looking to hit for that day. Lots of protein, good carbs, and veggies. Nutrition is so important, it can’t be stressed enough.

“For ‘Hercules,’ it was a 22-week diet, full on. I’d eat a bunch of egg whites, filet mignon, chicken, fish, oatmeal, broccoli, asparagus, a baked potato, cream of rice, salad and complex carbs. All of this measured and weighed.”

“‘I’d eat a bunch of egg whites, filet mignon, chicken, fish, oatmeal, broccoli, asparagus, a baked potato, cream of rice, salad, and complex carbs.'”

He adds: “It was all about hard work, discipline, and balance. I had carbs with every meal, so there was always a balance of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. Then part of my daily regime was my glucosamine and then also a multitude of multivitamins. Then I had glutamine, branched-chain amino acids, chondroitin, and one protein shake a day, which I drank after training.”

After years of playing football and being a wrestler in the WWE, Johnson has had his fair share of injuries, and now at 41 years of age it’s become even more difficult to get into top-notch physical shape without his body falling apart.

“When I hit 40, I really began to start training smarter,” he states with a chuckle. “I’ve always tried to educate myself on my nutrition, about supplements, what I’m eating, when I’m eating, exercises, calories, and so on. Eventually I hired an awesome conditioning coach who helped me.

“He helped me prepare for a variety of these roles, and in between roles, hitting different things. And when we get into our 40s, all of a sudden we start feeling aches and pains. I take glucosamine and chondroitin for my poor joints.”

Role Of A Lifetime

With his dedication to fitness and nutrition second to none among Hollywood actors, Johnson has firmly cemented himself as, literally and figuratively, the biggest action hero in the world.

And even though he’s dazzled on the big screen as Roadblock in “G.I. Joe: Retaliation” and Luke Hobbs in the “Fast and Furious” franchise, Johnson believes that playing Hercules is not only the biggest role of his career, but a dream come true.

“When I first broke into movies, Hercules was one of the projects I had in the back of my mind,” he recalls. “I always thought, ‘Man, I would love to do that one day.’ And I always wanted to play a dramatic Hercules, a guy who’s survived in barren lands and who is haunted, in a way. Here’s a man who has to accept and embrace his own myth.

“This was definitely a passion project for me, and I rocked the leather loincloth like a badass with his battle club. And that damn loincloth, there can be mishaps if you know what I mean–when you’re swinging about,” he laughs. “I’m really happy with what we’ve accomplished with ‘Hercules.’ We put a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into this movie.”

Clanging And Banging With Dwayne Johnson

To prepare himself for the role of Hercules, Johnson took on a six-month training schedule which would have challenged the most dedicated athletes and bodybuilders. TRAIN and Bodybuilding.com offer you an outline of Johnson’s workout regimen. Remember to do an hour of cardio before you hit the weights.

Can You Smell What The Rock Is Cookin’?

Although Johnson didn’t have anything in his diet quite like the blood of the Nemean lion Hercules had to kill, that didn’t stop him from taking on the tough “12 Labors” diet, which included several protein-packed meals that helped him portray his character’s legendary strength on screen.



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Dwayne Johnson's Rock-Hard Hercules Workout And Diet Plan

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Ask The Muscle Prof: 'Is There A Better Way To Lose Fat?'

QHow long should I diet when losing weight for a contest or event? Also, how do I deal with being so freaking hungry all the time?

In America we want things instantly. So why wouldn’t we all want to get instantly shredded? This mentality has led bodybuilders to go on drastic, unsustainable diets in order to rapidly lose fat. But is this the ideal method to lose fat? The knee-jerk response you’ll hear from many people is “no,” but the real answer is more complex.

Let’s start with the basics on fat loss. Generally, the strategies for losing body fat include “cutting” calories and adding cardio. However, both of these techniques put you at risk for losing muscle in addition to fat. And, as your question points out: As calories decrease and metabolic rate lowers, your hunger level goes up like crazy. This brutal conundrum, known as the “energy gap,” is your body’s way of resisting a shredded physique.1

Cutting is never going to be fun, but it doesn’t have to be sheer misery. Let’s look at a few ways researchers have helped shed light on how we can improve this often misunderstood process.

Prioritize Filling Foods

Let’s address your appetite first, because, let’s face it, nothing feels like a higher priority than hunger when you’re under its influence. Luckily, there are a number of ways this situation can be controlled to some degree. One is to tap into your stomach’s ability to sense the volume of the food you consume.

Studies show that you will feel full, and thus stop eating, once your gut senses a certain volume of food has been reached.2 Therefore, your diet should be based on low-calorie, energy-rich, high-fiber foods like vegetables and lean protein sources, all of which will keep you feeling fuller for longer. You should also seek to add volume to your foods through the addition of air—by drinking blended smoothies, for example—and keeping your water intake high.

Research has also shown that as individuals increase the variety in their diet, they’re also more prone to eating spontaneously. This doesn’t mean that you need to eat the same thing at every meal. However, when your primary goal is cutting fat, too much variety can chip away at your self-control.3 This—more than other times—is when you should focus on the essentials.

Reign In Catabolism

Some muscle loss is inevitable when you’re preparing for something as extreme as a physique show. But there are definitely ways to minimize this catabolic breakdown, primarily by keeping close tabs on your protein intake.

A study out of the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at the University of Illinois at Urbana found that the protein-to-carbs ratio played a key role in sparing muscle tissue during weight loss.4 Specifically, a carb-to-protein ratio of 3.5-to-1 (68 g protein per day) led to similar weight loss, but far more muscle loss, than a ratio of 1.4 to 1 (125 g protein per day). To hold onto muscle, you need to eat enough of what muscle is made of!

As I pointed out in my nutrition Mass Class, though, overall daily protein isn’t the most important variable. It’s just as crucial to dial in the amount you eat at individual meals. Research has found that the threshold for maximizing protein synthesis and raising the metabolic rate is about 30-40 g of protein for an average-sized man. My colleague Dr. Loenneke and I published a study in 2012 where we found that subjects who met this threshold more times throughout the day were able to maintain a lower level of body fat.5

The Lower You Go, the Harder It Gets

To address your initial question, time definitely has a lot to do with how you will lose weight and fat. You should understand on the front end that the amount of muscle you lose along the way will be related to how lean you are when dieting, and how rapidly you lose weight.

Simply put, when you have a higher body fat percentage, you preferentially burn fat as fuel; if you’re lean, your body will preferentially burn muscle if the calorie deficit is too drastic. Specifically, a study from the University of Rochester found that people with more fat could cut their calories by greater than 1,000 per day with minimal muscle loss, while leaner people lost the majority of weight from muscle at this level of deficit.6 However, the same study found that a lower calorie deficit, of less than 500 calories, resulted in minimal fat loss for lean individuals.

This suggests that if you have a lot of body fat, you can cut calories more aggressively early in your prep, and become more conservative as you lean out. This approach was recently supported by a study in Norway, where athletes were placed on a weight loss program resulting in either 1 or 2 pounds lost per week.7 The subjects in the fast weight loss group lost a small amount of muscle and about 20 percent of their fat mass. On the other hand, the slow group lost more than 30 percent of its fat mass and actually gained muscle! This indicates that a longer contest prep is more optimal for body composition than a drastic and short one.

A Healthier, More Sustainable Cut

Anyone who has ever entered a physique competition has seen examples of how not to cut. Let’s learn from this example! If only everyone were more balanced in their approach, they would look better—and just as importantly, feel better—as the big date drew near. Here are your rules for less miserable, more effective weight loss.

  • Maintain a relatively equal balance of carbohydrates and protein sources, while increasing your intake of green vegetables. Approximately one-third of your plate should consist of protein, one-third starchy carbohydrates for energy, and one-third vegetables for bulk and volume.
  • Consume a relatively moderate variety of foods. Don’t get bored, but don’t get too wild, either.
  • Consider dividing your cut into two phases. If you start out lean—like 10-12 percent—consider losing just 1 pound per week throughout the first half of the cut and 0.5 pounds per week thereafter. If you start out with higher body fat of 15 percent or higher, you can start the diet a bit more aggressively, like 1-2 pounds per week, and then slow the rate of weight loss as you approach 10 percent.

References

  1. Maclean PS, et al. Biology’s response to dieting: the impetus for weight regain. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2011 Sep;301(3):R581-600.
  2. Kral TV, Rolls BJ. Energy density and portion size: their independent and combined effects on energy intake. Physiol Behav. 2004 Aug;82(1):131-8.
  3. McCrory MA, et al. Dietary variety within food groups: association with energy intake and body fatness in men and women. Am J Clin Nutr. 1999 Mar;69(3):440-7.
  4. Layman DK, et al. A reduced ratio of dietary carbohydrate to protein improves body composition and blood lipid profiles during weight loss in adult women. J Nutr. 2003 Feb;133(2):411-7.
  5. Loenneke JP, Wilson JM, Manninen AH, Wray ME, Barnes JT, Pujol TJ. Quality protein intake is inversely related with abdominal fat. Nutr Metab (Lond). 2012 Jan 27;9(1):5.
  6. Forbes GB. Body fat content influences the body composition response to nutrition and exercise. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2000 May;904:359-65.
  7. Garthe I, et al. Effect of two different weight-loss rates on body composition and strength and power-related performance in elite athletes. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2011 Apr;21(2):97-104.



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One thing that coming back from a life-threatening car crash taught James Grage is that the body needs time and space to heal from intense physical training, the same way it heals from injuries. He still trains hard and does what is necessary to break down muscle tissue, but he also devotes time to recovery essentials like stretching, sleep, and nutrition.

“Progress is all in the recovery,” Grage says. “If I can’t recover from it, it’s pointless.”

Today is another active rest day in the Rewired Trainer, but that can mean whatever you need it to mean right now. Make up a workout if you’ve missed one, or just go for a walk, foam roll, or engage in mobility work. If you need, take a complete rest day.

Most importantly, take some time to regroup mentally and check in with yourself about how this trainer is going for you. Have you been tracking your progress over the last week on BodySpace or in a workout log? Do you need to revisit your personality test video for a reminder of what you’re working for over these nine weeks? Rewired is a mental trainer first and foremost, so do what’s necessary to get in the mindset to complete another five straight days of hard work in the gym!

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James Grage's Rewired 9-Week Fitness Trainer – Day 21, Active Recovery

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James Grage's Rewired 9-Week Fitness Trainer – Day 20, Active Recovery

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The Rewired Trainer is all about making fitness work seamlessly with your life. You work out during the work week, and you rest during the weekend. Use this time as an opportunity to catch up on life and engage in the best kind of “active rest,” whatever that means for you.

Maybe it’s a hike with your friends, a bike ride to the library with your family, or tug-of-war with your dog. Maybe just walk to the store instead of driving. What you do is up to you. Just make sure you enjoy it!

There’s another advantage to having both Saturday and Sunday free: You can use one of the days to make up a missed workout from earlier in the week. Maybe you were busy, had to travel, or an emergency came up. This is your pass—no questions asked!

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James Grage's Rewired 9-Week Fitness Trainer – Day 20, Active Recovery

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James Grage's Rewired 9-Week Fitness Trainer – Day 19, Shoulders, Calves, Abs

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Phase one of the Rewired trainer wraps up with one more superset gauntlet covering your shoulders, abs, and calves. Next week, you’ll begin phase two, which increases your cardio warm-up and adds in some compound sets in addition to supersets. If you need a refresher on the whys and hows of this program, re-read the program overview page.

After three weeks, you might be missing barbell military presses and other heavy shoulder work. Don’t get distracted! Rewired is as intense as you make it, and your time in this dumbbell-heavy system will leave you with both stronger shoulders, and a stronger approach to training, period. Stay the course!

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James Grage's Rewired 9-Week Fitness Trainer – Day 19, Shoulders, Calves, Abs

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