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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! Jamie Eason James Grage How To Build Muscle Without Adding Fat Overcome 9 Training Mistakes Everybody Makes
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 RecipeWatch The Video - 03:245 oz. bag Unsweetened Flaked Coconut 1 cup No-calorie Sweetener 1 scoop Vanilla Protein Powder Zest of 2 large Lemons 1/4 tsp Salt 1 cup sliced Almonds 5 Egg Whites Non-stick Spray Large cookie sheet Large skillet Large bowl Rubber spatula/spoon Zester Measuring spoons Measuring cups Cute plate or napkin for presentation Preheat oven to 325 degrees and spray 2 large cookie sheets with non-stick spray, set aside. Toast the coconut in a dry saute pan over medium heat, stirring often. The finished product should look lightly brown with half of the coconut still white. Transfer the toasted coconut to a large bowl. 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. While the almonds toast, add the sweetener, protein powder, and salt to the coconut and stir until evenly distributed. Remove the almonds from the heat to let cool. Zest lemons. Stir in almonds, lemon zest, and finally egg whites. Mix until everything is incorporated. Use a tablespoon to drop the cookies onto the cookie sheet. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Nutrition FactsRecipe makes approximately 20 cookiesAmount per servingCalories 56Total Fat3gTotal Carbs3gProtein3gRecipe notes Be sure to let the toasted almonds cool before you stir them into the batter, or they will cook your egg whites! 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)Recommended For YouJamie Eason's LiveFit Trainer Shape the body you've always wanted in 12 weeks!Jamie Eason's LiveFit Recipes Join this little Texas lady on the front lines in the kitchen as she rustles up these nutritious works of art.Gym Psychology: The 6 Types Of Motivation Everyone is motivated a little differently. Learn what type of motivation best suits you and then use that knowledge to attack your awesome fitness goals!About The AuthorJamie EasonVIEW AUTHOR PAGEJamie Eason has become the world's fittest model and continues her hard work and dedication by contributing her knowledge about fitness and nutrition.View All Articles By This Author

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

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

Back | Main | NextCongrats—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 Steady-State Cardio30 minutes, 65-70% Evening Cardio Warm-up Treadmill Jog5 minutes, 55-60% Warm-Up Superset Chin-Up1 set of 12 reps Push-Up1 set of 12 reps Superset Wide-Grip Barbell Curls3 sets of 15, 12, 10 reps Incline Dumbbell Curls3 sets of 15, 12, 10 reps Superset Standing One-Arm Overhead Cable Extensions3 sets of 15, 12, 10 reps Single-Arm Reverse-Grip Cable Push-Downs3 sets of 15, 12, 10 reps Triset Reverse EZ-Bar Curls3 sets of 15, 12, 10 reps EZ-Bar Skullcrusher3 sets of 15, 12, 10 reps Standing Kickbacks3 sets of 15, 12, 10 reps Exclusive Rewired StacksGet incredible results with these hand-picked supplement combos!BPI Sports Rewired Foundation StackTrain hard and recover like a pro with these essentials!*View ProductsBPI Sports RewiredMuscle Building StackBuild maximum muscle with this power-packed supp combo.*View ProductsBPI Sports RewiredFat Loss StackBurn fat and support muscle maintenance with this killer stack!*View ProductsBack | Main | NextAbout The AuthorJames GrageVIEW AUTHOR PAGEJames Grage is the Co-Founder and Vice President of BPI Sports. He started training at age 15 and built an impressive body for sports.View All Articles By This Author

How To Build Muscle Without Adding Fat

Vital StatsName: Hunter LabradaAge: 21Height: 5'9"Weight: 235 lbsEducation: Texas A&M UniversitySponsor: Labrada Nutrition AthleteLocation: College Station, TXWhen 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 MuscleEight 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:Balance meals around lean protein Include nutrient-rich, low-glycemic carbs 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 LifeProtein, 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 SpotProtein 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 FuelI 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 Egg Whites2 cups Oats2 cups Blueberries1/2 cup Ground Turkey8 ounces Brown Rice2 cups 30 minutes before training Labrada Super Charge Xtreme 4.02 scoops Labrada Power Carb Gametime25 grams Labrada BCAA Power10 grams Labrada A2 Pump3 capsules Labrada Glycocarn6 capsules Immediately After Training Labrada ISO LeanPro50 grams Labrada Power Carb Gametime75 grams Labrada BCAA Power10 grams Labrada CreaLean5 grams Labrada GlutaLean5 grams Lean Steak8 ounces Sweet Potato2 potatoes Labrada Lean Pro82 scoops Oats2 cups Frozen Berries1 cup Recommended For YouGain 3'' On Your Legs: Hunter Labrada's Two-Week Leg Cycle Yes, it's possible to train hard and still have space for recovery. Spread your lower-body work across four biweekly sessions and get ready to shop for new pants!Build Mass With Class: Hunter Labrada's Guide To Adding Muscle Hunter Labrada, son of IFBB Mr. Universe Lee Labrada, is a bodybuilder on the rise. He made the most of his adolescent years with the right combination of training intensity and nutrition, and you can too!Lee Labrada's 12-Week Lean Body Trainer It doesn't matter what shape you're in, your age, or how many diet programs you've tried. You can transform your body and become leaner and stronger with Lee Labrada!About The AuthorHunter LabradaVIEW AUTHOR PAGEHunter Labrada, son of IFBB Mr. Universe Lee Labrada, is a bodybuilder on the rise and proudly helping build the family business!View All Articles By This Author

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 MistakesWith 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 1A 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 2While 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 3Pro 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 MistakesIf 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 1Pro TipBesides working the muscle from slightly different angles, learning how to perform a particular move a number of ways can be helpful on days when the gym is crowded and lines form at the piece of equipment you need. Rather than wait in line, simply try an alternate move and your workout will stay on track and on pace.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 2Everybody 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 3Many 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 MistakesFor 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 3Listening 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 2Along 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 3It'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.

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.


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

Posted in Bodybuilding, Diets, Exercises, Nutrition, Sports nutrition, Uncategorized, Weight loss0 Comments

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

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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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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.

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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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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.

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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!

Exclusive Rewired Stacks

Get incredible results with these hand-picked supplement combos!

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Muscle Building Stack

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BPI Sports Rewired
Fat Loss Stack

Burn fat and support muscle maintenance with this killer stack!*

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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.


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

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James Grage's Rewired 9-Week Fitness Trainer – Day 18, Back

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Strength coaches are fond of saying that they can tell everything about a person by how—and in some cases, if—they train their back muscles. Are you just going through the motions? Are you prone to cheating and cutting corners just to move big weights? If so, it’ll show in the way you do things like pull-ups and rows.

The back day in phase one of the Rewired Trainer is a particularly effective litmus test. If you’ve made it very far in a transformation before, it’s highly unlikely that any of the movements are new to you. But have you mastered them? Do you pinch your shoulder blades back on the rows and keep your torso stable? Are you sure of your shrug technique, or have you just gotten thus far by mimicking what you saw someone else do?

Consider today an opportunity to read up on all the movements in this routine. Watch the videos in the Bodybuilding.com exercise database (linked in the program below), and use a warm-up set or two to practice any fine points you’re unsure of. As anyone who has ever suffered a back injury will tell you, there’s no room for guessing here.

Exclusive Rewired Stacks

Get incredible results with these hand-picked supplement combos!

BPI Sports Rewired Foundation Stack

Train hard and recover like a pro with these essentials!*

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BPI Sports Rewired
Muscle Building Stack

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View Products

BPI Sports Rewired
Fat Loss Stack

Burn fat and support muscle maintenance with this killer stack!*

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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.

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James Grage's Rewired 9-Week Fitness Trainer – Day 18, Back

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Healthy Recipes: Quick And Easy Summer Picnic Guide

Now that the weather is getting nicer, why not take in the scenery while enjoying a monster post-workout feast? No longer do you have to choose between dem gains and dat sun! When the outdoors calls your name, go on and answer. Get your guns some sun while you feast on these muscle-building recipes that come alongside an added dose of Vitamin D.


Meal 1: Arugula, Watermelon, Feta and KIND Bar Salad

Every good meal should be kicked off with salad. Salad brings color and nutrients to the table and whets your palate for dishes to come. With that said, salads don’t have to be wimpy! This power-packed salad is good enough to be a standalone dish.

One of my new favorite ways to spice up salads is to add crushed KIND Strong & Kind bars to the mix. The all-natural ingredients and whole nuts and grains make for a fantastic topping, and the bars are an easy ingredient to boost the content of healthy fats and protein, like croutons with added nutritional value.

Plus, funky flavors like honey mustard create a flavor explosion in your mouth. Toss them with fresh summer fruit like watermelon, add some feta cheese, and you create a salad that’s sure to be a hit!

  • 5 cups arugula
  • 3 KIND Strong & Kind bars
  • 3 cups chopped watermelon
  • 1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
  1. Break your favorite Strong & Kind bar into pieces. You can do this one of two ways: get them cold in the fridge, slip them into a Ziploc bag, and hammer them, or simply break the bar into pieces using your hands. Set your “croutons” aside.
  2. Dice watermelon into cube-sized pieces.
  3. Pack for a picnic: Place the individual ingredients in separate compartments and assemble each salad individually to avoid making the arugula soggy.

We understand that not every salad is going to be divided evenly—after all, sometimes you’re looking to chow down on more greens and sometimes you’re all about the main course. I recommend that each individual salad should contain roughly 1 cup arugula, 1/2 Strong & Kind bar, 1/3 cup diced watermelon, and 1 tbsp feta cheese. The nutrition facts below are based off these amounts.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size (1 salad) Recipe yields 2-5 servings

Amount per serving

Calories 171

Total Fat11 g

Total Carbs14 g

Protein9 g

Arugula, Watermelon, Feta and KIND Bar Salad PDF (57 KB)

Meal 2: Spicy Tex-Mex Lime Chicken Kabobs

Add a little Tex-Mex flair to the barbecue with this easy chicken kabob recipe that’s sure to impress. Just make sure you have enough on hand—these highly addictive skewers are sure to leave your guests coming back for more.

  • 30 oz chicken breast (raw)
  • Fresh chopped cilantro
  • Fresh limes
  • Wooden skewers
  • 3 tbsp Tapatio sauce
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1/2 tbsp ground pepper
  • 2 tsp cayenne pepper
  1. Slice raw chicken breasts horizontally into 2-3 oz pieces.
  2. In a sealable bag, add chicken breast and seasonings. Release the air from the bag, re-seal, and shake, ensuring all the chicken pieces are thoroughly covered in the sauce. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least two hours (or overnight, if desired).
  3. Place wooden skewers in water for at least 30 minutes. This will prevent them from burning in case you’re cooking the chicken on the grill or in the oven.
  4. Remove the chicken pieces from the bag and skewer them with the wooden sticks.
  5. For cooking on a stovetop grill or with a skillet, set the fire on medium heat and lightly spray your pan with coconut oil. Wait for the pan to heat before adding the chicken skewers.
  6. Add the chicken skewers to the pan and cook, rotating them so all sides are cooked evenly with noticeable grill marks. Don’t cover them while they cook.
  7. Remove the cooked skewers from the grill. Sprinkle with lime juice and freshly chopped cilantro. Serve immediately.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size (2 skewers) Yields 5 servings

Amount per serving

Calories 180

Total Fat2 g

Total Carbs0 g

Protein39 g

Spicy Tex-Mex Lime Chicken Kabobs PDF (91 KB)

Meal 3: Fully Loaded Sweet Potato Salad

Being from Texas, me showing up to a picnic or cookout without some form of potato salad is like showing up to the gym without headphones—it’s a necessary tool to get you in the proper mood. Here’s my #FitMenCook take on a Southern classic that will leave your taste buds screaming and your muscles pumped. Seriously: You’ll grow after eating this.

  • 450 g baked sweet potato (in chunks)
  • 3 strips natural turkey bacon (uncured, nitrate free)
  • 3/4 cup 2% Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup black beans
  • 1/3 cup chopped kale
  • 1/2 cup cooked corn
  • 1/3 cup green onions
  • ~1 oz goat cheese
  • ~1 oz reduced-fat mozzarella
  • 1 chopped jalapeno (optional)
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
  1. Set oven to 350F.
  2. Cut sweet potatoes into small quarter-sized chunks and place on a baking sheet. Lightly spray with coconut oil and sprinkle with sea salt and pepper.
  3. Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes or until the chunks are soft, yet slightly firm. Remove and allow to cool for about 10 minutes on a rack.
  4. Cook turkey bacon in a skillet and then cut it into small pieces.
  5. In a large bowl, add all of the ingredients listed. Mix everything together using a spatula, and serve immediately. This dish can be served warm or cold.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size (1 serving) Recipe yields 5 servings

Amount per serving

Calories 192

Total Fat4 g

Total Carbs27 g

Protein13 g

Fully Loaded Sweet Potato Salad PDF (38 KB)

Meal 4: Amino Vitamin Water

When the outside temperature starts to creep into triple-digits, hydration is paramount. Make sure you have something to quench your thirst and wash down your four-course meal!

Kick classic water up a notch by adding your favorite aminos and fresh fruit into the mix. You’ll stay hydrated while feeding your muscles with natural vitamins, minerals, and amino acids.

  • 64-oz Mason jar
  • 1-2 scoops flavored BCAA powder
  • 1 cup mint leaves
  • 2 -3 blood oranges
  • 2 cups blueberries
  1. Add room-temperature water to a large Mason jar or glass container. Remember to leave enough room to add fruit.
  2. Mix in your favorite BCAA powder until it’s completely dissolved. If your BCAA powder tends to be sweet, add just 1 scoop so you don’t overpower the fresh, natural flavors of the fruit.
  3. Slice blood oranges into horizontal pieces and add to the jar. Add in fresh blueberries and, finally, the mint. Stir with a wooden spoon
  4. Let the water sit for at least 30 minutes so it becomes infused, then add ice to the jar
  5. Serve immediately! While you can eat the fruit, I don’t recommend eating it after more than 24 hours or if the water jug becomes too warm.

Amino Vitamin Water PDF (86 KB)

Meal 5: Chocolate Protein Cheesecake Dixie Cup Popsicles

If there’s any room left for dessert—and, believe me, you’ll want there to be—whip out these chocolate cheesecake pops. You really can’t go wrong with cheesecake, especially when it contains protein and chocolate. These frozen treats are perfect to help you beat the heat and cool down from working on the grill. Sit back and enjoy!

  • 1 1/2 scoop Labrada V60 Chocolate Ice Cream Protein Powder
  • 8 oz reduced-fat cream cheese
  • 1/3 cup almond milk
  • 1/3 cup 2% Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/4 cup milled flax seed
  • 2 heaping tbsp coconut oil
  • 6, 3 oz Dixie cups
  • Popsicle sticks
  1. In a bowl, add graham cracker crumbs, milled flax seed, and coconut oil. Mix well until it begins to stick together. Set aside.
  2. In a food processor or blender, mix protein powder, cream cheese, almond milk, and Greek yogurt.
  3. Pour the cheesecake mixture into the individual Dixie cups, leaving about 3/4 of an inch at the top for the crust.
  4. Pack the graham cracker crumbs onto the top of the Dixie cups and pat down so it sticks to the cheesecake batter and is compact.
  5. Slide a Popsicle stick through the middle of the Dixie cup.
  6. Freeze cups for at least 5 hours. For better results, freeze overnight before your picnic.
  7. Enjoy!

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size (1 Popsicle) Yields 6 servings

Amount per serving

Calories 220

Total Fat16 g

Total Carbs8 g

Protein13 g

Chocolate Protein Cheesecake Dixie Cup Popsicles PDF (37 KB)

Grocery List




Fats and sundry goods

  • Coconut oil
  • Carob chips or dark chocolate chips
  • Graham cracker crumbs
  • Milled flax seed (optional)
  • Tapatio hot sauce



  • Paper plates and cups
  • Dinnerware
  • Wooden skewers
  • Dixie cups
  • Popsicle sticks
  • Jar or carafe for fruit infused amino vitamin water

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About The Author

Kevin Alexander is a fitness enthusiast and creator of ”FitMenCook”. He is based in Dallas, TX.

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Healthy Recipes: Quick And Easy Summer Picnic Guide

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You Snooze, You Win: 7 Useful Sleep Tips

We all know the feeling after waking from a long, deep sleep. We’re rested, relaxed, and feel like a million bucks.

But for too many folks, this feeling is as elusive as a forgotten dream. Their restlessness prevents them from getting the quality rest their body needs for proper physical and mental recovery.

What can you do to ensure adequate quality sleep? It doesn’t have to cost money, and might take but a few minutes of your time.

Try these proven methods to prime your body and mind before hitting the sack.


Turn the temperature down in your home and dim the lights or use less light as you prepare for bed.

The lower light and temperature combine to create a relaxing environment and help set off the release of the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin. In contrast, exposure to artificial light suppresses melatonin release and increases alertness.

Turn off the electronics one hour before bed. We’re so connected in this day and age that technology has become second nature.

Turn off the electronics one hour before bed.

In a survey conducted by the National Sleep Foundation in 2011, more than half of respondents experienced a sleep problem every night.

Of those people, nearly 95 percent watched TV, used their computer, played video games, or were on their cell phone at least a few nights each week in the hour before bed.


Try an evening flow. Wait, flow? Yes. An evening flow—a style of yoga—always seems to help me calm my muscles and mind after a long day. It can be as brief as 10 minutes or as long as an hour. You can find peace and calm while enjoying a series of movements designed to help you sleep.

This suggested flow is designed so you can practice right from your bed. Each pose can be held up to 2 minutes and should incorporate slow, even breathing.

Relaxation Yoga
Watch The Video – 06:52

5-move yoga routine for sleep

  1. Simple Forward Bend
  2. Child’s Pose
  3. Supported Wall Inversion
  4. Supine Stretch
  5. Corpse Pose


Breathing—or deep breathing, rather—oxygenates your blood. This simple involuntary act can also be the center of your focus to help calm your body and calm your mind for a restful night’s sleep. By making it voluntary, you can enhance your calm and lower a stressed mind.

According to the Sleep Disorders Center from the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC), concentrating on slow, elaborate breathing allows the rest of the body to relax.

UMMC offers the following suggestions to practice your deep breathing technique:

Deep Breathing Technique

  1. Lie on your back.
  2. Slowly relax your body.
  3. Begin to inhale slowly through your nose if possible.
  4. Fill the lower part of your chest first, then the middle and top part of your chest and lungs. Do this slowly, over 8-10 seconds.
  5. Hold your breath for a second or two.
  6. Quietly and easily relax and let the air out.
  7. Repeat cycle


Not that kind of nightcap! Consider an evening “mocktail” of BCAAs and glutamine or a ZMA supplement. I know, I know—folks like to pooh-pooh glutamine, but taken on an empty stomach and just before bed, the glutamine alone can hone in on brain and GI function without interrupting the BCAAs path to the muscle for recovery.

Your body recovers as you sleep, but if you don’t get a good night’s rest, then you may lose your hard-earned gains. Pre-sleep supplements can help.

An alternative would be ZMA—a natural supplement comprising zinc and magnesium aspartate, which can be found in capsule or powder form. Zinc plays a critical role in cell growth and protein synthesis; magnesium is responsible for bone strength, immunity, and supports a healthy nervous system. A deficiency in either can disrupt sleep.

What to avoid? Alcohol can actually disrupt sleep patterns and make it difficult to resume sleep after waking. Try to also avoid consuming caffeine 2-4 hours before bedtime. Caffeine is a well-known stimulant which can disrupt sleep and remain active in your system hours after consumption.

You can also sip on hot herbal tea. If you’re not a fan of the earthy, green tea; try its estranged brother and opt for an herbal tea or herbal blend—decaf of course. The hot beverage increases natural body temperature, which decreases naturally as we sleep. This temperature spike can kickstart a cool-down and lead to a deeper sleep. The herbal notes and smell can help soothe tension and stress. Chamomile is a popular evening tea. No wonder it’s called “sleepy time” tea.


Maintain a regular sleep schedule—wake and bed time—even on the weekends. Our circadian rhythm thrives on consistency. Most of us can already relate to the power of consistency in our lives in the weight room, so take that lesson home with you.

A fave relaxation exercise of mine comes from UW Health Sleep Scientist and Psychologist, Dr. Shilagh Mirgain; it’s called “progressive muscle relaxation.” This can also be a helpful exercise to return to sleep after waking in the middle of the night.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation

  1. Begin this exercise by lying down.
  2. Starting with your feet, tense the muscles and hold tightly.
  3. Inhale as you tense and hold your breath for a few seconds.
  4. Exhale and release the muscle tension in your feet.
  5. Continue with each muscle group until you reach your head.

Pick up a bound book! Yeah, it’s old-school, but you’ll learn something and fall asleep faster.

Another mind-fulfillment technique is to simply take a hot bath with Epsom salts or a hot shower. Body temperature naturally dips at night, so, much like sipping on a hot beverage, the hot water from either a shower or bath will not only help soothe sore muscles but also kickstart the body’s cool-down process, helping you sleep.

If your imagination runs wild before bed, pick up a good read. Reading a story can help take your mind away from the stressors of the day.

Alternatively, organize your thoughts by writing them down. Journaling can allow you to release stressful thoughts.


This cannot be stressed enough. Give your body enough time to rest and repair. Researchers at the University of Wisconsin found that the brain needs sleep to learn and memorize new skills.

No, this doesn’t mean you’re going to lose those sweet, new curling skills or forget how to squat. But a balanced nightly sleep window will help preserve and enhance your brain health and overall function over time.

A balanced nightly sleep window will help preserve and enhance your brain health and overall function over time.

We make time to exercise and eat healthy, as well as manage our stress, but if we do not get a solid eight hours each night, we undermine all these efforts.


Like trying to soothe a crying baby in the middle of the night, supporting or reinforcing bad sleep behavior will only perpetuate the problem. Avoid getting out of bed for that drink of water. Never look at the clock. Creating habits like this reinforces poor sleep. Correct it.

Stay in bed. Turn your clock away from you before falling asleep. Break the cycle. Most people can return to regular sleep after 1-2 weeks with this reverse strategy.

If you have any questions, awesome sleep techniques, or sleep-hygiene nightmares you’d like to share, write them as comments below!

  1. Business Standard. Brain Needs Sleep to Learn and Memorize New Skills. ANI News. Retrieved on January 10, 2014, from http://www.business-standard.com/article/news-ani/brain-needs-sleep-to-learn-and-memorize-new-skills-114011000670_1.html
  2. Freedman, L. Men’s Fitness Magazine Supplement Guide – ZMA. Men’s Fitness. Retrieved on January 8, 2014, from http://www.mensfitness.com/nutrition/supplements/supplement-guide-zma
  3. Health.com. Bedtime Behaviors That Work: 7 Habits That Will Prepare Your Body for Sleep. Retrieved on January 8, 2014, from http://www.health.com/health/condition-article/0,,20189095,00.html
  4. National Sleep Foundation (NSF). Annual Sleep in America Poll Exploring Connections with Communications Technology Use and Sleep. Retrieved on January 11, 2014, from http://www.sleepfoundation.org/article/press-release/annual-sleep-america-poll-exploring-connections-communications-technology-use
  5. Tartakovsky, M. (2011). 12 Ways to Shut Off Your Brain Before Bedtime. Psych Central. Retrieved on January 8, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/lib/12-ways-to-shut-off-your-brain-before-bedtime/0006577
  6. University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC). Sleep Disorders Center. Relaxation Techniques. Retrieved on January 10, 2014, from http://umm.edu/programs/sleep/patients/relaxation#ixzz2qt79DeVN
  7. Uwhealth.org. Simple Strategies to Improve Your Sleep. Retrieved on January 8, 2014, from http://www.uwhealth.org/news/simple-strategies-to-improve-your-sleep/40770

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You Snooze, You Win: 7 Useful Sleep Tips

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Gyms Of The Month!

Fitness is an all-inclusive deal. You sign up and immediately begin earning rewards, like heart health and physical strength, new friends and new ideas of what training can look like. Finding the right environment to pursue your goals can make all the difference.

Each month, we feature three unique, top-class gyms to showcase the wide and wonderful world of training. The three facilities we’ve selected for May are very different, but each abides by the same mantra that keeps us motivated: Come here, change your body, and change your life.

One gym is a world-class CrossFit box, with a competitive team that consistently places high at the Reebok CrossFit Games. Another is a Hollywood boutique, which caters to its clients to the point that they can create their own style of classes. The third gym is one of the best and most-diverse in Columbus, Ohio, one of America’s fittest cities.

These gyms have earned the right to be called a Bodybuilding.com Gym of the Month.

CrossFit New England—

There are many metrics to gauge how well a gym works. Some measure success by the number of members, retention rates, and the ever-worldly bottom dollar. At CrossFit New England (CFNE), success is measured by how many people stick around after a Workout of the Day (WOD) is complete. If the gym has properly fostered a community and connected each member, then members stick around even after training.

“We try to create an environment of camaraderie, support integrity, honesty, [and] humility,” says CFNE Owner Ben Bergeron. “It’s different from a big gym club setting, where people come in, put their headphones on, and do their own type of workout. Here everyone is together, supporting each other. It’s a class atmosphere, but not like a class at a health club, where a coach leads and everyone is quiet. [CFNE] like a social club with a fitness problem .”

CFNE is one of the most competitive boxes in the world. Its hard-working members have finished in the top three in the Reebok CrossFit Games Team Competition three of the past four years. CFNE even won the team comp in 2011.

“We produce results,” Bergeron says, “but at the same time we’re not a hardcore, in your face, chalk dust and tattoos place. Our average client is a 39-year-old female mother of two. It’s not a bunch of 22-year-olds trying to become the fittest in the world.”

But, members of CFNE are getting extremely fit. The box boasts impressive results thanks to great coaching, accountability, and the discipline of CrossFit itself, which includes resistance training, Olympic lifting, gymnastics, and cardio. It’s an amalgamation of all good things in a high-intensity setting.

CrossFit isn’t just taking a foothold in the suburbs of Boston. It’s spreading across the planet and may even help offset the staggering obesity levels in American households. CFNE’s fastest growing demographics are children and teens, brought in by their parents or school buddies. Ben’s wife Heather helps run the children’s CrossFit staff.

“My Gym is Different”
Watch The Video – 01:48

“We have a program for every age demographic, but we don’t really reach out to them. They’ve just come to find us,” Bergeron says. “Our kids program was very successful from the beginning. Heather has a great personality to help kids. That program took off very quickly.”

Intense lifting may be harmful to children, so here kids learn form with broomsticks, and work on cardio endurance, bodyweight strength, and movement patterns. “We’re trying to cause a neurological response, so when they go to pick up their 35-pound backpack they are safer,” Bergeron explains.

Winning the CrossFit Games brought a little pride into CFNE, and some community glue. “Members rally around [CFNE] because it’s their gym,” Bergeron says. “We’re from Boston and we love to cheer for the Red Sox, Bruins and Patriots, but if you’re actually training with [competitors] every day, you get that next level of pride.”

While CFNE isn’t set on producing incredible physiques, they’re often the byproduct. “It’s true that form follows function,” Bergeron says. “The opposite is not true. Function doesn’t follow form. If you have a sculpted body, it doesn’t mean you can run a 4-minute mile and back squat 500 pounds in the same day. But, if you can do those two things, your body is going to be sculpted.”


Los Angeles is home to more than 13 million people. The demographics include movie stars, corporate executives, professional athletes, and many others who want to be stars or simply live better. Catering to that diverse crowd can be difficult for a gym.

In the heart of LA, just blocks from the financial district, is Uevolution, a small boutique-style gym created by Pascale Rothman. “One day it dawned on me that we needed a new kind of gym; one that not only got you in shape on the outside , but on the inside, too,” Rothman says. “We want to inspire people to take control of their lives, to enrich themselves at the deepest, most rewarding levels and feel their very best.”

Uevolution keeps it simple. There are no contracts, entry, or cancellation fees. All the equipment is new, made by TechnoGym, and there’s something here for everyone. You want TRX? Boxing? CrossFit? Powerlifting? Kettlebells? Dance? You can do it here. If Uevolution doesn’t have your niche, you can specially request a class, and the gym will make it for you!

“Usually there is a target market,” says Uevolution Fitness Manager Meghan O’Donoghue. “Here the entire community is the target. We have such a broad spectrum of clientele. There isn’t a standard member, from the artist painting on the corner to investment bankers. People initially try everything. We make it so that people can go somewhere where they are not going to get bored.”

To actually achieve that ultimate body and mind exercise, the facility is built as a wellness center. It offers nutritional guidance, physical therapy, a spa, locker rooms, showers, platforms, benches, and even numerous group activities outdoors via park access. And why not? It’s sunny LA.

Even though Uevolution is near the Fashion District, this isn’t a runway. It’s a place to exercise. If you’re in the City of Angels, and you need to evolve away from unhealthy lifestyle choices, stop in, get a 3-day pass, and try something new.

“True health is achieved through a balance in all areas of your life—overall wellness, strong workouts, rounded nutrition, and powerful connections through community,” Rothman says. “We encourage our clients to expand their minds, open their hearts, feed their body, and nourish their souls.”

Beyond Limits Training—

Beyond Limits is one of the most diverse training atmospheres in Columbus, Ohio, one of the fittest cities in America. This vast 7,000 sq ft facility is equipped to please anyone interested in powerlifting, strongman, general fitness, weight loss, bodybuilding, figure, Olympic lifting, functional strength, and conditioning.

The weight room boasts three squat racks and all the equipment you need to make your free-weight dreams a reality. The kettlebells go up to 70 pounds and the dumbbells roll to 130. You need bands, boards, chains? Get it here and get it done.

Beyond Limits has no limits. It’s open 24 hours every day to people of all ages. Its brick walls give it a sense of hardened resolve, but this is no iron dungeon. The setting is well-kept and clean. Of course there are treadmills and leg machines, but look closer and you’ll find various sleds and strongman equipment. Basically, whatever you like to lift, you can lift it here.

This is the official gym of the Arnold Sports Festival, which takes over Columbus for one weekend each year, but leaves a lasting impact on the economy and health of the entire metropolis. “The entire city lights up for the weekend and everyone in fitness goes home with amazing memories and friendships,” Beyond Limits owner Rich Lauro says. “Meeting all different kinds of people and athletes from across the world makes it something special.”

Lauro has been training for more than 20 years and lifted in gyms around the globe. He understands that, to appeal to a diverse crowd, a gym must offer diverse disciplines of exercise. Not only do different people have specialties, but each can also benefit from trying new things. Here, you can do it all under one roof.

“Our members thrive upon the diversity of training styles,” Lauro says. “We challenge our bodybuilders to be functionally conditioned and our runners to increase the strength across every measure. If we are not balanced, then we have a weakness in our fitness. We want our members to be strong head to toe, fit, and look good regardless of their particular sport or training style.”

Surround yourself with successful people and you will be successful. Train in an environment that both challenges and encourages you. Increase your chances of success. Go beyond your limits.

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Posted in Bodybuilding, Exercises, Nutrition, Uncategorized, Weight loss0 Comments

Fitness Amateur Of The Week: Melissa Harding Rocks A Hard Body!

QHow did your fitness
journey begin?

I lifted and enjoyed the gym for years, but 2013 was the first time I pursued my dream to become a fitness competitor. I learned about training, nutrition, and the importance of developing a mind-muscle connection so I could target the working muscle.

From age 16, I’ve trained in the gym 5-6 days per week consisting of cardio, fitness classes, and high-volume weight training. I discovered Bodybuilding.com four years ago and started to read up on advanced training methods to lift heavy, get stronger, and build muscle.

My results skyrocketed when I entered Physique of the Week Live, my first fitness competition, at the massive Body Power event with more than 60,000 visitors from England. I only had 10 weeks to prepare and had friend from college help me structure my training and nutrition plan.

“The sky really is the limit. Anything is possible if you want it badly enough.”

On the first day of contest prep, I was run over on the walk to work and couldn’t train for three weeks, so 10 weeks of prep suddenly became 7 weeks. Rather than give up and pull out of the competition, I became more determined. I was astounded at the incredible results I achieved in short time from consistent training and nutrition. I stepped on stage in the best shape of my life and was honored to win the best fitness personality award and place second overall out of 500 competitors.

My competition success gave me a taste of overwhelming accomplishment and made me crave the next big challenge. It was my dream to compete with the UKBFF (UK Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation) bikini division but was told I couldn’t because I had a fitness model body. I didn’t let that stop me and went for it anyway. I switched my training method and transformed my body into a curved, bikini physique and placed third in my first bikini competition, which supplanted my place in the British National finals.

Throughout the past year, I prepped for five competitions and learned about discipline, mental strength, and consistency. Contest prep requires planning, organization, and time management to train, prep meals, and work full-time. I plan to keep working hard to improve and accomplish more down the road.

What fitness regimen delivered the best results?

  • Stationary Bike Stationary Bike Stationary Bike
    6 sets of 20 second sprints with 2 minute recovery between sets
  • Elliptical Elliptical Elliptical
    6 sets of 20 second sprints with 2 minute recovery between sets

Amateurs Of The Week Main Page

Amateurs Of The Week

Bodybuilding.com honors amateurs across all categories for their hard work, dedication, and great physiques. Learn how our featured amateurs built their bodies and hit their goals!

What nutrition plan fueled your body?

What supplements gave you an edge?

How did your passion for fitness emerge?

My passion for fitness arose from a place of low self-confidence and determination to challenge myself to get on stage and face my shyness head on. It meant a lot to win best fitness personality at my first contest. Competing brought out the best in me. Now I feel confident and happy with my abilities.

Competing ignited a passion to demand more of myself and to strive for constant self-improvement. Bodybuilding provides an arena to constantly challenge myself physically and mentally. I get pumped up thinking about how far I came this year and how much more I still have to achieve.

What motivates you to live a healthy lifestyle?

I’m motivated to live healthy overall. My cravings went away after consistent dieting. It’s about more than looking good. It’s important to remember that healthy living is great for general health. In the process of competing, I also learned about nutrition and improving my general health to get the best out of training. This knowledge allows me to be healthy for the rest of my life.

Where did you go for inspiration?

Bodybuilding.com is where I go to get psyched up before every workout. I love watching the videos before the gym to motivate me. I enjoy learning philosophies from other athletes and competitors.

What are your future fitness plans?

I plan to win a UKBFF show and qualify for the British finals again to compete internationally. My dream is to become a fitness model and grace the cover of a major fitness magazine. I know what’s possible when I set my mind to improve my body. I’ll keep working until I achieve my goal. The sky really is the limit. Anything is possible if you want it badly enough.

“My dream is to become a fitness model and grace the cover of a major fitness magazine.”

What is the most important fitness tip?

  • When you feel like giving up, stop and visualize yourself achieving the goal.
  • Achieving your dream body comes down to consistent nutrition and training.
  • Dramatic lifestyle changes cannot happen overnight, so start small.
  • Think about what you want to achieve specifically.

Who is your favorite fitness competitor?

Amanda Latona is herself on stage and has fun with it. Amanda embodies a journey of self-improvement and confidence.

How did Bodybuilding.com help you reach your goals?

Bodybuilding.com is packed with educational content. It’s my favorite destination for videos and articles on nutrition and training. The exercise guides and video features are very useful to help me change my program according to my goals.

Melissa’s Top 5 Gym Tracks

  1. “Take You Down” by Bassnectar
  2. “Hate Me Know” by Nas (Feat. P Diddy)
  3. “Paris” by Kanye West
  4. “Public Domain” by Operation Blade
  5. “No Church In The Wild” by Jay-Z (Feat. Kanye West)
Competition History
  • 2013 Body Power – Best Fitness Personality, 2nd Place Physique
  • 2013 UKBFF British Nationals – Finalist
  • 2013 UKBFF East Of England Championships – 3rd Place
  • 2013 UKBFF Stars Of Tomorrow/London Classic Championships – 4th Place

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Jamie understands the value of heavy lifting and uses the iron to sculpt her beautiful body. Get the training and nutrition plans she uses to overcome the competition!

Fitness Amateur Of The Week: Jill Fortified Her Figure Physique!

Jill transitioned from bikini to figure with consistent heavy lifting and persistent healthy eating. Get the programs she used to build a title-worthy physique that exudes beauty!

Fitness Amateur Of The Week: Tish Defied Age With Iron!

Tish looks better at age 38 than she did in her 20s because of consistent clean eating coupled with intense training. Get the diet and workouts she uses to defeat mother nature!

About The Author

You could be our next Amateur Fitness Competitor Of The Week! This contest is open to both FITNESS and FIGURE competitors.

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Fitness Amateur Of The Week: Melissa Harding Rocks A Hard Body!

Posted in Bodybuilding, Exercises, Nutrition, Training Methods, Uncategorized, Weight Training0 Comments



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