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The Benefits Of ZMA: More Than A Sleep Supplement 24 Healthy Breakfasts Fit For Athletes Avoid These 5 Weight-Loss Pitfalls! Fitness Is A Skill, Not A Talent: Here Body Transformation: Tate Confer, From Fat To Fit Protein Roundtable: Ask The Expert Panel
 

The Benefits Of ZMA: More Than A Sleep Supplement

ZMA is a combination of zinc monomethionine/asparate and magnesium aspartate plus vitamin B6. It's strongly supported by clinical research to be an effective supplement for enhancing muscle recovery, boosting muscle size and strength, and even aiding fat loss.*I've been recommending ZMA supplementation for many years. Yet because ZMA is just a mineral supplement—and other supplements like creatine and NO-boosters seem to promise more—few people feel the need to bother with ZMA. That's unfortunate. If you're someone who doesn't feel that taking ZMA is critical for your results, you may change your mind after reading this article.ZMA is not a testosterone booster. Yes, research shows that it may help athletes maintain higher testosterone levels during intense training periods, though it is not designed to boost levels of the primary muscle-building hormone. It's simply the most effective way to supplement with two very critical minerals: zinc and magnesium.Minerals MatterZinc is an essential mineral with antioxidant properties that stimulates the activity of many enzymes in the body. These enzymes are critical for numerous biochemical reactions. Zinc has been found to be critical for protein synthesis, the molecular mechanism that leads to muscle recovery and growth.Numerous research studies have suggested that zinc and magnesium help enhance muscle size, muscle strength, and fat loss, not to mention overall health and well-being.*Magnesium is also an essential mineral involved in numerous reactions in the body. It's important for healthy function of the cardiovascular system, metabolic rate, and of course bone health.* Together, zinc and magnesium offer a wide assortment of physique and performance benefits.In fact, numerous research studies have suggested that these two minerals help enhance muscle size, muscle strength, and fat loss, not to mention overall health and well-being.*Anabolic FactorsResearch suggests that ZMA has significant anabolic benefits. A study performed at Western Washington University (Bellingham) had NCAA football players take ZMA or a placebo every night during an eight-week spring training program. They reported that the athletes taking the ZMA supplement experienced more than a 30-percent increase in testosterone levels, and about a 5-percent increase in levels of the insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1).* Those taking a placebo had a 10-percent decrease in testosterone levels and a greater than 20-percent decrease in levels of IGF-1.In addition to the improvements in their anabolic hormone levels, the ZMA-supplemented athletes made significantly greater gains in strength and power, and achieved better sleep quality, than a placebo group. Better sleep quality also helps to aid muscle recovery from tough workouts. These benefits occurred in the ZMA group despite the fact that the analyses of their diets found that the athletes were all consuming well over the recommended intake for zinc. In addition to the study performed by the Western Washington University researcher, several other studies have also found that zinc and magnesium offer potent anabolic properties.*Better sleep quality also helps to aid muscle recovery from tough workouts.A 2007 study from Selcuk University (Konya, Turkey) reported that four weeks of zinc supplementation in men increased testosterone levels at rest and after exercise.* The same researchers also found similar results for zinc supplementation on testosterone levels in a prior study with competitive wrestlers. Researchers from the USDA reported that zinc depletion decreased muscle endurance in subjects. This means that maintaining optimal zinc levels is critical for your ability to complete a number of reps with a given weight.The same Western Washington University research team that did the ZMA research also discovered in an earlier study that when subjects supplemented with magnesium while following a 7-week leg training program, their leg strength increased by 20-percent more than those taking a placebo.*Both zinc and magnesium are also suggested to blunt cortisol, a catabolic hormone. German researchers found that triathletes taking a magnesium supplement for four weeks maintained healthy cortisol levels at rest and after a triathlon, as compared to athletes taking a placebo.* And Brazilian researchers also reported that subjects supplementing with zinc maintained healthy cortisol balance.*ZMA may also boost growth hormone (GH) levels, albeit indirectly. ZMA enhances sleep quality due to magnesium's ability to normalize and extend stage 3 and stage 4 slow-wave sleep. This is critical, as deeper sleep can help to raise GH levels, which peak during the night.Metabolic MusterZinc is also critical for maintaining thyroid hormone production. This is important for keeping your metabolic rate (the amount of calories you burn each day) and fat-burning capabilities up. Being low in zinc can limit thyroid hormone production, and compromised thyroid hormone function results in a lower metabolic rate, which makes it harder to drop body fat. Research confirms that when your diet is low in zinc, thyroid hormone levels fall and resting metabolic rate drops.One study from the University of Massachusetts (Amherst) found that subjects placed on a low-zinc diet had significantly lowered metabolic rates. When the subjects took 25 mg of zinc each day for 20 days, their metabolic rate jumped up to levels that were higher than even before they followed the low-zinc diet.* The Selcuk University studies also showed that four weeks of zinc supplementation increased thyroid hormone levels in male wrestlers and sedentary men.It appears that zinc is not only critical for thyroid function, but also for maintaining levels of the hormone leptin. This hormone is also important for keeping your metabolic rate high as well as keeping hunger down. Being deficient in zinc has been shown to significantly lower leptin levels.Support ImmunityIt is well established that zinc is critical for immune function. Zinc affects multiple aspects of the immune system. Research from the Cleveland Clinic suggests that supplementing with zinc helps to support a strong immune system.Zinc also functions as a powerful antioxidant. This mighty mineral activates an enzyme that may help support overall health and immune function.* Zinc's powerful antioxidant properties can enhance not just your health but your post-workout recovery as well. Zinc's immune-boosting effects can help to keep you healthy and in the gym.Yes, You're DeficientResearch has confirmed that athletes are often deficient in both zinc and magnesium. This is most likely due to several factors, such as zinc lost through sweat during training, increased use of zinc by the body for recovery and protein synthesis following training, and an increased loss of zinc through urine. There may also be dietary factors involved.Refined sugars, as well as white-flour products such as white bread, can lower blood levels of zinc and magnesium.Refined sugars, as well as white-flour products such as white bread, can lower blood levels of zinc and magnesium. Foods rich in calcium, such as dairy products, inhibit absorption of both zinc and magnesium by the small intestines. Copper, as well as foods rich in phytates (phosphorous compounds found in whole-grain breads, cereals, and legumes) also hinder the absorption of zinc by the small intestines. And alcohol decreases the absorption of zinc and magnesium, and increases their loss through urine.Given that you likely are not adequately absorbing the zinc from your whole foods, and that you are losing large amounts of the zinc that you do absorb, you should seriously consider taking a ZMA supplement to maximize muscle mass and strength gains, as well as to drop body fat and support healthy immune function.If you are using my Vita JYM multivitamin, it is critical that you use ZMA. I omitted zinc and magnesium from Vita JYM to prevent their competition with other nutrients, and to allow for the maximal uptake and utilization of zinc through ZMA.Do's and Don'ts While taking a plain zinc and magnesium supplement together may provide you with adequate amounts of these important minerals and cost less than a ZMA supplement, I still suggest you spend the money on ZMA. The form of zinc and magnesium used in ZMA is a chelate known as zinc monomethionine/aspartate and magnesium aspartate. This form helps to minimize interference in the absorption of both these minerals. Furthermore, this form of ZMA provides zinc and magnesium aspartate in the proper dosage, while also serving up the proper amount of vitamin B6, which aids magnesium uptake and utilization by the body. Specific dosages were found to produce positive effects in athletes' hormone and strength levels. Men should look for ZMA supplements that provide 30 mg of zinc, 450 mg of magnesium, and 10-11 mg of B6; no more, no less. Women should take a 20 mg dose of zinc, 300 mg of magnesium, and 6-7 mg B6. Since a full dose of ZMA is usually 3 capsules, the dose for women can be achieved by taking 2 capsules. Also, be sure that it lists ZMA from SNAC Systems on the label. Anything else is not true ZMA. Be aware that, with zinc, there can be too much of a good thing. Taking in too much zinc—upwards of 50 mg of absorbed zinc— can lead to negative effects on the immune system and metabolic rate, adversely impact muscle recovery and growth, and even reduce levels of HDL (good) cholesterol. It can also interfere with copper uptake. In other words, the effects will be the opposite of what's intended in the first place. What about magnesium? Taking more than 450 mg of it can actually interfere with optimal sleep. One of the most important aspects of supplementing with ZMA is timing. I have always recommended taking it about 1 hour before bed and 1-2 hours after you eat. This will not only help to maximize its uptake and utilization, as clinical research confirms, but taking ZMA at this time of day will also enhance sleep quality. It's critical that you do not take ZMA with any food, particularly food rich in calcium, like dairy. Both zinc and magnesium are poorly absorbed when taken with food. Sometimes, it's a two-way street. Calcium, for example, interferes with zinc uptake while zinc interferes with the absorption of amino acids. One way to enhance the uptake of ZMA is to take it with 5 mg of BioPerine, a black pepper extract that's been found to enhance absorption. * These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.ReferencesBrandão-Neto, J., et al. Zinc acutely and temporarily inhibits adrenal cortisol secretion in humans. A preliminary report. Biol Trace Elem Res. 1990 Jan;24(1):83-9. Brilla, L. R. and Conte, V. Effects of a Novel Zinc-Magnesium Formulation on Hormones and Strength. Journal of Exercise Physiology online. 3 (4): 2000. Brilla, L. R. and Haley, T. F. Effect of magnesium supplementation on strength training in humans. J Am Coll Nutr. 1992 Jun;11(3):326-9. Cinar, V., et al. Effects of magnesium supplementation on blood parameters of athletes at rest and after exercise. Biol Trace Elem Res. 2007 Mar;115(3):205-12. Cinar, V., et al. The effects of magnesium supplementation on thyroid hormones of sedentars and Tae-Kwon-Do sportsperson at resting and exhaustion. Neuro Endocrinol Lett. 2007 Oct;28(5):708-12. Cordova, A. and Navas, F. J. Effect of training on zinc metabolism — changes in serum and sweat zinc concentrations in sportsmen. Ann Nutr Metab 1998:42:274-82. Evans, G. W. and Johnson, E. C. Effect of iron, vitamin B-6 and picolinic acid on zinc absorption in the rat. J Nutr 1981:111: 68-75. Freake, H. C., et al. Actions and Interactions of Thyroid Hormone and Zinc Status in Growing Rats. J. Nutr. 131: 1135-1141, 2001. Golf, S. W., et al. On the significance of magnesium in extreme physical stress. Cardiovasc Drugs Ther 1998:12:197-202. Haralambie, G., et al. Serum zinc in athletes in training. Int J Sports Med. 1981 Aug;2 (3):135-8. Kilic, M., et al. Effect of fatiguing bicycle exercise on thyroid hormone and testosterone levels in sedentary males supplemented with oral zinc. Neuro Endocrinol Lett. 2007 Oct;28 (5):681-5. Kilic, M., et al. The effect of exhaustion exercise on thyroid hormones and testosterone levels of elite athletes receiving oral zinc. Neuro Endocrinol Lett. 2006 Feb-Apr;27(1-2):247-52. Kilic, M., et al. Effect of zinc supplementation on hematological parameters in athletes. Biol Trace Elem Res. 2004 Jul;100(1):31-8. Konig, D., et al. Zinc, iron, and magnesium status in athletes— influence on the regulation of exercise-induced stress and immune function. Exerc Immunol Rev 1998:4:2-21. Kwun, I. S., et al. Marginal zinc deficiency in rats decreases leptin expression independently of food intake and corticotrophin-releasing hormone in relation to food intake. Br J Nutr. 2007 98(3):485-9. Mahalanabis, D., et al. Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial of the efficacy of treatment with zinc or vitamin A in infants and young children with severe acute lower respiratory infection. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 79(3): 430-436, 2004. Mocchegiani, E., et al. Zinc, metallothioneins, and longevity—effect of zinc supplementation: zincage study. Ann NY Acad Sci. 2007 Nov;1119:129-46. Mossad, S. B. Effect of zincum gluconicum nasal gel on the duration and symptom severity of the common cold in otherwise healthy adults. QJM. 2003 Jan;96(1):35-43. Persigehl, M. Changes in the serum zinc concentration in different metabolic situations. Z Klin Chem Klin Biochem. 1974 Apr;12(4):171-5. Sazawal, S., et al. Zinc supplementation reduces the incidence of acute lower respiratory infections in infants and pre-school children: a double-blind, controlled trial. Pediatrics 102:1-5, 1998. Shankar, A.H., et al. Zinc and immune function: The biological basis of altered resistance to infection. Am J Clin Nutr 68: 447S-463S, 1998. Sprietsma, J. E. Modern diets and diseases: NO-zinc balance. Under Th1, zinc and nitrogen monoxide (NO) collectively protect against viruses, AIDS, autoimmunity, diabetes, allergies, asthma, infectious diseases, atherosclerosis and cancer. Medical Hypotheses(1999) 53(1): 6-16. Theberge, C. S. and Volpe, S. L. Effect of Zinc Depletion and Repletion on Resting Metabolic Rate and Zinc Status in Healthy Male and Female. New England American College of Sports Medicine Annual Meeting, 2003. VanLoan, M. D., et al. The effects of zinc depletion on peak force and total work of knee and shoulder extensor and flexor muscles. Int J Sport Nutr 1999:9:125-135. Wada, L. and King, J. C. Effect of low zinc intakes on basal metabolic rate, thyroid hormones and protein utilization in adult men. J Nutr. 1986 Jun;116(6):1045-53. Wichnik, A., et al. Magnesium aspartate as a cardioprotective agent and adjuvant in tocolysis with betamimetics. Animal experiments on the kinetics and calcium antagonist action of orally administered magnesium aspartate with special reference simultaneous vitamin B administration. Z Geburtshilfe Perinatol 1982:186:326-34. Recommended For YouAsk The Supp Guru: 'What Is The Best Ratio Of BCAAs?' You know that branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) are important for muscular energy and growth, but you might not know the best ratio of BCAAs. The Supp Guru has you covered!The Benefits Of Post-Workout Carbohydrates For many people, post-workout recovery includes a dose of fast-acting carbohydrates. But do you really need carbs as part of your post-workout meal for optimal gains?Your Expert Guide To Carnipure L-Carnitine Carnipure is the most popular, highest-quality L-carnitine on the market. It's a popular ingredient in energy drinks, post-workout supplements, and on its own. Here's what you need to know to get the most out of it!About The AuthorJim Stoppani, Ph.D.Jim holds a doctorate in exercise physiology and has been the personal nutrition and health consultant for numerous celebrity clients...View All Articles By This Author

24 Healthy Breakfasts Fit For Athletes

Bodybuilding.com's athletes understand what it means to eat a "breakfast of champions." After all, their head-turning, competition-winning physiques aren't the result of some 7-minute abs program or fat-torching sorcery. No, their bodies—inside and outside—are the finely made product of many, many hours of hard work and sound nutrition, starting with a healthy breakfast.Whether you break your fast first thing in the morning or much later in the day, our athletes agree that a kick-ass first meal should deliver the energy and nutrients you need to tango with your day's to-do list. If you want to train like an athlete, or aspire to look like one, eating like one is a great place to start.There's a lot to learn from the similarities—and even the differences—of the supercharged breakfast recipes below, so browse the entire list for excellent first-meal ideas. Without further ado, check out the healthy breakfasts our motley team of athletes loves to eat!OATMEALSZane Hadzick, When I wake up in the morning, my first thoughts drift to food. (Don't tell my family!) First, I stumble my way to the kitchen and immediately take a shot of apple cider vinegar mixed with 100 percent pure lemon juice, about a tablespoon of each. I follow that with a full glass of water.I then indulge in a nice bowl of cold oatmeal—cold, because you make it the night before—which tastes a lot better than it sounds. Soak 1/2 cup of oatmeal in almond milk, egg whites, or even water, and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, I mash in a banana and add a heaping scoop of vanilla protein powder. I actually like to add some uncooked oats mixed with cinnamon on top to vary the texture.Chassidy Smothers, All I need is an "upgraded" bowl of oats with a heaping scoop of chocolate protein powder and a tablespoon of almond butter. This chocolate-y, peanut butter goodness delivers great energy before a workout and satisfies my "peanut butter cup" cravings—yum. Plus, I have a large cup of coffee with chocolate protein powder mixed in for a delicious mocha-like drink in the morning!Shelsea Sanchez, My go-to breakfast is oatmeal and eggs, but if I'm in a hurry I mix Jamie Eason's chocolate protein powder into a serving of oatmeal instead of making eggs. That combo is full of fiber and protein, and perfect for my busy lifestyle!Boas Henrique Oliveira, This is my favorite breakfast and I eat it pretty much every day! I start off with a cup of oatmeal. Then I go a little peanut butter crazy with one scoop of peanut butter chocolate MusclePharm Combat powder and mix in a tablespoon of P28 Signature Blend peanut butter as well. You can never have too much peanut butter.Then I top this with sliced banana and cinnamon for extra flavor (but that's totally optional). I hope you enjoy this as much as I do in the mornings.Kizzito Ejam, My breakfast is pretty much the same every morning. It's usually a 1/2 cup of oatmeal with 30 grams of whey protein—whatever flavor I feel like at the time—and some almond milk mixed together. This, coupled with half a grapefruit, gives me great energy in the morning. Of course, I drink a cup of coffee with my breakfast, as well.Jerome Ferguson, I've been bodybuilding for many years. One of the most important lessons I've learned is to start my day with a nutritious breakfast. My breakfast consists of a cup of oatmeal with a teaspoon of brown sugar and a handful of mixed berries—raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, etc. This breakfast gives me energy for hours, plus the berries help with my digestive system. I follow this meal with a 6-ounce grilled chicken breast and a scramble of 10 egg whites and one yolk an hour and a half later.Hanan Arabatlian, The real beauty of making oats overnight is that you can make a big batch in a large container or in individual jars, and be set for at least a couple of days! When I make this, I place 2 cups of rolled oats, 2 cups of milk (of any kind), Chia seeds (to my individual macros), and an apple cut into tiny slivers. Mix all these together and toss it into the fridge overnight.In the morning, I top a serving with my yogurt of choice (I use almond-based yogurt), walnuts, no-sugar-added dried cherries, strawberries, bananas, or coconut shavings. Basically, any combination of your favorite toppings will work! I change up toppings all the time, but the base stays the same.EGGS 'N THINGSBrooke Dragon, As a nutrition science major at University of Connecticut, I eat this healthy breakfast every morning to tackle any long day of lectures, workouts, and everything in between. I'll have 1 cup of scrambled egg whites with 2 slices of turkey bacon. (It's not breakfast without bacon.) For carbs, I like to have 1/2 cup of organic rolled oats and a cup of berries at the end of my meal. There's nothing quite like a bowl of fresh berries!Lindsey Weigand, This asparagus, mushroom, and Swiss frittata is my favorite breakfast! I've adopted it from AllWhite's online recipe database, and like to add raw spinach to the standard recipe. I make it all at once and just reheat a piece every morning to save time. It's scrumptious all week long.Brandon Johnson, I usually work out in the mornings, so I have two breakfasts. The pre-workout breakfast is a simple smoothie made out of bananas, whey protein, and peanut butter. I don't like to eat a big meal or carb-heavy meal before I work out—but I do afterwards!Once I finish my workout, I dig into my egg-white scramble—usually with spinach, peppers, and perhaps other veggies—with a bowl of oatmeal and half a banana. This easy post-workout meal fills me up and helps me to recover from my morning workout. I don't get fancy or creative. I keep it simple and wholesome.Alicia Harris, My go-to healthy breakfast is a scramble that consists of three egg whites and one whole egg placed atop a 100-calorie wheat bagel. I top this with about a quarter of an avocado. This simple breakfast supplies me with enough protein, carbs, and fats to get my day started. Plus, it's very convenient to take anywhere!Tabitha Klausen, Every morning, I put together a scramble consisting of one whole egg and 1/2 cup egg whites, along with two turkey sausages and lots of fruit. I love pineapple, melon, and peaches! Sometimes I will switch it up and make myself a bagel sandwich, using an Udi's gluten-free bagel with two eggs, turkey sausage, and a little cheese. The bagel gives me extra energy.Nikki Walter, My usual breakfast consists of two slices of Ezekiel bread with peanut butter, 1/2 cup of gluten-free oats, five egg whites, and a massive cup of coffee. (I love coffee!) Sometimes I'll add peanut butter or a bit of Walden Farms calorie-free pancake syrup with cinnamon in my oats.PROTEIN PANCAKESKathleen Tesori, I love my egg-white and oatmeal pancake. The recipe is really simple and requires only three ingredients: 2/3 cup of liquid egg whites with 1 whole egg and combine with 1/3 cup of uncooked oats. First add the eggs together in the skillet, sprinkle with oats, and then cook until bottom is browned and can be flipped over.I make four of these at a time, so I end up using all four stove burners—it's quite amusing to watch. I typically eat one pancake and put the remaining three in the fridge in a Ziploc bag. These egg-white pancakes store well and warm up perfectly in the following days.I like to top my pancakes with fruit, honey, 100-percent maple syrup, agave nectar, or almond butter. There's really no rhyme or reason to my selection of toppings—just whatever I crave or feel like! If I'm in a hurry, I'll slap on some nut butter and honey, and then fold a pancake in half and eat it like a weird taco in the car.Brandan Fokken, Without nutrition, I wouldn't be where I am today. I firmly believe smart nutrition is the foundation you build everything else upon. Therefore, it's not a stretch to say that breakfast is my most favorite and important meal of the day!First, I have 3/4 cup of my personal blend of oatmeal from Myoatmeal.com. If I add anything to it, I'll mix in 1/2 scoop of Beast whey and enough water to make a paste-like consistency.Alongside the oats, I'll take 1-1/2 cups egg whites, cook the eggs until they are close to being done, and then sprinkle on a quarter scoop of Beast whey. I end up with eggs that are more pancake-y than regular eggs. Simple, but amazing!Samantha Leete, This is one of my favorite recipes, bar none. You'll need 4 egg whites, 1 whole egg, 1/2 cup and oatmeal. The base recipe lets you diversify your pancake creations, but I really like blueberry protein pancakes so I'll add about 1/3 cup of blueberries for extra sweetness and a good dose of antioxidants.I make this almost every morning because it's fast, easy, and tastes even better than regular pancakes. I like to add optional teaspoons of cinnamon, vanilla extract, and baking powder for that nice rise, as well as using sugar-free syrup. These are so delicious, and good for you too! You can also make extra cakes and warm them up when you're in a rush or traveling.SMOOTHIESJamie Eason, As a mom of an infant, I usually have to get something in me quickly. My "Lean Body" smoothie fits the bill. It's a simple recipe that calls for 1 cup of organic almond milk, 1 scoop of Jamie Eason Lean Body vanilla protein, and 1 scoop of Barlean's Superfruit Greens. It tastes amazing and fills me up until I can have something heartier—usually after my little man goes down for an early morning nap around 10.Michelle Hanson, I believe a healthy and nutritious breakfast is definitely a must! Every day, I've been having two eggs sunny side up—and yes, I keep the yolks for essential nutrients like selenium, and B vitamins—cooked in coconut oil. I eat two slices of Ezekiel bread, two slices of avocado, and a glass of Joe Cross Mean Green juice, which is basically a juice blend of 2 green apples, 4 celery stalks, 1 lemon, 1 cucumber, some kale leaves, and a bit of ginger. Try it—you'll feel so energized!Rachael Labender, My appetite and energy levels vary day to day, but I still make sure to have some sort of food in the mornings, depending on how I feel and my morning workout. My breakfast ranges between an easy parfait with Greek yogurt and organic granola to an egg-white scramble, time permitting. Otherwise, I default to a green smoothie. My green smoothie consists of VEGA Sport Performance vanilla protein, 1/2 a lemon, handful of frozen mixed berries, 1/2 cup almond milk, spinach, 1 tablespoon of flax seeds, ice, and a bit of Stevia to my desired level of sweetness.Oh, and of course, I always have a cup of coffee (or two!) to give me the best results and a ton of energy. Let me know what you think of the smoothie.Rachel Flint, My mornings are very busy, so breakfast has to be quick and easy. My go-to has been this protein smoothie. Take 1 cup of unsweetened vanilla almond milk, 1 banana, 2 scoops of Jamie Eason's chocolate protein powder, spinach, and ice, and blend it all together. Sometimes I'll throw in some extra peanut butter or peanut butter powder, depending on my current goals. It comes out as a thick and delicious treat that keeps me full until my next meal.Corey St. Clair, I need my breakfast quick, easy, tasty, and nutritious, so I start every day with a tasty meal replacement shake that gives me plenty of fuel. I simply throw 1 serving of MET-Rx Meal Replacement, 1 serving Cellucor Alpha Amino, 1 serving Amazing Grass Green Superfood, 1 banana, ice, and water all in a blender. I might modify the recipe slightly depending on the type of training I'm doing or if I have an event coming up.OTHERSara Solomon, As an intermittent faster, I skip breakfast and train fasted upon waking. Instead of eating, I consume a scoop of BSN AminoX (grape is my favorite) 10-15 minutes before my morning 20-minute high-intensity interval resistance training session, during the workout, and again afterwards. I continue to drink a scoop every two hours until I break my fast.To mix things up, I like to turn my aminos from a standard shake into a refreshing popsicle. It's so easy to make: 1 scoop of BSN AminoX and 8 ounces of water are you need. Pour this mixture into a popsicle mold and freeze. Try it out and fall in love!Rachelle Dejean, I make it a point to eat a balanced breakfast that includes carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. I'm also a big fan of making my meals more interesting, so these "peanut butter peekaboo's" are something I came up with that's tasty and fun to look at. Most importantly, it's easy to make. It uses very simple ingredients, and best of all, these delicious cups of fun keep me energized and pumped for the day.First, combine 1/3 cup rolled oats, 4 egg whites, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and 1/2 teaspoon baking powder in a blender. Pour this batter into a muffin tin and bake for 15-20 minutes at 375 degrees F. While it's still warm, scoop out the top half of the muffin and pat in a tablespoon (or however much you'd like) of peanut butter in the center. Replace the top muffin half and then devour!Abel Albonetti, I don't normally eat breakfast. Instead, I drink coffee that's been blended with 2 tablespoons of grass-fed butter and 1 tablespoon of medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil first thing each morning. It's definitely not your typical cup of coffee, but it incorporates the healthy fats that I use to get my day started.In my experience, when I eat a normal breakfast that includes carbs, I find that my energy level starts to fade around 11 a.m. After switching to consuming only fats early in the morning (until about 10 a.m.), my energy level is more consistent throughout the day.This coffee may sound strange at first, but the taste is excellent, and the blending process results in a frothy cup. If you don't usually like the bitter taste of coffee, this recipe is for you!Recommended For YouIs Chocolate A Fit Or Fat Food? We all know a diet of Butterfinger and Baby Ruth bars will make you pack on pounds, but is there a way to make chocolate work for you rather than against you? Science has the surprising answer.Pomegranate Power: The Athletic Benefits Of The Pomegranate You've seen it in the grocery store. Your grandparents drink it. But is the pomegranate just another overhyped fruit to be forgotten in a few years? Not if history and nutritional research have anything to say about it!7 Nutritional Hacks You work hard to keep on top of your nutrition game, but sometimes you need that extra edge to get the most nutritional gains out of everyday foods.

Avoid These 5 Weight-Loss Pitfalls!

Vital StatsName: Alex CarneiroOccupation: IFBB Olympia Pro; Optimum-sponsored athlete; Kinesiologist; Nutritionist; Coach; Pro Fitness Cover ModelWebsite: alexcarneiro.comLosing weight is a challenging task for many people. After all, reaching your goals takes dedication, time, and consistency. But with mounds of information—and misinformation—floating around in magazines, videos, and marketing fads, it can become easy to lose your way. Effective, long-established methods to shed unwanted body fat can become twisted, warped, and misconstrued, and what you actually end up doing might lead you to sabotage your results without realizing it. Believe me, it happens.If you kill it at the gym, bring sufficient intensity to your workouts, and follow a strict nutrition plan, but still don't see results—or even worse, you gain additional body fat—you've likely fallen into a weight-loss pitfall. Learn how to avoid dietary disaster with these 5 tips!PITFALL 1 Dieting: Let's briefly analyze the concept itself. Most people jump on the dieting bandwagon with a specific timeframe and goal in mind. The logic might go a little something like this: "If I cut carbs for six weeks, I can fit into that pair of pants," or, "If I replace sweets with veggies for the next few months, I'll lose those last 10 pounds in time for my high school reunion." No matter their reason, most people have something they're striving for and a due date for when it has to be completed.The reality is that we all want things done now. We want everything to be fast and effortless. Whether it's a 30-day challenge or a 90-day transformation plan, it seems that nearly every goal has a date or finite time associated with it. While a sense of urgency might initially get you off the couch and into the gym, will it dramatically change you in the long run? Probably not."If you regularly add caramel, creamer, and whipped topping to your coffee, try reaching for fat-free milk and nixing the sweet stuff."Avoid It! Make a Lifestyle ChangeBreaking years of bad habits is hard and can't be done overnight; you're not suddenly going to ditch pizza for rice and baked chicken. The key is to slowly start making changes you can sustain and integrate into a new, healthier lifestyle. Rather than banning certain foods completely, start by utilizing healthy substitutions. For example, if you regularly add caramel, creamer, and whipped topping to your coffee, try reaching for fat-free milk and nixing the sweet stuff. While it might be difficult at first, these small changes will eventually become habits, and you'll stop slurping down coffee that contains as many calories as a deluxe cheeseburger.PITFALL 2 These days, supermarket shelves are lined with buzzwords such as organic, natural, gluten-free, farm-raised, sugar-free, and fat-free. Keep in mind that these phrases don't mean calorie-free!On a daily basis, people come up to me and ask why they aren't losing weight, even if their diets consist solely of organic meats and fruit. Foods, even if they're organic or fat-free, still contain calories.Avoid It! Expend More Than You EatYou can debate whether all calories are equal until you're blue in the face, but effective fat loss really comes down to calories in versus calories out. If you're looking to lose weight, your calorie consumption has to be less than your caloric expenditure. Basically, you have to burn more than you eat."While fruit is great for you, and contains high levels of natural vitamins and minerals, its sugar content can be relatively high. One cup of grapes, for example, has 23 grams of sugar per serving."Organic produce is better for you and your body, but it's all the same in macros. It's important to be aware of what you're consuming. Take fruit, for example. While fruit is great for you, and contains high levels of natural vitamins and minerals, its sugar content can be relatively high. One cup of grapes, for example, has 23 grams of sugar per serving.1I'm not trying to deter you from eating fruit, but here's some food for thought: If one piece of fruit has that much sugar, a mixed fruit smoothie from your local health store is likely loaded with the sweet stuff. This can quickly add up to a calorie bomb. Eat well, but eat (and drink) portions that meet your goals.PITFALL 3 "I'm trying to lose weight, so I'm not going to eat breakfast." So goes the mentality of many dieters. Many people think starting their day fasted will allow them to burn more calories. Alas, the opposite is usually true! Because people who skip breakfast typically get hungrier later in the day, they tend to overeat at lunch and dinner.Avoid It! Fuel Up For Your GoalsSkipping breakfast isn't directly correlated with gaining fat, but it won't help you reach your goals. Trading in a potential muscle-building meal for, well, nothing, can leave you feeling depleted for any upcoming workout. Your body will be running low on fuel, so you won't have the optimal energy to lift as intensely or put the fire to stubborn body fat.Exercising and eating well-balanced, nutritious meals are still the best ways to lose weight and keep lean muscle mass. Don't think that skipping one meal per day will reap magic rewards. Instead, check out the Bodybuilding.com Recipe Database for breakfast recipes that will fuel your body and support your fat-burning efforts!PITFALL 4 There's one point I can't drive home enough: Eating fat doesn't necessarily make you fat. However, it's important to note that not all fats are created equal. Trans fats and excess saturated fats are bad for you because they have the potential to raise your "bad" LDL cholesterol, and may even increase your risk for heart disease.Avoid It! Eat the Right FatsInstead of fearing all fats, turn to monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which have the potential to lower LDL cholesterol, and may even reduce your risk of heart disease. Essential fats like omega-3 fatty acids also provide a number of benefits to your physique and performance goals, so they're not to be missed.While healthy fats like omega-3s and CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) can help you burn fat, moderation is key. When you think about the fat you eat on a daily basis—almonds, fatty fish, oils, and seeds—you'll see that the calories in a high-fat diet add up pretty fast. In the game of numbers, fats carry roughly nine calories per gram, so be aware of how many you consume.PITFALL 5 Today, chemists can create flavors that mimic just about anything. Chances are that new, bright green, lemon-lime-flavored soda wasn't Mother Nature's doing. To make your favorite snack foods "healthy," chemicals mimicking natural sugars are used. These chemicals can often trigger you to crave more sweets later.Beyond the gastrointestinal problems that these foods may cause us, there are other problems to consider. Research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition discovered some frightening facts that should make us all swear off diet drinks and products.2 The two most alarming:Diet sodas raised the risk of diabetes more than sugar-sweetened sodas. Women who drank diet sodas consumed twice as much as those who drank sugar-sweetened sodas because of the addictive nature of artificial sweeteners. Avoid It! Ditch the "Diet" ProductsAlas, even zero-calorie colas come at a price, and none of them are a fat-loss magic bullet. Instead of trading cola for diet cola, ditch the cola entirely and stick with natural options like green tea or water, both of which can actually contribute to your fat-loss efforts! Green tea has a mild calorie-burning effect thanks to its high catechin content, while water is essential to performance and can help you feel full.Recommended For YouHealthy Recipes: Apple Pie Protein Cupcakes Get your protein fix, satisfy your sweet tooth, and dig into the flavors of a piping hot apple pie without the unwanted calories!Healthy Recipes: 8 Delicious Protein Pumpkin Recipes! Nothing says fall like the sweet taste of pumpkin. Add the seasonal treat to your meal plan with these dessert recipes that are sure to take any meal to the nines!Physique Training: 5 Keys To An Aesthetic Body Building a proportional, symmetrical body takes a special kind of training. It requires more than just pulling heavy deadlifts—it's an art. Here's a guide to creating your own statuesque physique!About The AuthorAlex CarneiroAlex is an IFBB Physique pro and Optimum Nutrition sponsored athlete from Brazil. He currently operates his training business from his home.View All Articles By This Author

Fitness Is A Skill, Not A Talent: Here's How To Develop It

As a fitness coach and the co-founder of Fitocracy, I’ve been exposed to the success stories and fitness challenges of countless people. When they fail to meet their fitness goals, people often tell me that they don’t have innate talent. Instead, they should think of fitness as a skill to be refined and improved upon.This post originally appeared on Fitocracy and Bodybuilding.comDespite these success stories, most people fail at fitness and obesity rates are increasing. Yet, if people understood the secret to fitness, success would eventually be inevitable.You see, the one thing that I hear the most is “If I just had the motivation…” People think that the secret to making a successful fitness transformation is about finding motivation.They think motivation is like some sort of fitness Tinker Bell that you can pull out of your pocket at any time. She’ll sprinkle magic pixie dust that makes you instantly hate the taste of pizza and love the treadmill.You know who does have motivation? Your average Joe who joins a gym in January. He’s motivated as hell. Sadly, he doesn’t stick around come March. He stops going to the gym, feels guilty, then blames his lack of willpower.Little does he know fitness success is not about motivation. Motivation is fleeting and unreliable. Most importantly, it’s not a skill that you can improve.The truth is that despite the fact, everyone is capable of achieving his or her ideal physique. What’s the secret? It’s realising the following:Fitness Is As Much Of A Skill As Riding A BicycleIf you find your own transformation difficult to achieve, then you’re about to find out why and learn how to improve your fitness “skill”.But first, let’s talk about an important concept — mindset. In psychology, people can be bucketed into two different mindsets — a fixed mindset and a growth mindset.Those with fixed mindsets believe that success is based on innate talent. You’re born with these characteristics, and you either have them or you don’t. Failures — such as the failure to follow a diet — are the result of a flaw in character, such as self-control, discipline, or intelligence.Those with a growth mindset believe that success is reliant upon improving their different skill sets. That is, through hard work, learning and experience, these people can improve their success in different facets of life.Some subjects, like riding a bicycle, are universally seen through a “growth” lens.If you fell and scraped your knee the first time you attempted riding a bike, you wouldn’t say “Something is horribly wrong with me — I don’t have the willpower and discipline required to ride my bike”, would you?That would be silly. Instead, you’d realise that you just haven’t fully developed that skill yet. You’d think about why you fell. Perhaps you didn’t know how to navigate your bike through new terrain, such as a bumpy road or a patch of grass.Unlike riding a bicycle, however, fitness is almost always seen through the lens of a “fixed mindset”. When people slip up on their diets, they automatically beat themselves up for being undisciplined and lazy, rather than think about why they slipped up and how to prevent this same mistake in the future.Unfortunately, those with a fixed mindset try to “brute force” their success with willpower, which is a recipe for failure. That’s because willpower is a finite resource; relying on it will not lead to success.The Five Skills Of FitnessIf fitness is a skill, then by definition, it can be improved by improving its component skills. Let’s take a look at what they are and how to improve them.KnowledgeKnowledge is simply the evidence-based understanding behind training and nutrition. It allows us to create a plan and execute on it.Knowledge can be either basic, like understanding the tenets of calories and how they impact your weight, or it can be relatively advanced — correctly incorporating a carbohydrate refeed in order to raise leptin during your diet, for example.You can improve your knowledge by reading sites like this one. Find a credible fitness pro to trust, and absorb their encyclopaedic knowledge.Beware, however. Knowledge of nutrition and fitness is very important, but paradoxically, it can be used to mislead. There is more information about fitness now than ever, thanks to increasingly-easy access to scientific research because of resources like PubMed. Because of this, knowledge is often glorified and romanticised. A modicum of truth can be exaggerated into a misleading fitness tip. Many, in fact, actually think that knowledge is the only fitness skill, a fatal mistake when it comes to improvement.Knowledge can easily be overdone. After all, what good is understanding the optimal meal timing to optimise muscle protein synthesis if you cannot, say, stop binge eating. But this is where mindfulness comes into play.Mindfulness And Self-AwarenessMindfulness is the examination of your feelings, surroundings, and being self-aware. For example, b elow is a common conversation with a client. Client: “I fell off the wagon yesterday and messed up my diet. It was bad. I binge ate and just ate all the things.” Me: “Can you elaborate? What happened and what triggered it?” Client: “I ate all the things… like I failed epically and had no self-control.” Me: “Hahah, no you goober. I mean what were you feeling before the point of binging? What triggered this feeling?” Client: “Huh? I mean I just messed up.” In the conversation above, the client sees a binge as a failure without any underlying context. They’re actually confused by the fact that you can expound on a binge.An interesting thing that I’ve noticed about failing in fitness more so than any other area is that people do not learn from their mistakes. In other subjects, such as business or relationships, people look for patterns so that they don’t make the same mistakes again. Me: “Think back. What were you feeling at the time? What caused that pattern?” Client: “Well, let’s see… on training days you have my calories at about maintenance. I actually ate 50 calories above maintenance and I figured I screwed up anyway. That led me to feel anxious. Eating everything in sight was a way to cope with that anxiety.” By practicing mindfulness, the client eventually broke down their binge into discrete events and related them back to the decisions that were made. We objectively agreed that going 50 calories over maintenance is hardly a slip up.The next time this client sees this same pattern, he can use previous experiences to disrupt his usual course of action.Think of this self-awareness as fitness wisdom. It’s the ability to learn about yourself and your feelings. Without it, you wouldn’t be able to learn from your mistakes. You can improve mindfulness by following what I call the “totem exercise.”Self-CompassionWhat are the typical feelings of someone who messes up on their diet? Hate. Guilt. Self-loathing.For many people who have never been able to lose weight, their failures have created a lifetime of these feelings. Yet they keep trying over and over again, often relying on willpower to overcome their deficiencies. Each time, they face the same disastrous outcome.The solution for these folks is to think of fitness as a skill, and research has shown that developing self-compassion allows people to do just that. Those who show self-compassion forgive themselves for their mistakes so that they can try again.While this is slightly “meta”, think of self-compassion as “the skill that allows you to think of fitness as a skill” and therefore something that can be improved.The next time you mess up, cut yourself some slack, then exhibit mindfulness to figure out what went wrong.HumilityThe first time I heard Martin Berkhan of “Intermittent Fasting” fame mention that “Breakfast is not that important,” I was outraged.Seriously, Martin? Everyone knows that breakfast is obviously the most important meal of the day.Think of a time that someone credible presented fitness information contradictory to what you knew to be true. You were probably angry, no? What you felt is what I affectionately call PubMed rage. (It’s usually displayed by an “internet warrior” in a fitness forum of some sorts.)It turns out that this reaction is normal. Research has shown that when people’s deepest convictions are challenged by contradictory, credible information, they actually cling on to their existing beliefs even harder.Personally I later found out that Martin was correct. I started skipping breakfast and was rewarded for doing so; as an entrepreneur who works 80+ hours/week, skipping breakfast has added countless hours to my productivity. (There are considerations to suboptimal muscle protein synthesis, but I’m willing to make that tradeoff.)The only way that I was able to realise that was showing humility — suppressing my ego and being open to the possibility that I was wrong. The more you learn about fitness (or any other skill for that matter) the more you realise the amount that you don’t know.Humility is the skill that gives you the motivation to improve all other skills. Without it, we would stagnate. Whenever you feel the need to be an internet warrior because someone contradicted your beliefs, make sure to examine your beliefs and be open-minded first.Discipline And Habit BuildingDecisions are taxing from a cognitive point of view. If you’ve ever felt mentally exhausted after a day full of meetings, then you know what I mean.This poses a problem when it comes to fitness. Subjecting yourself to this cognitive overload depletes the same pool of resources that you need to exhibit the willpower and self-control to do things like go to the gym. Hell, thinking really hard depletes self-control so much that it impacts maximum voluntary strength.Put another way, making hard decisions at work, deciding whether or not to go to the gym, and saying no to that piece of cake all compete for the same pool of mental resources. How do we solve for this pesky little problem? Luckily, Mother Nature provided us a nifty solution.When something is repeated often enough, the decision to execute that task moves to a part of your brain called the basal ganglia. Once there, the decision is processed in the background and no longer requires a costly conscious decision. This is what’s known as a “habit.”Discipline is the skill that allows us to create habit. You do this by repeating a task over and over again — going to the gym at the same time every day, preparing tomorrow’s meals at the end of every day, etc.Habits require willpower at the start, but it is a smart and useful utilisation of willpower. Discipline allows us to utilise willpower as the “battery” that starts the car, as opposed to the energy source that keeps it going.So What’s Next?Like any other skill, you’ll need to improve by doing. First, find a diet and training plan to follow for at least eight weeks. This takes research and adding to your “knowledge” skill set. You’ll have to invest some time to find a plan that fits your goals and lifestyle.Now, here’s the important part. Stick to the program as best as you can, but expect to slip up along the way. When this happens, go through the skills in order that they’re listed here (I was sneaky and listed them in order of priority) to find out what needs to be improved.Did you find yourself straying off your diet frequently? Exhibit mindfulness to find out why. Perhaps you feel guilty after skipping multiple training sessions and can’t get back on the horse? Time for a dose of self-compassion.Perhaps you realised that the morning is the only time you can train. Utilise some discipline and create habit around waking up early every day, no matter what. Run through each skill and determine what you need to improve. Sometimes, improving a skill — like mindfulness — is as easy as being aware of it.Do you see the difference in understanding that fitness is a skill? Small failures can be examined and improved upon. If you do not think about fitness in this way, failures are all the same, big or small, and they are all tied to your sense of worth.Want to know what’s the best thing about embarking on your own fitness transformation? It’s that it makes you an even more amazing person. You will become disciplined enough to do the mundane, tough enough to relentlessly forgive yourself when you fail, and brave enough to be willing to being wrong.That’s because a successful transformation on the outside first requires a transformation within. Good luck!Fitness Is A Skill [Fitocracy]Dick Talens is one of the founders of Fitocracy. He is now bringing his passion for health and fitness to as many people as possible through online training. He’s been named one of the world’s most influential people in Health and Fitness, but isn’t one of our 30 Under 30… only because he wrote it. Want to train with Dick? Get in the best shape of your life by January 1st with his new Fitocracy Team: Your Ultimate Transformation.Image by Venimo (Shutterstock). Additional photos by Aaron Brinker, U.S. Navy (Flickr).Have you subscribed to Lifehacker Australia's email newsletter? You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Healthy Low Carb Recipes

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Healthy Dessert Recipes

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Other Healthy Recipes

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Healthy Crock-Pot Recipes

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Body Transformation: Tate Confer, From Fat To Fit

Vital StatsName: Tate ConferEmail: TateConfer23@yahoo.comLocation: United StatesWHY I DECIDED TO TRANSFORMI decided to transform because I grew up an overweight child, and finally decided it was time to change the unhealthy lifestyle I was leading. I was just tired of being out of shape. I knew training and dieting would improve how I looked—and more importantly, how I felt.My family was very supportive of my decision to become fit, and they did everything they could to help me along the way. My mom would prep healthy dinners, my dad would order supplements from Bodybuilding.com and my brother would train with me.My life now is leaps and bounds different from before my transformation. I currently train every day, and eat foods that will benefit my body and mind.Before, I rarely ever trained and consumed a lot of processed foods that took me down an unhealthy path.Before After AGE 17 / HEIGHT 6'0" / BODY FAT 22%AGE 17 / HEIGHT 6'0" / BODY FAT 5%Post To FitboardHOW I ACCOMPLISHED MY GOALSWhen I started my transformation, I knew very little about training and nutrition, so I had to educate myself on the correct way to do both. I read many articles online about diets and different training methods that would further my progression and allow me to better my physique. I never thought about quitting, because I loved every day of training and the way it made me feel and look.Seeing progress kept me extremely motivated to continue my fitness journey, and made it easy to continue this new lifestyle. I found motivation in fitness icons I saw online and in magazines, such as Frank McGrath and Antoine Vaillant.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 Nature's Best Whey Protein 1 scoop Bodybuilding.com Fish Oil 1 capsule Cellucor C4 1 scoop Bodybuilding.com Fish Oil 1 capsule Raspberry Ketones 2 capsules Nature's Best Whey Protein 1 scoop DIET PLAN THAT GUIDED MY TRANSFORMATIONIn my opinion, your diet is the most important aspect of your fitness journey. It wasn't until I was fully committed to learning about nutrition and following my diet that I saw the results I was looking for.It's crucial to educate yourself on the large variety of diet plans that exist, and find the one that best suits your health goals. I knew I wanted to lose weight and have a lean physique, so I would read articles and watch videos on how to accomplish this. Egg Whites 1 cup Low-fat Chicken Sausages 2 Oat Bran 1/2 cup Nature's Best Whey Protein 1 scoop Water 8 oz Black Coffee 8 oz Chicken Breast 10 oz Black Beans 1 cup Mixed Greens 1 cup Albacor White Tuna 1 can Rice Cakes (White Cheddar) 2 cakes Chicken or Beef 10-12 oz Sweet Potato 8 oz Mixed Greens 2 cups Protein Shake Nature's Best Whey Protein 1 scoop Organic Almond Butter 1 tbsp Egg Whites 1/2 cup Water 8 oz TRAINING REGIMEN THAT KEPT ME ON TRACKMy training regimen is very high-volume and consists of methods such as dropsets, rest pauses, and supersets.It's important to me that I force as much blood into the muscle as possible, and achieve the greatest pump I possibly can. I work in the 12-15 rep range on almost all of my accessory lifts, and only work in the 3-5 rep range on my heavy core lifts such as bench, deadlift, and squat.I follow a 6-day split, and do cardio every morning before my first meal. These workouts usually take about 2-1/2 hours to complete. Dumbbell Bench Press5 sets of 20-25 reps, 1 set to failure Incline Dumbbell Press5 sets of 20-25 reps, 1 set to failure High/Low Cable Flye5 sets each of 12-15 reps Machine Incline Chest Press5 sets 10-12 reps Dumbbell Pullover5 sets of 8-10 reps Butterfly5 sets of 15-20 reps Dips - Chest Version (Weighted)3 sets of 8-10 reps with a heavy dumbbell Pushups5 sets to failure Triceps Pushdown - V-Bar Attachment5 sets of 15-20 reps Incline Barbell Triceps Extension3 sets of 8-10 reps Seated Triceps Press3 sets of 12-15 reps Reverse Grip Triceps Pushdown5 sets of 15-20 reps Band Pull Apart3 sets of 12-15 reps Reverse Machine Flyes5 sets of 12-15 reps Cross-Armed Band Pull Apart5 sets of 12-15 reps Face Pull5 sets of 8-10 reps Superset Cable Rear Delt Fly5 sets of 15 reps Bent Over Two-Dumbbell Row5 sets of 15 reps Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press1 warm up set, 4 sets of 8-10 reps Arnold Dumbbell Press3 sets of 12-15 reps Push Press5 sets of 6-8 reps Machine Shoulder (Military) Press5 sets of 10-12 reps Front EZ-Bar Raise5 sets of 15 reps Side Lateral Raise5 sets of 15-20 reps One-Arm Cable Side Lateral Raise3 sets of 12 reps Seated Side Lateral Raise5 sets of 12-15 reps One-Arm Side Laterals3 sets of 15 reps Upright Barbell Row5 sets of 12-15 reps Dumbbell Shrug5 sets of 20 reps Pullups5 sets to failure Barbell Deadlift5 sets of 5 reps Bent Over Barbell Row5 sets of 10-12 reps Lying T-Bar Row5 sets of 15-20 reps One-Arm Dumbbell Row3 sets of 8-10 reps Seated Cable Rows5 sets of 15 reps Wide-Grip Lat Pulldown5 sets of 12-15 reps Leverage High Row3 sets of 10-12 reps Underhand Cable Pulldowns5 sets of 8-10 reps Hyperextensions (Back Extensions)5 sets of 15 reps Barbell Curl5 sets of 10-12 reps Hammer Curls5 sets of 15-20 reps Dumbbell Alternate Bicep Curl5 sets of 15-20 reps One Arm Dumbbell Preacher Curl3 sets of 8-10 reps Cable Curl5 sets of 20 reps Concentration Curls3 sets of 10-12 reps Triceps Pushdown5 sets of 15-20 reps Lying Triceps Press3 sets of 8-10 reps Close-Grip Barbell Bench Press5 sets of 10-12 reps Dips - Triceps Version5 sets to failure Barbell Squat8 sets of 8-12 reps Hack Squat8 sets to failure Leg Press5 sets of 15-20 reps Barbell Walking Lunge3 sets of 20 steps Seated Leg Curl8 sets of 15-20 reps Leg Extensions8 sets of 15-20 reps Stiff-Legged Barbell Deadlift5 sets of 20 reps Standing Calf Raises5 sets of 20 reps Bodyweight Calf Raise3 sets of 10 reps WHAT ASPECT CHALLENGED ME THE MOSTThe most challenging aspect I faced when it came to leading a healthier lifestyle was sorting through the vast amount of information and advice that exists in the fitness community, and finding what would personally work best for me.It can be extremely overwhelming to try to figure out which diet or training split you should follow, because there are so many opinions and different variables that come into play when making those decisions.I knew I had to rely on trial and error until I found a combination of supplementation, nutrition, and training that best suited my fitness goals.MY FUTURE FITNESS PLANSI competed in my first men's physique this past March, and plan on continuing to do so. I was the youngest competitor in the show by a wide margin, and placed 13th out of a group of 30.I hope to place top 5 in my next show, and hopefully receive a supplement sponsorship in the near future."I knew I had to rely on trial and error until I found a combination of supplementation, nutrition, and training that best suited my fitness goals."SUGGESTIONS FOR ASPIRING TRANSFORMERSIt's never too late to start leading a healthy lifestyle. Do what works best for you. The amount of advice and info you will receive could become overwhelming if you let it. Just remember to follow what feels right. Don't get discouraged. A successful transformation takes time, so stay patient and I guarantee you will see results. HOW BODYBUILDING.COM HELPED ME REACH MY GOALSBodybuilding.com has been a tremendous help throughout my fitness journey. Whether it is supplements, forums, or just a way to view what is happening within the fitness community, Bodybuilding.com has always been my go-to website. Without this website, my transformation and overall goals would have been more difficult than they were.Also, BodySpace is a great way to network with other fitness enthusiasts who can help you to further your knowledge of training and diet.TATE'S TOP GYM TRACKSLamb of GodRick RossSmashing PumpkinsJuicy JRecommended For YouHow To Lose 100+ Pounds In 1 Year! If Steve had downtime, he was either training or preparing meals. That dedicated plan of attack drove him to lose 102 pounds and 30 percent body fat in one year!Body Transformation: Eric Hicks Torched 131 Pounds To Reveal Ripped Muscle! Eric refused to follow his dad's diabetic fate and committed to change his lifestyle. See how he lost 131 pounds with a healthy mix of training and nutrition!Body Transformation: Micah Van Yperen Went From Pudgy To Pumped Up! Micah completely changed his body composition as a teen and turned fat to muscle after years of hard work in the gym and kitchen. See how you can too!About The AuthorTeen Transformation Of The WeekHave 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

Protein Roundtable: Ask The Expert Panel

by Bodybuilding.comLast updated: Oct 28, 2014By now, you've no doubt heard that after a few decades in the nutritional wilderness, healthy fats are back on the menu. But lost in all the headlines about one mistakenly maligned macronutrient is another redemption story, starring fat's leaner sibling: protein.Back in the carb-loving days of the '70s and '80s, a high-protein diet was considered unnecessary, if not downright risky. Today, we know that adequate, timely protein intake is key for health, optimal body composition, and athletic performance—but this is no news to you and your shaker bottle!So does that mean we've figured out everything there is to know about the king of muscle-macros? Far from it. Plenty remains to be discovered about protein, among many other fitness topics, which is why we invited two of the sharpest, most experienced minds in muscle-building to share their professional and personal opinions on supplemental protein, science vs. bro-science, the mechanisms of muscle growth, cutting-edge research, and much more.The best way to learn from these experts is to watch the entire video. Then, if you'd like to refer back to specific sections, use the bookmark links below. Don't see your question answered here? Check to see if it was addressed in the live, interactive Ask the Pro Panel that Dr. Wildman and Dr. Wilson participated in with celebrity trainer Ashley Conrad, or shout it out in the comments below.The Expert Panel Watch The Video - 47:34Meet The ExpertsDr. Robert WildmanPhD in human nutrition, registered dietitian (RD), fellow of the International Society of Sports Nutrition (FISSN) Chief Science Officer for Dymatize Nutrition Bodybuilding.com expert contributor Author of "Sports & Fitness Nutrition; "The Nutritionist: Food, Nutrition & Optimal Health;" "Advanced Human Nutrition;" and "The Handbook of Nutraceuticals and Functional Foods" Author of more than 75 journal articles, book chapters, and abstracts on nutrition, performance, and health Dr. Jacob WilsonPhD in skeletal muscle physiology, certified strength and conditioning coach (CSCS) Director of the Human Performance & Sports Nutrition Lab, University of Tampa Author of Bodybuilding.com's "Ask the Muscle Prof" column Co-host with Ben Pakulski of "Muscle Expert" podcast Author/co-author of over 100 peer-reviewed papers, book chapters, and abstracts on muscle-building, sports nutrition, and supplementation Expert Panel Who are Jacob Wilson and Rob Wildman? - How should I strategize my protein intake? - 24 hour intake vs. per-meal intake Whey protein vs. chicken Meal-timing and protein demands Bodybuilding diets vs. the typical American diet Additional benefits of protein Extreme high-protein diets Protein: the ultimate thermogenic How do I minimize protein breakdown overnight? - The amount of protein you really break down overnight The middle-of-the-night shake Casein vs. whey at night The case for a double dose of casein Magnesium before bed The importance of sleep Sleep, insulin-resistance, and metabolism Why is leucine so important? - What leucine does that other essential aminos can't Protein quality and leucine Muscle tissue and growth signaling Milk: The original mass-builder Leucine receptivity and aging What would the perfect protein supplement look like? - Pure protein and amino spiking Looking beyond the label The changing landscape of protein labeling Leucine as the protein barometer 9.6Dymatize Super Amino 6000View Product8.8Dymatize Amino ProView Product8.6Dymatize BCAA Complex 2200View Product* Ratings as of article's date of publicationWhat's in your shaker bottle? - Creatine as a nutrient Pomegranate and beetroot in a pre-workout Taurine and BCAAs for recovery BCAAs as a meal replacement Whey vs. BCAAs - Meal replacement vs. the "bridge" The three-hour muscle-growth signal The "anabolic window" and the perfect post-workout shake - The importance of protein and creatine timing Pre-workout meal vs. shake Immediate post-workout shake vs. the "24-hour window" Why you shouldn't pig out after training hard Science vs. bro-science - The new breed of "training scientists" The wisdom of bodybuilders The rise of "practical research" How industry can help academic research Bro-science that has become hard science How to take advantage of all the mechanisms of muscle growth - What happens during the pump Lactic acid is anabolic Why you need to squat heavy Endurance training vs. resistance training The "buckshot" approach The interaction between training, nutrition, and hydration Exciting current developments in the research world - Nutrient programming and the importance of breakfast Why when you eat your carbs matters Adapting to a high-fat, high-protein breakfast The golden age of protein research Redeeming the high-protein diet Getting the most of the protein we ingest Why everyone should consider taking creatine The optimal dose of creatine monohydrate What if I miss a day or two of creatine? Recommended For YouAsk The Muscle Prof: How Can I Build Muscle Like A Beginner Again? After a brutal leg workout, you might imagine that your body will need a week to repair and regrow. Not so! If you want to keep growing, you need to rethink the way you approach workout frequency and volume.Pomegranate Power: The Athletic Benefits Of The Pomegranate You've seen it in the grocery store. Your grandparents drink it. But is the pomegranate just another overhyped fruit to be forgotten in a few years? Not if history and nutritional research have anything to say about it!Power Panel: 4 Squat Tips From Elite Coaches! Strength coaches Tony Gentilcore, Dean Somerset, Lee Boyce, and Todd Bumgardner unveil secrets that will supercharge your squat!Related ArticlesAn Interview With Bodybuilding Guru And Nutritionist Tim Gardner! An Interview With Charles Poliquin! An Interview By Chris Kelly About Supplementation! View All Experts Interviews Articles About The AuthorContributing WriterCheck out these awesome articles by some of the best writers in the industry.View All Articles By This Author RATE THIS ARTICLEPOOR1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 EXCELLENTOVERALL RATING10Out of 10Excellent10 RatingsSUCCESS:Your comment has been posted! Because comments are displayed from oldest to newest, it will appear on the last page. ERROR:Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Integer mattis varius nisi eu aliquet. Integer mattis. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet Showing 1 - of CommentsFollow This Discussion by: Email comment on this article Log In to Comment (5 characters minimum) notify me when users reply to my comment You, wrightbody, jackknife, and 4 others like thisYou, wrightbody, jackknife, and 4 others like thisShowing 1 - of CommentsFeatured Product Dymatize Elite Gourmet Protein Dymatize Elite Gourmet Protein Helps Build Muscle! Get the Lowest Prices on Elite Gourmet Protein at Bodybuilding.com! 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Knott’s "Special Ops: Infected" proves that wide open spaces can be just as scary as dark twisty mazes

01 November 2014

It sounds like an interesting challenge. Staging an authentic-looking zombie apocalypse while -- at the same time -- not scratching up any of Grizzly Creek Lodge's nice new furniture.But that's exactly what Jon Cooke has spent the past five-and-a-half weeks doing. Taking Knott's Berry Farm's recently refurbished Camp Snoopy and -- using the 45 minutes between when this Buena Park theme park closes for the day and when Halloween Haunt officially opens for the night -- then transforming this family-friendly area into a six-acre wide kill zone."While Security is clearing the Park and sweeping the last few Guests towards the exit, myself and six or seven other Knott's employees are backstage preparing everything. We have a box truck loaded up with bodies and barricades, different barrels and stuff. And as soon as we get a Park Clear, we drive onstage and immediately begin setting everything up," Cooke explained during a recent phone interview. "Our goal is to have the entire area flipped and get all of our zombies in place before the first Guest wanders back to Camp Snoopy and then get in line for 'Special Ops: Infected.' ""And what is 'Special Ops: Infected'?," you ask. SOI is the multi-track, interactive, group participation experience that Jon -- who is one of the leads in Knott's Scary Farm's prop department -- has been trying to convince Cedar Fair officials to build for a number of years now."I'm a paintball fan. I love doing physical stuff, plus playing video games like 'Left 4 Dead.' But then when 'The Walking Dead' debuted on AMC and then became this huge hit, it all just kind of clicked for me one day. That here was this perfect storm of elements that could now be combined to create a maze that was unlike anything else that had ever been done for Haunt before," Cooke continued. "So I brought this idea up to Lara Hanneman, who's the Director of Entertainment here at Knott's one day. And she just kind of looked at me and said 'Yeah, that sounds pretty cool. But how exactly are we going to pull that off?' "And why was Hanneman concerned? Because what Jon wanted to do wasn't really a maze. At least not in the traditional sense."When you're building a maze for a Halloween event like this, strictly from a design point-of-view, you always design the rooms for your maze with two things in mind: Where is each scare in that room going to come from? And where is the distraction going to come from that then sets up the scare in that room?," Jon stated. "With 'Special Ops: Infected,' by placing a laser tag gun in each of the Guest's hands, that's our distraction.""What also helps here to give Guest a different experience is that 'Special Ops: Infected' doesn't play by traditional haunted house rules. You're not being sent into a maze two and three people at a time. Here, the Guests are grouped in 12-person squads. They've then assigned two squad leaders -- actors that we've hired for Haunt specifically to play these roles -- who then take each group out into what used to be Camp Snoopy but is now a fog-filled wide open space filled with 135 zombies," Jon enthused. "Better yet, depending on which side of the land that these people began their mission on -- the Alpha Side or the Bravo side -- and which of the four variations of our basic Alpha & Bravo scenarios they wind up being assigned to, these people can have completely different experiences each time they enter the kill zone."Take -- for example -- the Bravo side. Where your initial mission is to head up high into the hills and find a secret laboratory. Once there, you're supposed to rescue this scientist who may have found the cure to this horrible zombie virus. The only problem is -- as you're making your way back to Base ... Well, it's not just the zombies that you have to worry about. There's also a rogue militia unit hiding out there in the fog who may try and capture your squad so that they can then ...Ah, let's not spoil the surprise. Especially since folks in Southern California still have a chance to grab a laser gun and go shoot some zombies this weekend. You see, rather than shutting down its annual Halloween event on October 31st, Knott's officials opted instead to keep this year's Haunt going through Saturday night, November 1st. Just understand that -- if you're driving out to Buena Park to experience "Special Ops: Infected" -- that you could be in for quite a wait tonight."Right from the get-go, this particular maze has been hugely popular with Haunt attendees. The first week of this year's Scary Farm, I actually had a Guest come up to me and say that he'd been back to the Park three nights in a row just so he could then try and do all of the variations of the 'Special Ops: Infected' combat missions," Cooke stated. "I didn't have the heart to tell him that we keep changing things up from night to night.""Take -- for example -- the combat mission you go on when you're doing the Alpha track. You first have to get to this campsite and then rescue this camper who's locked inside of a trailer," Jon said. "Well, we change the location of where we hide that key every night. So even if you've done this particular mission before at Haunt, there are still different challenges, enough variations to keep 'Special Ops: Infected' fresh for Knott's repeat customers."So if you'd like to work off some of that Trick-or-Treat candy that you ate last night by working up a sweat running away from zombies, then you should definitely check out the closing night of the 2014 edition of Knott's Scary Farm. Where you can then experience "Special Ops: Infected," that unique Haunt experience which proves that wide open spaces can be just as scary -- or even scarier -- then dark twisty mazes.

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Gain 10 Pounds Of Muscle In 8 Weeks

31 October 2014

Nary a soul reading this couldn't benefit from an additional 10 pounds of lean muscle. It's also likely that you've tried programs offering similar promises, with mixed results. Some of these miracle workouts like to go back to basics, while others are more cutting-edge.This approach falls somewhere in between, combining a dogged reliance on proven, foundational exercises with new scientific perspectives on muscle recovery. In other words, you'll still break down plenty of muscle via the bench and squat, but you'll greatly amplify your body's ability to come back bigger and stronger.Your 10-pound prize is awarded via dependence on two key facts: overcompensation and the difference in recovery between muscle groups.THE KEYS TO UNLOCKING GROWTH"Overcompensation" refers to the period of time following a workout during which your body has an increased capacity to grow. This window falls somewhere between one and five days after a training session. In other words, for a brief, precise amount of time, the muscle is actually bigger, stronger, and much more able to grow than when it was trained, despite what your aching muscle bellies might be telling you.This phase of the recovery cycle is ignored at great peril to your gains; if the muscle fails to receive additional stimulus during this time, overcompensation gives way to "involution," which is basically a return to normal. An additional session during this phase, then, leads to what I call "super-recovery" and is the cornerstone of growth. This takes a great toll on the body, of course, which is why this is a single eight-week program. But proper rest, nutrition and supplementation can absolutely help you maximize the return on your physical investment.A common misconception is that all muscle groups recover at the same rate between workouts. Hence the majority of past training programs have always treated each and every muscle on your body exactly the same. This is a big mistake.Providing the same amount of training to each muscle, at the same intervals, is like feeding an elephant and a mouse the same amount of food and expecting similar results. For example, training your legs every other day would severely overtrain them, while training your biceps once a week would leave them seriously undertrained. The muscle sizes and types differ too greatly to have their recovery picture painted with a broad brushstroke."Training your legs with zeal can have a drastic impact on the rest of your body, not just because they add proportion to your physique but also because these large muscles can greatly govern how many calories you're able to burn at rest."For instance, training your legs with zeal can have a drastic impact on the rest of your body, not just because they add proportion to your physique but also because these large muscles can greatly govern how many calories you're able to burn at rest. But that training places great neurological and physical demands on your body, and longer recovery should be expected. Arms, delts and lats, on the other hand, can be hit more frequently, provided you temper the volume and intensity per session.Put plainly, smaller muscle groups (everything but legs) recover much, much faster than other muscle groups.FILLING IN THE GAPSBy training muscle groups repeatedly throughout the week, your body will be in a constant state of repair. This growth-primed environment can be capitalized upon both from within and from without.Hormones: As you may already know, higher levels of testosterone and growth hormone (GH) lead to increased protein synthesis in muscles, making them bigger and stronger in the process. So, in concert with the right stimulus, additional levels of these key hormones can really help speed you toward that 10-pound gain. A study in the "Journal of Applied Physiology" found that a weight-training regimen consisting of high repetitions (10) combined with a high number of sets (10) and a limited amount of rest in between sets per body part produced a 67-percent elevation in testosterone and a 25-fold increase in growth hormone. This means that your heaviest sets should be preceded by rest periods of no longer than 2-3 minutes for a proper hormonal response. Smaller muscle groups can do with 60 seconds or less.Bench PressFiber Types: The first chapter of any book on training will go into great detail on muscle fiber types and their effect on performance and aesthetics. The Cliffs Notes read: Type II fibers are most responsible for growth. That's why your program for eight weeks should primarily target these muscles. Compound lifts such as bench presses, overhead presses, squats, and rows done in the range of 6-10 reps are, as ever, the basis for growth, as they recruit the most Type II fibers and elicit the greatest release of T and GH. These exercises will remain the basis of your workouts—no need to fix what isn't broken. But don't go overlooking the Type I set.The key to triggering new muscle growth and all-over size is to work both types of muscle fibers hard enough to cause them both to break down and rebuild. Using a higher rep scheme with lighter weights (12-20 reps) will break down the Type I fibers, so they grow larger—perhaps not to the extent of the more anaerobic Type IIs but still, bigger Type I fibers contribute to larger, denser muscles.Ideally, you will alternate between higher-rep and lower-rep days to allow for greater total recruitment and recovery. Your "light" workouts should include high-rep days (anywhere from 12-20 reps for no more than 3-4 sets) and low-rep days (6-12 reps for no more than 4-5 sets).Supplementation: No real departure from the usual supplementation recommendations here, save for one: the inclusion of bioactive peptides.You see, while whey and casein are critical to protein synthesis post-workout and during sleep, bioactive peptides can bolster their impact. Darryn Willoughby, PhD, head of the human performance lab at Baylor University, has said that bioactive peptides are like "fertilizer for your muscles" in that they can help muscles grow faster than they can through normal care. Normal, in this case, refers to the long-held practice of having whey pre-workout, a whey-and-casein blend post-workout, and casein at bedtime.Bio-active peptides are an entirely new category of supplements. Basically, peptides are growth factors, extracted from colostrum protein designed to maximize the body's ability to synthesize protein. You can build muscle bigger, faster, or stronger, depending on your training goals. Bioactive peptides amplify the signal sent out by amino-starved muscles and accelerate the rate of protein synthesis, allowing you to develop muscle faster. And, in a program where you're training more often and recovery is paramount, this becomes even more important.By using bioactive peptides, you should notice a marked reduction in recovery time after bouts of intense exercise or weight-training. Within 2-3 weeks, you will undoubtedly notice an increase in your strength, as long as you are training hard and heavy. And with continued use of bioactive peptides, you can develop lean body mass at a faster rate. Research shows that this rate can take hold in as little as four weeks.RECOVERY PROSo by taking advantage of your body's post-workout window of overcompensation and increasing your training frequency for most body parts, you simply create the best possible opportunity for your body to create 10 fresh pounds of sinew. Hitting a muscle group again before it has a chance to fully recover may sound counterintuitive but, if omitted, your muscles have a chance to return to stasis, which is a death knell for hypertrophy. And remember—biceps and pecs don't require the same week-long rest as your quads and hams. They recover much faster than you give them credit for and, after a few weeks of increased frequency, they'll respond in kind with plenty of new growth, not to mention an uncanny ability to take a licking and keep on ticking."Hitting a muscle group again before it has a chance to fully recover may sound counterintuitive but, if omitted, your muscles have a chance to return to stasis, which is a death knell for hypertrophy."Add to that an increase in your body's most anabolic hormones and a sprinkling of bioactive peptides to exponentially increase your body's rate of protein synthesis, and you have the perfect solution for a 10-pound turnaround in eight weeks (or less).YOUR VARIABLE SPLIT SCHEDULEWeeks 1/3/5/7Day 1: Chest, shoulders, arms, absDay 2: RestDay 3: Back, shoulders, armsDay 4: RestDay 5: Chest, shoulders, arms, absDay 6: LegsDay 7: RestWeeks 2/4/6/8Day 1: Back, shoulders, armsDay 2: RestDay 3: Chest, shoulders, arms, absDay 4: RestDay 5: Back, shoulders, armsDay 6: LegsDay 7: RestVARIABLE SPLIT WEIGHT TRAINING 101Use these general guidelines to formulate your own customized workouts: no novel exercises requiredFrequency1 time per week for legs, 2 times per week for all other body parts Since legs take the longest to recover, it's best to hit them once and hit them hard. Complete recovery is preferential to training frequency for this large muscle group. All other muscle groups will benefit from increased training volume within the overcompensation window. RestUp to 2 minutes for legs, 30-60 seconds for all other body parts Proper recovery between sets is vitally important. In order to move the greatest weight loads possible for legs, take up to (but ideally less than) two minutes between sets. For all other body parts, keep rest periods to a minute or less, even if this necessitates modification of weight between sets. VolumeQuads, hams: 10-12 sets, 2-3 exercises per session Chest, back: 8-10 sets, 2 exercises per session Shoulders, biceps, triceps, calves, traps: 3-6 sets, 1-2 exercises per session IntensityIntensity progresses over the course of eight weeks. Some suggested progressions include:Week 1: Straight sets on most exercises. Week 2: Take the last set of every major exercise to failure, and have a spotter help you through two or more forced reps. Perform supersets for arms. Week 3-8: Alternate between heavy and light workouts for arms. In one workout, perform only one exercise, but use triple dropsets for biceps and triceps. In your next session, go back to straight sets on a basic move for 3-4 sets of 6-8 reps. Take the last set of every major exercise for larger muscle groups to failure and have a spotter help you through two or more forced reps. Rep Range6-20 reps In general, start each compound move with the heaviest weight you can handle for 6-10 reps, and add weight each successive set. Smaller muscle groups will be trained with sessions that alternate between heavier (~10RM) weight and lighter (~12-20RM) weight. Duration8 weeks Recommended For YouLose Your Last 10 Pounds - For Good! Never diet again by incorporating these 10 can't-miss strategies for permanent weight loss.10 Tips For A Successful Transformation You're looking to transform, not evolve. You have time, but not forever. Follow these 10 tips and speed up your progress. Let's go!Transform With Muscle: Why Focusing On Fat Loss Isn't The Answer Don't get so wrapped up in losing fat that you forget about muscle. It's the real key to a successful, lasting transformation!About The AuthorStephen AdeleStephen Adele is the CEO of iSatori and has been helping individuals from all walks of life create measurable, lasting results in their physiques.View All Articles By This Author

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Ask The Muscle Prof: What Training Technique Produces The Craziest Muscle Growth?

31 October 2014

Vital StatsName: Jacob WilsonEducation: PhD in Skeletal Muscle Physiology from Florida StateOccupation: Founder ABCbodybuilding.comWebsite: jacobwilsonphd.comFacebook: Jacob-Wilson Q What Training Technique Produces The Craziest Muscle Growth? My entire adult life has been dedicated to finding the holy grail of muscle growth. I've read thousands of research papers and countless books on the topic, and I've spent over a decade slaving in the lab trying to scope out new techniques—and classic ones—that bodybuilders can add to their toolbox. So I can think of a few candidates off the top of my head.But here's a surprise: Out of all the papers I've read, the most extreme growth response was from a study I saw all the way back in high school. The author of that paper was Dr. Jose Antonio, a man who played a large part in inspiring me to pursue a career researching hypertrophy.Through a unique approach to stretching, Dr. Antonio induced jaw-dropping levels of growth in animals, and my lab at the University of Tampa has recently striven to—you guessed it!—optimize this technique for bodybuilders.Get ready to stretch both your mind and your muscles!The swollest quail in the nestWhen muscles grow, they do so through one of two mechanisms: either by making existing muscle fibers bigger, or through the addition of new muscle fibers.2 Dr. Antonio's research was primarily centered on the second method, which is known as hyperplasia.1While the first method of growth is more or less uniformly known and accepted by scientists, the second method has been more controversial. There are two proposed mechanisms through which individuals achieve hyperplasia, or add new muscle fibers. The first mechanism is when existing muscle fibers split. The second is when your body activates specialized cells known as satellite cells.2 The satellite cells then divide and combine to form new muscle fibers. Both of these methods require extreme mechanical stress and damage to induce hyperplasia.Jake Wilson and his team of scentists at the University of Tampa are constantly striving to find the perfect formula for muscle growth.In Dr. Antonio's study, he subjected quail to an extreme, chronic stretching-overload protocol which involved hanging weights on their wings for 28 days. During the month-long study, he progressively added more weight. Incredibly, Dr. Antonio reported 318-percent increases in mass for the stretched muscles! This is far larger than anything else I've seen in the scientific literature. He then counted their individual muscle fibers and discovered that the technique had indeed drastically increased the number of muscle fibers in stretched muscles.After reading this experiment, I immediately asked myself two questions:Can hyperplasia occur in humans? Can we modify Dr. Antonio's protocol for bodybuilders? Stretched to the LimitUnfortunately, our ability to detect changes in muscle fibers in humans is quite difficult because we can't count the number of fibers from pre- to post-training in an entire muscle group. Unlike an animal model where it is possible to count every single muscle fiber, you have to make assumptions from a small muscle sample in humans. However, indirect methods in humans still point toward hyperplasia.One of the best studies on this topic to date was performed by Dr. Tesch and Dr. Larsson back in 1982.3 These scientists found that many of the muscle fibers in highly trained bodybuilders were the exact same size as recreationally trained physical-education students. The fact that the bodybuilders had much larger muscle mass indicated that many of their muscle fibers had been newly created.So should you duct-tape some weight plates to your arms for the next month? I wouldn't—although perhaps hanging some weights on your pet turkey might make for a bigger Thanksgiving meal. It is important to emphasize that the conditions in Dr. Antonio's study were extreme, to say the least. Luckily, when looking at studies, there are other stretching models to follow.Intermittent stretch overload is a technique that uses weights to stretch the muscle intensely, followed by two days of rest.One is known as an intermittent stretch overload. This technique uses weights to stretch the muscle intensely, followed by two days of rest. Animal research has demonstrated that this type of approach can still results in up to 50-percent increases in muscle size when the weight is not progressed, and up to 225 percent when weight is progressively increased.4Implementing this technique in humansUntil recently, no human studies had been performed to investigate muscle growth with intermittent stretching protocols. However, two new studies have shown that intense stretching—even without lifting weights—increased strength by greater than 20 percent in only 3-8 weeks.5,6 Because individuals weren't actually lifting weights, an increase in strength strongly suggests—and other research supports—that the muscle must be enlarging, either by increasing fiber size or quantity.Our lab recently tried to tie together all the existing research into a training protocol that bodybuilders could use right away. Our study, led by Jacob Rauch and Jeremy Silva, focused on individuals performing seated calf presses on the leg press.The athletes began with a weight they could lift 12-15 times until failure. However, instead of resting between sets, they let the weight from the leg press stretch their calves for 30 seconds. They repeated this process three times, dropping the weight after each stretch.After 5 weeks we found that the stretching group doubled the muscle gains of the non-stretching group! Here's what we now believe to be the case:The key to stretch-induced growth is to create both a large amount of mechanical tension and muscle damage. The stretch placed upon a muscle fiber seems to be greatest after an individual has achieved significant cell swelling, or pump. After this swelling has been increased, we believe that intermittent stretching would have its greatest chance to work.Putting it to work for youAs you can imagine, stretching is a part of a normal lift. Specifically, exercises which place a muscle in its extreme range of motion—such as incline dumbbell curls for the biceps—increase mechanical strain, and thus, hypertrophy.7However, based on the evidence above, it seems clear to us that some amount of weighted intermittent stretching is even more effective at increasing muscle growth, even in muscle groups as stubborn as the calves.Calf Press On Leg Press MachineBut a quick warning: I guarantee that this will be one of the most challenging techniques you have ever implemented, and the pump will be like nothing you've ever experienced!For this reason, it's crucial that you only perform this technique with exercises where you can stretch the muscle without putting yourself at risk of injury. For example, don't use dips to stretch your pecs, because your shoulders would be placed in a dangerous position. Instead, try something like lying dumbbell flyes, where you hold the weight in the stretched portion of the lift.For a one-month specialization program, I suggest performing a variation on the routine below twice a week. Use a weight you can lift for 12-15 repetitions. When you reach failure, let the weight stretch your muscles. At this point, perform a dropset where you strip the weight down by 15 percent and go to failure again. Repeat this process 2-3 more times, and you'll be—and feel—done.Here's how you could use it for specific body parts, and a full month-long specialization routine for the calves. Biceps: Between sets of standing or incline seated dumbbell curls, let the weight pull you into controlled hyperextension at the shoulder, maximizing stretch and tension on the biceps. Chest: Between sets of chest flyes, allow the weight to stretch your chest while maintaining a slight bend in the elbows. Traps: Following a set a shrugs, allow the weight to keep you in a depressed position without letting the weight rest against your sides. Hamstrings: Between sets of Romanian deadlifts, emphasize the bottom position. Extend your hips back as far as you can with your weight on your heels for maximum tension on the hamstrings. Keep the weight as close to your body as possible. Quads: Between any quad exercise, perform the classic quad stretch. Sit on the backs of your heels and place your hands behind you. Depending on your level of flexibility, you can walk your hands back for increased stretch. Back: After completing a set of pull-ups, fully extend your arms and hang. Keep your feet off the ground for maximal tension. Triceps: Between sets of triceps rope extensions, let the rope pull you back into a stretched position. Stretch to Grow Calf Specialization ProtocolBased on weights for an individual who can perform calf presses on the leg press machine with 300 pounds for 15 reps and calf raises with 100 pounds.Week 1 Triple dropset Calf Press On The Leg Press Machine15 reps with 300 lbs. Stretch for 30 seconds using weight stack. Then go to failure at 250, 200, and 150 lbs, with 30-sec weighted stretches between each drop. (After 48-72 hours of rest) Calf Raise15 reps with 100 lbs. Stretch for 30 seconds using the weight stack. Then go to failure at 85, 70, and 55 lbs, with 30-sec weighted stretches between each drop. Weeks 2-4Increase load by 3-5% on the initial lift, and add 5 seconds to the stretch if you want additional overload.ReferencesAntonio, J. and W.J. Gonyea, Role of muscle fiber hypertrophy and hyperplasia in intermittently stretched avian muscle. Journal of applied physiology, 1993. 74(4): p. 1893-8. Antonio, J. and W.J. Gonyea, Progressive stretch overload of skeletal muscle results in hypertrophy before hyperplasia. Journal of applied physiology, 1993. 75(3): p. 1263-71. Tesch, P.A. and L. Larsson, Muscle hypertrophy in bodybuilders. European Journal of Applied Physiology & Occupational Physiology, 1982. 49(3): p. 301-6. Antonio, J. and W.J. Gonyea, Role of muscle fiber hypertrophy and hyperplasia in intermittently stretched avian muscle. J Appl Physiol (1985), 1993. 74(4): p. 1893-8. Worrell, T.W., T.L. Smith, and J. Winegardner, Effect of hamstring stretching on hamstring muscle performance. The Journal of orthopaedic and sports physical therapy, 1994. 20(3): p. 154-9. Handel, M., et al., Effects of contract-relax stretching training on muscle performance in athletes. Eur J Appl Physiol Occup Physiol, 1997. 76(5): p. 400-8. Child, R.B., J.M. Saxton, and A.E. Donnelly, Comparison of eccentric knee extensor muscle actions at two muscle lengths on indices of damage and angle-specific force production in humans. Journal of sports sciences, 1998. 16(4): p. 301-8. Silva, J.E., Rauch, J., Lowery, R.P.,…..and Wilson, J.M. (2014) Weighted Post-Set Stretching Increases Skeletal Muscle Hypertrophy. National Strength and Conditioning Conference, Las Vegas Nevada. Recommended For YouAsk The Muscle Prof: How Can I Build Muscle Like A Beginner Again? After a brutal leg workout, you might imagine that your body will need a week to repair and regrow. Not so! If you want to keep growing for years to come, you need to rethink the way you approach workout frequency and volume.The Benefits Of Post-Workout Carbohydrates For many people, post-workout recovery includes a dose of fast-acting carbohydrates. But do you really need carbs as part of your post-workout meal for optimal gains?Your Expert Guide To Carnipure L-Carnitine Carnipure is the most popular, highest-quality L-carnitine on the market. It's a popular ingredient in energy drinks, post-workout supplements, and on its own. Here's what you need to know to get the most out of it!About The AuthorJacob Wilson, Ph.D., CSCSDr. Jacob Wilson, Ph.D., CSCS*D is a professor and director of the skeletal muscle and sports nutrition laboratory at the University of Tampa.View All Articles By This Author

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Ryan Murphy Confirms All ‘American Horror Story’ Seasons Are Connected

Ryan Murphy Confirms All ‘American Horror Story’ Seasons Are Connected

31 October 2014

Following months of speculation, Ryan Murphy has confirmed that all seasons of "American Horror Story" are connected. Murphy revealed the news during an interview with Entertainment Weekly, published on Friday: They’re all connected. We’re just beginning to tell you how they’re connected. They’re all very separate but there’s clues every season that we’re now telling you how the different worlds are intertwined. Murphy's words are music to the ears of fans who have speculated for months about ties between the show's four seasons. Back in July, it was revealed that Naomi Grossman's Pepper, from Season 2's "Asylum," would return for the current season, "Freak Show." In keeping with the Season 2 theme, Lily Rabe will reappear on the anthology series as her "Asylum" character, Sister Mary Eunice, for an upcoming "Freak Show" episode. Sites such as Vulture found many other connections between the four seasons, as did Reddit users. (One fan theory is that Season 5 could be about Area 51 and aliens, which would tie that forthcoming run to "Asylum" as well.)"Part of the fun of the show is the Rubik’s cube design of it, but, yes, there are purposeful connections, character connections, and similarities and things that connect that we’ll continue to connect moving forward," Murphy told EW.com.One of these clues is the scene where the character Maggie (Emma Roberts) is handed a coffee cup and there is a close up on a top hat, which the show creator confirmed is actually a clue for Season 5. Start your guessing now ...For the full interview with Murphy, head to EW.com."AHS: Freak Show" airs Wednesday at 10:00 p.m. ET on FX.

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Aasif Mandvi Backs Michael Che After Insensitive Instagram Post

Aasif Mandvi Backs Michael Che After Insensitive Instagram Post

31 October 2014

Michael Che made headlines earlier in the week after comparing, in an Instagram post, women being catcalled to him being recognized as a celebrity in public. Che understandably received some backlash and offered a sarcastic apology Wednesday.In a HuffPost Live interview Friday, comedian and fellow "Daily Show" colleague Aasif Mandvi backed Che, saying that sometimes being edgy goes a little far and Che meant no harm."I know Michael, he's a good guy," Mandvi told host Marc Lamont Hill. "I think he's probably just pushing the envelope of comedy."Mandvi is set to return to the "Daily Show" soon, while Che just left his post there to become a co-anchor on "Weekend Update.""When you're a standup comic, you get up and you try stuff, and you're always kind of seeing how far you can push things. And I think he did say something where he said, 'I was making fun of things that ... other people might consider sacred in some way,' or words to that effect, which then gave me an insight into what he was, I think, attempting to do, which was be a comic and talk about things in a way maybe the culture at large is uncomfortable with," Mandvi continued. "You do want to talk about things people are uncomfortable talking about, or it's too sacred or religion or whatever, and you want to push that envelope, so maybe he was doing that and his audience gave him the response that he got."Watch the rest of the clip above, and catch the full HuffPost Live conversation here.Sign up here for Live Today, HuffPost Live's new morning email that will let you know the newsmakers, celebrities and politicians joining us that day and give you the best clips from the day before!

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‘Spoiler Alert’ Debates Annalise Keating’s Morals On ‘How To Get Away With Murder’

‘Spoiler Alert’ Debates Annalise Keating’s Morals On ‘How To Get Away With Murder’

31 October 2014

Annalise Keating, the cutthroat lawyer at the center of ABC's "How To Get Away With Murder," is one of TV's most riveting new characters, but as we go deeper into the show's first season, her morals and ethics have become more complicated. HuffPost Live's Ricky Camilleri and our panel of TV fanatics dissected the character played by Viola Davis during Friday's episode of "Spoiler Alert."In the spirit of Halloween, the panel also piggybacked on last week's conversation about TV's best Halloween episodes by choosing the most frightening television installments of all time, spooky holiday episode or not.Sign up here for Live Today, HuffPost Live's new morning email that will let you know the newsmakers, celebrities and politicians joining us that day and give you the best clips from the day before!

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Taylor Swift Is Still Dancing To That Iggy Azalea Song

31 October 2014

Taylor Swift performs at the iHeartRadio Music Festival at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on September 19, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Al Powers/Powers Imagery/Invision/AP) Taylor Swift arrives at the iHeartRadio Music Festival, Friday, Sept. 19, 2014, at The MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. (Photo by Andrew Estey/Invision/AP) Taylor Swift arrives at the MTV Video Music Awards at The Forum on Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014, in Inglewood, Calif. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP) LAS VEGAS, NV - SEPTEMBER 19: Singer Taylor Swift performs onstage during the 2014 iHeartRadio Music Festival at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on September 19, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Denise Truscello/WireImage) Taylor Swift attends the world premiere of "The Giver" at the Ziegfeld Theatre on Monday, Aug. 11, 2014, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP) Taylor Swift arrives at the Teen Choice Awards at the Shrine Auditorium on Sunday, Aug. 10, 2014, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP) NEW YORK, NY - JULY 18: Taylor Swift seen in New York, New York on July 18, 2014. Photo Credit: mpi67 / MediaPunch/IPX NEW YORK, NY - JULY 11: Taylor Swift leaving her apartment with her white cat Olivia Benson in New York, New York on July 11, 2014. Photo Credit: mpi67 / MediaPunch/IPX NEW YORK, NY - JULY 11: Taylor Swift with her mother Andrea Swift and father Scott Swift in New York, New York on July 11, 2014. Photo Credit: mpi67 / MediaPunch/IPX NEW YORK, NY - JULY 1: Taylor Swift seen in New York, New York on July 1, 2014. Credit: mpi67 / MediaPunch/IPX NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 20: Taylor Swift leaves the gym in New York City, on June 20, 2014. Photo Credit: mpi67 / MediaPunch Inc./IPX Taylor Swift attends The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute benefit gala celebrating "Charles James: Beyond Fashion" on Monday, May 5, 2014, in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP) Taylor Swift attends The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute benefit gala celebrating "Charles James: Beyond Fashion" on Monday, May 5, 2014, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP) Taylor Swift arrives at the 49th annual Academy of Country Music Awards at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Sunday, April 6, 2014, in Las Vegas. (Photo by Al Powers/Powers Imagery/Invision/AP) Taylor Swift attends the 2014 Vanity Fair Oscar Party on Sunday, March 2, 2014, in West Hollywood, Calif. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP) Taylor Swift arrives at the 56th annual GRAMMY Awards at Staples Center on Sunday, Jan. 26, 2014, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP) Taylor Swift arrives at the 56th annual GRAMMY awards - salute to industry icons with Clive Davis, on Saturday, Jan. 25, 2014, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Dan Steinberg/Invision/AP) Taylor Swift arrives at the 71st annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 12, 2014, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP) Taylor Swift arrives at the 15th annual InStyle and Warner Bros. Golden Globes after party at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 12, 2014, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP) Taylor Swift poses backstage with the awards for favorite album - country for "Red", favorite female artist - pop/rock, favorite female artist - country, and artist of the year at the American Music Awards at the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on Sunday, Nov. 24, 2013, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP) Taylor Swift poses backstage with the awards for favorite album - country for "Red", favorite female artist - pop/rock, favorite female artist - country, and artist of the year at the American Music Awards at the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on Sunday, Nov. 24, 2013, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP) NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 16: Singer Taylor Swift and Cat are seen in Soho on September 16, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Raymond Hall/GC Images) Taylor Swift arrives at the 2013 American Music Awards, on Sunday, Nov. 24, 2013 in Los Angeles. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP) Singer Taylor Swift performs on the runway during the 2013 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show at the 69th Regiment Armory on Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013 in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP) Singer Taylor Swift performs on the runway during the 2013 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show at the 69th Regiment Armory on Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013 in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP) NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 15: Singer Taylor Swift is seen in Soho on September 15, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Raymond Hall/GC Images) HAMBURG, GERMANY - SEPTEMBER 04: Taylor Swift poses before the 'Deutscher Radiopreis 2014' on September 4, 2014 in Hamburg, Germany. (Photo by Oliver Hardt/Getty Images) Taylor Swift attends the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show on Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013 in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP) Taylor Swift arrives at the 47th annual CMA Awards at Bridgestone Arena on Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2013, in Nashville, Tenn. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP) U.S singer Taylor Swift arrives for the BBC Radio 1 Teen Awards 2013 at Wembley Arena in west London, Sunday, Nov. 3, 2013. (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP) Recording artist Taylor Swift arrives at the premiere of "Romeo and Juliet" at the ArcLight on Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2013 in Los Angeles. (Photo by Paul A. Hebert/Invision/AP) Taylor Swift arrives at the premiere of "One Chance" on day 5 of the Toronto International Film Festival at the Winter Garden Theatre on Monday, Sept. 9, 2013, in Toronto. (Photo by Arthur Mola/Invision/AP) Taylor Swift poses backstage with the award for Best Female Video for "I Knew You Were Trouble" at the MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday, Aug. 25, 2013, at the Barclays Center in the Brooklyn borough of New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP) Taylor Swift poses for a picture in the Press Room during the 2013 MuchMusic Video Awards at the MuchMusic Headquarters on Sunday, June 16, 2013, in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Arthur Mola/Invision/AP) U.S singer, Taylor Swift arrives for the Capital FM Summertime Ball, Wembley Stadium, London, Sunday, June. 9, 2013. (Photo by Jonathan Short/Invision/AP)

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That Is Not A Real Dinosaur, But It REALLY Scared Suns’ Eric Bledsoe

That Is Not A Real Dinosaur, But It REALLY Scared Suns’ Eric Bledsoe

31 October 2014

It was trick not treat for Phoenix Suns guard Eric Bledsoe on Halloween. His teammates surprised him -- and scared him -- with a lifelike dinosaur. @ebled2 has faced some fierce competition on the hardwood, but nothing like this! For more surprises from @dinosaurlive - coming to @usairwayscenter next month - visit Suns.com.A video posted by Phoenix Suns (@suns) on Oct 10, 2014 at 12:44pm PDT Bledsoe was not the only member of the Suns who fell victim to this Halloween prank.

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A Kitchy Kitchen Recipe: Salted Caramels

31 October 2014

Caramels are one of my favorite candies. That melt-in-your-mouth honeyed flavor with a subtle punch of salt is so addictive, and the perfect canvas for creating delicious Halloween candies. I love making batches of these to keep in bowls at costume parties and get-togethers. Enjoy!SALTED CARAMELSINGREDIENTS1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream 1 cup white sugar1 cup packed light brown sugar2 1/2 teaspoons sea salt2 teaspoons vanilla extractADD ONSFinely chopped pecansFinely chopped almondsFinely chopped chocolateFinely chopped cookiesDIRECTIONSIn a heavy medium-sized saucepan, stir together the cream, sugars, and salt. Place the saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Once the mixture boils, with a heatproof pastry brush that has been dipped in warm water, wash down the sides of the saucepan to remove any sugar crystals that may have formed. Boil the mixture over medium-high heat (do not stir) until the temperature reaches 245F. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Pour the caramel into your greased pan (grease with butter or cooking spray) and let cool to room temperature, then pop in the fridge for at least 2 hours, or when it's completely chilled. When chilled, scoop out tablespoon sized balls of the caramel with a greased spoon.  If you want, roll the caramels in an add-on. Wrap in wax paper.For more recipes like this one, check out my blog The Kitchy Kitchen.

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Strong Winds, Flooding And, Yes, Snow Mark Halloween In Chicago

31 October 2014

Ana Simovska:Grand Island in Lake Superior- Summer 2012 The Green Point Dunes Nature Preserve in Michigan, south of Elberta. A thirty-second night exposure reveals streaking clouds and stars in the sky in Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness Area, Lake Michigan, Michigan. American photographer Ian Plant experiments with light sources and long exposures to turn remote nocturnal landscapes into psychedelic dreamlands. From swirling desert stars to bright exploding steam from geysers, Ian conjures up magical vistas and surreal scenes from midnight treks across the Americas. In one striking image, sleep-deprived, Ian, 39, from Virginia, USA, transforms the stem of a common desert plant into the red tentacles of an alien creature reaching up into space. While many photographers choose to take pictures of what is in front of them, Ian says he has other ideas about his medium. 'I use the night time like a blank canvass to project my ideas onto,' he explained. 'Instead of being at the mercy of the scene that's in front of me I can create the image from my imagination.' (Photo by Ian Plant / Barcroft Media / Getty Images) The sun rises over a frozen Lake Erie. Winter view of Point Betsie Lighthouse on Lake Michigan in Frankfort, Mich. Panoramic view of city of Chicago skyline at dusk, reflected on Lake Michigan. ErinJohnson:Apostle Islands National Lakeshore Sea Caves - on every kayakers bucket list. A sunset at Big Sable Point Lighthouse. This lighthouse is located in Ludington, Mich. just north of the state park. A bridge to Paradise in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Gneiss shoals can be seen underwater surrounding Shaw Island, just outside Isle Royale National Park, Lake Superior, Michigan. Scenic overlook of Lake Michigan at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park, South Manitou Island in the distance. A swimmer dives in to lake Michigan to cool off July 31, 2006 in Chicago, Illinois. Temperatures in the city reached 99 degrees Fahrenheit, tying the record high for the day. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images) Sunset on the shore of Lake Michigan, Warren Dunes State Park, Mich. Lake Michigan, from New Buffalo, Mich., 2003. Waves crashing on pier and lighthouse on Lake Michigan at sunset. Miner's Beach at the Pictured Rocks on Lake Superior. Sunset at Illinois Beach State Park, Il. View of the cliffs on Lake Superior from Lakeshore Trail; Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. View of Michigan Island in Wisconsin's Apostle Islands in Lake Superior. View from the Thousand Islands Bridge of treetops (foreground left) below on Constance Island and Georgina Island (back right), two of about 20 islands and 90 islets that are part of the St. Lawrence Islands National Park of Canada. Floating maple leaf, Lake Superior. Goldenrod wildflowers growing along the water's edge of Lake Ontario in the early Autumn season. Cottage country in Ontario with metamorphic rock in the foreground. Tree with red foliage on the shores of Georgian Bay, Killbear Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada. Fog delay below the MacArthur Lock. Rainbow over Lake Superior. Scenic vista, Presque Isle State Park, along Lake Erie in Pennsylvania. Lake Superior Provincial Park, Wawa, Ontario. Sunset falls on the cliffs of the Niagara Escarpment, over Barrow Bay, a part of Georgian Bay, Bruce Peninsula, Ontario, Canada. Sunset on Lake Superior shore, Mich. Miner's Castle Overlook on Lake Superior near Munising, Mich. Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is a U.S. National Lakeshore on the shore of Lake Superior in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Glenn Haven on the shore of Lake Michigan. Lake Ontario in fog, Toronto. The Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island in Lake Huron. A weathered barn on the shoreline of Lake Ontario. Evening light on fall colour hardwoods near Agawa Bay, with Montreal Island. Lake Superior Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada. SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. — The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw appears to float in a cloud as it approaches the Poe Lock in low lying fog in Sault Ste. Marie. (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers photo by Michelle Hill) Girl running with Shih-Bi through waters of Lake Huron at Singing Sands Beach, Bruce Peninsula National Park, south of Tobermory, Ontario. Michigan, Isle Royale National Park, Sunrise from the east end of Mott Island, looking toward Tookers Island. Beautiful McCargoe Cove in Isle Royale National Park, Lake Superior. Michigan, Isle Royale National Park. The park is a wildflower lover's paradise with hundreds of native plants blooming every year. A moose is swimming to the left of the island at Isle Royale. Aerial view of Chicago river mouth and Lake Michigan. A sunset at Esch Road beach on the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Ice Boulders stranded in the still water of Lake Michigan. Kayaker expore the sea caves of Devils Island in the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore on Lake Superior, Wisconsin. Lake Ontario from Chimney Bluffs State Park, NY Gregory Mann:Mackinac Bridge at sunset from a Big Cat returning to Mackinaw City from Mackinac Island. lynnannetterogers:Sleeping Bear Dunes lynnannetterogers:Sunset on Lake Michigan - Ludington Beach ErinJohnson:Gorgeous colors among the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. filmboi:The sun setting on Lake Superior's Chequamegon Bay in Ashland, Wisconsin on a warm summers night. The many moods of Lake Huron provide an ever-changing landscape Tom999:Lighthouse on Lake Michigan, Frankfort, Michigan. Tom999:Iron Ore Dock on Lake Superior in Marquette, Michigan. Built in the late 1800s, it was used to load iron ore from railroad cars to freighter ships, which then transported the ore to steel mills. It is no longer in use. Wisconsin State Highway 13 follows the shoreline of Lake Superior on the Bayfield Peninsula, Wisconsin IceBlock:A late October morning at the Lone Rock campsite, Porcupines Mountains Wilderness State Park, Silver City, Michigan. This part of the rugged and remote Lake Superior lakeshore is only accessible by backpacking, leaving pristine wilderness along the greatest of Great Lakes. IceBlock:Lafayette Landing, Porcupines Mountains Wilderness State Park, Silver City, Michigan. Kathryn Houser:When the winds blow just so, the sand forms strange and wonderful shapes. Near Pentwater, Michigan, on the eastern edge of Lake Michigan. October, 2012. David S Roberts:Lighthouse at Saugeen River mouth Lake Huron, Southampton, Ontario Marthawitt:Chicago lakefront at dawn Mackinaw Island view dog and sunset This gorgeous sunset was captured last Friday, 8.30.13 on Lake Michigan. The Point Betsie Lighthouse is located on M22 just north of Frankfort, MI. Nick Danz:Taken on our trek along the Lakeshore trail! Pam Mulder Plamann:Grand Haven Pier, amid the dune grass. Lake Michigan, Grand Haven, Michigan Pam Mulder Plamann:A foggy day at Lake Michigan, Grand Haven Pam Mulder Plamann:Canoeing at sunset. Lake Superior, Ontonagon, Michigan Pam Mulder Plamann:Large driftwood along the shore of Lake Superior, Ontonagon, Michigan

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