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8 Holiday Fitness Tips Clutch Nutrition For High-Intensity Training Winning Healthy Recipe Of The #FitMenCookoff BodySpace Member Of The Month Bry Jensen: Feel The Burn 6 Hardcore Holiday Workouts Build Your Own Weight-Gainer Shake The Best Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes 4 New Protein Foods You Must Try 24 Laws Of Eating For Muscle
 

8 Holiday Fitness Tips

Is staying lean this holiday season at the top of your Christmas wish list? If you'd rather not look like a schlubby, post-cookie-binge Santa, you'll want to put the following holiday fitness tips into action.It takes a good dose of motivation, determination, and persistence to get through the next few months without overindulging, especially if many of the people close to you aren't leading the same lifestyle. While everyone else is slamming back eggnog and chocolates, you're more focused on egg whites and chicken. At times, you might feel like you're going through the battle alone.Well, you're not. Use these strategies to stay on track. Come New Year's, you'll be thanking yourself. 1 Prioritize Your Time Since it's the season of giving and socializing, you'll have event invites coming at you from all directions. Stop feeling bad about saying no. "You can start to feel guilty if you don't RSVP "yes" to all the invites, but at what cost?" asks fitness pro Jen Jewell.Jen stresses the importance of carving out some "you" time as well. If you're constantly doing things to please others, you'll put your needs on the back burner. Training is usually the first thing to fall to the wayside.It's understandable that something's got to give, but when your plate starts to fill up, make modifications instead of cutting things out completely. "If you can't manage to sneak away for your normal workouts, at least aim to do 30 minutes of activity first thing in the morning," Jen recommends. "That way, if the day gets hectic, at least you know you've already done something positive for yourself.""If you can't manage to sneak away for your normal workouts, at least aim to do 30 minutes of activity first thing in the morning." - Jen JewellIdeally, carve out enough time to hit the gym 3-5 days a week to maintain your fitness and overall mental health. 2 Pick Your Indulgences Wisely This holiday season, don't feel like you'll get coal in your stocking unless you avoid every trace of fat or added sugar. Doing so might only backfire on you, leading to a full-on binge of anything in sight.Permission granted to indulge wisely and in moderation. Jen tells her clients to ask themselves one simple question: Is the goodie in question one you can eat year-round, or is it a seasonal special? There's no point blowing your diet on a cookie that comes from a box purchased from the supermarket. You can throw those in your cart at any time. But your grandma's top secret cookie recipe that only comes out once a year? That's worth the indulgence. 3 Assess Your Goals Regularly Another important thing to do this holiday season is to keep current with your goals. "Check in with yourself often and ask why it is that you want to reach these particular goals," recommends WBFF Pro bodybuilder Calum Von Moger. "What are you trying to achieve and how badly do you want it? Reminding yourself of what you're striving for will help keep your mind focused on the end result," he explains.Try writing a list of your goals for the holiday season and hanging it in a spot that you can reference daily. Doing so will help you keep striving onward. 4 Buddy Up You've already heard about how beneficial having a workout buddy can be, but having that extra support is especially crucial during the holidays."Find someone with similar goals, and work together to accomplish them," recommends Calum. "This will motivate you to stay on track. You'll be able to lean on each other for support, which will help you both stay focused." A photo posted by Çalum vøn Møger™ (@calumvonmoger) on Sep 9, 2014 at 1:07pm PDT People are often thrown off their diet and workout schedule when they feel like an outsider. While everyone else is off partying, they're left counting macros and tracking workouts. If you have that workout buddy, you won't feel alone any longer. 5 Get Wise With Your Macros Another way to indulge in seasonal goodies is to calculate them into your daily macros. Instead of depriving yourself, follow the IIFYM plan, meaning, if it fits your macros, go for it. "The holidays are filled with amazing foods like cookies, pies, and pastries, so instead of turning down these foods and waiting for your cheat day to eat 75 servings in one sitting, fit them into your daily allowance," recommends Cellucor athlete Karina Baymiller.The more restricted you feel during the holidays, the more problematic your cravings can be. "Eating the foods you love during the holiday season is easy when you actually allow yourself to eat them in moderation," Karina adds. Bye-bye deprivation. 6 Schedule Training Wisely In addition to being smart with how you indulge, you should also be smart with when you train. Workout timing is important to be aware of, especially when you factor in big holiday meals. Put that turkey and stuffing to good use. Time your meals so you can use them as fuel or to replenish nutrients."I like getting a solid training session in before or after my feast to put the extra carbs and fats to good use," Karina explains. Using this logic might also remove some of the psychological guilt associated with indulging. Remember, food equals fuel and power.If you slip, remember to maintain perspective. "Keep consistency in mind over perfection," Karina stresses. "If you eat a little too much stuffing or have an extra cinnamon roll on Christmas morning, oh well. A few days of letting your guard down and enjoying time with friends and family is what we call life." 7 Prep And Plan Ahead "If you know you are going to be in the car for a long time traveling, pack healthy snacks."Nutrition is the foundation of fitness. The holidays might mean baking treats and whipping up sauces, but that doesn't mean you should stop cooking. Use the weekend to plan and prepare your meals ahead of time as you normally would."If you get lazy on your meal prep, you are surely going to fall off your diet," says Cellucor athlete and strongman competitor Colton Leonard. "If you know you are going to be in the car traveling for a long time, for instance, pack healthy snacks."The hustle and bustle of the holidays might make planning more difficult, but just know that it's not an optional task if you want to succeed in staying on track. With cookies, cake, and decadent dishes everywhere, temptation is likely to lead you astray now more than ever.Avoid holiday diet "don'ts" by coming up with a sound meal and workout plan in advance. "Regardless of the goal and the direction you are trying to take with your physique, you have to have a plan and be devoted to following it," says Colton. List out your menu for each day of the week on Sunday, and then do your best to follow through. Treat your workouts in a similar manner. 8 Start Your Plan Early Along with getting a plan in place, one quick tip that IFBB Pro Physique competitor Craig Capurso of Cellucor recommends is starting your plan early. By doing this, you'll allow yourself time to get into the groove so you won't have to deal with an "adjustment period" once the holidays roll around. This way you don't risk looking like the Grinch around family and friends."Decide if you'd like to diet or ramp up your calorie burn before going into the feast. Maybe try a little bit of both." - Craig CapursoThink about how you want to tackle the holidays. "Decide if you'd like to diet or ramp up your calorie burn before going into the feast," says Craig. "Maybe try a little bit of both." By creating a slight deficit leading into the holiday week, you'll allow yourself a bit of a cushion. That way, if you do indulge, it won't impact you as much, and you'll likely break even.Recommended For You6 Ways To Maximize Your Gains Train, eat, sleep, repeat. With that philosophy and these 6 pro tips, you'll be well on your way toward astronomical muscle growth!Supercharge Your Breakfast: 4 Healthy Breakfast Recipes Make your first meal of the day count with these four healthy breakfast recipes from the shredded athletes of Cellucor!28 Laws Of Lifting For Muscle If building muscle is in your gain plan, start here with these helpful tips!About The AuthorShannon ClarkI’ve been working in the field of exercise science for the last 8 years. I’ve written a number of online and print articles.View All Articles By This Author

Clutch Nutrition For High-Intensity Training

Recently, I had the pleasure of appearing on the cover of the December 2014 issue of "Oxygen" magazine. I have a long history with this magazine, and I feel like it was largely responsible for my initial success in the fitness industry way back when. So, needless to say, this was an awesome experience that meant a lot to me, especially because I also contributed a workout to the issue.The workout I created was something I would do—and have done—myself. It's a high-intensity, full-body program inspired by my experience in collegiate athletics. I wanted to convey an important point: If you move your body in an athletic way, your results and physique will come. You don't need to tailor every workout to how you want to look; do the workout first, and let the body come naturally. Not only will you look great, you'll also be a better athlete.But there's another ingredient to this performance pastry: nutrition! And I'm not just talking about your overall nutritional strategy, or your—sigh—"diet." If you've ever made the mistake of eating like a bodybuilder on the same day you do a sprint or agility workout, you know that eating for performance can make the difference between feeling great and feeling beyond awful.Here's the new way to fuel up for high-intensity training. A photo posted by Amber Elizabeth Dodzweit (@amberdodzweit) on May 5, 2014 at 9:21pm PDT A Day at the RacesHow to program your speed and agility dayMonday: Outdoor agilityTuesday: Full-body strength workoutWednesday: Outdoor agilityThursday: Full-body strength workoutFriday: Outdoor agilityWeekend: Get out and enjoy yourself!High-intensity workouts require you to eat in a certain way. First and foremost, carbs are non-negotiable. They are the fuel for movement and speed, and you absolutely need them to perform at your peak. In fact, I didn't deplete or deny myself carbs at all for my cover or workout photo shoot.I do recommend timing your carbs, however. Ingest only complex, slow-digesting carbs in your morning and early afternoon meals, and taper them off around 3 or 4 p.m. After that, replace them with non-starchy vegetables. This will give you plenty of energy to play with, which is the real key to getting lean.For breakfast I recommend slow-burning carbs like oatmeal paired with egg whites, or protein pancakes made with a scoop of Baking Mix from Clutch Bodyshop, an egg white, almond milk, and oatmeal.Baking Mix Pancakes PDF (113 KB)Consume that first meal at least an hour and a half before your workout so it has time to be digested—and so it doesn't come back up. This is a lesson some people need to learn the hard way, but they usually only have to learn it once!After your workout, proper nutrition is very important. Your body considers exercise a stressor, and you need to eat and drink back what you've just depleted from your system in order to kick-start your repair and recovery processes. Remember that strength and progress are not built during your workouts; they're built during your recovery.This is the perfect time to take in fast-digesting carbs, but that doesn't have to mean junk food. I like to have 8 ounces of coconut water, straight up, at this time. At least a few times a week, I'll toss my coconut water into the blender and make a homemade green juice.Post-Workout Green JuiceCoconut water 8-12 oz. Kale Celery Parsley Romaine lettuce Ginger Lemon As the burning in your thighs after a few sets of sprints indicates, intense exercise creates an acidic environment in your body. This promotes inflammation, and green juice helps your body return to an alkaline state, which is better for repairing and rebuilding, and ultimately getting you results.Finally, I recommend a protein shake that is 100-percent whey isolate protein, mixed with water or almond milk. All of these things should be taken in immediately post-workout. It sounds like a lot of liquid, but you need those nutrients and water to initiate proper recovery.About an hour after training, have an actual meal. I personally love the Bodybuilding.com B-Elite meals for this particular meal. I'm very busy, so they are the perfect choice for me. I just pop one in the microwave and in five minutes or so I have clean chicken, brown rice, and broccoli in the perfect portions.For dinner I recommend sticking to protein and veggies. This is when I like to have something I invented called "bread-free French toast." Basically, it's egg whites beaten with a little almond milk, some stevia, cinnamon and flax seed meal. Cook it up like you would an omelet with a side of veggies and it's like having French toast for dinner. Who could say no to that?Supps To Support Your Speedy ResultsMy high-intensity workouts are inspired by competitive athletics, but I know that many people aren't performing them with the stadium in mind. No, they're thinking about the mirror, the bikini—in other words, dialing in their body composition. Strategic supplementation can definitely help you get maximum results out oft this type of training, while also helping you recover adequately between workouts. A video posted by Amber Elizabeth Dodzweit (@amberdodzweit) on Feb 2, 2014 at 12:43pm PST I recommend taking a stimulant-free pre-workout mixed with water right before you train. If you didn't know that such a thing existed, then you should definitely consider one. Here's the thing: Over time, the combination of stimulants and hard training exhausts your adrenal glands. This can lead to fat gain and leave you dragging through life. Good luck making it through my workouts then!Instead, I prefer caffeine-free pre-workouts that provide energy on a cellular level, such as the forthcoming Clutch Workout Powder, which will come out this December. I also recommend taking 1,000mg of BCAAs pre-workout to provide your body with immediate access to amino acids during training. Post-workout, I recommend 2,000 mg of glutamine with your protein shake, as well as another 1,000mg of BCAAs to saturate your system with the building blocks necessary to facilitate recovery and build muscle.If you're training with high intensity because you're aiming for a specific deadline, like I was for the "Oxygen" cover shoot, then consider adding in a fat-burner for a month, or if the deadline is shorter, a 21-day Clutch Cut. You may be surprised to hear me recommend a fat-burner, since they are often the primary suspects in adrenal fatigue. However, this is because people use them as an artificial source of energy. I only recommend stimulant-free fat-burners, like the Clutch Fat Burner, which promotes fat being burned as energy rather than just ramping up your heart rate.There's your plan. Now work hard, sprint fast, and watch everyone else try to keep up!Recommended For You6 Delicious Protein Shake Recipes! Say goodbye to the days of chugging lumpy protein shakes with minimal flavor. Take your gains to the next level with these Clutch shake recipes!Ashley Conrad's 25-Minute Time-Saving Workout Think strength and speed don't belong in the same workout? Not if Ashley Conrad has anything to say about it! Turn up the pressure and leave it all out on the floor in this brutal 25-minute burner!Ashley Conrad's 21-Day Clutch Cut I've trained celebrities like Bradley Cooper, Kate Hudson, and P. Diddy. My plan will help you get lean, mean, and cut beyond belief in only three weeks. Now that's clutch.About The AuthorContributing WriterCheck out these awesome articles by some of the best writers in the industry.View All Articles By This Author

Winning Healthy Recipe Of The #FitMenCookoff

by Kevin AlexanderLast updated: Nov 19, 2014It's time to lay down the spatulas, turn off the oven, unplug the food processor, and turn off the dishwasher. That's right: It's time to unveil the winning dish of the #FitMenCookoff. Among all the delicious stuffed meats, handmade tostadas, munch-worthy fritters, easy-to-eat rolls, and tangy dressings, one dish stood apart.The winner of the challenge is Savory Chicken Meatballs with Zucchini Pasta and Marinara Sauce, and a fully-loaded twice-baked sweet potato by Joseph, aka @cookeatlift!I was drawn to the simplicity of this stellar dish. It's healthy fare that turns a muscle-building staple on its head without being overly complicated. The chicken breast meatballs are a great alternative to a lone piece of dry chicken breast, and the twice-baked potato with apples provides a sweet take on a complex carb. This meal is also extremely versatile and can be easily adjusted for both low- and high-calories diets. Going low-carb? Ditch the potato. Looking to bulk up and add on some lean muscle mass? Go all-out and enjoy! Boom.I've recreated Joseph's meal below but made it "meal-prep ready" with a few tweaks to save you some time in the kitchen! Congrats, Joseph, and to all of you that submitted amazing recipes.FitMenCook Watch The Video - 6:58Savory Chicken Meatballs with Zucchini Pasta18 oz lean ground chicken breast 2 eggs 1/3 cup panko crumbs (or 2 bags crushed Quest Protein Chip Salt & Vinegar, as demonstrated in original recipe) 2 tbsp oregano 2 tbsp minced garlic 1/2 cup chopped red onion (optional) 2-1/2 oz goat cheese 6 vine tomatoes 3 medium zucchinis 1/2 cup tomato sauce (natural, no salt added) 1 tbsp garlic Sea salt & pepper to taste Set oven to 375°F. In a bowl, mix ground chicken breast, eggs, panko crumbs (or Quest protein chips), half of the oregano, 1 tbsp garlic, onion, goat cheese, and sea salt & pepper. Form small meatballs, about the size of golf balls, and place on a baking sheet. With these ingredients, I was able to make 12 of equal size. Bake in the oven for about 18-20 minutes. To brown the top of the meatballs and add a small layer of crispiness, you can bake for 18 minutes and then broil for 2-3 minutes. Chop up tomatoes into small pieces and set aside. Set a nonstick skillet on medium-high heat and spray it with coconut oil spray. Add 1 tbsp garlic and the rest of the oregano, and cook for about 2 minutes, continuously stirring with a spatula. Add diced tomatoes to the skillet and stir. Then, toss in tomato sauce. Stir, then reduce to low heat and cover cook for about 8-10 minutes. Shred a zucchini using a julienne peeler or a spiralizer. Place the raw zucchini noodles into your meal-prep containers, then top with the cooked chicken meatballs and drizzle with marinara sauce. Boom. Always remember to adjust portions and servings to support your fitness goals.Savory Chicken Meatballs with Zucchini Pasta PDF (90 KB)Nutrition FactsServing Size (4 meatballs) Recipe yields 3Amount per servingCalories 421Total Fat13 gTotal Carbs19 gProtein50 gLoaded Twice-Baked Sweet PotatoThis recipe will make 6 stuffed sweet potato halves at about 180 g sweet potato per half.3 medium sweet potatoes 3/4 cup 2% Greek yogurt 3 tsp zero-calorie sweetener 1 tbsp cinnamon 1/2 tsp allspice 1 tbsp vanilla extract 1 large green apple 3 tsp chopped pecans Cinnamon to taste Set oven to 375°F. Bake sweet potatoes for 1-1/2 hours or until soft, yet still firm. Allow the sweet potatoes to cool to room temperature. Note: You should immediately remove the sweet potatoes from foil if you wrapped them before baking. Slice the sweet potatoes in half, carve out a portion of the insides, and place it in a separate bowl. The hollowed-out sweet potatoes should look like mini bowls. In the bowl with the sweet potato contents, add Greek yogurt, zero-calorie sweetener, cinnamon, allspice, and vanilla extract. Mash and thoroughly mix together. Restuff the sweet potato halves with the mixture and bake in the oven for another 8-10 minutes. Chop the green apple into small pieces. Set a nonstick skillet on medium heat and spray with coconut oil spray. Toss in the chopped green apple and sprinkle with a little cinnamon. Saute the apple until the edges are brown. Add the twice-baked sweet potato to your meal-prep container. Top with apple and 1 tsp chopped pecans. Dive in. Boom. Always remember to adjust portions and servings to support your fitness goals.Loaded Twice-Baked Sweet Potato PDF (90 KB)Nutrition FactsServing Size (1/2 sweet potato) Recipe yields 3Amount per servingCalories 224Total Fat3 gTotal Carbs46 gFiber7 gProtein9 gRecommended For YouTop 10 Final Healthy Recipes Of The #FitMenCookoff Recipes from the Instagram #FitMenCookoff have been reviewed, and the list has been narrowed down to these 10 finalists. See what delectable dishes made the cut, and try them yourself!Meal Prep Hacks: 5 Healthy Recipes That Make Meal Prep Easy! Make weekly meal prep fast, easy, and fun with these five delicious recipes that offer new takes on your favorite fit-food staples!Healthy Breakfast Recipe: Chicken And Waffle Sandwich Chicken and waffles: always delicious, not always nutritious. Prove that you can have it both ways with this muscle-making recipe!Related Articles5 Healthy Weight Loss Protein Dessert Recipes Ask The Protein Powder Chef: Do You Have A Recipe For Protein Pizza? Healthy Recipes: 7 Delicious High-Protein Meals View All Recipe Articles About The AuthorKevin AlexanderKevin Alexander is a fitness enthusiast and creator of ''FitMenCook''. He is based in Dallas, TX.View All Articles By This Author RATE THIS ARTICLEPOOR1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 EXCELLENTOVERALL RATINGN/AOut of 100 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. 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BodySpace Member Of The Month Bry Jensen: Feel The Burn

Vital StatsName: Bry JensenAge: 25From: Vancouver, BCOccupation: Magnum Athlete, fitness model, writer and personal trainerWebsite: bryjensen.comContest History: Western Canadians 2012: 6th place; Sandra Wickham Fall Classic 2012: 3rd place; BC Provincial Championships 2013: 9th placeThe fit life moves fast when you are Bry Jensen. A quarter-century in, this Canadian model has flipped through gymnastics and dance studios, figure-skating rinks, and martial arts dojos.At age 19 she began weight training. By 22, she was a kickboxing instructor, and a personal trainer at 23.Bry is a sponsored athlete with Magnum Nutraceuticals and an impactful motivator to thousands of exercise enthusiasts.She knows who she is and why she lifts. She can do it all, and she promises that she will! Q What is the bigger challenge, being a fitness model or a personal trainer? Being a fitness model requires more work. I say that because I am so passionate about training others that it never feels like work to me! I love watching people grow and progress and transform into happy, healthy people with great senses of self-worth.By comparison, my own cardio seems a lot more grueling! Knowledge-wise they are the same, because you have to know what you are doing to train yourself or anyone else.You were pretty skinny in 2009 when you started training, but were you out of shape?I was insanely out of shape; there is no way to sugarcoat that. Walking up a flight of stairs winded me. Running was a no-go. I honestly thought I didn't know how to flex, but the reality was I had nothing to flex! Most importantly, I was exhausted all the time. And at 19, I felt that was a sad way to be.How do you feel about your physique now?I feel amazing in ways I never thought I could. My energy levels soar. My strength is tremendous, and it often shocks people that this tiny girl could lift so much. I'm no longer hindered or restricted from living whatever sort of life I want. My body doesn't hold me back now; it propels me forward!Is music important to you, in and out of the gym?It's kind of funny because I don't listen to a ton of music outside the gym—I'm a talk radio kind of girl. In the gym, though, music keeps me motivated. It distracts me from the inevitable slowdown of cardio, and also maintains my focus on what I am doing.The change from chorus to verse is a great way to have a good feeling of how long your breaks are. Music can really help push me through a tough interval.Fall Out BoyRamin DjawadiAloe BlaccMeghan TrainorWhat makes you a "fiery redhead?"I definitely live up to the stereotype! I'm the perky redhead with all the sass! More than that though, fire has always been my signifier. I light candles to relax, can't live without a good fireplace, and get really excited when there is a large fire around. I've taken up fire dancing too, and this feels so good to me! So, the fire in my hair must be the fire in my blood.My mantra is "embrace fire." I feel like I run on fire, and embracing that is all about allowing my inner drive to fuel me for success. Fire is a strong representation of power in the world, and embracing it is equivalent to embracing who you are at your core, and allowing your power to speak through you.It's also a nice metaphor for working out. The burn is so good, and you have to love it to ignite the superhuman you want to be!Your interests are all over the place, from fitness to mythology and parkour. Can you do it all?"I feel as if my passions for history, fitness, and travel are all governing forces in my life, but they complement each other nicely."Can do it all, and will do it all! It's hard to say which interest is most important to me, because I feel like you can't be a whole person if you are defined by only one thing. I feel as if my passions for history, fitness, and travel are all governing forces in my life, but they complement each other nicely.History shapes the way I view and understand my world, but it also fundamentally influences my emphasis on context, and what it means to be a part of something larger. Fitness shapes the way I care for myself and how I structure my day and my lifestyle.Travel shows me more of the world and inspires me to use my former passions to understand new places and cultures. They're all so intertwined. Mythology is definitely a part of historical understanding. And, well, parkour is just awesome!How did your life change when you signed with Magnum?Magnum opened so many doors for me—not only in terms of exposure and my place in the fitness world, but also to a group of amazing people who touch my life every day, products that have truly helped me succeed, and lessons on what it means to thrive in fitness.I am so grateful to be a part of this team whose members all conduct themselves with such integrity, who care for one another, and who go out of their way to open doors for their teammates. Signing with Magnum changed my life, in that it gave me a new family I now can't imagine my life without!You're a modern, fit woman who is intelligent, empowered, strong, and feminine. What are we missing?Humility and sincerity. All the qualities listed are great fundamental ones, but they lack a reflection of personal conduct that I really feel is the key in this industry. The most inspiring women I have met in the fitness world have been the ones I have walked away from, saying, "Wow! She is just the most genuine sweetheart!"A complete modern woman is someone who cares about the people she interacts with. With empowerment comes feeling amazing about ourselves, but it must go one step further: to celebrating that with others and having them share that feeling. It makes you feel so good to be around someone who lifts you up and shares the positivity of her life!"With empowerment comes feeling amazing about ourselves, but it must go one step further: to celebrating that with others and having them share that feeling."In turn, it makes me feel so good to be able to put a smile on someone's face, and have them end our conversation knowing I really heard them.What are some common lessons you share with people on BodySpace? How often do your "friends" approach you?I get approached on BodySpace all the time, and I think that's fantastic. People often want to know what sort of workouts I do or what I eat, so it's a great opportunity for me to share the importance of personalized eating.Many people want to know what it takes to be a fitness model or a sponsored athlete. The best answer to that is the simplest one: Know who you are, know your brand, and live it genuinely!Can you reach everyone? Do you have to send thousands of personal messages?No, and I don't, because it's more about just being there and sharing myself as openly and genuinely as I'm capable of doing. Sure, my inbox is always open, my personal messages are always turned on, and I do my best to respond to everyone, because those are the people who feel compelled to speak to me. However, they are not the only people who will ever cross my page, see my tweet or post, or see me bouncing around an expo.If I can just get them to smile or think about something in a new way, then I have done the job I need to do for that person. I put myself out there and invite response.How does BodySpace help you with social exposure? How does it stack up against other social networks?"BodySpace has not only been fundamental in my establishment as an identity in the fitness community, it has helped me forge strong friendships and bonds."BodySpace has not only been fundamental in my establishment as an identity in the fitness community, it has helped me forge strong friendships and bonds—including with my hero, Jamie Eason. It also helped me establish my personal training clientele. Many of my long-term clients initially found me on BodySpace.BodySpace differs from other networks in a lot of ways, since it has a specific function. This allows someone like me to share more than just thoughts or messages. It allows me to post every detail, from my weight to lifting stats and supplement stacks, and glean huge amounts of information from other people I idolize and respect. It's one of the most complete social networks out there, for sure.You've done a bunch of photo shoots over the years. Any tips for someone getting prepared for their first one?Find someone you are comfortable shooting with, and who understands your experience level.Prepare your looks beforehand, and make sure you feel amazing in them. Don't hesitate to use a professional for hair and makeup—it can make a huge difference! Once you're in front of the camera, make sure to not worry about what looks good—you can read the "does this look good?" face from a mile away.Just loosen up, move around, and enjoy yourself!Nutritional Regimen Egg whites 4 Coconut oil 1 tbsp Steel cut oats 1/2 cup Magnum Quattro 1 scoop Apple 1 medium Chicken breast 5 oz Brown rice 1/2 cup Chopped vegetables 2 cups Greek yogurt 1/2 cup Jamie Eason protein muffin 1 serving Peanut butter 1 tbsp Chicken breast 5 oz Brown rice 1/2 cup Chopped vegetables 2 cups (as stir fry or salad) Magnum Quattro 1 scoop A video posted by Bry Jensen (@bryjensen) on Apr 4, 2014 at 2:32pm PDT Training Regimen Barbell Squat4 sets of 10-15 reps Barbell Deadlift4 sets of 10-15 reps Decline Leg Press4 sets of 10-15 reps Calf Raises4 rounds of 3 superset directions, 15 reps Hip Thrust4 sets of 10-15 reps Stiff-Legged Barbell Deadlift4 sets of 20 reps Barbell Bench Press - Medium Grip4 sets of 10 reps Dips - Triceps Version4 sets of max reps BOSU Ball Elbow Drop4 sets of max reps Push-Ups - Close Triceps Position3 sets of max reps Triceps Pushdown - Rope Attachment4 sets of 10-15 reps Straight-Arm Pulldown4 sets of 10-15 reps Cable One Arm Tricep Extension4 sets of 10-15 per side Stairmaster30 minutes Seated Dumbbell Press4 sets of 10 reps Arnold Dumbbell Press4 sets of 15 reps Alternating Deltoid Raise4 supersets of 15 each Front/Lateral Cable Raise4 supersets of 15 each Upright Barbell Row4 sets of 10 reps Hanging Leg Raise4 sets of 25 reps Mason Twist4 sets 50 per side V-Up4 sets of 20 reps Plank3 sets of 1 minute plus Pullups4 sets of max reps Seated Alternating Dumbbell Curl4 sets of 15 each side Preacher Curl4 sets of 10 reps Bent Over Barbell Row4 sets of 10-15 reps One-arm Cable Pulley Rows4 sets of 15 per side Standing Biceps Cable Curl4 sets of 15 reps Wide-Grip Lat Pulldown4 sets of 10 reps (negative reps) Jogging-Treadmill30 minutes sprints Step Ups4 sets of 15 reps per side Split Squats4 sets of 15 reps per side Walking Lunge4 sets of 30 reps Single-Leg Leg Extensions4 sets of 15 reps per side One-Legged Cable Kickback4 sets of 20 reps per side Box Jump4 sets of 15 reps Air Bike4 sets of 25 reps per side Good Morning4 sets of 20 reps *Similar to Wednesday, usually in a different order, or higher rep count Seated Dumbbell Press4 sets of 10 reps Arnold Dumbbell Press4 sets of 15 reps Alternating Deltoid Raise4 supersets of 15 each Front/Lateral Cable Raise4 supersets of 15 each Upright Barbell Row4 sets of 10 reps Hanging Leg Raise4 sets of 25 reps Mason Twist4 sets 50 per side V-Up4 sets of 20 reps Plank3 sets of 1 minute plus Supplementation Regimen Magnum Tonic 1 cap Magnum Primer 1 packet Magnum Heat 3 caps (if preparing for photo shoots) Magnum Mimic 2 caps (either post-workout or before largest carb meal) Magnum Heat 3 caps w/ afternoon snack (if preparing for photo shoots) Magnum Opus 1 scoop Magnum DNA 4-8 caps Magnum Hi5 1 scoop Magnum Quattro 1 scoop Magnum Mimic 2 caps Magnum Tonic 1 cap Recommended For YouBodySpace Member Of The Month: Nikki Walter, A Year Of Leading By Example Nikki Walter is intent on changing the fitness culture in South Dakota. She hosts clean-eating parties, competes in the NPC and helps people on BodySpace!BODYSPACE MEMBER OF THE MONTH: JORDAN METCALFE BodySpace gave Jordan a safe haven to study, share, and progress among like-minded people. He's made the most of it!BODYSPACE MEMBER OF THE MONTH: ALLISON MOYER Allison takes an open-minded approach to fitness and nutrition in order achieve a figure that can thrive in any athletic setting.About The AuthorBodySpace Member Of The MonthBodySpace Members of the Month are chosen because they know how to use all the features of BodySpace to their advantage...View All Articles By This Author

6 Hardcore Holiday Workouts

There's nothing quite like enjoying a great meal with friends and family. Good food and good conversation are part of what makes the holidays so special, and why we look forward to them each year. Because family and food go so well together, it can be devastating to miss out and exchange stuffing and pumpkin pie for a plate of broccoli and chicken breast.That's why the pros at MET-Rx go into the holidays with a plan. They use those extra calories to make huge gains and come into the New Year even better. Here's how IFBB Figure champ Nicole Wilkins, men's physique pro Jason Poston, and NPC bikini starlet Justine Moore work out to make those extra calories count!Follow their hardcore workouts so you can enjoy the holidays with the satisfaction of knowing that you're making progress toward your goals!NICOLE WILKINSFavorite Indulgences: Cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie.Nicole Wilkins loves to relax during the holidays and spend Thanksgiving and Christmas with her family, but she doesn't rest long. "I take those days off to spend with family and friends," she says, "but the next day I do my best to get to the gym because I feel I get the most benefits from those cheat calories that day. I use that extra energy to fuel my training and build my body!" A video posted by Nicole Wilkins (@nicolemwilkins) on Jul 7, 2014 at 9:05am PDT To get the most from those extra calories, Nicole chooses a body part she wants to improve, and then she hits it hard. "I like to train in the morning," she adds, "so I can get it done and have the rest of the day to enjoy myself. I'll also do some HIIT cardio after my strength training, but I really want those calories to go into building my muscles."Nicole's "Make Your Cheat-Meal Matter" Workouts Warm up for 5-10 minutes with some light cardio or a few light sets of the first exercise to get your blood flowing. Then, choose a challenging weight and get to work! Pull-up3 sets of 10 reps Wide-Grip Lat Pulldown4 sets of 10-15 reps Seated Cable Rows4 sets of 10-15 reps One-Arm Dumbbell Row4 sets of 10-12 reps Underhand Cable Pulldowns4 sets of 10-15 reps Cable Pull-Over4 sets of 10-15 reps Warm up for 5-10 minutes with some light cardio and dynamic stretching. Then, hop on a treadmill and get going. For your recovery intervals, jog at a pace that allows you to catch your breath. When you're sprinting, go as fast as you can for the duration of the minute. Beginners can cut the work portion of the intervals down to 30 seconds or reduce the workout to 15 minutes. Running-Treadmill30 minutes of intervals1 minute jog, 1 minute sprint For the first 5 minutes, increase the rate of your exertion during sprints. By minute 5, you should be sprinting as fast as you can. During the jog intervals, work at about a 5 on the intensity scale. JASON POSTONFavorite Indulgences: Pancakes, turkey with stuffing and gravy, and grandma's cranberry salad."During the holidays I do enjoy myself, but I consequently work even harder in the gym to use all that food," says Poston. "Every morning I get up and do at least 30-45 minutes of cardio on an empty stomach. I like to take a long walk or run outside with my grandparents' dogs."Because he's constantly eating, Jason likes to hit the gym two or even three times each day to burn off what he eats. "Don't get me wrong," he says, "I love the extra work! I'll take any chance to get more fuel in the off-season, then put it toward building size."Because Poston is diabetic and insulin-dependent, his constant gym visits are necessary to burn calories and keep his blood sugar under control. A photo posted by Jason Poston (@jasonpostonpro) on Jul 7, 2014 at 1:19pm PDT "For each workout, I train a different body part to isolate, so I don't overtrain anything. After five minutes of mobility and flexibility work, I train a single part with super-intense, heavy, explosive movements. My workouts are 100 percent velocity weightlifting," says Poston."At the end of each session, I do 10-15 minutes of HIIT. I like to punch a heavy bag as hard and fast as I can for 15 seconds, then walk and rest for 45 seconds. I always follow up my intense workouts with lots of stretching and mobility."Jason's "Turn Evil Into Good" Workouts Before hitting any weight, do five minutes of light cardio followed by five minutes of functional mobility and flexibility for your legs, hips, and back. Go hard and heavy on squats, leg presses, walking lunges, and stiff-legged deadlifts. When you hit the supersets, use a more moderate weight and focus on the stretch and squeeze.Rest up to three minutes between sets of squats, and one minute between sets of other exercises. During supersets, do the strength and plyometric moves back-to-back, and then rest 1-3 minutes. Barbell Squat8 sets of 10, 10, 8, 6, 6, 5, 4, 3 reps Jump Squat1 set of 20 reps Leg Press4 sets of 25-30 reps Barbell Walking Lunge4 sets of 20 reps Sissy Squat3 sets of 25 reps Superset Lying Dumbbell Leg Curls (Shown w/ machine)3 sets of 20 reps Speed Skater3 sets of 10 seconds Superset Stiff-Legged Barbell Deadlift4 sets of 20 reps Box Jump4 sets of 10 seconds Superset Standing Leg Curl3 sets of 12 reps Weighted Punch3 sets of 10 seconds Warm up with a light jog or some jumping jacks, then get right into the workout. Do one round, working as intensely as possible, then rest 30 seconds and repeat. Continue until you complete 10 minutes. As Many Rounds As Possible (AMRAP), 10 Minutes Burpee10 reps Jumping Jacks20 reps Combination Punches30 reps (Left/right straight punch, left/right uppercut, left/right hook = one combination) JUSTINE MOOREFavorite Indulgences: Hot cocoa, Christmas cookies, eggnog, and all kinds of carbs!"Holidays are a vacation," says Justine Moore. "You're supposed to enjoy life. Food is a big part of that. I like to have holiday treats and cocktails, but there is a way to do it so I don't totally wreak havoc on the work I've put in all year. So if I know I'm going to indulge, I have to earn it in the gym beforehand." A photo posted by Justine Moore (@justinefit) on Oct 10, 2014 at 5:47am PDT Moore is a big fan of combining strength moves and cardio to fire up her metabolism and burn a ton of calories. "I'll choose a cardio interval, a lower-body move, an upper-body move, and a core move, and then arrange them in a circuit. I do all four exercises back-to-back and then rest one minute. I repeat that circuit three or four times," says Justine."If you do three or four circuits like that, you've done a 45-minute, total-body [workout] and cardio workout in one! You're in and out of the gym in an hour and you can enjoy the rest of your day with family and friends."Justine's "Earn It" Holiday Workouts Warm up by doing some total-body dynamic stretching for five minutes, then begin the workout with Circuit 1. Go through each circuit three times and rest for one minute between rounds. Your workout will take a grand total of 45 minutes. After you're done, cool down and stretch for 5-10 minutes. Circuit 1 Jumping Jacks3 sets of 1 minute Bodyweight Squat3 sets of 1 minute Bent-Over Barbell Row3 sets of 1 minute Air Bike3 sets of 1 minute Circuit 2 Rope Slam3 sets of 1 minute Push-up3 sets of 1 minute Barbell Walking Lunge3 sets of 1 minute Plank3 sets of 1 minute Circuit 3 Burpee3 sets of 1 minute Dumbbell Thruster3 sets of 1 minute Dumbbell Biceps Curl3 sets of 30 seconds per side Side Plank3 sets of 30 seconds per side Warm up with some light jogging and dynamic upper-body stretching. Pay special attention to your shoulders. After the workout, cool down and stretch for 5-10 minutes, focusing again on shoulder mobility and range of motion.The rate of perceived exertion (RPE) should increase during each cardio blast. Jogging-Treadmill5 minutes (RPE 6-7) Superset Dumbbell Shoulder Press3 sets of 20 reps Side Lateral Raise3 sets of 20 reps   Step Mill5 minutes (RPE 8) Superset Dumbbell Rear Delt Fly3 sets of 15 reps Alternating Deltoid Raise3 sets of 15 reps per arm   Bicycling, Stationary5 minutes (RPE 9) Superset Machine Shoulder (Military) Press3 sets of 15-20 reps Upright Cable Row3 sets of 15-20 reps   Jogging-Treadmill5 minutes (RPE 9) Recommended For YouFigure Dynasty: How Nicole Wilkins Won Her Fourth Olympia You've seen her dominate the Figure category on stage. Now get an exclusive look what it's like to compete as four-time Olympia winner Nicole Wilkins.Personal Trainer Of The Month: Justine Moore She keeps her clients busy with a steady diet of supersets, intervals, and circuits. She also keeps herself busy with a bourgeoning side career in modeling.18 Quick Ways To Improve Your Workouts Sometimes wholesale program changes can do more harm than good. Instead, insert these 18 tip and twists to improve your current program and continue your physical progress.About The AuthorContributing WriterCheck out these awesome articles by some of the best writers in the industry.View All Articles By This Author

Build Your Own Weight-Gainer Shake

Vital StatsName: Jim Stoppani, PhD Occupation: Creator of JYM Supplement Science, fitness coach and consultantWebsite: www.jimstoppani.com/To be honest, I have yet to find a quality mass gainer on the market. The problem with most mass gainers is that they are loaded with cheap sugars as a carb source. Not only can this lead to greater fat gain, it can make drinking them several times a day unhealthy.Of course, many supplement companies try to trick the consumer by using ingredients like maltodextrin instead. While maltodextrin is technically a complex carb, it breaks apart very rapidly in the body and spikes blood sugar and insulin levels even faster and higher than sugar does. This allows manufacturers to list less sugar—or even no sugar—on the product label. The unsuspecting consumer has no idea that the carbs in that product are sugar in disguise.A mass gainer is not some magical formula that will build muscle better than a regular protein blend. A mass gainer is designed for people who cannot eat enough calories, protein, carbs, and fat to build adequate muscle. This is typically teenage males and males in their early 20s. Instead of buying jugs of product that promise to free you from your ectomorphic ways, I recommend that you make your own with the recipe below.For those of you who are truly hardgainers, and can't gain an ounce no matter how much you eat, this homemade mass gainer is just for you. Drink this mass gainer with breakfast, around workouts (consider making it before workouts and sipping on it before, during and after workouts like I do in this video), and before bed. Having three of these shakes per day will add more than 2,800 calories, 225 grams of protein, 270 grams of carbs, and 90 grams of fat to your daily totals. That should be enough to put some size on the hardest of hardgainers!HOMEMADE MASS GAINERSimply combine all ingredients in a blender.2 scoops Pro JYM protein powder blend (or any flavor Pro JYM you prefer) 2 cups whole milk 1/2 cup dry oats 1 medium banana 1 tbsp natural peanut butter (or any nut butter) 2-3 cups ice Nutrition FactsServing Size (1 shake) Recipe yields 1 servingAmount per servingCalories 955Total Fat30 gTotal Carbs90 gProtein75 gHomemade Mass Gainer PDFRecommended 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

The Best Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes

It's the time of year for everyone to gather 'round and chow down on a smorgasbord of good ol' fashioned Thanksgiving staples: A succulent bird propped up on metric tons of stuffing; mountains of mashed potatoes and gravy; warm, airy biscuits; chunks of sweet candied yams; and enough pumpkin pies to make your eyes—and belly—bulge.While a wonderful Thanksgiving feast is a venerable tradition, many of us want to enjoy these delicacies while staying on track with our fitness goals. Luckily, it's easy to make healthy versions of your favorite treats. Armed with the right recipes, you can have your pumpkin pie and feel great about it, too!Check out these delicious, nutritious, healthy Thanksgiving meal ideas!Happy Bulksgiving! Fear not, FitMenCook's recipes will let you have your bulk and ensure that the post-Thanksgiving girth has been proportionately channeled to appendages other than your abs-blanket.Your Guide To The Ultimate Paleo Thanksgiving No grains, no problem. Recipes for a successful Thanksgiving dinner are only a click away! Paleo gravy, paleo pumpkin pie, and many other paleo-friendly recipes await. One of the recipes even teaches you to make a substitute for mashed potatoes out of … well, you'll just have to find out, but we promise it's good!The Best Protein-Loaded Pumpkin RecipesYou'll Ever Taste If you're looking to build lean muscle, these eight better-for-you protein pumpkin recipes will give you an extra dose of protein in the wake of a carb-laden holiday feast. Plus, protein is naturally more satiating. Thanksgiving Nutrition 101 If you're committed to steeling yourself against an all-out holiday diet apocalypse, you'll need to have an action plan. Whether your goal is fat loss, gaining mass, or even maintaining your weight, here's a handy nutrition guide for physique-minded folks of all fitness levels.Innovative Training Tips For The Holidays Your training shouldn't fall by the wayside just because you're on holiday. In fact, you can even do a bit of damage control by working out before the big feast! Even if you don't have a gym, this is the perfect bodyweight circuit to help you feel better about hungrily tackling the oncoming big meal.Classic Pumpkin Pie… Now With More Protein Diet, meet this macro-friendly protein pumpkin pie! Even if you're watching your calorie intake, this pie variation perfectly melds luxurious taste, reduced sugar, and adequate protein to let your inner pumpkin-pie-lover indulge in good conscience this Thanksgiving.Healthy Thanksgiving To Fit Christmas! For some people, battling the onslaught of decadent pumpkin pies and relatives who keep piling second and third helpings onto your plate can be a lofty and mentally draining endeavor. Fret not, fit warrior! Use Jennifer Nicole Lee's holiday survival guide to equip yourself with the right mindset, plan, and belly-bloat-resistant armor to survive the holidays.About The AuthorContributing WriterCheck out these awesome articles by some of the best writers in the industry.View All Articles By This Author

4 New Protein Foods You Must Try

Vital StatsTRAIN MAGAZINEThe Official Print Partner of Bodybuilding.comWebsite: https://train.magcs.com/Facebook: TRAINmagazineTwitter: TRAINmagFillets. Loins. Chops. They're the high-end contributions to modern man's stomach. And who could argue? Whether you're trying to cut 5 percent of your body fat or plug an inch on your guns, you need plenty of the protein found in meat.Our appetite for animal proteins is stronger than ever. Research at Public Health Nutrition found that red meat consumption has continued to rise throughout the United States, Europe, and the rest of the developed world. Despite the health benefits of poultry being common knowledge since 2011 and in spite of the expense relative to other protein foods, Americans were still eating more red meat (58% of total consumption) than any other kind.However, that is slowly changing because of market prices. In 2013, the average price per pound of beef was $5.36, up from $3.32 per pound in 2002. This forced people to eat more chicken than ever before, so much so that it surpassed beef in terms of total consumption. In fact, beef has become so pricy that red meat now holds the honor of being the second most shoplifted item in the world.But there is a way to get more meat for less cash without having to eat chicken for breakfast, lunch, and dinner: buy the meat nobody seems to want. It's sometimes called offal, and when cooked with a dash of skill it's incredibly tasty and tremendously good for you."Bodybuilders and strongmen have been eating liver, heart, and tongue since the 1900s," explains Adam Farrah, a nutritionist and author of "The Paleo Dieter's Missing Link." "Relatively speaking, chicken breasts and egg whites are very new bodybuilding staples, and diets heavy in fats and organ meats from healthy animals have been the norm much longer than the fat-phobic ideals that are more or less pervasive in the current mainstream fitness community."You Look At Me Like I'm Just A Piece Of MeatLess than 50 years ago, the hard-working individuals who built this country weren't dining on the typical feather-light taste sensations you see on today's plates. Instead, our fathers and grandfathers loaded up on hearty protein-rich dishes made from the stuff that some of today's butchers foolishly classify as "dog meat." And in most instances, it is less calorific and more nutritious than the average T-bone."It's only in the modern, pre-packaged, processed, marketing-driven and sterile world that we avoid the more intense flavor and texture of proteins that were once considered the most nutritious parts of the animal," says Farrah."Just like we're returning to our training roots with barbells, kettlebells, and functional bodyweight movements in warehouse gyms, we're also returning to our dietary roots with Paleo and Ancestral ideas becoming more and more prevalent in even conservative training and nutrition resources."So if you want to feed your muscles more but spend less, then here's how to become a very smart meathead. 1 Lamb Lamb might be one of the tastiest meat options, but it can make light work of your funds. There is an easy solution: make like "True Blood" with a bite to the lambs' neck.You Normally Buy Lamb cutlets (100 g) Calories: 173 Fat: 11 g Protein: 16 g Carbs: 0 gSwap For Lamb neck (100 g) Calories: 232 Fat: 17 g Protein: 26.3 g Carbs: 0 gWhy is it so good?The neck might have 6 grams more fat than the choice cuts, but it'll take you all of two ticks to trim off the excess wobble."And often the fat difference is due to the weight of the bones in the cutlets," says sports nutritionist Gavin Allinson. When it comes down to the meat, the neck is richer in energy-yielding B vitamins, iron, zinc, and magnesium. "All of these boost your athletic performance by improving endurance, boosting testosterone, and helping you recover faster," he adds.The fancier lamb cut does fight back with more selenium—a trace element with antioxidant properties—and slightly more calcium. But overall you'd be hard-pressed to separate these protein-rich slabs, except in price. So the thinking man's choice should be with the neck.Comfort stewThis recipe from "Palm Sized Plan," by Matt Lovell (Buckingham Book Publishing, 2011), is a hearty meal that'll serve a handful of your friends for less than the cost of buying them each a round.400 g lamb neck fillets, diced 2 garlic cloves, chopped 3 onions, diced 1 tsp chili powder 1 tsp coriander powder 1 tsp cumin 1 tsp cinnamon 1 440-g can cherry tomatoes 500 ml stock 2 large carrots, diced 1 400-g can cooked green lentils 4 bay leaves 1 whole lemon, juice and rind Trim any skin or excess fat from your meat. Cube the meat, put a pan on the stove, and place coconut oil in the pan over a medium heat. Add the garlic, onions, and spice, and stir until the onions soften. Stir in the tomatoes, stock, carrots, lentils, and bay leaves. Simmer for 20 minutes or until the lamb is cooked. Drizzle lemon juice and zest just before serving. Comfort Stew PDF 2 Beef Your average supermarket sells only 6-8 of the most popular cuts of beef, and the cow is a big animal. Here's what you're missing out on.You Normally Buy Beef roast joint (100 g) Calories: 244 Fat: 18 g Protein: 19 g Carbs: 0 gSwap For Beef cheeks (100 g) Calories: 145 Fat: 4 g Protein: 25 g Carbs: 0 gWhy is it so good?When beef roast joints and cheeks lock horns, the winner stands strong: the cheek. They're higher in protein and lower in both fats and calories, making them the ideal choice for those looking to get lean while adding muscle.The cheeks also have more immune-supporting vitamin C and vitamin B, and 210 percent more iron. "They're a very nutrient-dense food that will support any sportsman's muscles far better than the traditional cuts of beef," says Amy Kubal, a registered dietician who works with athletes.So if you're after a solid nutritional ally that'll keep your performance jacked and your wallet slim, this is how you take the bull by the horns.Braised beef cheeksEnjoy this recipe from Allinson that'll turn cheap ingredients into an expensive-tasting feast.3-4 beef cheeks 4 carrots, diced 2 garlic cloves, diced 4 celery stalks, chopped 4 turnips, chopped 1 glass of red wine 1 bay leaf Salt and pepper to taste 2 tbsp olive oil 1 small onion, chopped 1tsp rosemary 6 thyme sprigs Strip the tough membrane from the cheeks. Chewing cud makes the cheeks tougher than Chuck Norris's bodyguard, so they need to be braised in the oven or in a pan for 5-10 minutes. Slap half the ingredients into a large pot and splash in enough water to cover the meat. Pour a glass of wine, drink it, then pour one for the pot. Cook for two hours, then throw in the rest of the veggies and continue cooking until they're to your liking. The result? Beef so tender it chews like a mouthful of merlot, with enough extras for freezing. Braised Beef Cheeks PDF 3 Pork You might chew through rolls of sausages at just about every barbecue, but you're paying through the nose for this privilege. Here's how to pig out on this at a far healthier price.You Normally Buy Pork cutlets or chops (100 g) Calories: 123 Fat: 4 g Protein: 21 g Carbs: 0 gSwap For Pork belly (100 g) Calories: 518 Fat: 53 g Protein: 9 g Carbs: 0 gWhy it's so good?These two cuts level-up against one another near perfectly, leaving their fat and protein content as the decider. So while pork is touted as the "other white meat" because it's so lean, there are occasions when a little fat is just what the doctor ordered, especially if you're trying to add muscle.Weightlifters with the highest fat intakes also had the highest testosterone levels, according to a study in the "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition." "For muscle gain, two principles are key: maximizing your testosterone output and calorie intake, something animal fat does with its high calorie and saturated fat content," says performance nutritionist Ben Coomber.And with the cheek far outweighing the skinny chop in the fat stakes, you'd be a Muppet if you didn't use a slab of Miss Piggy's undercarriage to add inches to your chest.Crispy pork bellyAll that fat is a waste unless it's turned to crunchy crackling, so we turned to the king of crisp, celebrity chef and restaurateur Jamie Oliver, for his take on getting your pork up to scratch.1-1/2 lbs pork belly 2 red onions, halved 2 carrots, halved 2 sticks of celery, chopped in half 1 bulb garlic, broken into cloves with skin on 1 fresh bunch of thyme 600 ml water or stock Flip your cooker to the hotter-than-hell setting (its maximum) to preheat it. Slice a few knife wounds into the belly's fat and rub with salt, then stack it skin side up in a roasting tray. Place it in the oven for an hour until the crackling starts to pop, then chuck in the veggies to keep it company. Flick down the heat to 180º C and let it sit there for another hour. Serve with roasted spuds for a cheap dish you'll wish you had in your trough every night. Crispy Pork Belly PDF 4 Chicken The average American eats 60 pounds of chicken each year, largely because it's so versatile and half the price of beef, pork, or lamb. But there is a way you can knock down your white-meat bill without resorting to snacking on chicken feet.You Normally Buy Chicken breasts (100 g) Calories: 263 Fat: 16 g Protein: 15 g Carbs: 15 gSwap For Chicken liver (100 g) Calories: 116 Fat: 5 g Protein: 17 g Carbs: 0 gWhy it's so good?You may not be used to thinking of the liver as chow, but it's a nutritional juggernaut that has almost three times the vitamins and minerals of the breasts."The liver offers more protein for less calories and has a staggering 272 percent more vitamin B than the breast," says Coomber. "So if you're after an energy boost then the liver is going to serve up a noticeably bigger oomph than any breast could hope to deliver."In short, liver delivers a thorough knockout in nutrition and price, so the only belt left to win is in taste with the recipe below.Piri Piri Chicken LiversUse this recipe from sports nutritionist Matt Lovell after a training session or anytime you want a new take on that tired old chicken.1 lb chicken livers, washed and cubed 1 onion, sliced 1 tsp paprika 1 clove garlic 2 tbsp lemon juice 1 red bell pepper, sliced 2 handfuls baby spinach 1/2 tsp piri piri spice 1/2 tsp allspice 2 tbsp olive oil 1/2 cup parsley, chopped 1 cup cooked rice Put oil in a pan and put it on medium heat. Once it's good and warm, chuck in the onion, peppers, and garlic, and saute until they brown. Smells good, doesn't it? Now lob in the chicken livers and all the spices. Let it simmer for 5-7 minutes. Then scrunch up the spinach and add it in so it can wilt. Lather it over your rice. Top with a few sprinkles of parsley for a dish that's tasty yet so affordable that you'll have enough to spring for a decent bottle of red. Piri Piri Chicken Livers PDFRecommended For YouBack To Basics: Your Blueprint For Building A Bigger Back! A strong back can have a have a tremendous impact on your performance and the rest of your physique. Learn how to bring your back training to the forefront!Blueprint Your Gains For Long-Term Growth Apply a little planning to your workouts to get bigger, stronger, and fitter, forever. Check out this one-year training plan!Upgrade Your Nutrition Refresh your dietary software. Get full access to the data you need to optimize muscle.

24 Laws Of Eating For Muscle

Americans are experts on gaining size. Sadly, with over a third of our population classified as obese, that's not the kind of "mass" you're after. Yet that's exactly what indiscriminate eating and a lack of exercise can do for you.If you're committed to a resistance-training program, you can instead pack on muscle by following a number of key nutrition and supplementation tips. But first you'll have to toss out any remnants of how most Americans eat.To gain the right kind of mass, we enlisted two captains of the Muscle Militia, Twinlab athletes Ronnie Milo and Jason Wheat, to help us compile the 24 tips presented below.Sure, eating clean and healthful foods is more difficult than eating whatever you want, but we're pretty sure you don't want to look like that other 33 percent. 1 TIP THE SCALES Whether you're just trying to add some off-season size, or you're a hard-gainer who has trouble adding mass, growing muscle means consuming more calories—assuming you're already training hard. While you can log your meals over the course of a week to compute your average daily calories, perhaps the simplest step is to consume one additional mini-meal during your day that adds calories over and above what you normally eat.Whether you're just trying to add some off-season size, or you're a hard-gainer who has trouble adding mass, growing muscle means consuming more calories—assuming you're already training hard.By ensuring you have a caloric surplus, you provide your muscles with the raw materials to repair tissue damage brought on by heavy training to support growth.A mini-meal of about 300 calories can be inserted anywhere during your day, preferably during your longest stretch between whole-food meals. 2 ASSESS AND GROW If, after two weeks, the scale still isn't budging, and you're not seeing gains in strength with the addition of a single mini-meal, add another. (The scale can't be your sole determinant, because you may be dropping body fat while you're adding muscle, in which case the scale may not budge.)By increasing your daily calories slowly, any gains you make will less likely be ones that ring your midsection. The extra meal will have to become part of your daily routine as well. This is especially true for hard-gainers and individuals with a fast metabolism who have difficulty adding muscle. 3 EAT MORE MEALS MORE OFTEN If you're active and train hard, you likely burn a lot of calories each day. It's very difficult to eat clean foods that replace all the energy you've spent in just three meals. That's why bodybuilders—competitive and recreational alike—eat 5-8 meals per day to support mass-building. While most individuals still eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner, they also eat a number of high-protein snacks as well.If you're looking to add size, it makes sense to eat multiple meals every day, not just three. Taking your meals to work or school means planning and preparation, but it's an essential habit that separates those who succeed from those who don't."I split my macros into eight meals so I'm eating a meal about every 2.5 hours. I like to eat that often so I'm never hungry." - Jason Wheat"I eat eight times a day," says Orlando fireman and Twinlab Muscle Militia captain Jason Wheat, a former defensive lineman in college football who now competes in powerlifting. "I split my macros into eight meals so I'm eating a meal about every 2.5 hours. I like to eat that often so I'm never hungry. When I get hungry or miss a meal, I tend to want to cheat, or overeat. If I do get hungry and need a snack, my go-to is either a tablespoon of peanut butter or a handful of almonds, which I would count against my macros for the next meal.""This is where supplementation is key," says Militia member and amateur bodybuilding champion Ronnie Milo of Sunrise, Florida. "Supplements allow you to to add extra calories to aide you in your goals. We all know that it's difficult to try and increase your calories from whole-food sources alone. It's a challenging task to eat as many times as possible and then add more calories on top of that." 4 PROTEIN COUNTS Protein foods are broken down into amino acids, which are then reassembled in your body. The aminos that enter muscle cells can help repair muscle tissue damaged from a hard workout, enabling them to grow larger. How much protein does a hard-training bodybuilder need? More than the average Joe who doesn't train, so beware of lowball estimates intended for the general public.The simplest way to remember how much protein you need each day is to use your body weight in pounds. Hence, if you weight 210 pounds, try to consume at least 210 grams of protein per day. If you eat six meals and mini-meals a day, that's 35 grams per meal.For card-carrying Militia members, sometimes even that's not enough. "I recommend 1 gram minimum, up to 2 per pound of bodyweight," says Wheat. "The more active you are, the more protein your muscles need for growth. 5 EAT CLEAN You have any number of food options for a given meal that have various macronutrient and micronutrient profiles, but remember the old adage: "You are what you eat.""I believe the most important aspect of gaining quality weight is high-quality food choices," says Milo. "Your body needs quality food and nutrients to aid in performance and recovery. A lot of beginners and advanced athletes make mistakes when trying to add quality weight, making poor food choices like fast foods or processed foods." 6 WHOLE-FOOD PROTEINS Get your protein from a variety of whole-food sources including dairy, fish, fowl, steak, and eggs. Choose leaner cuts of steak (opt for "loin" and "round" cuts, which have the lowest amounts of saturated fat) and remove the skin from turkey and chicken.Fattier cuts of beef like prime rib and even ribeye, as well as higher-fat dairy products, can cause your calories and daily fat intake to skyrocket. You want to moderately increase your daily calories, and too much dietary fat that's consumed with your protein foods can quickly contribute to the wrong kinds of weight gain. 7 MEASURE YOUR INTAKE What Does 40 Grams of Protein Look Like?5-1/2 oz. top sirloin 5-1/2 oz. chicken breast 6 large eggs 6-1/2 oz. tilapia 5 cups low-fat milk 2 scoops protein powder It's one thing to read that you need 40 grams of protein at each meal, but do you know what that looks like if you're in a cafeteria line or throwing chicken breasts on the barbecue? And how many ounces of steak is that?Learn how to eyeball what 40 grams of protein looks like to ensure you're getting enough of this muscle-building nutrient at each meal. 8 FIX IT RIGHT The right choices of protein-rich foods like chicken breast can be spoiled by the wrong preparation methods. When preparing your foods at home, try grilling or broiling your meats; battered and fried foods boost fat-content and calories, and are less healthy.Avoid oils, butter, and sauces in favor of a can of six-pack friendly Pam whenever you can. 9 DON'T FEAR SATURATED FAT If you eat protein from animal sources, you're also getting saturated fat with your protein. You don't want to go overboard, but nor should you cut out saturated fats completely; they're important for hormone production and the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. "A low-fat diet can, over time, lower your testosterone levels, which will hinder your muscle gains," says Wheat.While recent research shows that saturated fat intake may not be linked to greater risk of heart disease, evidence does show that replacing saturated fat with foods that are high in polyunsaturated fats does reduce cardiovascular risk.On a mass-building plan, you should be getting 25-30 percent of your daily calories from dietary fats. Divide your fat intake between healthier versions (including olive and canola oils, nuts and seeds, fatty fish) and saturated fats (which are contained in animal proteins such as dairy, meat, and eggs). 10 CONSUME LIQUID CALORIES Prepping for each and every meal is next to impossible unless you work from home, so a scoop or two of powder in a shaker cup is a great way to drink your calories between meals. Besides keeping amino acids in constant supply in your bloodstream, you inhibit the snack attack that can creep up on you between whole-food meals, reducing your risk of impulsively choosing the wrong foods when you're really hungry."My days can be lengthy at times with travel and meetings," says Milo, who is also Sports Nutrition Regionals Sales Manager with Twinlab. "I rely on quality supplements to fill a quick meal or energy source. This also keeps me from making bad food decisions when food isn't always on hand."Looking for a quick food fix? Whey protein isolate dissolves easily with water so you don't need a blender. What's more, liquid meals are absorbed quickly and won't adversely affect your appetite for your bigger whole-food meals later in the day.If you find it challenging to eat a large number of calories at a whole-food meal, liquid calories can help make up the difference. 11 IGNORE YOUR SWEET TOOTH Sugar-sweetened drinks and processed foods are nutritional landmines. These empty calories displace healthier options that could've been hard at work helping you add quality mass. Clean your kitchen of these unhealthy foods so you're not tempted when a craving arises.Also, never go grocery shopping on an empty stomach. And eat a high-protein food before you leave the house on weekends when you're running errands, so you're not hungry and don't give in to fast-food cravings. 12 CHEAT TO WIN It's nearly impossible to eat clean all the time, so allowing yourself a cheat meal at regular intervals—say, on a weekend afternoon—can make sticking to a diet easier, and the bump in calories may help boost growth.Allowing yourself a cheat meal at regular intervals—say, on a weekend afternoon—can make sticking to a diet easier, and the bump in calories may help boost growth.Just watch that you don't overdo a cheat meal and make it a cheat day—or worse, a cheat weekend—which can then throw you completely off a clean diet. Use cheat meals as rewards for a good week of clean eating. Use moderation. Resist the urge to splurge. 13 CHOOSE THE SLOWER CARB Nearly half of your total daily calories come from carbohydrates, but there's a big difference between the simple ones and the complex variety. Complex carbs such as brown rice, whole grains, yams, sweet potatoes, and quinoa are longer chains of sugar molecules—hence they take longer to digest and absorb.The benefit is that you'll have sustained energy throughout the day, and the lower insulin response means you'll be less likely to store any excess calories as body fat. Opting for complex carbs with minimal processing is better for your health and to keep body fat in check. 14 SPEED IT UP POST-WORKOUT The only time a high-glycemic carb (think sugars like dextrose and glucose and highly processed carbs like bagels and white rice) is your carb of choice should be after your workout, when your muscles are hungry to replenish spent glycogen stores.The insulin spike helps drive those fast carbs—and, of course, the 40 grams of protein you consumed with it—quickly into cells for repair and growth. This insulin spike that you can manipulate post-workout is one reason why carbs are called the anabolic nutrient. Consuming simple sugars at any other time is more likely to contribute to gains in body fat.What you don't need to do is go sprinting to the front desk to slug down a protein shake the instant your last set ends. The influx of protein can wait till you get home, son. 15 DINE OUT WITH DISCRETION As obesity has skyrocketed in recent decades, so has the number of times Americans eat out. Many Americans visit restaurants twice as often as they did 30 years ago. The problem with eating out is that it encourages the wrong kind of mass-building.Make your meals and eat at home as much as possible, and limit trips to restaurants to just once a week.With larger portion sizes, unlimited drink refills, and tempting desserts, you're almost guaranteed to overeat. The lesson? Make your meals and eat at home as much as possible, and limit trips to restaurants to just once a week. 16 BRING ORDER TO YOUR ORDERS When you do eat out, scan the menu for the cleanest protein foods you can find. If you don't see one, ask your server if one can be made without sauces or oils. "The majority of restaurants have choices like plain grilled chicken, beef, or fish," says Milo. "Most of them will work within your needs—all you have to do is ask." Well, they don't say no to Milo, anyway...Side salads (dressing on the side) and veggies make good side choices to contain total calories. With some dessert choices topping 1,000 calories, you could end up having to do three hours on the bike just to burn that off. Opt for fruit if you must have something sweet. 17 ABOUT THAT FAST-FOOD MEAL... We've all been there: You're in a terrible hurry, have no food, and you're starved. Whatever Golden Arches you pull into, you're surround by bad food choices that'll tally up a day's worth of fat and sodium in a single meal. If you can muster any willpower, opt for a grilled chicken sandwich (or two, if you eat like a bodybuilder) and ditch the buns. You can't go wrong with a salad either, unless you slather it in dressing.The come-hither smell of French fries can be hard to resist; but resist you must. Here again, get the 40 grams of protein and fill up with veggies as best as possible. French fries, by the way, do not count as a clean potato. 18 EAT A PRE-BEDTIME SNACK Late-night munchies can ruin a day's effort of clean eating, so if you're looking for a midnight meal, a shake made of slow-digesting micellar casein protein can feed your muscles during your nightly slumber. A half-cup of cottage cheese is also high in casein, and provides 14 grams of protein.A half-cup of cottage cheese is high in casein, and provides 14 grams of protein making it a perfect late-night snack.Add some almonds and you get essential fats and some added protein as well. Carb-oholics watch out: Consuming too many at bedtime can elevate insulin levels, meaning those extra calories can more easily be shuttled into fat stores. 19 CREATINE BOOSTS ANABOLISM The importance of whey isolate and casein for boosting your protein intake can't be overstated, but other supplements can support anabolism too. Creatine monohydrate, in fact, is well supported by research to boost strength and size gains. Naturally found in red meat, creatine increases the volume of muscle cells, which helps signal anabolism, as well as short-term energy. 20 THE THREE AMINOS The branched-chain amino acids—leucine, isoleucine, and valine—are also a part of a mass-building supplement stack. They share a unique structure that's preferentially taken up by muscle, and ingestion directly stimulates anabolism. The supplement can also reduce exercise-induced muscle pain and decrease mental fatigue during intense exercise. 21 BOOST BLOOD FLOW L-arginine is a conditionally essential amino acid that helps produce nitric oxide, which has been shown to elevate skeletal muscle blood flow. This not only allows for improved delivery of nutrients but also greater clearing of metabolic byproducts (sometimes called waste products) in working muscles. This helps you work out longer and harder. L-arginine has also been shown to increase anabolic substrates like growth hormone and insulin. 22 NEVER MISS A MEAL We can all get caught up with our schedules and appointments, running late, and skipping meals. But I'll bet you almost never miss a workout. Adopt the mindset that missing a meal is as bad as missing a workout. That might mean planning and preparing meals on weekends, carrying a cooler, and occasionally carrying snacks with you on the go."The best way to stick to a diet is preparation and consistency." - Ronnie MiloIf your goal is mass, you can't expect results when you're not fully committed. We all have demanding schedules and important obligations; what separates winners from losers is planning and commitment, not making excuses."The best way to stick to a diet is preparation and consistency," says Milo. "Preparation is key. This will aide you in staying on the right track, and deter you from making bad decisions." 23 MAKE TIME FOR A GOOD START What's the second thing you do in the morning (after hitting the snooze button a few times)? Eating a hearty breakfast had better be your answer, because you've probably gone up to 10 hours without eating. If your morning meal includes a cartoon tiger, we can likely guess why you're not adding quality mass.Get those 40 grams of protein with eggs or egg whites, slices of beef or chicken, a glass of milk, or a high-protein cereal. If you're in a hurry, a morning protein shake is the way to go. 24 SLEEP FOR GAINZZZZZZ... You train hard and eat right, so what could be missing? Since your muscles get stimulated during your workout but actually grow during your recovery periods, ensure you're allotting enough time for a restful night's sleep. Consider this sleep stack to nourish your muscles all night long: melatonin, micellar casein, ZMA, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), and 5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP).The slow-releasing casein defends against muscle catabolism, while ZMA (which contains zinc) has been shown to increase testosterone and IGF-1 levels. GABA and 5-HTP both promote healthy, deep sleep, which is essential for GH release and muscular recovery.Recommended For You5 Muscle-Building Tips To Eliminate Training Plateaus Running out of gas and not quite at your destination? Fear not. Add fuel to your training fire with these five tried-and-true lifting techniques from the Muscle Militia!Twinlab Militia 30-Minute Workout This Twinlab Muscle Militia workout may only last 30 minutes, but it's a full-body bomb that will challenge each of your major muscle groups to grow. Give it a shot today!Muscle Militia Mindset: 5 Must-Read Mental Intensity Tips Long-term progress requires consistent mental focus. Build intensity that lasts with these five tips from the Twinlab Muscle Militia!

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7 Ways To Force Muscle Growth

22 November 2014

Vital StatsName: Josh Bryant, CSCS, PESEducation: MS, Exercise scienceOccupation: Author, coach, athleteWebsite: www.joshstrength.comWhen I was in eighth grade, my first powerlifting mentor, Steve Holl, took a hasty glance around the Santa Barbara Gym and Fitness Center. "Look around this gym," he said. "It's filled with the same people lifting the same weights, doing the same exercises, and looking the same for the past 15 years."After shaking his head in disgust, he added, "If you take one thing away from today, remember, you gotta put more weight on the bar. No matter what you do, you have to put more weight on the bar."Steve gave me my first lesson in overload.Milo of Croton was a wrestler with several ancient Olympic titles under his belt. He's considered to be the greatest wrestler of antiquity by most history buffs.Despite the fact that his championship reign dates back more than 2,500 years to 6th Century BC, his name still holds weight in contemporary weightlifting circles, and he is still the quintessential example of progressively overloading for strength training.According to the story, Milo owned a calf. Milo lifted that calf every single day and, as the calf grew bigger, Milo became stronger. Milo did this every day until the calf was a full-grown bull and Milo was the strongest man in the world. In due time, Milo carried the adult bull on his shoulders around the Colosseum.Milo started small and used incremental microprogression to become the strongest man on the face of the earth.Is Progressive Overload Necessary?The law of overload is one of the first principles in exercise physiology, and no resistance program is successful without it. Basically it means Mother Nature overcompensates for training stress by giving you bigger and stronger muscles.A couple years ago, I was reading a 1980s bodybuilding magazine, and a quote by Lee Haney jumped out. He said, "The key to building massive, powerful muscles is to doggedly increase the training weights you use.""Luckily, when adding pounds hits a plateau, there are other variables you can manipulate to effectively overload your training."Basically, it's what my mentor Steve Holl taught me when I was 14 years old. This tenet is undisputable. But there is a problem: the buck eventually stops.With the logic of overload training, if someone just benches the bar and adds five pounds each week for three years, they'll break the 722-pound bench world record by 103 pounds in that short time span. Not very realistic! While piling the weight on the bar is the most effective overload technique, it only works to a point. Luckily, when adding pounds hits a plateau, there are other variables you can manipulate to effectively overload your training.Overload MisappliedMany fitness professionals who are more concerned with entertaining clients than getting results dismiss progressive overload with randomization. Their train of thought usually goes something like this: Why deadlift when you can do one-legged kettlebell deadlifts on a BOSU ball?"Doing squats on an unstable surface may make sense for an advanced alpine skier, but it's downright debauchery for anyone hoping to make serious gains in size and strength."My question is, how can you continually overload training if it is totally randomized? Put simply, you can't. The idea of overload is to make training harder but keep the same end game in mind. Doing squats on an unstable surface may make sense for an advanced alpine skier, but it's downright debauchery for anyone hoping to make serious gains in size and strength.Why? Simply, balance is the limiting factor; you cannot produce enough mechanical tension—the primary mechanism to spark hypertrophy—when balance is the primary concern. High amounts of tension are produced by lifting heavy weights.Be smart with your technique, and put strength training first. Trying to build huge traps with shrugs? It would not make sense to overload your training by taking off your hand straps; the goal is to build the traps, not the grip.Overload must be approached using sound scientific training and common sense. Sure, you can do dumbbell curls while you lunge, but don't con yourself into believing you are providing any sort of serious overload to your legs. Want real overload? Hit the squat rack.Let's look at seven ways to continually overload training for continuous gains. While bodybuilders may need more frequent exercise rotation, they often make the mistake of not overloading when cycling between exercises. It's important to bump up the weight that was last used. Keeping a training journal makes that simple.My advice is to load linearly as long as possible. As plateaus hit, start pulling these tricks out of the bag as you journey from beginner to intermediate to advanced. 1 Increase Resistance This is the most obvious way, by adding weight. Newbie trainees should milk this method for as long as possible. Each session, incrementally lift more.Some bodybuilders with low IQs and large egos only add weight to a barbell in terms of 45-pound and 25-pound plates. A 25-pound plate on each side is an additional 50 pounds on the barbell; in many core lifts, for an advanced trainee, this would require fighting tooth and nail for years to make this kind of increase. Don't let your pride make judgment calls when it comes to loading the bar. Remember, your gym has 10-pound plates, 5-pound plates and even 2.5-pound plates; plates lighter than 1 pound can be purchased very inexpensively on the Internet.Half-pound plates added to a bench press weekly over the course of a year would equal a 52-pound gain; 1-pound plates would equal a 104-pound gain. Think microprogression for long-term success."Ultimately, with proper planning, you can continually get stronger for years using periods of increased loading."Some Internet strength coaches point out that this pace is impossible to maintain forever, which is undoubtedly true. The late, former Soviet sports mastermind, Yuri Verkhoshansky, offered a solution called "periods of increased loading." This means cycle training.At the start of a new training cycle, use more weight than at the start of the previous training cycle. This means that at the midrange point, you should be ahead of your previous cycle's midrange point. Ultimately, with proper planning, you can continually get stronger for years using periods of increased loading.This was exactly how the greatest powerlifter of all time, Eddy Coan, did it. 2 Increase Volume Just do more; volume is increased by performing more sets and lifting more weight. Volume = sets × reps × weight lifted.Keep in mind that, except for the rank beginner, volume with weight under 65 percent of a one-rep max (i.e. light weight) is not heavy enough to have a real training effect. And don't go by total volume. Squatting 100 pounds for 10 sets of 10 provides a different training effect than squatting 500 for 10 sets of 2 reps, although both are 10,000 pounds of volume.There are a number of ways to add volume to your routine. Try adding an extra set to your workout. If you benched 4 sets of 5 with 200 pounds last time, you performed 4000 pounds of volume; if you do 5 sets next week, that becomes 5000 pounds of volume. One extra set has a profound effect on total volume; imagine doing that for multiple exercises.As long as you don't sacrifice intensity in the process, you'll find that higher volume is superior for increasing strength and hypertrophy. 3 Increase Range of Motion Range of motion can have a huge impact on a movement. Doing a deficit deadlift (a deadlift done while standing on a plate a couple of inches off the ground to increase the range of motion) with 80 percent of a one-rep max is much more difficult than a regular deadlift at the same weight. Similarly, doing deep, Olympic pause squats instead of power squats can add an extra level of difficulty."Another alternative is to take a full range-of-motion exercise like a deadlift and turn it into an extended range-of-motion exercise like a deficit deadlift or a snatch-grip deadlift."The key is to increase your range of motion gradually over a series of workouts. A popular method used over a half-century ago by immortal strength legends Paul Anderson and Bob Peoples was progressive distance training. These lifters would start with a partial range-of-motion exercise lift like a rack pull (partial deadlift) and eventually work to a full range of motion over the course of weeks and months with the same weight.Another alternative is to take a full range-of-motion exercise like a deadlift and turn it into an extended range-of-motion exercise like a deficit deadlift or a snatch-grip deadlift. Just a slight increase of one-quarter of an inch overloads the movement. 4 Vary Repetition Speed One of the fabled Weider Principles is the retro-gravity principle. This essentially says to prolong the negative portion of a rep, which increases muscular tension and prolongs time under tension—two major players in catalyzing hypertrophy.Lifting weights faster gets you stronger. Remember when your geeky high school physics teacher taught you that Force = Mass × Acceleration? Were you even listening? Well, without adding any weight to the bar, you could produce higher amounts of force simply by lifting the weight faster. Laboratory study after laboratory study confirms superior strength gains when athletes purposefully lift a weight as explosively as possible instead of with a slow or traditional cadence. Don't forget the acceleration component of the force equation. Lifting a weight with greater force overloads training. This method is most effectively used by controlling the negative portion of a lift and exploding the positive. 5 Rest Less Between Sets Doing the same amount of work in less time or doing more work in the same amount of time is accomplished with decreased rest intervals. This is called "density" training because you are packing more volume into less time, making the workout denser.Performing 10,000 pounds of volume in 90 minutes will yield less hypertrophic and strength gains as lifting the same amount in 60 minutes or, better yet, in less than 45 minutes. The key to effective implementation is not sacrificing bar weight. Remember, shortened rest intervals are no excuse for lifting pygmy weights. 6 Changing Movements For powerlifters, Olympic lifters, and anyone else that competes in specified lifts, the core lifts have to remain at the nucleus of the program. But, for most bodybuilders, doing a core lift—and not a specific lift—is key.So for legs, squats don't necessarily have to be performed week in and week out. For bodybuilders, variations like Olympic pause squats, safety squats, squats with accommodating resistance, and front squats can be used.Front SquatMore frequent changes in exercises are needed when hypertrophy is the objective. Changing exercises helps the bodybuilder not succumb to repeated bout effect (RBE). Changing exercises causes overload. 7 Increase Frequency Increasing frequency simply means train more often. Squatting twice a week, for example, overloads your system more than squatting once a week. For the bodybuilder, this might mean training five days per week instead of four, or giving a double split a shot.For the strength athlete, it could mean performing one particular exercise more frequently. For a strongman, an increase in frequency could come in the form of an extra events practice session, and for the general fitness enthusiast it could mean an extra training day dedicated to focusing on a particular weakness. The possibilities are endless, and the fact remains that training more often is an overload.Recommended For You5 Big Bench Strategies Excerpted From 'Bench Press: The Science' At age 22, strength coach Josh Bryant was the youngest person to ever bench press 600 pounds raw. Learn 5 key strategies he uses to turn regular guys into Herculean freaks!Your Perfect Body: Visualize, Then Actualize! You shouldn't be able to lift heavy weights, and yet you do it again and again. Experienced strength athletes know that the secret to making big numbers move is the mindset of the lifter, not the size of his muscles!Countdown To Bigger Pecs: Craig Capurso Super 30 Chest Workout Spend an hour with Craig Capurso as he shows you how to get the most out of 60 minutes in the gym. His Super 30 chest workout is one you and your pecs will never forget!

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Women's Workout Plan: How Ashley Hoffmann Trains For Strength

22 November 2014

A lot of women make the mistake of thinking the path to a better body is paved with long cardio workouts on the elliptical, treadmill, or stair-stepper. Women tend to forget that increasing the amount of muscle on their bodies will actually boost their metabolism and help them stay leaner.Neon athlete Ashley Hoffmann wants to remind you that building muscle mass is a necessary process in the quest for an improved physique! She has the plan and the tips to help you step off the treadmill and pick up some heavy dumbbells.Even if you're already in the habit of lifting iron and are well aware of the metabolism-boosting effects strength training can have, you may need a program overhaul. Many women approach muscle building incorrectly and thus don't make progress as quickly as they can.So, no matter your ability level, here are some of Ashley's effective tips for increasing your strength and muscle mass for a great-looking body. Forget the treadmill; it's time to train for more strength and bigger muscles!Hoff Tip 1 One of the worst mistakes you can make during a workout is picking up a really heavy dumbbell or pulling on a heavy cable without first doing sets of lighter weight. A photo posted by Ashley Hoffmann WBFF Pro (@missashleysarina) on Jun 6, 2014 at 4:07pm PDT "Do a few warm-up sets before working your way to your heavier lifts," advises Ashley. "Although you shouldn't do too many warm-up sets because you don't want to fatigue yourself before the working sets, it's important to do at least two to ensure that your body is warm and your muscles are ready."Lifting heavy weight while you're cold can increase your risk for injury and may even hamper your performance, so be sure to get your muscles and joints prepared before really attacking the iron.Hoff Tip 2 If you've been on a fat-burning program for as long as you can remember, you've probably been keeping your rest periods really short.When you're building muscle and training for strength, your rest periods need to get a bit longer. "Since the weight is heavier, you need to take enough time to rest between each set to fully recover," Ashley advises.When the goal of your workouts is increased strength, make sure you give your body everything it needs to build it. A rest range of 60-120 seconds is appropriate for people who want to increase strength and muscle. If you cut your rest periods short, you're not going to have the energy to do multiple heavy sets.Hoff Tip 3 Yes, you're trying to build muscle and strength, but that doesn't mean you should be trying to do sets of your one-rep max. "You will not see much muscle-building improvement if you are hitting your max all the time," says Ashley. "Testing your one-rep max is great for finding out where to start, but you don't need to lift as heavy as possible every single day.""Testing your one-rep max is great for finding out where to start, but you don't need to lift as heavy as possible every single day."Ashley recommends using weight that is 70-85 percent of your max. You should be able to hit every rep, but those reps should be challenging. "Increase the working weight each week, even if it's only a few pounds. If you're flying through your sets without much effort, it's time to increase the weight."Hoff Tip 4 Depending on your lifts, your target rep range will change. "When I do big, compound lifts, I use sets of 1-5 reps. I think it's the safest way to lift heavy," explains Ashley. "During high-rep sets, stabilizing muscles often get tired before the prime movers. When that happens, you're more likely to do a lift improperly and injure yourself."In the workouts below, you'll notice that some lifts have higher set and rep ranges than others. For big lifts like the back squat, Ashley lifts more weight and fewer reps. For accessory lifts like leg extensions and curls, she does less weight and more reps.Ashley makes these changes because she wants to use big lifts to increase her strength and accessory movements to increase the size of her muscles.At no point should you sacrifice good form for weight.Hoff Tip 5 At no point should you sacrifice good form for weight. No PR is worth putting yourself at risk for injury. "Having a spotter or workout partner can help detect when you're in a bad position and keep you safe," Ashley says.If you're not sure what a lift is supposed to look or feel like, check out the Bodybuilding.com Exercise Database, which includes step-by-step instructions for hundreds of lifts.Hoff Tip 6 Take your recovery sessions seriously. When you work hard and lift heavy, your body needs time to repair the damage you inflict and recover for your next gym session.Remember, you don't grow when you lift, you grow when you rest. So, stay out of the gym at least two days per week.Hoff Tip 7 If you want to build muscle and strength, forget any of your preconceived notions about what weight training does to women. "It's impossible for women to build muscle to the same degree that men do because our bodies produce one tenth the testosterone of an average man," Ashley explains.Most women will be lucky to gain around 1/2-1 pound of muscle per month. You can probably expect less. So, keep in mind that building muscle isn't an overnight process. You will not wake up one morning looking like a slab of beef.The changes you make will be slow, and you'll be able to maintain control of how much muscle you'd like to gain. Once you feel like you've put on enough muscle, you can then transition into a maintenance or cutting phase.If you want to build muscle and strength, forget any of your preconceived notions about what weight training does to women.ASHLEY HOFFMAN'S STRENGTH WORKOUTSThese tips aren't nearly as helpful without a concrete plan to apply them. Here are two of Ashley's strength workouts that you can put in your regimen today! Rest 1-2 minutes between sets Pendlay Rows3 sets of 5-8 reps Wide-Grip Lat Pulldown3 sets of 8-10 reps Dumbbell Bench Press3 sets of 5-8 reps Dumbbell Flyes3 sets of 10 reps Dumbbell Shoulder Press4 sets of 5-8 reps Side Lateral Raise3 sets of 8-10 reps Dumbbell Bicep Curl4 sets of 8-10 reps Skullcrusher4 sets of 8-10 reps Rest 1-2 minutes between sets Barbell Squat4 sets of 5-8 reps Leg Press3 sets of 10 reps Stiff-Legged Barbell Deadlift4 sets of 5-8 reps Leg Extensions3 sets of 10 reps Seated Leg Curl3 sets of 10 reps Hip Thrust3 sets of 8 reps Seated Calf Raise4 sets of 10 reps Recommended For YouAshley Hoffmann's Abs Workout: 6 Tips For Awesome Abs! Ashley Hoffmann is the proud owner of great-looking six-pack. Here are six of her training and nutrition tips to help you carve your own awesome abdominals!Build Legs You'll Love: Ashley Hoffmann's Leg Workout There's nothing quite like the feeling you get after a super tough leg workout. If you haven't felt it in a while, then you need to try Ashley Hoffmann's leg smash. It's brutal, but it's exactly what you need for strong, statuesque legs!5 Super Shoulder-Training Techniques If you're in the market for round, shapely shoulders, let Ashley Hoffmann show you how to build them. Here are five of her favorite shoulder-building techniques.About The AuthorShannon ClarkI’ve been working in the field of exercise science for the last 8 years. I’ve written a number of online and print articles.View All Articles By This Author

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California Rainfall Is Nothing To Get Too Excited About

California Rainfall Is Nothing To Get Too Excited About

21 November 2014

An unusual thing happened across California this week -- it rained.But while heavy downpours pounded across the San Francisco Bay Area and brought about an inch of rain on Thursday, water and climate experts warned that the wet week doesn't promise much relief as the state endures its fourth year of drought."The recent rains are nice, but so far are not much," UC Davis professor and Center for Watershed Sciences Director Jay Lund told The Huffington Post. "We are now at 62 percent of normal precipitation for this early time in the wet season. Better than last year, but only 62 percent of average."Mark Svoboda, a climatologist at the National Drought Mitigation Center, agreed, describing the downpours as having "not much of an effect at all" and suggesting that average rainfall isn't going to cut it this deep into the drought."This winter will need to be much above the norm to make any headway against the drought," he told HuffPost. "They are running a good year or more behind in water, from a supply perspective. A good start to putting a major dent in this drought ... would require at least 150 percent of average over the entire winter, and preferably a lot of it as snow."Currently more than half of California is in a state of "exceptional drought," the most severe level of dryness as measured by the U.S. Drought Monitor. Forecasters predicted a 73 percent chance that the state will experience at least the average rainfall, but only December, January and February -- when storms typically arrive -- will tell.

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Watch This Boy Turn His Wheelchair Into A Power Snow Plow

Watch This Boy Turn His Wheelchair Into A Power Snow Plow

21 November 2014

This wintry weather has brought a ton of snow for people to begrudgingly shovel up.But shoveling is way more fun with this inventive kid. YouTuber Rick Delashmit uploaded a video of his sons plowing their driveway. One of his sons had a brain injury in 2008 and now uses a wheelchair. Watch as the boy holds a shovel and powers forward creating his very own snow plow.Snow, meet your match! Like Us On Facebook Follow Us On Twitter

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"Where’s the Global Warming?" thought Buffalonian; then they looked at a map

21 November 2014

The continental United States has been slammed by cold temperatures and it is difficult to escape images of Buffalo's massive snowfall. When there is a big snowstorm, climate science deniers gleefully crow "Where's Global Warming" and otherwise in a way that resonates with (sadly, too large) a segment of the population and is gleefully played by media outlets looking for shallowly amusing items to spread around.A la Senator James Inhofe (R-ExxonMobil) dragging out his children to make an igloo on the Mall mocking Al Gore, the science denial community leverages what is going on in backyards and on TV broadcasts to confuse people about reality.Yes, Buffalo is having a massive, massive snowstorm. (And, I do not envy and sympathize greatly with those who are trying to deal with its impacts -- from shoveling massive amounts of snow, to worrying about whether your home will cave in, to ...) For too many, that (beautiful) white stuff somehow is a disproving item when it comes to climate change science. To try to explain that, in fact, the snow is related to climate change opens the door for ill-educated mockery. Yet, it is ... And, well, there are times when Twitter catches it all. Nuff said?

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The Wind Energy Production Tax Credit Isn’t About Politics, It’s About People

21 November 2014

Jobs are not a political issue. Jobs are a people issue. I've enjoyed reading the clean energy jobs profiles in Sierra magazine - especially this one about Lester Johnson, a wind worker in Arkansas. Lester's pride in the hard work that pays his bills is inspiring, as are these words from him: I think anything you do with the environment, it's a plus. It's not like we have another Earth. Every time a blade is built, it saves the environment. We are setting our children up for success or failure depending on what we do now. From plastic bags to gas in our cars, we have to take care of our air and water. It's all that we have. If we have a chance to create more of these good-paying, productive jobs - why not jump at it? Well, in Washington, D.C, far from Lester's home in Little Rock, it's because of politics.This week, thousands of Americans across the country (PDF) are pressuring Congress to renew the wind energy Production Tax Credit (PTC), which is widely acknowledged for helping create 50,500 wind energy jobs that provide family wage opportunities for households from coast-to-coast.For the past two decades, the PTC has been a key driver in both wind-industry job growth and megawatts of clean wind energy. Ten states now generate more than 10 percent of their energy from wind energy because of it. Colorado, for example, generates approximately 20 percent, while Iowa and South Dakota generate more than 25 percent of their energy from wind.Nationally, clean, renewable, and affordable wind energy supplies approximately five percent of our energy needs, but can and should provide much, much more. The Department of Energy estimates that wind energy can produce 20 percent of our energy in just six years.So what's the problem? Why isn't this tax incentive cheered from across the aisle and easily passed through both chambers of Congress and sent to the President's desk? Wait for it...the fossil fuel industry.Our permanently subsidized, well-funded, polluter friends are running scared at the prospect of a competitive wind energy sector. Wind energy, after all, is a problem solver for climate change, air pollution and job creation. Also, since it draws its fuel from an inexhaustible natural resource (a good breeze), its power pricing is highly predictable and independent of global market pressures, which is a boon for businesses needing a steady supply of predictable energy.Fossil fuel interests in Congress have perpetually pushed for ending the PTC under the guise of its "market distortion," while conveniently omitting the many permanent tax incentives their industry receives. Unfortunately, in 2013, due to the strength of our polluting antagonists, the credit was allowed to expire and the impacts were immediate.The PTC leverages an average of $17 billion of private investment each year, which, in turn, provides the base of gainful employment of thousands of Americas. This is why there are over 500 Americans manufacturing facilities making parts for the industry in 43 states. With the PTC's expiration in 2014, all of these jobs and facilities have been put at risk.Already, for example, a manufacturing facility in Pennsylvania has closed. Manufacturers and developers across the country are indicating that without an extension, they expect no additional orders for wind parts and they will have to shut down their operations.What wind industry workers need, and what we are fighting for, is a long-term, stable expansion of the PTC that can sustain the industry's investment and give certainty to developers moving forward. Going half in will not cut it either. The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) estimates that 30,000 jobs will be lost if we get a one year retroactive extension.The PTC has expired and been renewed many times in the past, creating a boom bust cycle that isn't healthy for any industry. The last time this happened, 5,000 jobs were lost and some developers seriously questioned America's commitment to a clean energy future. It's time to stop beating around the bush and tell Congress and wind energy investors that Americans want clean, wind energy and our energy policies should reflect that.Take action and ask you member of Congress to support the PTC this year and let's show the world that we support the jobs, environmentally sound energy and business opportunities that the wind energy industry can provide. Most importantly, however, take action for the people whose livelihoods depend on this fantastic energy source.

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This Is The Motherload Of Sweet Pecan Recipes

21 November 2014

As a native nut to North America, pecans have a special place in American cuisine -- ahem, Thanksgiving pie. But pecans are good for a lot more than just pie. They're an integral part of Southern cuisine, and candied pecans are a big in New Orleans.But even outside of the South, pecans an important part of making everything delicious -- that's why they're so expensive.When you do decide to indulge in this pricey nut, you'll be rewarded tenfold with some of the best food you've ever made. We have just the recipes to make sure that happens. Twenty-eight of them to be exact. From cupcakes to sticky buns to waffles. And of course, pie. 1Chocolate Drizzled Buttery Pecan And Caramelized Condensed Milk Sandwich Cookies Half Baked Harvest Get the Chocolate Drizzled Buttery Pecan and Caramelized Condensed Milk Sandwich Cookies recipe from Half Baked Harvest 2Caramel Brioche Sticky Buns Noshings Get the Caramel Brioche Sticky Buns recipe from Noshings 3Roasted Pecan Pumpkin Butter How Sweet It Is Get the Roasted Pecan Pumpkin Butter recipe from How Sweet It Is 4Spiced Pecan Pumpkin Bread Season with Spice Get the Spiced Pecan Pumpkin Bread recipe from Season with Spice 5Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie Cupcakes With Butter Pecan Frosting Half Baked Harvest Get the Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie Cupcakes with Butter Pecan Frosting recipe from Half Baked Harvest 6Pumpkin Waffles With Toasted Pecan Butter Half Baked Harvest Get the Pumpkin Waffles with Toasted Pecan Butter, Cider Syrup and Spiced Apples recipe from Half Baked Harvest 7Buttered Pecan And Butterscotch Ice Cream Poires au Chocolat Get the Buttered Pecan and Butterscotch Ice Cream recipe from Poires au Chocolat 8Sweet Potato Pecan Pie Doughnuts How Sweet It Is Get the Sweet Potato Pecan Pie Doughnuts with Roasted Pecan Crunch recipe from How Sweet It Is 9Brown Butter Pecan And Maple Quinoa Autumn Harvest Granola Half Baked Harvest Get the Brown Butter Pecan and Maple Quinoa Autumn Harvest Granola recipe from Half Baked Harvest 10Chocolate Pumpkin Bread With Cinnamon Pecan Streusel Half Baked Harvest Get the Chocolate Pumpkin Bread With Cinnamon Pecan Streusel recipe from Half Baked Harvest 11Roasted Pecan And Acorn Squash Soup Adventures in Cooking Get the Roasted Pecan and Acorn Squash Soup recipe from Adventures in Cooking 12Honey Pecan Dark Chocolate Shortbread A Dash of Sass Get the Honey Pecan Dark Chocolate Shortbread recipe from A Dash of Sass 13Chocolate Pecan Pie Some Kitchen Stories Get the Chocolate Pecan Pie recipe from Some Kitchen Stories 14Pecan Pumpkin Butter Confections of a Foodie Bride Get the Pecan Pumpkin Butter recipe from Confections of a Foodie Bride 15Texas Pecan Rocas The Novice Chef Get the Texas Pecan Rocas recipe from The Novice Chef 16Cinnamon Maple Pecan Biscotti Dough Puncher Get the Cinnamon Maple Pecan Biscotti recipe from Dough Puncher 17Rugelach With Pecans, Brown Sugar And Cinnamon The Year in Food Get the Rugelach with Pecans, Brown Sugar and Cinnamon recipe from The Year in Food 18Pecan Baklava Blue Ridge Baker Get the Pecan Baklava recipe from Blue Ridge Baker 19Pecan Tartlets Chocolate Chip Trips Get the Pecan Tartlets recipe from Chocolate Chip Trips 20Pecan Scones NovelBite Get the Pecan Scones recipe from NovelBite 21Maple Pecan Granola Naturally Ella Get the Maple Pecan Granola recipe from Naturally Ella 22Chocolate Turtle Cookies Two Peas & Their Pod Get the Chocolate Turtle Cookies recipe from Two Peas & Their Pod 23Cream Cheese Pecan Cookies Simply Recipes Get the Cream Cheese Pecan Cookies recipe from Simply Recipes 24Easy Mini Pecan Tarts Gimme Some Oven Get the Easy Mini Pecan Tarts recipe from Gimme Some Oven 25Chocolate Pecan Turtle Cookies Pixelated Crumb Get the Chocolate Pecan Turtle Cookies recipe from Pixelated Crumb 26Super Easy Pecan Cookies Bev Cooks Get the Super Easy Pecan Cookies recipe from Bev Cooks 27Maple Roasted Pecans With Nutmeg And Poppy Seeds Sweet Miscellany Get the Maple Roasted Pecans with Nutmeg and Poppy Seeds recipe from Sweet Miscellany 28Cowboy Blondies bitememore via Food52 Get the Cowboy Blondies recipe from bitememore via Food52 Want to read more from HuffPost Taste? Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Tumblr.

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Why In The World Is It Called A Moscow Mule, Anyway?

21 November 2014

Moscow muleThere’s a lot of murkiness surrounding the origins of our favorite cocktails -- probably because booze are always involved, which has the tendency to make our memories foggy. But there are some stories that are generally held to be true, and that is the kind of story we’re going to be telling today about the Moscow MuleThe tale of the Moscow Mule is a pretty simple one -- and it all points to the vodka that’s in the cocktail. Back in the 1940s, vodka was an unpopular liquor on the American cocktail scene. Apparently, Americans joked that vodka was Russian for horrible. Taking a leap of faith, John G. Martin had bought the U.S. rights to the French Smirnoff brand in 1939. He unfortunately found that he couldn’t move the stuff. No one was drinking vodka.One somber afternoon, Martin was lamenting his inability to sell his booze at the L.A. bar Cock 'n' Bull with the owner, Jack Morgan. Morgan had a similar problem, but with ginger beer. There was another hard-up businessman present who had an abundance of copper mugs he couldn't move either.With a few drinks under their belt, a little bit of ingenuity and a bartender on hand they put their problems together and came up with the Moscow Mule -- a vodka and ginger beer cocktail served in copper mugs. They marketed the cocktail like crazy and lo and behold, it took off. From then on, vodka was accepted in the American cocktail scene.The name for this drink was randomly selected. Moscow most likely was used because of the public's tendency to associate vodka with Russia. But mule? Some say mule was added to the name because ginger beer delivers a kick of flavor. But no one really knows for sure.What we do know is that Moscow Mules are refreshing and delicious. And, you should drink them.Want to read more from HuffPost Taste? Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Tumblr.

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Tacos Al Pastor’s Story Of Origin May Surprise You

21 November 2014

When we at HuffPost Taste fall hard for a food, we want to know everything there is to know about it. Inspired by a love affair with pho, the iconic Vietnamese noodle soup, we learned the proper way to enunciate the controversially pronounced dish (it's pronounced "fuh," for the record). As serious chocolate fans, we've dug deep to find out what cocoa butter really is, and after an afternoon of nostalgic munching on Goldfish, one our favorite childhood snacks, we discovered they were labeled "soup crackers" and immediately got to the bottom of this surprising designation. (Were Goldfish meant to be "swimming" in soup all along?!)Thanks to Empellón Al Pastor, a new restaurant catching everyone's attention in New York City, we recently rediscovered the glory of tacos al pastor. You know what happened next. We started reading up on this Mexican pork dish, and we were delighted to discover the surprising origin of tacos al pastor.Tacos al pastor come from Mexico, right? Yes, but that's not the whole story. The method of cooking "al pastor" actually comes from Lebanon. It's inspired by shawarma! Lebanese immigrants moved to Mexico in the early 1900s and they brought their famous technique of spit-roasted meat, primarily lamb, with them.The English translation of al pastor is "in the style of the shepherd." Mexican shepherds adapted the Lebanese style of spit-roasting lamb, using pork instead, and al pastor tacos became a beloved Mexican food the world over.Tacos al pastor are made from thin strips of pork that have been marinated in spices and chiles and then stacked onto a long spit called a trompo. In many -- but not all -- cases, a pineapple and onion are placed on top of the spit. As the meat cooks, the outside layer gets crispy from exposure to the heat. The taco-maker shaves off the outer layers straight into tortillas, and might top the pork with sliced pineapple, onion, cilantro and salsa. The vertical skewer is a key part of the equation, facilitating fat and juices to drip down onto the stack, "basting it as it crisps," describes Serious Eats.Some people think the pineapple on top of the spit marinates the meat as well, but Empellón Al Pastor chef Alex Stupak, who traveled to Mexico City to eat at 40 al pastor places in three days, disputes this assumption. Stupak told Grub Street that pineapple rests on top of the spit so that it's easily accessible to the taco makers, and the belief that it marinates the meat is pure speculation.In addition to the contested purpose of the pineapple's place on the trompo, the provenance of placing a pineapple on top of the spit isn't as clear as the shawarma-al pastor connection either. According to Empellón Al Pastor, "where the addition of pineapple came from remains one of history's most delicious mysteries." A delicious mystery, indeed.Want to read more from HuffPost Taste? Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Tumblr.

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18 Wildly Wonderful Recipes You Can Make With Frozen Waffles

21 November 2014

Oh, you thought frozen waffles were reserved for rushed mornings, for tossing in the toaster and maybe drizzling with a bit of store-bought syrup, did you? Ha! Not so.While homemade waffles emanate that "made with love" vibe, sometimes you don't have to act in such grandiose ways to craft a culinary marvel.The frozen waffle, you see, is a crucial freezer staple. It's like a cheap, blank canvas begging for your artistry. It lends itself to wildly wonderful and wacky concoctions that can happen quickly. Surely, it's much less of a hassle to defrost a frozen waffle and make magic than it is to get out the waffle iron, the mixer, the flour and mix it all from scratch.Since you won't have to exert any energy whipping up a waffle, you can put that excess brain power to use: You'll think, hmm, perhaps I'll make a bacon casserole from this box of frozen waffles. Or, gee, I really have the urge to spear these little waffles onto kebab sticks. The world is your oyster frozen waffle ... now get to it: 1Monte Cristo Waffle Sandwich Foodie Crush Get the Monte Cristo Waffle Sandwich recipe from Foodie Crush 2Waffle Ice Cream Sandwiches Pass The Sushi Get the Waffle Ice Cream Sandwiches recipe from Pass The Sushi 3Maple-Bacon-Waffle Bread Pudding Noble Pig Get the Maple-Bacon-Waffle Bread Pudding recipe from Noble Pig 4Waffle BLT With Fresh Herb Spread Mostly Homemade Mom Get the Waffle BLT With Fresh Herb Spread recipe from Mostly Homemade Mom 5Churro Waffles Mostly Homemade Mom Get the Churro Waffles recipe from Mostly Homemade Mom 6Boston Cream Pie Eggo Waffles Real Mom Kitchen Get the Boston Cream Pie Eggo Waffles recipe from Real Mom Kitchen 7Eggo Butterscotch Brownie Magic Cookie Bars Mom Loves Baking Get the Eggo Butterscotch Brownie Magic Cookie Bars recipe from Mom Loves Baking 8Fried Ice Cream Eggo Waffles Real Mom Kitchen Get the Fried Ice Cream Eggo Waffles recipe from Real Mom Kitchen 9S'more Waffles A Thrifty Mom Get the S'more Waffles recipe from A Thrifty Mom 10Mini Dutch Apple Waffle Pies Food Family Finds Get the Mini Dutch Apple Waffle Pies recipe from Food Family Finds 11Fruit 'N Waffle Kabobs With Cinnamon Yogurt Dip Mom On Timeout Get the Fruit 'N Waffle Kabobs With Cinnamon Yogurt Dip recipe from Mom On Timeout 12Chicken & Waffle Nachos With Maple Mustard Syrup & Sriracha From Away Get the Chicken & Waffle Nachos With Maple Mustard Syrup & Sriracha recipe from From Away 13Maple Sausage & Waffle Breakfast Casserole Get the Maple Sausage & Waffle Breakfast Casserole recipe from Cassie Craves 14Mini Pumpkin Pies With Waffle Crust Food Family & Finds Get the Mini Pumpkin Pies With Waffle Crust recipe from Food Family & Finds 15Maple Sausage & Waffle Casserole Plain Chicken Get the Maple Sausage & Waffle Casserole recipe from Plain Chicken 16Grilled Cheese Sandwiches Eggo Recipes Get the Grilled Cheese Sandwiches recipe from Eggo Recipes 17Waffle Biscuits & Gravy Sunshine And Sippy Cups Get the Waffle Biscuits & Gravy recipe from Sunshine And Sippy Cups 18Whole Wheat Waffle Pizzas Sweet Annas Get the Whole Wheat Waffle Pizzas recipe from Sweet Annas Want to read more from HuffPost Taste? Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Tumblr.

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