You are here
Home > Posts tagged "protein"

How to eat like a female fitness model

For 30-year-old fitness model, Emily Skye, it used to be about getting skinny and slaving away on the cardio machines. It then became all about nourishing her body to becoming strong, working out and becoming healthy. Her food philosophy Don’t diet – instead just make clean eating part of your lifestyle. Learn as

5 minutes with The HIIT Mum

5 minutes with The HIIT Mum Pocket rocket and mother-of-one Colette McShane, aka. @TheHIITMum, is a fitness force to be reckoned with. Here, we chat to her about supplementation, passion and just getting stuff done.My love for the health industry started very early. I’ve been athletic all my life, participating in triathlons and cross-country racing as a six-year-old in Scotland.

Do you postpone hitting the gym?

Here are 5 ways you can find motivation to work out Sometimes, it’s tough to take the first step and sign up for a gym membership. Other times, it’s hard to get back to your routine after a break. We round up five ways to get back into the swing of things

6 Tricks For A Stronger Squat!

In many serious lifters’ playbook, the squat is the go-to lift for developing serious lower body strength and size. It no doubt gets the job done, but as with all exercises, there will come a point where you feel like you’ve hit a ceiling. You know you should be able to move more weight around, but your muscles just don’t seem to cooperate. At times like these, a temporary vacation from the same-old squat routine is in order.

Don’t worry, after you try one or several of these tried-and-true techniques, you can always come back to the squat variations you know and love best. In most cases, you’ll be stronger and more balanced when you do.

1 Try Single Leg Variations

It’s amazing how simply shifting the work from two legs to one leg can exponentially crank up the difficulty. You might think, “Ok, I’ll just squat half of the heavy load I’ve been moving in a back squat,” but in most cases, you’ll find that weight laughing at you the first time you try it.

The increased balance demands of single-leg squat variations make them highly difficult to the unaccustomed, but they are worth it! Stick with them until you find your footing. Unilateral exercises also confer additional benefits in correcting side-to-side muscular imbalances, which many people find to be a key to building even greater bilateral (two-leg) strength.

Pistol Squats

While there are many one-legged squat moves to choose from, my somewhat unorthodox recommendation for you, if you struggle to improve a barbell back squat, is to try the pistol squat. Tread lightly! Even bodyweight pistol squats can be extremely difficult for most lifters, at least in the beginning. The initial instability produces more muscle engagement, and the high level of muscle control this exercise demands may initially force you to hold onto something for balance. There’s no shame in that, I promise!

In the beginning, perform this exercise with bodyweight only until you can safely and confidently hit six consecutive reps. After you’ve done this for a while with good form, you can start adding weights, either by holding a dumbbell plate, a kettlebell, or a couple of light dumbbells held straight out in front of you. Once you can perform 6 good-form reps with a weight between 25 and 45 pounds in your arms, you should see a notable improvement in every other lower-body lift.

2 Spread Out

In a standard back squat, most experts would direct you to point your feet straight forward, or perhaps ever-so-slightly outward. A small adjustment in your foot position, they know, can cause a significant shift in the muscles that are worked.

Following that logic, try this on for size: Spread your feet slightly past shoulder-width and point your toes outward at a 45-degree angle. This adjusted position is called the sumo squat , and it will develop strength and mobility of the hips, adductors, and glutes to a greater extent than a narrow-stance squat.

Sumo Squat

Some people may find this position to be more comfortable for their individual body, and it becomes their go-to squat. That’s great for them, but make sure you do it right before you fall in love. Ensure that your knees don’t spill too far over your toes when you drop it low. And, perhaps even more importantly, don’t flare your knees inward as you bottom out. Get them out wide over your toes!

3 Pause At the Bottom

Are ya ready to feel your quads and buns burn? Try pausing at the bottom of any squatting movement. This applies to front squats, back squats, pistols, and all other variations you see in the gym. This pause eliminates the stretch reflex in the muscles, and thereby forces the muscle to generate more “true” force to be able to complete the squat.

What do I mean by “true?” At the bottom of a deep squat, the stretch in your hamstrings and adductors helps you bounce out of the hole to some degree, even if it doesn’t look like a “bounce” per se. Envision pulling back a rubber band to a stretched position; it is now primed to spring back to its normal elasticity with even greater power. Adding a brief isometric contraction of about 2-4 seconds makes this “bounce” impossible, and has the potential to improve strength and power production from the quads, hamstrings, glutes, and other lower-body prime movers.

Some lifters find this to be such an effective technique that they perform at least some sets starting from the bottom. This is known as an “Anderson Squat.”

4 Add Half-Reps From the Bottom

Trying new squatting variations is only one way to attack a squat that doesn’t seem to be progressing. Another is to take your current form of squatting and simply make it more difficult. A great way to accomplish this is to perform half-reps from the bottom.

These are just what they sound like. Sink down into a full squat, and then rise up just halfway. Pause, and then lower back into the hole before pushing up into the full standing position. Sound easy? In execution, it’s anything but. This technique places more stress on your muscles during your weakest point of the squat movement pattern, which allows you to build strength where you need it most. Just don’t call me when you can’t sit down comfortably for the next few days.

Few people are able approach their normal squatting volume with half-reps being added in, so take it slowly. Add 1-2 half reps per set to start, and build up until you can perform a full set with a half-rep in between each full rep.

5 Shift the Load

When someone mentions the squat in casual conversation—what, your friends don’t do that?—-most people imagine the back squat during which the bar is placed behind the neck. But that is only one type of loaded squat, and to be honest, it isn’t right for everyone. Some people simply never feel comfortable with the spinal compression that results from having a barbell sit on top of their back. Others find that for reasons of balance, knee strength, or something else, they are able to achieve far superior form with other variations. Open your mind and your squat will feel the benefit!

Take, for example, the front squat. In comparison to the back squat, the front squat hammers the quads more and calls for additional muscle activity from the hips and lower back. Due to the biomechanical nature of the movement, the front squat places less spinal compression and torque on the knees as well. Simply put, it offers much of the same stimulus as the back squat, but less risk to your most vulnerable areas.

“In comparison to the back squat, the front squat hammers the quads more and calls for additional muscle activity from the hips and lower back.”

Most athletes find that maximal weight they can front squat will be approximately 80 percent of a back squat’s maximal lift, so bragging rights aren’t quite the same. But in recent years, having a strong front-squat max has become cooler than ever, and is often taken as a sign of being an overall well-rounded athlete. And you’d better believe boosting your front squat will help your back squat grow, too!

6 Make It Explosive

Common sense says that the only way to develop a heavy squat is to squat heavy. Sure, that’s part of it, but there is another proven method: squat fast. Bar speed is often overlooked because it often makes the exercise feel “easy” or less productive, but cranking up the velocity of your squat can help your squat immensely by allowing you to practice technique while still training for peak power.

So what exactly makes it a “speed squat?” Perform the squat at a smaller percentage of your max. Depending on your repetition range and volume of work you want to get done, this can range between 35 and 70 percent of your one-rep max. For heavier loads, lower the rep scheme; the lighter the scheme is, the higher reps should be. You can perform a set portion of a leg day for speed, or if you’re really dedicated to squatting, you could split your week into light and heavy days.

Another way to add power to the squat is by performing bodyweight squat jumps. Drop down into a deep bodyweight squat and launch yourself off the ground as high as you can go. Land quietly, meet the balls of your feet to the floor, and bend your knees slightly to absorb the impact. Drop back into the squat position and continue your reps in this fashion. As you would in any exercise, maintain proper form throughout, being mindful of spine and knee positions. Don’t lean too far forward or let your knees pass too far over your toes.

Give one or all of these tips a try on your next lower-body training day, and share your experience in the comments below!


Recommended For You

MAXIMUM FITNESS

Want to know how cover models build such perfect bodies? Here are 6 secret weapons they use to set themselves apart!

8 UNDERRATED EXERCISES YOU MUST TRY

If you’re no longer psyched to set foot in the gym with your routine, it’s time to include these high-reward exercises to reenergize your workout.

WOMEN AND PROTEIN: YOUR COMPLETE GUIDE

Protein is an essential component of the muscle-building process. Yet, many women stray away from consuming enough protein for maximum results. Let go of fear, bust through myths, and learn about the power of protein!

About The Author

I’ve been working in the field of exercise science for the last 8 years. I’ve written a number of online and print articles.

How to beat a weight loss plateau

  You’re doing everything right but your weight loss has come to a grinding halt? We asked nutritionist, trainer and founder of Balance Fitness & Nutrition to share her insights on how to get results again.  Signs: Weight loss plateaus can be frustrating, particularly if you are closely following your nutrition and training plan. Despite eating and moving well, signs of a dieting plateau include: » Weight loss stalled or an increase in weight » Feeling hungrier » Low energy levels » Poor recovery and/or sleep quality Causes: Essentially, dieting plateaus are caused by our body’s ability to adapt to the way they are fuelled and moved. Usually plateaus occur due to: » Undereating and/or inappropriate macronutrient profile to meet your training and daily energy requirements. » Overtraining and/or consistently moving your body in the same way, regularly. » Inadequate rest, recovery and stress: when we don’t get enough sleep our bodies produce cortisol, which leads to fat retention and storage, lethargy and irritability. During weight loss you impose a caloric deficit, either by increasing exercise or decreasing food intake. Through this deficit you begin to lose body mass – and when muscle mass declines, so too does your metabolism. These are indicators that energy supply is low and your body adapts to energy restrictions accordingly: there is a decrease in hormones that promotes anabolism, energy expenditure and satiety (fullness) and a rise in hormones that promotes catabolism and hunger. How to get results again: Keeping your body guessing is key, as our bodies crave efficiency. Mix up your meals. Do you have the same meal at the same time every day? Try carbohydrate and/or calorie cycling of higher, moderate and lower days. Opt for a higher carb day when you train legs or perform HIIT and lower carbs, higher fats on LISS/rest days. Rotating food choices helps ensure your metabolism doesn’t adjust to a specific diet regimen; because there is no sustained calorie restriction, your body doesn’t adjust its metabolism or start catabolising lean muscle tissue as it would on a sustained low-calorie diet. Increase your calories: A calorie deficit is generally needed to lose weight, but not in all cases. You may actually need to increase your overall calories to continue burning them in order to preserve muscle mass and your metabolism. Your body will learn that food is abundant and won’t try to hoard it for starvation mode. Prioritise protein:  Up your protein intake or incorporate a source of protein into each meal. This macronutrient has a higher thermic effect than fats and carbs, so your body has to work harder to digest it. Protein assists in the retention of lean muscle mass (metabolism), protein synthesis, satiety between meals and muscle recovery. Training – shake & strengthen it up: Studies have found that strength training helps people shed more fat than cardio while boosting their metabolism by increasing muscle mass. Aim for a minimum of two to three strength sessions each week. If you already strength train, mix it up by using a combination of supersets, tri-sets and circuits to keep the intensity of the sessions high. Overall duration should be short to moderate and serve as a HIIT-style resistance workout. If you run 5km every day, try adding in a day of sprints. Keeping your sessions short but intense helps to utilise your anaerobic training zones and leads to greater excess post-exercise oxygen consumption. Rest and recovery: If overtraining is the cause of your plateau, it may be time to add in a taper week or two. Prioritising sleep will help balance insulin resistance, regulate cortisol, and decrease leptin. Check your portions: Are you really consuming the serving sizes you thought? Try and be more mindful of how much you are putting on your plate.   Plateau or happy place? Lastly, consider whether you have REALLY plateaued and whether your training and nutrition has been as good as you say it has. If you feel you’ve reached one, take time to reflect, but also consider whether it is a plateau or, rather, your ideal weight. The numbers on the scales may have stalled, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t improving on areas of your strength, fitness and mindset. Try using a combination of how your clothes fit, measurements and fitness checks (60 second max tests or a simple 3 minute AMRAP) to track and re-check your progress. After all, the scales are just a number.   {nomultithumb}    

Eat like a warrior

  Keep your energy levels up throughout the day with Sheena-Lauren ‘s Warrior Recipes.   Chocolate protein and coconut porridge BEST FOR: A mini boost before an end-of-day workout or if you need something in your tummy pre-early morning workout. (Sheena-Lauren recommends fasted morning workouts, but if you can’t fathom powering through without something to nibble, bite off a bit of brekkie and save the rest for recovery.) “The oats provide a great sustained release of energy to power you through the morning. They are a great source of fibre to help curb mid-morning munchies,” Sheena-Lauren says. What you’ll need ½–1 cup traditional rolled oats 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk 30 g chocolate protein 1 tbsp chia seeds 1 tsp rice malt syrup What you’ll do Combine the oats, coconut milk and chocolate protein in a bowl. Ensure the oats are completely covered with coconut milk. Place in the fridge overnight to soak through. Sprinkle with chia seeds and add one tsp of rice malt syrup. Sip on a protein shake BEST FOR: Knocking out niggling hunger near the end of your workout. “I sometimes sip on this throughout my morning workout if I find myself getting hungry, and I finish it post workout,” Sheena-Lauren says. What you’ll need High-quality whey protein or alternative What you’ll do Add a 20 g to 30 g scoop of protein powder to a shaker and top up with water. Shake thoroughly. Spicy eggs and sweet potato BEST FOR: Post workout recovery “The eggs are a great source of protein for muscle repair and the sweet potato serves as a fantastic low-GI complex carbohydrate, replenishing energy stores to keep you feeling full and keep you on the go for the rest of your day,” Sheena-Lauren says What you’ll need 200 g sweet potato, grated ½ red chilli, finely diced 1 clove garlic, finely diced 2 eggs Salt and pepper 1 tsp coconut oil What you’ll doAdd the grated sweet potato to a fry pan with coconut oil on low heat. Add chilli and garlic. Continue to cook on low heat and toss regularly for approximately 20 to 30 minutes or until soft. Poach two eggs. Plate up the sweet potato, add the poached eggs on top and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.Add a 20 g to 30 g scoop Start the Summer Warrior Challenge today. {nomultithumb}  

Are you addicted to exercise?

Exercise is great for the mind, body and soul, right? But what happens when it starts to take over your life? PT Marisa Branscombe ponders the dangerous effects of too much exercise Exercise is generally accepted as a positive behaviour associated with enhanced physical and psychological wellbeing. But is it possible to do

What it takes to become a professional bodybuilder, according to Steve Kuclo

Per Bernal / M+F MagazineAs a kid growing up in St. Clair Shores, MI, Steve Kuclo would flip through the pages of FLEX and Muscle & Fitness magazines looking for workout programs and lifting tips to help him gain strength and size. “I’ve always loved competing, and I played a lot of sports growing up,” says Kuclo, who after two years of studying at the University of Michigan decided to change directions and become a full-time firefighter. About this time Kuclo also developed an itch to get onstage as a bodybuilder. After a few years of competing as an amateur, Kuclo, then 25, turned pro in 2011 at the NPC USAs. But he still had financial responsibilities, which meant he had to continue to juggle being a firefighter with his career as an IFBB pro—until last year. [RELATED1] Like many top names in the industry, Kuclo uses the name recognition, income from sponsorships (he’s currently sponsored by AllMax Nutrition), and earnings from bodybuilding competitions as a platform to pursue other things. His biggest venture right now is a clothing company, Booty Queen Apparel, which he runs with his wife, IFBB bikini pro Amanda Latona-Kuclo. And being a body- builder, entrepreneur, and a dutiful husband means he “pretty much has three full-time jobs,” he says. We’ll focus on one—being an IFBB pro bodybuilder. Think you have what it takes? ON THE JOBThe lifestyle of an IFBB pro is a 24/7 grind—your training, nutrition, and sleep quality all have to be on point. Otherwise, your odds of flexing your way to glory are dismal at best. If you’re up for it, here’s what you can expect, according to Kuclo (Instagram: @stevekuclo). THE DAILY GRIND“Monday through Friday, Amanda and I wake up early and take care of business for Booty Queen Apparel—answering emails, making sure we’re coming out with new products, and planning out appearances at expos. As for the gym, I’m lucky to have a training partner who is flexible, so I go either in the morning or at night for a couple of hours.”To remain nourished, Kuclo cooks at home and take his meals on the road with him. [RELATED2] SKILLS NEEDED“The one big factor is genetics. If you’re, like, 5’4″ and 140 pounds, and you want to compete in the Mr. Olympia, especially against the big guys who are 275 pounds or more, you may need to rethink your goals. If you’re a big-framed guy, with big joints and muscle bellies, who sees quick results in the gym, then you got it,” Kuclo says. BEST PART OF THE JOB“Meeting and greeting fans,” he says. “At the 2017 Mr. O expo, a guy said, ‘I had cancer, and watching your videos helped get me through some dark times.’ Meeting people like that is the most rewarding thing about what I do.” WORST PART OF THE JOBAlong with the wear and tear of training, doing promotions for Booty Queen, and traveling to competitions, Kuclo says there’s another downside to the job: Your sex drive can plummet close to showtime. “If you put an apple pie and my wife in front of me, naked, two weeks out from a show, I know I’m in shape when I’d rather pick the apple pie…though I still may take my wife.” [RELATED3] The “IT” Factor: Anyone can be fit, but being a professional bodybuilder requires superior genetics, says Kuclo. If you don’t have them, reconsider your goals.

Top fitness tips for building strong abs

Try: Pre-workout muscle engagement When you’re pushed for time, you want to get the most bang for your buck. Pre-workout muscle engagement is a technique that aims to engage more muscles throughout your workout, which burns more calories and creates a stable base. How: Try adding the following core and glute activation

How to increase muscle gain

To increase lean muscle mass, progressive overload is essential - here's how to build up your gains. Angelique Tagaroulias writes. Progressive overload not only does it stimulate muscle hypertrophy by forcing the muscle to adapt to increased loads, it also aids in the development of stronger and denser bones, ligaments, tendons and cartilage. “Progression is

Top
Content Protected Using Blog Protector By: PcDrome.

Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)

%d bloggers like this: