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kettle-bells

Grind To Grow: Try Your Squats And Presses With Kettlebells!


I’ll never forget the first time I squatted with a pair of 32-kg kettle bells on my chest.

It felt like an elephant was sitting on me. The pressure in my gut was immense, and I could barely breathe. Afterwards, my abs were almost immediately sore. I was shocked, because as a competitive weightlifter I could front squat, butt-to-ankles, more than 400 pounds. But these two 70-pound balls of iron made me feel like I was fighting for my life!

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I quickly learned that kettlebells are unjustly overlooked as strength equipment; they are often only favored as endurance tools for high-rep ballistic movements like swings and snatches. They’re equally adept and providing muscular overload on slow, heavy lifts like squats and presses.

Why? It’s simple: Your body knows that to get stronger, as well as to continue burning fat, it must adapt. Heavy kettlebells give it a challenge that is uniquely difficult to overcome. Because of their odd shape, kettlebells actually make the body do more work than traditional implements such as barbells and dumbbells. Sub them out even just for a couple of movements you already do, and you may be surprised at the benefits you receive.

The Toughest Squat You’ve Never Done

The reason the double-kettlebell front squat is so much more challenging than its barbell cousin is due to leverage. Consider the rack position: With a barbell, the load rests near the top of the spine, across the collarbone and the front of the deltoids, just below the head. In this arrangement, the barbell becomes virtually one with the lifter, making it easier to move the external resistance. This allows you to move much more weight.

With a kettlebell, it’s almost the opposite. In the rack, the weight rests low, against the outside of the forearms, with the elbows pointed down rather than out. The bells try to pull your body forward and off-balance, which forces your entire midsection to reflexively contract in order to keep you from folding in half.

If you’ve been lifting—or just reading about lifting—for a few years, you’ve probably heard this same argument used as a reason to do barbell front squats rather than barbell back squats. But the truth is that the simple substitution of two kettlebells—or even just one—for a barbell means your midsection will take even more of a beating. And this has benefits beyond building core strength.

To start with, you’ll become a better squatter. Because the spine is protected due to the increased reflexive core activation from the rack, lifters can usually squat deeper with kettlebells than they would with a barbell. The difference here is one you’ll likely feel on your backside for days after the first time you try it, so consider yourself warned.

Kettlebell Exercises
Watch The Video – 0:44

Grind To Grow

The increased stability demands upon your core musculature during the front squat are also present in other slow kettlebell lifts—or “grinds,” as they’re often called. Look at the double kettlebell military press, for example: The increased demands placed upon your core mean your body has to work harder to stabilize your joints so your prime movers—the lats and delts, in the case of the press—can do their work.

The upshot, as with the front squat, is that you’ll need less weight to make all types of muscles work more efficiently—particularly the crucial stabilizer muscles around the shoulder and other joints. Efficiency, in this case, means they’ll do what they’re supposed to when they’re supposed to do it. To pick one painful example for many lifters, a strong rotator cuff stabilizes your shoulder joint so you can safely bench press. A weak or injured one, on the other hand, keeps you from benching heavy, or from doing it at all.

Double Kettlebell Military Press

I’m also of the opinion that one of the causes of what are commonly called workout “plateaus” are actually stabilizer muscles that are weak or don’t work properly. Faced with a heavy load that might damage the joint, your body intuitively protects itself by shutting down the nerve force to the bigger muscles—the prime movers—that traditionally do the work.

You may have heard similar logic used to tell you why you should train with free weights rather than with machines. Yes, it’s true: Core and joint stabilizer activation happen to a certain extent with any training tool, but both are more intense with a kettlebell, due to the increased muscular activation from the offset handle. Consider them the freest of free weights.

You Only Need One

“Resist the urge to let your stronger side set the pace. Train both sides to be relatively even with each other.”

Want to know what’s even tougher than a double-kettlebell grind? The same movement loaded unilaterally. Working one side of your body at a time, as with a single-kettlebell military press, requires your body to make all the muscles on the side opposite of the load—and especially the core musculature—contract to keep you from being pulled over sideways.

Another interesting result from training with a single-kettlebell is that you can even-out strength imbalances from side-to-side. Often, side-to-side imbalances are responsible for holding back your progress on traditional bilateral exercises like the barbell squat, deadlift, and military press. Many people find a single-kettlebell front squat to be much more challenging on the core than a double front squat. The same thing holds true for the military press.

If you find you have a strength imbalance, resist the urge to let your stronger side set the pace. Train both sides to be relatively even with each other, both in the number of reps and the amount of weight you put over your head. You may feel like you’re holding back at first, but don’t be surprised if your big barbell lifts get stronger as a result.

Grind to Burn

Strength is a worthy goal on its own, and it’s more than enough reason to try kettlebell squats and presses. But getting stronger is also essential for burning fat and getting leaner over the long term.

Think of it as a cycle. The increased muscle activation and range of motion you experience from doing deep, difficult squats and overhead presses demand that more muscles work harder than they would otherwise. When you work harder, you burn more calories. And since training the core, especially in an integrated manner while standing, makes the body stronger, you’ll be able to lift heavier and work even harder in the future—which burns even more calories. And so on …

The downside, if there is one, is that kettlebell grinds are known to leave bruises—on your ego. I think you’ll be just as surprised as I was at just how hard they make you work. But stick with them, and you’ll also be surprised by the fruits of your labor: A stronger midsection, a more powerful and defined body, and more strength you can put to good use.

Swing For The Fences: Kettlebell Training – Burn Fat And Build Muscles!

Make the kettlebell swing your 1-stop shop for increased muscle size, definition, fat loss, and the heart of a racehorse!

Kettlebell Explosion: Harness The Power Of The Kettlebell Swing

Don’t try to learn the kettlebell swing by watching it get butchered in your local gym. Use these drills to nail this powerful movement once and for all!

Meet The Squats: 7 Squat Variations You Should Be Doing

In the old days, there were two kinds of squats: ‘good’ and ‘bad.’ Today, you can shop around between multiple versions of the movement. No more excuses. Get off the machines and give the squat a shot!

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joanna-turner-breathing

Joanna Turner: I lost 25 kilos with deep breathing

“It took me a while to hear the message about breathing that everyone kept talking about. I was ‘hearing’ the message but not actually doing it. After a stressful day at work (I was formerly a corporate accountant), I would literally say, ‘I haven’t even breathed today!’

I am a firm believer that stress makes you fat. The right breathing – proper belly breaths – is a quick way to calm stress, and reduces all that cortisol that’s pouring in to our body (when you’re in the ‘fight or flight’ stress response mode).

I have a new career as a health and life coach, and now actually teach my clients how to breathe. Breathing the right way has calmed me down and helped me lose weight.

So far I’ve lost 25 kg and find myself spending less time doing excessive long-distance sports, like triathlons and half-marathons, and spend more time doing yoga, Pilates, weights and short HIIT-style (high intensity interval training) workouts for fast results. This change has given me better results, in much less time.”

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Joanna Turner: I lost 25 kilos with deep breathing

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Image teresacore_main.jpg

Medicine ball workout

Complete this routine as a timed circuit or do five rounds (20 reps each exercise).

The gist:

A medicine ball is a weighted ball roughly about 35 centimetres in diameter, and comes in a variety of weights from one kg to 11 kg. They are inexpensive, and available in hard plastic, dense rubber or synthetic leather material.

Medicine balls add a twist to your current workout to keep it challenging enough to elicit progress. This workout is designed to improve your overall athletic performance, firm up your core, and increase your muscular power and stamina. Use of the medicine ball will also help improve your coordination, balance and flexibility.

The kit:

You will need a timer and a medicine ball for this full-body workout. Refer to the workout chart. This four-week circuit-style workout will keep you on your toes, and your heart rate going!

The list: 

The workout comprises six exercises that target all areas of the body. Start with the first exercise, complete as many reps as you can within the recommended amount of work time (see chart), rest for the recommended amount, then continue on to the next exercise. Repeat until all of the exercises are done. As the week’s progress, the circuit gets more challenging. Record your results so you can properly keep track of your progress.

For Weeks 1–2:

Once all of the exercises in the circuit are complete, rest 90 seconds, and repeat the entire circuit two more times.

For Week 3: 

Once all of the exercises in the circuit are complete, rest 60 seconds, and repeat the entire circuit two more times. 

For Week 4: 

Once all of the exercises in the circuit are complete, rest 60 seconds, and repeat the entire circuit three more times. 

Tip: For beginners, use a lighter weight medicine ball. For an extra challenge and to increase your power, use a heavier ball.

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Medicine ball workout

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Sleep

The Secrets Of Sleep

 

It’s easy to overlook your sleep when you start on a health kick. Your focus naturally drifts towards planning out your diet and exercise as the two key aspects of your fitness routine, and clearly they are both very important.

However, all the work you do in your waking hours can be undermined if you don’t pay any attention to your sleep, as keeping your mind and body well rested is the foundation of a healthy lifestyle.

Anyone who’s ever had a poor night’s sleep knows the physical, mental and emotional toll it can have on a person. Offices all over the world are full of people drifting through the day unable to concentrate on their work due to tossing and turning all night, but the effects of bad sleep can be far more drastic than feeling a little grouchy the next day.

Regular poor sleep raises the risk of suffering severe medical conditions including obesity, heart disease and diabetes, and shortens overall life expectancy.

Source:

The Secrets Of Sleep

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7 Ways To Pump Up Your Chest

Among lifters, there aren’t many people who will shy away from wanting to build a strong, chiseled chest. After all, they know beastly chest muscles scream strength and power, and look great on the beach.

Functionally, strong pecs also assist with performing everyday activities, lower the risk of shoulder injuries, and provide that extra edge in sports and in the gym. Simply put, a well-built chest is, well, pectacular. Sorry.

It’s high time for you to get your chest training out of a rut. Use and share these tips to reassess your chest routine and pave your way to pec success.

1 Stick With Basics

When the chest game starts to falter, some people react by piling on ridiculous-sounding accessory work like a one-handed, reverse lay-up upper-cut. No need to reinvent the wheel here; there are no secret exercises.

Perfect your technique and form and identify the best rep range for your objective. The basics will help your chest grow!

Tried-and-true foundational exercises like ye olde bench press, dumbbell press, incline press, and chest flye have helped top lifters such as Steve Reeves, Arnold, and countless other folks throughout the years. So why wouldn’t they work for you?

Before trying to change things, make sure you master these movements. Perfect your technique and form and identify the best rep range for your objective. After all, any structurally solid building must rise from a strong foundation.

Exercises like the bench press are the cornerstones for a powerful chest. Still doubtful? Look to IFBB Physique Pro Craig Capurso, who uses these exercises to build his rock-solid chest.

2 Everyone Should Train Chest

Yep, that includes you, ladies. Unfortunately, some women need to banish these false preconceived notions of how chest exercises could negatively impact their bust. No, they will not shrink your bust. No, they will not make you look like She-Hulk. So stop worrying over these unfounded concerns!

Despite fears of lost bust size, both men and women should train their chests regularly.

If there’s someone who has both a strong and good-looking chest, it’s WBFF Pro Jen Jewell. Jen knows the importance of chest day and likes to include as many different movements into her chest workout as possible, including presses, flyes, and push-up variations.

“Just because [women] may not be out to build the biggest pecs out there doesn’t mean we should neglect chest training,” she says. “Our chests are a major muscle group. We wouldn’t neglect training our back, so why would we skip out on chest day?”

It’s like those dudes who exclusively train upper body and end up with chopsticks for legs. The same concept of imbalance echoes here: Working out one group of muscles but ignoring another group could make you look (and function) disproportionate.

Jen continues: “If we neglect training our chests, it could lead to a muscular imbalance in our physique and impact our training all around—we can’t have that, now can we?! When we are working our chests, our shoulders and triceps are involved, too. And ladies, there’s another bonus! Even though you can’t increase the size of your breasts themselves with training, you can tighten the muscles of the chest, which makes for an even perkier bust line.”

3 Squeeze

Squeeze what, you ask? Well, there’s your problem.

When benching, you want to squeeze two things: the bar handle and your pec muscles. When I say squeeze your pecs, I don’t mean using your hands to actually squeeze them. On the concentric, or lifting, portion of your reps, think about contracting your pecs. Squeezing increases the pump and the work involved, as well as the density of the muscle. It won’t be easy, but your hard efforts will be rewarded.

Squeezing the bar with your grip increases the pump and the work involved, as well as the density of the muscle.

Also make sure you squeeze the bar or dumbbell handle as if you want to crush it in the palm of your hands. This clench will invite more fibers to the pump party, resulting in increased strength down the road.

4 Focus On Form

Proper lifting form trumps everything else. If your form collapses, it doesn’t matter that you’re slinging twice your body weight.

If the intended muscle fibers aren’t recruited correctly, other muscle groups may dominate the exercise, which adds unnecessary stress to muscle groups that aren’t designed to bear heavy loads. That’s how you get hurt. No one builds a strong chest while sitting in physical therapy or dealing with an injured back or shoulder. Throwing up big bench numbers may impress the bros at your gym, but it’s not a good long-term strategy if those numbers come at the expense of good form.

Executing proper form, performing reps at a slower tempo, and focusing on using your chest throughout the movement will maximize the intensity and effectiveness of the workout, while minimizing injury risk.

5 Push Yourself

Your body is an amazing, intelligent machine that will adapt to stress quickly. If you don’t push it hard enough, it won’t grow. It’s as simple as that.

While proper form still rules the day, muscle growth requires progressively increased stimuli. This increase leads to breaking down the muscle fibers and rebuilding stronger and bigger ones, preparing you for the next time you go against the iron.

 

Dumbbell Flye

As you grow more comfortable performing the movement perfectly within a certain weight range, push yourself to take on more weight—as long as your form stays tight.

6 Rest, Pause, Drop

When adding more weight is no longer a challenging option, there’s another method for making your next chest workout a sufferfest. I call it the “rest, pause, drop” method—RPD, for short—and no, it isn’t a new dance routine.

I combined two intensity-raising techniques: rest-pause and dropsets. The former breaks up one set into several subsets with brief rest worked into the whole set. The latter is a technique that allows you to continue an exercise with a lighter weight after your muscles have tapped out at a heavier weight. My rest, pause, drop methodology applied to a chest workout makes for absolute muscle-building brutality and is designed to train all your muscle fiber varieties at once.

Rest

Start with a weight you can do for 6-8 reps and go to failure (use a spotter). Rest for 5 seconds and then try for a couple of more.

Pause

Reduce the weight by 20-25 percent. Repeat what you just did, including the rest-pause, for 5 seconds.

Drop

Reduce the weight again—by the same amount you did last time—and repeat the rest-pause set one more time.

The final result is a 25-30 rep set. Beginners can do one set of this at the end of their chest workout, but I don’t recommend any more than that. Advanced lifters can include this RPD set with each exercise next Monday. (Everyone still does chest on Monday, right?)

7 Dust Off the Decline

You know that decline bench? The sloped brute that gathered a thick layer of dust from underuse? Well, this underrated angle can be a huge boon to your chest routine. It is approved by strongman Colton Leonard, who knows a thing or two about strong pecs.

Comparing exercises done on a flat bench versus a decline bench, some studies have shown that more muscle fibers in the pec are recruited while on the decline. Try this out with both a barbell and dumbbells.

Put these tips to the test and share your results with me and the rest of us in the comments below!

 

About The Author

Bodybuilding is the reason I am who I am today. I am more confident in myself, actually looking for the next challenge, and inspiring others.

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7 Ways To Pump Up Your Chest

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<div id="DPG" webReader="243.996869497"><div class="side-bar" webReader="-19"><div class="c10"><img src="http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/images/2014/greg-robins-vital-stats-box.jpg"/></div><h3 class="article-title c11">Vital Stats</h3><p><strong>Name:</strong> Greg Robins, CPT<br /><strong>Education:</strong> University of Massachusetts Boston<br /><strong>Occupation:</strong> Strength and Conditioning Coach at Cressey Performance<br /><strong>Twitter:</strong> @CoachGregRobbins<br /><strong>Website:</strong> thestrengthhouse.com<br /><strong>Location:</strong> Hudson, MA</p></div><p>Gaining weight can be incredibly difficult and stressful for certain people. For these folks, commonly called "hardgainers," adding even a little size can seem like a monumental task. Personally, I'm skeptical about the extent of this difficulty. From my time in the military to setting recent personal powerlifting goals, I've had my fair share of experiences gaining healthy weight.</p><p>At my lowest weight of 173 in the military, I had the energy of a bull and personal bests that included a 435-pound deadlift, a 315-pound squat, and a 285-pound bench press. Later, when I flew up to 230 pounds, these same lifts shot up over one hundred pounds apiece, and I still boast a better-than-average work capacity.</p><p>Over the years, I've learned that tackling any goal comes down to being honest, acknowledging how much work it will take, and pushing through that work. If you're a hardgainer who wants to gain weight, you probably won't feel hungry all the time, but you'll still have to eat. If you really want to grow, you need to silence your fears of getting fat, of your performance suffering, and of eating 100 percent clean.</p><img src="http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/images/2014/7-ways-to-gain-weight-1.jpg" width="560" height="346" border="0"/><p>"Gaining weight can be difficult and stressful. With proper training and willingness to do the work, you can build quality muscle and add healthy size."</p><p>I don't care how hard it is for you to gain weight. With proper training and willingness to do the work, you can build quality muscle and add healthy size. Do you have the courage to actually step outside your comfort zone and get something done? If you want to grow, start with these seven tips!</p><p>
<h3 class="article-title c12">1 Use data over guesswork</h3>
</p><p>The guessing game and going by "feel" never give you an accurate picture of what you eat on a daily basis. So do the math and figure it out!</p><img class="float-right c13" src="http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/images/2014/7-ways-to-gain-weight-2.jpg" width="190" height="283" border="0"/><p>Write down your daily diet in a notebook or food-tracking mobile app, crunch the numbers, and seek help if you need additional eyes. You may be surprised by what you find. Perhaps you thought you ate 3,300 calories one day when, in fact, you ate only 2,900. That's a 400-calorie difference that can add up overtime.</p><p>"Write down your daily diet in a notebook or food-tracking mobile app, crunch the numbers, and seek help if you need additional eyes."</p><p>Often, you just need something as visual as a food log for a couple weeks to fully grasp what you put into your diet—or <em>not</em>, in many cases.</p><p><strong>Action point:</strong> Spend at least one month writing down your meals, snacks, and calories of any form that touch your lips. This serves as a mental exercise to get yourself used to eyeballing portion sizes and grasping the frequency and size of the meals you can consistently suck in on a daily basis.</p><p>Take advantage of this experimental period to tweak your diet according to results and how you feel, and learn how your body responds. For example, if you haven't been gaining as much muscle as you'd like, check your protein intake to see if it's adequate; if not, bump it up by increasing protein portion size or shift foods around a bit. One gram of protein per pound of bodyweight is a solid daily target.</p><p>One month is all you need to get a good picture of your caloric intake, but if you feel like it really helps, by all means, continue doing it until you can confidently start assembling meals through approximation and still achieve the results you want.</p><p>Just be sure to avoid getting consumed by the idea that you need to count every calorie all the time.</p><p>
<h3 class="article-title c12">2 Add calorie bonuses in addition to planned meals</h3>
</p><p>Hardgainers don't gain weight for a slew of reasons. Chief among them is that they don't sneak in enough extra calories into their diet. Finding something to add as a surplus source of quick and easy calories is clutch for major gains.</p><p>Sure, this might be easier said than done, but it's a matter of identifying foods and recipes that are calorie-dense but light on stomach space. These foods include nut butters, olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, grass-fed butters, honey, full-fat coconut milk, and full-fat Greek yogurt. Some other viable options consist of drinking milk throughout the day, making peanut butter and (insert your choice of condiment) sandwiches, homemade 1,000-calorie protein shakes, and homemade energy bars or "cookies."</p><img src="http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/images/2014/7-ways-to-gain-weight-3b.jpg" width="560" height="288" border="0"/><p>"Finding something to add as a surplus source of quick and easy calories is clutch for major gains."</p><p>Once you figure out the foods which bloat the calorie count but not the stomach, plan to put them into your meals. That means making things in advance, thinking ahead, and having foods like full-fat Greek yogurt and nut butters within arm's reach and ready. Don't be lazy about it.</p><p>More calories = more growth, so pack on the calories and cram them in where you can.</p><p><strong>Action point:</strong> one of my favorite quick and easy snacks</p><ol class="dpg-list"><li>Grab a jar of all-natural peanut butter (none of that added sugar and oils funny business!) and empty it into a bowl.</li>
<li>Add two or three scoops of quality protein powder, a little honey to taste, and about 1/2 cup of dried oats.</li>
<li>Add just enough water to make it mixable but not soupy at all.</li>
<li>Mix all together.</li>
<li>Separate into little balls that can hold together and refrigerate.</li>
<li>Eat one with each of your meals over the next few days.</li>
</ol><p>Other good options include many awesome high protein recipes by <a href="http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/anna-sward.html" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Protein Powder Chef, Anna Sward</a>.</p><a href="http://www.bodybuilding.com/store/protein-powder/the-cookbook-protein-pow.html" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img src="http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/images/2014/annasward_bookbanner.jpg" width="560" height="144" border="0"/></a><p>
<h3 class="article-title c12">3 You need to eat carbs (yes, even the starchy ones)</h3>
</p><p>This tip seems pretty straightforward, but you'd be surprised by how many people ask me why they're not gaining weight when their only carbohydrate sources come from vegetables, trace amounts of sugars, fruits, and legumes.</p><p>I'm not saying to go completely crazy on trashy carbohydrates, but your body will gain better results from additional carb sources such as rice, oats, sweet potatoes, and—dare I say it—bread. This is especially true with heavy weightlifting, since carbs are needed to replenish glycogen stores that a particularly grueling lifting session devours. Some studies suggest that timing the majority of your starches around when you train may shunt unnecessary fat storage. For example, eat these starches either pre- or post-workout.</p><p><strong>Action point:</strong> Add two bananas, a bowl of oatmeal (one cup measured uncooked), or half a cup of rice (measured uncooked) to your post-training meals.</p><img class="float-right c15" src="http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/images/2014/7-ways-to-gain-weight-5.jpg" width="264" height="224" border="0"/><p>
<h3 class="article-title c12">4 Fat is where it's at</h3>
</p><p>Fats are essential to your diet because they cushion your vital organs, help you digest certain types of vitamins, maintain optimum brain function, and more. Plus, fats are the easiest way to add extra calories. Fat sources are calorically dense, go down quickly, provide a lot of energy, and of course, they're damn tasty. Before you go to town on heavy cream and lard, fats should come from quality sources, like raw nuts, sunflower seeds, nut butters, avocado, fattier cuts of meat, olive oil, real mayonnaise, and some cheese.</p><p>Fats should comprise most of your meals when you're not training or close to training times.</p><p><strong>Action points:</strong> things you can do to add more fats and thus more calories to your diet</p><ul class="dpg-list"><li>Liberally douse your veggies in grass-fed butter or olive oil.</li>
<li>Pat some butter in your sweet potato.</li>
<li>Add extra olive oil in your marinara sauce.</li>
<li>Use real mayonnaise in your sandwiches.</li>
<li>Eat a whole avocado with your meal (they go with everything!).</li>
<li>Snack on macadamia nuts, cashews, Brazil nuts, and any of the other more nutrient-dense nuts throughout the day.</li>
</ul><p>
<h3 class="article-title c12">5 Eat faster</h3>
</p><p>Before your body has the chance to feel satiated, fill 'er up! If you eat too slowly, you give your brain a chance to catch up on your stomach's actual satiety levels, which is usually about a 20-minute delay. When you sit down to eat, start shoveling as much food as you comfortably can into your gaping maw. That means the opposite of what most weight loss experts will tell you. Never put your utensils down during your meal.</p><p><strong>Action point:</strong> Make it a point to eat your meals with training buddies or friends who eat more food than you do. That way it becomes sort of a competition. It also puts "eating a lot" into a humbling perspective when you can see how much other people eat in comparison to yourself.</p><img class="float-right c16" src="http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/images/2014/7-ways-to-gain-weight-6.jpg" width="268" height="322" border="0"/><p>
<h3 class="article-title c12">6 Drink more calories</h3>
</p><p>Chewing takes work and time. Drink your calories whenever you can, whether that ends up being milk, coconut water, or a simple shake. Big, nutritional <a href="http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/proteinshakes.htm" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">shakes</a> you make at home are the real moneymaker here. You can add extra calories from coconut milk, nut butters, high-quality protein powders, and fistfuls of greens to make that shake give you both weight and nutritional gains.</p><p><strong>Action point:</strong> Drink beverages like coconut milk, milk, or coconut water with each meal.</p><p>
<h3 class="article-title c12">7 Have a positive relationship with your food</h3>
</p><p>Far too often, people get consumed by the act of eating that they forget to savor food and view food as more than just numbers. Learn to cook, enjoy your food, and stop eating alone.</p><p>Having a positive relationship with food will do wonders for the poor habits you don't even realize are taking place. It's often the negative association that stems from the "need to eat" and makes hardgainers less likely to be able to adhere to consuming more calories. In these cases, it just helps to have a friend to be there along the way.</p><p><strong>Action point:</strong> Plan to have dinner with a friend at least twice each week over the next month. As I already mentioned, try to make plans with friends who aren't afraid to say yes to two entrees or second (or even third) helpings!</p><p>Do you have any other weight-gaining secrets to share with other hardgainers? Share your thoughts in the comments below!</p><br class="c17"/><h3 class="article-title">Recommended For You</h3><div class="c20" webReader="5.15789473684"><a href="http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/12-skinny-guy-tips-to-build-monster-muscle.htm"><img src="images/2014/12-skinny-guy-tips-to-build-monster-muscle-smallbox.jpg" alt="" width="200" height="114"/></a><div class="c19" webReader="6.63157894737"><h4 class="c18"><a href="http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/12-skinny-guy-tips-to-build-monster-muscle.htm">12 'Skinny Guy' Tips To Build Monster Muscle!</a></h4><p style="display: inline;" class="webReader-styled">
Are you afraid to challenge yourself? After reading this article, you should be ready to take the first steps in the journey!</p></div></div><div class="c20" webReader="5.55434782609"><a href="http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/hardgainers-guide-to-muscle-building.htm"><img src="images/2014/hardgainers-guide-to-muscle-building-smallbox.jpg" alt="" width="200" height="114"/></a><div class="c19" webReader="7.14130434783"><h4 class="c18"><a href="http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/hardgainers-guide-to-muscle-building.htm">Hardgainer's Guide To Muscle Building!</a></h4><p style="display: inline;" class="webReader-styled">
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Get Growing: 7 Ways To Gain Weight For The Hardgainer

Gaining weight can be incredibly difficult and stressful for certain people. For these folks, commonly called “hardgainers,” adding even a little size can seem like a monumental task. Personally, I’m skeptical about the extent of this difficulty. From my time in the military to setting recent personal powerlifting goals, I’ve had my fair share of experiences gaining healthy weight.

At my lowest weight of 173 in the military, I had the energy of a bull and personal bests that included a 435-pound deadlift, a 315-pound squat, and a 285-pound bench press. Later, when I flew up to 230 pounds, these same lifts shot up over one hundred pounds apiece, and I still boast a better-than-average work capacity.

Over the years, I’ve learned that tackling any goal comes down to being honest, acknowledging how much work it will take, and pushing through that work. If you’re a hardgainer who wants to gain weight, you probably won’t feel hungry all the time, but you’ll still have to eat. If you really want to grow, you need to silence your fears of getting fat, of your performance suffering, and of eating 100 percent clean.

“Gaining weight can be difficult and stressful. With proper training and willingness to do the work, you can build quality muscle and add healthy size.”

I don’t care how hard it is for you to gain weight. With proper training and willingness to do the work, you can build quality muscle and add healthy size. Do you have the courage to actually step outside your comfort zone and get something done? If you want to grow, start with these seven tips!

1 Use data over guesswork

The guessing game and going by “feel” never give you an accurate picture of what you eat on a daily basis. So do the math and figure it out!

Write down your daily diet in a notebook or food-tracking mobile app, crunch the numbers, and seek help if you need additional eyes. You may be surprised by what you find. Perhaps you thought you ate 3,300 calories one day when, in fact, you ate only 2,900. That’s a 400-calorie difference that can add up overtime.

“Write down your daily diet in a notebook or food-tracking mobile app, crunch the numbers, and seek help if you need additional eyes.”

Often, you just need something as visual as a food log for a couple weeks to fully grasp what you put into your diet—or not, in many cases.

Action point: Spend at least one month writing down your meals, snacks, and calories of any form that touch your lips. This serves as a mental exercise to get yourself used to eyeballing portion sizes and grasping the frequency and size of the meals you can consistently suck in on a daily basis.

Take advantage of this experimental period to tweak your diet according to results and how you feel, and learn how your body responds. For example, if you haven’t been gaining as much muscle as you’d like, check your protein intake to see if it’s adequate; if not, bump it up by increasing protein portion size or shift foods around a bit. One gram of protein per pound of bodyweight is a solid daily target.

One month is all you need to get a good picture of your caloric intake, but if you feel like it really helps, by all means, continue doing it until you can confidently start assembling meals through approximation and still achieve the results you want.

Just be sure to avoid getting consumed by the idea that you need to count every calorie all the time.

2 Add calorie bonuses in addition to planned meals

Hardgainers don’t gain weight for a slew of reasons. Chief among them is that they don’t sneak in enough extra calories into their diet. Finding something to add as a surplus source of quick and easy calories is clutch for major gains.

Sure, this might be easier said than done, but it’s a matter of identifying foods and recipes that are calorie-dense but light on stomach space. These foods include nut butters, olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, grass-fed butters, honey, full-fat coconut milk, and full-fat Greek yogurt. Some other viable options consist of drinking milk throughout the day, making peanut butter and (insert your choice of condiment) sandwiches, homemade 1,000-calorie protein shakes, and homemade energy bars or “cookies.”

“Finding something to add as a surplus source of quick and easy calories is clutch for major gains.”

Once you figure out the foods which bloat the calorie count but not the stomach, plan to put them into your meals. That means making things in advance, thinking ahead, and having foods like full-fat Greek yogurt and nut butters within arm’s reach and ready. Don’t be lazy about it.

More calories = more growth, so pack on the calories and cram them in where you can.

Action point: one of my favorite quick and easy snacks

  1. Grab a jar of all-natural peanut butter (none of that added sugar and oils funny business!) and empty it into a bowl.
  2. Add two or three scoops of quality protein powder, a little honey to taste, and about 1/2 cup of dried oats.
  3. Add just enough water to make it mixable but not soupy at all.
  4. Mix all together.
  5. Separate into little balls that can hold together and refrigerate.
  6. Eat one with each of your meals over the next few days.

Other good options include many awesome high protein recipes by Protein Powder Chef, Anna Sward.

3 You need to eat carbs (yes, even the starchy ones)

This tip seems pretty straightforward, but you’d be surprised by how many people ask me why they’re not gaining weight when their only carbohydrate sources come from vegetables, trace amounts of sugars, fruits, and legumes.

I’m not saying to go completely crazy on trashy carbohydrates, but your body will gain better results from additional carb sources such as rice, oats, sweet potatoes, and—dare I say it—bread. This is especially true with heavy weightlifting, since carbs are needed to replenish glycogen stores that a particularly grueling lifting session devours. Some studies suggest that timing the majority of your starches around when you train may shunt unnecessary fat storage. For example, eat these starches either pre- or post-workout.

Action point: Add two bananas, a bowl of oatmeal (one cup measured uncooked), or half a cup of rice (measured uncooked) to your post-training meals.

4 Fat is where it’s at

Fats are essential to your diet because they cushion your vital organs, help you digest certain types of vitamins, maintain optimum brain function, and more. Plus, fats are the easiest way to add extra calories. Fat sources are calorically dense, go down quickly, provide a lot of energy, and of course, they’re damn tasty. Before you go to town on heavy cream and lard, fats should come from quality sources, like raw nuts, sunflower seeds, nut butters, avocado, fattier cuts of meat, olive oil, real mayonnaise, and some cheese.

Fats should comprise most of your meals when you’re not training or close to training times.

Action points: things you can do to add more fats and thus more calories to your diet

  • Liberally douse your veggies in grass-fed butter or olive oil.
  • Pat some butter in your sweet potato.
  • Add extra olive oil in your marinara sauce.
  • Use real mayonnaise in your sandwiches.
  • Eat a whole avocado with your meal (they go with everything!).
  • Snack on macadamia nuts, cashews, Brazil nuts, and any of the other more nutrient-dense nuts throughout the day.

5 Eat faster

Before your body has the chance to feel satiated, fill ‘er up! If you eat too slowly, you give your brain a chance to catch up on your stomach’s actual satiety levels, which is usually about a 20-minute delay. When you sit down to eat, start shoveling as much food as you comfortably can into your gaping maw. That means the opposite of what most weight loss experts will tell you. Never put your utensils down during your meal.

Action point: Make it a point to eat your meals with training buddies or friends who eat more food than you do. That way it becomes sort of a competition. It also puts “eating a lot” into a humbling perspective when you can see how much other people eat in comparison to yourself.

6 Drink more calories

Chewing takes work and time. Drink your calories whenever you can, whether that ends up being milk, coconut water, or a simple shake. Big, nutritional shakes you make at home are the real moneymaker here. You can add extra calories from coconut milk, nut butters, high-quality protein powders, and fistfuls of greens to make that shake give you both weight and nutritional gains.

Action point: Drink beverages like coconut milk, milk, or coconut water with each meal.

7 Have a positive relationship with your food

Far too often, people get consumed by the act of eating that they forget to savor food and view food as more than just numbers. Learn to cook, enjoy your food, and stop eating alone.

Having a positive relationship with food will do wonders for the poor habits you don’t even realize are taking place. It’s often the negative association that stems from the “need to eat” and makes hardgainers less likely to be able to adhere to consuming more calories. In these cases, it just helps to have a friend to be there along the way.

Action point: Plan to have dinner with a friend at least twice each week over the next month. As I already mentioned, try to make plans with friends who aren’t afraid to say yes to two entrees or second (or even third) helpings!

Do you have any other weight-gaining secrets to share with other hardgainers? Share your thoughts in the comments below!


Recommended For You

12 ‘Skinny Guy’ Tips To Build Monster Muscle!

Are you afraid to challenge yourself? After reading this article, you should be ready to take the first steps in the journey!

Hardgainer’s Guide To Muscle Building!

Every hardgainer is looking to add muscle. This guide will focus on the types of weight training, cardio and nutrition needed to meet your goals.

How To Go From Bones To Buff In Just 30 Days!

For someone struggling to gain mass, a different approach must be taken. Here are the benefits of a 30-day program for ectomorphs. Check it out!

Read this article: 

Get Growing: 7 Ways To Gain Weight For The Hardgainer

Posted in Bodybuilding, Exercises, Nutrition, Weight lossComments (0)



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Paige Hathaway

Paige Hathaway

14 hours 3 minutes ago

🌻 I haven’t went on a rant in awhile so if you don’t care to hear it... here’s your chance to exit 😝
MY QUESTION IS: Why do so many of us struggle to find happiness?! - HAPPINESS is at the top of everyone’s list. At the end of the day, we want to feel like we’re happy and have lived well. But oftentimes, we can find ourselves feeling unhappy and we may feel like we’re not sure why happiness isn’t happening for us.
- - - - - -
Most of the time when you have a negative thought or feel unhappy, you’ll read tons of self-help books that tell you to replace that negative thought with a positive one, they may also tell you to spend no more than 60 seconds thinking about it and move on about your day. (Easier said than done) That’s great advice and all but to me, all that does is sweep your negative thinking under the rug and the rug along with that negative thought is still there. Every person who has ever been on a weight loss diet understands this: “just don’t think about food” they say, (again, easier said than done) - this simply just does not work especially for the long haul.
- - - - - -
My thoughts: 💭 The next time you’re having a bad day or a negative thought about something, don’t ignore your emotions or thinking and “put on a happy face.” Instead, try accepting the way you feel and try to identify why you are feeling the way you are. By ending the internal struggle of how you actually feel, you can begin to understand your “WHY”— And by understanding yourself and your thoughts a bit better, you come to life’s choices with the most powerful tool of all: YOUR FULL SELF! To me: I feel as though, this is a much better way to choose happiness for yourself. In the end; YES!! happiness is a choice but to understand yourself better will allow your own sense of happiness to shine in brighter than anything else! ☀️🌈🌸

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