Avoid Bodybuilding Plateaus With This Powerful Technique

plateaus

Bodybuilding plateaus is the biggest problem that male and female bodybuilders encounter.

Note: for me a bodybuilder is anyone who trains with weights and follows a diet in order to get a great physique.

While at first the gains of muscle mass come rather quickly, soon after you hit a plateau (a point where gains cease to come by). Sometimes it seems that no matter how hard you workout at the gym, the muscle mass just seems to remain the same. As a result, this causes frustration and leads most people to either give up, buy a whole bunch of supplements or even use anabolic steroids.

The good news is that this is the very reason I decided to write this report. I want to share with you a secret that I have found after years of trial and error of different training and nutrition strategies.

I have found that there is a way that you can accelerate your muscle mass gains and fat loss dramatically and prevent it from reaching the dreaded plateau. By applying this principle you will be able to fulfill your genetic potential as quickly as humanly possible.

Not only will bodybuilders double their results from each workout (and cut their supplement bill and training time dramatically), but they’ll also get to greatly accelerate results in terms of massive muscle gains, strength and fat loss.

But first a little bit about myself.

How I Got Started

My formal education background believe it or not is in Computer Engineering. I graduated from the University of South Florida back in 1998. So the question is: how did I end up from engineering to being a competitive bodybuilder and best selling fitness author?

Well, I actually used to be very overweight as I was growing up so at an early age I experienced the feelings of insecurity that come along with obesity as well as the scorn and ridicule from some people. Since I kept hearing that the reason for my weight problems was food and that I had to stop eating, I took the advice to heart being sick and tired of how I looked and felt.

So this resulted in me going anorexic at the age of 13 and losing a total of 70 pounds in less than a year. My family, very concerned about my health, took me to a nutritionist in an effort to put some sense in me and stop the anorexic cycle.

This nutritionist mentioned one thing that changed my outlook on dieting forever: “Eating food will not make you fat; only the abuse of the wrong sort of foods will.” After listening to that statement, it all seemed to make sense. I then began following the diet she gave me and started to study the effects of foods on the human physiology.

By the age of fifteen a girl that I really liked back then told me that I would look better if I had some muscle on me. She said that though I looked good, I was too skinny. Keep in mind that anorexia left me weighing a bit less than 100-lbs.

So I asked my mom to get me a muscle magazine, the May 1990 Muscle & Fitness (which I still have to this day) so that I could educate myself on the subject. After I saw an article called: “How To Get BIG” written by the one and only, Arnold Schwarzenegger, I was hooked! To me, Arnold just looked perfect so I chose him as the role model to follow. I also got inspired by the physiques of Lee Labrada, Shawn Ray, and Francis Benfatto who were competing extremely successfully back then. To me, all of these guys exemplified perfection, real works of art. They all ate 6 times a day and trained hard day in and day out.

So I simply started with following the training program and diet laid out by Arnold on his article. As I was so underweight and skinny at the time, even with Arnold’s training, which was pretty much overtraining, I still gained 40lbs during the summer. A proper six meal a day diet and regular training with me being very underweight really pushed on the muscle mass even if I did gain a little fat as well, but it was amazing to me and all my friends thought I was on steroids! Yet, I did not even have a clue of what steroids where at that time!

Come to think of it, I guess that I was on steroids due to the fact that I was a teenager back then producing tons of hormones (yes guys, if you are teenagers then you are on the most powerful stack of anabolic steroids; the one produced by your own body)! This, in conjunction with the fact that once I started to feed myself 6 times eating around 3,500-4,000 calories a day, made me grow beyond belief on a daily basis and I guess this is what got me really hooked and led me to become an avid natural bodybuilder.

After, gaining all that mass, I reached a plateau unfortunately; a sticking point I could not get past. As much as I loved Arnold I realized a natural bodybuilder like me could not keep up with the routines of professional bodybuilders who were taking drugs and so I took to reading countless books in my quest to find a perfect system.

The frustrating problem was that I started getting exposed to absolutely contradicting theories on how to best gain muscle and lose fat. Upset at the fact that no one could give me a straight answer I decided to take matters in my own hand and use myself as well as my training partner as guinea pigs in order to find out what worked. This was the first time I really knew that I was going to create my own system as I was going to test everything on myself, my training partner and friends in order to find out what worked and what didn’t so that I could then throw out the bad and keep the good.

I started my quest by recording everything I did down to the last detail. I’m quite analytical as a person, which is I guess why I became an engineer years later, but even early It showed as I read every book and article everywhere I could get my hands on. I was like a sponge for information, reading stuff from trainers from all over the world. I started to put together training routines and diet programs, and while some failed miserably some worked!

For instance, I will never forget what happened when I went from training 2-3 hours a day to training for 45 minutes. I went through a growth spurt again! So through endless training routines and diet combinations I started to really understand what worked and what didn’t for me and my training partners. I started finding principles and patterns of training that seemed to work on everyone I tried them on. Above all, the most exciting part of my discoveries was the fact that there was no necessity to stay all day at the gym in order to get results! Because I felt that not many people in the industry cared about trainees actually reaching their goals, I decided to create a web site and start conducting personal training during my college years in an effort to spread all of the knowledge that I had acquired.

Once I had dialed in the timing, frequency and the important details of training and nutrition cycling, that is when I created training routines that eliminated plateaus. It was at this point that I became passionate about sharing my knowledge with people as I fully understood I could help to double everyone’s results at the gym in half the time if they would employ my training and nutrition cycling principles.

Because I needed to put together a website in order to graduate from Engineering school (that was my Senior Project) that is how I started to post my first few fitness articles, and not much later became a best selling fitness author. Notice that it took me from the time I was 14 years old to after I graduated from college to learn all the secrets to muscle building and fat loss on my own. However, with this article, I am confident that I can save anyone from all the troubles that I went through.

Plateaus Don’t Need to Happen!

How many times have you heard that plateaus are inevitable? Well, it’s time to say goodbye to plateaus forever!

Typically, the people that make this statement are people who have been on the same routine for months to an end (or even years).

The thing to understand when it comes to plateaus is that they happen when:

1) Your training is not stimulating muscle growth because your body is absolutely used to it (thus, there is no stimulus to grow).

2) Your nutrition is off: meaning that you are not eating 5-6 times a day, and you are not consuming the amount of protein, carbohydrates, and fats that your body requires in order to make great gains.

The key thing to understand is that the body is a living organism that will always adapt to any stress that you put it through. Thus, when people start to train, they make great gains at first since the body is not used at all to the stress of weight training. As a result, rapid changes in the body occur. However, as time goes by, the gains slow down and unless you do something about it, progress will come to a sudden stop.

I went through many frustrating years of this until I found out that if you change routines around, you make more gains. However, it was only when I found out that if you periodize your program in a logical manner (by alternating between periods of high volume/ high reps/ fast paced training with periods of lower volume/heavier weight/slower training) that makes use of the body’s own adaptation mechanisms you will make incredible “steroid like” gains.

In order for the body to respond optimally, it cannot be trained in the same manner all the time. The best way to make the body respond is through the correct variation of exercises, volume (number of sets times number of reps), intensity (how heavy the weight is), and rest periods between sets.

Workout parameters are going to be determined by the phase of the program you are in. There are going to be three phases that we will be repeating over and over again. The first week will be an “Active Recovery Phase”. In this phase you will only train with weights twice a week on a full body routine before you start the next phase which will be called the “Loading Phase”. The “Loading Phase”, which is three weeks in duration, is going to be a high volume phase with short rest between sets. Training volume gradually increases over the course of the three weeks in order to stress the body almost to the point of overtraining.

Then the next three weeks are going to be a higher intensity/lower volume phase (heavier weights) with longer periods of rest between sets. This phase is called the “Growth Phase”, as volume is reduced but weights are increased in order to let the body catch up and super compensate (grow muscle size and strength).

Here is a sample 21 Day Routine that you can use to get you started on your road to making some serious gains:

21-day-program

Download Your 21-Day Bodybuilding Program for FREE << Click to Download (You also get my FREE Top Supplements That Work Guide)

Now, as you get even more advanced, you can manipulate even more variables, such as the speed at which you perform the repetitions, the training splits used and you can also use advanced techniques such as drop sets, partial reps, forced repetitions, and even varying the speed in which you perform your repetitions in order to keep stimulating muscle gains.

Again, the trick is to always follow a program that takes your body to the brink of overtraining and then backs off a bit in order to allow your body to catch up, recover and grow at an accelerated rate. Of course, in order to make great gains your nutrition has to be top notch. Training without the right nutrition will not provide you the results you are looking for since you will be stimulating muscle growth BUT you will not have the raw materials to build it. It is no different than having tons of contractors ready to build a skyscraper but there is no cement for them to use. So because of that, you need to fuel yourself correctly.

Diet Is As Important As Training!

Nutrition is what gives us the raw materials for recuperation, energy, and growth. Without a good diet, your dreams of achieving your ideal body will never be reached. I cannot even begin to tell you how many trainees sabotage great gym efforts by not following the proper nutrition plan.

In order to gain solid muscle you need to be eating 5-6 small meals a day (at least a breakfast, a lunch and a dinner with protein shakes in between). You also need to take in
1-1.5 grams of protein per pound of lean bodyweight. Protein is what gives you the raw materials for building the tissues in the body (including muscle of course).

In terms of good fats, you need around 1-2 teaspoons of fish oils and/or flax seed oil three times a day (1 for ladies and 2 for guys). To be honest, I take as much as 1 tablespoon of Carlson fish oils 3x/day. You can also have a serving of nuts (if you are not allergic to them) or 1-2 teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil as well. The fact is that in order to gain muscle and lose fat properly you NEED good fats. Good fats provide you with the essential fatty acids that the body needs for brain function, energy production, joint tissue health, and hormonal production! If you eliminate fats from your diet completely, your muscle mass gains and fat loss will greatly suffer! So will brain function! Thus, you need good fats and these will make an incredible change in your health and appearance!

In terms of carbs, you do need good complex carbs for energy production. Slower metabolisms (on the average) can do 0.8-1 gram of carbs per lean body weight for 5 days
and 1.5 grams for 2 days. Hardgainers may need as much as 1.5-2 grams for 5 days and as much as 3 grams for 2 days.

(NOTE: For good sample diets check out the ones at the end of this article below.)

Sample Diets

Usually people associate the word diet with days of starvation and pain. However that is not the correct definition of a diet. The word diet refers to the food choices that we make on a daily basis. Even if you don’t think you that you are on a diet, guess what?! You already are following a diet. Whether you eat candy all day everyday, or oatmeal, that is your diet.

You Don’t Have to Starve When You Diet

A good bodybuilding diet needs to follow 3 rules:

1. It should favor smaller and frequent feedings throughout the day instead of smaller ones.

2. Every meal should have carbohydrates, protein and fat in the correct ratios: 40% carbs, 40% protein, 20 % good fats.

3. The calories should be cycled to prevent the metabolism from getting used to a certain caloric level.

While my article on Bodybuilding Nutrition Basics further elaborates on the reasons why the rules above need to be followed, in addition to a discussion on carbohydrates, proteins and fats, I’ll move now to present you with two examples of good bodybuilding diets.

Sample Bodybuilding Diet For Men

Meal 1 (7 AM)
1 cup of dry oats mixed with water
1 cup of egg beaters

Meal 2 (9 AM)
Meal replacement packet mixed with water or a protein powder (with around 40 grams of protein) mixed with 40 grams of carbs from cream of rice, grits, or oatmeal.

1 Tablespoon of Fish Oils (Carlson Fish Oil brand is best)

Meal 3 (12 Noon)
1 cup of brown rice, or medium sized baked potato, or 1 cup of oatmeal
2 cups of green beans, broccoli or any other desired vegetable
6-8 ounces of chicken, turkey, or lean fish

Meal 4 (3 PM)
Same as Meal 2

Meal 5 (6 PM)
1 cup of brown rice, or medium sized baked potato, or 1 cup of oatmeal
2 cups of green beans, broccoli or any other desired vegetable
6-8 ounces of chicken, turkey, or lean fish

Meal 6 (8 PM)
Same as Meal 2

Recommended Basic Bodybuilding Supplements For Men

(Essential to take)

Definitely make sure that you cover at least the basics of supplementation which are a Multiple Vitamin and Mineral formula, 3 grams of Vitamin C split in 3 equal servings throughout the day, 200mcg of Chromium Picolinate, and essential fatty acids coming from either fish oils, flaxseed oil or extra virgin olive oil. Also, for convenience purposes a good meal replacement or protein powder is a great way to add valuable calories and nutrients to your diet.

Performance Enhancing Supplementation

(Recommended for hard training bodybuilders who want to get the most out of their program}

In addition to those basic supplements, I would also recommend Creatine and Glutamine as these two supplements offer many of the same properties as anabolic steroids (such as increased recovery, increased strength, increased glycogen levels, enhanced immune system and higher nitrogen synthesis) without the side effects as they are not hormones.

Download Your Top Supplements Guide for FREE << Click to Download (If you already downloaded the 21-day program above, you will also get this document as well)

Sample Bodybuilding Diet For Women

Meal 1 (7 AM)
1/2 cup of dry oats mixed with water
1/2 cup of egg beaters

Meal 2 (9 AM)
1/2 Meal replacement packet mixed with water or a protein powder (with around 20 grams of protein) mixed with 20 grams of carbs from cream of rice, grits, or oatmeal.
1/2 Tablespoon of Fish Oils (Carlson Fish Oil brand is best)

Meal 3 (12 Noon)
1/2 cup of brown rice, or medium sized baked potato, or 1 cup of oatmeal
2 cups of green beans, broccoli or any other desired vegetable
6 ounces of chicken, turkey, or lean fish

Meal 4 (3 PM)
Same as Meal 2

Meal 5 (6 PM)
1/2 cup of brown rice, or medium sized baked potato, or 1 cup of oatmeal
2 cups of green beans, broccoli or any other desired vegetable
6 ounces of chicken, turkey, or lean fish

Meal 6 (8 PM)
Same as Meal 2

Recommended Basic Bodybuilding Supplements For Women

(Essential to take)

Definitely make sure that you cover at least the basics of supplementation which are a Multiple Vitamin and Mineral formula, 3 grams of Vitamin C split in 3 equal servings throughout the day, 200mcg of Chromium Picolinate, and essential fatty acids coming from either fish oils, flaxseed oil or extra virgin olive oil. Also, for convenience purposes a good meal replacement or protein powder is a great way to add valuable calories and nutrients to your diet.

Performance Enhancing Supplementation

(Recommended for hard training bodybuilders who want to get the most out of their program}

In addition to those basic supplements, I would also recommend Creatine and Glutamine as these two supplements offer many of the same properties as anabolic steroids (such as increased recovery, increased strength, increased glycogen levels, enhanced immune system and higher nitrogen synthesis) without the side effects as they are not hormones.

Download Your Top Supplements Guide for FREE << Click to Download (If you already downloaded the 21-day program above, you will also get this document as well)

Final Notes On Nutrition

You can experiment with various foods and also even substitute the protein shakes for real meals as well (though for most of you, protein shakes and meal replacements are more convenient). After 5 weeks of following this diet program, start adjusting your calories and cycling them as described in my Bodybuilding Nutrition Basics article.

Conclusion

Now you have a few tricks up your sleeve in order to add some pounds of solid muscle to your frame. Implement them and start to grow!!

Take care and train hard!

hugo_sign

 

 

 

About the Author

hugoHugo Rivera is an International best selling fitness author certified in personal training and nutrition with a computer engineering degree from the University of South Florida. Hugo is owner of www.hugorivera.net, an informational, free fitness and nutrition website. He is author of over 10 fitness books (with over a million copies sold) including his best sellers: Body Re-Engineering, The Body Sculpting Bible for Men, The Body Sculpting Bible for Women, the Weight Training Diary, and the Hardgainers Handbook of Bodybuilding. Today via his website HugoRivera.net, numerous articles, book publications, TV and radio appearances Hugo continues to educate the public on how to achieve the body of their dreams via the use of weight training exercise, good nutrition and correct supplementation. You can follow Hugo via:

YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/hugoriverafitness
Facebook: www.facebook.com/hugorivera.net
Google Plus: www.google.com/+HugoriveraNetnaturalbodybuilding
Twitter: www.twitter.com/hrfit
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/hugoriverafitness
BodySpace: http://bodyspace.bodybuilding.com/hrfit/

How Guys Can Make A Successful Fitness Comeback!

comeback-male-2

There are many things that life can throw our way which may derail you from your fitness program: sickness, an injury, a life changing situation, a post contest rebound that de-motivated you, and many others. The good news is that no matter what circumstance got you away from your fitness program, you can always use your strong will to come back to it.

With that said, there are 3 mistakes that you need to avoid to make a successful comeback:

1) Don’t punish yourself for your current condition:

It is easy to feel bad and beat yourself over and over again for regressing and going back to a “Before Picture” condition. Yet, this is not productive. The best thing to do at this point is ACCEPT the fact that you are in whatever shape you are in and KNOW that with the plan you will implement the “After Picture” condition will be just around the corner.

 

2) Don’t embark into an overly ambitious program:

The worst thing you can do at this point is try to get back to the same program that you were doing before and use the same amount of weight that you used to lift. This is a rapid way to get excessively sore, and possibly injured as the joints need time to ease back into training. At the same time, you are opening yourself up to getting extremely frustrated as chances are that you cannot lift the same amount of weight that you used to do before. Remember, that at this point, the key is to not overwhelm your body with a complicated program that will send your cortisol hormone levels through the roof. Your comeback program should be one that focuses on getting you back into the swing of things, retraining your nervous system on how to activate its muscle fibers with each movement and getting your joints back into fighting condition.

3) Don’t embark into a fad diet:

Many girls who (and guys do this too) who get back after a layoff embark into a fad diet to speed-up the process. This is a sure way to fail as fad diets, like zero carb diets, cripple your thyroid levels and increase your cortisol levels. The end result is a lowered metabolic rate which means that it will be much easier for you to gain fat at a lower caloric range! And once your thyroid production is compromised it will take time to bring it back up to optimal levels.

 

How To Make a Successful Comeback

Now that we know what the 3 biggest mistakes to making a successful comeback are, here are my training and diet suggestions to making a successful comeback (please download the FREE 21 Day Program below):

21-day-program

Download Your 21-Day Bodybuilding Program for FREE << Click to Download (You also get our FREE Top Supplements That Actually Work Guide)

Successful Comeback Diet Guidelines:

Thus, ease back into a program where you are consuming a diet composed of 40% of its calories from protein, 40% from mainly complex carbs and 20% from good fats. This can be easily achieved by taking your approximate fat free mass (lean body mass = total bodyweight in pounds – approximate fat weight in pounds) and multiplying that number by 1. That gives you the total amount of carbs (in grams) that you need to consume per day. That also gives you the total amount of daily protein (in grams that you need). To calculate your good fats, simply multiply your lean body mass by 0.33.

So assuming a lean body mass of 150 lbs you are looking at 150 grams of carbs, 150 g of protein and 50 grams of good fats per day. That will give you the grams of fat that you need to consume each day. If you follow these simple formulas you will follow the perfect 40/40/20 diet plan suited to your body.

SAMPLE DIET for MEN:

• Meal 1: 1 cup of oatmeal with 1 packet of Meal Replacement Powder
• Meal 2: 3 rice cakes / Faye greek yogurt (1 cup) / 1 cup strawberries.
• Meal 3: 6 ounces (180 grams) of chicken measured cooked, 1 cup of rice (brown or white), 1/3 cup avocado, any combination of vegetables such as green beans, broccoli, onions, peppers, lettuce and tomatoes.
• Meal 4 (post workout meal): 1 packet of Meal Replacement Powder / 1 scoop of Power Carb:
• Meal 5: Wild Atlantic Salmon (130 grams), 300 grams of potatoes, any veggies (as above)

Optional Meal Before Bed: 1 cup of Greek Yogurt around 30 min before bed with 1 tablespoon of almond butter.

SAMPLE DIET for WOMEN:

• Meal 1: 3/4 cup of oatmeal with 1 packet of Meal Replacement Powder
• Meal 2: 3 rice cakes / Faye Greek yogurt (1 cup) / 1 cup strawberries.
• Meal 3: 4 ounces (120 grams) of chicken measured cooked, 1/2 cup of rice (brown or white), 1/4 cup avocado, any combination of vegetables such as green beans, broccoli, onions, peppers, lettuce and tomatoes.
• Meal 4 (post workout meal): 1 packet of Meal Replacement Powder / 1 scoop of Power Carb
• Meal 5: Wild Atlantic Salmon (85 grams), 150 grams of potatoes, any veggies (as above)
• Optional Meal Before Bed: 1 cup of Greek Yogurt around 30 min before bed with 1/2 tablespoon of almond butter

 

Additional Comeback Supplements:

One of the biggest complaints people have when they get back into a fitness program is muscle soreness and even joint soreness. However, there are some great natural supplements that can greatly help with your recovery making the process much more efficient while reducing soreness significantly. (Note: It is not essential to take these supplements in order to achieve success from this program. The key to success is the training and the diet. However, if you can add any of these supplements you will see a marked improvement in your recovery capacity and soreness levels.)

Download Your Top Supplements Guide for FREE << Click to Download

 

Additional Tips For Making a Permanent Comeback:

Be sure to track your progress properly.

Do not rely solely on the scale as the scale does not tell you how much muscle you have gained and how much fat you have lost. And remember, muscle weighs more than fat so if you gain 2 pounds of muscle and lose 2 pounds of fat in the same week, the scale will not move. However, your measurements should show an incredible amount of difference! Note: For more information on this subject, check out Cecile’s article on“Why The Scale Can Be Your Biggest Enemy.” Also, be sure to check out Hugo Rivera’s article on “Tracking Your Progress.

Be sure to lose no more than 2 pounds of fat per week.

Any more fat loss than that can compromise your ability to gain muscle. If you see that you are losing too fast and losing strength at the gym, increase your carbs and protein by 15 grams per day and the good fats by 3 grams. Remember that the goal here is to make a successful and permanent comeback. In order to do that, slow and steady wins the race. You need to convince your body that it is OK to burn off the extra fat while gaining new muscle. To do that, you must prevent the body from entering into emergency mode as when that happens, cortisol levels rise and the body begins to try and retain body fat while burning muscle. Therefore, be sure to not overt-rain and to follow the diet as I advised above.

 

Conclusion

So there you have it: all my tips on how to make a successful comeback. Just remember that like Rocky said “It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward; how much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!” So let’s access that inner strength ladies and make this transformation happen!

21-day-program

Download Your 21-Day Bodybuilding Program for FREE << Click to Download (You also get our FREE Top Supplements That Actually Work Guide)


About the Authors
CecileB

Cecile Bayeul is a Registered Nurse, International fitness model/author and natural female bodybuilding champion who beat anorexia by embarking into a fitness program. She believes that by embarking into a fitness program you can not only achieve any body that you want but you can take control of your life and take it anywhere you want! You can follow Cecile via her fan page: www.facebook.com/cecilebayeul, her twitter: www.twitter.com/cecilebayeul, her YouTube Channel: www.youtube.com/cecilebayeul or her personal site:

www.CecileBayeul.com

 

 

 


hugoHugo Rivera is an International best selling fitness author certified in personal training and nutrition with a computer engineering degree from the University of South Florida. Hugo is owner of www.hugorivera.net, an informational, free fitness and nutrition website. He is author of over 10 fitness books (with over a million copies sold) including his best sellers: Body Re-Engineering, The Body Sculpting Bible for Men, The Body Sculpting Bible for Women, the Weight Training Diary, and the Hardgainers Handbook of Bodybuilding. Today via his website HugoRivera.net, numerous articles, book publications, TV and radio appearances Hugo continues to educate the public on how to achieve the body of their dreams via the use of weight training exercise, good nutrition and correct supplementation. You can follow Hugo via:

YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/hugoriverafitness
Facebook: www.facebook.com/hugorivera.net
Google Plus: www.google.com/+HugoriveraNetnaturalbodybuilding
Twitter: www.twitter.com/hrfit
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/hugoriverafitness
BodySpace: http://bodyspace.bodybuilding.com/hrfit/

Myths of Women’s Weight Training and Female Bodybuilding

The myths about women’s weight training and female bodybuilding do not ever seem to go away. With this article, I’d like to share the facts regarding weight training and female bodybuilding.

Women’s Weight Training Myth #1 -Weight training makes you bulky and masculine.

Due to the fact that women do not, and cannot, naturally produce as much testosterone (one of the main hormones training-at-home-small-e1342483209910responsible for increasing muscle size) as males do, it is impossible for a woman to gain huge amounts of muscle mass by merely touching some weights. Unfortunately, the image that may come to your mind is that of professional female bodybuilders. Most of these women, unfortunately, use anabolic steroids (synthetic testosterone) along with other drugs in order to achieve that high degree of muscularity. In addition, most also have good genetics coupled with an unbelievable work ethic that enable them to gain muscle quickly when they spend hours in the gym lifting very heavy weights. Believe me when I say that they do not look like that by accident. Women who conduct weight training without the use of steroids get the firm and fit cellulite-free looking body that you see in most fitness/figure shows these days.

Women’s Weight Training Myth #2 – Exercise increases your chest size.

Sorry girls. Women’s breasts are composed mostly of fatty tissue. Therefore, it is impossible to increase breast size through weight training. As a matter of fact, if you go below 12 percent body fat, your breast size will decrease. Weight training does increase the size of the back, so this misconception probably comes from confusing an increase in back size with an increase in cup size. The only way to increase your breast size is by gaining fat or getting breast implants.

Women’s Weight Training Myth #3 – Weight training makes you stiff and musclebound.

If you perform all exercises through their full range of motion, flexibility will increase. Exercises like flyes, stiff-legged deadlifts, dumbbell presses, and chin-ups stretch the muscle in the bottom range of the movement. Therefore, by performing these exercises correctly, your stretching capabilities will increase.

Women’s Weight Training Myth #4 – If you stop weight training your muscles turn into fat.

This is like saying that gold can turn into brass. Muscle and fat are two totally different types of tissue. What happens many times is that when people decide to go off their weight training programs they start losing muscle due to inactivity (use it or lose it) and they also usually drop the diet as well. Therefore bad eating habits combined with the fact that their metabolism is lower due to inactivity, and lower degrees of muscle mass, give the impression that the subject’s muscle is being turned into fat while in reality what is happening is that muscle is being lost and fat is being accumulated.

Women’s Weight Training Myth #5 – Weight training turns fat into muscle.

More alchemy. This is the equivalent of saying that you can turn any metal into gold; don’t we wish! The way a body transformation occurs is by gaining muscle through weight training and losing fat through aerobics and diet simultaneously. Again, muscle and fat are very different types of tissue. We cannot turn one into the other.

_DSC7768-2Women’s Weight Training Myth #6 – As long as you exercise you can eat anything that you want.

How I wish this were true also! However, this could not be further from the truth. Our individual metabolism determines how many calories we burn at rest and while we exercise. If we eat more calories than we burn on a consistent basis, our bodies will accumulate these extra calories as fat regardless of the amount of exercise that we do. This myth may have been created by people with such high metabolic rates (hardgainers) that no matter how much they eat or what they eat, they rarely meet or exceed the amount of calories that they burn in one day unless they put their mind to doing so. Therefore, their weight either remains stable or goes down. If you are confused about nutrition, please read Nutrition Basics.

Women’s Weight Training Myth #7 – Women only need to do cardio and if they decide to lift weights, they should be very light.

First of all, if you only did cardio then muscle and fat would be burned for fuel. One needs to do weights in order to get the muscle building machine going and thus prevent any loss of muscle tissue. Women that only concentrate on cardio will have a very hard time achieving the look that they want. As far as the lifting of very light weights, this is just more nonsense. Muscle responds to resistance and if the resistance is too light, then there will be no reason for the body to change.

Women Should Train Hard

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I have trained with women that train as hard as I do and they look nothing but feminine. If you want to look great, don’t be afraid to pick up the weights and lift hard!

I hope this helps!

Until next time, take care and train hard!

hugo_sign

 

 

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Teenage Bodybuilding Supplements: The Secrets Behind Explosive Muscle Mass

When it comes to gaining lean muscle mass, most people (especially teenagers who are just getting started) think that bodybuilding supplements are the most important part of the equation. However, this could not be any further from the truth. Supplements are just additions to an already good nutrition and training program. Besides determination, nutrition and training are the most important components of a bodybuilding program along with rest and recovery next to them. Once all of those aspects of your program are maximized, then you can start thinking of adding supplements to your program.

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Please understand that supplements do not make up for improper training, or lack thereof, or a low quality diet. Supplements are good because they prevent us from getting any nutritional deficiencies. The increased activity levels from your new exercise program will make your body have greater demands for vitamins and minerals, which will increase the probability of you suffering a deficiency without supplementation. Even a slight nutrient deficiency can sabotage muscle growth.

Can’t we get all the nutrients we need from food alone? We cannot rely solely on food nowadays to provide us with all the vitamins and minerals that our body needs because the processing of foods before they get to the supermarket, cooking, air, and even light have already robbed your foods of most of the vitamins that they have to offer. If you are deficient in one or more nutrients your body may not be able to build muscle and burn fat properly. In addition, because as you will soon find out, bodybuilding nutrition requires several feedings per day, some supplements can make it more convenient for us to accomplish that.

As a teenager who practices bodybuilding, I would focus my bodybuilding supplements program on:

  • A good set of multiple vitamins and minerals to avoid any nutritional deficiencies.
  • A good protein powder to take in between real meals so that it is easier and more convenient for you to increase your protein to the levels that you need. A good tub of high quality protein like Pro V60 will do the trick. If you need to gain weight however because you are a hardgainer (a person with a fast metabolism who has issues gaining weight) then I would go for a high quality weight gainer that is low in sugars and that has a variety of fast released and slow released proteins like Lean Body Mass 60.
  • A couple of tablespoons of good fats such as flax oil in order to cover your essential fatty acids needs. You can add these to your shakes.

I would save the creatine, and other more advanced supplements, for later on in your bodybuilding journey, once you have achieved some pretty solid bodybuilding gains.

Definitely, stay away from any testosterone boosting supplementation. Right now (since you are a teenager) your body naturally produces a ton of anabolic steroids (testosterone and growth hormone mainly) that will greatly help you in your quest to build muscle rapidly while losing body fat. Anything that you do trying to further boost your testosterone production may do the exact opposite. Save testosterone boosters for when your body starts to slowly decline in testosterone production, which is around 25 years old. However, research shows that 3,000 mg of Vitamin C lower cortisol levels (a muscle wasting hormone that does the exact opposite of what testosterone does) so 1000mg of Vitamin C at Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner will actually help you in your quest to a more muscular body.

The supplementation program above, in conjunction with a good bodybuilding diet, a good training program based off from basic exercises, rest (yes, you need at least 8 hours of sleep each night) and the determination to execute your bodybuilding program day in and day out will take you to where you want to be.

Convenient Supplements

If budget allows instead of a 5-lb protein tub, you can opt for easier to carry and more convenient items like Protein Bars, Meal Replacement Powders or Ready-To-Drink Shakes. Labrada Nutrition offers several top-notch bars, meal replacement powders and ready-to-drink shakes in their Lean Body line. These not only offer great nutrition, but have a taste to match as well. However, convenience comes with an added cost so if budget is tight, simply carry the servings you will need of your protein powder individually sealed in a Ziploc ® bag in your cooler and mix them with water or milk when it is time to consume. You will need a shaker bottle for this but high quality proteins these days are instantized and therefore mix rather easily.

To find out more information and how to save up to 50% on bodybuilding supplements: click here

Until next time, take care and train hard!

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Natural Bodybuilding FAQ: Can Bodybuilding Training Stunt Growth in Kids and Teens?

Question: My son just started doing some natural bodybuilding training and though I am very happy about that, I have heard that lifting too heavy a weight will cause growth to be stunted in kids. Is there an ideal weight range that my son can use so that he can reach his bodybuilding goals but also attain his ultimate height?

Answer: The whole notion of growth being stunted by natural bodybuilding training is a myth that I have been fighting for years. In conversations with my grandfather who used to be an Orthopedic Surgeon graduated from Northwestern University with top honors, I learned that as long as the resistance is not so high that it would cause the bones to become more dense and thus close the epiphysis (the growth area of a long bone) then there should not be any detrimental effects.

As a matter of fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics recently changed their policy (PEDIATRICS Vol. 107 No. 6 June 2001, pp. 1470-1472) regarding this topic by stating that “strength training programs do not seem to adversely affect linear growth and do not seem to have any long-term detrimental effect on cardiovascular health” as evidenced in recent studies.

I should also point out that the compression forces on your son’s legs and spine are far greater in running and jumping than they will ever be in a bodybuilding exercise like squatting. Compression forces in running and jumping can exceed 5 times his bodyweight. If he’s not squatting over 700 pounds, he’s generating greater compression in normal daily activities.

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Ideal Training Weight

I wouldn’t recommend that he lift any weight that he can’t do in a controlled fashion and with perfect form for at least 10 repetitions until he’s 18 or so. A weight that he can perform with perfect form for 10-15 repetitions will give him excellent bodybuilding results. Once 18, he can introduce weeks of heavier lifting, never going below 5 repetitions, as in my opinion, that is not needed for bodybuilding.

To be honest, when it comes to kids and bodybuilding training my concern isn’t so much the risk of stunting growth (which won’t happen with proper training); I am more concerned about the risk of injuring tendons, ligaments, or joints that are unused to the demands of heavy lifting. This is the reason why I can never emphasize enough the importance of proper weight selection and perfect exercise execution. [Note: for a GREAT programs with solid videos that teach the best exercise execution please take a look at my MI-40 review here]

 

Youngsters and Weight Training

At what age can a teenage boy can start working out with weights has always been a topic of debate. Some people say that weights should not be touched until after all of the growing is done or else you could affect the growth platelets and stunt your growth. Others say it is OK to start lifting weight at an early age. I have arrived at the following conclusions based on the latest research on this subject.

I believe that youngsters (anybody less than 14 years old) are better off doing exercises with just their body weight. If you are under 14 years of age, focus on bodyweight exercises like squats, lunges, dips, pull-ups, pushups, one legged calf raises. Stick to proper form and higher repetition ranges (15-20 reps) in order to train the nervous system to activate the muscle fibers. The following exercises should compose a youngster’s program:

running or fast walking
dips
push-ups
pull-ups
chin-ups
squats with no weights
lunges with no weights
calf raises with no weight
crunches
leg raises

Depending on the age and motivation of the person, anywhere between 2-5 sets of each exercise for the maximum amount of reps possible in good form is sufficient. There should be 30 seconds of rest in between exercises and they should be performed 3 times a week.

An additional 15-20 minutes of fast walking or running on rest days is enough exercise for anyone who wishes to start an exercise program before the age of 14.

14-year-olds can start working out with weights as long as they’re practicing perfect form and staring out with a beginners program like this one: Bodybuilding Routine for Those Who Are Just Getting Started

Conclusion

If you look at it, lifting weights didn’t do a thing to stunt the growth of Shaquille O’Neal, David Robinson, Karl Malone, Michael Vick, etc. All started lifting in their early teens, and all have gone on to be over 6′ tall and star in professional sports. Dave Draper and Arnold Schwarzenegger started lifting younger than that; again, both are 6’1″ or taller. Many high school teams start their freshmen on lifting programs, meaning your son started at a perfectly appropriate age.

Provided that exercise form, proper weight selection and safety are always emphasized, your son won’t find his growth stunted by lifting; rather, he’ll find that he grows into his body much better and much more quickly than most of the peers around him.

Until next time, take care and train hard!

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Natural Bodybuilding Tip: High Reps vs Low Reps for Gaining Muscle With Hugo & Rodzilla

In today’s natural bodybuilding video blog, I cover with my good friend Rodzilla whether workouts performed with high reps or low reps are better for gaining muscle.

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It is best to use both high reps and low reps in order to build muscle optimally. So basically you use periodization in which should do loading phases (3-4 weeks) in which you do higher reps (10-15 reps…sometimes going as high as 20-30 reps). Research indicates that you do get hypertrophy even at the higher rep ranges. And then you should do a Growth Phase in which you cut down on the volume (limiting sets to 10 total per body part; example: 4 sets of exercise #1 and then 3 sets for exercises #2 and #3) and then in terms of reps 5-8 reps.

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Keep in mind that you need to change your routines in order to keep the results coming. By following periodization principles, you will be able to avoid overtraining. Try to finish your workouts within 60 minutes in order to keep your testosterone levels high and cortisol levels low. That, combined with proper form and muscle tension will give you the best results possible.

Here is a sample periodized routine: Natural Bodybuilding Workout With Periodization

Hope that this bodybuilding tip helps. Please let me know what other tips you would like us to talk about.

Until next time, take care and train hard!

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Natural Bodybuilding Tip: What To Eat Before And After Workout With Hugo & Rodzilla

In today’s natural bodybuilding video blog, I cover with my good friend Rodzilla what to eat before and after the workout (pre / post workout nutrition).

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For pre-workout meal: Rodzilla has a regular meal consisting of 60 grams of protein and 60 grams of carbs around 90 minutes before the workout. Right after the workout he has a whey isolate protein shake.

Some people actually eat very close to the workout as they can digest the food very quickly but for us, what works best is to leave 90 minutes to 2 hours before the time we eat and the workout.

I typically have a real meal between 90-120 minutes. I also have sweet potatoes or white potato along with a lean source of protein like chicken, turkey or fish or egg whites with a couple of real eggs. I make sure to consume 50 grams of protein. Carb wise I consume around 65 grams of carbs and 10 grams of good fats from either fish oils, eggs or almonds.

I may take either Super Charge of PE1 which are awesome pre-workout supplements. I save these for workouts like legs.

After the workout I have a Muscle Mass Gainer from Labrada Nutrition (3 scoops = 90 grams of carbs and 20 grams of protein) and mix that up with 1 scoop of Whey Isolate. The carbs of the Gainer are from maltodextrin which are fast released and the isolate of course is fast released protein.

(Check out the Labrada Mass Gainer and IsoleanPro here: http://www.labrada-nutrition.com)

90 minutes after my post workout meal I have a real meal consisting of 45 grams of protein and 45 grams of carbs.

What if you cannot afford whey isolate? Then in that case have either a protein blend or a lean protein like egg whites. You will still make great gains.

Hope that this bodybuilding tip helps. Please let me know what other tips you would like us to talk about.

Until next time, take care and train hard!

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Smith Machine VS Free Weights Squats : Pros & Cons, With Hugo & Rodzilla

In today’s natural bodybuilding video blog, I cover with my good friend Rodzilla the pros and cons of Smith Machine vs Free Weights Squats.

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Is it good to substitute all of your free weights squats with the smith machine version? That is the bodybuilding question that we are covering today. The answer is: this not a good idea.

Rodzilla for example, tore both of his knees with the smith machine. The reason for this is because he was only using the smith machine squat version. As a result, certain muscles that get activated with the free weight version were not being activated with the smith machine. This caused strength imbalances that resulted in the tearing of the knees.

I do believe that the smith machine squats are great but only when used in conjunction with free weight squats. And if there is any reason why you cannot do the squats with a bar on your back, a great alternative is to do them holding a dumbbell in each hand. You can also do front squats (squats with a bar on the front of the shoulders).

Best results from the squat of course come from the free weights. All of your leg muscles (quads, hamstrings, glutes and even the calves) get activated with the proper execution of the free weights squat. Remember that the body is designed to be in a 3-dimensional universe. Thus, when you perform free weight movements you will engage stabilizer muscles that you do not engage otherwise.

Also keep in mind that there is no need to go crazy with the weight. Use proper form at all times and concentrate on pushing with your leg muscles.

One last thing. Remember that if you are super strong on the smith machine that strength will not translate at 100% to the free weight version. However, if you are really strong on the free weight version then you will be super strong on the smith machine version (as this version is more easy.)

Hope that this bodybuilding tip helps. Please let me know what other tips you would like us to talk about.

Until next time, take care and train hard!

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How To Build Up Strength To Do Pull-Ups With Hugo & Rodzilla

In today’s natural bodybuilding video blog, I cover with my good friend Rodzilla how to build up strength to do pull-ups.

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How To Build Up Strength To Do Pull-Ups With Hugo & Rodzilla

A lot of people stay away from pull-ups as they cannot do them at the beginning. In fact, I remember when I was an overwight little boy and at physical education class the coach would stick me at the pull-up bar and I would just hang there clueless as there was no way I could pull myself up.

There are many ways however that you can train yourself in order to have the strength to do the pull-ups.

If You Are Just Getting Started With Bodybuilding Training
In this case, I suggest starting out with the pull-down machine. The pull-down machine simulates the pull-up movement. It is not as effective of course since with the pull-up you are moving your body through space. Therefore, you need to activate many more muscle fibers during the pull-up than you need to with the pull-downs. I suggest doing:

Wide Grip Pull-downs
Close Reverse Grip Pull-downs
Neutral Grip Pull-downs

Spend 6 months working with the pull-down machine in order to learn how to activate your back muscles and grow strength in this area.

What To Do After 6 Months Of Doing Pull-Downs?
At this point you should be able to do at least 1 pull-up and thus, you can graduate to the smith machine. You will set the smith machine bar at the highest level and then you will use your feet in order to self spot yourself once you cannot perform any more pull-up repetitions on your own. In this manner, you will be able to do as many pull-ups as you want and you will be able to self-regulate how much assistance to give yourself.

What About The Chin Assist (Or Gravitron) Machine?
If the gym has this machine, instead of starting with the pull-down I would start with this machine instead as there is nothing better than training the body to move through space from the beginning. The way that this machine works is that you can select the amount of weight that will assist you on the way up. As you get stronger, you will use less weight to perform your repetitions. This is the best way to learn how to do pull-ups.

Conclusion
Be patient and consistent. If you persevere, your pull-up strength will grow and your back muscles as well. In my opinion, pull-ups are the king of back exercises. Learn how to do these and a wide, thick and powerful back will be yours in no time.

I hope that you found this video blog useful.

Until next time, take care and train hard!

How To Properly Track Bodybuilding/Fitness Progress & Measure Body Fat Percentage

In today’s natural bodybuilding video blog, I cover how to properly track bodybuilding/fitness progress & measure body fat percentage.

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The Best Way To Track Bodybuilding and Fitness Progress

I cannot count the amount of people that come to me frustrated because the number on the scale does not move regardless of best efforts. Now, when I ask about how they are tracking progress the answer is always the same….only the scale is being used to track it.

Now, keep in mind than when you do a proper bodybuilding/bodysculpting program you WILL gain muscle weight at the same time that you lose fat. Thus, you can have a week where 2 lbs of fat are lost and 2 lbs of muscle are gained. In this case the scale will not move BUT you are progressing wonderfully!

Unfortunately, if you do not measure your progress correctly you will not be able to notice how well you are doing. That is why I decided to cover this topic in detail and show you how to track your bodybuilding progress correctly. With that said, here is how to keep proper track of your fitness progress:

1) Keep a spreadsheet where you can write down your results. Only track results every 2 weeks. If 6 weeks out from competition or photoshoot then you can do weekly. Use a tape measure to see what your measurements look like.

Use Excel Spreadsheet here:
http://www.hugorivera.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Progress-Spreadsheet.xlsx

2) Use a scale that allows you to see your weight and also calculate body fat percentage. Be sure to perform your weigh in and body fat test first thing in the morning, on an empty stomach, after going to the bathroom. Also take off all your clothing and jewelry as well in order to ensure the most accurate results. Since in the morning you will be slightly dehydrated, you may get worst case scenario results.

By the way, to get my awesome scale please go to the link below and be sure to enter the following discount code for over 59% off! In this manner, the scale will cost less than a good tub of protein powder.

More than 59% off
Original Price $169.99
Final cost $69.00 and free U.S. shipping

CODE: HR4SCALE

Link to check out the scale:
http://bit.ly/1Aedyrd

3) For double checking your body fat measurements you can use a pair of accu-measure calipers. Just doing the 1 site measurement that the caliper instructions instruct is good enough, If you have over 30 lbs to lose, you can leave the calipers for later. If competing, I recommend taking multiple caliper readings to see where you are holding the most body fat and to keep track of how each body part is progressing.

Link: http://www.accu-measure.com/

4) Take bi-weekly pictures or weekly if at 6 weeks out from contest or photoshoot. Use either your android or iphone device or have someone else take them. Take pictures under the same poses and conditions each time. Front, Back, Side. You can also do a video journal as well. You can copy and paste the pictures into the excel sheet.

5) Be sure to track your training and diet using a training/nutrition journal. That way you can see what is working and what is not and it is easier to trouble shoot your program if you are not progressing the way that you should. You can check out my journals, which also include top notch goal setting, training, diet and supplements information here:

Amazon.com
Journal For Ladies: http://amzn.to/1NG8p4k
Journal For Guys: http://amzn.to/199ZNmY

If you prefer brick and mortar stores, Barnes and Noble is fully stocked with them.

Journal for Ladies: http://bit.ly/19crc82
Journal For Guys: http://bit.ly/18ce8ON

Final Notes:

+Be sure to take your measurements at the same time each 2 weeks for best results.
+Remember that the best time is first thing in the morning after going to the bathroom on an empty stomach.
+If you have more than 30 lbs to lose, no need for caliper readings yet.

I hope that you found this video blog useful.

Until next time, take care and train hard!

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