HugoSurvivalGuide

The holidays are approaching with Christmas leading the way followed by New Years not too far behind. During this time of joy and happiness unfortunately most people, including some of us bodybuilders, tend to forget about their bodybuilding workouts and nutrition plans. If thoughts of dumping your fitness and bodybuilding program have crossed your mind, allow me to remind you that this road only leads to a physique that could be used as a ‘Before’ picture on the latest fat burner ads.

However, what if I told you that with some planning ahead you can have your cake and eat it too? I promise you that if you practice self discipline and follow all of the tactics discussed below, your fat gain during the Holidays will be minimized, and provided that you train hard, even if you use my bodybuilding holiday routine described below, you will come out with new muscle that you did not have before.

Bodybuilding Tips & Advice For Staying Fit During The Holidays

There are some key steps that need to be followed in order to stay fit during the Holidays. Follow the steps below and I guarantee you that come New Year, losing weight will not be on your list of resolutions:

1. Plan Ahead, Be Organized.

Plan your bodybuilding workout days one full week ahead. Because of the amounts of get-togethers and days that the gym may be closed, it is best if you decide a week ahead which days you will be attending the gym. Simply take out your calendar and schedule your workouts and even write down at what times these will be performed. In this manner, your chances of missing a workout due to parties or gym closures are eliminated.

2. Get Your Workouts In Early:

Workout as early as possible, preferably first thing in the morning. If your schedule is really hectic, I would advise waking up early and getting the training done, if possible, right before you go to work.

If this is not possible, then try doing it at lunch time or right after work so that nothing else interferes with your workout. On days off from work, definitely get the training done as early as possible.

3. Hugo’s Holiday Abbreviated Bodybuilding Routine ( See Below For Full Routine)

If you feel that you really cannot dedicate more than 3 days a week to your training, then just try out my Abbreviated Bodybuilding Holiday Routine shown below. The routine is designed for a serious natural bodybuilder that wants maximum muscle along with definition and is willing to train 3 days a week for 75 minutes. Not everybody is trying to look like a bodybuilder , if your just looking to tone up , then just cut 1 set for all the exercises listed and this will bring down your gym time by around 15-20 minutes so each workout will be around 55 minutes long or so. So less than 3 hours in total out of your entire week.

4. Planning Your Diet Cheat Days:

Plan Your Cheat Days Wisely. I have to say that I am an expert at this one. Reason for this is because Thanksgiving is on the 24th, my birthday is on December 5th, Christmas on the 25th and New Year’s on the 31.

So those are my cheat days. My advice is to attempt to space cheat days with at least 5-6 days in between, 6 being the better choice.

5. Eating Cheat Meals Wisely:

Eat your cheat meals wisely. When you have a cheat meal, start eating the protein portion first as this will get you to start getting full. Leave the carbs for the end of the meal.

Also, try to not stuff yourself. Instead allocate six hours of cheating per cheat day and instead of having just one huge binge meal that prevents you from even being able to walk after you are done, have 3 smaller meals instead; one every 90 minutes. Take around 30 minutes to savor and make sure that after you are done with each meal you feel like you have a bit of room left. The best strategy is to eat until you are comfortably full.

After your cheat period, go back on your regular diet.

6. Workout Before Cheating:

Before a cheat period it is great to have a tough workout first in order to minimize fat gain and maximize muscle gain. Reason for this is because after a workout the body is primed to absorb nutrients in the form of proteins and carbohydrates. Thus, having a cheat meal afterwards will ensure that most nutrients are used for recovery and muscle production.

7. Supplementing Before Cheating:

Take some 200mcg of Chromium Picolinate and 300 mg of Alpha Lipoic Acid at the beginning of your cheat period. These supplements help increase your cell’s ability to accept insulin and thus assimilate the extra carbohydrates better. As a matter of fact, increasing insulin sensitivity is one of the reasons why I like to have a big workout prior to the cheat period.

In addition, you can also take some Nitric Oxide Boosters and creatine as well 30 minutes prior to the first cheat meal in order to take advantage of the extra carbohydrates and insulin spike.

Finally, a good thermogenic supplement like Labrada’s Charge ASF is a good idea as well since this will ensure that your appetite is kept under control.

8. Have Essential Fatty Acids:

Have some EFA’s with your cheat meal. Research indicates that some essential fats like the ones found in flaxseed oil or fish oils have anti-lipolitic properties. In other words, they inhibit some of the enzymes responsible for fat storage. Because of this, by taking these fats with your first cheat meal of your cheat period, you can minimize some of the damage. They also serve as a good natural appetite suppressant.

One tablespoon of Carlson Fish Oils or Spectrum Flaxseed Oil should do the trick. Capsules can be used but you would need 10-14 of them to equal a tablespoon of the liquid version.

9. Have Digestive Enzymes Prior To Your Cheat Meal:

Take some digestive enzymes prior to each one of your cheat meals. This will ensure maximum nutrient assimilation and will also help you avoid feelings of excessive fullness and indigestion. The best formula is a comprehensive enzyme formula with enzymes for proper digestion of carbohydrates, proteins and fats.

10. Have A Walk After The Cheat Period:

Three to five hours after the cheat period has ended, have a 30-45 minute walk. I’m not talking about anything strenuous; around 3 miles per hour is a good pace. Doing some cardiovascular activity after the cheat period has ended will start burning some of the carbohydrates that may still be lingering around. The more of these you burn, the less likelihood of storing body fat. If you cannot do this walk on the same day of the cheat period then try it on the morning after on an empty stomach.

Hugo’s Abbreviated 3 Days Per Week Routine

For the purpose of continued muscle growth and fat loss over the holidays, I have used the principles of cycling (the three training phases, loading, growth and active recovery) that I always preach about in order to create a routine that will keep the muscle growth/fat loss process going during the next few months with minimum visits to the gym.

This is a 3 day a week routine but don’t let that fool you, it’s a tough routine and will do more than just maintain you. The longest routine is the one from week three. It lasts around 75 minutes.

Loading Phase

WEEK #1

Mon (13-15 reps), Wed (10-12 reps), Fri (8-10 reps)

Superset:
Incline Dumbbell Bench Press 3 sets (No Rest)
Wide Grip Pull-Ups To Front 3 sets (60 seconds)

Superset:
Upright Rows 2 sets (No Rest)
Bent Over Laterals 2 sets (60 seconds)

Superset:
Seated Incline Curls 2 sets (No Rest)
Triceps Dips 2 sets (60 seconds)

Giant-set:
Leg Extensions 3 sets (No Rest)
Leg Curls 3 sets (No Rest)
Squats (Wide Stance) 3 sets (No Rest)
Calf Raises3 sets (60 seconds)

WEEK #2

Mon (13-15 reps), Wed (10-12 reps), Fri (8-10 reps)

Superset:
Incline Dumbbell Bench Press 4 sets (No Rest)
Wide Grip Pull-Ups To Front 4sets (60 seconds)

Superset:
Upright Rows 2 sets (No Rest)
Bent Over Laterals 2 sets (60 seconds)

Superset:
Seated Incline Curls 3sets (No Rest)
Triceps Dips 3 sets (60 seconds)

Giant-set:
Leg Extensions 4 sets (No Rest)
Leg Curls 4 sets (No Rest)
Squats (Wide Stance) 4 sets (No Rest)
Calf Raises 4 sets (60 seconds)

WEEK #3

Mon (13-15 reps), Wed (10-12 reps), Fri (8-10 reps)

Superset:

Incline Dumbbell Bench Press 5sets (No Rest)
Wide Grip Pull-ups To Front 5sets (60 seconds)

Superset:
Upright Rows 3 sets (No Rest)
Bent Over Laterals 3 sets (60 seconds)

Superset:
Seated Incline Curls 3 sets (No Rest)
Triceps Dips 3 sets (60 seconds)

Giant-set:
Lunges 5 sets (No Rest)
Leg Curls 5 sets (No Rest)
Squats (Wide Stance) 5 sets (No Rest)
Calf Raises 5 sets (60 seconds)

Growth Phase

Weeks 4-6:

Mon (10-12 reps), Wed (8-10 reps), Fri (6-8 reps)

Modified Superset:
Incline Bench Press 3 sets (Rest 90 seconds)
Chin-ups (Palms facing you) 3sets (Rest 90 seconds)

Modified Giant-set:
Rear Delt Rows (performed like a reverse bench press) 2 sets (Rest 45 seconds)
Dumbbell Shoulder Press 2 sets (Rest 45 seconds)
E-Z Curls 2 sets (Rest 45 seconds)
Close Grip Bench Press 2 sets (Rest 45 seconds)

Modified Giant-set:
Lunges (press with ball of foot) 3 sets (Rest 60 seconds)
Leg Curls (Toes Out) 3 sets (Rest 60 seconds)
Squats or Leg Press 3 sets (Rest 60 seconds)
Calf Raises 3 sets (Rest 60 seconds)

Active Recovery Phase

After Week 6:

Two full-body workouts a week; a routine similar to the Growth Phase (above) performed only on Mondays and Thursdays with two sets per exercise, each set consisting of 13-15 repetitions.

Also, do 20-30 minutes of cardio, first thing in the morning on the days off (Tuesdays/Thursdays/Saturdays). Sunday is the total day of rest.

Holiday Bodybuilding Supplements Recommendation Summary

Below is a summary of the bodybuilding supplements you should be taking throughout the Holiday season:

Good Supplements To Take Prior To A Cheat Meal Period

200 mcg Chromium Picolinate
300 mg Alpha Lipoic Acid
Nitric Oxide Booster/Creatine Product Such As Labrada’s Labrada ReCharge
Digestive Enzymes
Essential Fats such as Flax or Fish Oils
Thermogenic/Appetite Suppressing Supplement like Labrada Charge Ephedra Free

Additional Basic Supplements

Comprehensive Multiple Vitamins and Mineral Formula (should go without saying)
Meal Replacement Packets or Protein Supplements to be used whenever not able to consume a real meal.
1 gram of vitamin C at Meals 1, 3 and 5. Extra vitamin C not only may help lower cortisol levels but also keeps immunity high during this period where most people catch colds.

Holiday Bodybuilding Dieting For Non-Cheat Days

Please take a look at the diet below so that you have an idea of what your bodybuilding diet during your “non-cheat days” should consist of:

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 like Labrada’s Lean Body 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 Flaxseed Oil (Spectrum brand is best) or Fish Oils (Carlson 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 but without flaxseed oil.

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)
2 scoops of slow released proteins like Pro V60 and 1 tablespoon of Flaxseed Oil or Fish Oils

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)
Meal replacement packet like Labrada’s Lean Body for Her mixed with water or a protein powder (with around 25-30 grams of protein) mixed with 25-30 grams of carbs from cream of rice, grits, or oatmeal.
1/2 Tablespoon of Flaxseed Oil (Spectrum Brand is Best) or Fish Oils (Carlson 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 but no flaxseed oil.

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)
1 scoop of slow released proteins like Pro V60 and 1/2 tablespoon of Flaxseed Oil or Fish Oils

Conclusion

Try out the tips and workout above, and provided that you follow a good diet along with it just limiting yourself to cheat meals on Christmas day and New Years Eve, you should avoid the catastrophic effects that the holidays leave behind in moat people. As a matter of fact, you should look better!

Best of Health and Happy Holidays!

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/

plateaus

The biggest problem that bodybuilders encounter is that while at first the gains of muscle mass come rather quickly, soon after they hit a plateau (a point where gains cease to come by). Sometimes it seems that no matter how hard they 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!

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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/

In today’s natural bodybuilding video blog, Rodzilla and I cover how to perform a short but intense home leg workout routine designed to increase the mass and thickness of your upper legs (thighs, glutes and hamstrings). This is a fast paced bodybuilding workout that only uses dumbbells and a leg extension / leg curl attachment. We focus on muscle tension at all times and as you will see, we use a variety of repetition ranges. See the full workout execution on the video below. The full workout description (sets/reps) is detailed under the video.

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Short Home 25-30 Minute Natural Bodybuilding Leg Workout Routine for Mass

This is a great natural bodybuilding weight training routine that you can do for the purposes of gaining muscle and losing fat.

Instructions: This is a fast paced workout, Only rest the amount of time that it takes for your partner to go through the set. If training alone, rest no more than 60 seconds.

For supersets there is no rest between the first and second exercise of a superset. Rest 60 seconds after the second exercise, before you start again with exercise #1 unless stated otherwise.

Non-Stop Superset:

bre-footer-websiteStatic Lunges 3 sets of 6-8 reps (alternate between legs back and forth until all 3 sets are done)

or

1 set of walking lunges (using your bodyweight) performed for as many reps as you can do.

Superset:
Leg Extensions 3 sets of 15-25 reps
Dumbbell Squats 3 sets of 8-12 reps

Tri-set:
Wide Stance Dumbbell Squats (press with heels to engage the glutes & hamstrings) 3 sets of 10-15 reps
Lying Leg Curls 3 sets of 10-15 reps
Wide Stance Dumbbell Squats (press with heels to engage the glutes & hamstrings) 3 sets using the same weight as above performing as many repetitions as you can.

This routine should take you around 25-30 minutes. By the time you are done with this routine, your legs will be on fire! It helps to use a nice pre-workout like Super Charge from www.labrada-nutrition.com in order to help you get through it.

Try the routine out and let us know what you think.

Until next time, take care and train hard!

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In order to achieve the best natural bodybuilding gains, you need to have the right mindset. In this natural bodybuilding article you will learn what the right mindset is to achieve the best natural bodybuilding gains.

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Achieve Incredible Natural Bodybuilding Gains by Adopting the Mindset of a Successful Bodybuilder!
This week I talked to a friend of mine who has been very busy working over the Holidays, as this is the peak season for his business. As a result, he has not been able to do as much as he wanted to in the gym and also he has not been able to get in all the meals that he needs to on time either. As a result, he was very frustrated and contemplating perhaps just dropping the whole program until the beginning of the New Year when things would normalize for him. However, I advised against doing so for the following reasons:

CIMG15461. Stopping to train would lower his metabolism which in turn would lower his energy levels and thus make him less productive at work.

2. Though he cannot get in the gym as often, getting his workout in and following the diet as much as possible will prevent him from losing valuable muscle gains while making undesirable fat gains. This in turn prevents him from getting further depressed as he sees his body deteriorate.

3. Once January comes and he can start hitting the gym more often and following the meal schedule to the “T”, he will be in good shape and his body will respond very quickly to the more aggressive schedule. This is a very different scenario than the one he would have encountered if he would have stopped training and dieting altogether, as in this case, he would have needed to use at least a week to get his body conditioned for the weights again and it would have taken him an extra week, or maybe even two, to get rid of any body fat that he might have gained depending on how bad the diet was.

Be Flexible, Be Consistent, Be Prepared

Therefore, having said that, in order to be successful in bodybuilding you need to have the right mindset. Bodybuilding is both a physical and extremely psychological endeavor. Of course, we all get frustrated when our schedules are affected by work, or any other life circumstance that may be thrown our way. Life is full of monkey wrenches in case you haven’t noticed and it does not make it easy for us to get our workouts and meals in. Therefore, we have to fight aggressively and plan ahead if we want to get our workouts and meals in.

As bodybuilders we must keep our eyes on the ultimate goal, which is always more muscle mass with less body fat. In order to accomplish that one must be consistent with the training and diet. If for whatever reason the program that the bodybuilder has mapped out is too much of a time commitment at a certain period in life, then the solution is to modify the bodybuilding program to one that does fit the time schedule…be flexible. For instance, back in my engineering days there were periods when I had to work 60-70 hours a week, I modified my training to where I would hit the gym 5 days a week for 40-45 minutes of weight training. Since I had no time to do cardiovascular
exercise, I would superset antagonistic muscles in order to get some sort of cardiovascular effect (refer to my abbreviated bodybuilding plan at the end of this article). That is all I could afford to do at the time. I always tried to get my training in before work, but if for some reason I would miss it in the morning, then I always had lunchtime to make it up or later in the evening after work. Worst case, there was always the weekend for makeup sessions. Regarding meals, I always brought in all of my meals with me pre-prepared and also enough Meal Replacement Powders for those times that I was really on the run.

Some of you for whatever reason may not even be able to do more than three sessions a week. If this is the case, then no issue; make the most out of the time that you do have available to train. The key to making lasting bodybuilding gains at the end of the day is that you have a realistic plan that can be executed consistently, not trying to follow one that looks really good in paper but cannot be executed. You will get to where you want to go, it may just take a little bit longer depending on how much time you can dedicate to reaching your goals.

Achieve Bodybuilding Gains by Adopting the Mindset of a Successful Bodybuilder!

_DSC7424-9-1signHere is what the mindset of a successful bodybuilder looks like:

1. The successful bodybuilder analyzes his/her time commitments and creates a bodybuilding plan that suits his/her situation.

2. He/She prepares all meals in advance along with liquid meals in order to prevent missing meals.

3. If the plan is affected for whatever reason, instead of being depressed about it and leaving it, a modification is made in order to continue execution. So for instance if a training session is missed, then it is performed on the following day. If a meal is missed, then it is consumed as soon as possible. If an unscheduled cheat meal is consumed, then the bodybuilder gets right back on the diet on the following meal instead of blowing the diet for the whole day, or week.

In a nutshell, for any challenge that the bodybuilder faces, a solution is researched and executed in order to continue with the bodybuilding lifestyle.

There is no room for frustration nor thoughts of dropping the bodybuilding plan in the mindset of a successful bodybuilder. Always think damage control, never “falling off the wagon”, so to speak, as once off, you run the risk of never getting back on.

In my fifteen years involved in bodybuilding, I have noticed that this is the mindset of the most successful bodybuilders. Successful bodybuilders always look for solutions while the non-successful ones always look for excuses.

Abbreviated Bodybuilding Split Workout Routine For Busy Bodybuilders

This routine I used with tons of success during my busy years working as an engineer. If lack of time to workout is an issue, this workout plan will bring you awesome results!

Workout (A) – Chest/Back/Abs

Triset #1:
Incline Bench Press 3 sets of 10-12 reps
Wide Grip Pull-ups to Front 3 sets of 10-12 reps
Crunches 3 sets of 15-20 reps

Triset #2:
Chest Dips 3 sets of 10-12 reps
Close Grip Chins (Reverse Grip) 3 sets of 10-12 reps
Hanging Leg Raises 3 sets of 15-20 reps

Triset #3:
Incline Flyes 2-3 sets of 10-12 reps
Low Pulley Rows 2-3 sets of 10-12 reps
Bicycle Crunches 2-3 sets of 15-20 reps

Workout (B) – Shoulders, Biceps, Triceps

Triset #1:
Upright Rows 3 sets of 10-12 reps
Triceps Pushdowns 3 sets of 10-12 reps
Incline Curls 3 sets of 10-12 reps

Triset #2:
Bent Over Laterals 3 sets of 10-12 reps
Concentration Curls 3 sets of 10-12 reps
Lying Dumbbell Triceps Extensions 3 sets of 10-12 reps

Triset #3:
Lateral Raises 2-3 sets of 10-12 reps
Hammer Curls 2-3 sets of 10-12 reps
Overhead Dumbbell Triceps Extensions 2-3 sets of 10-12 reps

Workout (C) – Thighs, Hamstrings, Calves

Triset #1:
Squats (Medium/Wide) * 3 sets of 10-12 reps
Lying Leg Curls 3 sets of 10-12 reps
Standing Calf Raises 3 sets of 12-15 reps

Triset #2:
Leg Press (Close Stance; feet and legs together) 3 sets of 10-12 reps
Standing Leg Curl 3 sets of 10-12 reps
Calf Press 3 sets of 12-15 reps

Triset #3:
Leg Extensions 2-3 sets of 10-12 reps
Stiff Legged Dead-lifts or Lunges (Pressing with heels) 2-3 sets of 10-12 reps
Seated Calf Raises 2-3 sets of 15-20 reps

*Note: Perform squats with a medium stance and when you hit failure, then change to a wide stance and keep the reps coming until you hit failure again. If you suffer from back problems you can substitute for a leg press machine and use the same technique.

NOTES:

CIMG1445Workout Frequency

This routine can be performed as little as 3 days a week and as much as 6 days. All you have to do is rotate workouts A, B, and C.

Rest in Between Tri-sets

After each tri-set you can rest 1 minute to 90 seconds at the most. Keep up a fast pace. Also remember that there is no rest between the exercises in the tri-set. So for instance, you will go from Incline Bench Press to Wide Grip Pull-ups to Crunches and then rest 1 minute before starting again.

If you find the information of this website useful but you need more direct help in order to achieve your goals, sign up to my online coaching program below.

Until next time, take care and train hard!

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Disproportionate muscle growth, or having muscles on one side of the body grow more than on the other, is a normal problem in natural bodybuilding that beginners who are just getting started encounter. Listed below are my recommendations on how to deal with this problem, with sample natural bodybuilding routines on how to fix an uneven chest and shoulders.

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The first thing that I would do is check your form. When one is a beginner, the stronger side (typically the right one if one is right-handed though this is not always the case) tends to do more work than the other one resulting in disproportionate development.

My recommendations to fix this are:

1.Practice perfect form: By ensuring proper form not only you ensure that the targeted muscles are the ones doing the work but also that both sides are putting an equal amount of force as the movement is performed, thus preventing imbalances.

2.Concentrate on activating the muscles of the weak side: When performing the movement, really concentrate on using and squeezing the muscles of your weak side to move the weight. This extra concentration will ensure that your dominant side is not the one doing the work.

3.Perform extra sets of unilateral movements to only target the underdeveloped area: Doing a few extra sets that solely focus on your weak side will teach the body to better activate the muscle fibers of that side.

 

Sample Natural Bodybuilding Routines That Fix Disproportionate Muscle Growth
Listed below are a couple of examples of how you can set up a routine that will help you fix your imbalances.

Example #1: Chest Natural Bodybuilding Routine

Superset:

•Incline Bench Press 4 sets of 8-12 reps

•Unilateral Dumbbell Press 4 sets of 8-12 (Ensure that the dumbbell is light enough as you will need to balance yourself)

Superset:

•Chest Dips 3 sets of 8-12

•Unilateral Incline Flyes 3 sets of 8-12

Example #2: Shoulder Natural Bodybuilding Routine

Superset:

•Unilateral Lateral Raise 3 sets of 12-15

•Upright Rows 3 sets of 8-12

Superset:

•Bent Over Laterals 3 sets of 10-12

•Unilateral Shoulder Dumbbell Press 3 sets of 12-15

Routine Notes: Only rest 1 minute in between supersets and watch those lagging areas grow.

 

What If One Whole Side of the Body Is Visibly More Developed Than the Other One?

If one side of the body is visibly more developed than the other, as often happens to athletes who practice sports like bowling, where one side is used predominantly, then I would recommend dedicating whole workouts to exercising only the weak side.

The sample natural bodybuilding workouts below illustrate how to set up a unilateral bodybuilding routine that for example purposes is targeting the left side of the body (as the right side is the more developed one):

 

Workout (A) Chest/Back/Biceps/Triceps (Monday)

Workout (B) Delts/Thighs/Hamstrings/Calves (Tuesday)

Off (Wednesday)

Workout (C) Chest/Back/Biceps/Triceps (Thursday)

Workout (D) Delts/Thighs/Hamstrings/Calves (Friday)

Off (Weekend)

 

Workouts (A) and (B) train both sides of the body equally while Workouts (C) and (D) should just consist of unilateral movements for the left side only. See the sample unilateral workouts below:

 

Workout (C)

•Unilateral Incline Dumbbell Press 4 sets of 8-12 reps

•Unilateral Flat Dumbbell Press 4 sets of 8-12 reps

•Unilateral Pulldown (use a pulley) 4 sets of 8-12 reps

•Unilateral Dumbbell Row 4 sets of 8-12 reps

•Concentration Curl 3 sets of 8-12 reps

•Hammer Curl 3 sets of 8-12 reps

•Triceps Pushdown (Use Pulley; Palm of hand facing down) 3 sets of 8-12 reps

•Overhead Dumbbell Triceps Extension (left arm only) 3 sets of 8-12 reps

 

Workout (D)

•Unilateral Shoulder Press 3 sets of 8-12 reps

•Unilateral Rear Delt Machine 3 sets of 8-12 reps

•Unilateral Lateral Raise 2 sets of 8-12 reps

•Lunges (left side only) 4 sets of 8-12 reps

•Unilateral Leg Press (left side only) 3 sets of 8-12 reps

•Unilateral Leg Extensions 2 sets of 8-12 reps

•Unilateral Leg Curls 4 sets of 8-12 reps

•Unilateral Calf Press 3 sets of 8-12 reps

Workout Notes: Only rest 1 minute in between sets.

I hope that this gets your questions on uneven muscle growth answered!

Take care and train hard!

Until next time, take care and train hard!

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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!

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training-at-home-small-e1342483209910In this natural bodybuilding shoulders and arms workout video I get to coach my two friends Steven and Natasha. They started their fitness journey 4 weeks ago with my wife Cecile coaching them since the beginning. This past Monday, I did not have a chance to train before they came so I decided to join in and perform the workout that Cecile prepared for them. Since Cecile has done such a stellar job with her coaching (and they have followed the instructions to the letter; including the diet) they are now ready to follow a much more advanced program. This is only because Cecile was able to accelerate their progress based on how their body responded to the various training routines of the weeks prior.

At any rate, here is the workout that Cecile filmed of us. As you will see, I coach them through this session.

If you are looking for a new shoulders/arms workout, try out this routine and let us know how it works for you!

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Shoulders

Superset:
Dumbbell Shoulder Press 3×10-15 reps
Bent Over Lateral Raises 3×10-15 reps

Superset:
Lateral Raises 3×10-15 reps
Dumbbell Upright Rows 3×6-15 reps

Arms:

Superset:
Triceps Pushdowns 3×10-15 reps
Triceps Pushdowns (reverse grip) 3xfailure with same weight as above

steve-hugo-natasha2Superset:
Triceps Bench Dips 3xfailure with bodyweight (use weight if you can for 10 reps minimum and then drop the weight and keep on going)
Dumbbell Curls 3×10-15 reps

Superset:
Reverse Grip Preacher Machine Curls 3×10-15 reps
Preacher Machine Curls 3×10-15 reps

Only rest 90 seconds between supersets.

After the workout we had a wonderful Labrada Lean Pro8 shake mixed with IsoLean Pro and PowerCarb. (To find out more information and how to save up to 50% on these bodybuilding supplements: click here)

Until next time, take care and train hard!

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Natural Bodybuilding Question: Is fruit juice the best drink for hydration & bodybuilding workout performance?

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Answer: The short answer is NO. The reason for that is the following: unless you are a skinny hardgainer that is having a lot of issues gaining muscle, fruit juice is just a whole bunch of sugar calories. For example, 8 ounces of grape juice yields approximately 40 grams of simple carbs in the form of sugar. Caloric wise, that comes out to 160 calories. Now, imagine if grape juice is someone’s preferred form of drink for staying hydrated. If that is the case, assuming ten 8-ounce glasses a day, we are looking at 1,600 calories a day!

On top of that, we are not talking about the natural fresh squeezed variety. Big difference with the store variety as the sugar content of the store juice is way higher than the one obtained by squeezing a fruit.

The best way to stay hydrated is to drink spring water. Keep a water bottle with you at all times. Drink .66 x your bodyweight (measured in pounds) in ounces of water each day. So for example, if you are 200-lbs, be sure to drink 132 ounces of water each day.

store_powercarb_bigNow if we are talking about staying hydrated throughout the workout, water again is the best bet. However, if you can afford it, there is a product called PowerCarb from www.labrada-nutrition.com that helps tremendously and you can mix this with your water in order to achieve better hydration and workout performance. I mix it up with my water and 3 scoops of BCAAs. Powercarb is a complex carb whose molecular weight has been manipulated in order to allow for fast absorption into the bloodstream (faster than even glucose). One scoop has 20 grams of carbs and it has the right amount of electrolytes (meaning potassium and sodium) in order to better hydrate you. I also take one tablet of potassium as well. I put in between 20-25 ounces of spring water per scoop of Powercarb. The BCAAs turn this hydration drink into a powerful recovery drink. You can also put creatine as well into this drink. I personally take 2.5 grams of creatine before the workout and mix another 2.5 grams with this drink as I consume it during the workout (I finish my last sip by the time I am done).

So in conclusion, for hydration purposes, I use spring water throughout the day and 1 scoop of PowerCarb + 3 scoops of BCAAs + 1 Potassium table during the workouts.

I hope this helps!

Until next time, take care and train hard!

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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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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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