Thursday, August 04, 2005

News You Can Use To Gain Muscle

More Protein = Less Fat

Research now shows that increasing protein in the diet is a safe, effective strategy that ensures better fat loss.

Harvard scientists have discovered the reasons behind this.In a review of the literature by the Harvard scientists on high protein diets, two clear advantages for fat loss are noted.

The first benefit is that unlike high fat or high carbohydrate diets, high protein diets promote thermogenesis. That means more calories are converted to heat and less are stored as body fat.
A high protein (calorie controlled) diet ensures you burn more calories every hour of every day.

The second reason why high protein diets are so successful for fat loss is that they promote steady blood sugar release and insulin metabolism.

A high protein intake prevents the dramatic rise and fall of blood glucose levels. This helps people avoid hunger pangs that trigger excessive eating at meal time.

So, keep your protein intake high if you want to keep your body fat levels low.

Creatine reduces inflammation and speeds recovery

Intense training causes inflammation to the muscles. Too much training and too little rest can produce excessive amounts of inflammation that lead to tissue deterioration, impaired immunity and overtraining.

An interesting investigation completed by Brazilian researchers has shown that creatine supplementation before exercise decreased markers of inflammation in the blood after exercise.

In this study, the scientists asked a group of runners to load with creatine (20 grams per day for 5 days) before a 30km race. Compared to an untreated group, the creatine group showed lower levels of creatine kinase, lactate dehydrogenase, prostaglandin E2 and tumor necrosis factor; these are all recognized markers of tissue inflammation.

Creatine supplementation appeared to reduce cellular damage and the inflammatory response after exercise.No studies have examined this specific effect in strength training athletes but the results suggest that muscles loaded with creatine recover better after exercise.

This is yet another benefit athletes can obtain from creatine supplementation.

5 Steps To Prevent Overtraining

If you read this article, your days of hitting plateaus are over. In fact, most people I talk to overtrain. And overtraining is the quickest way to slow down or stop your progress.

Your workouts should be very demanding. They should be intense and very focused. With this intensity comes the need to rest to allow your muscles to fully recuperate.

Muscle growth is achieved by progressively overloading the muscles... forcing them to adapt by adding new muscle to handle future demands.

If you don't allow your muscles to fully recuperate, they won't be able to handle any new demands placed upon them. They'll start getting weaker from less rest. That's how plateaus happen.

We're going to take necessary steps to combat this problem. We do this by training smarter, not just harder. Proper rest and recovery from working out is so important, it literally is the deciding factor behind results and no results.

Follow these 5 steps and you'll never hit a plateau again.

1. Keep workouts short and intense. Workouts do not need to be long to be effective, in fact, if they're too long, they're counter-productive.

The goal of weight training is to go into the gym and stimulate muscle growth, not to annihilate the muscles. Anything more that what's needed is overtraining.

2. Keep a lower rep range. Keeping your rep range low will ensure maximum overload and increased intensity. Four to six reps get the job done efficiently and more effectively than higher reps with lower weight. Remember, overload (weight) builds muscle, not reps. Low reps ensures more overload. It's also easier to intensely focus on four to six reps than it is for ten.

3. Keep a lower number of sets. Remember that weight training is no marathon. You only need a couple heavy sets of an exercise to stimulate muscle growth. If you feel you didn't work a muscle sufficiently after your two heavy sets, I question the amount of weight or your intensity on those sets.

You should feel as though you probably couldn't do another set as effectively as your last one. Remember, its not the quantity of sets that matter, it's the quality. More isn't better when it comes to weight training, better is better.

4. Rest enough between your sets. Rest at least a minute between your warm-up sets and at least two minutes between your heavy sets. You need to recuperate enough to handle the demand the next set is going to place upon your muscles. You cannot expend max energy on an exercise if you're still tired from the last set.

You will not be able to lift as much weight or do as many reps if you're not rested enough. There isn't a set amount of time to rest, just feel rested enough so that you can meet or exceed the efforts of your previous set.

5. Get adequate rest before working the same muscle group again. Heavy and intense weight training produces microscopic fiber damage to the muscles. It's this damage and rebuilding which causes a muscle to get bigger and stronger.

Without proper rest between workouts of the same muscle group, you will not recover sufficiently to handle placing more overload on that muscle group.

You should wait at least five to seven days between working the same muscle group. If you train biceps on Monday, wait until the following Monday to ensure they are rested enough. Training them prior may create an over training environment. Remember that they will get worked while performing other exercises, so they actually are not fully resting all week.

These are 5 simple steps you can use to avoid hitting a plateau. But what if you feel that you are, in fact, over training and have hit a plateau?

What are some of the signs of over training?

First of all, if you're not looking forward to getting into the gym any more, that's a sign. If you're sluggish and tired more than usual, that's also a sign.

If you're struggling to lift weights that are not normally a struggle, then that's a sign of overtraining.

If you feel you've hit a plateau and are overtraining, immediately take a week off. You may just need some rest. Use this time to heal and continue to eat properly.

Also, make sure your protein level is high. This is the time your muscles need the building blocks to work with. This rest and proper nutrition will be very anabolic (muscle building) to your body. It may be all you need to bust through that plateau.

These are a few things you can do to avoid over training and hitting a plateau. Stick with lower reps, shorter workouts, plenty of rest between heavy sets, and keep your protein intake high.

For more info on a proven plan to train with overtraining, check out "Simple Steps To Get Huge And Shredded"