Wednesday, November 22, 2006

2 Ways To Increase Strength And Build Muscle

If you're looking to build muscle, I'm going to give you 2 things you can do that will allow you to instantly increase the strength on all of your lifts.

Why would you care to increase your strength on your lifts?

One word: Progress.

You'll only build lean muscle if you progressively lift more weight over time.

It's this progressive overload that forces the muscles to grow to handle the increased overload. The stronger you get, usually, the more lean muscle you'll build, providing you support it with good nutrition.

So here are 2 things you can do right now to instantly increase the weights on all of your lifts.

1. Warm up correctly.

By attempting to lift heavy without warming up first, you will not be able to use your heaviest weights possible. And if you do not lift heavier weight over time, your body has no reason to build more muscle mass.

Much like a pro baseball pitcher needs to toss lightly before throwing real hard, you want to warm up with light reps and sets before attempting to lift your heaviest weights.

But don't warm up too much, to the point you're fatiguing the muscles before you get to the heavy sets. Only warm up to the point where you feel ready to handle your heaviest weight for your sets.

This could vary from 2 sets of 6 to 8 reps on smaller muscle groups like bis and tris.

Or it could be as many as 4 sets of staggered reps (10, 8, 6, 3) for larger muscle groups and more demanding exercises like squats or bench press.

Again, the key to warming up is to do just enough reps with a light enough weight so that you get the muscles ready without making them tired. Tired muscles do not lift much weight. And if you do not lift much weight, you will not build much muscle.

Warming up correctly is one of the best ways to increase your strength on your last heavy sets.

2. Rest enough in between sets.

On average, you want to rest a minute or two in between your warm up sets and 2 to 3 minutes or more between your heavy sets. If you do not rest enough in between your heavy sets, your muscles will still be tired from your last set and will not be able to handle the most weight possible.

Again, less weight means less overload, which in turn will mean less muscle growth as a result.

So before starting your next heavy set, make sure you feel as strong as you did for your first set. Again, this could be anywhere from 2 to 3 minutes of rest between your heavy sets.

This rest in between heavy sets is a great time to walk around and think about how great your next set is going to be.

Or you can use the time to grab a drink of water or stretch out a little bit. The key is to make sure you've rested enough so you feel ready and able to handle the heaviest weights possible.

There you have 2 ways to instantly increase the strength on all lifts.

Warm up correctly before beginning your heavy sets and rest enough in between them.
Increasing the amount of weight you lift, over time, is the only way you're going to be able to build muscle.

In fact, discover how to build muscle and lose fat in the least amount of time. Personal trainer and natural bodybuilder Shawn Lebrun shows you how to get the maximum amount of muscle and definition possible.

http://www.shawnlebrunfitness.com/overture.html

Monday, November 20, 2006

My Equation For Building Muscle

Hey, we all want a lean, muscular physique that we can show off, don't we?

We must because one of the goals I hear most from my clients is... "I want to build more muscle and lose more fat"

In other words, they want to tone up. Toning is no more than building muscle while at the same time, losing fat. Both of them come together to form a lean, tight, muscular physique.

If you focus on just building muscle mass, then you'll get bigger but not leaner. If you focus just on losing fat, you won't have that muscle tone that so many people want to get.

So you have to approach both processes (muscle building and fat loss) separately and not try to do just one or the other.

But many people I talk with really have no idea how to do it -- correctly. They think that lifting light weights for high reps will help them tone.

Wrong.

If you're unsure how to go about toning to get that lean, muscular body you want, here's my simple "toning" equation.

You can use it to build more muscle and lose more fat in a lot less time.

A Loss in Body Fat + A Gain in Lean Muscle = Toning

Both sides of the equation need to be worked on, simulataneously, for any real results to be achieved.

Let's cover each side...

Losing Body Fat

This is primarily achieved by:

3-4 INTENSE Cardio Sessions of 20-30 minutes per week.

5-6 small, well-balanced meals (each consisting of 50% protein, 40% carbs, 10% fats).

Drink AT LEAST 1 gallon of water a day. You will also FEEL better!

Reduce daily caloric intake by 150-200 calories until you see/feel the results.

Let's cover the next part of the toning equation:

Building Muscle Mass

This is done by...

3-4 INTENSE Weight-training sessions per week.
Strive to progressively increase resistance each week.

Keep your rep range lower on heavy sets.

Perform just a few heavy sets per exercise.

Keep workout under 1 hour.

Keep protein intake high. Protein (amino acids) builds muscle.

Shoot for 1.5 to 2 grams per pound of bodyweight.

Consume a high protein/high carb meal or shake right after training.

So, in order to tone up properly, you must work on both losing fat and building muscle at the same time. If you do just one or the other, the results will not be what you want.

So it's important to focus on losing fat and building muscle, together.

And that's done with an approach to:

1. Proper weight training to build muscle
2. Proper nutrition to build muscle and lose fat
3. Proper cardio to lose fat


Think of a combination lock. In order to open the lock, you must get the three numbers exactly right.

Even if you're off by just one, you do not get what you want. Well, the same is true in building muscle, losing fat, and toning.

You must get your weight training, cardio, and nutrition just right or you will not get what you want.

Again, you want to work on both sides equally. If you just focus on dropping fat, you're going to look frail and thin, without any muscle mass.

If you just focus on gaining mass, it could cause you to look bloated and bigger than you want.

Gaining muscle and losing fat can be achieved at the same time. I know, I personally did it for my bodybuilding show and I see it with clients all the time.

For a step-by-step "how to" guide for building muscle and losing fat, my "Simple Steps To Get Huge And Shredded" training program is one of the most popular programs online.

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To Build Muscle, Get Smart!

If you want to build more muscle mass, you first have to get smart!

When you learn better, you can do better. When you do better, you get better results.

But there comes a point where if you start to read up and try too many different things, you'll get away from the basic principles of muscle building.

That's why it's dangerous for young kids to pick up a muscle mag written by the pros. The workout routines contained in those magazines ARE NOT written for people just beginning or even people considered advanced.

The workout routines written in most muscle mags you see on the stands were written by pro bodybuilders with above average genetics.

Because of their advanced genetics, they can handle more weight training. Not only that, they also use performance enhancing substances that allow them to train more and recover quicker.

Because they can recover quicker, they are able to build muscle mass at a much faster pace than you and I. And this faster recovery helps them to prevent overtraining.

If you and I overtrained, the chance of building muscle would be much smaller.

So there's a fine line between becoming educated and becoming over educated. You want a working, common sense knowledge.

The more you try and study and learn about building muscle, the less chance you have to actually take action and put that knowledge to use.

Learn what causes muscle to grow and fat to burn off the body. You don't care about advanced workout theory or new designer supplements.

You want basic, applicable knowledge of what must be done to lose fat and gain muscle. The easier something is to understand, the more likely it will be applied and used.

And since most people fail to see results in their routines because they've been misinformed and misled about what it takes, you need to focus more on common sense when it comes to building muscle.

Most people build muscle the same way (same process must be used). Most people burn fat the same way (same processes must be used)

So learn from others, either through books, websites, articles, or personal conversation, what has worked for them.

Be careful who you listen to though, everyone has an opinion on what they feel works. Before listening, make sure that what they're doing:

1. Works - don't take fat loss tips from those overweight or muscle building tips from those with no muscle.

2. Is safe - skip the drugs or latest and greatest supplement or workout routine in order to try to build muscle. They are not needed.

3. Sounds right. If it sounds like common sense, great, but if you're scratching your head, walk away.

4. Make sure it comes from someone qualified to give advice. Have they done fitness contests or are they certified trainers. Listening to the wrong people can get you hurt.

So spend this 30 day period becoming informed and educated about the basics of muscle building. Visit a bookstore and pick up some books on basic weight training, or aerobics, or fat burning, or nutrition and read through and learn some stuff you can apply.

Skip right over anything that sounds "advanced, too good to be true, too confusing, or anything else that's not basic, common sense.

Achieving a great body and fitness levels really comes down to just focusing on a few common sense areas, including diet and exercise! So before looking for the advanced muscle-building tips, make sure you've learned the basics.

If you learn just one new thing about cardio, weight training, or nutrition each week for a year, that's 52 new things you'd learn.

Gaining muscle and losing fat is a process, one that involves education, experience, time, and action.

Start to learn better so that you can start to do better. It’s not what you know that counts. It’s not what you do that counts. It’s what you know AND do that produces results!

Discover a simple, powerful program that guarantees you'll build muscle and lose fat in less time.
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Monday, November 13, 2006

Free Weights Are Best For Building Muscle

Free weights are the fastest and easiest way for building muscle in less time.

Free weights consist of barbells, dumbbells and weight plates. They're called free weights because they have no cables, pins or pulleys.

Available as normal weights or Olympic weights, be advised that Olympic weights are generally much more costly. The Olympic bar is also thicker at the ends to accommodate the larger hole present in Olympic weight plates.

Barbells come in all shapes and sizes. They consist of a bar that is usually 4’ to 7’ in length and can weigh from 20 to 45 pounds.

The Olympic bar that you find in most gyms is 45 pounds. This is the one you find on the squat rack and bench press.


So, if you use this bar and add a 45-pound plate to each side, you're bench pressing 135 pounds.

Varying weights are attached to the ends of the bar. The weights are attached using collars or sleeves. You can find barbells in a fixed collar design.

This prevents the weights from sliding off the end of the bar, but they are limiting as the weights cannot be removed. With adjustable collars you can add and remove weights to suit your own purposes.

The longer 7’ bar that is generally referred to as an Olympic bar can hold 500 to 1500 pounds. As mentioned, these are usually more costly. There are also other Olympic specialty bars available that are designed for specific purposes such as biceps and triceps.

The weight plates that fit the ends of the bar come in standard increments of:

2 1/2 pounds
5 pounds
10 pounds
25 pounds
50 pounds

If you stick with cast iron weights you are pretty much guaranteed that the weights will remain constant over time as opposed to those that are plastic encased or other metals that could warp over time.

If planning to go with the home gym, sticking with standard weights is probably best for you. One of the advantages is that you can find standard weights available as a package that will include your bars, weights and collars. Most standard weight packages also come with dumbbells.

You will also need to have a weight bench. There are varying types of benches. You can find adjustable types that you can set for different inclines. This is a good buy because by adjusting the incline or decline, you can create a number of different exercises to work out different muscle groups.

If you are lacking the money to join a gym, you can set yourself up with everything you need, just by getting some dumbbells, barbells, and a bench. Total cost can be less than $200.

Or, if it's more convenient to work out at home, it's simple to set up an effective gym right in your basement.

Free weights are also effective than machines when it comes to building muscle and increasing your strengh. That's because you have to do all the work and balance all the weight yourself when using free weights.

With machines, much of the work is being done for you. You just have to lift it up and down. As a result, you use less intensity and less overload than with free weights.

Less overload and intensity means less muscle building possibilities.

So don't worry if you can't make it to a gym or if you don't have the money to get certain machines for your home.

When it comes to building muscle, nothing beats a good set of free weights.

Learn how to set up your weight training, cardio, and nutrition to get the most muscle and definition possible. Check out my "Simple Steps To Get Huge And Shredded" training program

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I'm talking about a step by step workout and nutrition plan, that includes all of the exercises, reps, sets, when to train, how much to train, and more.

I also cover when to eat, what to eat, how often, how much, and more.

http://www.shawnlebrunfitness.com/getshredded.html

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Losing Fat By Building Muscle

Most people think of cardio when it comes to losing fat, not building muscle. That's because running, biking, or any other form of intense aerobic exercise helps to burn calories, as well as raise the body's metabolism. And this in turn burns fat.

But there are new studies that show weight training to be better at raising your resting metabolic rate, which is the rate at which you burn calories at rest. This may mean that the best way to burn off unwanted fat is by building muscle. Because the more muscle mass you have, the more calories you burn at rest.

There's one requirement for weight training to be effective at raising the metabolism. The weight lifting must be very intense to produce a drastic increase in resting metabolic rate.

Lifting light weights or exercising for too short a time can diminish the results. You need to do 3 to 4 sets per exercise and do an average of 6 to 8 reps for each.

This ensures that each major muscle group is trained intensely. In the studies, it was shown that the test subjects resting metabolism was still elevated, on average 21%, even 24 hours after the workout.

It appears weight training can release growth hormone and norepinephrine that assist in the fat burning process. Also, removing the lactic acid that's built up through heavy weight training also requires calorie expenditure.

Finally, the muscle building process of repairing damaged muscle tissue caused by weight lifting can also burn more calories.

Building muscle itself will increase resting metabolic rate, since muscle tissue burns more calories at rest than fat.

So the more lean muscle mass you build, the higher your resting metabolism. That's why building muscle through weight training is also a way to lose unwanted body fat.

The best way to lose fat is to combine cardio with weight training, to create a synergistic effect in which both work together to burn calories.

So if you're currently trying to lose some fat, try to focus on building muscle as well, through weight training, so you can raise your metabolism and burn more calories at rest.

By the way, the holidays are fast approaching. Thanksgiving and Christmas are times to spend with family, friends, and loved ones.

And lots of food.

Learn how to set up your daily eating to still enjoy the foods you love, and yet stay lean and muscular throughout the holidays

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How Overtraining Kills Your Chances Of Building Muscle

It's unfortunate that some people feel, when it comes to weight training, that more is better for building muscle.

Well, this isn't always the case.

In fact, too much lifting can stop your progress. If you lift too much, you run the risk of overtraining. Overtraining simply means doing too much physical exercise and not allowing your body to recover. And this can kill your chances of building muscle.

Most beginners and many intermediate trainees get the workout part right, and sometimes even the diet and supplements. But sadly, they usually fail miserably on the recovery part of their programs.

Muscles grow at rest, not while you're in the gym.

Many new lifters destroy themselves in the gym and then fail to allow their muscles to recover fully before training them again. This overtraining will cause you to stop gaining muscle and could even cause you to lose the muscle you already have!

Simply put, overtraining is a state your body enters into when the workload you subject it to is greater than the body’s ability to recover.

It can come from training too often and/or with too much intensity. Couple this with not enough rest to fully recuperate and rebuild and you have overtraining.

Overtraining can result in lowered testosterone levels as well as a lower ratio of testosterone to cortisol, which can leave your body in a state of zero-growth.

There are many signs of overtraining, so be aware of them and see if you have any of them. While a few of them might not necessarily mean you're overtraining, they may mean that you're on the verge.

Persistent soreness and stiffness in the muscles and joints is one sign. Fatigue, sluggishness, and a lack of energy during your workouts is another big sign.

A loss of muscle size and fullness can mean you're overtraining. Low sex drive and constant irritability are other symptoms.

If you have any of these and you're currently working out more than 5 days a week, you need to cut back immediately, before you get worse.

The sad thing about overtraining is that many people think that the cure for overtraining is they just have to work harder to make gains.

Unfortunately, this aggravates their problems and end up losing even more size.

So the most important thing you can do to rebound from overtraining is to take some time off from the gym. Take as long as your body needs.

In extreme cases of overtraining, it could take months, if not years, to heal properly. But for most people, taking a week off from lifting will be enough. When you get back to the gym after this time off, you'll notice your energy levels are back to normal, as well as your strength and endurance.

You may want to consider cycling your intensity levels from now on. Phases might include cycles of high, medium, or low intensity or variations in weights, sets and reps, or workout durations.

Typically, a few weeks of high-intensity training would be followed up with several weeks of low-intensity training to prevent overtraining. The body simply cannot produce a maximum output over a lengthy period of time.

You can also reduce the poundages of your weights and your intensity if you don't want to risk overtraining.

Keep your workouts under 45 minutes by reducing some of the reps and sets you do. All you need to do is 2 exercises for each muscle group, 3 total heavy sets for 8 to 10 reps.

You also want to schedule at least 2 rest days into your program each week. This will help prevent overtraining from occuring and will also help you to recover from workouts, just in case you're on the verge of overtraining.

Again, it's important to remember that not getting enough rest can stop muscle building dead in its tracks. So you'll want to make sure you're resting enough, just like you ensure you work out and eat right.

These are just some of the things you can do if you feel that you're overtraining. It helps to take a step back and look at your situation from a different perspective. No, don't try to fix things by working even harder in the gym.

Instead, take a smarter approach and take the time off to rest. Then, set up your routine to prevent overtraining from happening again.

I hope this article helped shed some light on training just enough to build muscle, no more than that.

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Friday, November 10, 2006

5 Tools To Help You Gain Muscle

Gaining muscle is all about lifting heavy weight. The stronger you get, the more muscle you gain.

So the key is, to focus on increasing your strength in your workouts. When you get stronger, over time, you'll also gain more muscle mass.

And in order to get stronger, you must train and eat correctly. But even then, your body could use a little extra, to help supplement this training and eating.

So here are 5 simple, proven things you can use in your workouts that will help you increase your strength and gain more muscle mass.

1. A Belt: Belts are probably the most used weight lifting accessory. Belts help increase your strength by providing back and ab support during exercises.

The tighter the belt, the greater the ab pressure against the spine. This helps keep the spine and your entire torso tight, maximizing your strength and safety.

The belt can be used to increase your strength on deadlifts, squats, and overhead presses. Belts allow you to use more weight safely, therefore increasing muscle stimulation and growth.

2. Gloves: Getting blisters or calluses on your hands can prevent you from gripping the weights. They also can help prevent grip slippage.

They help you get a better grip on almost all exercises that require pulling or curling movements. A better, stronger grip means a stronger lift.

3. Wraps: Wraps are used to help support the knees. They are best used on maximal lifts and should not be used as a crutch.

Most powerlifters use wraps on the knees when squatting and deadlifting. They provide knee support, so you can use more weight in the squat. The key with wraps is to use them for only a few sets and a few reps, since they can stop circulation if used for too long.

4. Straps: When you start using heavy weights on your lifts, it's possible your grip strength will give out before the muscle you're training gives out.

When you have weak grip strength, it can limit how much weight you lift on lat pulldowns, deadlifts,
and shrugs.

Straps can help you gain muscle mass because they allow your arms to act as hooks to lift the weight. Straps prevent grip failure from coming into play before reaching muscle failure on the muscle you're training.

You can use cotton straps, nylon straps, and even straps with hooks.

5. Chalk: Like gloves and wraps, chalk is meant to give you that little edge. It helps you grip the weights better, preventing grip slippage or failure.

Many times, just by using chalk, you can get 4 to 5 extra reps on an exercise. You can use chalk for your bench press, deadlift, squat, curls, and shrugs.

There you have 5 effective tools for increasing your strength and gaining more muscle mass. Any time you can give yourself an edge and allow yourself the chance to lift more weight, you will also gain muscle mass as a result.

You can find all of these products on my supplement page...

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Just click on any of the links and it will send you to the one site I trust most for buying supplements and accessories like the ones I mentioned above.

On that site, you'll find straps, belts, gloves, wraps, and of course, supplements.
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More Rest Means More Muscle Gains

If you want to gain more muscle, it's important you get enough rest. I've found it's necessary to take a week off to rest after 8 to 10 weeks of heavy, intense training.

Weight lifting can be intense and stressful to your body. In order for your body to respond with muscle gains, you have to first recover from those workouts.

After all, you grow when you're resting, not when you're training in the gym. Too many people think they have to work out as hard as possible, as often as possible, in order to make gains. But those that have large, muscular physiques have learned that the key to success is heavy, intense training, followed by adequate rest.

By taking a week off after every few months, you allow your body the chance to completely recover from the heavy demands you placed on it. This time is a recovery time, in which muscle growth will be the main goal. So you want to make sure you get proper nutrition, including keeping your protein intake high.

This rest period is every bit as important for muscle gains as is your training. Without this rest, you're going to overtrain and all your muscle gains will stall.

One of the biggest problems I see with young people is that they think the more they do, the better results they get. They don't buy into the law of diminishing returns, which states that you'll keep making gains, up to a point, unless you do certain things. And these things are recovery, rest, and nutrition.

Many people can't stand to be out of the gym for a week, fearing that they'll lose what they've gained. The opposite is actually what happens. After a week off, you'll come back bigger and stronger.

You'll also be more focused and psychologically rested. You'll be ready to hit the weights again with newfound energy and intensity.

So if you're feeling tired, worn out, sluggish, or just plain sore, take some time off and recover. If you're at a plateau, a week off is usually all that's needed to break out of that plateau.

The way to keep making gains is to learn how to listen to your body. Know when it needs rest and time off. If you don't allow your body to recover, you can't keep making muscle gains. If you don't eat enough and sleep enough, your gains will suffer as well.

So, understand the importance of rest and start taking a week off after each 8 to 10 weeks of training. I guarantee, once you start doing that, your muscle gains will happen a lot faster.


That's one of the key factors in my Simple Steps To Get Huge and Shredded training program...

http://www.shawnlebrunfitness.com/getshredded.html

I wrote the program with one thing in mind: Making sure that rest was a big factor, so that muscle gains would not be compromised. So not only is there adequate rest between workouts and muscle groups, but there's one little secret in the program, that deals with rest, that will help you make more gains than anything else you do.

For more info on this powerful nutrition and workout training program for gaining muscle...

http://www.shawnlebrunfitness.com/getshredded.html





Thursday, November 09, 2006

The Key To Building Bigger Bicep Muscles

If you're looking to build bigger bicep muscles, this article will show you some simple, proven steps you can take.

Most peoples' goals when it comes to training bicep muscles is to increase the size while maintaining proper proportion. Increasing the muscle size of the biceps is from training with heavy weights. You can't increase the bicep muscles if you don't force them to grow.

Strive to always add weight or reps to your bicep exercises, without sacrificing form. You still want to train safely.

These additional reps will equate to more muscle growth. So will the increase in poundages. If you can continuously do both, your arms are going to soon pop out of the sleeves of your shirts!

Since there are many different parts that make up the biceps muscles, you want to train each effectively using a balanced approach.

Three exercises for the biceps are sufficient to increase muscle growth and strength.

One of the best exercises for building bigger biceps is the standing alternate dumbbell curl. These allow you to use maximum overload and intensity on the biceps.

When doing these, you want to use good, safe form, but don't be too strict. Allow yourself to sway a little, so you can get some momentum when lifting the weights upward.

If you're too strict, you're going to limit the amount of weight you can lift, so the overload will be less.

Another exercise that's useful for building bigger biceps is the standing barbell curl. Much like the alternate dumbbell curls, these offer the most overload and intensity for the biceps.

The last exercise for the biceps is hammer curls. These actually work both the biceps and the forearms.

With all your bicep exercises, work your arms once a week, using 3 sets of 6 to 10 reps.

Start out light for a warm up and then progressively keep adding weight so you reach muscle failure at 6 to 8 reps on your heavy sets.

You want to strive to stimulate muscle growth, by increasing strength. The more weight your biceps can lift, the more muscle you'll build as a result.

You can use either barbells, dumbbells, or cables when training to build the biceps muscles. They all target the muscles a little differently.

Since the bicep muscles are not a large muscle group, it's easy to overtrain them. So make sure you do just what's necessary for muscle stimulation. Then you need to let them rest and recover in order to gain muscle mass.

Training the biceps too often or doing too many exercises will slow down your results.

So if you're after building bigger biceps muscles, use these techniques in your training and you'll soon start seeing more muscle growth.

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The Only Way To Gain Muscle

In order to gain any amount of muscle or strength, you must subject that muscle to overload. To continue making gains, you must continue to increase the amount of overload you place on each muscle group over time.

This progressive increase in resistance is the only way to gain muscle mass. The greater the amount of resistance you place on a muscle, the larger that muscle will become, provided you get the proper nutrients needed for muscle growth to occur.

Progression of this resistance is what causes muscle gains to keep happening. If you keep lifting the same amount of weight, your muscles have no reason to get any bigger. They can already handle that weight.

There are 3 ways to increase the amount of resistance you place on a muscle:

1. Do more reps with the same amount of weight each time.

2. Do the same number of reps but use more weight

3. Use the same number of reps and same amount of weight, but shorten the rest periods in between sets.

The most common ways to add progressive resistance to build muscle is with the first 2... using more weight and/or doing more reps.

One of the easiest ways to increase the amount of weight you lift is to decrease the number of reps you do. You keep increasing the weight until you use a heavy enough weight so that you reach muscle failure between 4 and 8 reps.

When you increase the weight each set while performing the same number of reps, you want to go easy for the first few sets, they are just warmups. Only your last 2 heavy sets, the ones with max poundages, are the ones that build muscle. All other sets just help you get ready for these heavy sets.

Again, overloading a muscle group is the only way to gain muscle, increase its size, and tone. So, for your heavy sets, you want to reach the point of failure with low reps and heavy weight.

The more weight you use and the harder you work, the greater the muscle gains. This method is very intense, so you want to ensure proper rest and nutrition.

Overload will help you gain muscle indefinitely, as long as the environment for constant muscle growth is met. Again, it takes intense training, proper nutrition, and plenty of rest.

If one of these conditions is not met, you will not gain the muscle mass you could.

Now that you know what causes muscle gains to occur, you should be well prepared the next time you enter the gym to workout. You'll know that merely lifting weights is not good enough. You have to keep getting better and stronger, by increasing the amount of weight you lift or the number of reps you do.

But be aware, this process takes time. Be committed to slow, constant growth and you'll soon be making more gains than you ever thought possible.

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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The Secret To Building Muscle

One word has the power to change your life.

That word is persistence.

Persistence is the key to being a winner. In everything.

I've had some of my best days right after having some of my worst. And if I had quit and given up, I would have been left with the taste of disappointment, not the sweet taste of success.

Persistence is how you're going to change your body for the "best".

Besides, you know that it takes good nutrition and exercise to get the body you want. So what holds so many people back from getting the body of their dreams?

Stick-to-it-eveness, that's what.

Right here, right now, I want you to resolve to pay the price you need to pay in order to get what it is you want to get. Set it in stone... resolve to never, ever quit.

Here's my little analogy for you, it may help you to "keep on keeping on" when you just don't feel like heading to the gym after work or going out for that run you know you should do.

Think of your success (whatever success means to you) as being something that's lurking around the corner.

You can't see it, but it's there. It's waiting for you to make it around that corner. If you make it, success will unveil itself.

And if you don't make it, you either didn't want it bad enough, or you didn't try hard enough.

It's those people that literally throw themselves around that corner that will end up with all they want in life.

I hope you're one of those people.

I know, I know...

The T.V. is showing your favorite show tonight. Your friends want you to head out to the bars with them tonight. They're all ordering out for pizza today for lunch, you gotta eat with them.

I recently learned a huge secret that almost all successful people share with one another.

It's this: Develop the ability to delay short-term satisfaction for long term satisfaction.

In fact, isn't that what separates a child from an adult. Children want it NOW or they throw a fit. Adults know it takes time and commitment to get what they want.

So, if I can pass on one simple key to success to you, it's this:

Learn to delay satisfaction NOW for even more satisfaction later. Delay the trip to the bars. Delay the all-you-can-eat buffet.

Delay the movie with your friends tonight if you haven't made it to the gym yet.

If you really, really want to change your body for the better, you'll resolve to pay the price and you will not even entertain the thought of quitting.

Like flipping a switch, you decide right then and there, to do something about it and never look back.

When you flip the switch, you've made a choice to no longer settle for anything less than what you want. You WILL do what you need to do to change your situation.

In fact, the true power to gain muscle mass and lose fat is your ability to consistently take action each and every day.

Successful people are not necessarily those that make the right decisions all of the time. But they do make decisions and better yet, act upon them.

Thomas Jefferson once wrote "I'm a firm believer in luck, and I've found the harder I work, the luckier I get."

Well, the same is true in building muscle.

Do you take some form of action each day and go after your muscle building goals? You'll find that the more you act on things, the more good things happen.

Accept my challenge: Do one or more things every day for the next 30 days that will move you closer to the goal to gain muscle mass fast.

Believe it or not, there are many, many people out there who are TIRED of being skinny. In fact, you may be one.

I know it may sound hard to believe, that some people are actually trying to gain weight and muscle, but it's true. Those that are skinny, often times want to gain weight just as much as those who are overweight, want to lose it.

That's what led me to develop my mass-building system...

http://www.shawnlebrunfitness.com/gain-weight.html

I was getting so many emails from people that were finally fed up with being skinny and scrawny, they wanted to learn the truth about packing on mass.

So I sat down and listed out the 7 things I did after a bodybuilding show in which I was able to gain 20 pounds of mass in 8 weeks.

You can use these same secrets to bulk up, add strength, and gain muscle.

If you're tired of being skinny, you need to learn the 7 things you must do to gain muscle and strength...

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How To Get Leaner, Faster

Although I feel the best approach to losing fat is a long-term one, there are some simple things you can do to drop fat quickly.

You primarily do it by increasing the amount, duration, and/or intensity of your cardio sessions while slowly decreasing your calorie intake.

If you try and shed fat too fast, whatever you did to lose it will not be permanent and you'll more than likely gain the weight back, once you become less focused and restrictive.

The best way to lose any amount of fat quickly is to focus on creating more of a calorie deficit in which your body is forced to burn more fat for energy.

Some of you may have seen "The Biggest Loser" reality show on TV. Well, lo and behold, what the trainers have them doing is a combination of what I mentioned above... they're dropping their calorie intake while increasing their cardio output.

No magic pill or fad diets, just focused, hard work on what truly matters.

So, losing fat faster is primarily achieved by slowly cutting your calorie intake and slowly increasing your cardio input. Notice how I put "slowly" in front of both.

If you start reducing calories too quick, you'll force your body into "starvation mode" in which it starts holding onto stored fat instead of burning it for energy. And if you start doing too much cardio too soon, you'll run the risk of overtraining or getting injured.

What about weight training?

Well, the weight training remains a constant in this equation. It has little to do with losing fat. Sure, weight training helps to increase lean muscle tissue. And the more muscle tissue you have, the more calories you'll burn, even at rest.

But I'm talking about quicker results, the kind you can see in just a few short weeks. And weight training does not play a huge role in that.

In fact, you may want to lessen the weight training the next few weeks and instead focus more on the cardio, which will have more of an impact on the fat burning.

Bottom line, to lose any amount of fat fast, you have to burn more calories than you consume.

The best way to do this is by dropping your daily calorie intake while increasing your daily cardio output.

The first week, start getting rid of extras that you may eat, like dressings, oils, butter, sugars, syrups, and desserts.

Then the next week, reduce your calories again by 150-200 calories. This slow, methodical drop in calories will not trigger "starvation mode" in which your body will start holding onto fat.

Also, you'll want to start upping the amount and/or intensity of your cardio. If you're doing 2 or 3 sessions of cardio a week, add another session. If you're already doing 4 or 5, then increase your intensity more so than your time.

The combo of slowly dropping your daily calories while also increasing the intensity and amount of your cardio will get you in a fat-burning stage.

Then, continue on with this approach and soon you'll be staring in the mirror at a leaner, more muscular you.

For a step-by-step proven plan for gaining lean muscle while dropping ugly fat, there's no more successful program on the market than my Simple Steps To Get Huge And Shredded plan...

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How To Blast Through Any Plateau

I'm going to show you a simple, fool-proof way to blast through any training plateau.

In all, there are only 7 simple secrets to breaking through any plateau, as well as preventing one from ever happening again.

For the sakes of this email, to keep it short and sweet, I'm going to go over the top 4.

Let's roll...

Steps to avoid over training and hitting a plateau.

1. Keep workouts short and sweet. Your weight training should be just that, training with weights.

Stop mixing cardio with it. 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.

By stimulating them with progressive overload, you're forcing them to respond and adapt to this progressive overload. Anything more is futile over training.

2. Do not turn your weight training workouts into endurance events. Do not try to "burn fat" while weight training because you will NOT achieve it.

Do not make your workouts longer thinking that more time equals more results. Keep your weight training brief and focused. Complete your workout in less than 45 minutes.

This short time period will ensure you don't over do it. It will ensure intensity as well. It's much easier to focus for 30-45 minutes than it is an hour.

The growth-assisting hormones secreted in your body actually peak after about 30 minutes of weight training and then begin to decline rapidly. So keep it quick and intense.

So that means no total body workout. Choose one or two muscle groups, train them well, and leave under 45 minutes.

3. 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.

Again, if your muscles cannot handle the overload, results are diminished.

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'll get worked while performing other exercises, so they actually are not fully resting all week.

One of the most important things you can do for yourself is to start "listening" to how your body feels. Learn to gauge your recovery time and start training more on how you feel rather than on a schedule set in stone.

For example, if you train your biceps Monday and then come next Monday, for whatever reason, they're still aching sore, give them another day's rest. Do you truly feel you will be able to lift with maximum overload and intensity with overly sore biceps?

You're lifting for progress, not just for the act of lifting some weight.

If a muscle group is still very sore, there is still some fiber damage creating that soreness that needs to heal. Training with sore muscles is like trying to shovel your way out of a hole. You get nowhere. Taking an extra day off to rest will ensure the next day's workout produce results.

If increasing muscle strength and size is a goal, you need to create an environment where they are able to perform at their maximum, not when they are sore.

4. Take a week break after two months of training. After every two months of intense, solid training, take an entire week off from weight training and cardio. Two months of constant training likely will take a toll on your muscles' ability to recover.

You must allow them to recover by having them take a break. Do not allow the alleged psychological barrier of taking a week off stand in your way.

You may be thinking you will lose ground by taking time off, but nothing can be further from the truth.

These are a few tips you can use to avoid hitting a plateau.

But what are some of the signs of current overtraining?

First of all, if you're not looking forward to getting into the gym any more, that may be a sign. If you're sluggish and tired more often 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 possible over training. If you're getting sick more than you normally do, you're over training because your immune system is not as strong as it should be. These are just a few of the signs that you may be over training.

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

One way not to overcome a plateau is by trying to work through it. You cannot make something better by doing what it was that caused it in the first place!

So, there you have it.

By the way, I'm re-releasing my monthly printed newsletter...

If you found the above tips helpful, imagine what 12 pages of them, each and every month, will do for your results.

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Wednesday, November 01, 2006

How Many Reps And Sets To Build Muscle?

One of the questions I get asked the most while training others is how many reps and sets of an exercise are needed to gain the most muscle mass and strength possible.

Well, let's tackle that question head on.

Reps

The desired rep range for both men and women for just about all exercises is four to six reps for your last, heavy sets. That doesn't include warm-ups or acclimation sets, just your last sets.

There's one and only one reason a muscle has for getting bigger and stronger....

....Progressively increased overload.

You need to progressively "force" the muscle into growing and getting stronger or it will not. In other words, you need to always be stressing it into growing.

In order to increase overload, you need to increase resistance. In order to increase resistance, you need to increase the amount of weight, or work, you're doing.

Lower reps will allow you to increase the overload to that muscle instantly. This forces the stimulation of new muscle fibers that will be recruited to handle the additional stresses placed upon the muscle.

The rep range for optimal muscle fiber stimulation will be between four and six repetitions for just about every heavy set of an exercise you do.

By the way, low reps will not cause women to "bulk" up. Low reps will strengthen and "tone" your muscles quicker than higher reps.

Lighter weights and higher reps will basically keep you from making optimal gains. If you can do ten reps of an exercise, the weight is too light to achieve max overload.

How do you know what weight to use?

If you can do more than six reps on your heavy sets, the weight is too light. If you can't do at least four, the weight is too heavy.

So the low down on reps is 4 to 6 for all heavy sets. Warm up sets can be 8 to 10 reps, but to get the muscle stimulating benefit of weight training, you must use lower reps to create enough of an overload.

Sets

The amount of heavy, intense sets per exercise will be between one and three sets, depending on the order of the exercise.

When you're warmed up, the number of all-out, intense sets will be three at the most, and on some exercises, just one or two sets is all that's needed.

It's the overload that causes the muscle to grow, not the amount of sets you do. There's no "law" that says if you double the amount of sets you perform, you also double the results.

The key is to stimulate, not annihilate, the muscle into responding and growing. You do this with two, very intense sets of four to six reps. This will efficiently stimulate the muscles more than doing more sets with more reps at a lighter weight.

If you were doing bicep curls, you'd do your warm-ups and then two heavy, intense sets of four to six repetitions. This exercise is now done. You've effectively overloaded the bicep muscles and will then proceed to the next exercise, if there is one.

As you can see, it's all about quality over quantity when it comes to producing results.

It is so much better to do one or two heavy sets at maximum intensity than 3 or more at an easier level.

More is not better....better is better.

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To Build More Muscle, Lift More Weight!

If you're looking to build more muscle mass, then you have to start lifting more weight.

That's one of the biggest problems I see as a fitness expert each day.

Many people want to build more muscle, but they don't try to progress up in the amount of weight they lift. If that's the case, continually gaining lean muscle and strength is prohibited.

I often speak with women who are fearful of lifting more weight because they don't want to build large muscle.
I explain to them that it’s impossible for women to gain as much muscle as men because they lack the abundant amount of the sex hormone testosterone that creates this growth.

Since women do not produce enough testosterone, the likelihood of building large muscles is virtually impossible.
Women that you see on TV or in magazines with large, man-like muscles, either use muscle-enhancing substances (steroids) or they naturally produce more testosterone than most women.

It is very difficult for women to build bulky muscles.

You must strive to continuously increase the weights you lift over time. Muscle will only grow if it's forced, or coerced, into growing. You force it by lifting progressively heavier weight over time.

Muscle growth is simply a result of placing demand on your body. When you lift a weight that's heavier than you are used to, your body will start to add muscle to handle the extra stress (weight) you're placing on it.

As you continually lift heavier weights over time, your body will continue to adapt to the additional demand being placed on it, by building more muscle mass tissue.

If you lifted the same amounts of weight over time, the body would become used to that weight and new muscle growth would not need to happen. There's no reason to add more muscle because the muscle you currently have can handle the demand.

When you start lifting more weight, then your body needs new muscle to handle this additional demand, creating new lean muscle tissue to handle this demand.

Any new and additional muscle growth you achieve will have a direct impact on the number of calories you burn. So, for long term success in weight loss and fitness, continue to lift progressively heavier weights as you continue on in your program.

How do you know how much weight to lift?

If you're just starting a lifting program, keep it light and easy to learn proper form. As you progress, start to increase the weights you lift but decrease the amount of times (reps) that you lift the weight.

Something happens when you do this. If you lessen the amount of times you have to lift something, shouldn't the amount of weight you can lift increase?

Suppose if you had to lift 100 pounds 10 times. You manage it and it’s not that difficult. Now, say you only have to lift it 6 times.

If you managed to do it 10 times at 100 pounds, shouldn‘t you be able to increase the weight if you only have to do it 6 times now?

So, as you progress into your weight training workout, begin to lessen the amount of reps and instead increase the weight.

Increase the weight to 150 pounds and lift it 6 times.

The more weight you lift, the more muscle you need to adapt to the additional weight. The more your body needs to adapt to more resistance, the more muscle growth will occur.

The more lean muscle you have, the more calories burned and the more weight loss... see how weight lifting/resistance training has a direct impact on fat loss and weight management?

Six repetitions are a great number for you to shoot for. A repetition is one movement. A set of movements is called a set. If you were to do a set of 10 repetitions, you would have to move the weight 10 times.

Start a particular weight lifting exercise (bench press, bicep curls) with a nice, easy set of 10 reps. The next set do eight, and the last two sets, do 6 reps.

Follow this for all exercises. When you can do more than six reps for a given weight, you simply add more weight and continue to shoot for six reps.

As you continue up in weight over time, that’s proof that you are getting stronger and are adding more lean muscle to your body. This, in turn, is a future investment in burning off more calories.

So to build more muscle, you need to lift more weight.

If you'd like a step-by-step guide for building more muscle mass in less time, check out my Simple Steps to Get Huge And Shredded training program...

http://www.Bodybuilder-Secrets.com/building-muscle.html