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An efficient Gym Workout - for free

One could talk of a real decay now, since, with my kind of Geek attitude there are poor chances I would spend some time to the gym. But it is!

Introducing the test

Now I checked the veracity of the effectiveness of this training for you, I thought I could share it for people who'd like to see some changes of their body. Getting a bit more skinny, and stronger is not a big deal, but there is no other thing that patience and steadiness.

I'm not going to talk about a little full-body workout there. What I'm going to do is to talk about five 45 min to 1 hour workouts you can do, in order to really improve strength and muscle growth.

First I'm going to explain how muscles work. How they react to workouts and stress so that you'll better understand what is the best thing to do if you wish to gain some volume. Next, I'll explain how simple it can be to get rid of fat (for those who are really interested in). Then, I'll talk about a thing people are used to leave apart because they don't know how essential and how much it goes hand in hand with the workouts, I mean, alimentation.

Building muscles

The first questions you could ask yourself about muscles are :

  • Why do muscles grow?
  • When do they grow?

Why do your muscles grow?

Charles Darwin

Your muscles grow when they recover from heavy stress that you put on them in the gym. It's important to understand the biology around this phenomenon. Biologically we are conditioned to survive, and we have a brain, to remember situations where we were almost in some survival conditions, so that the brain will try not to make this happen twice. And this is the clue. The brain will not let you be in such a situation in the future.

So this is really what you should keep in mind when training. Because when you workout, you kind of stress your muscles, putting your body in a situation where biologically is really close to a survival situation. Your body "thinks" that you are fighting for your own life.

And in response, your body will do all it can so that this situation does not happen again. And how does your body do that? By growing muscles!

When do muscles grow?

As we just told, stressing your body and more precisely the muscles of your body will lead to point where your body will have no real other solution than build some extra muscle fibers to make your chances better next time. We could explain this in other words : when you stress your muscles to their limit, they get injured. You can feel it very well when those micro-injures; you know, sore muscles. When they repair the damage, considering they have enough time and building material, it overdoes a little, but just a little, to prevent a micro-injury in the future. This how the body react to such a stress.

So if you wish to make your muscle grow you'll need to meet the two following points :

  1. Stress your muscles a lot with adapted workouts,
  2. Ensure they will recover from that stress by :
    1. providing them everything that is needed for them to recover (we'll see this later) in terms of food
    2. providing them everything that is needed for them to recover (we'll see this later) in terms of rest time.

Those points are really important by the way. But if you understand them well, you now know that stressing the same muscles everyday will not really work, since as we just saw it, they need rest to grow. So if you do, you will not give those muscles, enough time to recover completely.

Depending on how much you train and since how long you train, the more heavy weight you lift, the more the muscles need time to recover. For most people, the needed time for muscles that have been heavily trained is around 48 hours. It can be more or less, according to your metabolic rate.

Trainings

Ok
Just started working out? For the first couple of weeks or a month (depending on your shape) take it easy, do not push yourself to the limit, otherwise you can easily injure yourself. If you work out regularly only the last 6 months or less, it is a good idea to do a whole body workout in one day, without splitting your routine. Start your workout with larger muscles, and move to smaller ones. For example: legs-back-chest-arms-calves-abs. Work out 2-3 days a week, but not 2 days in a row.

After the first 6 months, your workouts should be short (about one hour) and very intensive.

Most people achieve their best results in muscle building with 2-4 exercises for the target muscle, 2-4 sets per exercise, 5-8 reps per set. Larger muscles, like legs, require more exercises or sets. In any case, each set should have 4-10 reps. More reps will not help you in muscle building.

There are compound and isolation exercises. Compound exercises allow you to use heavier weights - they are more effective for muscle growth than isolation exercises. Bodybuilders use isolation exercises mostly to achieve better muscle definition, when they already have a lot of mass. To give a good stress to a target muscle, you may start with 3-4 sets of a compound exercise, then do other 2 compound or isolation exercises (2-3 sets each).

Warm up to improve performance and prevent injury! Warm up for 10-15 minutes prior to the actual workout. You should begin to sweat. The whole purpose of your warm up is to increase body temperature by one or two degrees. Let only a few minutes elapse from completion of the warm up until the actual workout. A warm-up will not cause early fatigue or hinder performance. On the contrary, warm-ups will increase your performance. For a good warm-up, try 5-7 minutes of jogging followed by stretches. Start every weight-lifting exercise with one or two warm-up sets. Use a weight that is one-third to two-thirds of the goal weight you will be lifting that day.

Try this pattern.

Fitness model

First do one warm-up set with a light weight (10-15 reps). Then do 10 reps with your goal weight. Increase the weight and do 8 reps. Increase it again and do 6 reps. Do the last 2 sets to failure - use help of a sparring partner when necessary. This means that you should use such weight that you cannot do one extra rep, even if your life depends on it. Rest 60-120 seconds between sets (30-60 sec for small muscles, more for larger ones), 2-3 minutes between exercises.
Increase the reps to 12-10-8 when you are comfortable with 10-8-6 reps.
Increase the load after you did 12-10-8 reps for a few days. Start with your 10 reps set, then do your 8 reps set, then increase the weight and do one more set. For the last set, use such weight that allows you to do only 4-6 reps. Train with these weights until you can do 12-10-8, then increase weights again. Remember, you have to stress your muscles very hard to make them grow. You will not achieve that with light weights. Some experts recommend rotating a strength building routine (4-8 sets of 2-5 reps with extremely heavy weights) and a mass building routine (2-4 sets of 5-10 reps). Follow each routine until you see some progress, it usually takes weeks.
Use the proper form of an exercise, otherwise you will rob the target muscle of the required stress, and can injure yourself. Learn the proper form and stick to it.

Change your exercises. Your muscles get used to the same movements and it becomes harder and harder to push them to the limit. Time to time (say once a month or every 2 months) switch to different exercises for the same muscle group. Use supersets and other advanced techniques to 'surprise' your muscles in order to stress them more than you can with regular exercises. Supersets put a lot of stress on your body, do not do them every workout.

Avoid overtraining. Overtraining is a situation when you stress your muscles more often than they can recover. It doesn't do any good to your muscles. Remember, stressing them is only one half of muscle building, the second half, when muscles actually grow, is recovery. If your muscles don't have enough recovery time or food, but you keep pushing, they will actually lose mass. Overtraining is bad not only for your muscles, but also for your health in general. Some signs of overtraining: feeling chronically tired, having trouble sleeping, being sick all the time with colds and flues or feeling depressed. To avoid overtraining, concentrate on resting, eating and sleeping as hard as on pushing iron :)

Split your routine. If you are doing 2-4 exercises per muscle group, 2-3 sets each - the whole body workout will not fit in one hour. You'll have to split your routine. You can split it into 2 or 3 days. If you split it into 3 days, you'll have to work out more often. Do not exercise the same muscle 2 days in a row. Check the list of all involved muscles in the exercise popup window.

Eat a lot. Eat, rest, and then eat again! Avoid animal fat, sugar and salt. Eat more protein (lean meat and poultry, fish, milk, egg whites) and complex carbohydrates. Your food should have a lot of complex carbohydrates. Eating 100% protein all the time would be a big mistake. Proteins are the building material for your muscles, carbohydrates are the primary source of energy. Complex carbohydrates are pasta, potatoes, grey and whole-wheat bread, corn, bananas, and other food with starch. Simple carbohydrates are sugar and very refined white flour. Simple carbohydrates tend to turn your food into your fat.

For a correct muscle growth, you would need at least 1g up to 2g depending of the source, of protein per pound of your weight every day. So try to find out how much protein you get from your eating habits and complete the rest with supplements.

For example, if you weigh 60kg (132 pounds) then you would need a total of 132g of protein every day. Considering now that you usually absorb naturally 80g of protein with the food, you would need a supplement of 52g.

You could follow these guidelines :

  • Eat natural food 3-4 times a day and take supplements in between.
  • Also, take at least one pill of multivitamins and minerals a day.
  • Drink at least 8 glasses of pure water a day, by small portions during the day - it improves your metabolism and helps your muscles to recover.

And the last, but not the least, work out regularly! It is very important. Your muscles are very fast to forget what they've become.

Get rid of fat

First of all, it is not impossible, but really difficult indeed to try to build muscle mass and get rid of the fat simultaneously. And this, for a real simple reason. When you build your muscle mass, you inevitably get a little of extra fat, otherwise you would not have enough food or recovery time for muscle growth. When you exercise to lose your fat, your diet and exercises prevent muscle growth. Bodybuilders build muscle (and some fat {% emoji smile %} ) during their off-season, and rip their bodies during their on-season.

General purpose

To lose fat, you need some sort of a calorie reduced healthy diet and a lot of aerobic exercise.

There are 2 types of exercise - aerobic and anaerobic. Anaerobic exercise is a very intensive exercise, that you can do only for a short time. It uses oxygen faster
than your body can replenish. This is the type of exercise that is used in weight training. Another example - fast sprinting.

gw

To burn your fat, you need aerobic exercise - prolonged, low or moderate intensity work, like 30 minutes of jogging. You need oxygen to burn your fat. Doing 20 reps of bench press is not an aerobic exercise, it is still anaerobic, but a pretty inefficient one for muscle building because of low intensity.

What you need is a 30 to 60 (or more) minutes of aerobic activity, like jogging, or steps, or aerobic classes, or swimming. The more often you do this, the faster you lose your weight. You can also do anaerobic exercises (weights), but preferably on separate days. They will not burn your fat, but they will help to keep your metabolism rate up.

Take vitamins and drink at least 8 glasses of water every day. 30 minutes before your workout, drink a cup of coffee, or strong tea, or take a weight-loss pill that speeds up your metabolism, and eat some carbohydrates, for example half of a bagel. Fat burning requires some easy energy to start the process. Do not eat at least 3 hours before going to bed.

A training for patient ones but efficient results

As I just told, if your wish is really getting of that fat and reducing your Body Fat Percentage (BFP), we can do it, because I did it, and I'm not a superman. But there is a price to pay for that : Patience.

I'd like to come back on one of the previous things I told you about aerobics exercises. Ok, they'll burn fat, but once you stop, you also stop burning fat… So, does that mean that you should do aerobic exercises forever in order to lose fat and maintain this loss… Yes… I mean no, not totally. You should do a lot of aerobic exercises because it is really good for your health. But, in order to maintain your loss, you'd better add some muscle trainings.

Why this? By growing your muscle mass, your body will constantly need more energy to maintain this state, increasing your metabolic rate. What you do when you do "burn fat exercises", with a heart rate around 130 bpm, is learning your body to transform your fat into energy with a process involving oxygen. Burn fat exercises are aerobic exercises at a lower rate. The 130 bpm is important since for most people it is the aerobic zone. Doing those exercises with a higher heart rate will lead to a better ton us of your muscles but the process of producing energy for your muscles is different. It will not involve oxygen for the transformation, so your body will not burn as much fat as you would expect.

Central park jogging

Around 130 bpm, the body can burn up to 85% of fat, but around 150 bpm, it will only consume 50% of fat. Let me tell you that when you train around 130 bpm, you don't think you're doing great things, it is really tempting to increase the pace and feel the exercise is more effective. But it's not if your wish is to lose fat at first.

Of course, if you're patient (once again), you could choose to do a full aerobic exercise assuming you accept to burn only 50% of fat instead of the 85% possible at a lower heart rate. It's up to you.

I personally chooses that solution, since aerobic exercises also train your heart and increase a little bit your metabolic rate and this is helpful in the process of burning that fat and maintaining it low. So, it's up to you now.

Alimentation

Even if we could talk a lot about all kinds of alimentation involved in the process of workout nutrition, there is an important point that we should develop here. It is all about proteins.

What are proteins and why are they of first importance?

Your body uses protein as its major source of material for building and repairing blood, muscles, bones, teeth, skin, hair, nails, and your internal organs. Protein comes from a Greek word meaning "of primary importance."

Without protein, you may spend hours in the gym and never increase your lean muscle mass simply because you cannot grow a muscle without protein.

It has also been discovered that protein supplements have many other health benefits. They are useful for weight loss, specifically fat loss. Brain function relies on appropriate protein. They enhance immune function by increasing important glutathione levels. There is much more. Whey protein has been researched in prevention and life extension studies for such things as cancer, AIDS and other degenerative diseases. It may help T-cell activity and decrease wasting tissues during illness and therefore increase well-being and the speed of overall recovery.

Protein is made up of amino acids. Your body needs a total of 22 different amino acids to form all of its necessary protein. Your cells can make many of them, but 8 of them can be obtained only through the food you eat, your body isn't able to produce them. Hummm… your body is in fact able to produce them, but this has a cost {% emoji wink %} These 8 are called the essential amino acids. They are :

  • tryptophan,
  • lysine,
  • methionine,
  • phenylalanine,
  • threonine,
  • valine,
  • leucine,
  • isoleucine.

Failing to obtain enough of even 1 of the 8 essential amino acids, those that we cannot make, results in a breaking down of the body's proteins (i.e. muscles!) to obtain the one amino acid that is needed. The body doesn't store amino acids, like it does fats or carbohydrates. The body needs a daily supply of amino acids to make new protein.

The different types of proteins

There are basically two types of proteins that are of concern to us:

  • Complete proteins : Protein that contains all of the essential amino acids in adequate amounts.
  • Incomplete proteins : Protein that lack some essential amino acids.
    Most foods of animal origin (meat, poultry, fish, eggs, cheese, milk) contain complete proteins. Plant sources (fruits, vegetables, grains, and nuts) do not always contain complete proteins. In fact only one plant protein, soy protein, contains all of the essential amino acids. However, it is possible to combine several incomplete proteins to make a complete set of essential amino acids.

Protein quality is measured in Biological Value (BV). It summarises how readily the broken down protein can be used in protein synthesis in the cells of the organism. BV does not take into account how readily the protein can be digested and absorbed.

Food Biological Value
Eggs (whole) 100
Eggs (whites) 88
Chicken / Turkey 79
Fish 70
Lean Beef 69
Cow's Milk 60
Unpolished Rice 59
Brown Rice 57
White Rice 56
Cheese 84
Rice 83
Peanuts 55
Peas 55
Soy beans 47
Whole-grain Wheat 44
Corn 36
Dry Beans 34
White Potato 34

The biological value is often shown as compared to egg protein because being up to 100, the egg is the reference. As a result, some protein supplements have a higher biological value than 100.

Food Biological Value
Whey Protein Isolate 159
Whey Protein Concentrate 104
Casein 77
Soy Protein 74

The higher biological value proteins will be better absorbed and provide more amino acids which can be used for the body's various needs. With that being said, it is important to consume a variety of protein sources in your diet.

Some lower biological value proteins will be digested slower and can help increase satiety further. This can be a benefit depending on when it is being consumed.

Different types of proteins

In order to get bigger muscles, you have to reduce the breakdown ("catabolism") of the muscle you already have, and increase the building ("anabolism") of new muscle.

Muscle anabolism (growth) is stimulated by resistance training (lifting weights) and by some body hormones (e.g., testosterone, growth hormone, insulin-like growth factor-1).

The best way to reduce the catabolism (breakdown) of your hard-earned muscle is to eat a lot of protein and complex carbohydrates, and not to over-train.

Generally speaking, you lose your muscle protein between meals. You recoup that loss after eating a protein-containing meal. A protein-containing meal doesn't increase too much the protein production, but it reduces the breakdown of muscle protein.

The oft-quoted Boirie study showed that your body needs a protein source where the amino acids are both slowly trickled into your blood and one where proteins enter your bloodstream very quickly following its consumption.

The faster a protein is digested and absorbed into your body, the more likely it is to be wasted. That is, more amino acids will tend to be "burned", or oxidised, for fuel. Thus it may not be advisable to consume a protein supplement that is all whey unless it is combined with other foods to slow digestion / absorption.

Most experts believe that natural bodybuilders (those who do not use anabolic steroids) need to consume 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight (2.2 grams/kg). Some research shows that 0.6 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight (1.3 grams/kg) is enough even for experienced natural bodybuilders, when it is consumed correctly.

Benefits of protein supplements

Convenience : Let's be honest, with most people working full-time, how can one expect to realistically eat 6-8 meals per day in this day and age? This is where the protein powders can certainly aid in permitting greater time-management and efficiency. Imagine eating kilos of food everyday.

Caloric-Density : When loosing fat, one has to be in a caloric-deficit to deplete fat stores. And since in caloric deficit, protein needs are greater to prevent catabolism of endogenous protein (Lemon & Mullin, 1980).

Most foods have hidden carbs and fats. A protein powder has some carbs and fats, but it is not hidden. Ultimately, it comes down to control over your food intake and with a protein powder, you know exactly what you are eating.

Supplement Science : Most research has shown that protein supplements improve strength, nitrogen balance and body composition. However, some research has shown protein supplement usage to be suggestive or inconclusive. Supplements merely add a small piece to the tip of the iceberg. However, this small advantage could be what makes all the difference.

Variety : Lets face it, eating loads of meat can be quite a monotonous experience. Protein powders today taste better and can provide a nice variety to one's protein source selection.

Window Of Opportunity: With bodybuilding, timing is critically important in terms of eating frequency, amount of carb, protein and fat intake with respect to timing of exercise, pre-workout meal timing, post-workout meal timing, etc.

Whey protein supplements

Whey

Whey is one of two major sources of protein found in milk (the other is casein.) When cheese is manufactured from milk the curd (casein) is used and the whey is separated out. At this point, whey is about 92% water, 6.5% lactose, 0.9% protein and 0.2% vitamins, minerals and fat-soluble nutrients. It is refined to produce whey protein concentrates (WPC), whey protein isolates (WPI), and hydrolysed whey peptides (HWP).

Whey protein concentrates (WPC)

WPC was the first commercially produced whey protein product.

When used to produce WPC, crude whey goes through an ultrafiltration process, which decreases it to just 20% of its original volume. The concentrated whey liquid is then diafiltered at low temperatures to remove large quantities of fat, lactose, and cholesterol. The resulting solution is then carefully dried to create a powder yielding between 34% and 89% protein by dry weight.

This finished product, commonly known as whey protein concentrate, is the major protein contributor in many commercial whey protein supplements. In addition to being an excellent source of amino acids, WPC is easily digested, relatively inexpensive, and quite palatable.

Whey Protein Isolate

Ion-Exchanged Protein Isolates are separated through an electrical charge. Though not as "native" (maintaining the same micro-fraction ratios found in milk) as cross-flow micro-filtered whey protein isolates, ion-exchange WPI's are richer in total protein - containing upwards of 97-98% by dry weight - more than any other type of whey protein.

Cross-flow micro-filtration (CMF) is a solvent-free process that uses natural ceramic filters to isolate whey proteins from a variety of undesirables (i.e. fat, cholesterol, lactose, etc.). CFM is better at preserving the protein micro-fractions, with minimal denaturation and is generally higher in calcium and lower in sodium content than ion-exchange isolates. CFM WPI's are more expensive and yield higher protein levels than concentrates.

Whey Protein Isolate is the best form of protein for a post-workout nutrition. That critical time after severe physical stress when the cells will act like a sponge and take in almost anything. The extreme hunger of the cells and the fast-acting properties of whey isolate will make sure you use the best window for recovery to the fullest. If not, the body will hunt the stored reserves of nutrients and when on a diet for example that will cause them to rob other muscle-tissue of glutamine.

Hydrolysed whey peptides (HWP)

Hydrolysed whey peptides (HWP), another type of whey protein material, are commonly recognised as the most bioavailable (useable by the body) and thus a very desirable form of whey protein. HWP's are whey protein concentrates or isolates that have had their peptide bonds strategically pre-digested (broken) with enzymes or other catalysts. Current scientific evidence suggests that the body absorbs protein in short peptide form even more efficiently than in free form amino acids.

As you probably have guessed, there must be some drawbacks to hydrolysed whey proteins, otherwise everyone would be using them exclusively to make their products. The first major drawback is taste. HWP's are extremely bitter. Even the most diehard athlete would have a very difficult time downing a tall glass of short chain (low molecular weight) hydrolysed whey peptides.

Another downside to peptides is depletion of certain micro-fractions. As the word "hydrolysed" implies, protein chains have been broken down.

While this will not change the amino acid profile and may actually increase the digestibility/absorbability of the product, it decreases the prevalence of some of the larger micro-fractions naturally present in crude whey, WPC, and WPI. A final reason HWP's are not used exclusively (or at all) in certain whey protein formulas is cost. Since HWP's start off as WPC's or WPI's, an additional processing step is needed to selectively break the peptide bonds in these larger protein classes.

Other sources of protein

Eggs

eggs

Egg protein is a super bio-available protein second only to whey. It is a released more slowly than whey, which makes it perfect for use throughout the day. You may want to mix some egg and whey proteins for the most bio-available protein shake in the planet!

As far as uses go, eggs may be even better than milk protein. You can eat fried eggs in the morning with breakfast, eat hardboiled eggs throughout the day (like fruit, all you do is peel them and eat them) and its liquid in a raw form so you can mix it in plenty of things.

Being rich on protein, yolks have a very taxing effect on your liver. So out of precaution, limit your egg yolks to three a day and take a couple of weeks break once in a while. But eggs should make up at least a percentage of your weekly protein intake.

Milk Protein

It is a perfect blend of casein and whey that may yield great results and because of its convenience should make up a large portion of your protein intake. The combination of casein and whey has been found to be the best protein source in meals. This is why almost all MRP's use the blend as the base for their mix of protein.

Meat Proteins

cow

Though chicken seems to hold some kind of god-like status in bodybuilding circles, it's actually red meat that yields better results. Several studies have shown that people consuming red meat gained more mass than those consuming the two favorites in the sport: chicken and tuna. That doesn't mean you need to dismiss the other two. Both sources are prime nutrition when dieting. Tuna and the white part of chicken are low-fat and high-protein. Plus they are more easily transformed into tasty snacks you can carry around anywhere. But that big juicy steak will still give you better gains.

Casein

Casein is the other protein that is isolated from milk. Casein is the perfect complement to whey. A property of micellar casein is that it has the ability to provide a steady release of amino acids into the blood stream, which makes it an excellent choice for a long lasting anti-catabolic (muscle protecting) protein.

Whey protein is more readily used as an alternate source of energy (that's the reason you have to use enough carbs when supplementing with whey for bulking). The less chance you have of a protein being used as energy, the more carbs you use as energy. The more carbs you use, the less carbs stored as fat. So casein may prevent you getting fat too fast...

Soy Protein

soy

Soy has been shown to exhibit positive health benefits for both men and women. Studies have shown they may reduce the risk of hormone-dependent cancers (breast, prostate, etc), and other cancers as well. Soy's primary health benefits include reducing high cholesterol and easing the symptoms of menopause (due to the fact that it contains oestrogen like substances called phytoestrogens). Soy has also been shown to help with osteoporosis by building up bone mass. Because of this, 1 serving of soy protein per day is recommended for women for its health benefits.

Soy alone is practically useless with its BV value being a distant 49. But as an addition to an already rich protein spectrum it may serve a thousand uses. Its main use is protecting the cardiovascular system by lowering LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol. Bad cholesterol is one of the leading causes in arterial diseases. Bodybuilders should be aware of this, because meat, and especially that all-important red meat, could increase LDL cholesterol.

Everyone read that a high amount of soy in your diet may lead to breast cancer, brain damage and infertility in boys. The result of a high amount of flavonoids within the protein strands that may mimic the actions of strong oestrogen. Then again other compounds are considered safe that exert similar effects. So don't worry about soy being bad, just don't go overboard and don't make soy your main source of protein. As with the other proteins it has its merits, but as with anything, moderation is the key.

The best part - Your Mind!

The five ones

Let me now, show you some workout examples you could use for your workouts. Considering.

  1. Legs
  2. Back and Biceps
  3. Chest and Triceps
  4. Abs and Calves
  5. Shoulders