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5 Little Known Hacks To Looking More Muscular

Most people think that the best way to look more muscular is to hit the gym hard, 5 times a week and eat “aaaaall of the proteins!”

Although this is true to a certain degree.

The mistake most people make is that they tend to overeat and often overtrain!

If you are a seasoned subscriber or currently following our Natural Guide To Building Lean Muscle then you will already know the score!

If you are one of these guys you can probably scroll down until you see the heading title “Here Are My Top 5 Little Known Secrets For Looking More Muscular”.

For the rest of you let me give you a quick insight into our evidenced backed way of thinking and approaching natural lean muscle growth.

We Look Like We Lift

Whether you are just investigating the prospect of joining a gym or are a seasoned lifter we all want our results in the gym, to reflect how we look in the mirror…

Am I right?

I mean, I see no other reason for joining and visiting the gym in the first place?

Okay….. maybe for the general health benefits and to stop ourselves from turning into sloths.

But since you’ve made it onto this page…

Let’s not pretend that general health improvement and cardiovascular fitness is your main goal…

After all, we are here for 5 little-known hacks to looking more muscular, correct?

So Why We Are Different

The reason we don’t approach building lean muscle and looking more muscular like everyone else is simple.

We concentrate on what counts!

Building muscle, lifting weights and getting a “pump” is on the whole, very enjoyable and in fact, quite addictive once you get into the swing of things.

The problem is if superior results are what you are after then its superior protocols you need to follow!

Whether its diet, training or recovery…

Unless you have been coached by a professional from the get-go. Then I’m sure you have probably made the same simple mistakes that I did when you first joined up to the gym!

What Not To Do..

For me, I went down the route of least definition.

For years I chased the scales, increasing the amount of food I ate month after month.

All under the assumption that if I trained hard on the key exercises and followed the training programs of the professional bodybuilders. I too would gain large amounts of lean muscle and would end up looking big and ripped…

As you can see from the photo….. I didn’t end up like that at all :(.

I was hitting the gym hard. 5 times a week minimum, eating loads of protein and following the training programs of the pro bodybuilders to the finest of details!

So Why Didn’t I look Muscular?

I won’t go into every detail as that is for another article. But in essence, the route I took when I first started (The route of least definition) is probably the most uninspiring and unmotivating method of building muscle.

Unfortunately, it is one of the most common and widely accepted methods most people follow to gain muscle!

My lack of knowledge and straight up naivety, caused me to look pretty sub-par given the amount of work, dedication and consistent effort I was putting in.

It was around this point. About three years into my muscle building journey that I started to think differently.

This was where it all started to change…

I started thinking about building muscle in a more practical sense and truth be told I got a bit obsessed.

I researched everything and begun periodically experimenting with diet, training and lifestyle habits in general.

After about a year I had it sussed!

I went from a body I was frustrated with and insecure about.

To a physique, I was genuinely proud of and the results trickled down into all other aspects of my life.

My confidence skyrocketed!

I was carrying myself far better and for the first time, people were actually complimenting me on not only my physique but my demeanour in general!

It was awesome!

But the best thing about it all was that my new approach to muscle building kept me lean with a visible six pack ALL YEAR ROUND!

At last, there was a system I could use to stay looking muscular and lean 365 days of the year without devoting my entire life to going to the gym and prepping meals.

This newfound fulfilment for training and building muscle completely reignited my initial enthusiasm and passion for hitting the gym!

Having finally discovered a system which I could follow all year round and consistently make natural lean muscle and strength gains was a real life changer for me!

Don’t get me wrong I’m still training with the same intensity as before…

I just now know that my efforts are actually going to produce the results I want!

How To Look And Become More Muscular?

Before we jump into my “Top 5 Little Known Hacks To Looking More Muscular“. Let us first visit the defining principle that changed everything for my progress in the gym!

This key principal helped and continues to help me gain consistent lean muscle tissue and strength month after month, year after year!

Its widely misunderstood but if you ask anyone who has followed the program featured in   “The Natural Guide To Building Lean Muscle”. It is incredibly simple and it makes perfect sense.

Its called Progressive Overload

Let me explain…

Your body will naturally always try to operate as efficiently as possible.

Whether this is walking up a flight of stairs, going for a run or lifting a barbell.

Therefore, for your body to even think about using any of its precious energy stores for the purpose of increasing muscle mass, it better have a damn good reason to do it!

In fact, it basically needs to be given no option but to increase strength and muscle mass!

It’s kind of like when you blow air into a balloon to inflate it…

If you always blow up the balloon with the exact same amount of air.

Then the balloon will always only inflate to the same size.

You can blow air in and out of the balloon as fast as you like for hundreds of repetitions or use various different techniques…

But if you’re not actually increasing the volume of air entering the balloon then how can you expect it to inflate any larger?

This balloon concept was how I started to approach the pursuit of gaining lean muscle and at first, it just made sense in my head. 

It was only when I began doing research that I found 100s of scientific studies and research papers that actually backed up and proved what I was thinking actually worked!

Before I get into my “5 Little Known Hacks To Looking More Muscular”.

If you want to find out more about progressive overload I would like to invite you to join our way of thinking.

You can do this by checking out my complete guide to building lean muscle naturally. This will show you the exact system I use to stay lean and strong year round with consistent gains in strength and muscle size month after month!

SHOW ME THE GUIDE

5 Little Known Hacks To Looking More Muscular

So with how to actually build muscle out the way…

What are some hacks we can use to start looking more muscular right now?

If you have watched the movie “Pumping Iron” starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. You will have heard Arnold and some of the other bodybuilders talking about creating an illusion.

Don’t worry… although I am a huge fan of magic and illusionists I’m not going to start going all weird on you!

The “illusion” that these bodybuilders were referring to.

Is, in short, the little tricks you can start doing to make your physique appear more aesthetic and muscular then it actually is.

Although most of what Arnold and the boys were talking about in the movie referred to things to do in preparation for a bodybuilding competition.

The hacks I will be talking about today can be used whether you’re competing, hitting the beach or just want to look more muscular in general.

Here Are My Top 5! 1. Get Lean

The first and by far the most superior method of improving visual muscularity.

Is without a doubt achieved by getting lean!

Getting lean or reducing your levels of body fat to around 6–8% improves muscle definition and gives the appearance of larger rounder muscles!

Although you certainly need to gain weight (be in a caloric surplus) in order to increase muscle mass!

Unless you are able to increase lean muscle mass without putting on any body fat whatsoever.

The more body fat you gain, the softer and to some extent less muscular you may start to appear.

Let me explain further…

Getting your body fat percentage down low will literally make your muscles pop!

You will naturally look more vascular and defined, giving you the appearance of enviable muscularity!

Even if you have not been training for muscle gain for very long, getting lean can still result in a very impressive and muscular look.

Take Brad Pitt in the 1999 movie Fight Club for example:

  • Height = 6ft
  • Weight = 160lbs
  • Body Fat Percentage estimate = 6%
  • Fat-Free Mass Index (FFMI) = 20.7

Now for a 6ft tall male at 160lbs in weight….

Most people would be quick to say that is too light to be considered “muscular looking”…

Brad, to the contrary, looks incredibly muscular due to a low body fat percentage estimated at around 6%!

“To find out more about Fat-Free Mass Index (FFMI) check out this article Can You Get Film Star Muscles Without Taking Steroids? – Train-Natural

2. Focus On Creating An Upper Body V Taper

Prioritising certain body parts over others is certainly a strong method to help give the illusion of a more muscular body.

The infamous V-Taper look was a defining feature of the “Golden Era” of bodybuilding and is certainly an aesthetic look to strive for!

A V-Taper refers to having broad rounded shoulders, wide chest and upper back with a tight waist.

Therefore prioritising these muscle groups can help to enhance your frame giving the appearance of a more muscular broader physique.

Some examples of exercises which prioritise the V Taper Include:
  • Wide Grip Pull Ups
  • Shoulder Presses – Barbell/Dumbbell
  • Bench Press
  • Dumbbell lateral raises
  • Pectoral Flys
  • Lat pulldowns
3. Get A Tan

Ever wondered why every bodybuilding or men’s physique contest features guys who are basically a dark shade of mahogany?

In addition to lighting your skin tone is a largely important factor in creating a more muscular look. In general, the darker your skin tone the more defined your physique and muscles will start to look.

When your skin is too pale the separation lines which define where one muscle starts and the next begins, tend to blend into one another. This, in turn, makes your muscles look flatter.

If you don’t believe me, try it out for yourself!

For the obvious health reasons, I wouldn’t recommend hitting the sunbeds.

There is nothing wrong with getting your tan out of a bottle.

Head down to your local supermarket and pick yourself up a bottle of tanning lotion. It doesn’t need to be as dark as some of the pro bodybuilders.

I personally use a tinted moisturiser which helps to build a natural-looking tan gradually.

Take a before and after photo, pre and post tan and let me know the results!

I can bet you will be pleasantly surprised!

You will notice that your arms and shoulders look more defined, your abs will look deeper and your whole physique will just look more 3D.

Another advantage of a good tan is that your teeth seem to look whiter. So overall a solid hack to looking more muscular and generally more attractive.

4. Improve Your Posture

Now when I say improve your posture to look more muscular….

I am not referring to walking around like a peacock with two watermelons under your arms (see image)

What I am referring to is your general day to day posture and how you carry yourself…

Walking around with your shoulders slumped and back hunched over is going to make even the most muscular guys look out of shape!

Start taking account of how you sit and stand in your day to day life. It’s a simple fix to make a conscious effort to stand up straight, pull your shoulders back and push your chest out.

Don’t go overboard!

Just the process of subconsciously thinking about improving your posture should help you to make the minor adjustments required to stand tall and effortlessly improve the look of your physique!

5. Don’t Skip Leg Day

Although creating a strong upper body V-Taper look is a sure fire way to improve your visual muscularity.

What tends to happen is people seem to forget about the bottom half!

Please don’t end up being that guy!

What the majority of people don’t realise is that although a strong v taper is certainly going to make you stand out and look more muscular than the average bloke.

It is really only half the story!

Creating An X Frame

The X frame refers to the shape or silhouette of the body!

A V- Taper on top and an upside down V-Taper on the bottom… Hence the X-Frame!

A wide back and shoulders tapering down to a small waist then flaring out again over the thighs creating the X shape.

As we have already discussed “creating an illusion“…

A large portion of enhancing your muscular frame and overall look is done by accentuating and prioritising the key body parts and muscle groups that make up the X shape.

The muscles in your legs are also some of the largest in your body and training them with the same intensity and consistency as your upper body can have a dramatic effect on your body’s ability to build muscle and reduce body fat!

Remember….

If you are interested in joining the Train-Natural way of thinking and want a scientifically proven guide to building lean muscle….

You NEED to check out the guide!

The guide contains over 250 pages of proven methodologies and information on everything related to building lean muscle and will help to provide you with the exact system, I and others have used to stay lean year round whilst increasing strength and building muscle!

The Natural Guide To Building Lean Muscle

The post 5 Little Known Hacks To Looking More Muscular appeared first on Train-Natural.

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Bodybuilding For Beginners: Tips, Diet, Training and Programs

Building muscle is by no means an easy feat and especially if you are a complete beginner to the whole concept of bodybuilding. From drinking protein shakes, prepping meals and hitting the gym. With limited knowledge and zero experience the whole process can seem rather daunting!

Am I right?

We are here to help!

I won’t bore you with the patronising pre-amble about how every bodybuilder was a beginner at some stage chat.

I know we have all heard that one before….

So lets get right to the point.

My Top 5 Tips for bodybuilding beginners Step 1: Define and understand your goals and objectives

This is probably not the typical type of advice and tips you would expect to receive from an article targeted at bodybuilding for beginners. But please try to stick with me!

In order for you to progress as efficiently as possible when it comes to bodybuilding. It is vital that you have a clear idea of not only where you are heading (desired physique). But also where you are now!

It’s very easy to have your perception of what level of muscularity is attainable naturally twisted by social media and other popular “Natural” athletes.

The truth is if you spend long enough on Google you will here arguments both for and against how much muscle it is possible to gain naturally.

But honestly when it comes down to it, the scientific research and evidence backed studies are the ones which are going to give you the most legitimate estimate for your genetics, physical stats and body type.

Information such as how long you have been properly training, your current fat free mass index and aspects such as genetics. All play a key role in not only how much muscle you are likely to build naturally as an individual. But also how quickly you can expect to see these lean muscular gains begin to accumulate on your body.

My point is….

If you are aware and have knowledge of this information then your plan of attack and physique goals can be far more achievable and realistic.

I am not for a minute about to tell anyone that their goals are un-achievable. But the scientific data and research can certainly help give you a ball park estimate of what you are potentially capable of without resorting to performance enhancing drugs.

For example if you can accurately estimate how much muscle you are likely to build in the following year of training. Then you can tailor your calorie and macro intake to match this prediction. Meaning you will gain less unwanted fat during a muscle building phase.

Step 2: Become A Sceptic

Your first thought anytime someone gives you advice or provides you with information on how to best gain muscle, increase strength or lost fat. Should be, “has any of this actually been proven?” or “is there any evidence to support what I have just been told?”.

Is this a tad over sceptical and perhaps even cynical?

Yes!

But trust me even if you finish reading this page and disappear off to the other side of the internet, I will feel pleased that I have at least planted this seed into your mind and hopefully protected you from not only some potentially bad advice but also saved you time and money.

Coming from someone who has been in this exact position. It is very easy to be swayed and accept advice from almost anyone when it comes to guidance relating to bodybuilding.

Whether it be training frequency, volume, calorie intake, exercise selection or program advice. Almost anyone in the gym who is in moderately better shape than you are, loves to give there two pence opinion on what you are doing wrong and what you should be doing instead.

Not only have I personally been swayed numerous times from the path to natural lean gains in muscle mass. But I have also been in the presence of even qualified personal trainers who are dishing out some pretty wishy-washy advice.

Therefore take whatever you hear with a pinch of salt and make sure you do your background research to check what you’ve been told is actually proven and legit.

Step 3: Understand, Plan And Execute

Fail To Plan And You Plan To Fail

Understand what elements are required from a training and nutrition plan in order to optimise lean muscle growth naturally!

Decide what areas you want to improve on most and focus on improving these areas. Make your weak areas a priority and find a proven program which can be tailored to your requirements.

With a plan in place you must Execute and you must remain Consistent!

Dedication to the cause and consistency in your diet and training will ultimately pay dividends!

The only way to achieve a truly impressive physique is to remain consistent with your diet and training!

It sounds cliche but progress really does take time, if you are following a plan which has been proven to deliver results then you must trust the process. The simple fact that you are actually following and executing a training and nutrition plan will already put you in the best position to realise the results you are after.

You will be surprised just how many people in the gym are just “winging it” and hoping for the best!

Step 4: Get Your Diet In Check

You could have the best training program ever created, but if you’re nutrition isn’t on point and your not hitting the macros and calories required to gain muscle/lose fat then you will forever be spinning your wheels.

The key to understanding the importance of diet and nutrition is to think of food as fuel. Just as you wouldn’t fill up a Ferrari with diesel, why should you fill your body with food which does nothing but hinder you from achieving the physique you desire.

Although bodybuilding meal plans and diets tend to have a stigma associated with the mysterious. They are in fact quite simple.

You should start by working out the amount of calories your body requires each day in order to maintain your current body weight. This is called your daily maintenance calories.

From here you can simply incrementally increase calories when looking to gain muscle and reduce calories when looking to lose fat.

Diet and nutrition is an area where the majority of people in the gym seem to go wrong. The reason for this is that most people have very limited knowledge when it comes to what and how much you need to eat to build lean muscle.

If you are after some more science backed info on muscle building diet, macros, meal plans and calories click here!

Step 5: Track And Record Everything

If you really are serious about gaining lean muscle mass naturally then it is vital to keep track of your progress!

One of the most proven and tried and tested methods to securing long-term, sustainable gains in lean muscle mass and strength naturally is to use a program based on the principle of progressive overload!

What Is Progressive Overload?

Your body will naturally always try to operate as efficiently as possible.

Therefore, for it to even think about using any of its precious energy stores for the purpose of increasing muscle mass, it better have a damn good reason to do it!

Progressively increasing aspects such as more reps per set, adding more load to the bar, reducing rest times between sets and increasing time under tension are all ways to challenge and punish your muscles in a way that your body has not seen before.

Increasing aspects such as mechanical tension, metabolic stress and muscular damage gives your body no option but to adapt and grow to deal with these new requirements.

You may be thinking to yourself “well yeah obviously?”

But please ask yourself…

Do you actually make yourself accountable?

In order to consistently increase strength and muscle size over time, you must ensure that you’re performance is actually improving!

Therefore it is vital that you better the performance of your last workout. Even if you just manage to squeeze out a single extra repetition on your last set of bench press.

Progress is progress!

Write down everything and every time you enter the gym to complete a workout look back at what you did previously and beat it!

Do this religiously every workout and you wont only see your strength start to increase. But the focus and intensity of your workouts will suddenly start to feel far more purposeful!

The Natural Guide To Building Lean Muscle: Natural Bodybuilding EBook

I hope these 5 tips helped you increase you’re awareness of how to best approach the pursuit of natural bodybuilding. If you have any questions on anything discussed please feel free to get in touch!

If you are looking for a complete guide to building lean muscle naturally I have a book available to download which will literally walk you through everything!

The book is dedicated entirely to helping people build lean muscle naturally and sustainably. Containing over 250 pages of proven methodologies and information on everything related to building lean muscle. It will help to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of how to train, eat, think and live to maximise strength and lean muscle growth!

Ive also included a science and evidence backed 14 week training and nutrition program which is completely bespoke to your individual requirements.

The tools and information provided in this book will allow you to take a simple systematic approach to gaining lean muscle which for once has actually been proven via science to deliver results.

So if you are struggling with what to eat, how to train etc.. etc.. I would fully recommend checking it out!

Plus I am currently riding high on purely 5 star reviews!

The post Bodybuilding For Beginners: Tips, Diet, Training and Programs appeared first on Train-Natural.

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Can You Get Film Star Muscles Without Taking Steroids?

If you are anything like me then one of the main incentives to start lifting weights and hitting the gym was to try to gain action hero Hollywood muscles!

Whether it be Marvel, Batman or Rocky everyone had their favourite!

And although there is a fair amount of controversy when it comes to whether or not some of these movie stars actually took performance enhancing drugs (steroids).

It is important certainly for those looking to build an impressive muscular physique naturally. To establish whether or not it is actually possible to achieve action hero film star muscles without resorting to performance enhancing drugs.

This article will be analysing whether any of these top 10 Hollywood physiques are attainable naturally for someone with average genetics.

But…

Before anyone starts to get too excited…

I must confess…

I don`t have the inside scoop on who took what, or what magic workout routine or diet these film stars actually used in order to achieve their iconic muscular Hollywood physiques.

So for that, I can only apologise…

What I do have however is some fairly credible data on the discussed film stars physical stats (weight, height, body fat percentage) when playing these roles.

Therefore I have used this data to discuss with scientific research and evidence. Whether or not each film star physique would be achievable via natural means alone.

Analysis:

If you have been an avid reader of Train-Natural for a while or have even read my book

“The Natural Guide To Building Lean Muscle” (shameless plug).

Then you will know that I don`t like to make any bold claim or statement without referencing scientific proof or physical evidence to back it up.

This article is no different!

In order to actually answer the question as to if a certain actors physique is actually achievable naturally. I will be looking at the actors Fat Free Mass Index.

Fat Free Mass Index (FFMI)

For those of you that don`t know, your fat free mass index is an index used to measure the amount of muscle mass, an individual is carrying relevant to their weight and height.

It is similar to a body mass index (BMI) which is the index often used by doctors to calculate if a person is at a healthy weight for their height.

However, a fat free mass index is far more specific to muscle building and bodybuilding. This is because a BMI does not account for what quantity of a persons body weight is muscle and what is fat.

A fat free mass index uses three key parameters:

  1. Bodyweight
  2. Height
  3. Body fat percentage.

These 3 parameters are then placed into a formula (shown below) which is used to give you a resultant number, your FFMI.

  • Lean mass = Weight in kg x (1.0 – (Body fat %/ 100.0))
  • FFMI = (Lean / 2.2) / ((Height in ft x 12.0 + in) x 0.0254)2 x 2.20462
  • Adjusted FFMI = FFMI + (6.1 x (1.8 – ((Height in ft x 12.0 + in) x 0.0254)))

The higher this resultant number (your FFMI and adjusted FFMI) the higher the ratio of muscle to body fat that person is carrying relevant to their height.

Make sense?

Why Fat Free Mass Index?

The reason for using fat free mass index to establish whether or not a certain physique is achievable naturally or not is simple.

There has been proven research conducted using fat free mass index data from both steroid and non-steroid using bodybuilders. This data has then been meticulously analysed to create a series of categories.

Just like the categories, your doctor informs you of when calculating your BMI (body mass index) to determine whether you are underweight, healthy weight, overweight or obese.

There are a similar set of categories established for FFMI (fat free mass index). The only difference being that these categories are in essence a scale of how impressive your lean muscle gains are relative to your height.

Fat Free Mass Index (FFMI) Categories

16 – 17 = Below Average

17 – 19 = Average

19 – 21 = Above Average

21 – 23 = Excellent

23 – 25 = Superior

25 – 27 = Still attainable naturally but only for the genetically gifted minority

27 – 30 = Very unlikely to achieve without the use of performance-enhancing drugs

30+ = Basically Mr Olympia

The categories were established using data collected from both steroid and non-steroid bodybuilders.

This data was then analysed and a natural threshold of 25 was established and deemed as the level in which 95% of natural bodybuilders top out.

Therefore any individual who possesses a fat free mass index score in excess of 25 is either a genetic anomaly or is using performance enhancing drugs (steroids).

The Chosen Film Star Physiques

In order to help increase understanding about what level of muscularity is achievable naturally, I have chosen, in my opinion, some of the most iconic Hollywood male physiques.

Ranging from the 230lb Arnold Schwarzenegger right down to the 160lb Brad Pitt.

So let’s get started with one of my personal favourites.

Sly Stallone, Rambo First Blood & Rocky 3 – 1982

                

If you have not seen it yet. You can Click Here to pick up your copy of The Complete Rocky – Saga DVD Collection on Amazon!

  • Height = 5ft 10
  • Weight = 180lbs
  • Body Fat Percentage estimate = 6%
  • Fat-Free Mass Index (FFMI) = 24.4
Dwayne Johnson “The Rock”, Pain And Gain – 2013

If you have not seen it yet. You can Click Here to pick up your copy of “Pain And Gain” on Amazon!

  • Height = 6ft 6
  • Weight = 262lbs
  • Body Fat Percentage estimate = 6%
  • Fat-Free Mass Index (FFMI) = 29.7
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Conan The Barbarian – 1982

If you have not seen it yet. You can Click Here to pick up your copy of Conan The Barbarian on Amazon!

  • Height = 6ft 1
  • Weight = 230lbs
  • Body Fat Percentage estimate = 7%
  • Fat-Free Mass Index (FFMI) = 28.7
Brad Pitt, Fight Club – 1999

If you have not seen it yet. You can Click Here to pick up your copy of Fight Club on Amazon!

  • Height = 6ft
  • Weight = 160lbs
  • Body Fat Percentage estimate = 6%
  • Fat-Free Mass Index (FFMI) = 20.7
Daniel Craig, James Bond Casino Royale – 2006

If you have not seen it yet. You can Click Here to pick up your copy of James Bond: Casino Royale on Amazon!

  • Height = 5ft 10
  • Weight = 180lbs
  • Body Fat Percentage estimate = 10%
  • Fat-Free Mass Index (FFMI) = 23.2
Tom Hardy, Warrior – 2011

If you have not seen it yet. You can Click Here to pick up your copy of Warrior on Amazon!

  • Height = 5ft 9
  • Weight = 180lbs
  • Body Fat Percentage estimate = 11%
  • Fat-Free Mass Index (FFMI) = 23.6
Hugh Jackman, Wolverine – 2013

If you have not seen it yet. You can Click Here to pick up your copy of Wolverine on Amazon!

  • Height = 6ft 2
  • Weight = 195lbs
  • Body Fat Percentage estimate = 6%
  • Fat-Free Mass Index (FFMI) = 24.2
Chris Hemsworth, Thor – 2017

If you have not seen it yet. You can Click Here to pick up your copy of Thor on Amazon!

  • Height = 6ft 3
  • Weight = 201lbs
  • Body Fat Percentage estimate = 9%
  • Fat-Free Mass Index (FFMI) = 23.6
Gerard Butler, 300 – 2006

If you have not seen it yet. You can Click Here to pick up your copy of 300 on Amazon!

  • Height = 6ft 2
  • Weight = 200lbs
  • Body Fat Percentage estimate = 8%
  • Fat-Free Mass Index (FFMI) = 24.2
Jean-Claude Van Damme, Bloodsport – 1988

If you have not seen it yet. You can Click Here to pick up your copy of Bloodsport on Amazon!

  • Height = 5ft 9
  • Weight = 185lbs
  • Body Fat Percentage estimate = 8%
  • Fat-Free Mass Index (FFMI) = 25.1
Zac Efron, Baywatch – 2017

If you have not seen it yet. You can Click Here to pick up your copy of Baywatch on Amazon!

  • Height = 5ft 9 inches
  • Weight = 170lbs
  • Body Fat Percentage estimate = 7%
  • Fat-Free Mass Index (FFMI) = 23.3
So is it possible to look like a film star with an FFMI under 25 without taking steroids?

YES!

Almost anyone can gain a substantial amount of lean muscle mass and improve there physique and level of muscularity to rival the majority of film star physiques listed above!

If you are interested in learning more about how much muscle you can gain naturally and the proven scientific methods to maximise muscle growth and increase your FFMI naturally.

I would highly recommend checking out my book.

It is dedicated entirely to helping people build lean muscle naturally and sustainably. The book contains over 250 pages of proven methodologies and information on everything related to building lean muscle and will help to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of how to train, eat, think and live to maximise strength and lean muscle growth!

I’ve also included a science and evidence backed 14-week training and nutrition program which is completely bespoke to your individual requirements.

The tools and information provided in this book will allow you to take a simple systematic approach to gaining lean muscle which for once has actually been proven via science to deliver results.

So if you are struggling with what to eat, how to train etc.. etc..

Click the link below to find out more.

“The Natural Guide To Building Lean Muscle”

I WANT THE BOOK

References And Image Credits:

Schutz, Y., Kyle, U. U., & Pichard, C. (2002). Fat-free mass index and fat mass index percentiles in Caucasians aged 18-98 y. International journal of obesity and related metabolic disorders: journal of the International Association for the Study of Obesity, 26(7), 953-960. link

Kyle, U. G., Schutz, Y., Dupertuis, Y. M., & Pichard, C. (2003). Body composition interpretation: contributions of the fat-free mass index and the body fat mass index. Nutrition, 19(7), 597-604. link

Kouri, E. M., Pope Jr, H. G., Katz, D. L., & Oliva, P. (1995). Fat-free mass index in users and nonusers of anabolic-androgenic steroids. Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine, 5(4), 223-228. link

https://popworkouts.com/sylvester-stallone-workout-rocky-rambo/4/

https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/360147301435394689/

https://bodywhat.com/?1=de68923l&2=mtn21jvg

https://www.strengthfighter.com/2012/04/brad-pitt-in-fight-club.html

https://bodywhat.com/?1=9z6mfggw&2=kssemn49

https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/373024781605581098/

http://aretheyonsteroids.com/jean-claude-van-damme-steroids/

http://heightboard.com/thread-How-Tall-is-Jean-Claude-Van-Damm

http://healthyceleb.com/hugh-jackman-height-weight-body-statistics/7398

https://healthyceleb.com/chris-hemsworth-height-weight-body-statistics/11022

The post Can You Get Film Star Muscles Without Taking Steroids? appeared first on Train-Natural.

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So Should You Cut Or Bulk First?

If you are looking to find out if you should “cut” (focus on losing fat) or “bulk” (focus on gaining lean muscle), Then its time to pay attention!

We all have a vision of what we would like to look like in an ideal world but if you are yet to achieve your desired result or have just started working out then it’s hard to know where to start!

Now it is very easy for me to generalize what the majority of your physique desires actually are!

But since you are reading this article on a site dedicated to delivering guidance on achieving a strong, lean and muscular physique, naturally. Then I am going to make the assumption that this is the physique 95% of us are after?

Am I right?

In order to begin on our path towards attaining this “ideal” physique, we must take one of two routes. These two routes are Cutting or Bulking.

By the end of this article, you will understand the differences between the cut and the bulk. You will know when you should bulk and when you should cut and will be provided with the knowledge to make an informed decision on how to maximize the results of each.

Cutting:

Following a cut is basically a diet/program which focuses on the reduction of body fat. Cutting is great for revealing your abs (six pack) but is not favourable when it comes to increasing muscle mass!

Bulking:

Following a bulk, on the other hand, is the complete opposite and focuses on a diet/program catered towards increasing muscle mass. Although the bulking route will promote the growth of lean muscle. It will also incur with it some increases in body fat. Unfortunately, this is just one of the unavoidable side effects of eating in a calorie surplus.

A calorie surplus refers to consuming more calories per day then your body is expending (using up). This is what is required for the body to gain muscle.

Check out the table below to understand the caloric differences between cutting and bulking.

How To Determine Whether You Should Bulk Or Cut First?

Choosing which route you should take first is actually quite a dilemma especially if you are a newcomer to the concept of working out and building muscle.

Although this decision does come down largely to the individual’s personal preference. There are a number of things we can analyze in order to ensure we are progressing towards our desired physique (strong, lean and muscular) as quickly and as efficiently as possible.

One of the key drivers behind the decision on whether you should cut or bulk ultimately comes down to our current body fat percentage.

If you are unsure on what your current body fat percentage is and how you can measure it then you need to check out this article “Are Abs Made In The Kitchen” which will show you how!

In short…

If your body fat percentage is too high, then your first priority should be to get lean (cut) and not gain muscle. If your body fat percentage is already fairly low, then your main focus should be on increasing muscle mass (bulk) and not to pursue getting leaner.

Make sense?

When You Should Cut

Ultimately your body will actually gain muscle easier and quicker when you have a lower body fat percentage.

So although most of us want to start gaining muscle as soon as possible. There is no reason to gain more fat then we need to. Therefore we should look to reduce body fat promptly in order to get our bodies into the optimum body fat percentage range to maximise lean muscle growth.

The best way to ensure we are working in a body fat percentage range that is not only healthy and better suited for muscle growth. But also for ensuring that we generally feel happy about the way we look and motivated to hit the gym, is to follow the points below:

You should cut if:

  • You’re male with a body fat percentage above 15%
  • You’re female with a body fat percentage above 25%

Please take these figures with a slight pinch of salt as they are just general guidelines. You will often find that if you are already pretty lean then you won’t want to let your body fat percentage creep as high as some of these figures.

It really does come down to personal preference and how lean you want to stay year round. Just remember being shredded is great, but if you want to make some muscle gains then you are going to have to bulk at some point!

When You Should Bulk

You should only bulk if you are certain that you want to increase muscle mass and can accept that your well defined six pack/abs may become a little softer.

It is possible to lose fat and gain muscle at the same time (holy grail). But unless you have only just started weight lifting then I wouldn’t count on achieving it.

You may have heard people say that you need to “Eat Big To Get Big“. But in actual fact you’re body only needs a slight calorie surplus to start gaining muscle. Eating any more than this will likely result in excess calories being stored as body fat which will mean your cut will last longer than necessary.

Plus….who wants to get fatter then they need to?

You should bulk if:

  • You’re male with a body fat percentage at or under 10%
  • You’re female with a body fat percentage at or under 20%
How To Bulk Properly

There are a variety of benefits to bulking in addition to the simple fact that you are actually “making gains” (building muscle). But essentially these benefits can be redundant unless you are actually bulking properly.

Although bulking is often referred to by some people as the “off-season” with people generally bulking over autumn/winter and cutting during spring/summer.

What we need to try and remember is that for natural lifters real progress is made during a bulk!

Therefore in an ideal world, we want to aim to be bulking (in a muscle building phase) for as long as possible.

How can we do this? Lean Bulking

Lean bulking refers to building muscle whilst minimising any gains in fat as much as possible.

The difference between lean bulking and conventional bulking is that the majority of your diet comes from clean nutritious sources and your calories and macros are properly calculated.

It may sound like a bit more work but trust me if you follow a lean bulk properly you won’t only look better you will feel and most likely perform better as well!

To help fill this common void in knowledge associated with lean bulking I have written a book.

“The Natural Guide To Building Lean Muscle”

I WANT THE BOOK

You can download the book here if you are interested in learning more about building lean muscle naturally. The book also features a 14 week science and evidence backed training and nutrition program so you cant really go wrong.

References

Lower-body fat mass as an independent marker of insulin sensitivity–the role of adiponectin.(International Journal of Obesity 2005) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15824752

Testosterone, body composition and ageing (journal of endocrinological investigation 1999) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10442580

The post Should You Cut Or Bulk First? Lean Muscle Building appeared first on Train-Natural.

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The Natural Guide To Building Lean Muscle: Natural Bodybuilding Ebook

“The Truth Behind How Much Muscle You Can Really Build Naturally And The Scientific Proven Methods In Which To Do It”

Getting lean and building muscle naturally is NOT as difficult as the fitness industry makes it out to be!

Lets start of by making some things clear:

  1. You don’t need to spend hundreds of pounds every month on worthless supplements that professional bodybuilders peddle via online advertisements and Instagram.
  2. You don’t need to constantly change up your workouts to “confuse” your muscles. 
  3. You don’t need to spend hours in the gym every day, doing masses of super-sets, and drop sets.
  4. You don’t need to follow a strict meal plan that causes you to eat the same boring foods day in and day out.
  5. You don’t need to hire an expensive coach or nutritionist to tell you how to eat and how to train in order to achieve good results.
  6. And finally, you don’t need to completely dedicate your whole life to getting into shape in order to achieve substantial gains in lean muscle naturally.

These are just some of the common misconceptions that prevent most people from putting on quality lean muscle easily, sustainably and naturally!

This book will guide you around these common misconceptions and deliver to you a detailed education on the exact proven, scientifically backed methods. I have used to increase lean muscle mass consistently month after month, year after year!

This book is the ultimate bible for anyone on the quest to build lean muscle without the use of performance enhancing drugs!

Train-Natural’s ethos behind creating this book is not just to provide you with a training and nutrition plan and send you on your way.

This book is far more than a simple training and nutrition plan!

To be honest, the depth, quantity and credibility of the science-backed information provided in this book substantially surpasses any other training program or nutrition plans I have seen available to purchase online.

Which was one of the main reasons for creating this guide!

So What Makes This Lean Natural Muscle Building Book Different From Every Other Muscle Building Program? One word….. EDUCATION!

The fitness and muscle building industry is awash with conflicting and non-factual advice!

Building muscle is by no means an easy feat. Plus if you are a complete novice to the world of the gym, protein shakes and building muscle, the whole process can seem rather daunting.

Am I right?

TAKE ME TO THE GUIDE

Coming from someone who has been in this exact position, it is very easy to be swayed and accept advice from almost anyone when it comes to what you should be doing in the gym, how often you should be training etc… etc..

I imagine most of us have been on the receiving end of this so called “expert” advice and guidance either coming from the biggest and most shredded guy in the gym or on social media.

I also imagine that just as I did, you soon became frustrated with the outcomes of not only this advice. But also the sub-standard results you were receiving in the gym. Despite your complete dedication to these specific methods of training, dieting and recovery?

Below is a image which shows where I came from!

Believe it or not the image on the left was taken after training for almost 3 years! The image on the right was 18 months later and after I had finally begun following the proven methods to nutrition and training which are discussed in this guide.

Now….

Excuse me from sounding too much like Tai Lopez but “Knowledge” really is what is stopping you from achieving and sustaining a lean muscular physique naturally!

The photos really do speak for themselves!

I mean yes, I made some mild increases in lean muscle mass within my first three years of training (left hand image above).

But for the time and dedication, I was putting in?

The results, in my opinion, were completely unjustified and unsatisfactory!

I mean, I wasn’t completely naive…

I knew gaining muscle didn’t happen overnight and that it was a process that, if I trained hard and remained consistent. I would start to see results. But the results I was after never came to fruition!

This was when it dawned on me that I was doing it all wrong!

From the first day I stepped into the gym, I made every mistake you could imagine:

  • I had no knowledge of how to diet correctly 
  • I concentrated on 90 minute high volume workouts and neglected key exercises
  • I never did any cardio or HIIT as I was under the impression this would dampen any muscle gains
  • I overtrained everything except legs (classic)
  • I wasted far too much money on any supplement I could get my hands on
  • I changed my workout routines regularly to really “confuse” my muscles
  • I didn’t track my progress correctly

And many more…..

Sound familiar?

Well, the truth is…

In order to make consistent, sustainable gains in lean muscle mass and strength over time then it is important to train and diet intelligently!

Simply attacking the gym every time you enter with whatever you feel like doing, plucking the exercises, rep ranges and weights used straight out of your head, just doesn’t cut it if you want to achieve the best results.

Likewise following a training program straight from the pages of the latest bodybuilding magazine isn’t going to provide you with the most specific and beneficial training program either.

This is because it is more than likely based on the training of someone who is taking a cocktail of performance enhancing drugs.

“If you are going to build muscle without the use of performance enhancing drugs, then it is completely inefficient to train and eat as if you are taking performance enhancing drugs!”

Although this sounds pretty obvious in concept, it is a subject which is far from publicised when searching for a program to maximise muscle growth “naturally”.

Take it from me, the first day I stepped into the gym as a skinny 6ft, 60kg, 12% body fat complete newbie. I made the decision to never indulge in performance enhancing drugs. I am not saying I disagree with the use of performance enhancing drugs altogether. As I personally feel the sport of bodybuilding would not be where it is today without them.

What I am saying is that unfortunately, there is a large misconception as to how much muscle and how big and lean you can hope to get naturally, without the use of performance enhancing drugs.

There is also an extremely limited number (if any) muscle building programs or books which specifically cater for people who want to gain substantial amounts of lean muscle without resorting to the use of steroids or performance-enhancing drugs.

It’s Time To Gain Some Proven Knowledge!

This book will provide you with the answers and misconceptions about building muscle naturally, that no one else is prepared to talk about!

You will be provided with the tools and knowledge to accurately estimate…

  • How much muscle you can build naturally
  • How much muscle you can gain over time
  • Your genetic potential for building muscle and how this can be measured
  • How to calculate your exact individual nutritional requirements for optimising muscle growth and minimising fat
  • How to determine your individual body type
  • How to train and diet to maximise your muscle and strength gains naturally and sustainably
And if that wasn’t enough…

In addition to 250+ pages of detailed evidence backed information and a bespoke 14 week training and nutrition program, some further topics that will for once be answered and discussed with actual evidence include:

  • How to build muscle after 50 years old
  • How long it takes to build muscle
  • Which supplements actually work (scientifically proven)
  • The importance of hydration
  • How to measure and reduce body fat
  • How to optimise your body’s natural anabolic (muscle building) hormones
  • How to optimise the art of training to failure
  • How to systematically and safely increase weight used on an exercise without over reaching and compromising the rest of your workout
  • The specific amount of calories and macro-nutrients (proteins, carbohydrates and fats) required each day to build muscle (individually calculated)
  • How to improve and enhance recovery
  • How to incorporate advanced training techniques
  • A complete training program philosophy explaining exactly how and why the training program was created
  • Which everyday foods have been proven to enhance your natural muscle building hormones
  • What a typical day to day lean muscle building meal plan may look like for someone with similar calorie and macro requirements
  • What are the calorie and macro-nutrient contents of some everyday foods (comprehensive list and description)

And many more….

You really will learn the lot!

I WANT TO BUILD MUSCLE NOW!

Remember anyone can follow a training and diet plan and many people will purchase this book, just to follow the training and diet plans and that is completely fine.

Not everyone needs or wants to know the reasons why the elements of the program have been included and the research and science behind them being so effective.

So this is usually the part where you would hear how I have claimed to have discovered “The Secret To Extreme Natural Muscle Growth”

I’m sorry to disappoint you but I have not discovered anything new!

I understand that this news may surprise you given that fitness gurus and new training fads/diets are all over the place these days. Everywhere you go there is someone claiming to have found “The secret” or “The ultimate shortcut” to get big, strong and lean. All for the low price of just £197 available TODAY ONLY!!

Trying to figure out who is just jumping on the band wagon of the latest training/diet trend and who actually knows what they’re talking about is hard enough!

However…

If you are one of the thousands of people that have been keeping up to date with Train-Natural for a while, then you will know that this operation is quite different!

1. I Do Not claim to be in the possession of any revolutionary secrets nor do I claim to have discovered any!

Truth be told, much of the information you will find in this book was known years ago but has since been pushed to the side by the latest fads which have been born as a result of some somewhat questionable studies/research.

Although a large amount of the topics and methods discussed within this book have come from studies and research published within the last couple of years. The majority of the methods have been around for decades with masses of studies, research and experiments to test and prove there worth and credibility.
My role in producing this book was to simplify and use this tried and tested scientific research in addition to practical real world experimentation in the gym and the kitchen, to show how these basic principles can be practically used to naturally gain lean muscle, strength and improve overall health.
2. I spend a great deal of time and effort in covering my arse!

I have been in the real world long enough to know that if you are making outlandish claims then you deserved to be called up on them!

Your first thought anytime someone gives you advice or provides you with information on how to best gain muscle, increase strength or lost fat should be, “has any of this actually been proven?” or “is there any evidence to support this?”.

Is this a tad over sceptical and perhaps even cynical?

Yes!

But trust me even if you finish reading this page and disappear off to the other side of the internet, I will feel pleased that I have at least planted this seed into your mind and hopefully protected you from not only some potentially bad advice but also saved you time and money.

So how do I differ from anyone else and surpass this initial barrier of scepticism?

Well for one, I have spent an embarrassing amount of time reviewing, understanding and physically testing data from hundreds of scientific papers, research and studies. All of which has resulted in this book boasting a culmination of cited references exceeding well over 100. Of which all can be traced back to a credible source or established institution.

My initial reason for spending this painstaking amount of time reviewing, analysing and testing all of this scientific data was not to stand out in the fitness industry nor was it to advertise and sell this book it was, in fact, a case of complete selfishness.

That’s right selfishness!

My plan was never to develop a training program or write a book it was simply to find out the best way I myself could build sustainable gains in muscle whilst remaining as lean as possible.

It truly wasn’t until I started to get people asking me how to train and what to eat that I suddenly realised that putting all of the research and knowledge I had gained into a single place would offer tremendous value to someone who’s shoes I was in just a few years ago.

So how much would you be prepared to pay for this knowledge?

Looking back now I know I personally would have paid close to a £1000 for the knowledge I know now and the amount of time I would have saved obtaining it. But in hindsight, would have I have been prepared to part with hundreds of pounds back then when I needed this information and guidance the most?

Probably not!

Therefore it would be absurd to think that I could think anyone else would part with even a quarter, let alone half the price of what I wouldn’t have paid.

So let me ask you….

How much is a new body worth to you?

Putting a financial figure on this is difficult, as its worth to each person is completely individual and relates entirely to the stage in which each of us are at in our lives, our level of fulfilment and our level of happiness within our body and its overall health.

The best way to look at this is to imagine how you are likely to feel in a few months time with a potential 10-15lbs of additional lean muscle!

I won’t get too melty on you all…

But coming from someone who was out of shape and had never stepped foot in a gym. To someone who has gained in excess of 20kg of lean muscle and has developed an in-depth understanding of a simple, executable, systematic approach to staying lean and building muscle.

I can safely say that I cannot argue with the results!

Having close friends and family members commend you on your transformation really does bring with it a new lease of confidence and energy to your life that is difficult to put a price on.

We all have that image in our mind of how we want to look and the change in happiness and fulfilment that would bring to our lives.

If you are driven and determined to turn this image into reality then it’s up to you to take action!

I can completely relate to the often steep learning curve when learning or trying anything new. This is why I have developed everything in this book to make taking action as easy and as executable as possible!

Value for money?

Value for money an online personal trainer of popular Instagram fitness influencer might charge you £150-200 for a training and nutrition plan. Trust me these numbers are actually pretty conservative to what I have seen some people charge.

Now although Train-Naturals online following is growing nicely, it is a far cry from the realms of some of these guys!

Plus I am offering something completely different to what they are!

This guide is not just a plan on how to train and eat but also an extensive catalogue of proven and science backed educational information. This means you actually gain an understanding of why you need to train and diet in a certain way and how this is directly linked to your individual requirements!

Everything is broken down into simple actionable steps which can be slowly implemented into your current lifestyle and exercise regime to ensure your results are sustainable for the long term!

So How Much Is It?

Well, I am not going to charge you £150-200 or anywhere near that amount….

What I am charging you is £37.99! Which is about the price of a tub of protein.

I could potentially charge a great deal more for this information but to be honest I just want the information to be affordable to people who need it and to be set at a price in which I know I would extract the maximal amount of value for its readers without the large expense often associated with the majority of muscle building and nutritional programs.

Remember this is a One Time Fee!

You are not under any paid subscription or coaching service which aims to keep you at an arm’s length and drip feed you with value to keep you on the hook!

This is a single guide which will provide you with everything you need to know about building lean muscle naturally.

And trust me on this…

If you pick up this guide today for £37.99 the only thing you will be complaining about 3 months down the line is that you didn’t stumble across it sooner….

The post The Natural Guide To Building Lean Muscle: Natural Bodybuilding Ebook appeared first on Train-Natural.

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The Truth! How Does Drinking Alcohol Affect Muscle Growth

We can all be partial to a alcoholic beverage, but what is its affect when it comes to working out and building muscle! From protein synthesis, natural testosterone and human growth hormone levels, alcohol has an affect on them all.

A pint of beer or a large glass of wine at the end of the day can be part of some peoples daily routine, but does alcohol really deserve the bad reputation it has when it comes to its affect on muscle growth and fat loss?

The internet and the general fitness industry is flooded with over exaggerated opinions that all alcohol is bad, with theories stating that even moderate alcohol consumption on a regular basis, can play havoc with your bodies natural hormones, encourage fat storage and reduce recovery and performance in the gym!

To point out the bleeding obvious! We all know that drinking too much alcohol on a regular basis has been linked with numerous health risks. After all theres a reason that it has some experts ranking alcohol as the most dangerous drug in the world!

Yet the majority of us still look forward all week to a nice cold beer or glass of wine on a Friday night!

Instead of boring you with what you already know…

This article will be examining specifically the affects of alcohol consumption in relative terms of working out and the natural building of muscle.

So lets get into it….

Will Drinking Alcohol Reduce Or Hinder Natural Muscle Growth?

This is a very interesting question which has caused some serious debate amongst the fitness industy!

The truth is in terms of increasing or promoting muscle growth from drinking alcohol, you will be hard pressed to find any tangible evidence for its positive attributes. So to answer the question “will drinking alcohol reduce or hinder natural muscle growth?” Yes it most likely will.

Therefore I thought it best to examine just how detrimental alcohol can be to muscle growth and what are the most effective methods to mitigate any of these negative effects, whilst still enjoying a beer or two!

Sound good?

Negative Affects Of Alcohol On Natural Muscle Growth Alcohol Reduces Protein Synthesis

Alcohol is a diuretic! This is why after a couple of beers you will find that you will be needing to pop to the toilet far more frequently then usual (broken the seal).

This onset dehydration caused from alcohols diuretic attributes not only contributes to a sore head and a hangover the morning after. But alcohol also plays detriment to the maintenance and repair of muscle cells. If you have read my article on the affects drinking water and hydration has on muscle growth, then you will already be aware that to effectively optimise muscle growth, you must remain sufficiently hydrated!

After all… protein synthesis only occurs when muscle cells are sufficiently hydrated!

Therefore when dehydrated this lack of fluid in the muscle can actual increase the rate of protein and muscle breakdown!

One study in particular which looked at the effects of alcohol on skeletal muscle cells found that protein synthesis was reduced 15-20% 24 hours after consumption!

So next time you are out for a few drinks with friends, make sure between every alcoholic beverage you consume a good sized glass of water and then again just before you go to bed. Although this wont completely irradiate the diuretic affects of alcohol, it will certainly help in keeping your body better hydrated as well as softening your hangover the morning after.

Alcohol Lowers Natural Testosterone Levels

The reduction of natural testosterone levels as a by product of alcohol consumption is certainly one of the negative affects which is probably the most publicised and when looking at some of the scientific evidence you can begin to see why!

There have been a number of studies (listed in references) that all conclude that the consumption of alcohol lowers natural testosterone levels. But how much is too much and are there any instances in which alcohol can provide benefit to your natural hormonal health?

So how does drinking alcohol affect natural testosterone levels?

When you consume alcohol messages are sent to the brain to release beta-opioid endorphins. These endorphins are the reason you may often feel more relaxed after a couple of glasses of wine or pints of beer. Unfortunately these endorphins are famous for their negative effect on testosterone synthesis as described in this study.

If you have ever found yourself with your head half way down the toilet after a night of excessive drinking you wont take much convincing when I tell you that alcohol is toxic to the body!

An example which showcases the extent of this toxicity on natural testosterone was showcased in a study by the Melaka Manipal Medical College in Manipal. The study looked at the affects on fertility health and testosterone production in alcohol abusing males, they found that the duration of the subjects alcohol indulgence had a direct correlation to the levels of oxidative damage in subjects testicular cells.

This type of testicular cell damage can lead to reduction of testosterone production inside the ball sack and impairment of testosterone molecules already in circulation.

In addition to this high alcohol consumption has also been shown to boost the activity of the aromatase enzyme. This is the enzyme which is responsible for converting the male sex hormone (testosterone) into the female sex hormone (estrogen), resulting in a increase in estrogen levels (not good for muscle growth!).

Alcohol And Human Growth Hormone (HGH)

Another fundamental issue when it comes to alcohol and its affect on natural muscle growth is the way in which it impacts the bodies natural release of human growth hormone. Human Growth hormone, which if you are an avid reader of Train-Natural is something which I have discussed frequently. Human growth hormone or HGH has a large responsibility within the body for a variety of processes relating to building muscle, promoting cell growth and development as well as stimulating bone growth. Therefore if your natural levels of human growth hormone are not optimised you wont be gaining/growing as much muscle as you potentially could be!

Human growth hormone is largely secreted during sleep. As alcohol is fairly notorious when it comes to disrupting natural sleeping cycles, the amount of growth hormone released during sleep is reduced. This reduction in some cases has been found to be up to as much as 70% therefore creating quite an impact to your muscles recovery and growth from resistance training. This is commonly why you may find if you have had an intense training session then gone out drinking afterwards your muscles will often ache and feel fatigued far more then usual.

Round Up!

So lets have a round up and break down what we now know about alcohol consumption and its negative affects on natural muscle growth.

  1. Consumption of alcohol can result in oxidative damage to testicular cells and testosterone molecules already present in the body.
  2. Drinking alcohol prompts the brain to release specific endorphins which cause you to feel relaxed but have a detrimental effect on testosterone synthesis.
  3. Alcohols diuretic properties increase the likelihood of dehydration which in turn has shown to negatively impact protein synthesis by up to 20%
  4. Excessive levels of alcohol consumption (alcoholic), can increase testosterone to estrogen conversion due to a increase in the activity of the aromatase enzyme.
  5. Alcohol causes disruption to normal sleeping cycles which in turn impacts natural secretion of human growth hormone causing sub standard recovery and muscle growth

If you want to find out more about testosterone levels and how to boost them via natural methods check out our list of The 13 Best Foods To Naturally Increase Testosterone

How To Minimise Negative Affects On Muscle Growth From Drinking Alcohol
  1. Ensure you still hit your macro requirements both the day before and the day after drinking alcohol. Even if the calories consumed from alcohol push you over your daily calorie/macro requirement. As we have learnt already alcohol plays a big part in negatively impacting are recovery and growth so it is vital to keep your body supplied with good quality fuel especially when partaking in intense work out regime.
  2. Make sure you catch up on sleep! Even if you know you may only get 5-6 hours sleep the night you are out drinking make sure you go to bed earlier the following night to make up for it. Poor recovery due to lost sleep wont only affect your natural anabolic (muscle building) hormones but if carried on into the week, your performance in the gym is also likely to have a knock on affect.
  3. Stay Hydrated! You may be called out for being “boring” but ensuring you manage to drink a good sized glass of water in between alcoholic drinks and before you go to sleep will help to minimise the diuretic affects of alcohol. Keeping you better hydrated and reduce the likelihood of a significant drop off in protein synthesis.
  4. Personal Tip! Take a multivitamin and eat a banana before you go to bed. Bananas are packed with potassium which as a mineral lost via intermittent urination (common side affect from drinking alcohol). Bananas along with the multivitamin will help provide your body with a substantial hit of vitamin B6, which one study from the journal of Annals of nutrition found can reduce symptoms of a hangover by up to 50%
Conclusion

So after reviewing some of the major concerns regarding muscle growth relative to consuming alcohol, I think we can all agree it is something to most certainly keep tabs on if you are looking to optimise your natural muscle gains in the gym!

A couple of drinks every now and again is unlikely to really cause you much of a problem especially if managed and controlled correctly. But if you’re an alcoholic, and drinking yourself to the point of passing out on several days of the week, then thats a whole different kettle of fish.

I hope by discussing and learning about the negative affects of alcohol in your pursuit of gaining lean muscle, has given you a better insight into how you might be able to slightly modify your next alcohol induced experience to insure your natural muscle growth is least affected!

Free Ebook!

If you interested in learning more about potential methods of increasing your muscle growth I have a Ebook available to Download for FREE Titled:

“The Top 5 Worst Mistakes To Make When Trying To Gain Lean Muscle”

This Mini Ebook focuses on the fatal errors people make when beginning a training program to gain lean muscle and how you can avoid them to maximise results.

To grab yourself a copy

CLICK HERE

References

http://www.iflscience.com/editors-blog/whats-most-dangerous-drug-world-according-science/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3775162/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11912073

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6443186

http://jpet.aspetjournals.org/content/202/3/676.short

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9046385

http://www.ijpp.com/IJPP%20archives/2006_50_3/291-296.pdf

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3767933/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11584159

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3037055/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3407600/

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Muscle Building: The Health Benefits Of Black Coffee

So what are the muscle building and general health benefits of black coffee?

For many of us a cup of coffee is something that becomes somewhat of a daily habit. The majority of us begin to become reliant on the black stuff. But is that necessarily such a bad thing?

The truth is black coffee has a variety of health benefits which not only add to our general well being but can also aid in the process of building muscle. In fact there is actual proof that the consumption of black coffee may lead to a better workout (more calories burnt) but we will get to that in a moment!

Personally when it comes to staying lean black coffee along with green tea which I shall discuss in another post, are my go too drinks for keeping body fat low and energy high!

Can Drinking Black Coffee Help Build Muscle?

Although the increasing of muscle mass through drinking coffee may sound like quite an outlandish concept, there has in fact been some scientific studies which actually prove its likelihood!

One study conducted by the journal of sports medicine and physical fitness in 2015, examined the effects of acute caffeine ingestion in resistance trained males. The study looked at two compound exercises, the leg press and the bench press. The participants were instructed to perform 3 sets till failure on each exercise. The results of these tests found that participants who ingested caffeine prior to resistance training, could complete almost 20% more repetitions over 3 sets on leg presses and over 11.5% repetitions over 3 sets on the bench press.

So when training to increase muscle mass one of the most fundamental methods, which has been proven to provide long term results in terms of consistent muscle strength and size improvements, is the method of progressive overloading. Progressive overloading refers to increasing the load/stress subjected to your muscles over time, forcing them to adapt (grow larger/stronger) to handle the increase in load. Therefore when we look at the benefits of consuming caffeine before resistance training and the results it delivers in terms of increasing overall muscle workload, the use of caffeine/coffee becomes highly attractive!

This shows that although caffeine may not directly increase muscle on its own, it can aid in increasing the loads and volume used per exercise resulting in more total weight lifted! And by increasing the total weight lifted over time, falls directly into the method of progressive overloading resulting in both muscle strength and size improvement!

Looks like there are some muscle building benefits of coffee after all!

Coffees Effect On The Bodies Natural Anabolic Hormones

Another stem to coffees benefits in terms of building muscle comes down to the effect it has on your bodies hormones.

If you are an avid reader of Train-Natural then you will know how much we emphasise the importance of optimising your bodies anabolic (muscle building) hormones through natural means in order to maximise strength and size increases.

Coffee is another string to that bow!

Coffee positively affects the hormones which aid in blood-sugar regulation. Maintaining a stable blood sugar level in the body is fundamental to your overall fitness and well being, as well as regulating key hormones such as insulin which play a vital role in how much fat your body can burn and store.

Another study which although not directly related to coffee, looked at the effect caffeinated chewing gum (caffeine – a major substance found in coffee) had on exercise induced testosterone levels. The participants of the study were competitive cyclists and the exercise used in the test were 5 sets of 30 second sprints. The results analysed from the study found that participants who had taken the caffeinated chewing gum had increased exercise induced testosterone by 14% when compared to a placebo.

But……

It is important to note that these muscle building benefits stem largely from caffeine supplementation and black coffee only!

Therefore make sure to skip the milk and sugar if you want to fully reap the rewards! Although Starbucks mocha’s and milk based lattes may taste great they often contain large amounts of sugar which will not do your fat loss or muscle building pursuits any favours!

So How Else Can Black Coffee Help Improve Workouts?

The key to Coffees positive benefits in terms of energy comes down to one the substances it contains which is by far the most prominent, Caffeine!

When it comes to increasing calories burnt during a workout. caffeine can offer some solid assistance. One study conducted in 2011 found that consuming caffeine during strength training can increase energy expenditure both before and after exercise by up to 15%, which in turn correlates to more calories burnt per workout. So if your goal was to reduce body fat then adopting the habit of drinking a strong cup of black coffee before you workout, will ensure that you are burning fat even quicker!

The reasoning behind why coffee can help increase calorie expenditure is down to three biologically active substances that can affect your metabolism:

  • Caffeine (A central nervous system stimulant)
  • Theobromine and theophylline (substances relative to caffeine that also produce a stimulant effect)
  • Chlorogenic acid (An active compound in coffee which can aid in a slow absorption of carbohydrates)

Each of these substances when absorbed by the body work in unison to help promote the use of fat for energy!

Can Coffee Increase Your Metabolic Rate?

Your resting metabolic rate or RMR refers to the total number of calories that your body needs at rest to perform basic life supporting functions, these include circulation, breathing, nutrient processing, cell production, protein synthesis ect..

The higher your body`s metabolic rate, the easier it is to lose body fat and the more calories you can allow yourself to consume without increasing in weight. Therefore if your are looking to get lean and shed some body fat then increasing your metabolic rate is highly favourable!

Studies have shown that caffeine (A key compound found in coffee) can increase the body`s metabolic rate between 3-11%, with an increased dosage resulting in an even larger affect. Although these increases seem on the small side it is important to note that by adapting habits such as these into your lifestyle is what can help you to reach your physique goals that little bit quicker!

Now here is the bad news!

You may already be aware of this if you are a fan of a pre-workout supplement, but over time studies have shown that your body can become tolerant to the effects of caffeine with regular consumption. So in the short term caffeine can help boost your metabolic rate and increase fat burning but after a while of consistent regular consumption the effects begin to taper off.

Despite this, these tolerancing effects are reversible and although I was unable to find any scientific proof or studies which prove the duration of this tolerance reversibility, the general consensuses estimate around a week with zero to minimal caffeine intake.

So if you find that it is taking 2-3 cups of black coffee to give you that rush of energy which you used to receive from one, then its time to reduce your caffeine consumption. My advice when it comes to pre-workouts, coffee and general caffeine consumption in general is to use it only when you need it! If you are feeling particularly sluggish or tired before a workout then stick the kettle on, but if you are already feeling fairly energised then save your caffeine hit for another day.

Free Ebook!

If you interested in learning more about potential methods of increasing your muscle growth I have a Ebook available to Download for FREE Titled:

“The Top 5 Worst Mistakes To Make When Trying To Gain Lean Muscle”

This Mini Ebook focuses on the fatal errors people make when beginning a training program to gain lean muscle and how you can avoid them to maximise results.

To grab yourself a copy

CLICK HERE

References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26068323

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21297558

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4347062/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18035001

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10068-010-0151-6

http://europepmc.org/abstract/MED/10094584/reload=0

http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/49/1/44.long

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7486839

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6298543

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1410146

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20737165

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3 Quick And Easy Muscle Building Meals You Can Make In Under 5 Minutes!

If you are sick to death of tasteless cardboard like protein bars and eating tuna out of a can then these 3 quick and easy muscle building meals you can make in under 5 minutes, might be worth adding to your muscle building cookbook!

No Cooking Required!

As with every recipe article published at Train-Natural I have produced a complete nutritional breakdown for each high protein meal. I do this to provide you with the knowledge to help improve your food choices and tailor your diet towards building muscle.

High Protein Pudding – Chocolate Mousse

This is muscle meal is a personal favourite of mine and something that really satisfies those late night cravings for sweet and chocolate foods when dieting. The benefit of course is that this succumbing to cravings doesn’t negatively impact your diet of macros.

High Protein Pudding – Macros

Protein Carbohydrates Fats Calories
50g 21g 2g 307 kcal

Preparation time = 3 minutes

Ingredients
  • 250g of Total 0% Fat Free Greek Yoghurt
  • 1 scoop of Chocolate Protein Powder
  • 30g of blueberries
  • 50g of strawberries
  • 3g of dark chocolate
Method
  • Empty 250g of total 0% fat free greek yoghurt into a clean bowl
  • Add 1 scoop of chocolate protein powder into the bowl and begin to mix
  • You may need to add a couple of teaspoons of water to help with the consistency of the mixture.
  • Continue until powder and yoghurt have turned a mousse brown colour
  • Chop your strawberries into small pieces and with blueberries add to the bowl
  • Mix the fruit into the mousse with a spoon
  • Grate your dark chocolate and sprinkle on top of the mousse to finish
  • Sit down and enjoy!
Nutritional Benefit Breakdown Of Individual Ingredients Fat Free Greek Yoghurt

As well as being fat free, greek yoghurt is a fantastic source of protein. The process of straining which is used to create Greek yoghurt is what helps to provide this highly concentrated protein source. The protein source prominent in Greek yoghurt is Casein. Casein is a slow digesting milk protein which provides the body with a steady release of amino acids.

One study published in 2012 by the medicine and science in sports and exercise showed that consuming casein before bed provided an increase in blood amino acid levels that was sustained throughout the night, resulting in a 22% increase in protein synthesis. Depending on your dietary requirements you can use full or reduced fat Greek yoghurt as part of your pursuit to building muscle, but always opt for the plain over the added sugar variants.

Blueberries

Blueberries are not only incredibly rich in vitamins and minerals but they are also known to have some of the highest antioxidant concentration among fruits and vegetables. Oxidative damage which antioxidants help prevent are unfortunately part of our everyday lives. Oxidative DNA damage is partly down to why we deteriorate with age and plays an important role in the development of diseases such as cancer. Blueberries which are high in antioxidants help neutralize some of the free radicals which damage our DNA. One study found that drinking 1 litre of blueberry and apple juice every day reduced oxidative DNA damage caused by free radicals reduced by 20%.

Blueberries are also beneficial in terms of treating muscle soreness and fatigue. Consuming blueberries may reduce inflammation and oxidative stress in the muscle tissue resulting in a reduction in soreness and improvement in muscle recovery. A small study involving 10 female athletes found that EIMD (exercise induced muscle damage) recovery was accelerated when consuming blueberries.

Strawberries

Strawberries are a fantastic source of vitamins C, K, folic acid, fire, manganese and potassium. They have been used throughout history for a variety of medicinal purposes including help with digestion, teeth whitening and skin irritations. Like blueberries they are also packed with flavonoids and antioxidants.

Dark Chocolate

Regarding health, fat loss and muscle building chocolate gets a pretty bad rep but in fact it can be beneficial not only to general health but also your bodies ability to build muscle. Dark chocolate with at least 70% cacao content is packed with antioxidants called flavonoids, these flavonoids have been shown to neutralize the free radicals that cause chronic disease, inflammation and premature ageing. Dark chocolate and cacao are one of the richest sources of epicatechin and flavonoids. Epicatechin itself can be very beneficial when regarding testosterone production. Epicatechin stimulates the pituitary gland which helps secrete key hormones relative too testosterone production. This in tern promotes strength, muscle growth and improved sexual function. So take a mental note… not all chocolate is bad!

Muscle Building Meal 2: Tuna Avocado Mash

Tuna Avocado Mash is a muscle building meal I have been eating fairly frequently for the last couple of years. It is low carb, high protein and full of healthy fats to keep your testosterone levels high. It takes minutes to make and is my go-to meal if I don’t fancy cooking.

Tuna Avocado Mash – Macros

Protein Carbohydrates Fats Calories
39g 13g 22g 404 kcal

Preparation time = 3 minutes

Ingredients
  • 1 tin of 130g John West Tuna Chunks In Spring Water
  • 1 medium sized avocado
  • 50g of Fresh leaf spinach
  • Cayenne Pepper Seasoning
Method
  • Begin by draining your 130g tin of tuna and add into a clean bowl
  • Peel your avocado add to bowl and begin to mash with fork
  • keep mashing and mixing until tuna and avocado have reached a paste type consistency
  • Add spinach and a sprinkling of cayenne pepper to season
  • Perform a final mix
  • Serve and Enjoy!
Nutritional Benefit Breakdown Of Individual Ingredients Tuna

Tuna fish is a widely available inexpensive protein source which can be consumed straight out of the can. It has a solid vitamin and mineral profile with good levels of vitamin C, B6, B12, niacin, zinc, selenium, phosphorous, iron, magnesium and potassium. Furthermore tuna is high in omega 3 fatty acids, which among various other health benefits also play a role in the bodies ability to build muscle. One study from Washington University found that supplementing with omega 3 increased the muscle building (anabolic) response in healthy men and women.

Avocado

If you have read my post titled “The 13 Best Foods To Naturally Increase Testosterone” Then you will already be aware of avocados effect on natural testosterone levels. Optimising testosterone levels naturally is key to increasing lean muscle mass, improving strength and reducing body fat. Avocados are packed full of testosterone boosting monounsaturated fats (the good fat) whilst also being a source of bitter glycoside and oleuropein (two compounds which have shown to increase testosterone levels in animal studies).

Furthermore avocados contain 20 dietary vitamins and minerals including vitamins K2, A, C, B2, B5, B6, zinc, copper and magnesium most of which aid with a variety of bodily functions and health benefits so you can see why everyone is instagraming pictures of them.

Fresh Leaf Spinach

This leafy green superfood has been surprisingly effective in its muscle building benefits, as well as a variety of health benefits including lowering blood pressure and improving bone health. Spinach has also been proven to lower oestrogen levels, is rich in vitamin C, vitamin E  and magnesium which are all essential testosterone building blocks.

Cayenne Pepper

You will often find Cayenne Pepper in a large majority of fat burning supplements and it is there for a reason! its use in fat burning supplements is due to its claimed ability increase metabolism, therefore enhancing the bodies ability to burn fat. Cayenne peppers ability to increase fat burning has actually been backed up by a number of studies. One of these studies which focussed on the effects capsaicin consumption (capsaicin is the primary compound in cayenne pepper which delivers the hot and spicy taste). The study found that fat oxidisation (fat burning) was enhanced when a small dosage of capsaicin was added to subjects meals. Therefore a sprinkling of cayenne pepper on a meals is an effective way of optimising your bodies ability to burn fat.

Muscle Building Meal 3: Pre Gym Chocolate Protein Porridge

Now I know I said that these meals would involve zero cooking but sticking a meal in the microwave for 2 minutes is in my opinion not proper cooking!

Pre Gym Chocolate protein porridge consists of a variety of ingredients which are all aimed to supply your body with exactly what it needs before hitting a heavy workout.

Pre Gym Chocolate Protein Porridge – Macros

Protein Carbohydrates Fats Calories
38g 59g 6g 464 kcal
Ingredients
  • 45g of MyProtein Total Chocolate Protein Powder
  • 60g of porridge oats
  • 30g of Blueberries
  • 1/2 medium sized banana
  • 3g of Cinnamon
Method
  • Measure out 60g of porridge oats (2 scoops typically) and add to bowl
  • Add 1 and 1/2 scoops of MyProtein total protein chocolate into bowl
  • Pour in around 50ml of water and stir until mixture turns brown and protein powder has dissolved
  • Chop banana and with blueberries add to the mixture
  • sprinkle 3g of cinnamon on top and place in microwave at full power for 1.30-2 minutes.
  • Once finished remove from microwave, stir, serve and enjoy!
Nutritional Benefit Breakdown Of Individual Ingredients Porridge Oats

Oats are in my opinion the best source of carbohydrates to consume before a workout. For a start studies have shown they are a great source of important vitamins, minerals, antioxidants a healthy source of dietary fibre, as well as many other health benefits including weight loss, low blood sugar and a reduced risk of heat disease. But the fundamental reason for consuming oats before a workout is due to their slow releasing energy properties which allow you to remain fuller for longer and power through long workouts.

Bananas

Bananas are a strong source of bromelain. Bromelain is an enzyme that helps our bodies to digest protein and increase serum testosterone levels. Bananas are also rich in B-Vitamins which increase zinc absorption another mineral that enhances testosterone production therefore making them a great inclusion to any muscle building or fat loss diet.

In addition to this bananas also contain a substantial amount of dietary fibre which aids in mitigating blood sugar levels, helping to promoting a lean body composition.

Cinnamon

Similar to when you consume spicy food or hot peppers the presence of cinnamon in your body speeds up your metabolism as the spice itself takes slightly more energy to metabolise. In short this boost in metabolism means your body burns more calories at rest and can assist with weight loss and fat storage

Free Ebook!

I Hope you enjoyed these 3 quick and easy muscle building recipes!

If you interested in learning more about potential methods of increasing your muscle growth I have a Ebook available to Download for FREE Titled:

“The Top 5 Worst Mistakes To Make When Trying To Gain Lean Muscle”

This Mini Ebook focuses on the fatal errors people make when beginning a training program to gain lean muscle and how you can avoid them to maximise results.

To grab yourself a copy

CLICK HERE

References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22330017

https://academic.oup.com/carcin/article/28/8/1800/2526773/Impact-of-multiple-genetic-polymorphisms-on

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10995120

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15123782

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3583121/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3499967/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21675994

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21154195

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8875519

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3699483/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3835452/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20432242

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Mind Muscle Connection The Missing Component To Increasing Muscle Growth?

Using a mind muscle connection is without a doubt a majorly overlooked component when trying to increase muscle growth!

I’m certain that I don’t need to tell you the amount of financial investment driven into researching the power and capabilities of the human mind!

Thousands of people have dedicated there entire lives into studying methods of harnessing and maximising the minds potential power and the data they have collected is outstanding!

So with the unconceivable power in which every single one of us harnesses inside our head, surely overlooking this key element for something as simple as increasing muscle mass is completely and utterly absurd? And yet other then a small number of famous bodybuilders, Arnold Schwarzenegger being one of them, I cant name more then a couple muscle building programs that even touch slightly on the effectiveness of using a mind muscle connection as a tool for increasing muscle size and strength.

So What Is A Mind Muscle Connection?

The brains neurological connection with the muscle is fundamental in performing any activity!

So if we can use our brain to send messages to move our arm and pick up a dumbbell what’s not to say that we cant concentrate on improving this connection. Improving this muscle connection process will aid in optimising the recruitment and contraction of the target muscle cells helping to force the maximum amount of stimulus to the desired areas, in turn enhancing the potential for gains in both muscle strength and size.

In short a mind muscle connection is to consciously provide a greater neural stimulation to a specific muscle (or group of muscles) in order to maximise its contractile force.

Having said that I am not going to sit her and preach to you that with no training and consideration to nutrition that you can grow bigger muscles simply by using your mind!

BUT Believe it or not……

There was an interesting study completed at Ohio University by Brian Clark that states that you can actually use your mind to increase muscle strength!

In short the study involved 29 volunteers having their wrists wrapped in surgical casts for the duration of a single calendar month. During this period, 50% of the volunteers were to think about exercising and using there immobilised wrists.

These thinking exercises were scheduled to 11 minutes a day, 5 days a week, in which the subjected volunteers were to sit completely still and focus their entire mental force on pretending to flex their muscles. At the end of the month with the casts removed the subjects who had completed the mental exercises had wrist muscles that were two times stronger than those that hadn’t completed any mental exercise at all.

Why Is A Mind Muscle Connection So Important When Trying To Gain Muscle?

Pretty much everyone can move a weight from A to B with no real thought into what muscles they are using to do it, but not everyone can focus on engaging and targeting these working muscles effectively to enhance contractions and stimulus.

For example if we take the conventional bench press, the goal for the vast majority of us is to increase the weight over time. but with these consistent increases in weight you may sometimes find it difficult to get a full pump and burn in the chest.

This is because more often then not as we reach the upper portion of our strength curve, near the point at which form begins to break down, other muscles start to interfere to help move the weight. With regards to the bench press, its the shoulders and triceps which tend to take over when the speed of the bar rising upwards begins to stall. Essentially this is your bodies way of protecting itself and shifting the weight the easiest way it can. To counteract this, reduce the weight and focus on using the correct target muscles to do the majority of the lifting.

Don’t be an Ego Lifter!

Not only does lifting too heavy make it more difficult to keep proper form and contract the correct working muscles, but it is also the quickest way to pick up an injury!

Building a solid mind muscle connection in my opinion is one of the most effective methods when it comes to making consistent progress in the gym. So remember its not the amount of weight on the bar that counts. What matters is the amount of contractile force you are subjecting to the target muscle, so if you are not correctly engaging the working muscles, then you are dismissing your opportunity for growth and progression!

Case Study

A study conducted by the European Journal of Applied Physiology, evaluated whether focusing on specific muscles during a bench press can selectively activate these working muscles.

The study involved 18 resistance trained men. The participants were asked to perform a 1 rep max on the bench press during there first session. In there following session 3 separate bench press conditions were performed at loads of 20, 40, 60 and 80% of the subjects pre determined 1 rep max. The subjects were told to selectively focus on using the pectoralis major (chest) and the triceps brachii when performing the lifts. The data for the experiment was collected using surface electromyography (EMG) signals, recorded for both the pectoralis major and the triceps brachii.

The results from the study found that focusing on the respective muscles increased muscle activity at relative loads between 20 and 60 but not at 80% of 1RM. It was also found that the increase in activation at one muscle did not decrease the activity of the other. For example when focusing on activating the triceps the activation of the pectoralis did not decrease.

The conclusions from the study stated that resistance trained individuals can increase tricep brachii or pectoralis major muscle activity, during the bench press when focusing on the specific muscle at intensities up to 60% of there 1 rep max. With a threshold of activation between 60 and 80% appearing to exist.

So How Can You Achieve A Mind Muscle Connection

In order to optimise your mind muscle connection it is first fundamental that you understand what muscles you need to be focusing on for each exercise!

So instead of thinking about where you feel your muscles contracting, instead focus on where you SHOULD feel your muscles contracting. If we use the classic wide grip pull up as an example you should aim to focus on pulling yourself up using only the muscles in your back. Zoning in and feeling your lats contract as your body starts to rise upwards is vital. Picturing yourself driving your elbows downwards to lift yourself up is a good way to start if your struggling to feel your lats contracting. Once you reach the peak of the movement squeeze you’re shoulder blades together contracting your lats and not your biceps.

You’re not finished yet…

The eccentric or negative portion of the movement is often neglected in terms of muscle focus and contraction, yet it offers the same if not further influence towards muscle growth since you are naturally stronger in this portion of the rep!

To capitalise on the negative portion of the rep, force the lats to resist gravity and the weight pulling your body down. Control your descent back to the starting position aiming for around 3 to 4 seconds to reach the position shown in the image below. Allow the lats to lengthen and stretch throughout the duration of your decent.

                          

Once complete, repeat until you have reached your desired amount of repetitions. Keep your mental focus channeled in this manner to help direct the majority of the work to your target muscles to aid in maximising muscle stimulation and fibre recruitment.

Visualisation And Mindset

Visualisation is another point which Arnold Schwarzenegger used to drill home, and its not until you start incorporating this method into your training and general life that you really start to grasp what he was talking about.

Visualising yourself achieving your goals wether it be lifting a certain weight or looking a certain way is a very powerful tool and if used consistently, can be very effective. If you can keep a positive mindset about your training, dieting and general life your progress and overall happiness will follow!

In my own experience I feel that visualisation and mind muscle connection are directly linked in that through thinking positively and visualising your target muscles getting stronger and bigger as you perform exercises can directly correlate to performance.

So ensure that you are making a conscious effort to think positively and get yourself in the right mindset where you can visualise yourself achieving your goals in and I am sure your mind muscle connection will only get stronger!

Free Ebook!

If you interested in learning more about potential methods of increasing your muscle growth I have a Ebook available to Download for FREE Titled:

“The Top 5 Worst Mistakes To Make When Trying To Gain Lean Muscle”

This Mini Ebook focuses on the fatal errors people make when beginning a training program to gain lean muscle and how you can avoid them to maximise results.

To grab yourself a copy

CLICK HERE

References

https://www.ohio.edu/medicine/news-archive/

http://jn.physiology.org/content/early/2014/09/24/jn.00386.2014

http://journals.lww.com/nsca-jscr/Abstract/2005/11000/EFFECT_OF_ECCENTRIC_STRENGTH_TESTING_ON.28.aspx

Baechle, T.R., Earle, R. (2000). Essentials of strength training and conditioning – 2nd edition. National Strength and Conditioning Association. Human Kinetics.

http://circheartfailure.ahajournals.org/content/3/6/715.full

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26700744

Clark BC, Mahato NK, Nakazawa M, Law TD & Thomas JS. (2014). The power of the mind: the cortex as a critical determinant of muscle strength/weakness.

Lohse KR & Sherwood DE. (2012). Thinking about muscles: The neuromuscular effects of attentional focus on accuracy and fatigue.

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Are Abs Made In the Kitchen?

The statement preached by almost all successful personal trainers and fitness models!

“Abs are made in the kitchen”

The question is are they really?

I hear this battered around the gym almost as much as “I cant squat, I’ve got bad knees”. But looking at the cold hard facts and from previous experience myself I am afraid I have to succumb to the fact that yes abs are largely made in the kitchen!

This seem obvious to a lot of people but Everyone Has Abs!

The difference is not everyone has a body fat percentage low enough for them to be revealed. There are hundreds of programs, exercises and workout equipment that companies and trainers push to market. But the fact of the matter is if your body fat isn’t low enough you will not have six pack abs.

So How Do You Reveal Your Abs?

The only way to reduce your body fat low enough in which your abs or “six pack” becomes visible is to be in a calorie deficit. This means using (burning) more calories per day then you are consuming. Therefore putting a large emphasis on diet over physical training, hence the phrase “Abs are made in the kitchen”.

The time it will take to reveal your abs is dependent on your current physique and level of body fat. Generally speaking a body fat level of under 10% is the most desirable for achieving a complete six pack. Some people may find they can achieve visible abs at a higher body fat percentage, others may find a lower level of body fat is required to produce the most desirable results.

If you have never had visible abs or a six pack before, it is important to stick to the game plan and remain consistent with your diet and exercise. Unless you are genetically gifted achieving and maintaining a solid six pack is not quite as simple or as easy as many supplement companies and athletes make it out to be.

In my opinion the key to maintaining a lean physique with visible abs year round is all about changing/implementing the right habits into your daily routine. These changes don’t need to be drastic and i’m not suggesting they should be. The correct small adaptable changes to your daily routine introduced over time will ultimately keep you lean for life.

Remember….

“It is far more difficult to achieve a low body fat percentage than it is to maintain one”

So put the work in now and as long as you remain consistent, maintaining a lean physique, will be a lot less of a task then it was to achieve one in the first place!

So What Can You Do To Start Reducing Body Fat?

To reduce your body fat it is vital that you are in a calorie deficit (Expending more calories than you are consuming each day). Without a controlled, nutritious diet you will not see your abs no matter how many crunches you do!

You could train abs religiously everyday but if you are eating a large calorie surplus (consuming more calories then you are using up each day) you wont be reducing body fat and you will be stuck spinning your wheels without a six pack!

To ensure that you are in a calorie deficit you must first find out your maintenance calories. Your maintenance calories are the amount of calories you need to consume each day in order to maintain your current weight, at your current level of activity. I have inserted a link at the bottom of the page which will take you to a free maintenance calorie calculator, this will give you a fairly accurate number to work from based on your gender, age, height, weight and level of activity.

Now you have your maintenance calories you can now begin to slowly reduce your calorie intake over time. The amount of calories you deduct from your maintenance directly impacts the speed in which you want to lose weight/fat. If you’re aim is to hold on to muscle while reducing fat this is best done slowly with small reductions in calories. Dependent on your time constraints a good place to start is to reduce your calories by around 200-250 kCal per day for a period of two weeks. See how your body responds if you find you are still losing 1-2lbs per week continue at this calorie deficit until you are no longer losing weight.

I say 1-2 lbs per week as this is a really the target you want to aim for, yes you can lose a lot more weight in a shorter period of time but you don’t want to go on a crash diet! Not only will you more then likely lose more muscle mass then necessary, but by aiming for a slower weight loss you minimise negative effects associated with dieting such as lack of energy, irritability, and nutrient deficiency.

Once you stop losing weight or your physical changes in the mirror start to plateau, you will need to do one of two things.

Either further decrease your daily intake of calories or increase you’re amount of exercise. Both of these will aid in reducing your overall calorie intake/expenditure and help reignite fat loss. I have written another detailed article on the 10 most common reasons you have stopped losing fat this should help you determine if there is something else hindering you’re fat loss progress and how to overcome it.

How Do I Know If Im Losing Body Fat?

There are a number of methods of measuring body fat and recording these measurements throughout your journey to a six pack can be a great motivation tool and insure you’re heading in the right direction.

In my opinion the two most cost effective and accurate tools for measuring these crucial physical parameters are body fat calipers and digital weighing scales.

Weighing Scales

Its important when dieting to for fat loss that you are regularly checking your weight and body fat as well as the way you look in the mirror. Investing in a quality bathroom scale is a must for anyone looking to track there progress. You don’t need to spend a fortune but if you want something that will calculate other parameters such as body fat, hydration, muscle mass etc.. then something like the Ozeri scale shown in the image below will do the job.

==> Click Here to get the Ozeri Touch 200kg Bathroom Scale currently on sale at Amazon with 50% off plus Free Delivery!!

Body Fat Calipers

Body fat calipers are one of the most inexpensive and accurate practical methods of measuring your body fat at home. I personally have been using body fat calipers for over two years to help gauge where my body is both when dieting down and bulking up. They are very simple to use and most calipers, including the one I recommend come with a free instruction manual.

==> Click Here to get the Accu Measure Fitness 3000 Personal Body Fat Tester currently with 35% off

So Does This Mean I Don’t Need To Train Abs?

The abdominals are a set of muscles just like your pecs and biceps. Therefore just as you cannot expect to acquire a well developed chest or arms without training them, you should not expect the same for your abdominals.

Just like every other muscle you do not need to train them every day! Abs, like any other muscle need time to recover after an intense workout. In my opinion if you are already incorporating the big compound movements into your workout routines such as deadlifts, squats and overhead press then your core is already being activated and worked. Therefore 3-4 sets of abdominal exercises twice a week at the end of the workout will keep you on the right path to achieving a strong tight core with a defined six pack.

Conclusion

To conclude although regular abdominal training will help increase the size and shape of your abs. Ultimately if your diet is not in check and your body fat percentage isn’t low enough, then no matter how thick and strong your core muscles may be without a solid diet they will never be truly revealed!

As the saying goes “You cant out train a bad diet”

For further information on abdominal training I will be releasing an article in the near future, which goes into far more detail on the best exercises and training methods for your abs. I am also working on a complete guide to getting shredded naturally, which will be available to download from the site within the next couple of months.

Subscribe to our newsletter using the form at the bottom of the page now and be updated as soon as this article and guide are released!

Maintenance Calorie Calculator

Free Ebook!

If you interested in learning more about potential methods of increasing your muscle growth I have a Ebook available to Download for FREE Titled:

“The Top 5 Worst Mistakes To Make When Trying To Gain Lean Muscle”

This Mini Ebook focuses on the fatal errors people make when beginning a training program to gain lean muscle and how you can avoid them to maximise results.

To grab yourself a copy

CLICK HERE

The post Are Abs Made In the Kitchen? Diet or Exercise Finally Find Out The Truth! appeared first on Train-Natural.

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