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Q:What are the main benefits of exercising?

A:Believe it or not but exercising has many benefits.

• improve overall flexibility
• decrease stress levels
• improve cardiovascular fitness
• increase lung capacity
• reduce blood pressure
• increase metabolism
• reduce body weight and overall body fat percentage
• reduce resting heart rate
• reduce cholesterol levels
• help regulate sleeping patterns
• increase muscular strength
• improve muscular endurance
• delay the onset of osteoporosis using bodyweight exercises
• reduces the risk of heart disease
• strengthens the immune system

As you can see there are quite a number of benefits and it’s no wonder why so many people are taking part in regular exercise, whether it’s a run in the park, an aerobic class to music, a team sport or a gym strength training workout.

The good thing is that no matter what age you are, it's never too late to start exercising!

Q:How often should I exercise?

A:This really depends on an individual's current fitness level, the time he or she has available each week as well as the goals they have and what they want to achieve by exercising.

For those who haven’t been exercising for a while they should aim for two or three times a week for at least 20 minutes, preferably more. Once your fitness level improves, you can then increase the frequency of exercise sessions or their duration, which will help you to improve further.

For general conditioning and weight management, the  guidelines recommend 20-60 minutes in duration for aerobic exercise.

If you're aim is to stay healthy, moderate intensity cardio of 30 minutes a day five days a week, or 20 minutes of vigorous, intense cardio, three days a week.

Add on top of that two-three nonconsecutive strength-training days a week. It is important to build up gradually and to have a rest day once a week.  For those who are new to exercising or getting back into it after a long break, make sure to have a rest day after each workout.

Q:What is muscle confusion?

A:The aim of muscle confusion is to confuse the muscles so that you can avoid plateaus and keep getting results. To achieve this, you need to keep your body guessing by changing your routine.

The principle is simple; never let your muscles develop a memory. Your body can adapt pretty quickly and when it does, it essentially becomes more efficient. Muscles will respond much better to resistance  they are not used to. Changing your workout on a regular basis forces the body to work harder. The key is to keep your muscles struggling with the workout. By doing this you will be burning more calories and building more lean muscle.

By cycling your training program, every 4 weeks, your muscles do not have the chance to get used to the exercises. There are a variety of ways to change your workout. One way is to change the speed at which you do each exercise. So instead of doing controlled movements using specific tempos such as 2-0-1, with 2 seconds to complete the move, pause at zero then return to the start in 1 second, perform the exercise as fast as possible using full range of motion. Use lighter weights or bodyweight exercises are best for this.

Technique can also switch things up. This doesn't have to be a major change for your body to notice a difference. Using pushups as an example, you can put your hands further apart or put closer together.  This can also be done with squats using a wider stance, with your feet flared out.

There are a variety of exercises that work each muscle group so don't be afraid to change this every four weeks. You can perform these by using free weights, resistance machines, resistance bands or your own bodyweight. Don't forget that you can vary the repetitions and sets you use.

Q:Why are REST days from strength training important?

A:Aerobic exercise can and should be done daily if you are trying to lose weight. Weight training however is different. Muscles need a day of rest in between workouts to allow them to rebuild, repair and strengthen itself in preparation for the next workout session.

So while you can walk, run, swim, etc everyday it is best not to train the same muscle groups everyday. Some people do this by only lifting weights every other day or some do it by weight training everyday, but focusing on different parts of the body. For example, arms and upper-body one day, legs the next.

Having rest days between strength training workouts allows the body to replenish energy stores and repair damaged tissues.

Q:Resistance Machines v Free Weights?

A:Resistance machines are seen as the safer method. However, incorrect use can still make them dangerous. If you are new to strength training and you’re working out by yourself, then machines are the best place to start. Personal Trainers at the gym can teach you how to use these machines correctly.

Resistance machines tend to isolate specific muscles and they do most of the work for you. They keep the weight stable and assist with control of movement.

Some points to consider before using resistance machine:
• make sure that the machines are in working order
• make sure you warm up, mobilize your joints and stretch
• always make sure that the pin or key is secure in the stack
• always focus on good technique
• lift only within your capabilities

Free weights are known to be better in terms of strength training as they develop all the stabilizer muscles which are need in general life. They also allow you to work out many muscle groups at the same time. Your balance, co-ordination and core strength will greatly improve as free weights require you to rely on them in each movement.

Some basic rules to follow:
• warm up and stretch thoroughly before attempting any lifts
• make sure there is adequate space around you before lifting
• concentrate on good technique
• keep back straight throughout the whole lifting sequence
• always put free weights away after use

An advantage free weights have over resistance machines is they are functional to everyday activities.

I regards to expense, free weights are considerably less expensive than resistance machines. It only takes a little imagination and access to some free weights and you can complete a full body strength workout.

Q:What are the tell-tale signs of dehydration during exercise?

A:Early symptoms include:

• lacking in energy
• nausea
• feel hot
• fatigue sets in early during exercise
• skin appears flushed and feels cool and clammy

If any of the above occurs, you should stop exercising and drink between 100-200ml of water or sports drink every 10-15 minutes.

If you have more advanced symptoms such as a bad headache, dizziness or light-headed, short of breath or appear disorientated then you should stop exercising, follow the above action of drinking water or a sports drink and seek professional help.

Q:How can a Personal Trainer help me improve my fitness?

A:Personal Trainers have many roles. They are there to provide you with education, motivation and support as you work towards your goals. They specialize in numerous areas including GP and exercise referral, functional training, sports specific, aerobic conditioning, strength training and speed, quickness and agility and many more.

Personal Trainers of today are highly skilled in exercise prescription and can teach a variety of exercises. A session usually lasts an hour. In between sessions the Personal Trainer will review and monitor how the prescription is developing and track and keep records of their client’s progress on a weekly basis.

In your first session you can expect to go through a number of tests which will help the Personal Trainer determine your level of fitness so that they can prescribe the correct training program for you.

These days you can expect to find Personal Trainer’s offering their services outside of the gym, whether it’s at their home or yours, a park or a private studio. So if you find gyms intimidating or expensive then this is the way to go.

Q:How can I increase my antioxidant intake?

A:Here are some tips on increasing your antioxidant intake:
• spread ½ an avocado on wholegrain bread/toast as an alternative to butter or margarine. This will add extra vitamin E and selenium in the wholegrain
• try to use olive oil and rapeseed oils when cooking and preparing dressings. These are particularly rich in vitamin E
• try sweet potato, a source of vitamin A, as an alternative to your usual baked potatoes
• add berries to your cereal, have cubed oranges as a snack or try a strawberry smoothie for breakfast
• add dried fruits such as dried apricots to your porridge for extra vitamin E
• eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables
• serve zinc rich soya beans as an alternative side dish, with carrots for extra vitamin A
• grate almonds of brazil nuts on your cereal for extra vitamin E, selenium and zinc

Q:How can I increase my carbohydrate intake?

A:Here are some tips on increasing your CHO intake:

• increase your intake of fruit and vegetables. This will also provide you with a good source of vitamins and minerals
• add salad as a side dish to your dinner. This will help improve nutrient and fibre content as well a lower the GI of the meal
• base your meals that are rich in starchy carbohydrate such as rice, potatoes, pasta, bread and whole grain cereals
• choose tomato or vegetable based sauces as alternatives to those high in butter and oil or cream, especially with rice and pasta dishes

Q:How soon after exercising should I eat?

A:The recommended timeframe to eat after exercise is immediately to within 2 hours after completion of your workout. The quicker you consume food or drink after a workout, the quicker your body will recover. If you eat outside this timeframe the rate at which your body’s ability to convert what you ear or drink to glycogen will drop. Aim to consume about 1g CHO/Kg BM. The CHO can be in the form of either liquid of solid format with a high GI value.

Q:How will protein help me?

A:Including protein in your diet, such as red meat, poultry, fish, shellfish, eggs, pulses and nuts, is vital to all our cells as well as our muscles. It provides the body with roughly ten to 15 per cents of its dietary energy, and is vital for growth and repair.

Q: I'm interested in quickly getting as muscular as possible. How many reps should I do for each exercise?

A: While generalizations are often misleading, for adding mass to the major body parts the following ranges seem to work best for most people:

Chest & Back = 8-10 Reps / Set
Arms & Shoulders = 6-12 Reps / Set
Quads & Hamstrings = 8-15 Reps / Set
Calves = 12-20 Reps / Set

Again, as always its important to work variation into your training program. In particular, try periodically throwing some high rep training.

Q: Should I do lots of sit-ups to reduce fat around my middle?

A: You are ostensibly referring to "spot reduction". There is no such thing as spot reduction; it does not exist. You cannot exercise a particular body part and expect to loose fat around that area. Fat is always lost all over your body, not just in the area that you work. Sit-ups are also bad for your lower back. Do stomach crunches instead.

Q: How Much Cardio Should I Do?

A: That depends on your goal. If you have more than 8 - 10 kgs to lose and you haven't been active in a while, doing as much cardio as possible will get you the quickest results. Although 30 minutes 3 times a week may seem like a lot, this is maintenance level cardio so aim for 45 minutes 5 times a week. If you've been losing weight at a steady pace doing a lot of cardio and all of a sudden hit a plateau, your best bet is to focus on 1 long session of cardio 45-50 minutes and 3 shorter bouts of high intensity interval cardio per week. If you're in great shape and your main concern is losing a few pounds of body fat, your best option is to focus on 3 shorter bouts of high intensity interval cardio per week plus three or four quick bursts of active recovery cardio intervals lasting 1-2 minutes. If you're very skinny and you're trying to put on weight, limit your cardio to 10-20 minute warm-up sessions before weight training.

Q: Can I Train Abs Every Day?

A: Your abs is also a muscle, which needs rest to recover. The earliest you can train them is on alternate days or 3 times a week.

Q: Do I Have To Workout Every Day?

A: No, as long as you're training each body part hard three times a week and getting at least 4 cardio sessions in per week, you will be able see gradual results. If you want to see changes quickly, try 6 cardio sessions a week and strength training 4 times a week. Just be careful not to get carried away and start over training. This can be counterproductive to your weightloss/fatloss goals.

Q: Should I Cut Carbs?

A: If you're asking this question, you're most likely trying to burn fat and lose weight and the answer is not so clear-cut. It's not necessary to completely eliminate carbs from your diet in order to drop weight or lose fat but you do have to cut back to a level that allows your body to tap into your fat stores for energy. Part of the problem with cutting carbs all together is that your body does not burn fat as efficiently without carbs and your body always turns to your muscle mass first for energy. Remember that losing muscle mass means you'll be burning fewer calories, so be careful how much you cut back. Most people eat well over 200g of carbs a day so try cutting down to about 150g a day and make sure well over half of that is coming from high fibre cereal, fruit, and green vegetables. If within two weeks you don't experience some loss of fat or drop in weight, aim for 100g of carbs a day and see if that helps. If absolutely necessary cut down to 75g a day but only for 3 weeks then go back to 100-150g a day.

Q: Should I Take Supplements?

A: No & Yes in that order. It's always a good idea to try losing weight or dropping fat without the aid of supplements. If you start by taking supplements first, you teach your body to rely on these for fat burning and that's not what you want. Try to stay on track with your diet and exercise program for about a month before you start supplementing. Once you've primed your body, start taking fat burners & EFAa (Essential fatty Acids). The combination of new muscle mass and these two supplements will really kick your metabolism into high gear. And don't forget to be patient and focus on short-term goals while you're waiting for your body to change. It would be great to see results overnight but it takes time to make changes that will be long term.

Q: I'm looking to lose some body fat, what exercise should I do?

A: The best form of exercise to help lose body fat is aerobic exercise such as jogging, cycling or swimming whereby you use large muscle groups at a moderate intensity for a sustained period of time. Your body uses various fuels during exercise but after about 10-15 minutes at an intensity below maximum, you start to burn fatty acids, which yield more ATP for energy production. Many people believe that the best intensity for fat burning is around 60-70% of you maximum heart rate, above this you will be Cardio training or reaching maximum exercise capacity. Click here to calculate your target heart rate. However, exercise alone, although beneficial, is generally wasted unless you make alterations to your diet. You may feel you need to eat more because you are exercising, but if you are taking in the same amount of calories in a day as you are burning, then you will not lose body fat. And indeed if you consume more calories than you use, body fat will increase. If you are looking to maintain a healthy weight or lose some body fat, you need a good exercise regime and a good diet. You may be aware that each gram of fat you eat holds 9 calories, whereas carbohydrates and protein hold 4 calories each. It would therefore make more sense to reduce your dietary fat intake rather than your Protein or Carb intake. The problem with some so-called low fat foods is that they are simply replaced by lots of simple carbs while still containing a similar calorie content. Your best bet for losing body fat is a High Protein, Moderate Carbohydrate, Low Fat diet. Although Carbohydrates contain similar calories to Protein, excess Carbohydrates in the diet are easily converted to fat, while it is harder to convert excess protein to fat.

Q: What are fat loss supplements?

A: Fat loss supplements such as Thermocuts are dietary aids designed to accelerate your fat loss results, whether simply trying to lose body fat or cutting up after a bulking period. Most are based on the clinically proven E/C/A Stack (herbal forms of Ephedrine, Caffeine, Aspirin), which speed-up your metabolism (rate of calorie burning) and help you burn more fat even at rest.

Q: How does Caffeine help with fat burning?

A: Caffeine is found in many everyday drinks and medicines. It occurs naturally in coffee beans, tealeaves and coca, and along with alcohol and nicotine is one of the three most commonly used psychoactive drugs. Caffeine is a stimulator of the nervous system and directly of the postsynaptic receptor. According to the American Psychiatric Association, intoxication of caffeine occurs at doses greater than 500mg, where as most E/C/A stacked supplements contain around 100mg per serving. Some of the exercise specific benefits, which could be associated with caffeine intake, are increased lipolysis (the breakdown of tri-acy-lglycerol molecules to a glycerol and three fatty acids molecules, the fatty acids of which can be used for energy production in the muscle), increased contractility of skeletal muscles and even increased oxygen consumption. Again metabolic rate is increased, hence the thermogenic effect

Q:Why is it important to warm up and cool down in a workout?

It is very important to warm up the body before exercising. This aids the performer in preparing physiologically and psychologically for exercise, reducing the chance of joint and muscle injury.

Warm up exercises prepare the body for exercising by increasing the blood flow to the muscles allowing them to loosen up, which can raise the flow of oxygen to the muscle cells. Doing this gradually increases the body's temperature. This then increases the speed and force of muscular contractions, because nerve impulses travel faster at higher body temperatures, and muscles become less stiff or more pliable.

They also help to gradually increase the heart rate and ensure that the demand made on the circulatory and metabolic systems is gradual as well.  In a safe and gradual way they allow blood to be diverted away from other parts of the body such as the digestive system to the muscles being exercised. This initial part of your exercise session helps to improve neural function and co-ordination, protect major joints as it takes time to increase the supply of lubricating synovial fluid and to thicken the articular cartilages – the body’s shock absorbers.

The warm up's intensity should cause perspiration but not cause fatigue. The type of warm up needs to be appropriate for the activity planned. It also needs to be appropriate to the age range and fitness level of the participants, usually lasting for 5-10 minutes in duration.

The following examples cover a warm up:
• walking or jogging to increase the body’s temperature
• dynamic stretches to reduce muscle stiffness
• specific stretches for muscles that will be used during exercises

So in warming up thoroughly, we are preparing the body and the mind for the more energetic demands to come.

The cool down period of an exercise session is just as important as the warm up. The aim is to decrease the intensity of the aerobic session and to return the body to a state of rest.

The cooling down has the effect of:
• preventing blood pooling, returning the blood back to the heart rather than allowing it to pool in the muscles that have been worked
• bringing the heart rate back down, gradually
• preventing fainting by ensuring that the brain continues to receive a sufficient supply of blood and oxygen
• reducing the blood lactic acid levels

Once you have completed the main component of your session you can then focus on the cooling down phase. The key here is ‘gradual’. Use the first 3-5 minutes by walking, or jogging if you have been running, which will bring your breathing under control and back to normal. Once your heart rate has returned back to a state of rest you can then follow this with some stretching. Stretching the muscle groups you used in your workout will return them to their normal length, reduce the delayed onset of muscular soreness, aid recovery and assist your body in its repair process. Don’t forget to include some deep breathing as this will help to oxygenate your system.

Q:How can I maximise my metabolism through exercise and diet?

A:Metabolism is the sum total of all chemical and physiological changes that take place within the body.  This includes the transformation of food into energy, the growth and repair of muscle and bone tissue, and the creation of enzymes and hormones.

While any weight loss regime will cause you to lose pounds in the short run, the real issue is if you will be able to keep it off in the long run.  Many of us are still overweight and obese because we have many misconceptions about the metabolic process that cause people to gain and lose body fat.

Most diets fail the test of time and according to the American College of Sports Medicine, people gain back 67 percent of their lost weight within one year and the rest within five years.

If you go back to our human ancestors, who were hunters and gatherers, hunting down animals whether large or small was exhausting.  They also walked many miles on a daily basis to gather nuts, vegetables, grains and fruits. 

To be able to do this exhausting work on a daily basis, they needed some kind of physical means to store energy and this energy took the form of extra body fat.  This is when the body's ability to store fat began as a survival mechanism.

If you eat a diet that is calorically deprived over a long period of time, it actually causes the body to begin to hang on to the fat supplies it has, even adding to them.  Going back to our human ancestors, a steady supply of food was not guaranteed and this caused the body to develop the added ability to slow down the metabolism and store extra fat.  Therefore this is why very low calorie or starvation diets do not work in the long run.

If you have ever been on one of these diets and wondered why you reached a plateau after losing those initial pounds, it's because your body's natural fat-storing survival mechanism has kicked in.  So the message is to eat a certain amount of calories per day to lose body fat and preserve and build lean muscle mass, as eating too few can even cause your body to cannibalise its own lean muscle to get the nutrients needed for survival.

Apart from eating  the right number of calories to support your metabolism, it is also important to eat low-glycaemic nutrient dense calories to prolong the length, health and quality of your life.  For some, this might indeed mean cutting back on calories and for most this won't be the case.

When a lot of people hear the word carbohydrates, they cringe and avoid them because they think they are fattening.  This is not true because you need a basic amount of carbohydrates just to keep brain function and other metabolic processes efficient.  Low carbohydrate diets can make you feel exhausted and irritable.

To lose weight, maintain weight and stay healthy, choosing the correct kind of carbohydrate is the key.  Sugary and over-processed foods such as cake, sweets, and soft drinks are simple carbohydrates.  Bran muffins, brown rice and whole-grain breads are complex carbohydrates.   Fruit, vegetables and grains also have a different rate of digestion based on their glycaemic index.  By eating carbohydrates that digest slowly and release their energy into the bloodstream gradually, the result is less stored fat.  Those that digest quickly release their energy in amounts greater than the body can use.

People also have a fear of eating fats because they associate them with instant weight gain.  If we chose low-fat or fat free versions of everything we eat then how boring and tasteless will our diets be? 

To consume a diet that is balanced, exciting and tasty, we need to include a sufficient amount of protein and acceptable fats to go with carbohydrates.  Those who limit their fat intake typically eat dry toast or bagel, cereal with low-fat milk for breakfast, a sandwich with very little meat and no mayonnaise or cheese for lunch and pasta, brown rice or a potato with a little protein for dinner.  Eating all these carbohydrates by themselves can trigger insulin release, causing blood sugar to dip. 

Studies have shown that a healthy nutritional program consists of 40 percent low-glycaemic carbohydrates, 30 percent of lean protein and 30 percent acceptable fats.

Fat is essential as it is an energy source that our body needs a certain amount of to be able to function properly.  No one can avoid it and expect to stay healthy.  Choosing the right kind of fats - mono and polyunsaturated fats vs saturated fats - is an important factor in weight loss, weight management and good health.

The more active you are, the more efficient your metabolism works.  This includes everything from planned exercise to walking through the park or playing with your kids.  If you're not physically active, you will begin to gain weight.

As you get older, it is not your metabolic processes that are slowing down, it is your lifestyle and level of activity.  As muscle tissue is metabolically active and fat just basically sits there, the fatter you are, the less metabolically active your body will be.

So to create metabolic efficiency, engaging in exercise at least 3 times per week for a minimum of twenty to thirty minutes is needed.

Exercising will reduce body fat and increase lean muscle mass.  By increasing lean muscle mass, metabolism will increase and aid in the weight-loss process. Muscle tissue uses more calories than fat tissue because it has a higher metabolic rate. There are two main types that will affect your metabolism, having an impact on your BMR and your level of physical activity - Cardiovascular exercise and Resistance training.

The bonus of cardio exercise or aerobic exercise is the speeding up of your metabolism for four to eight hours after you stop exercising. Walking, swimming, jogging sprinting, rowing and cycling are examples of cardiovascular exercise.

Resistance training involves using resistance to build strength and muscle mass. Even though resistance training alone does not speed up your metabolism it does burn fat, increasing your muscle mass which increases your resting metabolic rate.  Bodyweight training, weight machines and free weights are examples of resistance training.

A combination of both these two types of exercise will definitely assist in optimal fat burning and metabolism boosting.


What is the best complete abdominal workout? check out

Everyone wants a rock hard 6-pack, however, the abdominals can be a very tricky set of muscles to is the workouts for an amazing 6-pack!

Perform crunches with the feet elevated (on a bench/box, ball etc.) to place more stress on the actual abdominal muscles instead of the lumbar spine and hip flexors.

During leg raises, bring the legs up to 90 degrees to the body.

To increase difficulty, focus on the contraction and eccentric portions of each rep. Aim for a 5-10 second eccentric to really feel the burn.

Only add minimal weight once exercise is no longer challenging. Increase weight slowly.

The Workout

This workout should be performed twice every week. Now since variation in the training routine is one of the strongest tools we have in sculpting a strong and balanced body, 2 exercises from each section will be picked for each separate workout and performed with as short of rest periods in between sets as possible.

Upper/Middle Abs Exercises:

    Ab Crunch Machine
    Air bike
    Ab Roller
    Cable Crunch
    Decline Crunch

Lower Abs Exercises:

    Decline Reverse Crunch
    Exercise Ball Pull-In
    Flat Bench Leg Pull-In
    Flat Bench Lying Leg Raise
    Hanging Leg Raise

blique Exercises:

    Decline Oblique Crunch
    Oblique Crunches
    Oblique Crunches - On the Floor
    Plate Twist
    Russian Twist

Begin by warming up for 15 minutes jogging or doing some cardiovascular activity in addition to some dynamic stretches. Then pick out your 6 exercises above on the list, two from each category, and begin. Do 15-20 repetitions of each, with 15 seconds of rest in between each set.

I typically like to go through the exercises in the sequence they're in, before going back and doing my second set of Upper/Middle Abs exercises, so I can put a little bit more effort into each repetition due to working different exercises.

Beginners do 2 sets of each exercise to the best of your ability. Ideally over time the goal will be to work up to 3-or-4 sets of each of the 6 exercises.


Two Body Parts A Day , Twice A Week

Monday: Chest and triceps

1. Incline dumbbell press-
4 sets of 15, 12, 10, 8 reps.

2. Flatbench barbell press-
4 sets of 12, 10, 10, 8 reps.

3. Incline dumbbell flies-
3 sets of 12, 10, 8 reps.

4. Cable crossovers-
2 sets of 15, 12 reps.

1. Pushdowns-
4 sets of 15, 12, 10, 8 reps.

2. Bent-over cable extensions using a rope-
3 sets of 15, 12, 10 reps.

3. Dumbbell kickbacks-
3 sets of 15, 12, 10 reps.

Tuesday: Back and biceps

1. Lat machine pulldowns to the front-
4 sets of 15, 12, 10, 8 reps.

2. Close grip pulldowns to the front-
4 sets of 15, 12, 10, 8 reps.

3. Seated cable rows-
4 sets of 15, 12, 10, 8 reps.

4. Hyper-extensions-
3 sets of 18, 18, 18 reps.

1. Incline dumbbell curls-
4 sets of 15, 12, 12, 10 reps.

2. Standing barbell curls-
4 sets of 15, 10, 8, 6 reps.

Wednesday: Cardio and abs

1. 30-45 min. of bike, treadmill or Stairmaster.

1. Crunches-
3 sets of 50, 50, 50 reps.

2. Leg raises-
3 sets of 25, 20, 20 reps.

Thursday: Legs

1. Squats-
5 sets of 15, 15, 12, 10, 8 reps.

2. Leg extensions-
4 sets of 15, 12, 12, 10 reps.

3. Lunges-
4 sets of 15, 12, 10, 10 reps.

4. Leg curls for hamstrings-
4 sets of 15, 12, 12, 10 reps.

5. Standing calf raises-
4 sets of 18, 18, 15, 12 reps.

Friday: Shoulders/biceps
or triceps superset

1. (Military) barbell press behind the neck-
4 sets of 15, 12, 10, 8 reps.

2. Standing side laterals-
4 sets of 15, 12, 12, 10 reps.

3. Upright rows with barbell-
3 sets of 12, 12, 10 reps.

4. Seated bent over dumbbell laterals-
4 sets of 15, 15, 12, 12 reps.

Biceps or triceps superset:
1. Tricep pushdowns on cable machine superset
with barbell curls-
4 sets of 15, 12, 12, 10 reps.

2. Seated dumbbell extension superset with
dumbbell hammer curls-
3 sets of 15, 12, 2, 10 reps


This plan requires that you eat a high protein, high fat, low carbohydrate diet for 5 and a half days. Then for 36 hours you carb-up. The high protein, high fat part of the diet is what sparks the increase in blood serum levels of:

  1. Testosterone
  2. Growth Hormone
  3. IGF-1 

Insulin Isn’t your Enemy

Regular low-carb dieters want to avoid spikes in insulin levels but for the bodybuilder, a controlled spike will do you a world of good. You’ll use a 32-36 hour window (I use the weekends for this) to deliberately cause an insulin spike. Friday 6pm to midnight on Saturday works well for me.

Insulin can make you fat, no doubt about it. Insulin has a dramatic effect on decreasing lipolysis i.e. as insulin regulates fat metabolism, large amounts means that your body will not give up its fat stores for energy; it literally shuts the gates to your stored body fat ensuring that it can’t be released and used for energy. Having said that, insulin is not the enemy of the bodybuilder.

Increasing insulin through a carb-loading period is beneficial because:

  • It helps shuttle amino acids into the muscle cells
  • Increases Protein Synthesis in skeletal muscle
  • Glycogen supercompensation (Replenish Muscle Glycogen To Fuel Workouts).

Growth Hormone & Insulin

As stated previously you will also reap the anabolic effects of increasing insulin, growth hormone and testosterone at the same time. Usually when insulin levels increase, the others decrease and vise versa.

It seems that the body (once fat adapted) sees the intake of high carbs at the weekend as a stressful situation and releases growth hormone as a survival mechanism. Increased Growth hormone is your body’s way of mobilizing energy stores to deal with this stressful situation and so at this time you can get elevated insulin and growth hormone levels simultaneously – welcome to muscle building heaven!

Traditional High-Carb Muscle-Building Diets

On a high carb diet, (usually recommended for the bulking phase of a bodybuilding lifestyle) insulin levels are chronically elevated. You therefore don’t get the edge of maximum release of testosterone, growth hormone and IGF-1. Also on the high carb approach, you prevent your body from using body fat for fuel and actually encourage the laying down of new body fat. That’s

  1. Decreased Lipolysis
  2. Increased Lipogenesis

not good news friends . What this anabolic nutritional strategy does is take advantage of the anabolic properties of insulin and, at the same time, restricts the fattening properties of the hormone. This bodybuilding diet will keep insulin levels steady and low most of the time but you will also be creating carefully timed spikes for explosive muscle growth.

Your Unique Carbohydrate Threshold Level

The best thing about this bodybuilding diet is that it’s tailor-fitted to your unique metabolic type; it’s not a one-size-fits-all diet. You will find your unique carb threshold level and this will allow you to:

  1. Gain muscle without fat
  2. Lose fat without sacrificing lean mass (when cutting)

Your carb threshold level can be defined as

“The lowest possible daily carbohydrate intake that allows you to function at top level”

Since we’re concerned with building muscle, we need to find the lowest amount of carbs you need in a day to not only feel good but hammer out muscle-building workouts that continually improve, week-on-week.

I recommend you start out at 30 grams per day and adjust from there. Don’t make any changes to this for at least a week because you need to make the metabolic switch to burning fat for fuel first. Once this is completed you will be able to tell from your workout performances whether or not you need some more carbs (if so increase in 5 gram per day increments).

I personally average at around 27 grams of carbohydrate per day for 5 and a half days. Some days I take in 35 grams but on others just 20 grams. Going higher or lower is fine, just check your weekly averages. This low amount of carbohydrate is enough to power me through some amazing workouts; I’ve got bags of energy and feel great :) .

Post-Workout Nutrition

Some of you may be wondering about post-workout carbs. With this dietary approach, they are not needed and may actually be counter-productive. For a full break down of why this is the case, please read my article ‘Post-Workout Carbs – Crucial or Counter-Productive?

So, I don’t take any carbs post-workout. My after-training cocktail consists of some whey protein isolate (40 grams or so), micronized creatine (5grams), and L-Glutamine (3 – 5 grams).

I remember being advised years ago that I needed around 60 – 100 grams of post-workout carbs to encourage muscle hypertrophy. It’s no surprise now, with a little education, that I got fat. Also, remember creating daily insulin spikes will have an adverse effect on growth hormone levels so follow this to the letter.

Your Carb-Up Period

This is perfect as you can enjoy your life too after being so strict during the week. Have some pizza, Chinese, whatever you feel like. Take your woman out for a meal, have some beers with the guys and rest assured that your actually benefiting from this. I limit the junk meals to 2 and the rest of the time I eat a mostly high-carb, moderate fat, moderately low-protein diet.

It isn’t an excuse to go completely nuts but let your hair down a little. Again, there’s no reason to eat passed satiation, let your gut decide how much to eat.

There is no real limit on the amount of carbs you can have. The key is just to watch the time it takes for you to begin to smooth-out (lose definition); it may take a little bit of experimentation at first and it will be different for everyone; 32 hours works great for me. You’ll notice that evey week you go through a mini-cycle of being bigger and smaller; this is just due to fluctuating water levels. When you begin to low-carb you’ll flush out some water, it’s perfectly natural.

Continually monitor your weight in conjunction with your body fat levels. If you notice that by Saturday afternoon, you’re smoothing out a little bit too much, you know that you’ll have to limit your carb-up period to 24 hrs; keep monitoring and adjusting as necessary.

Ravi Shankar S

Ravi Shankar S

Very accurate and informative. Very good compilation of the essentials of any workout! Kudos !!

Rahul malik

Rahul malik

you rockkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk

manish goel

manish goel

wow i loved the pumping irons movie.. gr8
site's really awsome

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