10 Best Pre Workout List

September 6, 2019 by  
Filed under Weight Lifting

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If you have ever worked out after a long day, you know how tired and fatigued your body can be by the time you reach the gym. This lack of energy can zap your motivation, severely bog you down, and prevent you from giving your best. Fortunately, there’s a way out of this. A good pre workout supplement can recharge your body and mind. In this article, you will learn more about these supplements, their advantages, and the best pre workout supplement among the tons of options available in the market.  

Product FAQ

What Is a Pre Workout Supplement? 

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Similar to whey protein, pre workout supplements come in a powdered form and can be dissolved in either water or other liquids and can be consumed orally. Designed to boost your workout performance, they need to be consumed an hour before your workout, so the supplements have enough time to act on your body.  

What Does a Pre Workout Supplement Do?        

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A good pre workout supplement provides your body with a rush of energy, increases muscular strength and endurance, decreases muscular fatigue, boosts focus and concentration, and promotes increased blood flow to the muscles by dilating the blood vessels. These effects translate to better and amplified levels of performance when working out.

What Are the Factors to Consider before Buying a Pre Workout Supplement?

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Some factors you need to consider before getting a pre workout supplement are the ingredients and their quality, transparency in disclosure, the presence of unnecessary additives or fillers, and user reviews.  

Where Can I Buy the Best Pre Workout Supplement?

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You can get pre workout supplements online through various websites such as Amazon, Strong Supplement Shop, GNC, and Walmart, among others. You could even visit your local supplement store or your local supermarket to pick one up.        

How We Reviewed

Among the many pre workout supplements out on the market, we picked 10 of the most highly rated supplements and compared them to each other. We then reviewed them based on the following factors: ingredient list, pros and cons, and price. Our review team also went to great lengths to understand the ingredients used and the effects they have on the body to give you an unbiased review and talked with real users.

Overall Price Range of Pre Workout Supplements

You can get a good pre workout supplement for as low as $15 or as high as $50 for a 30-serving container. The price of the supplements primarily depends on factors such as the ingredients, the flavoring, and the brand value. Although low-priced supplements can give you a much-needed boost in energy and endurance, they’re typically loaded with highly stimulating ingredients that can cause damage to your body in the long run. Also, they usually hide information by not disclosing the full ingredient list and can cut corners by settling for low-quality ingredients.

What We Reviewed

Preview

Product Name

Price

Image by pixabay

Wild Thing by Assault Labs

$35 for a 25-serving container.

Image by pixabay

Seismic Surge by Hard Rock Supplements

$36 for a 30-serving container.

Image by Amazon

Edge of Insanity by Psycho Pharma

$37 to $40 for a 30-serving container.

Image by Amazon

Pre-Kaged by Kaged

$38 for a 20-serving container.

Image by Amazon

Jacked Nitrosurge

$25 for a 30-serving container

Image by Amazon

Pre-Jym by Jym

$40 to $50 depending on the serving size.

Image by Amazon

ENGN Shred by Evlution Nutrition

$35 for a 30-serving container.

Image by Amazon

C4 Original by Cellucor

$30 for a 30-serving container.

Image by Amazon

NeuroCore Pre-Workout by MuslceTech

$30 for a 33-serving container.

Image by Amazon

Pump Boost by RSP Nutrition

$18 for a 30-serving container.


Wild Thing by Assault Labs

powdered supplement

Image by pixabay

  • Help Increase Your Energy*
  • Help Increase Your Focus*
  • Help Increase Your Strength During Workouts*
  • Help Increase Your Muscle Pumps*
  • Help Increase Your Muscle Endurance*
  • Features

    This pre workout supplement contains 5 grams of citrulline malate in a 2 to 1 ratio, 2 grams of beta alanine, 2 grams of arginine, and 2 grams of GlycerPump as the primary ingredients. Citrulline malate and beta alanine work together to reduce muscle fatigue, increasing the amount of high-intensity activity that your muscles can endure. The arginine and GlycerPump matrix boost the nitric oxide content in your body, increasing the amount of blood that flows to the muscles. More blood flow equals more muscular pump.  

    Pros

    • Creatine hydrochloride increases the muscular strength, improves performance, and promotes muscle hydration
    • Mixes well with the water and does not clump together
    • Prevents muscle fatigue and improves muscular endurance

    Cons

    • Due to the presence of caffeine, consuming it close to your bedtime can interfere with your sleep
    • Flavor choices are  limited with just two on offer

    Price


    Seismic Surge by Hard Rock Supplements

    Image by pixabay

  • Helps Surge Energy*
  • Helps Increase Muscle Pumps*
  • Helps Enhance Muscle Endurance*
  • Promotes an Elevated Positive Mood*
  • Helps Increase Concentration & Focus*
  • Features 

    Elevate your training to the next level with Seismic Surge by Hard Rock supplements. This pre workout supplement contains beta alanine, arginine alphaketoglutarate, and agmatine sulfate as the primary ingredients. They help reduce muscular fatigue and increase the vascularity, delivering more blood to the muscles worked. Synephrine HCL and alpha yohimbine in the supplement promote thermogenesis in the body and supports the utilization of fat stores for energy.  

    Pros

    • Contains multiple ingredients that help promote focus and concentration
    • Muscles get a great pump
    • Provides clean energy with no jitters or shakes

    Cons

    • Does not contain citrulline malate, which helps delay muscular fatigue
    • Does not contain amounts per serving for individual ingredients

    Price


    Edge of Insanity by Psycho Pharma

    Features 

    Edge of Insanity by Psycho Pharma gives your muscles a great pump and increases the amount of blood that flows to your muscles. This is because the pre workout supplement contains arginine alphaketoglutarate (in a 2 to 1 ratio) and agmatine sulfate as the primary ingredients. The supplement is high on stimulating ingredients such as caffeine, phenibut, yohimbine extract, and green tea extract, which isn’t very healthy for your body in the long run.

    Pros

    • Perfect for people who prefer supplements with stimulants
    • Gives you a high dose of energy with a mild euphoric feeling

    Cons

    • Lacks the ingredient citrulline malate, which helps keep muscle fatigue at bay
    • Amounts per serving for individual ingredients are not listed

    Price

    Where to Buy


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    Pre-Kaged by Kaged

    Features 

    Unlike other pre workout supplements, the Pre-Kaged by Kaged Muscle does not use any proprietary blends to hide supplement information. The supplement features 6.5 grams of citrulline malate, which is known to reduce muscle fatigue and lactic acid build-up and increase performance. Besides that, citrulline malate also improves your body's ability to use amino acids such as BCAAs as a fuel source.

    Pros

    • All the ingredients are listed along with their amounts per serving
    • Contains 6.5 grams of BCAAs that provide your muscles with energy and delay fatigue
    • Consists of creatine HCL, which increases muscle volume and strength

    Cons

    • Issues with mixability as it doesn’t seem to dissolve completely
    • Flavors not great

    Price

    Where to Buy


    Jacked Nitrosurge

    Features 

    Even with very few ingredients and a tiny serving size of just 9 grams, the Jacked Nitrosurge provides your body with the focus, strength, and energy to break through plateaus. The primary ingredients of this pre workout supplement are citrulline, beta alanine, and betaine anhydrous. Although the supplement contains caffeine, it is in a relatively low dosage, which is just enough to keep you alert and focused. L-Theanine in the supplement helps to counteract and manage the stimulating effects of caffeine, preventing crashes.  

    Pros

    • Features AstraGin, which helps support absorption of the ingredients by the body
    • Does not contain fillers, unnecessary ingredients, or proprietary blends
    • Is not overloaded with caffeine or other highly stimulating ingredients

    Cons

    • Has a slightly strong aftertaste which may not be appealing to everybody
    • Comes in only two flavors

    Price

    Where to Buy


    Pre-Jym by Jym

    Features 

    The Pre-Jym by Jym Supplement Science is arguably one of the cleanest pre workout supplements ever created. The supplement does not contain any proprietary blends, is fully transparent, and lists out all the ingredients used along with the amount per serving values. Backed by science, the ingredients in the supplement are in the right doses and come in the right combinations to provide maximum performance enhancement.  

    Pros

    • Comes in five refreshing flavors
    • Provides your body with smooth energy and does not jolt you
    • Contains creatine, beta-alanine, BCAAs, citrulline malate, and a host of other ingredients in a single scoop, eliminating the need to take separate supplements

    Cons

    • Very expensive when compared with other alternatives
    • 300 mg of caffeine can cause issues with sleep if consumed closer to bedtime

    Price

    Where to Buy


    ENGN Shred by Evlution Nutrition

    Features 

    Besides boosting your performance in the gym, the ENGN Shred also contains vitamins and minerals such as vitamins B6 and B12, folic acid, and niacin. Aside from providing you with a rush of energy and focus, ENGN Shred also helps increase your body’s potential to burn fat as it contains ingredients such as CLA, Capsimax, L-Carnitine, and Yohimbe extract.  

    Pros

    • Delays muscle fatigue and increases endurance
    • Promotes fat loss via thermogenesis and increases the body’s ability to tap into fat stores to use as fuel
    • Can suppress appetite

    Cons

    • Some ingredients do not have the amounts per serving listed out individually
    • Some users experience stomach issues and nausea after consumption

    Price

    Where to Buy


    C4 Original by Cellucor

    Features 

    Similar to ENGN Shred, the C4 Original by Cellucor also contains a blend of vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C, vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, niacin, folic acid, and calcium. Except for 1.6 grams of beta alanine, 1 gram of creatine nitrate, and 1 gram of arginine alphaketoglutarate, there aren’t any other significant ingredients in the supplement.  

    Pros

    • Due to the low caffeine content, the supplement does not cause any issues with sleep
    • Flavors taste great and do not have a chemical or artificial taste 
    • Provides your body with a high dose of energy

    Cons

    • At just 6.5 grams, the serving size is too small with inadequate dosages of ingredients
    • Features very minimal ingredients and lacks several others

    Price

    Where to Buy


    NeuroCore Pre-Workout by MuslceTech

    Features 

    Neurocore is a tried and tested pre workout supplement from one of the most well-known manufacturers of supplements, MuscleTech. Featuring a healthy dose of beta alanine, citrulline, and creatine HCL, the supplement delivers exceptional energy, strength, and endurance, enabling you to perform better. NeuroCore is low on highly stimulating ingredients, providing you with clean, smooth energy with no jitters.

    Pros

    • Caffeine content is low and does not cause insomnia or caffeine crashes
    • Mixes well and dissolves completely in water, leaving you with no clumps or residues
    • Creatine HCL helps increase the muscular strength

    Cons

    • Requires you to take 2 scoops to feel the effects
    • Some users report nausea and other digestive issues with 2-scoop servings

    Price

    Where to Buy


    Pump Boost by RSP Nutrition

    Features

    The Pump Boost by RSP Nutrition is one of the rare pre workout supplements with absolutely no stimulating ingredients in the formulation. The primary ingredients of the supplement are 2.5 grams of L-Citrulline and 1.5 grams of Glycerol. Due to its stimulant-free nature, it can be consumed at any point in the day to get a slight boost in energy.

    Pros

    • Affordable when compared with other alternatives
    • Free from stimulating ingredients
    • Contains 250 mg of coconut water powder that supports hydration of the body

    Cons

    • Muscular pumps are not on the level of other pre workout supplements with stimulants
    • Slim ingredient profile might not appeal to most people

    Price

    Where to Buy

    The Verdict

    Based on our comprehensive review of the best pre workout supplements, the Pre-Jym by Jym Supplement Science scores high on the effectiveness scale. It is the perfect supplement for both first-timers and seasoned consumers alike. With Pre-Jym, your body does not develop any tolerance, allowing you to enjoy the effects consistently without having to take a break from it. The only drawback of an otherwise great product is the high pricing. But the pros far outweigh the cons. 

    Though high in stimulant ingredients, Wild Thing by Assault Labs is another great alternative. Wild Thing gives you a rush of crazy energy and intense focus with a massive skin ripping pump. If you’re not a huge fan of highly stimulating supplements, the Pump Boost by RSP Nutrition might interest you with its no-stimulant formulation.

    Overhead Press: Our Comprehensive Guide

    September 4, 2019 by  
    Filed under Weight Lifting

    Comments Off on Overhead Press: Our Comprehensive Guide

    Are you looking for a great exercise that will help you build your shoulders? Try the overhead press! It’s a staple of bodybuilding and weightlifting for one simple reason—it’s extremely effective when done safely. It can help sculpt those boulder shoulders and it even recruits other upper body muscles at the same time, such as the pecs and triceps. Next time you’re at the gym, consider adding it to your routine.

    Benefits of the Overhead Press

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    The overhead press targets all of the “heads” of the deltoids—posterior, anterior, and medial—as well as the pectoral muscles. It can also work your traps, especially if you squeeze at the top.


    Like any good compound exercise, the overhead press can target other muscles incidentally as well, like the triceps and forearm muscles. In other words, it’s a great all-around shoulder exercise that will hit several major muscles all at once.


    In fact, there are many benefits to doing the overhead press over trying to target each individual shoulder muscle with less efficient isolation exercises:

    • The movement is very basic and easy to learn
    • It targets almost all of the “pushing” muscles of the upper body
    • It is a great cross-training exercise if you’re looking to improve other pushing movements like bench press, dips, or handstand push-ups
    • It allows you to simplify your workout and cut out isolation movements such as lateral raises
    • It allows you to lift more total weight since you’re using more muscles; there is some evidence that lifting heavy can increase testosterone levels

    The overhead press is a standard weightlifting exercise, and chances are it will be part of any basic weightlifting routine that you adopt. There are also many different variations of the exercise, so you can mix things up if you’re not ready to do the standard barbell version of the movement.

    How Much Should I Lift?

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    man lifts barbell via overhead press

    image source: Pexels

    When you get started weightlifting and you’ve never done a movement before—or even if you’re just really rusty—it’s important to start slow and keep weight low. Don’t let your ego dictate how much you put on the bar, or you could injure yourself!

    Keep It Slow and Steady

    Since the overhead press is a harder exercise and recruits smaller muscles, don’t expect to lift a lot, especially at first. Your overhead press 1-rep max will probably be around 70% of your bench press 1-rep max, or maybe even less. Like any exercise, don’t lift your maximum every time. You should lift about 60 to 80% of your max, depending on how many total reps you’re doing.


    In most cases, don’t concern yourself with lifting to failure. You should be able to do all of the reps that are required in your routine without completely exhausting yourself. For example, if you’re doing a 5x5, you should be able to do all of those 5 sets of 5 reps with good form. If you can’t, then you’re lifting too much weight. Take some plates off the bar and work up to it some more. The weight should challenge you a little bit, but you shouldn’t be grunting and screaming during every rep.


    Of course, the very first time you do the movement, use an empty bar. Don’t load any weight at all until you have the correct form down. It’s much harder to fix bad form once you’ve created a habit out of it and started adding weight. You could also injure yourself if you lift lots of weight without the correct form. Err on the side of caution and get someone who knows about weightlifting to show you how to do an overhead press correctly. Also, remember to keep your core tight while doing the movement to prevent any awkward twisting of your lower back.

    Over-Training

    Man makes overhead press

    image source: Pexels

    Be mindful not to over-train when adding this exercise to your routine. You may be doing other exercises that recruit some of the same muscles—such as the bench press or the dip—so you’ll need to take this into consideration. If you’re feeling too sore, cut back a little on the weight, the number of reps, or the frequency.


    You could also cut out a few sets per week of a similar exercise and replace it with an overhead press. For example, one day of the week you could do an overhead press instead of a bench press and this may help your muscles get a more well-rounded workout.

    The Overhead Press: A Step-by-Step Guide

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    How do you do an overhead press, though? It’s actually an extremely simple exercise, and you probably already perform this motion occasionally in your everyday life. It’s really just a matter of lifting weight safely over your head, using mostly force from your shoulders and pecs.

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    You can do an overhead press seated or standing, and there are several other variations. If you want to challenge the stabilizing muscles in your core, you’ll want to do a standing press.


    For some people, especially when they’re first starting, doing a standing press may be a bit too hard. If you find yourself wobbling from side to side, then you may not be ready yet. In that case, you can start by doing an overhead press with dumbbells in a seated or kneeling position. Work on your core muscles until you’re ready to attempt the traditional overhead press.


    Here’s how you do an overhead press:

    1

    Stand Holding the Barbell Against Your Upper Pecs

    You’ll want your hands positioned a bit wider than your shoulders. Make sure it feels comfortable and stable. “Pack” your shoulders as well for better form. This means pulling your shoulders back, sticking out your chest, and keeping your back straight. Tighten your core.

    It is also here during the starting position that some people like to take a deep breath so they can let it out explosively during the movement itself.


    This is a good breathing technique, but you can also breathe normally. The main thing to be mindful of, especially if you’re a beginner, is to keep breathing. Don’t hold your breath during any part of the movement! This can be hard if your natural urge is to hold your breath while exerting force. Holding your breath could lead to serious injury because it can raise your blood pressure to suddenly high levels and potentially burst a blood vessel.

    2

    Push Straight Up

    Keeping your arms moving in a straight line, push up towards the ceiling. The bar will end up in an end position that is hovering high over your head.

    Avoid swinging the weight around or otherwise using momentum to carry it up. You want to use your muscles to do the pushing. If you have to use momentum to get it over your head, then you’re using too much weight. Make the movement slow and steady, especially if it’s the first time that you’ve done it.

    3

    Squeeze At The Top (Optional)

    If you want to give your traps an extra workout, you can do an overhead shrug at the very top of the movement. It may look a little funny, but it works your traps just as well or even better than standard shrugs. You can even do this movement as an isolation exercise if you want to target the traps alone.

    4

    Bring It Back Down Safely

    Do the negative side of the movement in the exact opposite way that you performed the positive side. Bring the barbell down until it rests lightly on your upper pecs and then start the next rep after a brief pause. If you have trouble bringing the barbell down and there’s a lot of shaking and instability, reduce the amount of weight that you’re using or try an easier variation of the exercise.

    5

    Follow General Weightlifting Guidelines

    Just as with any resistance exercise, don’t forget to follow the usual safety standards:

    • Breathe throughout the movement and never, ever hold your breath during exertion
    • Don’t load too much weight on the bar
    • Use a spotter, especially if it’s your first time
    • Consider doing easier versions of the movement before you perform a standing overhead press
    • Stop short of total failure to avoid losing control of the bar

    If you follow these guidelines, you should be able to do an overhead press fairly easily with minimal risk of injury. It’s a simple movement, and chances are that you’re already lifting things over your head sometimes at home or at work, anyway. In fact, it’s exactly because of this that the overhead press is one of those basic, useful bodybuilding movements that can help reduce your chance of injury in everyday life as well.

    Conclusion

    person carrying black barbell overhead press

    image source: Pexels

    The overhead press is a great exercise to try. It’s right up there with other standard pushing movements such as the bench press, the push-up, and the dip. If you want to target the upper chest and shoulders, it’s one of the best exercises you can do.


    Since it’s a compound movement, it works the smaller muscles of the arms and the stabilizing muscles of the core as well. This means it’s a very efficient exercise to add to your routine that will save you time at the gym. It can also be done easily with both barbells and dumbbells, which gives weightlifters of all levels an opportunity for mastery.

    10 Best Back Exercises – Follow These Guide

    August 5, 2019 by  
    Filed under Weight Lifting

    Comments Off on 10 Best Back Exercises – Follow These Guide

    Women wearing a workout bra showing her back

    The muscles in your back play a major role in almost all of the functions of your body as they connect your hips, chest, butt, shoulders, and neck. Working out the muscles in your back not only makes them stronger and allows them to support your body better, but it also makes your body look more aesthetic. In this article, you will learn more about back exercises, the benefits they offer, and some of the best back exercises that you can do to get that coveted V-taper.

    Back Exercise FAQ

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    Here are the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions on back exercises.

    1. WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF BACK EXERCISES?

    2. WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF BACK EXERCISES?

    3. HOW TO INCORPORATE BACK EXERCISES INTO YOUR ROUTINE?

    How We Reviewed

    Woman is lifting a weights to exercise her back

    Image by skeeze from Pixabay

    Our team of reviewers closely worked with fitness experts, bodybuilders, and physiologists to come up with the 10 best back exercises for stimulating growth and increasing strength. We then moved on to review these 10 exercises based on the movement required to execute them and their pros and cons to come up with an unbiased verdict.  

    Overall Difficulty Level of Back Exercises

    Man with chain at his shoulder while lifting himself up and do some back exercise

    Image by Pavel Jurča from Pixabay

    Many of the back exercises that involve barbells such as the barbell deadlift, standing T-bar row, and the bent-over barbell row are the most difficult to perform due to the necessity to maintain a stricter form throughout the movement. They’re highly risky as they can end up causing back issues if done incorrectly.

    Irrespective of that, they’re the best when it comes to building muscle and strength in the back. Beginners should exercise caution while trying to do these back exercises and should stick to low weights till they can get better at achieving the proper form. Some of the exercises such as the close-grip pull-down, single-arm dumbbell row, and cable row are beginner-friendly, easy to perform, and effective at stimulating the muscles in your back.

    What We Reviewed

    • Barbell Deadlift
    • Bent-Over Barbell Row
    • Wide-Grip Pull-Up
    • Standing T-Bar Row
    • Wide-Grip Seated Cable Row
    • Reverse-Grip Smith Machine Row
    • Close-Grip Pull-Down
    • Single-Arm Dumbbell Row
    • Decline Bench Dumbbell Pull-Over
    • Single-Arm Smith Machine Row

    Barbell Deadlift

    How To Perform

    Start off with a loaded barbell on the floor. Step up to the middle of the bar and position your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend down from your hip and grab the bar with a shoulder-width grip (it can either be a pronated grip or a mixed one). Take a deep breath and brace your core. This builds pressure inside your body and protects your spine.

    Now slowly lower your hips so that your shins touch the bar. Make sure to always look forward, as looking down can curve your back and can put tremendous pressure on the lower back. With your chest pushed outward and back straight, drive through the heels to lift the weight and stand upright. Lower the bar back down by bending from your hips.

    Pros

    • The deadlift is a total body workout and targets multiple muscle groups such as the upper and lower back, glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, and traps
    • Significantly increases lower back strength and stability

    Cons

    • Highly risky as you can end up injuring yourself without proper form and practice
    • Not suitable for people with lower back issues

    Bent-Over Barbell Row

    How To Perform

    Start by gripping a loaded barbell at shoulder-width with a pronated grip. Bend down from the waist, keep your back straight, and your knees bent. Let the barbell hang down in front of you. Now, exhale and lift the barbell to your waist and hold the position for a second, while squeezing the muscles in your back. Slowly lower the barbell back while inhaling. Make sure to look forward during this entire movement as that would help you maintain a straight back. Also, remember to keep your elbows close to your body.  

    Pros

    • Perfect for building mass and strength
    • Improves lower back strength and stability

    Cons

    • Not advisable for people with back issues

    Wide-Grip Pull-Up

    How To Perform

    Stand in front of a pull-up bar and hold it with a wide pronated grip. Let yourself hang down freely with your arms fully extended. Slowly pull yourself up by bending your elbows and pause for a second once your chin goes above your hands. Contract the muscles in your back and slowly lower yourself down to the starting position.

    Make sure to do this exercise in one smooth movement. Do not jerk yourself around or use momentum to complete the exercise. Also, try using an open grip to engage your lat muscles better. This exercise can also be performed using a supinated grip, which will also let you work your biceps.

    Pros

    • List ElemHelps build a thicker and wider back  ent
    • Can help increase your grip strength

    Cons

    • Beginners might find it hard to do this exercise due to the lack of strength to pull themselves up

    Standing T-Bar Row

    How To Perform

    Start off by securely positioning a loaded bar in a corner to prevent it from moving around. Make sure that you take a wide stance with the bar in between your legs. Now, lift the bar up with a double D row handle positioned near the collar of the bar. Keep your chest up, your back straight, and your arms fully extended.

    Slowly pull the bar towards your abdomen by flexing your elbows. Once you reach the top of the movement, pause for a second and squeeze the muscles in your back. Then, slowly get back to the starting position.

    Pros

    • In addition to strengthening the back, it also helps develop a good posture
    • Works multiple muscle groups such as biceps, traps, lats, and even your core

    Cons

    • You might end up with muscle cramps if breathing is irregular during the movement

    Wide-Grip Seated Cable Row

    How To Perform

    Strap a long bar onto a low pulley row machine. Position yourself appropriately on the machine and hold the long bar with a wide pronated grip. Make sure to secure your feet on the given platform, and do not lock the knees. Pull the bar back by extending your arms fully till you create a 90-degree angle with your torso and your legs.

    Pull the bar towards your abdomen, while keeping your back straight. Exhale during this part of the movement. Hold this position for a second and squeeze the muscles in your back. Then, slowly get back to the starting position.  

    Pros

    • Places constant tension on the muscles
    • Perfect for beginners and people with lower back issues

    Cons

    • Unlike traditional barbell workouts, cable rows don’t work any of the stabilizer muscles

    Reverse-Grip Smith Machine Row

    How To Perform

    Set the smith machine to a height that is just below your knees. Bend over from the waist by flexing your knees and bring your torso over the bar. Keep your back straight and parallel to the floor. Using a supinated grip, hold the barbell at a width that’s slightly more than shoulder-width. Unlock the barbell and let it hand directly below.

    Slowly lift the barbell up to your upper abdomen and keep your elbows tucked in and close to your body. When you’re at the top, hold the position and squeeze the muscles in your back. Slowly lower the bar back down to the starting position.

    Pros

    • Works your biceps and forearms in addition to your back muscles
    • Ideal for beginners

    Cons

    • Not suitable for people suffering from back issues
    • The exercise isn’t ideal due to the fixed and very limited range of motion

    Close-Grip Pull-Down

    How To Perform

    Attach a long bar to the top pulley of the lat pull-down machine and begin by positioning yourself appropriately. Grab the bar with a grip that’s narrower than shoulder-width (you can use either a pronated or supinated grip).

    With your arms fully extended, lean back a little and stick your chest out. Exhale and slowly pull the bar down to your chest by bending your elbows. Once you reach the bottom position, hold for a second and squeeze the muscles in your back. Slowly let the bar rise up to the starting position.

    Pros

    • In addition to working the muscles in your back, the exercise also emphasizes the biceps
    • Simple and pretty safe, making it the perfect exercise for beginners and people with lower back issues

    Cons

    • None

    Single-Arm Dumbbell Row

    How To Perform

    You will need a flat bench and a dumbbell of appropriate weight for this exercise. Position your left arm and left knee on the flat bench and straighten your back so that it is parallel to the floor. With your right arm, pick up the dumbbell off the floor and let it hang with your arms fully extended. Slowly pull the dumbbell up to your chest.

    Once you’re at the top, hold the position and squeeze your back muscles. Make sure that you exhale during this part of the movement and ensure that your elbows are tucked in close. Slowly lower the weight down to the starting position. Once you’re done with a set, switch sides and perform the same movement.

    Pros

    • Very safe, easy to perform, and requires just a dumbbell
    • Helps strengthen multiple muscle groups such as shoulders, core, and biceps

    Cons

    • None

    Decline Bench Dumbbell Pull-Over

    How To Perform

    Position yourself properly on a decline bench with both of your legs securely locked. Grab a dumbbell with both of your arms, lift it up, and hold it right above your chest. Your arms should be fully extended and perpendicular to the floor. This is your starting position.

    Begin by slowly moving the dumbbell backwards over your head and stop once your arms are parallel to the floor. Pause for a second and slowly bring the dumbbell back to the starting position. Do not jerk the weight around or use momentum.

    Pros

    • Works out your entire upper body including your chest, shoulders, triceps, upper back, and the core
    • Works the stabilizer muscles and helps increase flexibility

    Cons

    • Exercise is slightly risky as there’s a chance of you dropping the weight on yourself
    • Puts more emphasis on the chest rather than the back

    Single-Arm Smith Machine Row

    How To Perform

    Load the smith machine with the appropriate weight and set it at the lowest position. Stand at a 90-degree angle on the right side of the bar. Bend at the waist by flexing your knee and grab the bar with your left hand. Keep your back straight and look forward. Slowly pull the bar up towards the side of your chest.

    Make sure to keep your elbows tucked in. Once you’re at the top, pause for a second and contract the muscles in your back. Slowly lower the bar back down to the starting position. Once you’re done with a set, switch the side and repeat the movement.        

    Pros

    • Works your biceps, lats, and shoulders
    • Perfect for beginners and people with lower back issues

    Cons

    • None

    The Verdict

    Man is doing some back exercise

    Image by Pavel Jurča from Pixabay

    Based on our review of the 10 best back exercises, the barbell deadlift and bent-over barbell rows offer the best overall development of the muscles in the back. Being compound exercises, they work multiple muscle groups simultaneously and help improve posture and stability. They also offer the maximum strength gains among all back exercises.

    The only disadvantage that these exercises have is the increased stress that it places on the lower back, making them unsuitable for people with back problems, as they can end up aggravating the issues. Cable rows, single-arm dumbbell rows, and single-arm smith machine rows are great alternatives. These back exercises hit the muscles hard and are good for the lower back.  


    Featured Image by Scott Webb from Pixabay

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    Isopure Reviews

    August 4, 2019 by  
    Filed under Weight Lifting

    Comments Off on Isopure Reviews

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    Protein powders are great for building muscle, muscle recovery, and staying satiated while on a low calorie/fat diet. With so many choices on the market today it’s easy to get confused. There are hundreds of types of protein, flavors, and claims by their manufacturers! We took a good look at reviews and research for four top protein powders, breaking them down by the quality of their ingredients, cost, usability, product guarantee and expected results. First up is Isopure, a whey isolate protein powder. Isopure is a good option for most fitness plans because it contains no carbs, sugar, cholesterol or fat and is moderate in calories. Many reviews reported muscle gains and weight loss after using Isopure, in addition to weight training, exercise and a healthy diet.

    What Is Isopure Zero Carb Protein Powder? 

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    Isopure Zero Carb Protein Powder is a whey isolate protein powder, ideal for building muscle and aiding in fat loss. Whey isolates like Isopure typically contain very little carbs or sugar and the body can absorb 8–10 grams per hour, making it a viable choice before, during or after a workout. Whey isolate is one of the most common protein forms on the market, and though it’s from a dairy source, it is lactose-free; easily absorbed by the body. Many reviews we found reported Isopure did not cause uncomfortable gassiness or bloatedness experienced with other protein powders. Reviewers also liked the simplicity of Isopure's ingredients, no gluten or chemicals, though soy is added for creaminess. Here’s the breakdown for Isopure Zero Carb Protein powder, which comes in over 17 flavors.

    Isopure Zero Carb Protein Powder Benefits

    • 25 grams protein per serving
    • Zero sugar
    • 100 calories per scoop
    • Whey protein isolate
    • Zero carbs (2 low carb varieties)
    • Gluten, lactose and aspartame free (contains sucralose, a natural sugar)
    • Zero sugar per serving

    Flavors of Isopure

    Isopure Zero Carb Protein Powder is offered in a wide variety of flavors, including Banana Cream, Cookies and Cream, Mango Peach, Apple Melon and Creamy Vanilla. Isopure makes two low-carb versions, Dutch Chocolate and Toasted Coconut, containing just one gram of carb per 2-scoop serving and zero sugar. Isopure also makes a flavorless variety, which mixes well with other flavors like cocoa powder, peanut powder, or sweeteners like fruit, honey or stevia.

    Using Isopure 

    Isopure stands out for having no added fillers, made up of a pure whey protein isolate, which mixes easily with water or milk. Isopure recommends a mixture of 6 ounces of water per 2 scoops for a total of 50 grams of protein per serving, but many users say they adjusted the amount of scoops and liquid to their taste and preference. A popular suggestion to make Isopure shakes richer was to replace water with non-dairy milk like almond milk. For an extra bit of flavor, some users said they liked adding cocoa powder, peanut powder or fruits and berries (use a blender for adding fruits). When stored in a cool dry place Isopure protein powder can keep fresh up to a year.

    Pricing 

    Isopure protein powder comes in three bulk sizes and can be purchased directly at: theisopurecompany.com. Other recommended sellers are: GNC.com, Bodybuilding.com, Amazon.com, and Vitaminshoppe.com. Prices range from about $16 for a 1-pound container to $95 for a 7.5-pound container. Prices average about $1.50 per serving; fairly economical for a high-quality protein powder.

    Average Price of Isopure 

    • 1 pound packet (7 servings) - $15
    • 3 pound tub (22 servings) - $40
    • 4.5-pound tub (creamy vanilla only) - $50
    • 7.5 pound tub (55 servings) - $95

    How Isopure Compares

    We picked a few similar products available on the market to see how they compare to Isopure.

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    • BioTrust Low Carb Grass Fed Whey Protein Powder
    • MusclePharm Combat 100% Whey Protein Powder
    • Perfect Keto Chocolate Protein Powder

    Isopure Zero Carb Protein Powder


    At about $1.50 per serving, Isopure is a solid, economical choice for a high-quality protein powder.

    Ease of Use 

    We gave Isopure Zero Carb Protein powder 4 out of 5 stars. It mixes with easily with water or milk, (similar to or better than any other powder), digests quickly and comes in three different container sizes.

    Expected Results 

    4 out of 5 stars. Reviews report it doesn’t cause gas or bloating like other powders and helps with weight loss and muscle gain.

    Quality of Ingredients 

    3.5 out of 5 stars. Isopure contains high-quality protein, vitamins and minerals but the flavored versions added sucralose. (Xanthan Gum, Natural And Artificial Flavor, Sucralose). Also, those with soy allergies should note Isopure does contain soy for added for creaminess.

    Guarantee 

    Refer to the vendor for its return policy, but most sellers such as Amazon offer a 100% money-back guarantee within 30 days.

    Pros

    • Mixes easily with water
    • Economic
    • No carbs, high protein, no sugar, lactose-free
    • Helps with weight loss and muscle gain

    Cons

    • Smells a bit strong
    • Contains soy and sucralose
    • Taste could be better
    • Gassiness/bloating reported by some users

    BioTrust Low Carb Grass Fed Whey Protein Powder

    BioTrust Low Carb Grass Fed Whey Protein powder is made up of 4 types of dairy protein. The company states Biotrust Protein is from grass-fed cows, contains no artificial colors or additives, is non-GMO, soy free and gluten-free. In addition to whey protein isolate and whey concentrate, it also contains micellar casein, which digests slowly, making it an ideal choice for satiation and helping the body repair overnight. Low Carb Grass Fed Whey Protein stands apart for its trademark digestive enzyme blend, ProHydrolase, which enables the easy absorption of all that protein without unpleasant gastrointestinal effects. It is marketed as a weight-loss aid since it helps with satiation (staying fuller longer).

    Nutrients and Flavors

    A two-scoop serving of BioTrust contains 150 calories, 24 grams of protein, 8 grams of carbs (4 grams of fiber), and 2.5 grams of fat, (1 gram of saturated fat). It’s also high in calcium. BioTrust manufactures Low Carb in six different flavors: Milk Chocolate, Vanilla Cream, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Café Mocha, Strawberry Banana, and Peach Mango.

    Price - $$$

    Very expensive. One tub (1.2 pounds of 14 servings) = $49 dollars on Amazon. About $3.50 per serving.

    Ease of Use 

    We gave 4 out of 5 stars for ease of use. Mixes easily with water or milk.

    Expected Results 

    We gave 4.5 out of 5 stars for its ability to digest easily, ward off hunger, and help with muscle building and recovery.

    Quality of Ingredients 

    We gave BioTrust 3.5 out of 5 stars for ingredient quality. Seems legit, but hard to know. The company states their protein is from “grass fed, hormone free, happy cows” but does not list the ingredients in their “new breakthrough” enzyme, ProHydrolase.

    Guarantee 

    BioTrust is listed as Amazon’s Choice product and free returns are guaranteed within 30 days. Refer to each vendor for individual return policies.

    Pros

    • Satiating, 4 grams of fiber per serving
    • Mixes easily with water or milk
    • Digests well, does not cause bloating or gas
    • Free-range, hormone-free dairy protein

    Cons


    • High in cholesterol and sodium, (180 sodium and 30 mg cholesterol per serving)
    • Expensive - about 3 times as expensive as similar products
    • Bland/chalky taste
    • Mysterious ingredients in its digestive enzyme blend ProHydrolase

    MusclePharm Combat 100% Whey Protein Powder


    The key feature of MusclePharm’s protein powder is its combination of whey isolate, casein, egg protein and whey concentrate protein which deliver a lot of protein and aid in quick digestion; great for before, during, or after a workout. The product has a lot of rave reviews about its amazing taste, though some said it was too sweet for their liking. The company states they test batches for banned substances and protein quality, and each serving delivers 25 grams of protein. Each one scoop serving has 130 calories, 25 grams of protein, 2 grams of fat, (1 gram saturated fat), 5 grams of carbs and 2 grams of sugar. Though there are no artificial dyes or colors and it is gluten-free, it is not lactose-free, contains artificial ingredients and sugars, and makes no statement to be non-GMO.

    Ease of Use 

    We gave 4 out of 5 stars for ease of use. Reviewers said it mixes great in a blender with water, milk, almond milk, fruits, and vegetables. Like most protein powders, there were complaints it takes a while to mix completely and can leave clumps.

    Expected Results 

    We gave MusclePharm 4 out of 5 stars for being an easy way to ingest 25-50 grams of protein, especially for fitness buffs. Lactose intolerant users should keep in mind the product does contain lactose!

    Quality of Ingredients 

    2.5 out of 5 stars. MusclePharm uses artificial sweeteners which we don’t like, as well as cellulose gum, guar gum, xanthan gum, sucralose, acesulfame potassium and soy lecithin. Again, it is not lactose-free, and has no statement about being GMO-free.

    Guarantee 

    4 out of 5 stars. All MusclePharm sales via Amazon.com are backed by a 30-day, money-back guarantee, but make sure to check each individual vendor for their policy.

    Pros

    • Inexpensive
    • Tastes yummy (on the sweet side!)
    • Whey, casein and egg protein for ultimate absorption

    Cons

    • One gram saturated fat per serving
    • Artificial ingredients/sweeteners
    • High calorie/cholesterol (130 calories / 35 mg cholesterol per scoop)
    • Not vegan, contains lactose, no statement on GMO testing

    Perfect Keto Chocolate Protein Powder


    Keto Collagen is advertised as a keto-friendly protein powder derived from collagen, a necessary amino acid for muscle recovery which doesn’t affect blood sugar. The company states their collagen peptides are taken from U.S.A. grass-fed cows and their product contains no artificial sweeteners, coloring, chemicals, or binding agents. Collagen protein is a good source for is supporting connective tissues and improving joint pain after exercise. It is not a complete protein like whey protein and is lower in protein content. That makes it a good choice for those following a ketogenic diet or wanting to repair connective tissue and joints but not ideal for body-builders or those on low-fat diet. Each one-scoop serving has 4 grams saturated fat, 80 calories, and only 10 grams of protein. Current flavors are chocolate, caramel, vanilla or unflavored. Many keto-friendly reviews said they liked to mix the powder into their coffee for an energy boost in the morning.

    Ease of Use 

    We gave 3.5 out of 5 stars. There were quite a few reports of overstuffed packaging causing spills with each use. Several reviews reported the powder leaves an ugly “scum” when mixed into hot beverages like coffee.

    Expected Results 

    We gave 4 out of 5 stars. Keto protein powder is advertised to help with joints, connective tissue, hair, skin and nails and many users report positive results in these areas, including increased energy.

    Quality of Ingredients 

    4 out of 5 stars for quality ingredients. For those who don’t like the Stevia taste in the flavored options, there is an unflavored powder.

    Guarantee 

    3 out of 5 stars for product guarantee. Amazon states it will honor a Keto protein powder replacement only once and the PerfectKeto.com requires you to contact the company directly.

    Pros

    • Collagen-based protein to strengthen connective tissue
    • Tastes good
    • Keto-friendly
    • Paleo, gluten-free, no additives, chemicals or fake sugars

    Cons

    • Expensive
    • Messy
    • High fat
    • Stevia taste


    The Takeaway

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    After reviewing these four products, we gave Isopure the highest rating, with 4.5 out of 5 stars. Isopure is keto friendly, lactose-free, non-GMO, great for building muscle, and aids in weight loss, satiation and muscle recovery. Complaints were few and had to do with taste and occasional gassiness. We feel Isopure is a solid choice for those wanting to gain muscle, lose weight or maintain a lean diet. We also like that it contains no additives or fake sugars and is a great price at $1.50 per serving.

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    Shoulder Workouts: Your Ultimate Guide

    July 24, 2019 by  
    Filed under Weight Lifting

    Comments Off on Shoulder Workouts: Your Ultimate Guide

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    When deciding which shoulder workouts to perform, it depends on what athletic level you are, what goals you are aiming to achieve and what type of equipment you have. In this article, we have reviewed 10 popular shoulder workouts and discussed how they could benefit your workout routine. Remember to consult a professional trainer on more complex moves, especially if you are a beginner, so you avoid any potential injuries. Check out our discussion below to decide which shoulder workouts you should incorporate into your exercise regimen.

    Product FAQ

    Before we begin our discussion on various shoulder workouts, we will answer some frequently asked questions.

    Why Are Shoulder Workouts Important?

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    The shoulder provides stability and has a large range of motion, but it is also one of the most susceptible joints to injury. It is important to ensure that your shoulders are strong and resistant to potential harm from daily use.

    2. What Level of Athleticism Should I Have to Perform Shoulder Workouts?

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    The level of athleticism, distinguished as beginner, intermediate, or expert in this article, determines which shoulder workouts are appropriate for you.

    Insert Image

    3. What Equipment Do I Need to Perform Shoulder Workouts?

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    Typical shoulder workouts require dumbbells or barbells. You can choose to either buy the appropriate equipment or find the necessary items in a standard gym.

    4. How Can I Determine How Many Sets and Reps to Complete?

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    If you are training for strength, you should choose a higher weight and aim to perform one to six reps. While performing higher reps at a lower weight also builds muscle, it focuses on endurance building. You should aim for sets of 12 to 15 to increase your endurance over time.

    How We Reviewed

    We reviewed each of these 10 shoulder workouts by discussing their pros and cons, how to perform each exercise, what equipment you should use when performing the exercise and what level of athleticism you should be before performing the exercise.

    Overall Price Range Of This Product (And Similar Products)

    The price of the equipment for these shoulder workouts ranges between about $ and $$$ if you buy the equipment yourself. You can also find this equipment in a standard gym.

    What We Reviewed

    • Dumbbell Shoulder Press
    • Push Press
    • Upright Barbell Row
    • Standing Military Press
    • Seated Bent-Over Rear Delt Raise
    • Dumbbell Incline Row
    • Side Lateral Raise
    • Barbell Shoulder Press
    • Standing Front Barbell Raise Over Head
    • Arnold Dumbbell Press

    Dumbbell Shoulder Press

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    Image by Pexels

    Insert Image

    Type

    The dumbbell shoulder press is a strength exercise that works the shoulders. This is one of many shoulder workouts that utilizes dumbbells. You sit on a military press bench, hold a dumbbell in each hand, place them on the top of your thighs, then raise the dumbbells to shoulder height one at a time. From this starting position, push the dumbbells upward until they touch the top in a contracted position. Then, repeat this exercise for the amount of repetitions in your set.

    Pros

    • A multi-joint exercise that will work your shoulders and triceps
    • Allows for more range of motion than using a barbell
    • Greater range of motion increases time under tension, which utilizes the traps 

    Cons

    • Lifting too much weight will compromise your form
    • If you use bad form when performing the shoulder press, it can hurt your shoulders
    • Important to keep your elbows positioned correctly

    Equipment

    Level


    Push Press

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    Image by Pexels

    Type

    The barbell push press allows you to load up the most weight above all other overhead press moves. It is considered a whole-body movement due to its lack of isolation effect. You perform it by putting the barbell atop your upper chest, bend your knees slightly, and explode upward on the balls of your feet while pressing the bar overhead. This works your lower body, core, delts, triceps, and upper pecs.

    Pros

    • Utilizes the legs, chest, arms, shoulder, and lower back
    • Olympic weight training technique
    • Segue into more advanced overhead moves

    Cons

    • Need to have a high level of skill to perform
    • An explosive exercise, so more potential for injury
    • Detrimental if performed with incorrect form

    Equipment

    Level


    Upright Barbell Row

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    Image by Pexels

    Type

    You perform the upright barbell row by grasping a barbell with an overhand grip, with hands slightly less than shoulder width apart. The bar should start by resting on the top of your thighs with extended arms. Then, raise your elbows up and keep the bar close to your body as you move upwards. Continue to lift the barbell until it reaches your chin. Then, lower it back down and repeat for the intended number of repetitions.

    Pros

    • Targets the upper back and shoulders
    • Great exercise for athletes aiming to gain muscle and power in their deltoids
    • Appropriate for athletes of all experience levels

    Cons

    • Can irritate the anterior shoulder
    • Can hurt your neck if done incorrectly
    • You need to use strict form in order to work the shoulders versus the forearms and biceps

    Equipment

    Level


    Standing Military Press

    Type

    The standing military press is another example of shoulder workouts for beginners, and you can perform it sitting or standing. You begin with slightly bent knees and lift the barbell up over your head by locking your arms. You hold the barbell at about shoulder level, then lower the bar down to the collarbone slowly. Then, you lift the bar back up. You repeat this exercise for the number of repetitions within your set.

    Pros

    • Great option for developing shoulder muscles
    • Can perform either standing or seated
    • Can help to stabilize your spine

    Cons

    • Lifting too much weight can compromise your form and cause injury
    • Can put unnecessary strain on your lower back
    • Mainly focusses on your shoulders and not on other muscle groups

    Equipment

    Level


    Seated Bent-Over Rear Delt Raise

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    Type

    Also known as the rear delt fly, you place a couple of dumbbells in front of a flat bench with the dumbbells behind your calves, then you bend at the waist with a straight back and lift the dumbbells straight to the side until both arms are parallel to the floor. Then, slowly lower the dumbbells back to the starting position and repeat for the intended number of repetitions.

    Pros

    • Great workout for the shoulders
    • Works the rear deltoid muscles 
    • Uses isolation to build strength and power

    Cons

    • Can harm your back if you do not maintain a straight position
    • Relatively strict movement that needs to be controlled
    • Can be dangerous for your neck if you do not have a safe spinal position 

    Equipment

    Level


    Dumbbell Incline Row

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    Image by Pexels

    Type

    The dumbbell incline row is one of the shoulder workouts that works the delts, while also targeting the middle back. For this exercise, you need to lean into an incline bench. Then, you take a dumbbell in each hand and retract the shoulder blades to row the dumbbells to your side.

    Pros

    • Works the back and rear delts
    • A powerful, multi-joint rowing exercise
    • Great way to strengthen the back muscles

    Cons

    • Great if performed correctly, but harmful if performed with incorrect form
    • Can be detrimental to your neck if your spine is not straight
    • Can cause injury if you use too much weight

    Equipment

    Level


    Side Lateral Raise

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    Type

    The side lateral raise is a great single-joint movement for the middle delts, but it is important that you perform this exercise with the correct form. You pick a pair of dumbbells, maintain a stationary position, lift the dumbbells to your side, and lift up your arms to be parallel to the floor. Then, lower the dumbbells back down slowly. Repeat this exercise for the appropriate number of repetitions, according to your set.

    Pros

    • Great exercise for the middle delts
    • An appropriate exercise for beginners
    • Can be performed sitting down or standing up

    Cons

    • Should not lift very heavy weight with excessive momentum
    • Should ensure that you do not "swing" the weights
    • Should keep abdominals engaged, as it is common for people to relax their abdominal muscles during this exercise

    Equipment

    Level


    Barbell Shoulder Press

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    Type

    With the barbell shoulder press, you sit on a bench with back support and position a barbell at a height above your head. Then, you pick up the barbell and lift the bar over your head by locking your arms. You then lower the bar down to the shoulders slowly, and you lift the bar back up to the starting position.

    Pros

    • A great and powerful shoulder workout
    • A multi-joint exercise that allows you to lift more weight
    • Builds muscle and strength in the traps, triceps, and upper chest

    Cons

    • Can be dangerous if practiced incorrectly
    • Should not over-do the weight to avoid potential injury
    • Upper and lower back pulls are possibilities if you perform this exercise in an extreme manner

    Equipment

    Level


    Standing Front Barbell Raise Over Head

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    Type

    Begin this exercise by standing straight with a barbell in your hands, gripping the bar with palms facing down. Your elbows should be slightly bent, and you lift the barbell up until it is over your head. Then, lower the barbell back down to the starting position and repeat it for the appropriate number of repetitions.

    Pros

    • Isolation exercise, which requires movement around one joint and builds strength around it
    • Develops your anterior (frontal) shoulder muscles
    • Works the triceps in addition to the shoulders 

    Cons

    • Only targets a few muscles
    • Proper form should be used to avoid injury
    • Not appropriate for people with previous shoulder injuries

    Equipment

    Level


    Arnold Dumbbell Press

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    Type

    With the Arnold Press, you start with the dumbbells in front of your shoulders with your palms facing you. Press the weights overhead while rotating your wrists so that your palms face forward. Then, rotate your wrists back to the starting position when lowering the weights. You should perform this sitting down, but you can also perform it standing up if you do so with the correct form.

    Pros

    • Allow for greater freedom of motion than using a barbell
    • A great move for your delts 
    • Forces your elbows to drop in front of your body, which activates the anterior delts

    Cons

    • Must warm up shoulders and rotator-cuffs before performing this exercise
    • If you are a beginner, you should start with lighter weights
    • Dumbbells require the most coordination, so you need to have a concentrated motion

    Equipment

    Level

    The Verdict

    While all of these shoulder workouts are great exercises, some will be appropriate for your skill level and goals, while others should be tested with a professional. If you are a beginner, we recommend that you try the side lateral raise to work your delts, the dumbbell incline row to strength your back muscles, the standing military press to stabilize your spine or the upright barbell row to target your upper back. If you are an expert, we recommend that you try the push press to utilize your full body. Regardless of which exercises you choose, make sure you research proper form to avoid injury.

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    How to Get Definition in Your Delts

    July 17, 2019 by  
    Filed under Increase Muscle, Weight Lifting

    Comments Off on How to Get Definition in Your Delts

    Our shoulders are used in just about every upper body exercise we do. Because of the extreme range of motion and critical function, it's important to make sure they are strong and that your exercise routine is a balanced one. The shoulder muscles, or delts, are triangular muscles that cover the shoulder joint. In order to develop this group of three muscles, it is important to know how to develop all three in a balanced way. The delts are made up of the anterior, posterior, and medial muscles. There are also smaller rotator cuff muscles. We will share with you a couple of workout routines you can try to get definition in your delts!

     

    woman girl fitness delts

    Source: Pexels

    Shoulder Structure and Function

    The structure of the shoulder is made up of smaller rotator cuff muscles and larger deltoid muscles. The smaller rotator cuff muscles support the ball and socket joint. The larger deltoid muscles are comprised of the posterior, medial, and anterior muscles. Together they move the arm away from the body. The anterior deltoid works with the lats, pectorals, and subscapularis to rotate the humerus bones allowing for the palms to face backward. The posterior delts are involved in a transverse movement. Below are a few exercises for shoulder strength:


    STANDING DUMBBELL PRESS

    Standing while doing the shoulder press not only exercises your delts, but requires you to stabilize your core and practice balance. To perform this exercise:

    • Stand with your feet shoulder width apart with a dumbbell in each hand
    • Raise them to eye level, bending your elbows about 90 degrees
    • With your core stabilized, extend your hands up and together, extending your elbows 180 degrees
    • Pause and return to starting position slowly


    PRONE REVERSE FLY

    Doing this exercise free-hand versus on a machine will allow you to isolate the rear delts and give you more control with your hands. To perform this exercise:

    • Lie down on a flat bench face-down with the balls of your feet firmly on the floor, using a rolled towel to support your forehead
    • With a dumbbell in each hand, slightly bend your elbows with your arms at an angle
    • Pull back your shoulder blades as you bring up the weight, squeezing and releasing in a controlled manner
    • Repeat, remembering to maintain tension and control throughout the reps


    BENT-OVER REVERSE FLY 21S

    Targeting the rear delts, this exercise also works out the medial and frontal deltoids as well. It's good to add to the end of your routine. Keep the weights light to maintain the correct form and maximize every rep with muscle-mind connection. To perform this exercise:

    • Keeping the core tight, bend over and slightly bend the knees
    • With palms facing each other, do the first seven reps by retracting the scapula, squeezing, and slowly resisting the negative
    • With palms facing down, do the next seven reps; pinkies should be out as the rear delts are squeezed for each rep
    • On the last seven reps, palms are back to facing each other; do a forward raise
    • Shoulders should be down with each lift; lower them slowly in a controlled manner


    LATERAL RAISES WITH KETTLEBELLS

    Using kettlebells will add more of a challenge to this workout for your shoulder stabilizers and forearms. Each rep needs to be controlled as you focus on squeezing the deltoids. To perform this exercise:

    • Hold kettlebells at your sides
    • Bend elbows slightly, lock your wrists, and lift each one up and out to the side until parallel to the ground; turning your thumbs down at the top of the contraction will target your side deltoids
    • Pause, slowly lowering to starting position
    • Variation: Do this with a heavier weight that hangs underneath the handle


    NEUTRAL-GRIP STERNUM CHIN-UP

    The exercise will work on your rear delts, lats, and core. To perform this exercise:

    • With a neutral grip, pull your shoulder blades together and pull yourself up until your chest is at the bar
    • Pull yourself up with your shoulders and keep the chest open, squeezing your rear deltoids at peak contraction; your body should be at a 45-degree angle from the ground at the top of the pull
    • Stabilize your core as you slowly lower to starting position, with your body upright


    Another Way to Get Definition in Your Delts

    woman raising dumbbells for delts

    Source: Pexels

    Pre-Exhaustion

    This starts with a warm-up of steady and slow presses and rows using dumbbells, followed by a seated side lateral. It works to pre-exhaust your delts, meaning that you will lift less for the following workout:

    • Standing Dumbbell Press - 3 sets, 10 reps
    • Standing Dumbbell Upright Row - 3 sets, 10 reps
    • Standing Military Press - 3 sets, 10 reps
    • Seated Side Lateral Raise - 3 sets, 8 reps
    • Front Plate Raise - 3 sets, 8 reps
    • Upright Barbell Row - 3 sets, 10 reps
    • Cable Rear Delt Fly - 3 sets, 10 reps
    • Arnold Dumbbell Press - 3 sets, 10 reps


    SITTING DOWN

    All shoulder work is done seated. Heavy military presses build the shoulders. Your back, legs, and glutes can't assist while you are seated.

    • Seated Barbell Military Press - 3 sets, 6-8 reps
    • Standing Dumbell Press - 3 sets, 8-10 reps
    • Side Lateral Raise - 3 sets, 10 resp
    • Front Dumbbell Raise - 3 sets, 10 reps
    • Cable Rear Delt Fly - 3 sets, 10 reps

    SHOULDERS

    • Side Leg Raises - 4 sets, 12 reps
    • Standing Military Press - 5 sets, 10, 8, 6, 8
    • One-Arm Incline Lateral Raise - 3 sets, 12 reps
    • Upright Barbell Row - 3 sets, 10, 8, 8 reps
    • Front Incline Dumbbell Raise - 3 sets, 8 reps
    • Reverse Flys - 3 sets, 12 reps
    • Barbell Shrug - 4 sets, 15, 12, 10, 10 reps
    • Middle Back Shrug - 3 sets, 12, 10, 8 reps
    • Smith Machine Behind the Back Shrug - 3 sets, 12, 10, 8 reps


    HIGH-VOLUME SHOULDER GAUNTLET

    High-volume 28 sets incorporate high-rep sets, supersets, and heavy mass-building. You will see growth, exhaustion, and burnout. Use controlled, slow contractions, hold for a full second at peak, and pause 1 to 2 seconds at the bottom before the next rep.

    • Standing Dumbbell Press - 3 sets, 10 reps
    • Standing Barbell Press Behind Neck - 3 sets, 10-12 reps
    • Front Plate Raise - 3 sets, 10-12 reps
    • Side Lateral Raise - 3 sets, 10-12 reps
    • Cable Seated Lateral Raise - 3 sets, 10-12 reps
    • Machine Lateral Raise - 3 sets, 10-12 reps
    • Seated Cable Rows - 3 sets, 10-12 reps
    • Reverse Machine Flyes - 3 sets, 10-12 reps
    • Upright Barbell Row - 3 sets, 10-12 reps
    • Barbell Shrug - 3 sets, 10-12 reps
    • Dumbbell Shrug - 3 sets, 12 reps

     

    5 More Exercises to Define Your Delts

    woman carrying kettlebell against black background

    Source: Pexels

    SEATED DUMBBELL SHOULDER PRESS

    When seated on a bench, press your back against the pad and plant your feet on the floor. With the dumbbells at shoulder height, your elbows out to the sides, and your palms facing forward, lift them straight up. With your arms just short of being straight, lower them and repeat. Make sure not to lock your elbows as this would work out the triceps.

    LATERAL RAISES

    These exercises will target the medial delts. Sit on a bench with a pair of dumbbells in each hand and your arms down. Slightly bend your elbows and raise both arms to the sides until slightly above the shoulders. Keep palms facing down to maintain tension on the medial deltoids.

    FRONT RAISES

    Take a comfortable standing position and a pair of dumbbells in your hands and hold them in front of your thighs. Raise the left one forward to shoulder height, lower to starting position, and then repeat with the right one. Alternate this for 20 to 24 reps keeping the elbows bent slightly to work the front delts.

    REAR DELTOID CABLE ROWS

    Set a cable pulley to shoulder height using the rope attachment. Step back a few steps to get tension with your feet in a shallow lunge position. Pull your elbows back and up slightly to work the rear deltoids. Slowly release the weight and keep the body stable. Relax your neck with your shoulders down.

    SEATED TOP-HOLD DUMBBELL PRESSES

    While seated on a bench, hold a pair of dumbbells at shoulder height, elbows to the sides and palms forward. Lift one hand straight up and hold, and lift the other to the same height and drop the first hand. Briskly alternate this motion in a controlled pace until you have completed your reps. Make sure not to lock the elbows at the top position.

    Conclusion

    topless man in grey shorts

    Source: Pexels

    It's important to remember to stretch after every upper body workout, not before you start. Keep the shoulders pressed down and don't shrug when doing presses or raises. It's easy to tense the neck and traps, which can result in neck strain. Increase tension in your little finger and not your thumbs to increase tension in the deltoids when doing shoulder presses. Keep your elbows and hands in line when doing lateral raises for maximum engagement. Don't lock the elbows at the top of a shoulder press. Don't swing the weights, but move them in a controlled manner when doing raises.

    Form is important when doing any exercise. Good form prevents injury and helps you get the maximum benefit from your workout. Always take a little time to think about what you are doing and have fun!

     

    Tags:

    5×5 Workout: The Ultimate Guide

    June 30, 2019 by  
    Filed under Weight Lifting

    Comments Off on 5×5 Workout: The Ultimate Guide

    person holding dumbbell

    image source: Pexels

    The life of a bodybuilder means constantly searching for ways to improve workouts for better outcomes. If you've been strength training for more than a few months, you'll know there are dozens of programs out there, and articles galore on the web promoting the "best" way to train. But the program that works is often the one you'll use, the one that is adaptable, and the one that gets results over the long term without injuries or over-training. The 5x5 workout has been around and is no newcomer to the bodybuilding scene—but it's lasted for a reason: it's simple, it works, and it isn't time-consuming.

    Have you ever wondered about the 5x5 workout? Let's break it down.

    What Is A 5x5 Workout Program?

    5x5 workout

    image source: Pexels

    The origins of the 5x5 workout are shrouded in bodybuilding myth and mystery, but it has been used by the greats such Mark Perry, Reg Park, and Bill Starr—from the 1930s through the 1970s—and beyond. One reason the 5x5 workout has endured is its simplicity, but the other—and perhaps more important reason—is its effectiveness. Anyone can learn this workout, but it's most effective if you have already built a solid base of muscle, have been injury free, and are looking to bulk up as well as gain strength.

    The 5x5 workout can be done at the gym or using a pretty simple home gym, but it does require dumbbell and barbell equipment. This program is adaptable, and the specific program described below has been closely adapted from the 5x5 Advanced program.

    Basic Principles

    Bodybuilding has become so popularized in the last 25 years that many mainstream health magazines promote routines. Even in the 1970s when arguably the greatest bodybuilder of all time, Arnold Schwarzenegger, was at his peak, few people knew about the sport. But the principles and foundation of bodybuilding are like any other sport: you have to push yourself to improve. The 5x5 workout requires upping your weight on a regular basis, and that is the secret to building muscle. A successful bodybuilder will lift more weight over time, as he (or she) develops in the sport.

    Techniques

    All bodybuilding techniques and proper form should be mastered before using the 5x5 workout. Because adding weight on a regular basis—at least weekly—is a cornerstone of this program, it is mandatory that the lifter knows how to properly perform a squat, a deadlift, or any other exercises for major muscle groups. If you are still learning the forms, which machines to use, and which exercises work specific muscles, the 5x5 workout isn't for you. But after just a few months of training, most bodybuilding enthusiasts have mastered proper form and technique.

    Why Now?

    This program, as noted above, has been around for almost a century. It is popular today because it implements basic bodybuilding techniques in a very simple format. Most people want muscle and strength without learning complicated routines. Lifters know there are techniques that improve their desired outcomes and are willing to learn new methods, but they prefer simplicity. Since the 5x5 workout gets results and it is so simple, it has remained popular. As new lifters learn about it, they realize it makes intuitive sense.

     Preparation 

    man doing 5x5 workout

    image source: Pexels

    The benefits of the 5x5 workout have been introduced, but in understanding why it works so well it is important to realize that a simple program has a lower barrier to completion. Even for people who are self-disciplined enough to stick with a six-day-a-week routine, at times, the workout can be dull or there are interruptions to the routine—sickness, travel—that make getting back to it very difficult. The more complex the routine is, the harder it is to maintain. The benefit of the 5x5 workout is that it is 3 days a week, includes all major muscle groups, and can be done at home.

    Prepare Your Gym

    To build muscle, lifting heavy things seems like the obvious activity. But heaving the couch overhead is not going to work, so if you have a home gym you are likely to own both barbells and dumbbells. The 5x5 program requires lifting heavy weights, so be sure you have dumbbells ranging to at least 100 lbs, to start. For barbells, 25 lbs is a sufficient place to start. For leg exercises such as squats and lunges, a Smith machine is recommended but not necessary. If you have a small space, using dumbbells and barbells with a chest press style weight bench is sufficient.

    Barbells, Dumbbells, and More

    Every home gym should have both barbells and dumbbells, because there are situations in which dumbbells are necessary, like deltoid exercises and some biceps exercises. But if you have to choose one due to cost, choose barbells. Ultimately, you can lift more weight and that is the goal of the 5x5 workout. The other two pieces of essential home gym equipment—worth paying top dollar for—are a weight belt and a bench. A belt is something you should own even if you are using a gym. It is personal, protects the back, and is useful for weighted-pull ups. The bench must also be sturdy, so don't skimp here.

    Joining a Gym

    If you already use a gym or don't want to buy more equipment, then opting for a gym membership is acceptable. A home gym has several advantages, but not everyone has the space, and some lifters like the company of others. We recommend you join a gym that takes lifting seriously and has plenty of free weights. Some of the more popular gyms are crowded with machines and have very little open space for activities like deadlifting.

    Learning the Program

    The 5x5 workout is a 3-day-a-week program in which you choose three strength exercises and do five sets of five reps each. On a mellow day, midweek or Wednesday, some exercises are performed at 3x5. The most important first step is to determine the right amount of weight to start. The aim should be to reach your PR in week three. Do not start too heavy because you need to build weight at a certain pace. For example, if your PR is 190 lbs for squats, do not start there but consider starting at 160 or 170. If you are able to reach a new PR in week 4, you are on the right track.

     Adding Weight Scientifically

    The 5x5 workout has two phases. During weeks 1 through 4, most exercises are done at 5x5 but some are done at 1x5. Each exercise is performed 3 times a week except squats, which are performed all 3 days (Monday-Wednesday-Friday, for example). The barbell row, the bench press, the deadlift, and the overhead press are the only exercises done during the first 4 weeks. When reaching weeks 5 through 9, only one new exercise is added: pull-ups. When adding weight, it is fine to add only 5 pounds each week. The amount is less important than consistently lifting more each time you do the 5x5 workout.

    The 5x5 Workout In Action

    weight lifting 5x5 workout

    image source: Pexels

    Weeks 1 to 4

    The routine is simple and you'll have it easily memorized by week 2. On day 1 (e.g. Monday), you do 5x5 squat, 1x5 bench press, and 1x5 barbell rows. Tuesday is a rest day, and on Wednesday you perform squat (5x5), overhead press (5x5), and deadlift (3x5). Friday—last day—is nearly a repeat of Day 1, except squats are done 5x5 and bench press and barbell rows are done 5x5. This means you have 4 days a week to recover. In our example, Tues, Thurs, and Sat-Sun are all recovery days. This is important because the lifting is heavy and weights increase each week.
     

    Week 5

    This week has the same exercises as weeks 1 through 4, but instead of 5x5 repetitions do 3x3. Instead of 1x5 reps, do 1x3. In other words, during this week you have a chance to semi-recover. Do not decrease weight, just the number of reps and sets. At this point, you should be building muscle and feeling the challenge of this style of workout.

    Week 6 to 9

    These weeks use the same exercises as weeks 1 through 4, but instead of a deadlift, you do pull-ups. Depending on your strength and experience, you can begin with simple pull-ups and graduate to weighted pull-ups, or just begin with weighted pull-ups. If you can use any weight, even a 5-pound weight will be useful as it is recommended to get comfortable with weighted pull-ups. The other difference in weeks 6 to 9 is doing 3x3 and 1x3 sets, similar to week 5.

    Recovery

    This program has plenty of recovery time and if you've been in the bodybuilding game for a while you've learned that recovery is where muscle is actually built. Recovery is essential to avoid overtraining. The reason websites and magazines market this program for experienced bodybuilders is because a base strength and fitness level is necessary in order to prevent form mistakes and overtraining, which can lead to poor recovery and therefore poor muscle and strength gains. If you want to do the 5x5 workout, it's better to be patient and spend a few months building up your endurance and strength before diving in.

    Consistency

    One of the principles employed and integrated into the 5x5 workout which has been used with great results is periodization. This concept simply means changing stimulus frequently enough—for example, in substituting pull-ups for deadlifts—that the body has to adapt. Building muscle and strength is the result of recovery and adaptation, so doing the same workout routine with the same amount of weight does not produce results. A workout routine that is too consistent will help you maintain some muscle mass, but it won't build you much muscle.

    If It Ain't Broke

    It's a natural human instinct to look for the new, the better, and the improved. The 5x5 workout may be new to you if lifting is a recent pastime, but it is a very old system. The routine championed by 5x5 has been used by many great bodybuilders. Other routines will build muscle, but this a proven system that works for anyone willing to put in the time. The 5x5 workout is a classic example of the saying, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

    Bad Choices

    5x5 workout

    image source: Pexels

    This section lists the common errors people make when implementing 5x5. Please do not skip this section, because the simplicity of this program can fool you into believing it's hard to make a mistake. There are plenty of ways to do this program the wrong way.

    Too Little, or Too Much Weight

    If you start out too heavy, you will peak too soon and fail to get the full benefit of the program. You may get frustrated early on or even as you are nearing the finish line and be unable to complete the entire program. There is a pacing element to this program, so too much weight will throw you off. On the other hand, too little weight means you won't push yourself enough to make the gains you are capable of. The exact starting weight isn't precise but give it some thought by considering your PR and working backward.

    Setbacks and Interruptions

    It is natural that life happens, and things can interrupt even the best intentions. Decide now how you will deal with having to miss two or three days. The best approach is to pick up where you've left off, and just extend your end day by two or three days. It is critical to get back into the program as soon as you can, and don't give yourself a hard time for whatever the interruption was (even if it was just a bad hangover). Get back on the horse, and continue forward.

    Bad Form

    If you lift the wrong way, you can get injured. Sometimes injuries aren't noticeable right away, but only begin to develop after weeks or months of lifting incorrectly. The worst potential error is lifting with a rounded spine, which can lead to back problems and make other exercises impossible. Discomfort and even pain are normal events in the life of a bodybuilder, but if you are having chronic pain unrelated to the workout, check your form.

    Improper Hydration

    Make sure to drink before, during, and after a workout. It doesn't have to be a lot, and it doesn't require a special sports drink. If you have issues related to blood sugar, however, a sports drink or orange juice with a little salt is recommended. It is not necessary to drink a lot, but a hydration routine should become integrated into your 5x5 workout.

    Rushing

    Take whatever time is necessary to complete these workouts. It is only 3 days a week, so put aside at least an hour to avoid pressuring yourself to finish. One hour is plenty of time. Doing the workout slowly also helps avoid sinking into bad form habits because you are not focused on what you are doing. It isn't a race, and doing these exercises too quickly or inattentively can open you up to an injury.

    Ignoring Your Diet

    This program is not the same as the work you might do for a bodybuilding competition, and it doesn't require a special extreme diet. However, do not underestimate the problems that can arise if you ignore protein requirements or limit sugars. Bodybuilding uses huge energy resources, and therefore a diet of four to five small meals a day (if not more) is recommended. If doing the 5x5 workout you should be educated about diet. If not, read up on a recommended diet that goes well with heavy lifting. As with all dietary advice, use natural foods and eat meals that are balanced in protein, sugar, and fat.

    Benefits

    man holding dumbbell for 5x5 workout

    image source: Pexels

    This program will build both strength and muscle mass if used correctly. In addition to the benefit of being simple and easy to learn, the muscle built is a guarantee. You will gain according to the natural progression of bodybuilding, so if you've started lifting only a month ago, we recommend you spend another two months, at a minimum, before doing 5x5. But it can benefit you now because the 5x5 workout is an appropriate goal to have in improving your strength. Bodybuilding is a sport that requires patience and repetition, but applying proven principles always pays off in the end.

    Conclusion

    Bodybuilding is hard work, but its popularity has continued to grow as athletes realize the benefits of strength and the enjoyment of reaching goals. The 5x5 workout is the next step for a lot of lifters, from beginning to intermediate. It uses two basic principles in combination to bring excellent results to those who do it right. The first principle is upping the weight at regular intervals, and the second is periodization. Upping weight is a basic bodybuilding principle that is used by all lifters, but the 5x5 program implements it is an elegant and effective way. 

    Tags:

    Testosterone Booster: 10 Best Brands

    June 14, 2019 by  
    Filed under Weight Lifting

    Comments Off on Testosterone Booster: 10 Best Brands

    testosterone booster

    Image from Pixabay

    Whether you’re scrolling on the internet, flipping through television channels, or turning the pages of a magazine, it is inevitable that you will encounter an advertisement for a testosterone booster. These ads inform you of all the ways that dwindling testosterone levels can affect you and promise to give you that extra boost in vitality you need.

    Typical claims are that a testosterone booster will rev up your sex life, increase your muscles mass, and make you feel like you’re in your 20s again. If you think that sounds great, you’re not alone. In 2013, testosterone booster sales reached $2.2 billion and were purchased by men of all ages.

    When most people are considering testosterone boosters, the first question they have is, “do testosterone boosters work?” They also want information on factors such as safety, cost, and side effects. If you’re unsure about the benefits a testosterone booster, then keep reading to learn more about testosterone boosters. We also discuss ten of the best natural testosterone boosters and provide you with information on choosing the right option.

    Testosterone Booster FAQs

    1. WHAT IS TESTOSTERONE?

    2. WHAT DO TESTOSTERONE BOOSTERS DO?

    3. HOW DO TESTOSTERONE BOOSTERS WORK?

    4. WHERE CAN YOU BUY TESTOSTERONE BOOSTERS?

    5. ARE THERE OTHER WAYS TO INCREASE TESTOSTERONE?

    How We Reviewed

    bodybuilder that uses testosterone booster

    Image from Pixabay

    The following products were reviewed based on the following parameters: Features, Pros & Cons, Price, Where to Buy, and Other Uses. To provide you with a list of the highest quality testosterone boosters, we scoured the internet and pored over countless customer reviews to provide you with the ten best and most effective products at varying price points. You are sure to find the perfect testosterone booster to meet your needs in the following list.

    Overall Price Range of Testosterone Boosters

    The price range of the testosterone boosters featured on our list varies from $7.00 to $64.00. We can attribute the higher cost of some of these supplements to their mechanism of action in the body and typical purpose.

    For example, vitamin D3 is priced at $7.00 and has an indirect effect on testosterone levels as it works by increasing D levels in the body and improving the body’s overall functioning. Tongkat Ali, in comparison, has the primary function of increasing sexual vitality, therefore warranting its higher cost.

     Modern Man V3 Testosterone Booster

    Image from Amazon

    What We Reviewed

    • Zinc
    • D-Aspartic Acid
    • Vitamin D3
    • Vitamin D
    • Tongkat Ali
    • Tribulus Terrestris
    • Ashwagandha
    • Fenugreek
    • Ginger
    • List Element
    Pure Encapsulations - Zinc 30
    • IMMUNE SUPPORT: Zinc works to support the body's natural defense system which aids and improves immune system function.*
    • DIGESTION AND METABOLISM: Zinc supports the digestion and metabolism of important vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates and other essential nutrients.*
    • REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH: This mineral also supports normal fetal and reproductive development as well as healthy prostatic function.*
    • PURE INGREDIENTS: Pure Encapsulations manufactures a line of hypoallergenic, research-based dietary supplements. Products are meticulously formulated using pure ingredients designed to deliver predictable results for the benefit of all patients, even the most sensitive.*
    • FREE FROM: Pure Encapsulations products are free from wheat, gluten, egg, peanuts, magnesium stearate, hydrogenated fat, artificial sweeteners and colors, and other unnecessary excipients. Any product containing ingredients derived from allergens, such as soy, dairy or shellfish is clearly labeled. *These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

    FEATURES

    Zinc is an essential mineral found in every cell of the body. While it is most commonly known for immune system support, zinc has several functions in the human body. It assists with digestion and the metabolism of other carbohydrates and other essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients.

    Zinc also supports reproductive health and healthy prostate function. While not fully understood how it occurs, studies have shown that zinc increases the level of testosterone in the human body.

    OTHER USES

    Zinc has the added benefits of assisting the body with chronic disease protection, fights colds and infections, and assists with wound healing.

    Pros

    • Natural, found in the human body
    • Hypoallergenic ingredients
    • Non-GMO

    Cons

    • Can cause diarrhea and headaches
    • Interacts with antibiotics, NSAIDS, and immunosuppressants
    • High doses can reduce iron in the body
    Biotech Nutritions D-Aspartic Acid Dietary Supplement
    • Testosterone Booster; Increases Nitric Oxide Levels Performance Enhancer
    • 3000 mg per serving
    • Serving per container 50
    • 200 capsules d-aspartic acid

    FEATURES

    D-aspartic acid is a form of aspartic acid. It is naturally occurring in the body and is used in protein synthesis. Research has shown that d-aspartic acid improves energy levels, athletic performance, and the male sex drive by increasing testosterone levels. These elevated levels last approximately a week and a half before falling back to baseline. The standard dose is between 2,000 and 3,000 mg.

    OTHER USES

    D-aspartic acid also increases GABA and dopamine in the brain, which assists with memory enhancement and has an antidepressant effect.

    Pros

    • Clinically proven to boost testosterone levels
    • Naturally occurring in the body
    • Safe for most people

    Cons

    • Results are short-acting
      Mood swings
    • Not safe for those with kidney and liver issues
    • Headaches and stomach problems
    • Acne
    Now Supplements, Vitamin D-3
    • Highest Potency
    • Helps Maintain Strong Bones*
    • Supports Immune System*
    • GMP Quality Assured: NOW closely adheres to both mandatory U.S. FDA Current Good Manufacturing Practices (CGMP) regulations and voluntary Natural Products Association (NPA) Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) regulations. Good manufacturing practices ensure compliance with sanitation, processing, documentation, and testing requirements that are designed to promote consistent, highly reproducible product quality and safety.
    • Packaged in the USA by a family owned and operated company since 1968

    FEATURES

    Vitamin D is an essential nutrient for the body. It can be found in foods like mushrooms, salmon, sardines, mackerel, and those fortified with vitamin D, such as milk. The body will also produce vitamin D when directly exposed to sunlight.

    Vitamin D3 is the recommended form of vitamin D for supplementation as this is the form that your body makes from sunlight exposure. Research has shown that vitamin D can increase testosterone levels in males who are deficient in vitamin D, but the mechanism of action is unclear. Scientists hypothesize that vitamin D is somehow necessary for testosterone synthesis.

    OTHER USES

    Vitamin D has many benefits in the body, including but not limited to maintaining bone health, protection against Alzheimer’s disease, reducing inflammation and supporting the prostate. It also helps to reduce depression in individuals with minimal sun exposure.

    Pros

    • Safe and effective in vitamin D deficient males 
    • Can increase your resistance to other diseases
    • Helps support erectile function

    Cons

    • Fat-soluble; can build up in the body
    • Excess consumption can lead to side effects
    • Can cause nausea or other digestive problems
    Korean Red Panax Ginseng
    • Soy Free, Gluten Free, Non-GMO, Dairy Free, Vegan
    • ZERO Blinders, ZERO Fillers, ZERO artifical ingredients
    • Potent Certified Organic Korean Ginseng - 2000mg brings maximum benefits
    • Manufactured here in the USA in a FDA registered and inspected facility under strict cGMP standards
    • 100% Money Back Guarantee - we stand by our products!

    FEATURES

    Ginseng is a traditional Chinese medicine that has been used for hundreds of years. Ginseng has many benefits, with just one of them being the management of sexual dysfunction in men. It has been found that Ginseng stimulates the gonads and central nervous system to help facilitate male erections. Testosterone levels are increased due to Ginseng’s effect on the endocrine system and its increase of nitric oxide levels.

    OTHER USES

    Ginseng is also used to treat diabetes, reduce stress, increase relaxation and to prevent cold and flu symptoms.

    Pros

    • Boosts energy
    • Lowers blood sugar
    • Improves cholesterol levels

    Cons

    • May cause rapid heartbeat
    • Increased blood pressure
    • Insomnia
    Pure Science SD-200 Tongkat Ali Extract
    • HIGHEST POSSIBLE DOSAGE IN AMAZON AT 200:1 EXTRACT STRENGTH: Most Potent Tongkat Ali Extract on Amazon, made from 200 grams of wild-crafted Eurycoma Longifolia Jack roots to obtain just 1 gram of extract, the highest extract strength 200:1 in the market. Each capsule contains 80g of Tongkat Ali Extract.
    • TRADITIONALLY WATER-EXTRACTED TONGKAT ALI: The only Traditionally Water-Extracted longjack powder on Amazon - the best extraction method possible. Using low-heat extraction technology, this process ensures that maximum precious active ingredients in the Tongkat Ali root are extracted.
    • NATURAL TESTOSTERONE BOOSTER: Natural supplement to boost your testosterone level and vitality. Maintains your sex drive that plummets as you age. Improves your energy level, muscle mass, boosts athletic performance and physical strength. Promotes fat loss and improves overall male well-being and masculinity.
    • GOOD MANUFACTURING PRACTICES CERTIFIED: Produced by GMP certified facilities with the highest manufacturing and sourcing standards of Pure Science. Rooted in Science, Backed by Research as its motto, Pure Science Supplements focuses on producing the best and safest products for our customers to achieve greater vitality in mind and body by using only the best raw materials obtained through rigorous research.
    • MONEY-BACK GUARANTEE: As we are confident of the efficacy of SD-200, all purchases are backed by a 100% money-back guarantee should you be unsatisfied. Our products are potent for 2 years from manufacture date.

    FEATURES

    Tongkat Ali is a medicinal herb that originates in Malaysia. A group of compounds from the roots of the plant, called Quassinoids, are purported to have aphrodisiac properties and to increase testosterone levels and thus, are extracted for this purpose and others. Research has shown that Tongkat Ali does increase testosterone levels in addition to increasing muscle mass and strength.

    OTHER USES

    Although Tongkat Ali is best known for enhancing sexual vitality, it has many other benefits. Some of these are supporting bone density, increasing stress tolerance, elevating mood, stabilizing blood sugar and balancing the microbiome of the gut.

    Pros

    • Natural and effective 
    • Libido enhancement
    • Improves sperm quality
    • Increases lean muscle mass

    Cons

    • Increased body heat
    • Insomnia
    • Acne
    • Aggression
    BRI Nutrition Tribulus Terrestris
    • ★WHY US: Not all Tribulus products are created equal so we set out to launch the ultimate Tribulus supplement on the market in terms of quality and value. We were surprised by how little other companies actually give you for the price. Forget the 30 or 60 day supply, we give you a full 90 day supply of Tribulus.
    • ★WHAT IT IS: Tribulus is a plant-based supplement derived from the Tribulus plant. The steroidal saponins found in the plant form of Tribulus. Go ahead and compare our Tribulus to any on the market. Forget those guys trying to sell you 10% or even 25% of Steroidal Saponins. We cram 45% Steroidal Saponins in every single capsule.
    • ★PURITY: We use only the finest ingredients, all of which are manufactured in our US, GMP compliant, state-of-the-art, facility. Every batch is laboratory tested for quality assurance. OUR GUARANTEE: We're very so confident that you'll love this product that we offer a 60-day, 100% money-back guarantee.
    • ★COMMON NAMES: Tribulus is called by a variety of names. You may have stumbled on the following names, either way, experience how tribulus can change your body and your life: Tribulus Terrestris,Tribule Terrestre, and Tribulis. You may even encounter some terms such as puncture weed, puncture vine, goathead, cat's head, devil's thorn and devils weed or some misspelling such as Tribulus Terrestrus.
    • ★SHARE: Consider ordering one bottle for yourself and another for a friend or loved one. Keep each other motivated and reach your goals together and more quickly. BRI Nutrition stands by every quality product we make. We manufacture only premium vitamins, capsules, pills, tablets, powders, multivitamins, supplements, topical liquids, serums, vegan foods and extracts for men, women, and children. Check BRINutrition out today!

    FEATURES

    Tribulus Terrestris is an ancient botanical used for a variety of health benefits. It has been found to balance hormone levels, sexual function, and libido, as well as to reduce blood sugar and cholesterol levels.

    OTHER USES

    Tribulus Terrestris also acts as a diuretic, supports the immune system, reduces inflammation, is a pain reliever, and may have an anti-cancer effect.

    Pros

    • Effective for increasing libido in men and women 
    • Increase erection quality
    • Improves sperm quality

    Cons

    • Conflicting studies on its effectiveness for testosterone increases
    • Insomnia
    • May cause prostate problems
    ORGANIC INDIA Ashwagandha Herbal Supplement
    • CERTIFIED ORGANIC - Our capsules are synthesized from USDA-certified organic herbs, caringly grown and cultivated on sustainable, organic farmland. GMO free, gluten free, and vegan. Kosher & Halal Certified
    • DECREASES INFLAMMATION - Powerful antioxidant properties destroy free radicals and reduce the body's inflammation, soothing back pain and joint aches
    • NATURAL STRESS RELIEF - Powerful adaptogen formulation soothes the nervous system, providing a quick, safe, and natural way to relieve stress, anxiety, and insomnia
    • REGENERATES ENERGY AND VITALITY - This rejuvenative tonic helps support your body's natural energy and metabolism, stabilizing blood sugar and boosting adrenal health. A natural remedy for adrenal fatigue!
    • THYROID AND HORMONE BALANCE - Our organic herb formula fosters improved thyroid function, and supports reproductive health for men and women

    FEATURES

    Ashwagandha is an Ayurvedic herb used since ancient times for a variety of uses including sexual enhancement. Studies on Ashwagandha’s testosterone boosting capabilities have shown a significant increase in testosterone as well as increases in fat loss and muscle recovery.

    OTHER USES

    Ashwagandha has neuroprotective and anti-cancer effects. It improves sleep quality and reduces inflammation in the body. The herb has also been found to support and improve thyroid function.

    Pros

    • Proven effectiveness 
    • Improves sleep
    • Reduces stress levels

    Cons

    • Headaches
    • Sleepiness
    • Stomach upset
    Nature's Way Fenugreek Seed
    • TO SOOTHE THE STOMACH: Fenugreek Seed is traditionally used to soothe the stomach.*
    • FOR BLOOD SUGAR CONTROL: Fenugreek Seed supports healthy blood sugar control*
    • PROMOTES HEALTHY LACTATION: Fenugreek Seed promotes healthy lactation in breastfeeding mothers*1
    • CERTIFIED POTENCY: Each serving of Nature's Way Fenugreek Seed contains 585 mg of Fenugreek Seed.
    • GLUTEN-FREE AND VEGETARIAN: Our Fenugreek Seed is gluten free and vegetarian, made from plant-derived capsules. It also contains no sugar, salt, yeast, wheat, soy, corn, dairy products, artificial colors, flavors or preservatives.
    • SERVING RECOMMENDATION: Take one (1) capsule three times daily. Best results obtained by continuous use. For intensive use take two (2) capsules three times daily. Not intended for women and children. If taking medications, consult a healthcare professional before use.

    FEATURES

    Fenugreek is a herb that is native to the Mediterranean, western Asia, and southern Europe. Similar in taste to maple syrup, it has recently experienced a surge in popularity due to its proven ability to stimulate lactation in breastfeeding women.

    Studies on its relationship to increased testosterone levels are limited, but what we’ve seen so far have shown that it may be effective due to its compounds called furostanolic saponins. Results of using Fenugreek have also shown increased improvement in resistance-training exercises as well as a decrease in body fat.

    OTHER USES

    Fenugreek has many other uses, including treating loss of appetite, digestive problems, hernias, and used topically to promote wound healing.

    Pros

    • Increases total testosterone and bioavailable testosterone levels 
    • Decreases body fat
    • Improves exercise performance

    Cons

    • May cause low blood sugar
    • Diarrhea
    • Flatulence
    Ginger - testosterone booster
    • Ginger (Zingiber Officinale) Rhizome (Ayurvedic Formulation), Wild Crafted – Full Spectrum Extract ratio (15:1) with 2.5% Gingerol 90 Vege Capsules 800 mg each. Extract ratio (15:1), Standardized extract Gingerol 2.5% per 400 mg plus 400 mg micronized powder. Extract is dried with the powder of same herb instead of maltodextrin, rice powder, corn powder, Talcum powder or any other foreign material which has no nutritional value. (Full spectrum). (Reference: Dose standards as per Ayurvedic Pharma
    • (Dietary Supplement) It is carminative and a digestive aid. Helpful as heart and liver tonic. Supports joint health and respiratory system. Daily use as a dietary supplement Helps to maintain healthy cholesterol level and blood pressure level, which is already within normal limits.
    • Ginger is very useful supplement in weather changes. Daily use as a dietary supplement. It is carminative and a digestive aid.Helpful as heart and liver tonic. Helps to keep the body healthy.Supports joint health and respiratory system.
    • Helps to maintain healthy cholesterol level and blood pressure level, which is already within normal limits.Ginger is very useful supplement in weather changes. Helps to keep the body healthy.
    • Non-GMO, Gluten-Free, Vegan, Wild Crafted - Full Spectrum, High quality extracts and micronized powder of wild crafted herbs from their natural habitat, No filler, No binder, No preservatives, Direct from the manufacturer, Authentic, A-Grade Quality, Sourced from its natural habitat.

    FEATURES

    Ginger is a plant grown in warm climates such as China, Africa, and Indian, The root of the plant is used for spice and flavor in cooking. It is also a remedy for many conditions, and it has been used for thousands of years. A study in infertile males found that ginger caused a 17% increase in testosterone levels as well as increases in other critical sex hormones.

    OTHER USES

    Ginger is best known for its role in reducing nausea, but it has a surprising number of additional health benefits. Ginger relieves muscle pain, regulates blood sugar, reduces the risk of diabetes and heart disease, has anti-inflammatory properties, reduces cancer risk, and relieves menstrual pain.

    Pros

    • Proven effectiveness 
    • Safe
    • Pleasant taste
    • Can be taken in a variety of forms

    Cons

    • May cause bloating, gas, and nausea if used in excess
    • Contraindicated in those who take blood thinners or have bleeding disorders.
    Pure DHEA
    • DHEA 100mg, 200 Capsules. Maximum Strength and Micronized Grade for Highest Absorption.
    • Strongly Promotes Healthy Aging, Mood, Energy Level, Stamina & Endurance.
    • Powerfully Supports Brain Health, Immune System, Libido Function and Antioxidant.
    • Non-GMO. Gluten Free. Dairy Free. Sugar Free. Soy Free and Tree Nuts Free.
    • Manufactured in California in FDA Registered Facility. 1 Year Unconditional Money back Guarantee.

    FEATURES

    Dehydroepiandrosterone, or DHEA, is a hormone produced by the adrenal glands in the body and it assists the body with producing other hormones, including testosterone. DHEA is often associated with muscle building and for improving the sex drive.

    DHEA supplements are often made from soy or wild yam. Limited studies have been conducted on the effectiveness of DHEA in increasing testosterone. However, those results have indicated that DHEA does have testosterone boosting effects.

    OTHER USES

    DHEA is sometimes used to treat adrenal insufficiency, depression, obesity, lupus, and schizophrenia.

    Pros

    • Improves skin
    • Improves erectile dysfunction
    • Increases bone density

    Cons

    • Irritability
    • Aggressiveness
    • Hair loss
    • Facial hair growth in women

    The Verdict

    If you have been diagnosed with low testosterone or suspect you have it, then you may be wondering if you should purchase a testosterone booster. Testosterone is responsible for more than just fertility and sex drive as it plays a role in many functions in the body.

    Without adequate testosterone levels, you may feel depressed, tired, and lack stamina. Overall, you may not feel like yourself anymore. To assist you, we researched the top 10 natural testosterone boosters and compiled a list to compare their pros and cons. Each of the testosterone boosters on our list has additional health benefits, which provides even more value when adding them to your daily health regimen.

    Of all the products listed above, we feel that Ashwagandha comes out on top. Not only has it demonstrated its effectiveness at increasing testosterone levels during research studies, but it also comes with the least amount of side effects when compared with others on this list.

    Ashwagandha also increases fat loss as well as muscle recovery, making your workouts more effective over time. Not to mention that it’s priced at $16, which is affordable for almost everyone.

    We feel that some supplements on this list, such as zinc and vitamin D should probably be included in everyone’s supplement regimen for general health and wellness, but may not be as effective with directly influencing the levels of testosterone in the body.

    However, these are our recommendations, and you are certainly free to try any of them you like. Remember to always consult with your doctor before adding any new product to your regimen. We hope you found this information helpful in finding the best testosterone booster for you.

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    Carb Cycling: Meal Planning for Beginners

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    lifting dumbbell

    Do you want to lose weight and build muscle at the same time? Carb cycling is a dynamic nutritional approach that is designed to do both. A growing number of people are attracted to the idea for the physical and hormonal benefits, and because they can still enjoy many of their favorite foods and get the results they want.

    Initially used by bodybuilders, this approach has been embraced by people from all walks of life for its many benefits and proven results. Understanding how carb cycling works, the advantages of this approach to nutrition, and how to plan your meals can help you get the greatest benefit.

    An Introduction to Carb Cycling

    Carb cycling involves varying your carbohydrate intake throughout the week. Some days are designated as high carb and low fat days and other days are low carb and high fat days. The fluctuation created by carb cycling helps to optimize your ability to lose weight, burn fat, and build muscle. This approach can be used to lose fat, increase lean muscle, or change your body composition, while maintaining your normal weight.

    There are two basic ways to implement this approach. You can alternate your high carb and low carb days throughout the week. For example, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday could be designated as high carb days, while Tuesday and Thursday are low carb days. The weekends are usually reserved as low carb days, regardless of how you choose to assign the weekdays. Some people make Saturday a low carb day and allow their cheat day on Sunday, but you can adjust this to meet your unique needs.

    The other way to do carb cycling is to have three or four high carb days in a row and make the rest of the week low carb days. For example, you could have Monday through either Wednesday or Thursday as high carb days and the remainder of the days reserved as low carb days. Keep in mind that it requires more discipline to stick to the regimen when you do it this way.

    There are benefits to both methods. Alternating high and low carb on a daily basis is the best way for you to stay on track and stick to carb cycling. On the other hand, splitting the week into half high carb followed by several low carb days may be more effective for fat loss because you are in fat burning mode for three days in a row. Ultimately, the method that works best depends on the needs of the individual. Is fat loss most important or are you concerned with sticking to it?

    The Benefits of Carb Cycling

    There are a variety of advantages to this nutritional approach, which explains its rapid growth in popularity. Carb cycling offers a broad range of benefits for weight loss, building lean muscle, and even regulating certain hormones.

    FAT BURNING

    rope workout

    Most of your fat burning happens on your low carb days. On the days that you eliminate carbs from your diet, your body goes into fat burning mode. The low carb days decrease the number of overall calories consumed in a given week, which helps you burn fat and meet your weight loss goals.  

    MUSCLE BUILDING

    lifting barbel

    On high carb days, you increase your caloric intake and the carbs provide the energy and strength you need, both to meet your daily responsibilities and for working out. When you are trying to build muscle, make your high carb days your strength training days. This allows your body to use the carbs and extra calories to build muscle, rather than storing additional fat.

    FLEXIBILITY

    push up

    One thing that can hinder your ability to stick to a nutrition plan is the complexity of the system. If you have to spend a lot of time planning specific meals that are different from the rest of your family, measuring foods, counting calories, and denying yourself all your favorite foods, it can be too difficult to maintain. This approach allows you to make one meal for the entire family, and just leave the carbs off your plate on the low carb days.

    REDUCED CRAVINGS

    kicking cupcakes

    Carb cycling offers great flexibility in food choices and allows you to satisfy your craving for carbs on your high carb days, so you won’t be restricting your diet too much. Because you do have the opportunity to enjoy your favorite foods and treats on your cheat days, you will be more likely to stay with the program.

    THE ADVANTAGES OF LOW CARB WITHOUT THE SIDE EFFECTS

    no side effect

    This is probably the biggest advantage of carb cycling. Low carb diets, such as Atkins, paleo, or keto do produce fat burning and weight loss benefits, but they have negative side effects and health effects. Long term low carb dieting can cause brain fog, fatigue, lack of energy, and may increase your risk of health problems, such as heart disease and diabetes. Carb cycling allows you to reach your weight loss and fitness goals without the negative effects associated with going completely carb-free.

    HORMONAL BENEFITS

    rock scale

    Carb cycling offers a few key hormonal benefits. One significant advantages of this approach is improving your insulin balance and how your body processes insulin. The low carb days are key for keeping your insulin levels low and improving insulin sensitivity. This helps your body processes the sugar in your bloodstream from the carbs more effectively, allowing them to be easily converted to fuel for energy.

    The hormone leptin is essential for metabolism and triggering feelings of satiety, which helps you avoid overeating. When you have more leptin in the body, your metabolism will be faster, but low levels of the hormone can slow your metabolism, sabotaging your weight loss efforts. Leptin production is triggered by an increase in

    Carb Cycling: Meal Planning for Beginners

    Meal planning with carb cycling is actually easier than with many other diets and nutritional approaches, since you won’t have to worry about measuring, weighing, or counting calories. When you first start, it can be easier to maintain your typical diet, but just adjust your carb intake. For example, if you normally eat about half carbs and half protein in a single meal, enjoy your normal foods, just eliminate the carbs on your low carb days and increase your protein and vegetables.

    On your high carb days, the quality of the carbohydrates is important. Most of your carbs should be complex carbohydrates, such as fruit, legumes, and whole grains to provide the energy you need without disrupting your weight loss or fitness goals. You can make a few easy modifications to enjoy healthy carbs on your high carb days. For example, skip the white bread in favor of whole grain and use whole wheat pasta in place of regular spaghetti.

    Try not to eat much sugar, even on your high carb days. This doesn’t mean you have to completely give up treats. It’s fine to enjoy a piece of cake or a couple cookies on a cheat day, as long as you aren’t doing this on all your high carb days. On your low carb days, pay attention to the quality of your protein. Choose chicken, lean beef, fish, eggs, and tofu for protein. Pair protein at each meal with vegetables, but stay away from starchy vegetables. Most vegetables are fine on your low carb days, except corn, peas, and potatoes.

    Planning Your Daily Meals

    Regardless of the day, eating breakfast soon after waking is recommended. On both low carb and high carb days, you should eat four to six small meals throughout the day, rather than going many hours without eating at all.

    Start off your low carb days with eggs scrambled with bell pepper, or eggs with bacon for breakfast. Good snacks for low carb days include a protein shake, berries, almonds, or deli turkey and cheese rollups with avocado. Lunch and dinner should include protein, such as chicken, fish, or beef, with a non-starchy vegetable.

    On high carb days, oatmeal with nuts and berries or eggs with whole wheat toast are good options. Snacks can include an apple with peanut butter, quinoa and bean salad, Greek yogurt, or fruit. Lunch and dinner can include the same foods as low carb days, but you can add some healthy carbs. Enjoy a turkey sandwich on whole grain bread for lunch and pasta, rice, or a starchy vegetable with your protein for dinner.

    Conclusion

    Carb cycling is among the most flexible approaches for burning fat and increasing lean muscle at the same time. Provided that you remain strict with your food choices on your high carb and low carb days and make healthy food choices, you will see noticeable results without a lot of extra effort.

    The flexibility of this diet approach makes meal planning easy. You can enjoy the foods you love, just watch your portions, eliminate the carbs on your low carb days, and make sure you pick healthy proteins and carbohydrates.  

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    How Much Protein Do I Need to Build Muscle

    January 1, 2019 by  
    Filed under Build Muscle, Weight Lifting

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    If you've ever asked yourself "How much protein do I need?" as you were starting a new fitness program to increase your muscle mass, the answer could lie in increasing both the level and type of protein in your diet. Your ability to Increase muscle will rest, largely, on your personal genetics, experience as a bodybuilder, and your diet.

    Many people ask, "How much protein do I need?" when they want to gain muscle mass. This article reviews current opinions on amounts of protein needed per day to increase muscle mass and key factors to consider when creating individual meal plans. We also review different sources of protein and how to maintain muscle mass once you've achieved your ideal weight.  

    Although our key focus is increasing your protein intake by eating protein rich food and drinking protein drinks, this article also considers the importance of specific types protein, the regularity of meals, and how other factors such as age and genetics affect your ability to build muscle.  

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    Diet for Muscle Gain - How Much Protein Do I Need?

    why protein powder

    To increase muscle mass, it's critical to eat, every day, more calories than you need. Although the amount of calories a person needs every day is debatable as dieticians and experts argue it's different for each person due to individual metabolic rates and genetic factors, most people need to eat over 1,200 calories a day, to put on weight.

    To improve muscle mass, we know you need to increase the amount of protein you eat. However, answering the question, "How much protein do I need?" is a little more complex. Protein breaks down into amino acids the body uses to build new muscle and for a range of other essential functions. Therefore, we recommend a protein level of 2.5 to 3.3 grams per kilogram of total body weight, or of your ideal body weight, for someone who works out and wants to increase muscle mass.

    When increasing muscle mass, it is not only essential to increase the amount of protein in your diet, it is also important to know which type of protein will assist you the most in your goal to increase muscle mass.

    Different foods have a different NPU or Net Protein Utilization, which shows the amount of protein the body can use. For example whey powder has a 90% NPU and a high level of essential amino acids making it the top supplement for bodybuilders. It is easy for the body to absorb and its amino acids assist in building muscle. Beef protein also has an NPU of 79-80% and the body digests it quickly. So a better question than "How much protein do I need?" might be "What kind of protein can my body absorb the best?"

    Foods to Include in Your Meal Plan:

    fish dish
  • High protein meats: chicken and lean beefs also provide minerals and B vitamins
  • Fish: HIgh in omega-3 fatty acids which helps muscle protein and overall protein synthesis
  • Eggs: a complete protein high in vitamins and packed with amino acids
  • Tofu: A vegan option high in minerals calcium and iron
  • Legumes: Also high in carbohydrates and fiber
  • Milk: complete protein with minerals potassium, calcium and B vitamins
  • Whole grains: Oats and brown rice are high in magnesium
  • Nuts: unsalted and unsweetened almonds and walnuts are high in protein and healthy fats
  • Protein shakes: many unsweetened, additive-free options are available including soy protein isolate and hemp seed power
  • Meal Frequency

    food clock

    To maximize muscle mass increases, you need to eat 3 to 4 meals a day with snacks. There is medical evidence showing that the timing of meals affects muscle gain, and four 20g servings of protein a day can be more effective in building muscle than two large intakes of protein. Medical studies show that eating at least a 40g serving of protein before you go to sleep also significantly increases muscle strength.

    Most medical studies confirm that there are significant benefits to eating in the 30-45 minutes window after your workout as this will directly impact your muscles' ability to rebuild and repair.  

    There are no miracle short cuts to building muscle. It will take at least a month before you'll notice significant results, so see this as a long-term plan. If the changes to your diet do not lead to any increase in muscle mass, you need to consider the following factors:

    • Are you doing the right workout?
    • Are you eating enough carbs, proteins, and total calories?
    • Are you allowing muscles to rest and repair themselves for 48 hours between workouts?

    EXAMPLE MEAL PLAN

    meal plan

    Build individual preferences into every meal and be realistic about how much preparation time you have during the week. Prepare to shop and to cook in advance. A good stock of frozen meat, carbs and protein shakes should be available to you at all times, and protein rich snacks such as nuts, and seeds so you never skip a meal. Reducing protein and total calorie intake for even one day will impact your muscle-gain program. An example meal plan could look like:

    • Breakfast: Oats or muesli with milk, seeds, nuts and a banana with high grain bread toast
    • Lunch: Chicken or turkey breast with steamed leafy green vegetables, such as broccoli or kale with brown rice or quinoa
    • Snacks: Protein shakes and almond or walnuts
    • Dinner: Grilled fish or beef with a large green salad, and dairy dessert of sweet rice or yogurt with fresh fruit

    Breakfast can also include high protein flour pancakes or breads made from quinoa, almond or amaranth flour. You can prepare sandwiches with large green salads for lunch when you have less time or opportunities to cook. Although newbies often wonder how much protein they need for each meal, most experts agree that the total amount of protein per day is a better focus. Online, you can find a wide range of recipes available to inspire your new meal plans.

    How Much Protein Do I Need to Build Muscle?

    As you increase your protein intake to build muscle your experience as a bodybuilder will also affect how much muscle you will build monthly.  An experienced bodybuilder could build 2 to 3 pounds a month while a novice may only build 0.5 lbs.

    Although genetics influence protein absorption, studies show there is no benefit to anyone eating more than 2g protein per day per kg of body weight to build muscle. Other studies show that a person weighing 57kg needs 125g-187g of protein a day to build muscle. Age is also a factor in how much protein the body needs to build muscle, and those aged over 50 will need more since they process protein less effectively.

    We know the body absorbs types of proteins more easily, and that whey protein is most effective for building lean muscle. With high amino acids levels that support protein synthesis, there are vegan alternatives available for people who don't consume whey. Pea flour, soy protein isolate, and casein isolate all have a high absorption rate.

    How Much Protein Do I Need to Maintain Muscle Mass?

    Once you have achieved your ideal muscle mass, you will need to maintain it through your diet and workouts. On average a 57kg person will need 125g-187g of protein a day to maintain their size. However, for overweight and obese bodybuilders the recommended daily protein intake is 68g to 85g.  Replacing carbohydrates and fats with protein as part of your daily calorie consumption will lead to more weight loss from workouts.

    Conclusion 

    It is not straightforward or easy to answer the question, "How much protein do I need?" for building muscle mass. Once you realize that genetics, age, and how much experience you have as a bodybuilder are all factors affecting the answer. Once you have weighed yourself and figured out how much protein you need to eat every day to achieve your target muscle mass increase, you can change your daily diet to move you closer to your goal.

    It is important to be realistic as there is no "quick fix" solution and a long term view is necessary if you are to stick to your plan to accomplish your goals. Maintaining your ideal body weight can prove more difficult for some as it requires constant vigilance on your daily protein intake and overall calorie consumption. However, since you already have displayed the discipline needed to stick to a regular workout program, a new meal plan will seem easy in comparison. Once started, meal planning will become second nature.

    Avoiding processed foods can be difficult, but the 80-20 rule works well for most people. This rule encourages you to eat healthily 80% of the time while allowing you to enjoy more decadent snacks and unhealthy treats occasionally, but not over 20% of the time. Once you train your body and your digestive system, you'll find you no longer have cravings for processed foods high in sugar and chemical additives, and you'll gravitate to healthy snacks and healthy food choices.

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