Body Type 101: Which Body Type Are You?

Are you a mesomorph? How about an endomorph? Or could you be an ectomorph? Do you even know what any of these terms mean? If not, you’re not alone. Most people have no clue what their body type is. But it’s vital to know what somatotype – that’s body type – you are in order to train accordingly. There are three main somatotypes most people fall under: ectomorph, endomorph and mesomorph. While most people are a bit of a mixture, your body structure lends itself to being predominantly one category. For example, you could be 70% mesomorph and 30% ectomorph.

Here’s how to spot each somatotype.

Ectomorph (aka “The Skinny Bro”)

You know your thin, tall friend who can eat a dozen Krispy Kreme donuts seven days per week and not gain a single ounce of fat?  He is an ectomorph. Ectomorphs are usually low on body fat and have difficulty gaining muscle mass. In general, ectomorphs have muscles that are long and thin in appearance, particularly in the leg and arm areas of the body. Most basketball players, such as Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant, are classic ectomorphs.

Ideal training for this body type: If you’re a skinny bro, then adding muscle should be high on your fitness priority list. Performing 3 sets of 8-12 reps with a moderate-heavy weight for each muscle group three to four times per week should do the trick. You should limit cardio to walking only.

Endomorph (aka “The Short, Stocky Bro”)

You remember that short, stocky kid in your high school weightlifting class that was as strong as an ox? He was an endomorph. Endomorphs characteristically have a short, round look and are often described by as being “stocky”. They tend to gain muscle easily but gain fat just as easy. Most powerlifters and football linesman fall into this category (Note: an endomorph can be tall and stocky too though).

Ideal training for this body type: If you’re an stocky bro, then weight loss is where it’s at. Lift a moderate-heavy weight for each muscle group for 3 sets of 12-15 reps four to five times per week. Cardio needs to be your best friend. Perform high intensity interval training (e.g. sprint for 30 seconds, then walk for 90 seconds) for 15-20 minutes outside or on the treadmill at least 3-4 days per week.

Mesomorph (aka “The Naturally Athletic Bro”)

Your childhood friend who excelled at pretty much any sport he tried out for? Or that boy who had eight-pack abs in your eighth grade P.E. class? Those dudes are mesomorphs. This body type is the one most athletes and fitness models fall under. Most male actors who play the superhero in the flicks are mesomorphs. Mesomorphs have little trouble losing body fat while having the ability to rapidly pack on muscle. In other words, if you’re either of the other two body types, you probably envy the mesomorph (admit it!).

Ideal training for this body type: If you’re the naturally athletic bro, why in the hell are you reading this article? (Just kidding!) Seriously though, despite possessing the ideal body type, your physique will eventually falter without consistent, challenging exercise. To maintain (or enhance) your athletic frame, I recommend lifting heavy weights for 3 sets of 5-10 reps three times per week. For cardio, do some high intensity interval training 2-3 times per week.

Make sure you know which body type you are and that you are doing the right type of training to go with it. Remember though, most guys are a hybrid of two of them.

11 Ways to Increase Your Testosterone Levels Naturally

As any bodybuilder knows, testosterone is critical to stacking on muscle. The amount you have swimming around your body has a direct impact on the physical results you’ll get from your training. So if its gains you want, you need to be doing everything you can to maximise your testosterone levels. Here are 11 ways you can boost your testosterone naturally.

Get more sleep

I bet you didn’t know that sleep has a major impact on your T-levels? If you’re not getting enough quality sleep, your testosterone levels can drop by a scary 40%. Make sure you get at least eight hours of sleep every night. It’s a good idea to take supplements such as ZM   A too, which will help give you a better sleep.

Have more sex

Did you know that if you haven’t, erm, ‘released’ for longer than a week, your testosterone levels drop massively? So get busy in the sack as often as you can to raise those flagging T-levels. I recommend you follow this tip immediately with tip number one for a double testosterone whammy! Sex and sleep. What more could a guy want!? Oh yeah; food. Take some of tip three to bed with you!

Eat testosterone-boosting foods

There are certain foods that can help elevate your testosterone levels. Coconut oil, shrimp, strawberries, ricotta cheese and pumpkin seeds have all been linked to testosterone production. Pick some up next time you’re grocery shopping, along with plenty of cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage and kale. These are thought to boost T-levels because they contain phytonutrients which help suppress the female hormone estrogen, which lowers testosterone levels.

Ditch your excess fat

If you’re carrying around extra weight, then kiss your T-levels goodbye. According to reports, overweight men are more likely to have low testosterone levels to begin with. That’s because fat cells contain the testosterone-destroying female hormone estrogen. The higher  your fat percentage, the higher your estrogen levels, and the lower your testosterone levels. Fortunately, other studies show that men who lose a significant amount of weight may increase their T-levels.

Cut down on alcohol

Bad news fellas; if you’re really serious about boosting your testosterone levels, you’re gonna have to cut right down on the beer. Why? Because it’s packed full of hops, which are highly estrogenic. Yep, that pesky female hormone crops up everywhere. Every pint you have after work on a Friday night will be sending your estrogen levels soaring and your T-levels plummeting. And don’t you can make up for cutting out the beer by having the occasional binge drinking session. Studies have shown that binge drinking dramatically lowers your T-levels by actually converting your testosterone into estrogen. Oh, and it also reduces testicle size.

Lift heavier weights

There’s a reason lifting heavy weight makes you feel manly. It boosts your T-levels. Lots of studies have shown that using heavier weights with lower reps increases testosterone levels much more than any other type of exercise. So lift heavy to maximize your testosterone boost.

Get more sunlight

Studies show Vitamin D, a steroid hormone, is essential for the development of healthy sperm. Of course, this helps boosts your T-levels as well. The best way to get an adequate supply of Vitamin D is to ensure you are getting enough natural sunlight. At least 30 minutes in daylight is enough for most people.

Do High Intensity Interval Training

High intensity interval training (HIIT) does wonders not only for your physique, but for testosterone your levels too. Studies on sprinters have shown their testosterone increases when practicing HIIT and short sprints during training. Need more proof? Just look at the difference between skinny marathon runners and muscular track and field sprinters.

Take BCAAs

Chances are you’re probably using BCAAs at the moment anyway to accelerate and maintain your muscle growth. But you probably didn’t know that these Branched Chain Amino Acids significantly increase your testosterone levels. One study showed a massive 50% increase in T-levels during strength training because of BCAAs. Take them before and after your workouts to benefit from their testosterone boosting power.

Take testosterone-boosting supplements

Forget dodgy injections; there are lots of natural supplements you can take which can help boost your T-levels. Studies have shown people with higher vitamin D levels also have much higher testosterone levels . Zincplays a critical role in the production of testosterone, and one study showed that men taking ZMA (zinc, magnesium and vitamin B6)supplements increased their testosterone levels by 30%, which correlated with gains in muscular strength and power. Other studies have shown the tribulus terrestris plant elevates T-levels by up to 40%, and the amino acid D-aspartic acid (DAA) may also increase testosterone production.

Don’t let your balls get too hot

Yep. You read that right. Your balls should always be cooler than your normal body temperature. That’s why they hang outside of your body. Studies have proven that when the testicles are heated to body temperature, testosterone and sperm production stops completely until they have cooled down again. That’s a scary thought huh? So keep your balls cool and happy and those T-levels up by avoiding things like hot baths and tight boxers.

Utilizing these 11 natural, testosterone-boosting methods will have your testosterone levels shooting in no time so you can start packing on the muscle mass.

5 Best Cardio Exercises for Bodybuilders

Ahh yes, the dreaded “C” word. Folks, cardio is not the mortal enemy of a bodybuilder. In fact, it is a necessary evil to get that defined, robust look you so desire. If you pay too much attention to fluff and keep denying yourself this valuable training modality, you will continue to have subpar results. But if you are willing to listen to reality, cardio can be your best friend.

It’s not so much the type of cardio that matters as it is the way you perform it. Schlepping along at a walking pace for metric tons of minutes is not the way to go. You are more advised to keep it short and sweet, and here’s why.

When you train at a high intensity, you naturally boost your growth hormone and testosterone levels. This means faster muscle gains, plus you’ll maintain your muscle mass. You also rev your metabolism through the roof so you can expect to burn a lot of fat without cutting into your hard-earned muscle.

All that being said, here are a few of the best forms of cardio that you can use to keep your rips rockin. It’s best to spend no more than 30 minutes doing your cardio workouts. This will give you enough time to get great results without going overboard.

  1. Kettlebell Swings

You’ll be hard pressed to find a more well-rounded training tool than a kettlebell. Due to its shape, you can easily move it in multiple planes and combine many exercises together to get more bang for your buck. The swing is an exercise that blasts your heart rate while also working your glutes, hamstrings, quads, lats and abs.

This wholistic effect not only burns a lot of calories, but also builds lean muscle mass. You now get the best of both worlds.

When performing swings, make sure to hinge your hips on the backswing, keep your arms close to your ribcage and forcefully snap your hips forward on the front swing. Squeeze your glutes, quads, lats, abs and hamstrings simultaneously on every single rep and make sure you have a straight line from the back of your head to your heels at the midpoint.

An easy way to use swings in your workout is to do a top of the minute drill. After a good warmup, do a set of 15 to 20 swings at the beginning of each minute. You will need a clock to do this. Repeat the cycle for 20 to 30 minutes and you’re done.

  1. Kettlebell Snatches

In similar fashion to swings, snatches are explosive and burn a ton of calories. They also work the same muscles as swings, plus you get more shoulder and biceps activation. And, they have a tendency to be even more intense than swings from a cardiovascular standpoint.

During snatches, pull the bell up in the air and slightly back as you bend your elbow. Turn it over your hand as you quickly straighten your arm. The kettlebell should not smack your arm at all. Dial it in to the point where it lightly lands on the back of your wrist.

Pull it down in one smooth motion and hinge your hips back as you would with a swing. Then fire it right back up for your next rep.

A top of the minute drill would work well for snatches too. You can also time each arm with a rest break in between. For example, do snatches on your right arm for 15 seconds, rest for 15 and do 15 seconds on your left. Follow this schematic for 20 minutes and you’re good.

  1. Hill Sprints

These are pretty self-explanatory. Hill sprints activate a large amount of lower body muscle while you forcefully contract your abs to generate power.

Start with a light warmup, sprint up a hill for about 30 seconds, then turn around and jog back to the bottom to recover. Turn around and hit it again. Repeat 15 to 20 times and do a light cool down jog.

  1. Cycling Intervals

If you’re looking for a no-brainer, low-impact cardio source, then cycling intervals are your ticket. Like hill sprints, cycling engages your lower body musculature while you contract your abs to maintain good posture and force production.

Simply alternate back and forth from high to low intensity throughout your workout. Make sure to crank up the resistance and stand at regular intervals too for added tension on your muscles.

  1. Crawling

Last but not least, we need to address crawling. This whole body activity will have your heart rate elevated faster than any other form of cardio. And all you need is the weight of your body. You are best served performing this for 10 minutes at the end of a weight training workout.

Get on all fours then raise your knees a few inches off the ground. Crawl forward by moving your opposite arm and leg. Alternate your limbs until you make your way across the length of a fitness room or gym floor. Catch your breath and crawl back. Make sure to keep your back and shins parallel to the floor at all times.
As you can clearly see, cardio does not need to be boring. With a little creativity and mental strength, you can get your fix while obtaining the results you are after.

5 Reasons you need the Farmers Carry in Your Life

Depending on where you grew up, you may have encountered a “farm kid” or two in your class. Did you notice anything different about them? There’s a better than average chance they were in shape, had veins popping out of their arms and were even feared by many. That’s because they were in fact bad mamma jammas.

Instead of breaking out the Atari after school, they were summoned to the haymow to throw bales; then feed the cows, push wheelbarrows full of rocks and do any number of other laborious tasks. They were hard workers, they had responsibility and they could likely kick anyone’s hiney butt they saw fit.

This brings to the table the exercise named after farmers, conveniently called farmers carries or farmers walks. Take inspiration from the farmers because they obviously knew what they were doing. Why do you need this exercise in your life? Read on for five ridiculously good reasons.

They Build Popeye Forearms

Take a look at your forearms. Are they shaped like bowling pins and are they solid as a rock? If not, start doing farmers carries at the end of your workouts two or three days a week and watch the transformation occur before your very eyes.

Balanced definition in your forearms will help fill out your physique and give you a leg up on your poses if you enter competitions.

You’ll Get Better Grip Strength

This one is pretty obvious. If you sister two centuries at your sides and walk across the gym floor, you need to squeeze those handles pretty tight. This automatically improves your grip strength, which can prove beneficial for such sports as wrestling, mixed martial arts and football.

If you want to turn the volume up one more level, wrap grippers around the handles to make them fatter. The wider the grip, the harder it will be to hold the weights and the more you’ll improve your grip strength. You can also weave towels through kettlebells and hold the ends as you waltz across the gym floor. Kettlebells themselves work fine too.

They Build Calf Definition

Calf raises are well and fine, but they can be boring. Execute a series of farmer’s carries and you’ll quickly break through the boredom. The only catch is you need to walk on your tiptoes. If you want to challenge yourself even more, find a hill and walk up it.

If you don’t have access to dumbbells, you need not worry. Just find two heavy objects you can carry at your sides, like pails filled with stone or nails.

They’ll Increase Your Overall strength

Power output cannot be overstated. Just simply walking with heavy objects dangling at your sides will make you stronger through your whole body. This can translate to daily activities like shoveling snow, pushing a truck out of a ditch and carrying bags of concrete to a job site.

They’ll Improve Your Core strength

You may be wondering how this is applicable. Well, any time you hold heavy objects at your sides while walking, you need to engage your core muscles to maintain an erect posture. This, in turn, leads to a stronger core. Remember the time under tension rule. If you want to get even more core recruitment, carry only one weight. These are often referred to as unilateral carries, but it’s just a single arm farmers carry.

Now you’ve been thoroughly educated on why you’d want to add farmer’s carries into your workout. Grab some heavy weights, walk across the gym floor and make yourself a better gym goer in one fell swoop.

5 Muscle Building Tips for Hardgainers

You gotta love how they invented a word for all of you hardgainers out there. You should feel really special, but I’m sure you feel more frustrated than anything.

In case you are unaware, allow me to define just what a hardgainer is. It’s actually not that hard to figure out. A hardgainer is one who is thin, usually tall, and has a really hard time putting on weight—more namely muscle mass.

The effect this can have on self-esteem parallels that of being obese. You can end up developing a complex and not feeling comfortable while wearing revealing clothing. But don’t be alarmed, there is hope for you. Follow these five training tips and you can nip this in the bud right here and now.

  1. Perform Compound Exercises

This needs to be at the top of the list because it is vitally important. When size is your goal, you want to activate as much muscle fiber as possible in your workouts. You are guaranteed to do that by way of compound exercises.

Compound exercises activate multiple joints and work multiple muscles at the same time. The more muscle groups you recruit, the more apt you are to add slabs of muscle to your frame. Make sure you regularly perform exercises like bench presses, military presses, back rows, deadlifts and squats.

  1. Lift Maximal Weights

You really don’t think you can bulk up by lifting sissy weights do ya? This is actually where compound exercises come in handy too. They allow you to lift heavier weights because you are recruiting multiple muscles.

Aim for a load that you can only lift for five or six reps, and do multiple sets. Performing heavy compound exercises will also cause your body to release a high amount of human growth hormone (HGH) and testosterone, which are key for muscle building.

  1. Take Longer Rest Breaks

When you are hoisting heavy loads, you want to make sure you are fully rested between sets. If you are gas’d, you will not be able to go as hard or lift as much weight. There is no real formula to follow as to the perfect amount of rest, but I will say this much. If you cannot do a set with 90% quality or better, you need to rest longer.

  1. Execute Proper Form

You never want to shortchange your form when you’re a hardgainer. It’s important to move through a full range of motion and forcefully contract your focus muscles. Never rely on momentum to move a bar or dumbbells and make sure to breathe properly. Breathing alone will enable you to move through a range of motion with more finesse.

Take a big deep breath before you do a rep and exhale through the entire duration of exertion. For example, inhale as you lower a bar toward your chest on a bench press and exhale as you push it back up.

  1. Avoid Long Cardio Workouts

A lot of “experts” will tell you to steer clear of cardio altogether if you are a hardgainer, but I disagree. I would say stay away from long cardio bouts, but not short, highly intense ones. Believe it or not, high-intensity cardio, such as sprint intervals, can boost your muscle mass. Much like doing heavy weight training, high-intensity cardio bouts boost levels of HGH and testosterone, which can boost your muscle building efforts.

Keep your workouts short though. Start with a five minute warmup, and then do 10 to 15 sprints with short rest breaks in between.

There you have it. Take these tips with you to the gym and try them on for size. Throughout this journey, realize that gaining weight takes patience and dedication. Don’t expect to have results overnight or you will be disappointed.

5 Pro Tips for More Defined Abs

You can say what you want about arms and v-shaped backs, but nothing really quite sets the tone like a prized set of defined abs. You know immediately when someone has busted their arse just by the appearance of their midsection.

How does this relate to you? Well, you may think you have a good grip on defining your abs, but there is always room for more tricks in your magic hat. To get you pointed in the right direction, see the five pro tips listed below. But be cautioned!  You don’t want to get too ripped because the ladies won’t be able to keep their hands off you when you’re trying to get some work done.

1: Focus on tension

Perhaps one of the biggest mistakes in the pursuit of ab definition is doing really high reps of exercises. It may seem fashionable, it might make you feel cool and it could even boost your confidence. But the sad reality is, it just doesn’t work well for definition.

During the span of 20-plus reps, you are only getting very short-term contractions. Muscles need excitation to grow and become pronounced. You are better served doing exercises where you have to squeeze your abs hard for an extended period of time. And these exercises are not the obvious crunches, sit-ups and side bends. In fact, those exercises are overrated.

Include exercises like pull-ups, clean and presses, kettlebell Turkish get-ups and renegade rows in your program. All of these drills require you to contract your abs forcefully for stabilization and power output. This has a transfer effect that helps you build a slab of chiseled armor across your midsection.

2: Use a heavy external load

You already know about the tension technique, but now you need to know about external load. Any time you incorporate tension, you’ll get work done on your abs. But, you can magnify this by using a heavy load. Be smart about it though. You never want to sacrifice proper form for heavy resistance.

When you’re doing your tension-creating exercises, aim for a load that will allow you to do 5 to 8 reps with pristine form. And always aim for low reps and multiple sets! For example, do 5 to 6 reps and 6 to 8 sets of weighted pull-ups.

3: Watch your sodium intake

Diet is just as important as weight training when it comes to ab definition. And of all the dietary tricks of the trade, sodium regulation sits pretty high on the list.

Sodium is a necessary electrolyte but if you take in an excessive amount, it can make you look “puffy.” This is because you are retaining water and that’s the last thing you need to happen if you want more defined abs.

You don’t have to eliminate it altogether, but just be careful with how much you take in. It is best to avoid or significantly reduce your intake of processed foods that are canned, bottled or bagged and high in sodium. Be sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day too, especially if you ingest salty foods.

4: Head for the hills   

You may never have given this a thought but you should… Hill sprints can have a very positive effect on your abs. Sure they’re hard and they’re not fun, but the effect is so monumental that you have to do them.

When you sprint, you get a massive ab contraction that lasts until you stop. Couple this with the fact that you burn a ton of calories and your body pumps out growth hormone and testosterone, and you have a winning combination that helps create jaw-dropping definition. Just take a look at Olympic sprinters.

Sprinting up hills magnifies the results even more so incorporate them into your practice. Start with a light warmup on flat ground then alternate ripping up the hill and jogging back down slowly. After 8 to 10 sets, you should be good and whooped, and that should be sufficient enough to reap the benefits.

5: Follow the same routine for several weeks

You are probably no stranger to the SAID Principle—Specific Adaptations to Imposed Demands. This means your body adapts to the stresses that are placed upon it through a duration of time. The opposite would be muscle confusion where you change your exercises every workout or after a short period of time.

To get defined abs, you want to find the sweet spot, which is right in the middle of these two areas.

The best case scenario is you follow the same routine for several weeks so your body can adapt. Then after that period, change everything up and follow THAT routine for several weeks. Keep following this pattern and you will be right on track.

As a rule of thumb, follow the same routine for a minimum of four weeks and no longer than six. This will give you time to keep increasing load and becoming better at the movement patterns. And by stopping and changing after four to six weeks, you will not plateau.

Now you have a solid set of standards to work on. Give these tips a try and always set your sights on the end goal. If you do, it will come a lot quicker and easier.

The Famous Spartan 300 Workout Routine

Many years ago in a land far away, there stood these men called Spartans. They were relatively tall, lean and sculpted like chunks of finely cut marble. Fast forward to today and you have a nation that has gone the complete opposite direction. Overweight and out of shape bodies roam the streets, crowd the airports and line the hallways of schools across the globe. The Sparta ideal has fallen by the wayside. But… there is hope.

Backstory  

In 2006, a movie sparked more than controversy at the box office. It inadvertently started a movement. That movie was called 300, which was set in 400 BC. Much like the actual Spartans of that era, the actors portraying them were lean, ripped and sculpted from head to toe.

In theaters, women drooled while men sat back in awe with their mouths dropped wide open as they munched on their popcorn and sipped gallons of soda pop. They thought to themselves, “How in the world did these men get in such tremendous shape? I could never look like that!” Well, if you sit in a movie theater and eat metric tons of popcorn while washing it down with soda, you are 100% correct!

There’s not a chocolate bar’s chance in hell that you will. But if you decide to take control of your life, change your attitude and follow the routine these men went through, there just might be hope for you. And let me be honest, it’s not easy! Anything that reaps those kinds of results is not easy to obtain. That’s the rule with anything.

The 300 Workout

I’m sure you’ve heard of CrossFit at this juncture in your life. Although it is not officially called that, the Spartan 300 workout is really nothing more than a CrossFit routine. It consists of 25 pull-ups, 50, 135-lb deadlifts, 50 push-ups, 50 box jumps on a 2-foot high box, 50 floor wipers with a 135-lb barbell held above your chest, 50 clean and presses and 25 more pull-ups to round it off.

You do each exercise back to back with no rest and aim for the fastest time possible. And if you are good in math, you can see that the reps equal 300 total. How convenient is that?!

The End Result

During the shooting of 300, the actors, crew and stuntmen were expected to try the 300 workout as a finale. They didn’t just walk into the gym and pull this off with grace and ease. First they spent 8 to 12 weeks prepping with routines that included circuit training, intervals and heavy lifting with low reps. The 300 workout was designed as a final test to see how fit they became.

The Good and Bad

As you can see by the physiques in the movie, the program they went through worked well to get them ripped to shreds. And this sparked a phenomenon across the world where everybody and their sister were doing the Spartan workout. But that has serious flaws.

The neurological load that this workout has on the body is tremendous. That means it breaks your muscles down to a point where you are guaranteed to execute poor form, and that’s when tragedy starts to happen. You run the risk of injuring your muscles, joints, bones and everything in between. In the worst of cases, you can suffer irreversible kidney damage from a condition known as rhabdomyolysis. It’s not pretty.

If you want to aim for the Spartan 300 workout, treat it like the actors did – as an end goal. Work your way up to the physical strength to pull it off and do the right things to get there. Always focus on 90% quality with every lift you do and you will never have to worry about a thing.

Win the Fight Against Man Boobs

You can call them man boobs, moobs or male breasts, but the underlying idea is still the same – excessive flab in the pectoral region. Nothing about this physical feature is fun or confidence-boosting. If you have them, it doesn’t mean you are an idiot or unworthy to live. But you know how frustrating it can be.

Gynecomastia

Uncommon to popular belief, laziness is not the only reason for moobs to develop. Sure, sitting around with a big bowl of ice cream on your lap can be a big contributor to fat gain and moobs, but it’s not the only cause. Are you familiar with a condition known as gynecomastia? Well, it’s also a culprit.

Gynecomastia is the scientific definition of man boobs, and age is a big factor. As you get older, your hormones have a tendency to get off balance. Boys going through puberty for example, are prone to develop breasts, as are men in the 50-plus category. Once this happens, boobs are soon to follow.

Andropause

You are probably familiar with menopause that women go through when the balance of estrogen and testosterone is off. Well, although it is not officially used as a medical term, andropause would be the male equivalent.

In this case, testosterone levels slowly decline, which causes older men to experience symptoms like lethargy, low sex drive, excess weight gain and low libido. As an added insult, the tissue in the chest area becomes more “womanly” so to speak, and the appearance of breasts can occur.

Basically, andropause and gynecomastia are one and the same, except it only occurs in older men, not young boys.

Another possible cause is the use of anabolic steroids. This happens because of the effect they have on hormones. Any time hormones fluctuate, there is a better than average chance that moobs can develop.

Lifestyle Solution

Judging by what you’ve read so far, something obvious should come to mind as a possible remedy. That would be weight loss and weight training. But don’t be naïve enough to believe you can spot reduce your man boobs by doing a ton of bench presses. That only happens in the movies.

You need to focus your efforts on overall weight loss through calorie restriction, quality eating and a solid exercise plan.

To put this into even better perspective, you are best served eating multiple balanced meals a day, drinking plenty of water and doing both weight training and cardio. And in your workouts, focus on targeting your chest from multiple angles to recruit the maximum amount of muscle fiber. Do exercises like incline presses, flat bench press, decline presses and flys.

Don’t neglect the rest of your body either. Muscle in general is metabolically active tissue. The more you pack on, the more calories you will burn at rest. Do you see the big picture? Your body will then be more apt to burn fat as a whole and your chest will reap the rewards.

Time Under Tension for Ab Development

Ah yes, time under tension (TUT). Isn’t it a glorious, wonderful thing? Oh, perhaps you have no idea what TUT even is. In that case, make yourself at home, grab a nice tall glass of kombucha and listen up. It’s time that you learned some very important tactics to get your ab development dialed in and to the next level you’ve been waiting for all these years.

High reps vs. Tension

Pay close attention to the scene the next time you step into the gym. You have very good odds of seeing someone on a mat, curling their torso up and down like a dying shrimp and wearing a mask of pain on their face. Forgive them for they know no better.

Training your abs in this manner might get you a little cardio, but it sure as heck won’t do you any favors with definition and development. Just think about it for a second. When you do a high amount of reps like that, you tend to get sloppy. In other words, your form is sketch and you end up doing more harm than good. Through a series of say, 50 reps of crunches, your actual rectus abdominis gets maybe 10 seconds of contraction time. That just doesn’t cut it partner.

You should never, ever focus on doing high reps with ab training. Your attention should always be on tension. THAT is what causes the beautiful striations and cuts that you long for.

Good vs. Evil

Here’s an example of how to shift this modality into your favor. First, you have project A who lies on the crunch machine and cranks out five sets of 50 with a high velocity. Forget about the additional weight he has on the machine. Just think about the momentum he’s using.

If you go back to the original example of 10 seconds of actual ab contraction time, he’ll maybe get 50 seconds total. That’s less than one minute!

Now fix your eyeball on project B. This guy reaches up and grasps a pullup bar. He pulls his shoulder blades down and in (packs his shoulders), moves his legs slightly forward and tightens his entire core. He is now in what’s called the hollow body position.

From here, he pulls himself upward until his chin clears the bar, slowly lowers himself down to a fully extended arm position and repeats the movement for 6 to 8 reps. He proceeds to hop down, take a rest and repeat the exercise five total times. Guess what he just did? Approximately 10 times more ab work than project A in one single set! And mind you, project A was deliberately working his abs!

Practice Perfectly to Perfect Your Practice

Do you see where this is going? If you want gorgeous, sexy abs, don’t waste your time or energy with force leaks. Those are the moments in which you lose tension during an exercise. Stick with the heavy hitters that force you to keep your abs tight for an extended period of time.

If you go back to the pull-up exercise; sure, it is known as a back builder. But, it absolutely shreds the midsection because you have to contract hard and maintain that contraction throughout the entire set. That’s called money out on the streets!

To bottom line this, be sure to blend a lot of exercises into your routines that involve excessive time under tension with your midsection. Aside from pull-ups, throw in some Turkish get-ups, push-ups, renegade rows, side plank t-presses and hanging pikes.

And for the love of everything sacred, USE GOOD FORM!

You can easily screw up anything if you’re head’s not screwed on straight. Always aim for 90% perfection with everything you do. Be honest with yourself. If you can’t achieve that, you need to rest until you can. Your body won’t know the difference and it will thank you for it in the end.

OK, go practice your TUT techniques and watch what happens. You will be pleasantly surprised after a mere four weeks of training.

Do you Have Sticks for Legs? Turn Skinny Legs into Sturdy Redwoods!

Isn’t it interesting just how many guys walk around town with big guns and chests, but scrawny little sticks for legs? Ladies, you’re not exempt, although having mammoth-sized legs might not be exactly what you’re looking for!

The underlying reason is not necessarily due to laziness. Obviously, building big arms and an impressive upper body does take work. But that road is a lot easier to travel than the one that leads to filling out the inseams of your jeans. So let’s get down to some particulars on how you can build bulk onto those pins and make them more worthy of showcasing.

PERFORM COMPOUND EXERCISES

Did you ever hear of a sissy? That would be someone who dips their toe in the water and runs away because it’s too cold. Real men or women don’t even think about the temperature, they get a running start and jump straight in without any fear. Well that’s the kind of tenacity required to build big, strong, thick legs. And it’s also the mindset you need to do compound exercises.

Why are compound exercises important? Because they require you to engage multiple muscle groups and joints at the same time. By using this method, you get a better bang for your buck when it comes to packing on size.

Take a squat, for example. Your hips, knees and even your ankles are being activated, which in turn causes you to work your quads, hamstrings, glutes and calves. Basically all of your legs muscles are working in unison. This maximal amount of recruitment will achieve the most gains.

As an added bonus, compound exercises cause your body to release a high amount of testosterone and growth hormone. If you hadn’t been living in the woods, you would know how important these hormones are for building muscle.

LIFT HEAVY WEIGHTS

Do you remember the sissy rule? I hope so since it was mentioned a mere 30 seconds ago. I don’t feel I should have to waste breath saying this, but some people really do need to be reminded. If you lift sissy weights, you will build sissy-sized muscles. I don’t mean to insult your intelligence here, but it’s just a simple fact.

After all, you’re trying to build redwoods, not saplings. Aim for a load that you can manage to lift safely 6 to 8 times. Perform enough sets so that you feel smoked but not pulverized. Make sure you take long enough rest breaks in-between sets too, so you’re fully recovered.

INCLUDE MULTIPLE EXERCISES IN YOUR PROGRAM

There’s not a shadow of a doubt that squats can do a number on your legs. But why leave it to chance? Ensure that you reach your full potential and achieve a maximal amount of muscle recruitment by including other exercises too, like deadlifts, step-ups, and lunges. If you paid close attention earlier, you would know that these are also compound exercises.

USE A FULL RANGE OF MOTION

That’s ROM for short. Memorize this and also memorize the fact that you need to use a full range of motion when doing your leg exercises. If you don’t, you won’t fully maximize your muscle recruitment and will end up frustrated at your lack of progress.

Once again, let’s take the squat as an example. Bend your knees and lower yourself down until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Look up at about a 45-degree angle, keep your core tight and back straight, then stand all the way back up.

Squeeze your glutes forcefully for a second when you rise, and repeat. Make sure to lower yourself down slowly, come to a complete stop at the bottom, and then stand back up. You don’t want to rush through it or bounce upward. Save that for the imbeciles.

DON’T FORGET TO EAT

Did you think you could get your leg muscles to grow by just breathing air? They need nutrients to become big and robust. Don’t be afraid to increase your calories, but stick to foods that are beneficial for muscle growth like clean meats, fish, eggs, whole grains, beans, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and avocados.

These foods are good sources of quality protein, complex carbs and healthy fat. Your legs will need them for energy, muscle reparation and good joint function.

You have some work to do inside and outside the gym. Be patient, take gradual steps and before you know it, you’ll be walking around town in shorts, showing off what you’ve achieved through sweat and determination.