Monday, May 16, 2011

Peaked, stuck, leveled out in progress & muscle gains?

Have you been working out for several months or longer, and now feel like your muscle gains and/or progress has landed on a plateau somewhere?

Yeah, I'm talking about the feeling of being stuck, peaked, leveled out or whatever you want to call it...

A lot of people encounter this "peaking out" dilemma, and it is actually perfectly normal. Unfortunately, when some people get stuck in progress while trying to build muscle or achieve certain physical fitness goals, they often lose interest or just throw their hands up and quit working out altogether.

...But before I say anything else about this subject, maybe you need to ask yourself, "what are my goals?" Maybe you're fine with your current level of fitness and would like to spend more time on other things, perhaps even go out and have some fun - ha!

Anyway, many times when a person experiences these "plateau effects" and seem to be stuck in progress, they either need to take some time off, change their routine or completely alter the type of exercises they have been performing. For example, several years ago, I felt that I was tired of lifting the same ol' weights, doing the same boring bench presses and exercises, and was having to drag myself into the workout room because it got to where I dreaded lifting all that heavy weight. So, I decided to buy a Power Tower and started to build muscle without weights (pull-ups, dips, etc.). When I needed extra resistance, I would simply use a weighted vest. Now, after using the Power Tower for a few years, I'm about ready to start lifting heavy weights again and now I wished that I wouldn't have sold my damn weight bench to begin with! Ha-ha! But that's just an example, as changing the routines and exercises often temporarily rescues people from the "muscle building plateau" status.

Taking a break can also be great... Don't worry about losing muscle mass during your transitory hiatus; plus, if you've been working out for a few years, try to remember the points that were being made in the post "the mystery of muscle memory," as this should help you rest assured that your body will have no problem gaining what little muscle you may have lost during your period of inactivity.

When you do feel "leveled out" or whatever, this may also be a good time to become more quick & flexible with the muscle you already have. Being bulky isn't everything; in fact, many folks find that it slows them down and actually hurts their overall level of physical fitness. However, not everybody has the same goals, but I'm just saying that it might be a good idea to get out there and utilize your muscles in more natural movements as opposed to basic lifting, curling, pressing, etc. You know, things like shadow boxing, martial arts, various types of stretches, manual labor that replaces automatic gadgets (like chopping down trees with an axe instead of using a chain saw, using a push mower instead of a riding mower), and so on...
Speaking of boxing and martial arts, you may also be interested in my "picking out the right heavy bag / speed bag stand" entry, in addition to the "body opponent heavy bag" post.

Personally, I think some people may just need a little additional motivation. For example, when I used to feel stuck or in a rut, I'd just look at some motivational posters for my workout room, and alter the way my weight room looked by buying bikini posters, pictures of barely clad women, etc. Yep, throw in some nice visuals along with some motivational music, and you may be well on your way to new physical fitness goals that will free yourself from that "peaked" feeling you're suffering from.

---End of Post "Peaked, stuck, leveled out in progress & muscle gains?"

Older Post: "Why I take Coral Calcium"

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Natural ways to help fight symptoms of alcohol withdrawal...

Of course, if you're suffering from alcohol withdrawal symptoms, it usually means that you've been abusing alcohol in such a way, that your body has become too accustomed to it; this can lead to many other problems down the road - not just health related, either. However, not everybody who suffers from alcohol withdrawal symptoms end up with a chronic problem, as many folks are just going through bad times, get too caught up into the "party scene," or just have occasional bouts where they crave massive amounts of alcohol, binge drink, etc.

At any rate, this post is not about finding you mental help for your current addictions, psychological assistance to combat personal problems, nor is it recommending "alcoholic anonymous" sessions; it is mainly about finding natural ways to help fight the withdrawal symptoms of alcohol - if you do have this liquefied debacle.

Personally, I'm a big beer drinker and I've been drinking alcohol for at least 15 years with at least 14 of those years being on a daily basis. But during that time, I have had my moments where I would get involved with the "hard stuff" and especially vodka, so I know all about the temporary withdrawal symptoms (when you overdo it for an extended period of time) and how problematic they can be - when it comes to fighting the symptoms, nervousness, jitters, etc. It totally sucks, no doubt about it, but for me, the easiest way to "fight" the withdrawal symptoms was to quit drinking hard liqueur straight out of the damn bottle like some lunatic who is seeking a higher octane fuel supply. Ha-ha!

I'm glad I haven't had this withdrawal problem in a long while, but when thinking about some of the posts I have written over the last several months, many of the supplements I have mentioned, really do help calm the nerves, fight withdrawal symptoms that relate to the central nervous system - along with many other helpful benefits.

This entry is simply going to be a "resource link post" that will provide links to the pages where I have promoted certain natural supplements (no prescription drugs) that will help the individuals who suffer from drug-related withdrawal symptoms (like alcohol), and perhaps will ease people into the quitting stage or if anything, just calm them down a bit and improve their overall sense of well-being...

Natural ways to help fight symptoms of alcohol withdrawal:

* Health Benefits of Taurine

* Korean Ginseng Extract

* Why I use Coral Calcium...

* Magnolia Extract - Fight Stress & Calm Down

* Now, if you're looking for a natural way to help cleanse and/or detoxify your liver from all of the hardcore drinking, visit:

* If you're feeling in better spirits, have no withdrawal issues whatsoever, actually try to drink alcohol in moderation, and are also curious about some of the positive effects that can be attained from this delightful substance, visit the blog post "Health Benefits of Beer & Alcohol."


Related Post: Grapefruit is not good for Detox or certain Medications

---End of Post "Natural ways to help fight symptoms of alcohol withdrawal..."

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Build the stubborn Latissimus dorsi muscle (Lats) with Pull-ups!

Depending on your genetics, body type and/or build, the Latissimus dorsi, also known as "Lats," may be a very stubborn muscle group for you - when it comes to building it up. There are several exercises you can perform that are aimed at working the Lats, but to me, none of them seem to be more effective than the basic pull-ups and chin-ups - that is, if you're in decent enough shape to even pull your own body weight, but we'll get to that in a moment.

The Latissimus dorsi is the widest muscle of the back. If you'd like to see a quick diagram for a visual refreshment, look below:

If you're able to build your Lats up and proper development takes place, this is the muscle that will give you that V-Shape or V-like taper to your upper torso, and especially when viewing from the back. It sort of gives you that explosive look, and makes you appear broader than what you really are. If you combine expanded Lats with bulky shoulders, even a smaller framed person can start looking wide. Throw in some well-developed trapezius muscles, and you really will be ready to sport that "tank top" this year...

Okay, now back to the main subject: If you are a beginner or have trouble lifting your body weight, pull-ups may not be for you - at least not at the moment. If you'd still like to work your Lats, you can always use the Cable Lat Pulldown machine and the pulleys used for arm rows... that is, if you own an exercise machine or have a gym membership, etc. And if you don't have access to any of this bulky equipment, there is still hope, as you can still use dumbbells for bent-over rows and so on.

I'm just not a fan of bent-over rows or the rowing motion in general. I mean really, if you want to perform this particular motion to build up the Latissimus dorsi muscle group (in hopes of widening your back), none of these cable pulleys or dumbbell rows would compare to getting in a small boat with paddles or a canoe weighted down with passengers, and rowing the thing around a lake for hours and hours, several days a month. Ha-ha! But seriously, rows work well for some people, I'd just prefer the paddle boat if I resorted to using the rowing motion in general, that's all. I must say, though, rows seem to be better at thickening the back muscles as opposed to widening them, although they can do both. BUT, the Lat Pulldown exercise and the Pull-ups using a weighted vest, seem to work better at widening this particular area of the back.

As for the Cable Lat Pulldown exercise, since you can manually adjust the weight, it is great for the beginners who can't do enough pull-ups to amount to a workout and also for the advanced bodybuilders who find the pull-ups to be less than challenging. However, I can remedy that minor problem for the advanced folks, by recommending that you execute your pull-ups & chin-ups while training with a weighted vest.

...Unless you have something out in the yard that resembles a pull-up bar or you have built one yourself, you may also be interested in buying a Power Tower, as I mentioned in my post: "Gain Muscle Mass & Power without weights." Of course, there are other cheaper chin-up/pull-up alternatives on the market, but the Power Tower also provides you with the opportunity to do other bodybuilding exercises in addition to pull-ups, such as: dips, leg lifts and push-ups on slightly inclined bars.

Anyway, good luck building this, what I call, "stubborn muscle group," no matter what method you decide to use. And if you are successful at bulking up your Latissimus dorsi area, you'll be proud of that V-shape figure that comes along with it. Now, go build those damn Lats...

---End of Post

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Put the "Tank in the Top" by building the Deltoids & Trapezius Muscles

As the temperature rises and the weather improves, many of y'all weight-lifting champs and/or physical fitness fanatics may like to sport your sexy bods and muscular stature by wearing "tank tops" this year. Well, unfortunately, many of you will strive to fill out those tank tops to the best of your ability, and fail miserably in the process.

This post is just a quick reminder, as to what to focus on, when it comes to putting the "tank" in the "top" of those, uh, "tank tops." Ha!

When it comes to looking your best in that particular choice of attire, working/pumping/training the deltoids and the trapezius muscles to the fullest, is your best bet. Believe it or not, a lot of people who train hard, workout with weights and/or strive for higher levels of physical fitness, are not even familiar with common anatomic terms. So, with that being said, in case you don't know, the deltoids are the shoulder muscles, and the trapezius muscles are right beside the neck and also extend from the back of the neck and down the middle region of the upper back.

Since the trapezius muscles are spread out, I'll provide an image below to help clarify the actual location of this often neglected muscle group:

By looking at the image above, you may be thinking, "how does working the trapezius muscles help me look good in a 'tank top' or whatever, when they look more like minuscule back muscles?" Well, that particular image shows the trapezius muscle group from the rear, but really, it is all about getting that bulge beside your neck, next to your shoulders, that you will see from the front. If you train hard and build up some big deltoids, what better to compliment them by setting down some good muscle bulk right beside them, next to your neck? Ya know, it sort of gives you that bull-dog, thick neck, upper-stack-heavy type of "chew-you-up-and-spit-you-out" sort of look. Yeah, the nice guy look... Ha-ha!

Anyway, I've already briefly wrote about building up your deltoids on a post I did a few months ago, and you can check that out here, if interested: "Simple ways to Build Powerful Deltoids."

What makes this even more simple, is that one of the main exercises I promoted for building up your deltoids, also works the trapezius muscles out, very well. If you're wondering, this simple exercise that is best performed with individual, heavy dumbbells, is called "arm raises." It is where you slowly raise and lower the weight/dumbbell that you're holding from your sides or in front of you, up to shoulder level, then back down to your side or in front of your hips (starting position). I prefer the lateral raise (from the sides) because to me, the side motion works more of the deltoid and trapezius region than it does from the front. These type of lifts also work the outer portion of your forearms, which is always a plus.

Of course, there are many other muscles that you may want to focus on when it comes to looking good in a "tank top," but the point of this post is to simply state that the true "tank in the top" mostly comes from an impressive set of deltoids and the neck-bulging trapezius muscles. Hell, if all you mainly got is big arms and a muscular chest, a tight tee-shirt may be more complimentary for you as opposed to a tank top. ...But those sexy beach babes who have a fetish for men in tank tops, might make you focus more on other muscular focal points besides arms & chest, such as what I mentioned prior... Okay, I have to stop right here... Ha-ha! That sounds a bit too funny for me, even after writing that little sentence about beach babes. I'm the modest type who would rather stay fully dressed in public and couldn't care less how I look in a tank top because I will be too busy taking her top & bottom off, and would much rather show my "bedroom muscle" to the ladies in private besides my deltoids, biceps, triceps, pectorals, latissimus dorsi and trapezius muscles; but then again, I'm trying to give advice on this health blog while I keep my composure at the same time. Damn, I'm confused now... LOL!

At any rate, enjoy the nice weather while it lasts and have fun with whatever you do!

---End of Post

Monday, May 2, 2011

Weight Gainers & Protein Shakes

Even though the majority, at least here in America, are either overweight or obese, the need for buying weight gainers is still in high demand. Personally, I'm not a big fan of weight gainers (high-calorie powders used to make drinks for weight gain), protein shakes or creatine supplements (waste of money, in my opinion), but what doesn't appeal or work for some, may work like a charm for others.

The need for using weight gainers usually fall into two categories or reasons: 1) The individual who is thin, but works out regularly and still has trouble gaining mass; 2) The hardcore bodybuilder who needs an easy way to add extra calories to help maintain their current muscle bulk or to achieve even more muscle mass.

I don't have much to say about reason #2 because if you're seriously into bodybuilding and you have a lot of muscle mass, you really are going to have to consume a lot more calories to maintain your beast-like structure. Even though, consuming large amounts of calories can easily be achieved by diet alone, the convenience of gulping down massive amounts of calories from these flavored milkshakes, makes it tempting if you have the money and desire to do so.

When it comes to reason #1, I have to disagree with the use of weight gainers. People who are naturally thin, slim, whatever, don't have the same metabolism nor do their organs function the same as the ones who can easily gain weight just by overeating. These are the type of people who can eat all day long and never seem to gain weight or very little. For the most part, you'll just be straining your digestive organs trying to process and rid the body of extra calories that it doesn't want, evidently. However, if you have this particular body type, there is still hope and you can "bulk up" over time (be patient) without the use of steroids or growth hormones. You have to make your body produce muscle by working hard and getting enough protein to ensure proper muscle repair & development, which has nothing to do with consuming mass quantities of food or weight gainers, for that matter. People with high metabolisms or the ones who stay slim no matter what they eat, often have a totally different rate of digestion, levels of enzymes, and a less efficient nutrient absorption rate - when compared to people who seem to get more out of their food, gain weight easily, and so on. Most people want to blame it on individual metabolism alone, but there is really a lot more to it than that.

Anyway, people who have trouble gaining weight would be better off adding a little more meat and/or protein to their diet and adjust their weight lifting to "less reps and more weight," not "more reps and less weight." Aerobic exercise is definitely not your answer, but it is excellent for your cardiovascular health. Anyway, you need to train your stubborn little body and make it understand that you need more mass to withstand all this heavy weight you lift on a regular basis. But, if you're still seeking weight gainers, feel free; knock yourself out. I'm just saying that if you must purchase and/or choose between weight gainers or protein shakes, you'd be better off with the protein drinks because in my opinion, you'll waste your money on the weight gainers.

Once again, for the serious bodybuilders that have no trouble gaining weight or that have a lot of muscle mass to maintain - and you have the extra money to spend, weight gainers may be just for you. Maybe I'm old fashion, but a balanced, healthy diet with a few extra servings of meat & potatoes is my idea of "weight gainers." Although, maybe I'm biased when it comes to my views on protein shakes (whatever happened to eggs?) and weight gainers... Especially since I've always been fairly lean with an athletic build, so the need for weight gainers would clash with my sexy, pimp-style body... Ha!

---At any rate, if you're interested in browsing through a big selection of Protein Shakes, click the image below:
---If you're interested in browsing through a fine selection of Weight Gainers, click the image below:
Random Blog Link: "How to Estimate your Max Bench Press Lift"

---End of Post

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Health Benefits of Taurine

A few years ago, I got to noticing this ingredient popping up in a lot of energy drinks. I knew that Taurine was an amino acid, but was curious as to why it would be listed on energy drinks and pretty much, I was wondering what the whole "Taurine Craze" was about. However, I'm not a fan of energy drinks for many reasons, with one being that most of the people who I see drink them, are usually the ones who are tired and lazy half the time - but that has nothing to do with the amino acid I'm talking about in this post, since most of those type of drinks that claim to have ginseng and other special ingredients, often only have trace amounts and just rely on the sugar and caffeine to give them their "kick" or energy boost. Anyway, that's beside the point......

---The Health Benefits of Taurine:

Taurine is a "free" type of amino acid, as it is not a structural protein and it roams freely throughout the blood and tissues. In the human body, the highest concentrations of this amino acid is found in the eyes and heart.

Taurine plays an important role in brain, eye, and heart health, among many other facets of human health and increased well-being.

Taurine is thought to strengthen your heart muscle and to lower blood pressure, in addition to having many other cardiovascular benefits.

Taurine is a sulfur-containing amino acid and it increases and/or helps with liver function, increases bile production which aids in fat digestion and the removal of toxins, and lowers cholesterol via the bile release. Taurine is also known to help detoxify the body, which this would also parallel with the enhanced liver function, obviously.

Taurine has antioxidant properties and can have anti-inflammatory effects. It has been used to help treat alcoholism, chronic fatigue, anxiety, depression, and several other psychological ailments.

Taurine has shown to have benefits for people who have Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes.

I have read that Taurine helps reduce the amount of lactic acid in the body and, if true, this would be great for the ones who have a lot of physical exertion, workout regularly, etc.

---What are some natural sources of Taurine?

Taurine is found in abundance within certain exotic types of seafood. It is also found in a variety of meats, fish and other common seafood, eggs, and milk. Basically, if you're a strict vegetarian who refuses to eat meat and you would still like to take advantage of the health benefits of taurine, you will have to revert to pill supplements. The body does make a fair amount of taurine, but the major source of this particular amino acid still comes from your diet.

So, whether you eat a lot of meat or not, you may still want to purchase this beneficial amino acid in supplement form...

Click the Image Below, to Browse through a large selection of Taurine:

Related Blog Post Links: Health Benefits of Vinegar and the Health Benefits of Lycopene.

---End of Post