Foods that increase muscle growth-upping your gains

We all love to eat and we all love to eat food that tastes good, finding the right kind of food that tastes good, the right food that will benefit us for whatever the goal is that we are pursuing and something that doesn’t take a good share of our precious time just to prepare.

In this next article, I will be discussing foods that increase muscle growth that will be upping your gains in no time, I will be discussing some guidelines to follow and if you follow what I have outlined you should be on your way to a stronger, healthier new you.

A diet that best fits your needs   

Whether if you’re looking to lose body fat or add muscle size, I will be covering a diet plan that will suit whatever your goals are. There are some key elements that you will need to take into consideration, for gaining muscle size, naturally you will need to take in a much higher calorie consumption.

I will be covering the best choices in protein consumption and ones that you will want to avoid, the importance of taking in the right foods for energy, fruits and vegetables and the best time of day to consume them.

I will be covering foods to avoid and what’s really in them. How to read package labels and knowing what ones to leave at the store. Vegetarian diets and how you can still make it a high protein diet and the all importance of taking enough water into your system and how much you should drink.

Where do I start   

Alright, your thinking, how do I find the diet that’s right for me, have enough time to plan and prepare the food and still enjoy the food enough to stay motivated to stick with the diet and not go back to my old way of eating?

Between work, school and family, it can be difficult to find the time and motivation to really buckle down and get serious about making a change to a healthy diet when you’re used to instant meals that are loaded with sodium or maybe stuffing another pizza in the oven, but there are endless ideas that are quick and healthy and won’t break your budget.

An idea to get you started   

Here’s an idea that is a small portion of the calories that you would get from eating a typical pizza and the fat content in this recipe is just a small portion compared to what you would get in a typical pizza or fast food burger as well. You can try various noodles, as in the picture above.

Creamy herb chicken with bowtie pasta

3/4 cup low fat sour cream

1/2 tsp basil

1/2 tsp oregano

1/2 tsp salt

Nonstick cooking spray

2 tsp olive oil

1 lb chicken breast, boneless, skinned, cut into one inch pieces

2 minced garlic cloves

4 sliced onions

1 cup mushrooms

1 cup carrots, sliced

2 cups broccoli

1/2 cup water

8 oz bowtie pasta, cooked according to directions without salt

1/4 cup parmesan cheese


1. In a small bowl, combine the sour cream, basil, oregano and salt, set aside.

2. Spray a large skillet with non stick cooking spray, place the skillet over medium high heat, and add 1 tsp olive oil. When hot, add chicken pieces and cook four to five minutes or until cooked through.

3. Place chicken pieces on a plate, set aside.

4. Add the remaining 1 tsp of olive oil, garlic and onions to the skillet, saute for 1 to 2 minutes.

5. Add the mushrooms and saute for 2 minutes.

6. Add the carrots, broccoli and water, cover, cook 3 to 4 minutes until vegetables are tender.

7. Add the sour cream mixture, cooked chicken and cooked pasta, mix well and stir for 2 to 3 minutes to heat through.

8. Top with cheese.

9. Makes four servings.

Calories.            Sodium.         Fat.         Protein          carbs.         Fiber

480.                    583 mg.         11 g        39 grams       54 g           5 g

This recipe should take approximately 35 to 40 minutes, it will take a little more work than stuffing another pizza in the oven, but in the long run it will do your body and your midsection a lot more good and you’re going to feel healthier if you continue to follow a healthier diet.

A diet that fills the need   

Depending on what you’re goals are, whether you’re looking to lose weight, gain weight or just lose a few pounds and tone up, following a cardiovascular program or any other goal related program, you need to have a diet plan that will fit your needs.

There are some key elements you will need to do a little research on. There are 3500 calories that are equivalent to one pound of body weight, wether you want to lose or gain a pound, you would have to lose 3500 calories to lose one pound, or you would have to gain 3500 calories to gain one pound.

If you break that down a little bit, you would have to adjust your calorie intake by 500 calories per day, up or down, depending on if you’re looking to lose or gain weight, in order to adjust your body weight one pound per week.

A tool I think is really helpful that you can do research on is All you need to do is type in your age, activity level, body weight and it will tell you how many calories you need a day in order to maintain, lose or gain weight. It also has related searches like (BMI) body mass index calculator, body fat calculator, and ideal weight calculator.

When it comes to a diet, one to lose weight or gain muscle, which ever your goal is that you are shooting for, the concept will be pretty much the same. You will need to plan for a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, try to avoid canned vegetables as they are high in salt and preservatives, besides, fresh always tastes so much better.

Now for the best choices for protein consumption would be white meat, chicken, fish, tuna, they are much leaner than steaks and hamburgers. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with an occasional steak now and then, but for the mainstay of your diet you want to lean toward something leaner.

You should try to consume the majority of carbohydrate rich foods like pasta earlier in the day so you have more time to burn off the extra calories, and after a rigorous workout, your body will be depleted of carbs, so you will need to replenish your system with more carbohydrates, spaghetti is a real good carbohydrate fuel.

If you get the night time munchies and you have to eat something shortly before retiring for the night, the best thing to follow would be something lean in protein.

Reading labels

If you are like me, you like to look at food labels, many consumers don’t understand a share of the information on labels. I’m not going to get to in-depth today, I will be covering more on this subject in an upcoming post.

Today I’m going to go over a small portion of this subject, briefly covering the subject of , intake of saturated fats, trans fat and cholesterol.

As it will be helpful for you to know the importance of keeping your intake of saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol as low as possible is important for a part of a nutritionally balanced diet.

Eating saturated fat such as some meats like, ground sirloin, pork chops, hot dogs and polish sausage, as well as butter, cheese, whole milk and processed foods will increase the level of your cholesterol.

Trans fats are another one you will want to avoid like, doughnuts, cookies, crackers, muffins, pies and cakes, you will need to limit how frequently you eat them. You will also need to limit commercially fried foods and baked goods made with shortening or partially hydrogenated vegetable oils.

Other places to watch out for trans fats are breads, pastas and salty snacks, just to name a few. Your homework is to check some labels out the next time you go shopping and see how many of your favorite foods are high in saturated fat and trans fat.

Now I know, your thinking I’m trying to get you to give up a lot of your favorite foods, you have to make that decision for your self, you have to want to make the change. After you have stuck with a healthy diet for awhile, you will start to feel the difference. If you are trying to lose weight, it’s the saturated fat and the trans fat that you have to watch out for.

The same goes for a diet to add muscle to your frame. For that type of diet you will need to take in a higher amount of calories, but those calories that you take in need to be lean calories or those extra calories you take in will just turn into fat if you are not taking in the fuel that your body needs.

If you went out and bought a fancy expensive sports car and then filled it up with some low grade gas, how long would that car run or how well would it run compared to if you treated that car with love and filled it with the highest grade fuel, it’s the same with your body, if you expect to keep going and feel healthy and strong along the journey, you need to fill your system with the right fuel.

The high protein vegetarian   

The easiest definition for a vegetarianism is a diet free of meat, fish and fowl, a vegan is one who does not eat any animal based products. If someone who is a vegetarian wants to put on some muscle, but doing so requires protein, how are they going to up the amount of protein without having meat in their diet.

Plant based foods provide protein for those who eliminate beef, fish and fowl from their diet, these foods include seeds, nuts, legumes, soy milk and meat replacements like Seligman, Dempsey, textured vegetable protein and tofu. There are also a whole line of protein powder products and protein bars.

The importance of water

Water is the most important nutrient for the body. We all know we need water to survive. Two thirds of the body is water, so we need to make it the most important thing we drink every day. Water is important in helping with digestion, the absorption of food, regulation in body temperature and blood circulation, the carrying of nutrients and oxygen to cells in the body and for the removal of toxins.

Water also helps with movement of joints and helps protect tissues and organs in the body, also metabolic and weight loss. Water will metabolize stored fats and helps to maintain proper muscle tone, and of course, you guessed it, drinking water will prevent dehydration. Water helps to maintain our daily functions.

Are you ready?   

Now we have covered enough material to get you going, you have the basic concept of what it takes to outline a diet that fits your needs, whether it be to lose weight or to bulk up with some lean muscle.

Make sure you always have on hand plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. A diet can be complete without meat, whether it’s beef, fish or poultry, as a matter of fact, it would most likely be a healthier diet if you cut out meat from your diet, but this article isn’t about promoting a vegetarian diet.

What I am promoting is a healthier lifestyle, it’s just going to show that you can have a well rounded diet of great tasting food and still be healthy and still lose weight. You don’t need to worry about cutting out the red meat, just enjoy it in smaller sensible portions but the bulk of your diet through the day should be a bounty of fresh fruit and vegetables and always remember to drink at least eight, eight ounce glasses of water a day.

Till next time, stay healthy and keep your dreams alive.









Tips to building bigger arms-filling out your sleeves

Alright, now we would all love to build a set of arms that we would be proud to show of, whether it be out on the beach or strolling up and down the shopping mall. You might be looking to develop some nice shapely arms or your looking to develop a pair of hulking sized arms.

That’s alright, we got you covered, big biceps have always been the center of attention, if that’s what your looking for, then I have got some tips to building bigger arms, ones that are sure to be filling out your sleeves in no time.

If your aim is to build big arms, arms that will be tearing out of your shirt sleeves, you not only need to be concentrating on training your biceps but you also need to work equally hard on developing your triceps as well.

Come up with a strategy

First you want to devise a plan for what days out of the week that you want to train them, and then what muscle groups you plan on training together. Typically if you are looking to add a lot of size to your arms, it would be good to train your arms twice a week.

Next you need to determine what type of a regimen you want to follow. Typically I have most always followed the push-pull method.

For instance if you start out your training for the week on a Monday, on monday maybe you would do all push muscles, which would be chest, shoulders and triceps. On tuesday would be all pull muscles, which would be back, traps and biceps. On wednesday would be leg day, thighs and calves. Abdominals you should try to shoot for three or four days a week.

Following that strategy will cover all your muscle groups in three days, on thursday would start that cycle over again through saturday, on sunday let your body recover and let the broken down muscle fibers mend.

Now there’s some guys, and gals that don’t do any separate work for their forearms, but if you are interested in working your forearms, bicep day would be a good time to include them. Some people don’t work their forearms because they feel they get enough development in them from doing biceps.

Methods to implement

The push-pull method is a good system to follow, but there are other ways that you can set up your training program. Super sets is another good system to follow, you can train triceps and biceps together, that way you can get blood pumping to the whole upper arm, stimulating muscle development even more.

Mass building moves to incorporate (for biceps)  

The biggest mass building exercise for biceps would be the barbell curl. You can use a straight bar or you can incorporate a curling bar, both are excellent variations you can add to your training arsenal.

There is such a thing as muscle memory, a good thing to not follow is getting into the habit of doing the same repetitive routine over and over, it’s very important to change exercises around quite frequently to keep things fresh in your training program.

You can incorporate different grips when doing barbell curls. A wide grip will stress the inner biceps as will a narrow grip will stress the outer head of the biceps to a degree.

Then there is a various range of dumbbell curls you can add to your workout. The alternate dumbbell curls are another good muscle building move as well as the Scott curls, they can be done with either, barbell or dumbbells.

Concentration curls are another excellent variation of dumbbell curls you can include in your program. This exercise can give your biceps a peak to them. One variation of doing them would be to sit on the edge of a weight bench, rest your elbow on your inner thigh and curl the weight upwards.

Another way of performing this exercise is one I use quite often, one I learned from Arnold Schwarzenegger. Stand with feet shoulder width apart, lean forward and let your arm hang down, curl the weight up slowly while slightly bringing your elbow forward.

One other excellent mass building move is the incline dumbbell curls, this exercise is another good one for building peak to your biceps.

Moves for bringing out the size in your triceps

A lot of people probably don’t realize that there are three head’s to the triceps, they are the medial, lateral and long head’s. The medial head is the smallest one connected to the shoulder, the lateral head shows on the outside of the arm and the long head extends down being the largest of the heads.

The medial and lateral head’s come into play with a lot of the extension moves and heavy pressing moves like narrow grip benches and bar dips come into play with the lateral head. When it comes to training the long head, moves like dumbbell kickbacks and skull crushers, when lowering the bar to your forehead are good ones for developing the long head.

When developing a triceps routine, it’s best to start out with a heavy pressing move first being that they are considered combination moves, aside from working the triceps they also work the shoulders and chest. At the beginning of your workout you are at your strongest, so it would only make sense to start out with something that takes more energy.

Skull crushers are an excellent choice for building the lateral head of the triceps, especially when you lower the bar past the top of your head you place a little more stress on the lateral head. The lateral head is what actually gives the triceps that horseshoe look.

Super sets for triceps and biceps  

When doing super sets are a bit more intense, so if you’re just starting out on a weight training program it would probably be best to go with straight sets until you become a little more advanced.

With super sets for arms, you would start out with a move for triceps, go until failure, meaning you can’t raise the weight anymore and then move right on to your first exercise for biceps and take that to failure, rest for approximately one minute, then move on to your next super set.

Designing a good routine   

For beginners I would suggest doing no more than eight super sets, eight sets for triceps super setting with eight sets for biceps.

Narrow grip benches/with barbell curls, three super sets.

Skull crushers/with dumbbell curls, three super sets.

Triceps push downs/with concentration curls two super sets.

For intermediate I would suggest doing no more than fourteen super sets, fourteen sets for triceps super setting with fourteen sets for biceps.

Narrow grip benches/with barbell curls, four super sets.

Bar dips/with alternate dumbbell curls, four super sets.

Skull crushers/with inclined dumbbell curls, three super sets.

Triceps push downs/with concentration curls, three super sets.

For advanced I would suggest doing no more than twenty super sets, twenty sets for triceps, super setting with twenty sets for biceps.

Narrow grip benches/with barbell curls, five super sets.

Bar dips/with alternate dumbbell curls, five super sets.

Skull crushers/with inclined dumbbell curls, five super sets.

Triceps push downs/with concentration curls, five super sets.

Now to clarify the difference between beginner, intermediate and advanced, I would suggest that from the time you start training through the first six months would be the beginner stage. After six months of hard training you would advance to the intermediate stage and then after a year at a hard training you progress to the advanced stage.

The six months intervals is merely a guideline for advancing from beginner, intermediate and advanced, you’ll need to follow your instinct. If you have been following the beginning stages of weight training for less than six months and your program you have been following becomes to easy, then just follow your instincts and advance your training to the next level.

Believe in yourself   

There should be some pretty sound advice to get you going that I have just laid out for you in this article. In the next article I will be giving you an idea on preparing a high protein and carb diet that will be sure to pack on the muscle.

Till next time, keep training like a superhero.


Dangers of high energy sports drinks, and their effects on you

Sports drinks have become a hot item these days. There popular from tv stars to athletes to college students staying up late to make that highly important but tedious school grade. They are sold at your local gas stations and grocery stores and fitness clubs, and there pushed on the public to believe that their what the superstars and sports enthusiasts use to get as good as they are.

But the public is becoming more and more aware of the dangers of high energy sports drinks and their effects they can have on you.

Today I would like to go undercover and do a little investigation on the truth behind these over hyped over caffeinated beverages that’s got the public blinded by the increased interest in this syrupy hysteria.

Effects of high energy drinks   

Caffeine is a stimulant that can be dangerous. From getting a rapid pulse, jitters and your mind and thoughts race. Possible irritability to being extremely chatty.

The typical energy drink is in the neighborhood of three hundred milligrams of caffeine per can, a cup of freshly brewed coffee is only a third of that. Roughly ten to twelve teaspoons of sugar per can, they do very little to hydrate your system.

They can also lead to sleep deprivation. You may find yourself tossing and turning away the  night then wake up tired and sleep deprived.

The excess caffeine packed in each can  will no doubt wreak havoc. They can also cause their share of digestive turmoil, they can also increase in the production of stomach acid.

Energy drinks have come to be known as causing serious effects on the heart, arrhythmia, increased blood pressure and cardiac arrest. If you have a history of heart problems, you could be at the risk for heart attack.

The American heart association considers a safe amount of caffeine for adults with a healthy heart rate to be around four hundred milligrams per day, but if you take into consideration that one energy drink has three hundred milligrams of caffeine per can, drinking more than one can a day can be dangerous.

People who rely on energy drinks to stay awake at night for study purposes might suffer from reduced focus, problem solving skills, memory and reaction times.

Health risks-5 hour energy drinks

There has been numerous studies done on the subject of these overly caffeinated, overly sugared energy drinks, but another real popular one I would like to touch on are the five hour energy drinks.

These big bursts of high energy that come packaged in a small bottle have been linked to thirteen deaths and thirty life threatening cases. They are said to have contributed to heart attacks, convulsions and one abortion as reported by the New York Times.

One shot of five hour energy drink has about as much caffeine as one cup of coffee. Can caffeine alone be too blame for heart attacks, caffeine may not be the lone culprit. People with underlying health conditions, especially children and young adults have fallen victim to this energy craze.

Caffeine can play a critical role in making what is already a bad situation worse.

Risk of high blood pressure

Even though most people consume these products safely, energy drinks have been linked to death’s with underlying heart problems. These products contain caffeine and phenylalanine, when taken with other medications, they can have lethal effects. Consult your doctor before using.

There was a sugar free Red bull study involving thirty university students showing that after consuming on can of Red bull sugar free, an hour later they had a cardiovascular profile of someone with heart disease.

It is believed that a chemical in the sugar free Red bull causes the blood platelets to become sticky which could cause blood clots. This study has been done some time ago and there hasn’t been any other cases since then to follow it up, but if you drink the product safely, there shouldn’t be any real concern, but there is always the possibility of an underlying condition, such as  heart or kidney conditions.

As far as I am concerned, I would just as soon follow more of a healthy approach in finding a way to fuel my energy than a can filled with sugar.

Should diabetics avoid high energy drinks ?

When a person has diabetes, that means they have to be aware of everything they eat and drink. The American diabetes association recommends low calorie or no calorie drinks, this is to prevent a spike in low blood sugar.

Below I have a list of the best and the worst things a diabetic can drink, starting with the worst.

The worst things a diabetic can drink                 The best things a diabetic can drink

1. Regular soda                                                    1. Water

2. Energy drinks                                                    2. Unsweetened tea

3. Diet soda                                                           3. Unsweetened coffee

4. Sweetened fruit juice                                         4. Sugar free fruit juice

5. Alcohol                                                               5. Low fat milk

Death’s linked to high energy drinks   

Aside from people overdosing on high energy drinks and ending up in the emergency room, a growing trend of combining energy drinks with alcohol is a big thing among teens and young adults. The dangers of consuming a stimulant are magnified when combined with a depressant such as alcohol. Energy drinks can mask the depressive effects of alcohol by making the consumer feel more alert, because of this, individuals who combine energy drinks and alcohol can’t determine their level of intoxication.

Best, all natural energy drinks

After shedding a little light on the well known energy drinks, I’m sure you can agree with me on how theirs a lot of high caffeinated hype, like the big name rock star, monster and red bull, they give energy drinks a bad name.

A much healthier safer route to go when it comes to high energy drinks are the organic brands. But now your wondering where to get them, all that’s ever on the store shelves are the big name ones, Wall-Mart used to carry one or two of them, but they however don’t anymore.

If you would like to get some more info on them and see what they’re all about, you can check them out on Amazon.

One concern people might have about them is consumers don’t believe they actually work. The second concern a consumer might have is there not going to taste any good, they think, who’s going to get excited about drinking something that tastes like seaweed.

I have a list of the five best tasting organic energy drinks that actually taste pretty good.

1. sambazon Amazon energy

This energy drink is one hundred percent vegan. Sixty calories per can.

2. scheckter’s organic energy drink,

It’s made with elderberry and pomegranate juice.

3. Brain juice

A nootropic green tea made with organic and natural ingredients, it gives your mind clarity and allows you to feel focused.

4. guayaki yerba mate organic energy shot,

It’s a blend of all natural organic super food extracts

5. Dark Dog organic energy drink

It’s made with organic cane sugar, coconut sugar, lemon juice and a multiple of vitamins.

These organic energy drinks you can order them online with Amazon. They may be a little more expensive, but in the long run your going to be doing yourself a justice by feeding your body the way it was intended to be cared for.

Going all natural

The list can go on with all the options you can dream of in designing your own healthy and energizing homemade energy drink, there not only tasty but also can safely boost your energy levels throughout the whole day, and there also fun to make.

You can design your own to fit your own mood and taste, all you need to know is just becoming a little more familiar with what the benefits  are from the different ingredients you add to make your own energy boosting all natural energy drink.

Unlike all these big name companies that promote their idea of energy drinks that they push on to the public deceiving them into believing that some quick fix in a can is going to keep them brimming with energy, when in all reality, all these quick fixes are doing, other than lining the big companies pockets with money, is giving the consumer a false sense of energy that’s just going to lead them to a big drop at mid day, just like running into a wall.

All people need to learn is a healthy diet and what you put into your system is not only going to give you energy but an energy that’s going to stay with you. To a lot of people it may seem like a lot of work to blend your own energy drinks, but in reality it just becomes a way of life, it all just depends on your mind set.

It depends on how you look at it, do you want to fix the never ending battle of having enough energy to get you through the day, or do you want a quick fix that’s not going to stick with you and drain your pocket of your hard earned money on overly priced cans of sugar water. Basically what your doing is just putting a bandaid on your problem.

Homemade energy drinks

Fresh lime drinks macro shot

Now that your taste buds are getting excited about trying something new that’s also going to be a new beginning to a healthier more energized you. I would like to get started on some different ways that ingredients boost energy.

Berries contain natural sugars that will slowly release energy into your system throughout the day. You can combine different types of berries with fresh squeezed lime juice and mint for a fresh burst to get your day going.

Another very beneficial ingredient you can add to your energy drinks is honey, there are many wonderful benefits of honey, some you may have never heard of. First of all, honey has a lot of  energy boosting capabilities.

Then there’s blood sugar regulation, it’s a great immune booster. Honey also has antibacterial properties that benefit the digestive system, wound healing, anti allergy, sore throats and honey even aids in a cough.

Other super foods to add to your energy drinks are coconut water and bananas. They contain high amounts of potassium to regulate and maintain healthy cell activity and to also boost your energy. Also fiber and antioxidants in oranges contribute to our general well being.

Another product that’s good to add is vegan milk and matcha powder.                                     matcha powder is made from green tea leaves and contains caffeine and L-theanine, booth have energy boosting effects. matcha powder is the presence of an amino-acid  that slows the release of theanine and caffeine, giving you energy for a long time.

Now that maybe I have broadened your ideas on creating a delicious and nutritious energy drink, I’ll bring this article too a close so you can get started on your new creation and a healthier more energetic new you.          

Till next time, keep your train-on like a superhero.

Should I get a gym membership-weighing out the variables

Back when I first got into weightlifting, I had a set of weights and an adjustable weight bench I kept set up in the basement. I would put some tunes on, generally something in the neighborhood of AC/DC to get me fired up, I didn’t exactly spend a lot of time on warming up I would just jump right into the lifting part of it.

Early on in my weight training I made a lot of mistakes and I didn’t have much guidance on what I was doing. I had some magazines that I read but I didn’t get to excited about studying up on the articles that would have benefited my safety from sustaining injuries, being that I was only eleven years old, I was only excited about getting big. After about five years of that, one day I asked my parents, should I get a gym membership.

Joining a gym

Now don’t get me wrong, I have always enjoyed working out at home, you don’t need to wait in line to use your favorite weight bench, you don’t have to listen to the guy working out on power squats screaming out at the top of his lungs like he’s getting scaled’ by some cattle branding iron and you don’t have to leave the house when the weather is nasty, but joining up with a gym membership does definitely have it’s perks.

Not everyone has the equipment, the desire or the space required to work out at home. After the time and energy it takes to get up off the couch grab your training gear and head out to the gym, there’s no doubt that you’re going to have more energy to give it a one hundred percent shot at the gym than if you would have just went off into your secret dungeon to do your training privately.

Choosing what is best for your needs

Depending on what your goals are, the type of atmosphere your looking for, distance you have to travel every day to commute back and forth to the gym, these are just a few of the variables that you need too take into consideration when deciding what’s going to help you with achieving the goals that fit your needs.

Next you can look into what kind of benefits are offered with the package that’s presented with any prospective application in filling your needs. Depending on what your looking for some clubs offer more of a variety of cardiovascular training equipment, others have more equipment catering to the hard core bodybuilder with a lot more to choose from in the line of free weights, while some clubs have out door training set up like muscle beach.

Another thing you can check out is if they may have a larger set up for aerobic exercise classes or maybe karate classes.                                                      


Another thing you should check into is discounts in a membership. Some gyms offer discounts at certain times of the year like new years or when the weather starts to warm up. Some people may feel a little Leary about joining when the weather starts to get a little nice out or during the warmer summer months because they feel maybe business at gyms is busiest during this time of the year and they may feel a little turned away especially if they are new to such an undertaking as this.

If a gym has special discounts for new years, it could be a nice time to make that new years resolution but then again, if that’s a little ways off it would probably be best to not put it off till new years, even if you may get that discount, because you owe it to yourself to make that change to get into better shape and to reach your goals and not delay.

And of course many gyms offer the same price year around. Maybe those gyms don’t offer those special little perks for its new members but there’s a good chance they may have a lower over all rate for the year than the others that do offer those discounts.

Give it a test drive

Most gyms or health clubs offer its prospective members to test out the gym with a free guest pass, this way you can check out  what kind of facility you may be getting into. Check for cleanliness, take notice if the staff appear to be helpful, do they show that they are truly a team that you would be more than happy to put your trust in, or do they give you the impression that  they are rushing you through the tour or like there not being thorough enough?

Just remember, this is a big step for you, your health and your goals take precedence, don’t settle for second rate when you owe your self the best. If you find a gym or club that you have to drive an extra five or ten minutes further each way, that would be better than settling for a place that you truly aren’t happy with.

And another thing you can check out on your tour is the condition the weight machines are in. Do they look like they have good maintenance  performed on them on a regular basis, make sure the cables on the machines look like they are in good shape and everything looks like it’s basically been kept in good hands.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

Here is where a lot of people have a problem, they don’t like to ask for help. Maybe they feel like they might be a burden or maybe it’s just a matter of pride, there’s nothing wrong with being proud, but if you need help with identifying the direction your aiming for in your training or your dietary or supplementary needs, you are in the right place, generally there’s club staff around that can help you with all your needs.

Another option you might like to check into is a personal trainer if you have a little extra money to spend, it might be a good idea to give it some thought, it would be very beneficial especially if you’re looking to up your muscle mass. A personal trainer will be working right by your side giving you all the best tips and tricks of the trade.

Ask for areas of specialization. Maybe you are thinking of a little specialized training, target area’s that have been giving you a little bit of difficulty in bringing out. Like maybe you have lower back troubles and your looking for a good routine to follow to help with strength.                             

Best of wishes on your new life style change

By this point you have gave it some thought on joining a gym or a club, you have given it some thought on what’s best for your needs, what kind of discounts that are available out there for you to help you in achieving your goals, giving your new vehicle that your shopping for a test drive and making sure that it’s a good fit and it meets and exceeds your needs and above all, don’t be afraid to ask for help.

This is a big step toward your future and your goals, joining the right gym is your first step in building a good foundation in your training and cardiovascular needs. It’s an opportunity for you to open a new door to a new beginning and build on it from there.

Along with building a new physique you also have the opportunity to build new friendships with like minded people who are looking to achieve basically the same thing  You have set out to do.

Till next time, I wish you the best on your new journey, believe in yourself and you can do it.

Cardiovascular endurance exercises-getting up to speed

Cardiovascular training raises your heart rate and it will strengthen your heart. You need to stay moving in order to keep your heart going strong and to keep your muscles tuned and strong. Cardiovascular endurance exercises and getting up to speed with them will help keep your heart in check, your endurance in spec and your muscle tone your apex.

Just remember, your heart is a muscle, so working your heart through cardiovascular will help strengthen your heart as with benches will strengthen your chest as to squats will strengthen your thighs. A stronger cardiovascular system will mean more capillaries delivering more oxygen to cells in your muscles, this will give your cells a chance to burn more fat while you exercise and while you’re relaxed.

Make it work for you   

Cardio exercise can rev your heart rate to roughly fifty percent of its maximum level. Cardio shouldn’t have to be what is thought of as the norm for fat burning training, you can turn your weight training training program into a CARDIO fat burning endurance building workout as well. What ever your goals are, you can turn your workout, either it be free weights or machines into your own personal CARDIO workout just by upping the repetitions.

Cardiovascular can make the heart and lunges as well as the circulatory system to work harder to support the working muscles. Cardio can increase blood and nutrients to working muscles.

Disease killer

Keeping up with a regular routine of CARDIO can not only help you to lose weight, reduce your stress levels and decrease fatigue, but employing this type of training on a regular basis can also give you many other wonderful benefits like decreasing your risk of obesity as well as coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, type two diabetes, osteoporosis, anxiety, high cholesterol plus certain types of cancer.

Some of the best CARDIO for your heart

jogging is a good form of CARDIO for your heart, though it can be hard on your joints and the lower back especially if you’re into jogging on concrete or black top. If you have access to jogging where you can get away from those hard surfaces that would be best. Now if you have access to a beach would definitely be a good choice because the sand creates a cushion.

Another good place for jogging for those of you that have access to would be the foot hills, your getting away from the paved streets and once again, the ground surface is giving your joints and lower back a lot more cushion. Another thing to consider is jogging in foot hills gives you a different kind of CARDIO workout than what the typical jogger would take to.

Jogging in the foot hills gives you a workout that will work different muscles, such as the muscles that will power you up a hill and then switch to a whole different set of muscles when jogging down hill. On flat surfaces there may be a lot more terrain to jog around or jump over.

For those of you that live up in the mountains, there may be other obstacles to train in, like snow to jog through, that could create for a real strenuous workout, but it probably wouldn’t be the best recommendation being that jogging in those conditions could be a little slick. But there’s another option you can go with.

Indoor CARDIO 

For the greater majority of you out there that may not have access to the prior places as mentioned, your next bet would be indoor CARDIO. The treadmill has a softer impact that will be easier on the joints and you can set your treadmill for incline settings as well to make your workout more strenuous besides, you can’t use a rainy day as an excuse for not getting your CARDIO in if you go with the indoor training route.

Another good form of CARDIO is cycling. Biking is a fabulous way to engage in some intense CARDIO. If you have a bicycle, getting out and cycling can not only burn fat but also reduce stress and get your lungs and heart muscle working.

There is also variations of indoor cycling, the standard stationary bike is a good fat burner. There are different types of stationary cycling machines that you can give a try, but whatever type you go with, it’s good to have goals and strive to go for longer durations or making your CARDIO training more intense by increasing tension settings.

design a circuit training program

Circuit training will definitely give you and your muscles and heart a charge. Take a group of exercise that work different body parts, generally five to ten exercises, perform one set of each back to back with minimal rest between each set. The workout should take roughly thirty minutes. You can use free weights and machines or you can do this workout in your living room with a pair of dumbbells.

This type of workout will not only work your muscles but also your endurance and your respiratory system. If you stick with this workout, it should have you getting into better shape in no time.

Previously I said this workout should only take you thirty minutes, but you can set the time for your limit, whatever that may be, it all depends on what your fitness level is.

Next you need to base your workout around a group of exercises that you will be using . Determine how long you will be giving yourself for this workout, then however long you workout, will be determining how many circuits you will be doing and how hard your willing to push yourself. The longer your workout, the more you will pace yourself. Typically your workout should go from ten to forty five minutes, once again, it all depends on your fitness level.

A system I would recommend would be the push-pull method, that way when you’re doing chest, which is a pull muscle, legs will be resting, when your doing legs, your back will be resting, when you’re doing back, chest will be resting. With this system you will be alternating body parts, so there won’t be much need to rest between set’s.

If you do four stations of one minute each, repeating four circuits adds to sixteen minutes and as you build up your endurance you can add more stations and circuits to your workout, this means a longer workout and more calories burned, the sooner you will see a trimmer new you.

Designing a training guide   

This training guide will give you six stations, and can be repeated for however many circuits you feel comfortable with, obviously less circuits if you are new to this type of training.

Station one-pushups for chest

Station two-dumbbells rows for back

Station three-squats for thighs

Station four-barbell extensions for triceps

Station five-dumbbell curls for biceps

Station six-calf raise machine for calves

You can of course switch up your exercises from workout to workout. Muscles have the ability to remember, they can grow board and not respond if you do the same workout all the time, so it’s good to switch things up periodically to keep your muscles guessing.

Designed with you in mind

There are many other types of CARDIO you can get excited about doing, whether it be swimming, aerobics or dance class, karate, various sports activities like baseball, football, soccer or basketball whatever your interest may be. The most important thing is that you do what you love and love what you do and stick with it. Follow a healthy lifestyle and take in the proper nutrition to keep your body fueled like a well oiled machine, eat that extra Apple a day and keep the doctor at bay, keep hitting the CARDIO and soon you’ll have head’s turning. Till next time, train like a superhero and never say die.

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them in the box below.

Natural food detox plan-recharging your system

In this article I would like to touch on some natural foods that can detox and recharge your system. Whether your looking to cleanse your system from toxic substances you plan to overcome, or you are merely looking to rejuvenate your system for a healthier new you.


Detoxification, in short(detox) is the psychological/medicinal removal of toxic substances from a living organism mainly carried out by the liver. This can be referred to the period of withdraw in which an organism returns to homeostasis after a long term use of an addictive substance.

Homeostasis is the property of a system that variables are regulated to keep internal conditions stable and basically constant.

Detoxifying rundown     

Detoxing concentrate on eating fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans, cranberries, kale and spinach, these are all antioxidant rich foods. Other foods that help the body produce their own antioxidants you can try would be garlic, onions and eggs.

Another form of toxins are pesticides, organic foods are an excellent choice, but if you’re not able to go that route, you can choose produce that have thick skins you can peel off, there’s a less chance of contamination.

If you can drink eight to twelve glasses of water a day or a non-caffeinated tea, chances are you’ll be sweating plenty of toxins out of your system.

Another good thing to try to avoid would be processed foods, fast food, fried food, red meat, dairy, caffeine, sugar and alcohol.

Good things to snack on would be nuts or fruit from the organic isles, or maybe a salad with chicken or salmon dressed with lemon juice and maybe some virgin olive oil.

Herbal detox tea would be a good recommendation. Tea that contains ginger are an antioxidant that stimulates circulation and flushes toxins from your system. You can try licorice tea, licorice expels mucus and dandelion which supports digestion and liver function.

keep going

If you continue on a healthy detox diet for a month, your energy levels will be much higher as your weight, cholesterol and blood sugar drop.

Next I want to guide you through a diet plan that will be a surefire way to  cleanse your system of toxins while removing toxins and extra body fat.

Raw fruits and vegetables have more of the nutrients you need than cooked, so always make sure that when you go and do your grocery shopping that you load up on plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.

How to detoxify with smoothies

Blueberry smoothie close up shot

I recommend that a good way to cleanse your system and detoxify it is with smoothies. Now for some smoothie recipes that are easy to make and delicious and you can enjoy these everyday, you can even replace meals with them, so there also good for when you are on the go.

Detox smoothie recipes

Smoothies are easy to make and it’s made easy when you have a blender sitting right on your kitchen counter. All you need is your favorite fruits and vegetables and you can taylor them to suit your own desire.

A nutritious green you can include in all your smoothies, even if you aren’t real excited about greens is baby spinach. It has virtually no flavor and will boost your metabolism, you won’t even notice it camouflaged with fruit.

Add all your choice ingredients in the blender, then blend until smooth. If you want it cold you can either freeze the fruit or buy it frozen, or you can add a half cup of ice.

It’s best to use fresh ingredients. You can use frozen fruit and vegetables  If fresh is not available, just make sure you get organic in frozen and fresh, otherwise you might be adding pesticides to your system when you are trying to rid your system of those nasty toxins.

Detox smoothies basically always contain leafy green vegetables like kale and spinach along with your favorite fruit like bananas, pineapple, apple’s, berries, water, ice, unsweetened almond milk or coconut water is quite often added to thin it out for easier blending.

Other good ingredients to include in your detox smoothie could include yogurt, lemons, limes, celery, cranberries, mango, watermelon, almonds, ginger, dandelion greens, watercress, wheatgrass, beets, avocado, green tea, spiraling and angular.

Seeing as though your goal is to drink these smoothies as often as you like, so I would try to encourage you to try different ingredients and experiment a little. When it comes to losing weight fast, you can’t beat a green smoothie cleanse.

You need a plan

Freshly squeezed organic orange juice

Now that we have  built a solid foundation on detoxing and cleansing your system, I would suggest keeping at the cleanse for thirty days. It would be a good idea to set some goals, set a detox goal of smoothies and wholesome salads as the mainstay of your diet.

You can start off your morning with a tasty smoothie for breakfast, this would also be of benefit if you’re in a hurry before you head to the office or if you do a lot of traveling. You can make up some extra smoothies to take along with you in thermal cups if you do a lot of traveling.

For lunch you can enjoy a nice and hearty salad. Now the list of things you can put on your salad are endless. To give you just a little taste of what you can add to make a great salad, I have included a few ingredients to give you some ideas. Spinach, kale, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, squash and red cabbage are a few ingredients that can get your thoughts turning. Any fresh vegetables always stir up the variety and add plenty of crunch.

A real good dressing you can try would be lemon dressing. This dressing there is no need to worry about, it’s good for you.

Other ingredients you can try are all perfect for your detox diet are apple cider, vinegar, lemon juice, honey, garlic, ginger, cilantro chopped and sea salt.

For you meat lovers, chicken, turkey and salmon are all excellent choices you can go with. Now for preparation of your choice of meat for your salad, you should bake, that is so much more healthier for you than fried.


I hope that what I have laid out for you here will help you and maybe clear up any misconceptions you may have had. Just give this a try for the next thirty days and you will be surprised at the results you see. In till next time, eat smart and train like a superhero.

If you are interested in a supplementation along with a healthier diet for detoxifying your system, click on this link.





Beginners weight training-laying the foundation

Weight training with a partner.

   First off, let me introduce myself, my name is Neil, we will be getting started with the beginning stage of weight training for all you beginners out there and for those of you that have been training for awhile, in case you have picked up any bad habits, this would be a good place to get started. 


 Before you get started on any serious weight training regimen, I would suggest that it be a good idea for you to check with your doctor and get a good physical just to be on the safe side to make sure your in good health.    

   Next I want to talk about stretching, this is a very important key to getting started before a workout. A lot of guys out there don’t even give this a thought but it’s a very good preventive against muscle strains. You can do whatever stretches you feel most comfortable with but they should be for the most part, aimed at the general muscle group you’ll be working.


whether if you workout at home or you like to hit the gym, your first step should be cardiovascular. A stationary bike is good, another excellent option would be some form of cardiovascular machine. For example could be a treadmill or maybe even a aerobics class to start off before your weight training. I would suggest if you can start out with ten minutes and work your way up at your own pace, whatever you feel comfortable with. If you can eventually work your way up to one hour of cardiovascular before you weight train, that would be excellent.

One thing I like to use if you have the option is a gauge to measure your calorie expenditure, typically allot of the better quality machines out there have gauges for calorie expenditure, but if they don’t, another option you could use are portable, calorie expenditure gauges.

In  a  future post I’ll be going over goals with you, but one thing I would like to cover now is at whatever level of cardiovascular you start out with, however much you feel comfortable with doing in your beginning stage, it would be a good idea to increase your cardiovascular training by maybe a few minutes each week, this way you can gradually work your way up to an hour.

Next, after you finish with your cardiovascular session, it would be a good idea to discuss some stretching before you jump right into weight training.


   Stretching can improve your range of motion, increase circulation and have a calming effect on your mind.

(Standing hamstring stretch)   

   Stand perfect  with your feet slightly less than shoulder width apart, knees slightly bent, arms at your sides. Exhale while you bend forward at the hips, lowering your head to the floor, while keeping your head, neck and shoulders relaxed, wrap your arms around the back side of your legs and hold for about one minute.

(Butterfly stretch)   

Sit on the floor keeping your back straight with the souls of your feet together, knees bent to the sides. Hold on to your ankles, engaging the abdominals, slowly lower your body toward your feet as far as you can while holding your knees against the floor.

(Seated forward stretch)   

While sitting on the floor, extend both legs out in front of you, keeping your legs together, flex your feet and reach your fingers to your toes by bending at the hips. Focus on stretching the backs of your legs, hold for thirty seconds.

These stretching moves are referred to as static stretching, which means your holding the stretch for a matter of seconds.

The common theory that’s practiced is to do stretching before your workout, but the truth about static stretching is it’s best to do after your workout. Static stretching decreases the activity of the central nervous system, reduces blood flow to the muscles and can actually hinder your athletic performance.

Now that you are a little more informed about the beginning structure of your training, the importance of cardiovascular, stretching and when it is best to fit that in, which would be after the workout, Now you can move on to the weight training. 


For the first week I would suggest you condition yourself with  exercises you can do at home, combination movements like pushups, deep knee bends, crunches, lunges and low back raises. Combination movements are exercises that involve more than one muscle at a time

It’s best to find a time of the day you would feel most comfortable to do your training, whether it be in the morning, afternoon or evening, whatever you’re preference, whenever it fits best with your time schedule, or whenever you feel your energy level is at a good height. A lot of people prefer to do their training in the morning, it’s not only when their energy level is at its best but often they may find themselves to tired after working a long day or they have other family obligations. Point is, it’s best to find a good time of the day to do your training and then stick with it. 


First off, pushups are a good exercise that you can do anywhere, they work not only the chest but also the (anterior) or front head of the shoulder they also work the triceps and trapeze muscles.

Position yourself on your knees, hands on the floor, positioning your hands approximately shoulder width apart, raise your knees off the floor, begin to lower yourself to the floor but refrain from resting on the floor, try to keep a couple of inches between you and the floor, this way you will keep tension on your muscles in the bottom of the movement, push yourself up, extending arms out straight, lower slowly and repeat.

Do as many as you can, try to shoot for twenty repetitions, if you can’t quite make that many, you can always work your way up.


This is another good exercise you can do at home or in the office at break time. This one you can either stand flat foot on the floor or you can use a wooden block or a book to elevate your heels. When you use  something to elevate your heels, it helps to keep your back straight, whereas you don’t elevate your heels you may have a tendency to lean forward to much which would put a lot of strain on your lower back especially if you are doing weighted squats.


This exercise there are a lot of variations you can do, you can do the standard knees bent with arms in front of you or you can keep your legs straight. You can have your arms at your sides or you can keep them straight over your head which would put more tension an your abdominals, it all depends on how much you feel your able to do.

When performing this exercise, you’ll want to make sure that when you raise your self up into the crunching position that you don’t have a tendency to pull yourself up in a jerking motion if you have your hands positioned behind your head, it is best to let your abdominals do the work.


This next exercise you can really get a good workout when doing it correctly. In the starting position I keep my hands on my hips, standing straight I take a good stride forward with my right foot, bending at the knee, I lean forward into the stretch and drop my left leg down so that my left knee comes close to touching the floor. After I return to standing position upon completion of the first repetition with my right leg, then I repeat with the left leg, alternating from one leg to the other.

With this exercise you can try to do twenty repetitions, but if you can’t, no worries, just start out at whatever you can do and work your way up.


Now in this final exercise I’ll be covering today, the low back raises are a good one for strengthening the lower back. It’s good to have a strong lower back being that it comes into play a lot when weight training.

This exercise you can lay on a carpeted floor or if you have access to a weight bench will work good to. Lay face down with arms at your sides, raise your upper torso and your legs simultaneously, try to shoot for at least twenty repetitions with this one.

This exercise my chiropractor gave me to do to strengthen my lower back, I still do it to this day.


Now that I have covered the basics with you today, your assignment will be the routine I outlined for you. Do each exercise for two sets with a total of five exercises that would be ten sets in a workout. Do this three times a week with one day of rest in between. 

Then it would be a good idea to join up with a gym if you can, to get a full all around workout, it would be best to have access to free weights and weight machines. To get up to speed on a protein supplementation to pack on some muscle, click on this link. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them in the box.

Till next time, take care and happy pumping.








About Neil


Hello everyone, welcome to Sweat and Tears. Weight training has always been a passion of mine. I got my first set of weights when I was 11, started a membership at a gym by the time I was 16.

I used to study over the weight training magazines and dream about having my own set of mammoth sized arms that would burst through my shirt sleeves. Or maybe a barrel sized chest sporting a superhero logo and a cape, bounding from weight bench to weight bench with a bench press that would put anyone else to shame.

But over the years, suffering from too many injuries and a bad back I have come to realize it’s not about satisfying my ego or hoisting too much weight over my head, like a lot of adrenaline junkies out there would have you believe.

Finally after enough years of disappointment, I eventually came to realization that all you need is a moderate weight, train hard to the point of 8-12 reps to failure, work on squeezing the muscle and strive for an awesome pump.

That’s what it’s all about, right? Is getting a good pump!

That’s what this site is designed for.


That’s where you come in.

I’m going to be giving you the lowdown on training technique, proper form, mind set, goals, diet and supplementation to help you get steered in the right direction and to help eliminate some obstacles and roadblocks that I have had to go through over the years.

I am giving you this information, because I believe in you, I know you can do it. With a little of the right guidance, you can start to transform your physique in to a well oiled machine that will be turning head’s in no time.

I wish I had followed by these principles back then, maybe it could have spared me some tears of pain and suffering.


My goal is to shed some light on the dynamics of weight training and it’s correlation with proper nutrition and health, not what it’s become bogged down with, the hype of dangerous drugs such as steroids.

Take a little time and study over the information I have outlined in this site, I think you should find it beneficial.

If you ever need a hand or have a questions, feel free to leave them below and I will be more than happy to help you out.

All the best,