To Juice or NOT to Juice… That is the Question

October 1, 2010 by  
Filed under Eye-Opening Tips

I’m pretty used to people coming to my home and saying “Wow, this place is so super healthy. I can’t believe it.” As you may or may not know, it does take quite a few people to keep the Diet Solution Program running. I had a bit of a “retreat” at my house where I invited 3 of our employees to come and work from my house and spend some time together. Whenever entertaining guests, I always try and be the “hostess with the mostess” and in my best Martha Stewart impression I asked “Can I get anyone anything? Some food or a drink?”

One of my employees replied, “Yes, I would love some juice please.”

As I did everything in my power to hold back the look of death, I said “We don’t have any juice. How about water or a tea?”

Without going through the entire conversation, this particular employee couldn’t believe there was no juice in the house. Moreover, she absolutely could not believe that my son does not drink juice and only drinks water (and yes, I did let her keep her job).

She has, of course, read and knows the DSP inside and out, but she admitted that she really didn’t believe that I completely lived my life that way until she saw it with her very own eyes.

But back to the juice…

Juice is one of those drinks that many people perceive as healthy, especially when it’s labeled natural or organic and it says it is made from all natural ingredients. Let me clear this up right now…Juice is NOT part of a healthy eating plan unless you are freshly squeezing it right in your kitchen with your own hands or through a juicer.

“But Isabel. My juice says its organic, natural, 100% juice with no sugar added. Is that ok?”

Well, I spent a significant amount of time reading the label of almost every single juice container, juice box, and juice product and they all came up the same…with tons of SUGAR. Read the label clearly and you will see that every gram of carbohydrate contained in the juice directly comes from sugar.

“But Isabel. All the carbs from fruit are from sugar too right?”

Yes, fruits are almost entirely sugar (coming from fructose), but a whole fruit also contains plenty of fiber and vitamins that are lost when you make a juice, bottle it and store it for any amount of time.

“But Isabel. My juice is fortified with calcium, Vit D and iron (or whatever they are fortifying juice with these days).”

When you “fortify” any food or drink with a vitamin and/or a mineral, your body is smart enough to know that this is not the real version of this particular nutrient. So much so, that it will choose not to use it. Yes, all of these fortified products are not giving you the vitamins and minerals you need. You must obtain these from natural sources like real fruits and vegetables (i.e. real food).

So if you’re a juice lover like many people are or have fallen for the “juice is healthy” trap, here are a few strategies to help you get your juice fix while simultaneously following a healthy eating plan.

1. Buy a quality juicer and make your own juice. There are so many different delicious and nutritious juices you can make in a juicer that will give you a super boost of vitamins/minerals and super nutrition. One of my favorite is carrot, apple and ginger. Be careful though! If you’re anything like me and sensitive to too much sugar at once, I would suggest having a serving of 4 oz or less or mixing your 4 oz with some water. I would also suggest juicing primarily vegetables and not as many fruits. This is a great way to get in some serious nutrition without having to eat vegetables all day long (a great option for children). I would also combine your fresh juice with a protein and healthy fat to keep your blood sugar balanced.

It is best to drink freshly made juice right away, as the longer it is stored, the more it will decline in nutrition. You can put your juice in a glass jar with an airtight lid and fill it to the very top. There should be a minimal amount of air in the jar as the oxygen in air (air is about 20 percent oxygen) will “oxidize” and damage the juice. Wrap the jar with aluminum foil to block out all light. Light damages the juice.

2. Make my favorite “tea juice“. If you haven’t seen this recipe in the Diet Solution Recipe Guide, here it is again:

5-6 bags caffeine-free herbal tea (e.g., peach, mint, chamomile, or fruit tea)

3 quarts boiling water

Stevia powder (or liquid) to taste

Pour water over tea bags in a large pot. Add stevia while tea is hot. (Adjust amount
according to the desired sweetness.)
Let the tea cool, remove tea bags, transfer tea to a serving pitcher or individual water bottles, and refrigerate.

3. Make your own DSP approved lemonade. My business partner loves this and drinks it almost daily (be careful if you’re sensitive to citrus or too much lemon.) Mix the juice from half a lemon, 5 drops of liquid stevia and 12oz of water in a large cup. Add more stevia or lemon based on your taste. This drink is a great alternative to people who need a bit more flavor than plain water all day.

So what did I end up serving my thirsty employee? Water! (And she bought juice when we went out to lunch). Oh well, I tried.

So now that I’ve shown you why juice is not good for you and how you can make your own healthy drink alternatives, why not learn more about which foods will cause you to lose fat? Check out our informative video right now!

Does Hoodia Really Work For Fat Loss?

October 1, 2010 by  
Filed under Eye-Opening Tips

If you are anxious to get fat loss going, you’ve likely looked into the diet supplement, hoodia. Hoodia gordonii is a plant that was used in South African many years ago by hunters who would need to go for long durations of time without food and grows very slowly in harsh conditions and needs to be harvested for four to five years before it’s ready.

But how well does Hoodia really work for fat loss? Many people turn to hoodia thinking it is the answer to all their prayers. Never hungry? Sounds like a dietary dream. After all, following a diet should be easy if you never have any feelings of hunger, shouldn’t it?

Unfortunately, it isn’t so simple.

First off, if you are a trying to get a lean, sexy midsection, not eating is the last thing you want to be doing. Sure, you definitely will need to eat less in order to lose body fat, but if you aren’t eating enough, you’ll actually just lose muscle rather than body fat. Since muscle tissue is your calorie burning engine, destroying it would be counterproductive to getting the results you want.

Who wants a slower metabolism at the end of the day? That’ll just make further fat loss next to impossible.

If hoodia is affecting your natural hunger signals, it will be hard to get in the foods that you do need – the foods that will work with your body to lose the body fat while still keeping muscle tissue intact.

Secondly, you must understand that hoodia is not a thoroughly tested product and cannot be deemed safe. If you take enough of it, it can actually damage your metabolism, causing a variety of thyroid issues that will be stuck with you into the future. While fat loss and getting abs is important, you must do it a healthy way so that you don’t do anything disrupting to your health.

Finally, hoodia diet pills are by no means a proper method to losing abdominal fat. In order to lose abdominal fat, you’re going to have to find a method that will be sustainable over the long term. If you think that you’re just going to skip eating for the years to come, you are very mistaken. You will not get the proper nutrients you need to sustain life, therefore, to put it bluntly, using hoodia as a means to help you maintain fat loss could very well put you in the hospital with severe malnutrition.

What you need is a diet that supplies all the nutrients you need, while still being affective with stomach fat loss. Then, you’ll also need to make sure this diet is something you can work into your lifestyle so that your abs aren’t going to be just covered up by more body fat again once you move off the diet.

The more time you waste chasing after gimmicky supplements that only hurt you in the long run, the more time you spend without the results you are after.

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About the Author:

Vince DelMonte is the author of Your Six Pack Quest found at http://www.YourSixPackQuest.com

He specializes in helping decipher the truths and myths about all the supplements such as hoodia that are marketed for helping you achieve a six pack.

My Top 55 Lean-Body Foods to Build Muscle and Lose Body Fat

October 1, 2010 by  
Filed under Eye-Opening Tips

In most of my Lean-Body Secrets Newsletters, I like to provide a healthy snack or meal recipe that not only is delicious and healthy, but also helps to get you closer to that hard-body appearance that everyone is looking for, while also more importantly, improving your health for life. In this article, I’d like to give you healthy food ideas in a different way. This time, I figured I’d just give you some ideas of what I stock my fridge and cabinets with.

Remember, if you don’t have junk around the house, you’re less likely to eat junk. If all you have is healthy food around the house, you’re forced to make smart choices. Basically, it all starts with making smart choices and avoiding temptations when you make your grocery store trip. Now these are just some of my personal preferences, but perhaps they will give you some good ideas that you’ll enjoy.

Alright, so let’s start with the fridge. Each week, I try to make sure I’m loaded up with lots of varieties of fresh vegetables. During the growing season, I only get local produce, but obviously in winter, I have to resort to the produce at the grocery store. Most of the time, I make sure I have plenty of vegetables like onions, zucchini, spinach, fresh mushrooms, red peppers, broccoli, etc. to use in my morning eggs. I also like to dice up some lean chicken or turkey sausage into the eggs, along with some swiss, jack, or goat cheeses (preferably raw grass-fed cheeses when I can find them).

By the way I’m talking about whole eggs, NOT egg whites. Always remember that the yolk is the most nutritious and nutrient dense part of the egg, so only eating egg whites is like throwing away the best part… and no, it’s NOT bad for you because of the cholesterol… eggs actually raise your GOOD cholesterol. Try to get free range organic eggs for the best quality. Here’s an entire article I did on the topic of whole eggs vs egg whites.

Coconut milk is another staple in my fridge. I like to use it to mix in with smoothies, oatmeal, or yogurt for a rich, creamy taste. Not only does coconut milk add a rich, creamy taste to lots of dishes, but it’s also full of healthy saturated fats. Yeah, you heard me…I said healthy saturated fats! Healthy saturated fats like medium chain triglycerides, specifically an MCT called lauric acid. If the idea of healthy saturated fats is foreign to you, check out my healthy fats article

Back to the fridge, some other staples:

  • Chopped walnuts, pecans, almonds – delicious and great sources of healthy fats.
  • Cottage cheese, ricotta cheese, and yogurt – I like to mix cottage or ricotta cheese and yogurt together with chopped nuts and berries for a great mid-morning or mid-afternoon meal.
  • Whole flax seeds or chia seeds – I grind these in a mini coffee grinder and add to yogurt or salads. Always grind them fresh because the omega-3 polyunsaturated fats are highly unstable and prone to oxidation, creating high levels of free radicals in pre-ground flax.
  • Whole eggs – one of natures richest sources of nutrients (and remember, they increase your GOOD cholesterol so stop fearing them).
  • Salsa – I try to get creative and try some of the exotic varieties of salsas.
  • Avocados – love them…plus a great source of healthy fats, fiber, and other nutrients. Try adding them to wraps, salads, or sandwiches.
  • Butter – don’t believe the naysayers; butter adds great flavor to anything and can be part of a healthy diet (just keep the quantity small because it is calorie dense…and NEVER use margarine, unless you want to assure yourself a heart attack).
  • Nut butters – Plain old peanut butter has gotten a little old for me, so I get creative and mix together almond butter with sesame seed butter, or even cashew butter with macadamia butter…delicious and unbeatable nutrition!
  • Leaf lettuce and spinach along with shredded carrots – for salads with dinner.
  • Home-made salad dressing – using balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, and Udo’s Choice oil blend. This is much better than store bought salad dressing which mostly use highly refined soybean oil (full of inflammation-causing free radicals).
  • Whole grain wraps and whole grain bread (look for wraps and bread with at least 3-4 grams of fiber per 20 grams of total carbs).
  • Rice bran and wheat germ – these may sound way too healthy for some, but they actually add a nice little nutty, crunchy taste to yogurt or smoothies, or can be added when baking muffins or breads to add nutrients and fiber.

Some of the staples in the freezer:

  • Frozen berries – during the local growing season, I only get fresh berries, but during the other 10 months of the year, I always keep a supply of frozen blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, cherries, etc. to add to high fiber cereal, oatmeal, cottage cheese, yogurt, or smoothies
  • Frozen fish – I like to try a couple different kinds of fish each week. There are so many varieties out there, you never have to get bored.
  • Frozen chicken breasts – very convenient for a quick addition to wraps or chicken sandwiches for quick meals.
  • Grass-fed steaks, burgers, and ground beef – Grassfed meats have been shown to have as high as, or even higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids than salmon (without the mercury). Also, grass-fed meats have much higher levels of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) compared to typical grain-fed beef. I recently found an excellent on-line store where I buy all of my grass-fed meats now (they even deliver right to your door in a sealed cooler) – www.healthygrassfed.2ya.com
  • Frozen buffalo, ostrich, venison, and other “exotic” lean meats – Yeah, I know…I’m weird, but I can tell you that these are some of the healthiest meats around, and if you’re serious about a lean healthy body, these types of meats are much better for you than the mass produced, hormone-pumped beef and pork that’s sold at most grocery stores.
  • Frozen veggies – again, when the growing season is over and I can no longer get local fresh produce, frozen veggies are the best option, since they often have higher nutrient contents compared to the fresh produce that has been shipped thousands of miles, sitting around for weeks before making it to your dinner table.

Alright, now the staples in my cabinets:

  • Various antioxidant rich teas – green, oolong, white, rooibos are some of the best.
  • Whole wheat or whole grain spelt pasta – much higher fiber than normal pastas
  • Oat bran and steel cut oats – higher fiber than those little packs of instant oats.
  • Cans of coconut milk – to be transferred to a container in the fridge after opening.
  • Brown rice and other higher fiber rice – NEVER white rice
  • Tomato sauces – delicious, and as I’m sure you’ve heard a million times, they are a great source of lycopene. Just watch out for the brands that are loaded with nasty high fructose corn syrup.
  • Stevia – a natural non-caloric sweetener, which is an excellent alternative to the nasty chemical-laden artificial sweeteners like aspartame, saccharine, and sucralose.
  • Raw honey – better than processed honey… higher quantities of beneficial nutrients and enzymes. Honey has even been proven in studies to improve glucose metabolism (how you process carbs). I use a teaspoon or so every morning in my teas. Yes, it is pure sugar, but at least it has some nutritional benefits… and let’s be real, a teaspoon of healthier raw honey is only 5 grams of carbs… certainly nothing to worry about.
  • Organic maple syrup – none of that high fructose corn syrup Aunt Jemima crap…only real maple syrup can be considered real food. The only time I really use this (because of the high sugar load) is added to my post-workout smoothies to sweeten things up and also elicit an insulin surge to push nutrients into your muscles.
  • Organic unsweetened cocoa powder – I like to mix this into my smoothies for an extra jolt of antioxidants or make my own low-sugar hot cocoa by mixing cocoa powder into hot milk with stevia and a couple melted dark chocolate chunks.
  • Cans of black or kidney beans – I like to add a couple scoops to my Mexican wraps for the fiber and high nutrition content. Also, beans are surprisingly one of the best sources of youth promoting antioxidants!
  • Dark chocolate (as dark as possible) – This is one of my treats that satisfies my sweet tooth, plus provides loads of antioxidants at the same time. It’s still calorie dense, so I keep it to just a couple squares; but that is enough to do the trick, so I don’t feel like I need to go out and get cake and ice cream to satisfy my dessert urges.

Lastly, another thing that’s hard to go wrong with is a good variety of fresh fruits and berries. The staples such as bananas, apples, oranges, pears, peaches are good, but I like to also be a little more adventurous and include things like yellow (aka – mexican or champagne) mangoes, pomegranates, kumquats, papaya, star fruit, pineapples, and others. Also, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and cherries are some of the most nutrient and antioxidant-dense fruits you can eat.

Well, I hope you enjoyed this special look into my favorite lean body meals and how I stock my cabinets and fridge. Your tastes are probably quite different than mine, but hopefully this gave you some good ideas you can use next time you’re at the grocery store looking to stock up a healthy and delicious pile of groceries.

Be sure to pick up a copy of my book The Truth about Six Pack Abs, which introduces you to the entire comprehensive training and nutritional program that will turn your body into a lean, sexy specimen that others will envy!

How To Lose Belly Fat

October 1, 2010 by  
Filed under Eye-Opening Tips

Almost everyone wants to lose some excess fat on their body somewhere. For the vast majority, they’re looking to lose belly fat and they want to lose belly fat fast! Whether you want to admit it or not, most of us spend far too many months of the year overeating and then scramble at the first sign of warm weather in order to remove what’s accumulated over the time. Unfortunately, if you’re trying to learn how to lose belly fat, it’s not exactly a quick fix.

The problem most individuals run into is they overlook how difficult it can be to lose belly fat off their body. If the truth be told, a fat belly is probably one of the hardest areas to successfully remove because it’s made up what is known as ‘stubborn’ fat.

You’re body is actually physiologically slightly different when it comes to fat around the abdominal region. What’s the reason for this? Primarily, it’s the first place we tend to store fat and where body fat is needed for protection the most – to protect the organs and internal structures.

As such, your fat belly is going to do everything it can to hold onto it. Not a good situation in your quest to lose belly fat.

In order to outsmart this, you’re going to have to work really hard. That’s not to say it can’t be done – it most certainly can, you just have to have realistic expectations about the time line you will achieve this goal over and how much effort you’ll have to put in.

First things first, lets talk about exercise to lose belly fat. First, hit the weights. When lifting, be sure you are lifting as heavy as you possibly can, as this is what will ramp up your metabolism the highest. You want to shoot for the 6-10 rep range, as this is most appropriate for metabolic effects.

Second, get that cardio up there. Don’t do hours on end though, focus on doing sprints. In fact, better yet is to sprint first, then do more steady state cardio afterwards. This will help to release the fatty acids from the tissue (mobilize them) and then burn them off during the steady state cardio. This type of set-up can be far more effective at getting that stubborn fat off your body than doing a typical cardio session is.

Lastly, check over that belly fat diet. Too many fat or carbohydrates calories will slow your progress, while protein, generally speaking will help due to the fact the body burns more calories just digesting it.

This can be taken too far though – there is no need to exceed 1.5 grams per pound of body weight, but keeping it up around that level is your best approach. Then, fill in the remainder of your calories with carbohydrates around the workout period and fat during the other times.

As long as you are patient with the process and continually push yourself in the gym, there is no reason why within time, you can’t be sporting your own set of six-pack abs.

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About the Author:

Vince DelMonte is the author of Your Six Pack Quest found at http://www.YourSixPackQuest.com

He specializes in helping chubby guys and gals get six pack abs without gimmicks, supplements or dieting.

Protein Powder, The Skinny Guy’s Guide To Protein Powder

October 1, 2010 by  
Filed under Workout Routines to Build Muscle

So what do you really need to know about protein powder? As a skinny guy or beginner to the whole bodybuilding scene you simply want to know a few answers. Is protein powder necessary? Does it really work? How much do I need? What kind should I take? What is the best? And finally, will any of these answers make a difference when it comes to getting jacked and attracting the ladies?

This article is not meant for you if you want to learn the science behind the ion-exchanged, cross-mutaed, isotopically labeled protein tracers – blah blah blah. In this article, I will strip away all the hype, science, and confusion that surrounds protein powder. By the time you are through this article and put it to memory, you will become the resident protein powder expert and amaze your friends the next time you visit the sport nutrition store. No more 2-hour shopping trips for protein powder because you don’t really have a clue what to look for!

Is Protein Powder really necessary?

So, although protein supplements are not an absolute requirement for gaining mass, I have yet to meet any person able to get 400 grams of protein per day from cooking food. If your protein intake is greater than 200 grams per day I will suggest a protein powder – it will make your life a lot easier.

In addition, dollar for dollar, protein powders and meal replacement drinks tend to be more cost effective than whole food. Don’t get me wrong, though. Protein powders are still supplements in my book. Supplement means an addition to the diet. I emphasize this because the focus of any diet should be food. Whole food is often preferable to powders because it can offer a whole spectrum of nutrients that powders cannot.

Most of your dietary protein should come from meat, fish, poultry and eggs. However getting all your protein from whole food is not always practical or convenient, especially if you have to eat 6 or more times a day to get your required intake. I will stress to you, for optimal muscle gains, you should limit yourself to a maximum of three shakes per day or 40 % of your meals. To some this might even sound like it’s going ‘overboard’ and I would not disagree.

The bottom line is that both food and supplements are necessary to achieve a complete nutritional balance as well as the desired level of protein intake, especially if you’re not a big fan of cooking. And I assume that over 95% of you reading this do not have a personal maid at home cooking all your meals while you sit around waiting for your next meal. Do not make the fatal mistake of thinking protein powders can take the place of a solid training and nutrition program.

Does protein powder really work and are they healthy?

I get this question emailed to me almost every day. I just showed how it ‘works’ as a supplement to help you hit your supplemental protein mark but you are probably still wondering, ‘Yeah, but is protein powder going to help me get muscular or is it a scam?” A better question would be, “Does protein really work?” and the obvious answer is ‘yes.’ You are fully aware that protein is composed of building blocks called amino acids, which performs a variety of functions in the body such as building and maintaining healthy muscles when combined with diet and exercise. Protein also:

  • Supports red blood cell production
  • Boosts your immune system
  • Keeps your hair, fingernails, and skin healthy

However, not all protein powder is created equal. Most protein powder contains an array of questionable ingredients such as aspartame, saccharin, fructose and artificial colors. It’s interesting to note how unhealthy most of these protein powders actually are. Look for a protein powder with natural ingredients rather than products that are sweetened with chemicals and made with ingredients that are certainly not going to create an environment for muscle growth and fat burning.

Also avoid products with refined carbohydrates such as fructose, sucrose or brown rice syrup. Make sure that the product is made from a reputable company that is genuinely interested in good health. Unfortunately supplement manufacturers will continue to meet the demands of bodybuilding consumers with unknown crappy products because we buy it and it is cheaper for them to create. Do your homework by seeking out unbiased reviews, investigating the company’s history, and reputation. And then make a decision and take responsibility!

In the past one of my criteria for a healthy protein product was that it was great tasting and that it should mix easily. Most protein powders mix quite easily, even with a spoon, however I was disappointed to discover that taste will inevitably be sacrificed for a safe and healthy product. I can live with this. You see, once a product is removed of all artificial chemical sweeteners such as aspartame or sucralose, and simple sugars, it is left almost tasteless and sometimes even gross.

How much protein powder do I need?

A better question would be, “How much pure protein do I need to achieve my goals?”

Protein is an extremely important macro nutrient and should be eaten frequently throughout the day. I recommend at least 1 to 1.5 grams of protein per pound of lean body mass. This means that if you are 150 pounds and 10% body fat (150 x 0.10 = 15 lbs of fat leaving 135 lbs of lean mass), you will require at least 135 to approximately 205 grams of protein per day.

I recommend that protein powder be used primarily for your pre-workout, workout and post-workout shake. This is when liquid food is more advantageous over whole food since it has a faster absorption rate.

I do not recommend protein powder do be used for meal replacements for more than two meals. Here is what a typical day might look like:

Meal 1 (breakfast) – whole food

Meal 2 (mid morning) – liquid protein meal

Meal 3 (lunch) – whole food

Meal 4 (mid afternoon) whole food

Meal 5 (pre and post workout) liquid protein meal

Meal 6 (dinner) whole food

Meal 7 (before bed) whole food

What kind of protein powder should I use?

Before deciding which protein powder is necessary, here is a short protein primer to help you make sense of the thousands of different protein powders from which to choose:

WHEY PROTEIN makes up 20% of total milk protein. Whey is recognized for its excellent amino acid profile, high cysteine content, rapid digestion, and interesting variety of peptides. Since it is very quickly digested the best time to consume it is before your workout, during your workout or immediately after your workout. These would be considered the phase in the day where you need energy the most and when your body is in anabolic state.

CASEIN PROTEIN makes up 80% of total milk protein. Casein is recognized for its excellent amino acid profile, slow digestive nature, and interesting variety of peptides. Since casein is slowly digested into your bloodstream, don’t use it during workouts or after workouts – you need a fast absorbing protein at these times. Instead, use a casein protein for all other times outside the pre and post workout window.

SOY PROTEIN is the most controversial of all protein types. While the soy groupies have gone to great lengths to label soy as a super food with magical effects, there is also a good amount of research that suggests soy protein may be contraindicated in many situations. BECAUSE OF ALL THE CONFUSION, IN MY PERSONAL OPINION, I SUGGEST AVOIDING SOY PROTEIN ALTOGETHER AND STICKING TO THE OTHER TYPES LISTED.

Protein Blends are generally a combination of several types of protein blends such as whey protein concentrate, whey protein isolate, egg protein, casein protein, and soy protein.

Why would you want a blend anyway? You will receive the full spectrum of proteins and you will receive varying rates of absorption from the different types of protein. Using a blend will create an anabolic environment from the whey and an anti-catabolic environment from the casein – use this kind at any time of the day but NOT before or after a workout.

Whey hydrolysates (also known as hydrolyzed whey protein, and are also called peptides), are powerful proteins that are more quickly absorbed; more so than any other form, since your body prefers peptides to whole proteins. Hydrolysates are produced through very low heat, low acid and mild enzymatic filtration processes, (those highest in the essential and the branched chain amino acids) and are potentially the most anabolic for short-term protein synthesis such as the pre and post-workout window.

Whey Protein Versus Whey Isolate:

Most whey protein powders that stock the supplement shelves are made up of whey concentrate and mixed in with a small portion of whey isolate. Comparing the two, whey protein isolate is more expensive than whey protein concentrate because it has a higher quality (more pure) and a higher BV (biological value). Whey protein isolate contains more protein and less fat and lactose per serving. Most whey protein isolates contain 90-98% protein while whey concentrates contain 70-85% protein.

Whey protein isolate is the highest yield of protein currently available that comes from milk. Because of its chemical properties it is the easiest to absorb into your system. Obviously with its high concentration, it appears that an isolate protein would be the obvious choice instead of a concentrate. However, this is an individual decision because the isolate is more expensive, and just because it is purer does not guarantee that it will help build bigger muscles. Its extra concentration may not justify its extra cost.

SO WHAT IS THE BOTTOM LINE? WHICH SHOULD YOU CHOOSE?

For the Pre-workout and Post-workout phases, as long as whey hydrolysate is the first or second ingredient on the supplement label then there is probably not enough in the product to influence protein synthesis to reap the optimal benefits. As stated, whey isolates are also a extremely high quality whey and for maximal anabolism isolates should be combined with whey hydrolysates for only the pre-workout and post-workout phases of your program. The inclusion of small amounts of whey concentrates will not harm you but this should not be the first ingredient on the tub of protein powder.

IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR THE STRONGEST PROTEIN POWDER TO EXPLOIT YOUR FULL GROWTH POTENTIAL DURING THE GROWTH AND RECOVERY PHASES (ANY TIME OTHER THAN PRE AND POST WORKOUT PERIOD) THEN USE A BLEND.

You will receive the full spectrum of proteins and you will receive varying rates of absorption from the different types of protein. Using a blend will create an anabolic environment from the whey and an anti-catabolic environment from the casein.

Conclusion

I hope this article familiarized you with the basics of protein powder and gave you a foundation to work from when deciding on your next order. Don’t get caught up in the hype and start becoming a more educated consumer when you take your next trip to the nutrition store. Now you can tell the sales rep exactly what you are looking for instead of staring blankly at the shelves without a clue!

Oh yeah, protein powder will help you get more jacked and attract the ladies, but it’s not going to do it in a ‘ultra short period of time’ with the simple addition to your diet.

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About the Author:

Vince DelMonte is the author of No Nonsense Muscle Building: Skinny Guy Secrets To Insane Muscle Gain found at http://www.VinceDelMonteFitness.com

He specializes in teaching skinny guys how to build muscle and gain weight quickly without drugs, supplements and training less than before.

Learning The Muscle Fiber Types

October 1, 2010 by  
Filed under Workout Routines to Build Muscle

Choosing the best type of workout program that will stimulate the muscle fiber type that will get you the results you’re looking for is extremely important.

Unfortunately, all body building programs are not created equally when speaking in terms of muscle fiber types.

While you can’t differentiate between muscle fibers from your outside appearance, on the inside of the muscle tissue body, there are three main different fibers present.

Type A Fast-Twitch Muscle Fibers

The first type of muscle fibers are known as Type A Fast Twitch and are responsible for the most forceful contractions generated, however, will fatigue the fastest.

For example, if you were to perform an all out set of 3 reps for bench press, you would predominately be using these type A muscle fibers.

They tend to have very large motor neurons and very low mitochondrial density. They also have a low oxidative capacity, meaning they will not be able to utilize oxygen very well. It is for this reason that they are not suited to endurance type of activities, because during these exercise variations, oxygen must be present in order to sustain the muscular contractions.

The major type of fuel that these muscle fibers are going to rely on is creatine phosphate and stored muscle glycogen (glucose). They will not utilize stored body fat at all due to the fact that they are only able to continually contract for between one and about 20 seconds.

Type B Fast-Twitch Muscle Fibers

The next muscle fiber is also classified as a fast twitch muscle fiber but not to the extent that type A are.

This muscle fiber type is mostly utilized in activities that are relatively short in duration, but are not at an all out pace.

For example, if you were to sprint 100 meters, you’ll be using mostly type A. If on the other hand, you are to do a running interval at about 80-90% of your max capacity for 30 seconds, this would utilize the type 2A more.

Some of the characteristics of the type B muscle fibers are that they still have a large motor neuron (not as large as Type A though), they are on the intermediate scale as far as being resistant to fatigue, and they have a high degree of mitochondrial density.

These muscle fiber types are also able to use oxygen to a great extent, as demonstrated by their higher resistance to fatigue and longer duration of contraction abilities.

Slow Twitch

Finally, the third type of muscle fiber that you have in your body is classified as slow-twitch.

This is the muscle fiber type you would use if you were to run a marathon or any other extended duration, medium-to-low intensity activity.

These muscle fibers have a very high ability to resist fatigue and have a large oxidative capacity.

They are also relatively slow to contract, therefore you cannot expect a great deal of force generation from these muscles, and thus, will not be intended for exercises requiring a high degree of power.

They are very high in terms of mitochondrial density and have a large number of capillaries running throughout their bodies. This is to enable sufficient oxygen to get to the muscle tissues so that they can carry on the extended duration of muscular work they are intended to do.

These are also the muscle fibers that will also rely more on fat as fuel, as opposed to strictly using carbohydrates or creatine phosphate.

Training The Muscle Fiber Types

So, now that you’re familiar with the three major classes of muscle fiber types, it’s time to recognize how you would train each effectively.

Since type A are your primary force generators, if you wish to get a higher performance from them you’ll need to train using exercises that require you to max out your effort for a short period of time.

Think sprinting at full speed, 1-5 rep sets for lifting, and any type of plyometric activities.

Next, to train your type B muscles fibers you’ll want to slightly decrease the force with which you are to contract while simultaneously increasing the time over which you contract ever so slightly.

For example, perform 30-45 intervals repeated ten times with about a minute or a minute and a half at a low to moderate pace. For your weight training activities, aim to target the 6-10 rep range to utilize the fact these muscle fibers have a higher oxidation ability.

Finally, to improve your slow twitch muscle fibers, think endurance. This type of fiber will usually require the greatest amount of time to train for improvement because you’ll want to focus on simply going ‘longer’.

If you’re a runner, try and run longer. If you’re a biker, bike longer. If you’re a swimmer, swim longer – you get the point.

This type of muscle has the ability to go for extended periods of time so this is exactly what you want to train it to do.

So, next time you are trying to sort out your training plan make sure to take the various muscle fiber types into consideration.

Doing so will allow you to make the most out of your training program so you get the exact results you’re looking for.

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About the Author:

Vince DelMonte is the author of No Nonsense Muscle Building: Skinny Guy Secrets To Insane Muscle Gain found at http://www.VinceDelMonteFitness.com

He specializes in helping you understand all the principles behind muscle fibers and gaining muscle and weight quickly without drugs, supplements and training less than before.

How to Avoid Over-training to Maximize Muscle Growth

October 1, 2010 by  
Filed under Workout Routines to Build Muscle

Almost anyone that’s picked up a set of weights has or will experience symptoms of over-training at one point in there muscle building program. Over-training can lead to serious injury, chronic fatigue, and even muscle loss.

Over-training is very common amongst athletes and particularly bodybuilders, since they figure that training as much as possible is the fastest way to massive muscle gains.

This couldn’t be any further from the truth however…

Training too much, or at too high of an intensity will lead to over-training.

Now this doesn’t mean you don’t have to put plenty of effort in to see some decent results… Whether you are a bodybuilder, athlete, or just someone that wants to add some additional mass to your frame, you need to train hard and be consistent-that’s a given. In order to get the most out of your genetics, you have to progressively overload the muscles by increasing the weight and / or intensity of each weight training workout.

The problem is however, that many of us increase the intensity of our workouts or get insufficient amounts of rest, or even worse, a combination of both. The trick is finding the right balance between workout volume and intensity, and rest and recovery. And that is exactly what I’ll cover in this article.
The Effects of Over-Training on Bodybuilders

First, let’s take a look at some of the effects of over-training and how one can prevent over-training from happening in the first place.

The Effects of Over-training on the Nervous System

Over-training effects both the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems in the following negative ways:

  • Higher resting heart rate
  • Weak appetite
  • High blood pressure
  • Weight loss
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Increased metabolic rate
  • Irritability
  • Early onset of fatigue

If you are experiencing more than one of the symptoms outlined above, you may be in a state of over-training, and should evaluate your routine as soon as possible.

The Effects of Over-training on Hormone Levels

Many studies have indicated that over-training negatively effects the levels of hormones, as well as the hormone response in the body. Since hormones play such an important role in the muscle building process, this can have a detrimental effect on your training progress.

Over-training has been show to:

  • Decrease testosterone levels
  • Decrease thyroxine levels
  • Increase cortisol levels
The increase in cortisol levels along with the decrease in testosterone levels is a deadly combination, since this leads to protein tissue break down. This will ultimately lead to a loss of muscle tissue.

The Effects of Over-training on the Immune System

perhaps one of the most alarming repercussions of over-training is it’s negative impact on the immune system-you’re bodies first defense against harmful viruses and bacteria.

Over-training can drastically decrease the levels of antibodies and lymphocytes in your body, making you much more susceptible to illness. Simply put, this means that if you are in a state of over-training, you are much more likely to get sick. Since you will have to skip workouts while you are sick, your muscle building progress will slow considerably.

The Effects of Over-training on the Metabolic System

Here is a list of how over-training can effect the metabolic system. These symptoms are the ones that are most commonly discussed, and are ones we can’t ignore:

  • Micro tears in the muscle
  • Chronically depleted glycogen levels
  • Slow, weak muscle contractions
  • Depleted creatine phosphate stores
  • Excessive accumulation of lactic acid
  • Extreme DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness)
  • Tendon and connective tissue damage

So you must get the point by now… Over-training effects the entire body, and can seriously impact the results of your muscle building program.

Now let’s take a look at the different types of over-training, and what we can do to prevent it.

Is it Worse to Over-Train With Cardio or Weight Training?

Any form of over-training is a bad thing, however, I’ve personally experienced both types of over-training and can honestly say that over-training in the weight room is much worse, and much more prevalent than over-training through cardiovascular training.

Here are some of the reasons why:

  • In order to grow, muscles must fully recover from their last workout, every workout. If you are over-training and work the muscles before they have fully recovered, you will break down the muscle tissue before it has rebuilt-making it impossible to build muscle!
  • Over-training with weights makes you more susceptible to nervous systems hormone and immune system issues, which all pose serious health risks.
  • It can lead beginners down the wrong path, perhaps wasting money on unnecessary supplements, or even worse, steroids.

I personally believe that only competitive athletes such as swimmers, runners and bikers run a serious risk of reaching a state of cardiovascular over-training, since there are often training for two or more hours daily.

The bottom line is that it is much easier for the average person to over-train while weight training than while cardiovascular training, and I think the effects can be more serious.

How do I Determine if I’m Over-training?

Determining if you’re currently over-training is fairly simple. If you’re in tune with your body, you can often see the signs of over-training before they get serious. If you are losing interest in workouts, are having trouble sleeping, and feel weak and irritable, you may be in a state of over-training and should take a week or more off.

If you are experiencing two or more of the symptoms outlined earlier in the article, this should raise a red flag.

Another variable you can use to determine if you are over-training is by tracking the performance of your workouts.

Has your physical performance improved compared to your last workout?

For example, let’s say last workout you were able to perform 8 pull-ups using your body-weight, but were only able to perform 6 pull-ups the following week. This means that you have not “out done” your previous workout, have not fully recovered, and therefore are likely over-training. You nave to re-asses your program and make modifications so that you see progress every workout.

How Can I Prevent Over-training?

n order to avoid over-training, you need to take a multi-facited approach. Determining the correct training volume and intensity, eating the right foods, and getting the right amount of rest and recovery must all be taken in to consideration. Now let’s take a look at each of those factors in more detail.

Correct Training Volume

Determining the correct training volume can be difficult, especially when you are first starting out. You have to determine how much weight to lift, how many repetitions and set to perform for every single workout.

You need to use your own judgment in this case, based on your recovery ability and your recovery methods. Remember that the goal is that you improve every single workout, and if this isn’t happening, you have to decrease the intensity of your workouts.

This is where many people go wrong though. You begin your workout and realize that you have not fully recovered. You can either continue to train at a lower intensity than the previous workout, or skip the workout entirely.

As hard as it may be, skipping the workout is the right way to go. Just turn around and go home! Your body is telling you that it needs more rest, and you must listen to it!

There is no point in training at a lower intensity, further breaking down the muscle tissue. By doing this you will increase your risk of injury, and make it harder for your body to fully recovery for your next training session.

Proper Nutrition

Your diet plays a huge role in your muscle building program. It helps regulate hormone levels, provides energy, and provides the raw building blocks that are used to create new tissue.

Here are some dietary recommendations that will limit the chance of over-training:

  • Do not skip breakfast. This is one of the most important meals of the day. Skipping breakfast is very catabolic, and can promote muscle loss.
  • Never let yourself get hungry. If you’re trying to build muscle mass, you have to constantly feed your body quality foods so that it never has the chance catabolize muscle tissue.
  • Unless you are trying to build muscle and lose fat, make sure you have eaten prior to your training session and are not hungry.
  • Have the largest meal of the day within an hour after your workout. Do this every single workout!
  • Consider taking proven supplements like creatine, and antioxidants to increase performance and fight free radicals.
  • Eat every 2-3 hours to ensure that your body remains in an anabolic state.
  • Keep glycogen levels at full capacity to inhibit muscle tissue breakdown.

Rest & Recovery

Rest and recovery is essential when it comes to avoiding over-training. Make sure that you get at least 7 hours of sleep each night, and that you are on a consistent schedule. As for recovery time, it’s important that you have days off between weight training workouts. Try to have one rest day between weight training workouts, and never train the same muscle groups on consecutive days.

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About the Author:

 

Vince Delmonteis a competitive fitness model and personal trainer, as well as the author of No-Nonsense Muscle Building, a complete guide to building muscle for the hardgainer.

Vince’s program includes extensive diet plans, complete weight training regimens, video tutorials, and full email personal training support.

Stop Wasting Your Time with Worthless Treadmill and Elliptical Machine Workouts!

October 1, 2010 by  
Filed under Workout Routines for Men

Have you ever considered if treadmill or elliptical workouts are actually that effective… or are there more fun and more effective exercise methods?

Now that I pissed off all of the treadmill and elliptical machine worshipers… let me say that if you truly enjoy mindlessly pumping away on a treadmill or elliptical (or exercise bike for that matter too), then by all means, keep doing what you enjoy, because enjoying your exercise is one of the most important aspects to sticking with any exercise program…

However, don’t say that I didn’t warn you that you were wasting your time with all that mindless cardio machine boredom.

If I haven’t mentioned it before, I don’t believe in cardio machines, and to be quite honest, I don’t think I’ve personally used a treadmill, elliptical, or exercise bike for at least the last 7-8 years or so.

As a matter of fact, I don’t even use cardio machines anymore for warmups before a workout (did before occasionally)… Nowadays, I prefer to do dumbbell or kettlebell snatches and swings mixed with bodyweight exercises as the perfect full body warmup at the beginning of my workouts.

So why do I have such hatred for cardio machines? Well, here goes:

1) Treadmills, ellipticals, and exercise bikes are mind-blowingly BOOOORING!

2) Mindless steady state cardio exercise while watching tv or reading creates a mind / body disconnect resulting in poor results from your exercise routine

3) I’ve seen studies that indicated that treadmill running may be less effective than outdoor running for various reasons such as stride abnormalities on treadmills vs natural running, slightly less caloric burn compared to outdoor running, etc.

(although I never recommend just “jogging” anyway… variable intensity walks / runs or sprints are so much more effective, training your heart rate in a much wider range instead of just the same pace during the entire workout).

4) Treadmills and ellipticals are ridiculously expensive and a waste of money for people that workout at home… there’s so many better options for home workouts you could have spent your money on rather than wasting it on a treadmill, bike, or elliptical.

The perfect home gym setup is MUCH cheaper… there’s no reason you need anything other than a jump rope, bodyweight exercises, a few dumbbells, stability ball, maybe a few kettlebells (if you want to get fancy), and perhaps high tension bands for some more variety. And of course… the great outdoors has some of the best workout options of all… hiking, mountain biking, kayaking, skiing, sports, and more!

By the way, here are some great adjustable dumbbells which can save you big time cash if you’re setting up your own home gym.

5) Treadmills and elliptical machines are just a very ineffective way to workout compared to other options. Why should you do treadmill or elliptical workouts when you can get better results by doing more interesting forms of training that actually stimulate a fat-burning hormonal response and stimulate your metabolism to a greater extent.

So what are the alternatives to treadmills and elliptical trainers? Here are some of my favorite types of alternative exercises:

  • jumping rope – great mind / body connection (try speed jumping, crosses, double jumps once you get skilled at it)
  • bodyweight training – bodyweight squats, pushups, lunges, jumps, bear crawls, mountain climbers and jumpers, planks, and the list goes on and on
  • kettlebell training – nothing will get your heart pounding like high repetition KB swings and snatches or clean & presses (can be done with dumbbells too, but I prefer KBs)
  • outdoor wind sprinting (the ultimate for a rock hard ripped body… just look at the chiseled powerful bodies of world class sprinters, and compare that to the weakling withered physique of a typical marathoner… nuff said!)
  • hill sprinting (yet another classic for a rock hard powerful body)
  • rowing machine (ok, I don’t really lump this in as a “cardio” machine like treadmills and ellipticals… I think the rowing machine is actually a great full body workout that actually uses resistance)
  • sprint style swimming workouts (a more muscular workout than steady state distance swimming… I actually love the upper body pump I get from sprint style swimming) – this is the same concept as sprinting vs jogging but in a pool instead
  • heavy bag punching / kicking workout, speed bag, rebound bag… all great forms of training and much more interesting than boring cardio machines (requires an intense mind / body connection)
  • shadow boxing… awesome workout, but if you’re shy, this is best done at home since you’ll get some crazy stares doing this at a typical gym from people who think they’re “too cool” for stuff like that.

Well, I hope that helps give you ideas on how you can get away from all of these mindless and ineffective treadmill and elliptical trainer machines (and exercise bike) workouts that are just wasting your time and energy that could be better spent on more effective workouts.

If you don’t already have a copy of my Truth about Six Pack Abs program, you can see some of the incredible reviews and results people are getting with Truth about Abs here

You can check out the common questions and answers about this super-effective fat loss program here

Have a great one, and get out there and actually ENJOY your workouts!

Don’t be lazy, be lean.

Workout Routines For Women – The 45 Minute Workout Plan

October 1, 2010 by  
Filed under Workout Routines for Women

workout routines for women

Workout Routines for Women

Workout routines for women are different than those for men. When it comes to looking fit and sexy women and men have different ways in which to accomplish that. For men it usually comes with the thought of weight training and bulking up, women however are more interested in firming up and looking lean. However, weight training is just as beneficial for women as it is for men. Contrary to the popular belief that women should only workout with light weights this routine is different. Women are free to pick the heaviest weight they can handle.

Workout Routines for Women #1- Super Set Training

Super set training has been used by many body building gurus to build muscle fast in a short amount of time. Super sets however, have been proven to provide great results in women when done the right way. These are good workout routines for women. The following super-set workout plan is a great one for women to start off with.

1A) Dumbbell Squat- 8 reps
1B) Dumbbell Incline Chest Press- 8 reps

2A) Dumbbell Split Squat- 8 reps
2B) Dumbbell Flat Bench Press- 8 reps

3A) Pull ups- 5 reps
3B) Push ups- 8 reps

All of these workout routines for women should be done with medium to heavy weight. The great thing about super-set workouts is that they are fast and fun to do. They are a great way to build lean muscle fast for maximum fat loss.

Workout Routines for Women #2- Interval Training

Interval training is a great way for women to build stamina and target belly fat. This is one of the best workout routines for women because they will shape and define your legs and carve out a nice looking flat stomach. Intervals are easier when done on a treadmill because you are able to monitor your time and speed. An example of an interval would be running at a moderately fast pace for 45 seconds then slowing down to a jog or walk for 90 seconds. For a good interval session each workout must have 6 intervals. This is the minimum requirement for a good fat burning cardio session.

Super-sets and intervals each take about 20 minutes to complete. If you decide to do them back to back then you are looking at a 45 minute workout. Combining these two workout routines for women is so powerful that you only need to do them 3 days a week to get amazing results. If you are in a hurry you can also do super-sets one day and intervals on another for a total of six days at 20 minutes per workout.

Workout Routines for Women–The Final Word

So if you are looking for time efficient workouts for women then visit our Quick Home Workouts blog where we offer reviews of the best women workouts.

Workout Routines for Women to Lose Weight and Tone Up the Muscles

October 1, 2010 by  
Filed under Workout Routines for Women

workout routines for women

Workout Routines for Women

There are some major differences between gym workouts for men and workout routines for women due to the physical differences between the two sexes. This is why what mostly works for men might not be best for women. The gym workout routine is usually made in a way that helps lose tummy fat, tone up muscles without making the woman look like a body builder. At the same time it should give her that sexy appearance that she craves. Men’s needs are mostly different.

Workout Routines for Women–Things to Consider

There are a couple of things that one should keep in mind when deciding on the best workout routines for women. First of all, where will the workout take place? Will it be in a gym, or at home? Next is the question on how to start the routine in order to get the most of it. Then finally, how much time should a woman actually spend on her daily exercises? It is also important to ask oneself what the main aspects that one should focus on for the routine schedule are.

The Best Schedules for Workout Routines for Women

There are three main schedules in workout routines for women that are worth looking into in order to help women lose the weight in those flabby areas of their bodies and get their stomachs and breasts firm again:

  • The first schedule should tone up all the body muscles and this is a particularly useful routine for beginners or women who have hardly any time for practice. This basically consists of doing the routine 5 days, meaning the first 3 days are about lifting weights and the last 2 on cardio exercises.
  • The second schedule is done more on a steady pace which will help the lower and upper body parts get the proper workout and help the person lose weight faster.
  • Finally the third among the workout routines for women helps one lose weight from specific areas. This is basically about lifting weights for 5 days and doing cardio for the next 2 days.

Other Schools of Thought Regarding Workout Routines for Women

However if you don’t want to spend that much time on these workout routines for women, or you might not have the time to do them at this fast pace, you can do a much simpler routine. All you need is 7 minutes of your time per day, no more.

To learn more about the 7 minutes workout routines for women that will help your body get firm again while at the same time help you lose that extra fat from your stomach, visit http://ltone.com.

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