Sunday, September 29, 2013

Congrats to Phil Heath

Ten thousand bodybuilding enthusiasts filed into the Orleans Arena for tonight's Olympia contest. Among the rabid fans were plenty of Kai Greene followers who believed this year, finally, would be theirs. Other audience members sat firmly in Phil Heath's camp and made their presence well known. Still others believed whole-heartedly that Shawn Rhoden or Dennis Wolf deserved the Olympia gold medal. No matter which contender you were rooting for, tonight's competition will be widely hailed as one for the record books.
The 2013 show began with a tribute to the godfather of bodybuilding, Joe Weider. And before each competitor's individual routine, he shared a short story about his experiences with Joe. The 49th Olympia was, undeniably, dedicated to the Master Blaster.


  1. Lionel Beyeke
  2. Branch Warren
  3. Mamdouh Elssbiay
  4. Roelly Winklaar
  5. Jay Cutler
  6. Dexter Jackson
  7. Shawn Rhoden
  8. Dennis Wolf
  9. Kai Greene
  10. Phil Heath


After the individual routines, every competitor was called back on stage for the confirmation judging round. And like last night, Kai and Phil were clear winners. Although the top two seemed to be sewn up, the rest of the top six were a little hazy. Dennis Wolf came to play and hounded Shawn Rhoden and Dexter Jackson to earn a spot in the top five once again, following his slip to sixth last year. The first callout also included Jay Cutler, who looked far tighter than he did during prejudging.

Mamdough "Big Remy" Elssbiay, Lionel, Branch, Victor, and Roelly were in the second callout. In other divisions, those in the second callouts rarely finish in the money, but in the Mr. Olympia, the top 10 finishers get a piece of the prize. That made the competition all the more meaningful and fun to watch.
Branch, Remy, and Roelly were sent back in line and Cedric McMillan, Evan Centopani, and Steve Kuclo joined Victor and Lionel on stage. After that, Toney Freeman, Essa Obaid, Baito Abbaspour, and Brandon Curry had their turn to be compared.
For the final callout though, the judges asked Dennis, Phil, and Kai back to center stagefor mandatory posing. The top three looked rock-solid.


After a break for Figure Olympia and the 212 division, the judges asked the top 10 competitors back on stage. The guys hit their mandatory poses and then waited for the house music to erupt. The posedown surprisingly included a celebratory walk through the audience, where fans got to see their heroes up close and personal as they were competing.
A moment of loud ovation followed, led by Joe's wife Betty Wieder. And finally, the judges were ready to make their final call.
Jay Cutler made the cut with a sixth place trophy. The reaction from the crowd proved that Jay truly is Vegas's own son. Fifth place went to Dexter Jackson, who looked great and definitely moved up a spot or two from yesterday evening. At 43, "The Blade" continues to defy time and shows no sign of slowing down. Fourth place went Shawn Rhoden's way, a small step back from his breakthrough third-place finish in 2012. He's got the right look, though; many say it's just a matter of time before he finds himself with the Sandow.
The bronze medal went to big bad Dennis Wolf. While he was absent from the top six in many previews, Dennis brought an unbelievable package to the show and was handsomely rewarded. Kai Greene was awarded second place, and there was little doubt who was going to win. Phil's structure is simply too difficult to match. Watching the two of them compete, though, is what bodybuilding is all about.

Phil accepted his award with a lovely tribute to his wife, who was diagnosed with breast cancer earlier this year. His candid speech left even the biggest muscle men a little teary-eyed. They'll be sure to give him a serious run for his money next year, though. If anything, the Olympia's competition is only getting deeper and tougher to dominate.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

9 Fat Loss Myths

Some fat loss myths never seem to die. While they might not slow down your efforts, these myths can still waste your time. Maximize fat loss by avoiding these 9 myths.
It seems that old myths never die. Despite living in an age of unparalleled information exchange, most of the same old, same old fat loss untruisms keep getting passed around.
Though most of these unfounded pieces of advice are rather harmless, they may cause you to waste time on unnecessary practices.
The following fat loss myths are still prevalent. I see them passed around on a regular basis. In fact, I recently received a spam email that contained each of the myths listed below.

9 Fat Loss Myths

Myth #1 - Frequent Eating Ramps Up Your Metabolism

It seems this notion will never die.
There is no scientific evidence that shows frequent meal consumption increases the metabolism. A review of pertinent studies found that total daily energy expenditure was the same, regardless of the meal frequency used. (1) 
Frequency of meals in this meta-analysis ranged between one and seventeen feedings per day. Researchers stated: "Studies using whole-body calorimetry and doubly-labelled water to assess total 24 h energy expenditure find no difference between nibbling and gorging."
Since this 1997 study, all new research has supported this conclusion.

Hanging Leg RaiseMyth #2 - You Must Eat Protein at Every Meal

Proper daily protein intake is essential when losing fat. It helps your body hold on to valuable muscle, improving your body composition as you lose weight.
Though eating protein at every meal isn't a bad thing, it's not necessary. As long as you are reaching a reasonable daily protein intake level, it generally doesn't matter when and how you eat it.
Don't panic if you miss a protein meal. You are not going to go catabolic and lose all your gains. This obsessive compulsive belief has ruined many a day.

Myth #3 - You Shouldn't Eat Carbs after 2 PM

This is another load of bologna, as my grandmother would say. As long as your daily calories are in check, and you aren't overeating carbs in an unbalanced manner relative to the other macronutrients, it won't matter much when you eat them.
There is nothing magical about late afternoon or evening carb consumption. The human body doesn't contain a secret "off button" that suddenly turns all carbs into fat after 2 pm.
The assumption is that metabolic rate slows while sleeping. On the average, this is not true. While the human metabolism does initially decrease by 35% after zonking out (2), it later increases significantly when you achieve REM sleep. 
The end result is that your metabolism while sleeping is no slower than your resting metabolic rate during the day. (3,4) Furthermore, it should be noted that daily exercise leads to an increase in your sleeping metabolic rate. (5)

Myth #4 - You Need to Perform Endless Hours of Cardio

Wrong, wrong and wrong. While 3 to 4 cardio sessions of 20 to 30 minutes each per week is great for overall health, cardio itself isn't an efficient fat loss tool - diet is.
Let's say you are walking 3 miles per hour. One mile of walking burns approximately 100 calories. You would need to walk 35 miles per week to burn off one pound of fat. Even if you had the time to walk this much, you wouldn't lose fat unless your eating habits were in check.
Don't overkill the cardio. Structure a proper diet plan and the weight will come off. Add is some cardio each week for improved health and conditioning.

Myth #5 - You Should Immediately Cut Calories

Blindly cutting calories doesn't address your bad habits, nor does it help you forge a new lifestyle. Without addressing the eating (and drinking) habits that got you in trouble in the first place, you are likely to fail and gain any weight you do lose back.
Before you rush out to cut calories, take an honest assessment of your diet. Try to remove 90% of the following:
  • Sugary drinks and fruit juices (fruit juice is like fruit without all the good nutrition found in the pulp and skin)
  • Processed foods (boxed meals, most frozen foods, etc.)
  • Junk snacks (cookies, crackers, chips and candy)
Once you weed out most of these trash foods, you can then insert healthier options. At this point it is time to start watching your calories.
Push Ups

Myth #6 - Rapid Weight Loss is Always a Good Thing

While losing 4 to 5 pounds (or more) per week might be necessary for very obese individuals who are trying to regain good health as quickly as possible, it is not the best way to lose weight if you want to look good when you're done. Let's set aside talk about extremely obese individuals and talk about you.
Most of us need to drop about 20 to 40 pounds of fat, tops. If this is the case, to look your best after the fat loss process is done you want to lose about 1.5 to 2 pounds per week. 
This rate of weight loss will allow you to maintain as much muscle mass as possible while losing mostly fat. This is what you want. If you drop the pounds in a rapid manner you will lose muscle and fat, and risk ending up looking thin, but still soft and somewhat flabby.

Myth #7 - Fasted Cardio is Superior for Fat Loss

Not true. Without getting into all the debates over types of cardio, and the optimal time to do cardio, I want to bring to the table some common sense.
We have already established that diet drives fat loss, and cardio has a minimal impact (unless you have time to exercise hours and hours each day). With this understood, I highly recommend simply doing:
  1. The type of cardio you enjoy.
  2. The type of cardio that is appropriate for your age, health and conditioning levels.
  3. Cardio at a time of day that makes the most sense to you.
While HIIT cardio may be the best form of cardio on paper, it also might be risky for you. Walk, swim, or go bowling. Just get moving. Once you start to build up your fitness and conditioning levels, then you can try more challenging forms of cardio if you desire.
Also, it's far better to perform cardio at a time of day where you are not rushed or tired. You are more likely to enjoy it and stick to it without missing cardio sessions.
Returning to the topic of fasted cardio, here is a quote from Brad Schoenfeld on the subject:
In conclusion, the literature does not support the efficacy of training early in the morning on an empty stomach as a tactic to reduce body fat. At best, the net effect on fat loss associated with such an approach will be no better than training after meal consumption, and quite possibly, it would produce inferior results. (6)

Myth #8 - Choose Low Fat Foods to Lose Fat

Eating fat does not make you fat. This is one of the prevalent, but ridiculous nutritional myths. It needs to die, and I encourage you to help with this process.
Excess calories makes you fat. Candy, cookies, chips, crackers, high calorie fast food, processed dinners and meals, sugary drinks...most people over-consume these food products while underconsuming real, whole, nutritionally dense foods.
Low fat foods often contain added sugar for taste, or are misleading to begin with. How many times have you seen this on a bag of candy or cookies: low fat! Of course these things are low fat; they're all sugar!
A "low fat" label on a food is meaningless. It can still be very high in calories.
A high calorie diet makes you gain weight. Control your calories, you control your weight. Fat will not cause you to gain weight if your eating habits are reasonable and balanced.

Myth #9 - Avoid Fruit During The Fat Loss Process

This is another foolish fat loss myth. Yes, fruit does have some sugar, but no, fruit is far from calorie dense and hard to overeat. In addition, fruit is packed with vitamins and minerals.
We will beat the same drum here: overall calorie intake is the most important factor when it comes to weight gain. I have yet to run into a single individual that "got fat" from eating too many strawberries, apples or oranges.
The reasonable amount of natural sugars and carbs found in fruit won't make much of a difference. They certainly won't cause your belly to grow if your overall calories are in check.
While losing fat it's best to eat a variety of fruits and veggies each week. This allows you to intake a broader spectrum of vitamins and minerals, and is great for overall health.

Fat Loss Recap

So to recap:
  1. Eat meals that fit your schedule and needs. There is no urgent reason to eat every 2 to 3 hours. This will not ramp up your metabolism, but it may cause you to waste a lot of time figuring out what to eat 6 to 10 times per day.
  2. It's ok to eat a meal that is short on, or devoid of protein. This will not stunt the fat loss or muscle retention process. Aim for a minimum amount of protein per day. It won't matter much when you eat this protein.
  3. Eating carbs after 2pm is ok as long as your overall calorie intake is in check. These carbs will not turn straight into fat.
  4. Your eating plan is your primary fat loss mechanism. Use cardio for overall health and conditioning, not as a primary source of fat loss. Cardio with a poor diet will not yield fat loss.
  5. Before you rush to cut calories, analyze your bad eating habits. Understand that if you don't take steps to curb these habits, you risk gaining fat back when your diet is over.
  6. To maximize muscle mass while losing fat, you want to lose about 1.5 to 2 pounds per week. This will help you look your best when the weight loss process is done.
  7. When and how you do cardio won't matter much. Pick a form of cardio you enjoy, and perform it at a time in the day when you are likely to have the most energy.
  8. Eating fat does not make you fat. Overeating calories makes you fat. Low fat founds are not inherently low in calories. They are often filled with added sugars. Buyer beware.
  9. Eat a wide variety of fruits each week. The small amount of sugar and carbs in fruit will have no impact on fat loss as long as your overall calories are reasonable.
1 Bellisle F, McDevitt R, Prentice AM. Meal frequency and energy balance. Br J Nutr. 1997 Apr;77 Suppl 1:S57-70.
2 Seale JL, Conway JM. Relationship between overnight energy expenditure and BMR measured in a room-sized calorimeter. Eur J Clin Nutr. 1999 Feb;53(2):107-11.
3 Zhang K, Sun M, Werner P, Kovera AJ, Albu J, Pi-Sunyer FX, Boozer CN. Sleeping metabolic rate in relation to body mass index and body composition. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2002 Mar;26(3):376-83.
4 Mischler I, Vermorel M, Montaurier C, Mounier R, Pialoux V, Pequignot JM, Cottet-Emard JM, Coudert J, Fellmann N. Prolonged daytime exercise repeated over 4 days increases sleeping heart rate and metabolic rate. Can J Appl Physiol. 2003 Aug;28(4):616-29.
5 Biston P, Van Cauter E, Ofek G, Linkowski P, Polonsky KS, Degaute JP. Diurnal variations in cardiovascular function and glucose regulation in normotensive humans. Hypertension. 1996 Nov;28(5):863-71.
6 Brad Schoenfeld, MSc, CSCS, NSCA-CPT. Does Cardio After an Overnight Fast Maximize Fat Loss?

Monday, September 23, 2013

6 Steps to Your Best Bench


A lot of the information circulating about the bench press is false. Or at least it's false in that it doesn't apply to everyone. Here's the problem: A lot of big, fat dudes gravitate toward powerlifting and strength sports. For better or worse, these guys give cues that apply to themselves, and not to everybody else.
When I hear cues like "tuck the elbows" or "press in a straight line" I get pretty aggravated. The jacked and tan dude, the skinny guy, and the non-powerlifter girl aren't going to have a super-short range of motion, and they're probably not going to bench like a rotund powerlifter. When you have a huge belly, your bench press technique is going to look different than that of most people. So why would everyone else want to bench like you?
If you want technique that can work for the masses, I've got it. Here are six steps so developing a better, heavier bench press. Trust me: You can put a lot more weight on the bar just by using proper form.



This seems simple, but often when people get under the bar and wiggle, they grab the bar with a slightly uneven grip. They may not even realize they're doing it, but it's easy to fix. Use the power rings or the smooth part of the bar to measure where your grip should be. Grab the bar about a thumb's length out from the edge of the smooth part of the bar. That will give you a strong, balanced grip. It'll also be a close grip, but so what—work your triceps.
If you want to try a standard grip, place your pinky or ring finger directly on the power ring. To get the most weight up, powerlifters usually set their grip as wide as possible, which shortens the range of motion. This can be helpful but isn't critical. Nothing matters more in lifting weights than being in a good position and remaining in that good position throughout the entire lift.


Once you have a hold on the bar, squeeze the damn thing. Flex the forearm to activate your entire arm. If you were to shake somebody's hand as hard as you could, you'd notice that you tense all the way from your hand to your biceps, into the shoulder, and even include your neck. All that strength will disperse to the muscles that need to work.
Squeezing the bar can also alleviate elbow tendonitis. It won't cure it, but it will help. I know it sounds weird, but trust me on this.



I like to lock down the lower body before I adjust my upper body. This is important because you have to keep your lower body and feet planted while you move your upper body into the correct position.
Try to make sure your feet aren't pointed too far outward. It's OK if they're out a little, but not so much that we lose all hip tension. We want torque. Normally, feet go underneath your knees and toes underneath the knee cap. Drive your stomach upward and flex and drive your heel toward the ground. Your hips will be higher than your knee, which creates stabilization. This is a strong, repeatable bench press stance.


To put their body in the right position, a lot of guys grab the bar with an underhand grip and curl their body up toward the bar. If you want to do this, go for it, but remember to keep the shoulder blades down and back. To simplify the whole process, just pull your chest toward the bar and keep it there.


Hopefully, you have somebody to lift off for you. You don't want to unwind yourself and screw up before you even start. Learn to bring weights out and over the largest part of your upper body, which should be about where your sternum is.

From here, slightly bring the elbows inward. If you don't bring elbows in, you can't bring them out very well. Keep the chest up and try to get your wrist, elbow, and barbell in alignment, or at least close to it. Bring the bar slightly below your nipples and touch on the sternum. Some people like being higher—that's fine, but make sure you're not flaring your elbows out. If your elbows are too far out, you'll get stuck.
A good cue is to keep your chest hidden beneath the bar. You don't want to go full-frontal. Your forearm should touch your biceps and your triceps should touch your lats.


At the bottom of the lift your elbows are in. Now you have to bring them out again. Press the barbell by driving the elbows out and up, but don't let them get too far away from your body. At the end of the press, the weight should be locked out above your chin or nose. The travel pattern of the bar will be in a slight arc.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Use Code MOTIVATION and Save 50%

The Fittest Foods

By Joe Gould Men'd Fitness

We count down the absolute best foods to pile on your plate.

It's true. You really are what you eat. And that's why some days you end up feeling more like a cream-filled Twinkie than the lean cut of beef you aspire to.

But you probably already know that. That's why, like all of us, you're most likely trying to clean up your act and start eating healthy. But the truth is, that's just not enough. Because if you're gorging yourself on apples, bananas, and salads made with iceberg lettuce, you may be eating healthy-but you're not eating smart.

In order to build the body you want (the thunderous arms and the rock-hard abs, the lightning-quick brain and the unquenchable libido) you need to make every bite of food you put in your mouth count. That means building your diet around the most potent, nutrient-dense, disease-fighting, muscle-growing foods around.

But where do you start? And what foods are the absolute fittest? To find out, we decided to put some of the nation's top nutritionists to the test.

First, we polled 40 of the country's most respected health experts -registered dietitians, college nutrition professors, and authors-asking them each: What are the 20 most important foods every guy should include in his diet for maximum fitness? Then, as the results rolled in, we ranked our experts' recommendations.

We not only tell you which foods made the list, but how much of each you should eat on a weekly basis. So read on to see how you can make your diet more fit.

20. Turkey Breast
72 calories per 3-oz serving

Eat 3 servings per week

Buy it skinless and you get seven grams of muscle-building protein per ounce. Turkey is high in B vitamins, zinc (a known booster of sperm production), and the cancer fighter selenium. "It's also got a ton of amino acids, and there are little or no saturated fats," says Elizabeth Ward, M.S., R.D., a nutritionist in Reading, Mass. "Plus, it's one of the most versatile cuts of meat around, so you can easily eat it throughout the week and never have the same thing twice."

19. Olive Oil

119 calories per tbsp

Eat 2 tbsp per day

Olive oil is rich in good monounsaturated fat, making it an ideal food for heart health. In fact, studies show that replacing two tablespoons of saturated fat (found in butter and lard) with monounsaturated fat may reduce the risk of heart disease. But that's not the only reason to eat it. A study in the journal Nature reports that olive oil also has potent anti-inflammatory properties, meaning it can help reduce pain and swelling just like a dose of ibuprofen. In addition to cooking with olive oil and using it as a dressing for your salad, you can get even more in your diet by mixing a tablespoon or two into your daily protein shake.

18. Quinoa
318 calories per half cup

Eat 2-3 servings per week

Chances are you may not be familiar with this exotic whole grain grown in the Andes mountains. But you should be. It has a light, mild flavor-making it ideal for guys who hate other whole grains. Even better, it's higher in protein than any other grain around, and packs a hefty dose of heart-healthy unsaturated fats. "Quinoa is also a great source of fiber and B vitamins," says Christopher Mohr, Ph.D., R.D. a professor of nutrition at the University of Louisville.

17. Black Beans
227 calories per cup

Eat 2 servings per week

Tiny as they are, beans can help you feel energized and fuller longer than almost anything else you can eat. The reason is twofold: They're incredibly high in fiber, which swells in your stomach and promotes a feeling of fullness. And, they're stuffed with a highly complex form of carbohydrate that can take your body a long while to convert into energy. Like meat, they're also packed with protein. But unlike meat, they've got no saturated fats. "Beans of all types are always high on most nutritionists' lists," says Chicago-based nutritionist Jennifer R. Bathgate, R.D. So why'd our experts pick the black variety? Easy. Ounce for ounce, they have more fiber per serving than any other member of the legume family.

16. Green Tea

2 calories per cup

Drink 1-3 cups per day

From cancer prevention to weight loss to potentially slowing the development of Alzheimer's, green tea has been shown to help fight almost every major medical ill. "Hot or cold, there's almost nothing better you can drink," says Mohr. Not the teabagging type? Try buying a liquid extract. Drop a bit in water and voila! Instant tea.

15. Eggs

74 calories per large egg

Eat 3-7 eggs per week

"An egg a day is A-OK," says Ward. Here's why: Eggs contain a heavy-hitting 4 grams of pure muscle-building amino acids inside every shell, in addition to boasting some of the highest naturally available doses around of a vitamin called choline, which is thought to help enhance memory. "They're the gold standard in terms of providing all the right nutrients for muscle growth," says Ward.

14. Milk
118 calories per cup

Get 3 servings of dairy per day

You know milk does a body good, but you may not know that skipping dairy makes your body angry, sort of. When you're not getting enough, your body releases hormones that cause your cells to retain calcium-and fat, says Michael Zemel, Ph.D., director of The Nutrition Institute at the University of Tennessee. Calories still count, so you should drink your milk by the glass rather than the gallon. But just make sure you get some. "There are components in dairy that help turn on your body's fat-burning system and slow down the storage of fat," says Zemel. And although other forms of supplements are great, this is one case in which the real thing works the best.

13. Water

0 calories

Drink Eight 8-oz glasses per day

You know you need to be drinking more water, and for good reason. Water flushes toxins from your system, regulates body temp, acts as an insulator for joints, prevents kidney stones, and supplies the body with a raft of crucial minerals, says Marietta Amatangelo, R.D., of Germantown, Md. "Without water, none of the other super-foods would matter."

Although water helps in every way, it may be at its most powerful when it comes to weight loss. Drinking a glass or two of water a half hour or so before mealtime, for example, can help take the edge off your hunger.

Getting in all that water each day seem like a drag? Try making a half gallon of sugar-free lemonade you can sip throughout the day, or buy a pack of calorie-free flavorings to add to your water bottle at work.

12. Sweet Potatoes

100 calories per med. potato

Eat 1 per week

A four-ounce sweet potato holds more than 100% of our daily supply of beta carotene, a hefty dose of iron, and a plentiful shot of vitamins C and E. Together, these nutrients work together to protect your body against cellular damage of all types, especially in athletes who compete in extreme environments (such as altitude, heat, cold, or pollution). They're also one of the best foods for muscle recovery after a tough workout, says California sports nutritionist Kim Mueller, R.D.

And there are more ways to eat them than just baked, boiled, or topped with marshmallows. Try stirring cooked, diced sweet potato into chili or your favorite potato-salad recipe. You can also grate them into hamburgers or meatloaf, or use them to make your own oven-baked fries.

11. Soy

300 calories per cup

Eat 2 servings per week

If tough Navy SEALs eat soybeans, you can, too. Dietitian Wendy Jo Peterson, of Virginia Beach, who's married to a SEAL, serves him and his Navy buddies edamame. "They think they don't like it until I make them try it, and afterward, I tell them it's soybeans." Peterson calls soy a "perfect food." It has the protein of meat, the fiber of a whole grain, and the antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals of the best vegetables and fruits. If you don't like tofu and soy milk-there are easy ways to boost your soy intake. Soy nuts and the soy protein used in some protein shakes and bars not only taste great but are very guy-friendly.

10. Beef

163 calories per 3-oz serving

Eat 3-4 servings per week

It's not only high in muscle-building amino acids, it's also a powerhouse of iron and zinc, which aid circulatory health. In fact, beef is so nutrient-dense that a three-ounce serving supplies more than 10% of your recommended daily intake of a number of nutrients, including protein, B6 and B12, selenium, phosphorus, niacin, and riboflavin. Worried about the fat? Don't. According to USDA data, today's beef is up to 20% leaner than it was a decade ago. In fact, 19 cuts of beef meet government guidelines as being a lean meat. To keep the meat you're buying lean as well as tender and flavorful, opt for cuts with the words round or top in the name-things like eye round roast, top round, or top sirloin steak.

9. Whole-Wheat Bread
140 calories per 2 slices

Eat 6 slices per week

White flour doesn't just rob you of fiber and protein, it also digests incredibly quickly in the body, giving you a rapid spike of energy-but one that comes crashing down just as fast. Over time, those spikes in insulin production wear on the body, damaging cells and promoting excess storage of fat. So why would you ever eat white bread?

"Even if you're cutting carbs, there's still a place for complex whole grains in your diet," says Mohr. "They leave you feeling fuller longer, and they provide the longest possible supply of sustained energy." Just watch out when you're buying something that claims to be whole grain. It may only look brown because it's colored with molasses. Rather than buying based on color, check the ingredient list. The only true whole-grain products are those that contain 100% whole wheat or whole grain listed as the first ingredient on the packaging.

8. Almonds

82 calories per 1/2-oz serving

Eat 3 servings per week

High in protein, fiber, and vitamin E, almonds are great for your heart, digestive system, and skin. Although they're also loaded with healthy unsaturated fats, some guys avoid them because they're so calorie-dense. But that's a mistake. Gary Fraser, Ph.D., a professor of medicine at Loma Linda University in California, studied folks who added two ounces of almonds to their diet on a regular basis. Turns out they had no significant weight change. "Since nuts are such a hard food, it appears that a significant amount of their calories are never absorbed into the body," he says.

To work more almonds into your diet, try keeping a bag of dry-roasted or lightly seasoned almonds in your desk drawer at work-and snack on a handful rather than hitting the vending machine. You can also blend almond butter into smoothies, or use it in place of peanut butter to make an, uh, AB&J sandwich.

7. Yogurt

154 calories per cup

Get 3 servings of dairy per day

Yogurt has all the benefits of milk, plus active cultures that boost the number of germ-fighting bacteria along your intestinal walls, says Mueller. Why does that matter? It helps keep you from getting sick. Studies show that people who eat yogurt most often are less likely to catch a cold than people who rarely eat the stuff. Like milk, yogurt contains calcium that not only boosts fat-burning but also helps you feel satiated, making it an ideal food for weight loss. "Try to buy yogurt that is less than a week old to ensure you're getting the most benefit from the active cultures," she says. (The later the product's expiration date, the newer it is.) One word of caution: Most yogurt is packed with added sugar and high-fructose corn syrup.

6. Spinach

7 calories per cup

Eat 2-3 servings per week

What do button-down dietitians have in common with brawl-happy cartoon sailors? They all love their spinach! And for good reason. One serving of these leafy greens is loaded with fiber, calcium, and virtually your entire day's recommended dosage of beta carotene, a nutrient vital for immune-system health, good vision, but not-as far as we know-huge wrist flexors.

If you can't stand spinach plain, Katherine Tallmadge, R.D., author of Diet Simple, suggests dropping it into burritos, pasta dishes and canned soup.

5. Broccoli

31 calories per cup

Eat 2-3 half-cup servings per week

This fleshy green should be at the top of your list when it comes to vegetables. It's rich with a healthy supply of iron, calcium, fiber, and vitamin C, meaning it's good for the circulatory system, bones, and fighting colds. "As far as vegetables go, this is the one I try hardest to get more guys to eat," says Niki Kubiak, R.D., a private practice nutritionist in Omaha, Neb. Brocco-phobic? Try it on the sly: Slip it into stir-fries, onto pizza, or use raw chunks as a vehicle for your favorite dip.

4. Tomatoes

83 calories per cup

Eat 4 servings per week

Yes, it's true that tomatoes used to be called "love apples" and have a reputation as a powerful aphrodisiac. But that lore has nothing to do with why we picked the tomato as the best food for Eat to Beat Prostate Cancer. "You can start off the day with a glass of tomato juice and have a tomato-based sauce a couple of times a week. However you can work it in, you're pretty much on the way."

3. Oatmeal

148 calories per half cup

Eat 3-4 servings per week

When it comes to eating breakfast in the morning, there's nothing better than a bowl of oatmeal to spike your energy levels and provide you with an hours-long supply of fuel. Oatmeal is also filled with stress-fighting and immunity-boosting zinc.

If that weren't enough to convince you to pop a bowl in the microwave, keep in mind that oatmeal can also help promote weight loss and lower your risk of heart disease. Oatmeal is filled with high levels of soluble fiber that protect your heart and arteries by trapping and expelling cholesterol, dropping levels by up to 30 points or more in some cases, says Kubiak.

The best oatmeal may not be the most convenient, however. Those flavored, single-serving packs that litter grocery-store aisles are often filled with added sugar-and therefore excess calories. Instead, stick with the big tub of instant oatmeal and add your own fruit and calorie-free sweeteners, if you need them.

2. Blueberries

41 calories per half cup

Eat 1-2 cups per week

Of all the fruit you can eat, blueberries may be the absolute best. Whether you're getting them raw, tossed into cereal, mixed in fruit salad or a smoothie, blueberries pack more fiber, vitamins, and minerals per ounce than any other fruit in the produce aisle. Chief among those nutrients are free-radical-fighting antioxidants. Free radicals, which increase in number as you get older, travel around your body damaging cells, promoting disease, and triggering signs of premature aging. And blueberries harness the firepower to knock them out of service.

Need another reason to eat them? How about your memory? Those same antioxidants that fight disease are also effective in helping keep connections between cells in your brain and nervous system healthy, ensuring clearer, quicker thinking and the best memory possible.

1. Salmon
121 calories per 3-oz serving

Eat 3-4 servings per week

Salmon made out list for a number of reasons, but the biggest has got to be because its so densely stuffed with omega-3's. These fatty acids are thought to slow memory loss as you age and boost heart health by regulating heart rhythms and keeping arteries and veins supple and free of blockages. While saturated fats lead to obesity, the polyunsaturated fatty acids in fish appear to correct and prevent obesity, according to a study published in Clinical Science.

And that's just the tip of the iceberg. Salmon is also an excellent source of protein. A three-ounce cooked serving contains 20 grams-making it ideal for building muscle and trimming fat. Besides helping stimulate your metabolism three to four times more than carbs or fat, protein is the absolute best food for helping fill you up, so you take in fewer calories and burn more. And that's what being a fit food is all about.


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Perfect Rep Range


When you enter the gym, leave your counting at the door. Tracking reps just leads to confusion:
"Is it low reps for mass and high reps to drop fat? Is it the other way around? Perhaps moderate reps are best for overall performance."
"What counts as a high vs. low rep? What one person considers 12 reps at high weight could be another's warm-up."
And so on. We've all heard numerous "rep-range" arguments, so let's sort through the bro science and take a look on what's really the best choice.
First off: The whole "low reps for mass, high reps for cutting" is a myth. There's no rep range that can make up for a lack of intensity, so train without the constraints a set number may place on you. Follow my three resistance tips to help focus on what's really important when you enter the gym—gaining mass and cutting fat.


Regardless of your fitness goals, push yourself in both weight and volume. While it might seem simple, intensity is actually a hard-to-grasp concept. Believe it or not, most people haven't taken their training to that next level. Break out of your comfort zone and change your mental approach to resistance. Here's my simple challenge to you: Keep the weight; change the mindset. Pick any compound exercise—squat, bench press, deadlift—and set the weight you can typically do for 10-12 reps. Now, instead of approaching that weight with the idea of doing 12 squats, set a rep range beyond what you can do in one set without pausing.
Can you typically bench 225 pounds for 10-12 reps? Load the bar with 225 pounds and set a bold goal, say 75 reps total. While you'll likely have to pause to reach your goal, you've permanently altered your mindset. You've gone from expecting to complete a comfortable 10 reps to thinking, "I have 75 total reps to attain, and I want to accomplish my goal as quickly as possible, so I'm going to get in as many reps as possible before pausing." You'll be surprised what you can motivate yourself to do.


Don't bother crunching the numbers. Make the breakdown of muscle tissue, not the number of reps, your primary goal. You can break down muscle tissue in more than just one way. Try to alternate your training between volume, speed, and resistance. Use these various training techniques and aim to overload the targeting muscle group instead of focusing on a number.
Here's a sample workout which displays a combination of volume, speed, and resistance training:
Sample Blast Training Workout
Increase weight with each set.
Use a moderate weight.
Increase weight with each set.
Use a moderate weight.
Increase weight with each set.
Use moderate weight.
 Printable Page   PDF Document


Finally, incorporate sets to failure in every workout. Training to complete exhaustion ensures that you're both training with intensity and breaking down muscle tissue in the process. Assuming your nutrition and supplementation are in check, this will only produce positive results.