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Creating An Anabolic State That Supports Muscle Growth
By: Rick Mitchell
You can only build muscle if your body is in the correct anabolic balance to allow growth to take place. Intensive exercise is clearly an important part of the muscle building process but achieving the maximum muscle mass depends on putting the building blocks in place. This is achieved through sound nutritional practices so you need to be aware of the following anabolic enhancing principles:
1. Protein is the basic raw material needed to build muscle. Protein supplies the amino acids that the body uses to repair and build muscle following intensive exercise. Aim to consume 1 to 1.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight each day from food like beef, fish, poultry, eggs, milk and whey. Spread the load over at least six meals to derive the optimum benefit and avoid overloading the liver.
2. Carbohydrates are needed to energize the muscle building process. Carbohydrates stimulate the release of insulin which pushes the amino acids into muscle cells to begin the process of repair. The body uses carbohydrates as a source of energy - consume too little and the body will steal protein that would otherwise be used for repairing and building muscle. Aim to consume 1.5 to 2 grams of carbohydrate per pound of body weight each day from foods like potatoes, pasta, rice, vegetables and whole wheat bread.
3. Boost your calories. Unless your main aim is to reduce fat you need a positive caloric balance if you want to build muscle. Make sure that your daily calorie intake is 10% higher than your energy expenditure for daily maintenance and that the calories are acquired from a diet characterized by a ratio of 50% carbohydrates, 40% proteins and 10% fat.
4. Get plenty of rest both in terms of adequate rest days between training sessions and sufficient sleep. Your muscles won't grow if you don't build adequate recovery time into your training program. Similarly, you can only optimize your body's levels of testosterone and growth hormone if you spend enough time sleeping.
5. Consume quality supplements to support a sound nutritious diet. For most people it should be enough to add whey protein, creatine and l-glutamine to your daily diet.
6. Don't overdo the aerobic exercise. Your aim is to increase muscle mass therefore you don't want to burn excessive calories that could be utilized for bulking up.
7. Drink plenty of water. Failure to drink sufficient quantities of water will lead to dehydration and adversely affect your muscle mass. Don't forget that muscle is 70% water so a generous intake will maintain muscle volume and help growth.
About the Author
Rick Mitchell is the creator of the bodybuildingadvisor.com website that provides guidance and information to athletes at all levels of bodybuilding experience. Go to Bodybuilding Advice to learn more about the issues covered in this article.
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The Power of Stretching - Dave Snape
muscles ache from a good stretch. This is quite
normal and is part of the process. Stretching has
seemingly been with us and particularly with athletes
since the beginning of time.
A very key point to good stretching is to hold the
stretch for at least seventeen seconds. This is a
pearl of wisdom gleaned from a ballet teacher a few
years back. She said that any stretch under 17
seconds was just not effective.
The 17 second rule is exceeded in the high intensity
Bikram's yoga where stretches are held for about 30
seconds. Don't forget the high level of heat that is
used in Bikram's to extract that last little bit of
stretch out of your muscles. An interesting twist
is not necessary to gain benefits from stretching.
it can't hurt, right?
So what kind of benefits can you expect from
stretching? That's an easy one. Have you ever seen
movie, Blood Sport? Did you know that Frank Dux could
truly stretch his body to the extreme. The actor that
played him was quite elastic as well.
Great elasticity is also something you might see in
well trained Spetsnaz (Russian) agents. They often
out with Russian kettlebells too. They are for
strength gains and the ability to withstand ballistic
Why are stretching and flexibility considered
to these people? Stretching gives one the ability to
have explosive power available at one's fingertips
without the need to warm up. Of course most of us are
not martial artists or agents. But, you'll be happy
know there are plenty of other benefits.
Let me give you an example. After learning to sit in
the full lotus position for long periods of time, my
ankles became very flexible. One day I was walking
along and my left foot fell into a pothole. This
pushed my ankle sideways to about 90 degrees from
Amazingly, this didn't even hurt, not one bit. If my
ankle hadn't been so flexible, I may have suffered a
sprained ankle. At the very least, it would have hurt
Key point: stretching helps you to avoid injuries.
Not only that but if you do have a muscle, tendon or
ligament injury it should heal faster, theoretically
Stretching actually grows the ligaments, tendons and
muscles being stretched. They really grow longer over
Check with your physician before undertaking any type
of exercise, including stretching.
Here is some good
instructional material on stretching:
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