The Best Methods for Muscle Mass – study data

Best Methods for Mass

There are tons of myths circulating the Internet and gyms regarding how to build muscle mass.

Don’t get caught up in them like I did and waste time with little gains.

Let’s look at the scientific data from numerous studies by athletic trainers and physical therapists.

This is the “Real Deal”.

How to Maximize Muscle Growth
  • Specific exercises have nothing to do with muscle growth…it’s how you train that matters.
  • 3 sets per session results in the best muscle gains. There is no data for more sets that 3. 1 and 2 sets resulted in less muscle gains.
  • Rest time between sets should be between 1 minute and 5 minutes. Longer or shorter rest times result in less growth.
  • All sets need to be done until 1 more rep is not possible but not necessarily to failure.
  • Rep ranges of 3-12 are good for muscle mass as long as you go until 1 more rep is not possible.
  • 1 set must be 10 reps. For each exercise, perform 1 set of 10 RM. For whatever reason this one set of 10 increases muscle growth more than not doing one.
  • Progressive Overload – increase the weight each week by any amount.
  • Try to push or pull the weight as fast as possible but not jerky or with poor form. Speed does have an effect on muscle growth.
  • Training Frequency – more is better. 3 times per week for trained lifters is much better than 1 or 2. 4 or 5 is better for untrained lifters.
  • Diet – eat a nutritious diet with an ample amount of calories. You can gain muscle in a deficit but it is not optimal. Carbs do optimize muscle growth. Keto diets are not optimal for muscle growth.

Here is the full article…The Best Way to Train for Size

Simple Fat Loss Diet – Steak and Egg Diet

If you are looking for a diet for cutting and/or bodybuilding competition prep then try the “Old School” Steak and Egg Diet by Vince Gironda. It’s essentially a modified Keto Diet and it WORKS. Get shredded in 4 weeks.

…people have lost 1-2 lbs of fat per week.

Steak and Egg Diet

It’s very simple….you eat steak and eggs at each meal. You only eat 2 meals per day. You eat a 1 lb steak and 4-6 eggs. You can cook with butter or oil. No Carbs at all…not even veggies!

You can drink water and black coffee only.

You follow this meal plan for 4 days and then you cheat for one day. On the cheat day, you eat ANYTHING you want. The purpose of the cheat day is to keep your hormones balanced.

Many bodybuilders use this diet for competition prep. It’s simple and highly effective.

Muscle Growth Carb Myth

There are a lot of bodybuilding diet myths… and I followed many of them for years.

Here is the most critical one…

…”You have to eat a ton of carbs to get big (muscular)”

This is not true as far as muscle growth is concerned. If you eat a ton of carbs, you will get big and fat.

Carbs to the human body are fuel and NOT muscle building material. The human body cannot make muscle tissue from carbs.

ONLY protein causes MPS or Muscle Protein Synthesis along with progressive overload exercise. BUT resistance training without protein will give you NOTHING.

Every time you eat protein, your body will build muscle tissue. Even if you don’t workout, your body will use the protein to build muscle and other tissue but not fat.

So to maximize muscle growth, you should eat protein every 4-5 hours and especially before bedtime. Protein at night will stimulate muscle growth while you’re sleeping.

I eat protein pre-workout, post-workout, at lunch, dinner and an hour before bedtime. I eat slow digesting protein at night like cottage cheese or milk/casein protein.

Try it

Insulin – Fat Storing Hormone Scientific Results

OK…I’ve been wondering…

Is it true that Insulin and Carbs make you fat?

…the short answer is YES.

Here’s the proof….

5800 Calories on a Low Carb High Fat Diet for 21 days = little fat gain 

So here’s the test… Sam Feltham ate 5800 calories per day on a Low Carb High Fat diet for 21 days and gained a mere 3.5 lbs. If you add up the calories, he should have gained 16.5 + lbs. 5800 calories is a ton of food!

Why only 3.5 lb gain?

…Insulin or the lack of. Insulin causes energy storage also known as fat. Low insulin levels reduce or prevent fat storage. Keep your insulin levels low and you will either loose fat or not gain any depending on the calories eaten.

So how does this compare to a person eating the same number of calories but with more carbs?

Another human guinea pig…. Morgan Spurlock ate 5000 calories of high carb high fat for 30 days and gained 24.5 lbs.

It is true that carbs tend to cause fat storage. You can eat more when you lower your carb intake and not gain fat…you may even burn some fat.

Weightlifting Shoes for Bodybuilding

Which weightlifting shoes are good for bodybuilding?

Here are my picks…

  • Under Armor Charged Legend
  • Under Armor Limitless 3.0
  • Nike Free Trainer 5.0 V6
  • New Balance Minimus 40

Click Here to buy the Under Armor Limitless 3.0 shoes at Amazon with Free Shipping and a discounted price

Why I picked these 4 shoes for bodybuilding
  • Flat soles for solid support and good transfer of energy to the floor. You don’t want running shoes for body building although you could for most exercises but not squats or deadlifts. Running shoes have a lot of padding in the sole which can make you a little unstable in a heavy lift.
  • Good Toe Box space to allow your toes to spread out and not get squeezed together.
  • Comfort: descent padding to make them comfortable for short periods of walking or running
  • Appearance: look great with any shorts/socks
  • Ventilated Upper to keep your feet aerated and cool
  • Fit: fits your foot like a glove but not too tight and does not allow your foot to move around.
  • Price:  $50 – $80
  • Good color selection – I like variety
  • Non skid rubber soles

I have 2 pairs of the Under Armor Limitless 3.0, one in black and the other in gray. These are my favorites. They fit better than any athletic/crossfit shoe I have tried on. They are great for bodybuilding because they combine comfort and support. They are like combining a weightlifting shoe and a walking shoe. The best of both worlds. I squat and deadlift in them but not heavy.

Under Armor Limitless 3.0 bodybuilding shoes

The Under Armor Charge Legends are more towards a weightlifting or powerlifting shoe. There is less cushion and a little more room for your toes. They look great and fit very well. These are great for bodybuilding and some powerlifting but not Olympic or competition lifting.  Don’t plan on walking or running in these for more than 30 minutes. There isn’t much padding and so your feet will hurt after a while. Get the Limitless 3.0 for walking or running plus lifting.

Under Armor Charge Legends weightlifting shoes

The Nike Free Trainer 5.0 V6 are more of a weightlifting, crossfit or powerlifting shoe. These are my favorite shoe for squatting and deadlifting. The stability and support are unlike any other shoe. You can feel the ground underneath your feet and makes you more stable. The Free Trainers have less padding/cushion than the other 2 which is ideal for powerlifting. More energy gets transferred to the floor instead of being absorbed by padding. These are comfortable for lifting but not walking or running for more than 20 minutes or so.

New Balance Minimus 40 Lifting Shoes

I just bought these about 1 month ago and I have to say they are “da bomb”. I loooove these shoes.

I wasn’t shopping for lifting shoes at the time but I ran across these and had to have them. The color combo is unlike any shoe I have seen. It’s the Black/Green color. I bought them online for $119. They’re expensive but they really are fantastic for weight lifting.

I’m not a New Balance person but I have had some in the past. But they were running shoes. I did use they for weight training for a while. I never really cared for New Balance in the past….until now.

The New Balance Minimus 40’s are perfect. There’s room for your feet but not too much. The Toe Box is excellent. It gives your toes room to spread out but not enough that your foot moves inside the shoe. You get great foot support in the arch and heel. Just what you want for squatting and deadlifting. These fit great and look great. It doesn’t get any better than this. These are my favorite weight lifting shoe now.

Check them out here….New Balance Minimus 40 at Amazon.com

New Balance Miimus 40

Good Squatting Shoes – How to Lift More

So what are good squatting shoes?

…basically anything that is relatively flat without a lot of cushion.

…Converse sneakers are popular at the LA Fitness that I go to.

…so are Nike Metcon and Nike Free Trainer 5.0 – I wear both of these. They are great for squatting and deadlifting.

Nike Metcon 3/4 Benefits
  • Solid flat sole – maximum support for stability and transfer of force to the floor. Rubber/soft cushion soles absorb pressure or force which reduces the force transfered to the floor. Result: you lift less. Not good.
  • Roomy toe box – plenty of room for your toes to spread out. Most sneakers squeeze your toes together. Not good
  • Wide sole – provides maximum stability and force transfer to the floor. Result: you lift more
  • Breathable Upper – helps your feet breath and stay comfortable.
Nike Metcon 3 Reviews

Hubby has had both of the previous versions of this shoe and no longer wears Nanos. He says that the biggest difference for him is the Flywire – it allows him to tighten the shoe all the way around the foot for a more customized fit while still leaving plenty of room in the toe box. We originally purchased the yellow and grey and are exchanging them for another color – the colors of the shoe itself are fine, but he doesn’t like the paint splatter look. I attached a closeup pic of the splatter, since it’s hard to really see it without zooming way in on the item pic. This is not the fault of the manufacturer or seller and doesn’t affect the shoe rating, just a matter of personal preference!

This is my go-to gym shoe. Sole is flat, grippy and hard, perfect for those leg squat exercises. Not much cushioning going on, but that is a plus. Breathes well in hot climate (Thailand). The rubber sole grips seriously well, and the sole wraps on the inner side of the shoe allows it to climb gym ropes with ease.

I spent 24 hours straight field testing on a 40kg tire dragging, 24 hours non-stop race. No blisters. Has high friction coefficient.
Lasts 10 – 15 minutes on the treadmill before you start wishing you brought your running shoes. But this is not what it is designed for.

GREAT SHOES! I wear a womens size 11 but prefer the width of the men’s. These are awesome! They make a HUGE difference with working on my dead lifts then i can go straight to running! I would not use these as a long distance run shoe but I really do like these!

Amazing shoes! I started CrossFit about 9 months ago and love it but needed something better than the Brooks Beast for lifting and squatting. In the brooks I felt unstable, in these MetCon 3’s I feel super planted to the ground which lets me lift and perform better! Highly recommend, I will probably get another pair in a different color.

Click here now to buy a pair of Nike Metcon 3/4 from Amazon + Free shipping and a discount

Progressive Overload – What you should know

Increasing the weight you lift may not be the best method of Progressive Overload…even though that’s what you’ll read all over the Internet. I know because that’s all I found.

….is there a more effective method of progressive overload?

….let’s take a analytical view

…by increasing your BB Bench Press (example: 200 lbs x 6 reps) by 5 lbs, you will increase your workload by 5/200 or 2.5%

….by increasing your reps (with the same weight) by 2, you increase the workload by 2/6 or 33%

….by increasing the number of sets (example: 4 sets of 6 reps) by 1, you increase the workload by 1/4 or 25%

As you can see, increasing the weight is the least effective method of progressive overload and will cause a plateau in a short period of time.

Increasing reps and/or sets will create a greater overload on your muscles causing more growth. (Watch Tom Platz do a leg workout.)

You can’t continue to add reps and/or sets beyond 4-6 weeks though and this is where you change exercises or increase the weight and start all over.

Start at 10 sets per body part per week, then add 1 set per week and stop when you get to 20 sets. The rep range can be from 6 – 30 depending on the body part.

For years, I tried increasing the weight and nothing else and got nowhere. The weight I lifted stopped going up after a few months. And I did not grow much.

Now I practice High Volume Training and really like the results.

Checkout GVT or German Volume Training. It’s difficult but it’s very effective at building muscle.

What Are The Best Squat Shoes?

So, what are the best squat shoes?

…it depends on your goal

… Olympic Powerlifting?

…Bodybuilding?

…Crossfit?

Weightlifting Shoes for Squats (powerlifting)- requirements
  •  Medium Height and Solid Heels- positions your feet and body in a balanced and stable position which will maximize your lifting power and enable deeper squats. Cushion heels will absorb force instead of transferring it to the floor…You don’t want that for powerlifting
  • Extra Wide – allows your toes to spread out instead of being squished together. This gives your feet a better stance for stability and comfort
  • Rigid Sole – more foot support for even force exertion, transfer and stability
  • Wide Strap Fastener – quick and secure fastening of the shoe provides an “lock down” fit.
  • Breathable Upper – permits air circulation for better comfort
Best Squat Shoes for Olympic Powerlifting

…Adidas Powerlift 3.1

Powerlift 3.1 Features

  • Synthetic – breathable and durable upper
  • Hight Density Synthetic sole – transfers maximum force directly to the floor – permits greater lifts
  • Shaft measures approximately low-top from arch
  • Lightweight synthetic leather upper for ankle support and durability
  • Air mesh collar, tongue and lining for maximum breathability
  • Open forefoot structure and flexible toe for enhanced comfort and breathability
Adidas Powerlift 3.1 Reviews

I’ve been lifting seriously for a little over two years now but never came around to buying power lifting shoes because I felt like I should squat as much as I can “naturally” without any help. Well I got to a point where my form started to break down under heavier weight because I couldnt reach a depth that was comfortable with my legs and hips without leaning too forward and compromising my lower back. Since trying these shoes I’ve had to amazing squat sessions and my ankles couldn’t be happier. My technique is a bit more cleaner and I’m coming out of the hole much more faster thanks to the extra mobility I get from the raised heel.

Creates a stable foot base when lifting, especially heavier weight. Comfortable like normal adidas shoes. Eliminates the sway/ creep you feel in cross trainers or running shoes when lifting. They really help especially when your mentally focusing on proper movement and muscle targeting.

These were my first pair of lifting shoes and after looking at every pair out their I decided to not go all out on my first pair in case I didn’t like them. These got decent reviews so I pulled the trigger. They keep me way more stable doing squats. I feel like it’s easier to get lower with these and I was immediately able to push 15-20lbs more on squat. I would buy these again.

Used for 10 squat sessions and wow what a difference. These did NOT increase my lift however the stability I gained and the sure surefootedness is incredible. Purchased a 13.5 since I wear a 13w dead on fit. Also noticed knee not as sore when I went max weight. Really balances lift and you can feel the weight during the lift balanced better throughout lower body.

Click Here now to buy the Adidas Powerlift 3.1 shoes at Amazon + free shipping and a discount

Best Protein Powder – Value and Quality

There are tons of protein powders on the market…some are very good while others are not.

So how do you know which ones are good and which are not?

The easiest way is by lab tests. The product has to be tested by a professional independent lab in order to get to the truth. You really never know what’s in a product unless it is tested by an independent lab. The label does not always tell you everything. Don’t trust them!!!

…check out http://www.labdoor.com for test results of various supplements.

So what’s the best protein powder?

MyProtein Supplements at Amazon

3Li 100%
5.5 lb Whey Protein Isolate

MyProtein has the absolute best quality protein powder without any harmful chemicals or heavy metals. Other big brand protein powders have some questionable ingredients. So beware!

MyProtein whey protein isolate and the micellar casein protein powders mix very well and taste great. I bought a 5.5 lb bag of the whey protein isolate and a 2 lb bag of the micellar casein protein powder. The price is amazing!! I paid $35 for the 5.5 lb bag of whey protein powder. That’s about the same price as 2 lb of most other brands. MyProtein is the best of both worlds….quality and price.

http://www.myprotein.com

Training Frequency for Maximum Muscle Growth

This question is asked a million times on the forums/fitness websites…”How often should I train body parts?”

I had wondered if 2x per week was optimal. I never thought so but never had proof until now.

**** Look at male gymnasts….they train everyday… some 6x per week. They’re arms are incredible.

male gymnast arms

**** How about crosfit athletes? They train the same body parts everyday. Female crosfit athletes have big legs.

female crosfit muscular legs

I ran across an article the other day that tested muscle growth in 2 groups of men. One group resistance trained 1x per week while the 2nd group trained 3x per week. Both groups trained for 12 weeks with each performing the exact same workout and the exact same number of sets. The 2nd group did less sets per day but worked out more days.

The results were interesting to say the least. The first group (worked out 1x per week) gained 1 lb of muscle while the 2nd group (worked out 3x per week) gained 4 lbs of muscle in 12 weeks.

A lot of people say muscles need 2 or 3 days to grow/recover. I don’t believe that’s true. I think it’s more like 24 hours. The microscopic tears in the muscle are repaired rather quickly. It’s not like when you cut yourself or strain a muscle. That’s a lot of damage.

Here’s more proof….(http://www.nrcresearchpress.com/doi/abs/10.1139/h95-038#.Vtcc3fkrJpg)

Muscle protein synthetic rate (MPS) was measured after heavy, resistance training and here is what was discovered. Muscle protein synthesis increased 50% 4 hours after training and 109% at 24 hours. At 36 hours muscle protein synthesis was almost back to normal.

So it looks like 24-30 hours maybe optimal recovery. I found it hard to believe it takes 2 or 3 days for muscles to recover/grow.

Let’s put it to the test. I’m going to squat 4-5 days a week. I’ll measure my legs before and weekly. Let’s see if they grow faster than 2x per week.

…stay tuned.