Archive for the tag - body building

How to Get Veins to Pop on Your Biceps…

Dear Davey,

Something tells me it’s genetic, but I want those bad ass bicep veins!

A friend of mine has them and he doesn’t do any of the lifting and cardio that I do. Am I not lifting enough? Am I not running enough? Please help, Davey Wavey, it’s almost beach season.

Yours truly,

Dear Nardo90,

Getting visible veins wasn’t something that the instructors taught us during my personal training courses, but I know where you’re coming from. It’s admittedly superficial, but still quite sexy. Beyond the biceps, I also enjoy veins in the area just below the lower abs, leading down to the crotch. Shallow? Yes. But also a bit delicious.

First things first, the amount to which your veins “pop” is determined by both your genetics and your body fat percentage. Since you can’t change your genes, it makes sense to focus on what you can control: Leaning yourself out. To make your veins highly visible, target a body fat percentage of 6% – 8% through a combination of strength training (increased muscle mass will incinerate calories), cardio (especially interval training) and proper diet. At 9% – 12% most major veins should be visible.

While veins in the forearms are easier to achieve, it’s much more difficult with the biceps, triceps and shoulders. It will take time and dedication, but if it’s very important to you – it’s possible to make it happen.

Also, keep in mind that veins are more visible after you exercise and when your body is dehydrated. While I don’t recommend dehydration as a tactic – as it’s actually very detrimental – it is how many body builders achieve the effects you see in pictures and in magazines. That, and sometimes a little help from Photoshop. ๐Ÿ™‚


How Big is Too Big?

Like just about anything, working out – and the desire to be bigger – can become an addiction.

You’ve probably seen guys and girls with muscles on top of muscle on top of muscles. I’ve seen guys (like the man in this picture) whose muscles are so large that it interferes with the body’s functionality. You can’t really walk down a street when your thighs are the size of redwood trunks.

I also don’t find it particularly attractive.

How does it happen? Did he wake up on day and say, “I want to be huge!” Probably not. If you’ve ever tasted the sweetness of achieving your fitness goals, you’ll probably understand the slippery slope. Achieving the results you want is intoxicating. For a lot of people, it helps them feel good about themselves. And so it’s much more alluring to raise the bar again and go for even bigger muscles, rather than to switch into a maintenance mode. It’s a state of always striving and never really arriving.

I enjoy working out. I like the way my body feels after I’ve spent 90 minutes exercising it and getting it moving. And yes, I enjoy achieving results. But I try to check myself so as not to let my gym time fuel a real addiction. And as an extra safeguard, I’ve told my friends to wave a red flag if I ever start showing signs of addiction.

Indeed, there is a fine line between being athletic and healthy, and being too big. How big is too big for you?

6 Reasons Why Your Muscle-Building Workout Isn’t Building Muscle.

You're welcome.

Increasing strength and building muscle mass is a common fitness goal. But often, guys and gals aren’t seeing the results that they had hoped for. Here are 7 reasons why:

  1. You aren’t sleeping enough. It’s 5am as I write this post, so I feel a bit like I’m throwing stones in a glass house. But it’s true: During sleep – especially deep sleep – the body is able to repair and rebuild the muscle fibers that are destroyed during exercise. 8 hours is the recommendation.
  2. You aren’t getting enough protein. Diet is important. Protein is the building blocks for muscles; if you’re not getting enough of it, then your muscles won’t be able to rebuild after they broken down from exercise. Find out how much and what kind of protein you should be taking.
  3. You are over-training. Your muscles need time to recover; if you train the same muscle groups each day, then you’re not giving them enough time to rebuild. Therefore, it makes sense to break your workout up. Do legs one day, arms another, and so on. Need help? Check out my fitness routine for ideas.
  4. You are consuming too much alcohol. Don’t tell the boys of Jersey Shore, but alcohol abuse has a negative impact on muscle growth. Technically, alcohol slows down protein synthesis, lowers testosterone (a muscle building hormone), leads to dehydration (water is needed for muscle-building!), drains your body of vitamins and increases fat storage. Yikes!
  5. You aren’t progressively overloading your muscles. If you’re not increasing the weight or number of reps, of course your muscle won’t grow. Keep pushing yourself. If you’ve done 8 reps at 45 lbs for three weeks, go for 6 reps at 50 lbs. Then 8 reps at 50 lbs. And so on. Remember, if your goal is to build muscle, you want to do low reps of heavy weights.
  6. Your workout is stale. Remember: Your muscles adapt to a routine, and if you’ve been doing the same thing over and over again, it’s possible that your muscles have just adjusted accordingly and are no longer challenged. In addition to progressively overloading your muscles, switch up your exercises.

Are you not seeing the muscle-building results that you’re trying to work towards? Let me know in the comments below.