Archive for the tag - muscle

Which Is Better: Protein Supplements or Protein Foods?

Alon-Gabbay-SixPack-CamWithHim-11If you’ve ever visited a supplement store like GNC, you’ve likely seen dozens of protein products promising incredible results. But beyond the marketing hype, are these products really any better than high protein foods like fish or chicken?

It depends what you mean by better. In reality, there are advantages to both protein sources.

So let’s break things down.

Advantages of Protein Supplements:

  • Higher Biological Value (BV). BV measures how much protein is absorbed from a food and incorporated into the body, and is therefore often used to determine protein quality. Though this measure of protein usability has its limitations, there’s no doubt that protein supplements have higher BV scores than food. High BV products include:
    • Whey protein: 96+ BV
    • Chicken egg: 94 BV
    • Cow milk: 90 BV
    • Rice: 83 BV
    • Chicken: 79 BV
    • Fish: 76 BV
  • Convenience. I think the most compelling case for protein supplementation is that they’re super convenient. You can pack protein powder in your gym bag; you can’t do that with a chicken dinner. If you’re on the go or don’t have time to sit for a meal, protein supplements are a great option.
  • Easy to track. Whatever your daily protein target, supplements take out the guesswork. The protein supplement will indicate the grams of protein per scoop – so you’ll know exactly what you’re eating. Calculating protein in foods like fish, chicken or turkey can be much trickier.
  • Easier to hit your target. If you’re a serious gym enthusiast and looking to pack on some serious muscle, your target protein intake could be beyond 150 grams per day. For a lot of people, consuming that amount of protein through a traditional diet is unrealistic – and may result in overeating. With protein supplementation, it’s much easier.

Advantages of Protein Foods

  • Gastrointestinal issues. Though there are numerous protein supplement options, many people experience bloating or cramps from protein supplementation. Whey protein, for example, is derived from milk. For individuals with lactose sensitivities, this can be an issue. With high protein foods, you won’t have these concerns.
  • Satiety. A protein shake probably won’t fill you up. But a fish dinner probably will. Relying on natural protein sources through food can help keep you full longer and curb cravings.
  • Avoid crappy supplements. Let’s face it: Not all protein supplements are created equal – and there are a whole slew of products with added fillers and unhealthy ingredients. Many of the protein bars are really just glorified candy bars with chocolate, added sugar and unhealthy fats. By sticking with protein foods, you can avoid all of that.

So what’s the bottom line? Are protein supplements required for muscle growth? Absolutely not. You can certainly fuel your fitness goal through a diet of whole, real foods rather than supplements. Having said that, supplements are certainly convenient – and may be a more realistic option for the rest of us.

P.S. To learn the tricks for packing on some lean mass, download Size Matters: Davey Wavey’s Foolproof Guide to Building Muscle.

10 Commandments of Building Muscle.

davey wavey gymLike many gym goers, you’re probably looking to add some bulk in the form of muscle.

It’s true that all of us have different bodies and have experienced different fitness journeys – but there are some common threads that can help create an effective foundation for building muscle.

  1. Thou shalt perform 8 – 12 repetitions of each exercise. Different repetition ranges target different goals; for purposes of building size and strength, most trainers recommend a rep range of between 8 and 12. Lower ranges target strength and higher ranges target endurance.
  2. Thou shalt perform each set until failure. Simply put, this means that you’d be unable to perform an additional repetition at that resistance level without compromising form. If you are targeting 10 repetitions, this would mean that you couldn’t do an 11th. If you can, increase the resistance.
  3. Thou shalt use an overloading stimulus. This means subjecting the muscles to more than they’re capable of handling. When you do that, you’ll be creating tiny tears in your muscles, which then must be rebuilt back up stronger than they were before.
  4. Thou shalt progressively overload. Keep in mind, your overloading stimulus won’t be so overloading after a few weeks or a month. As your muscles grow, you’ll need to up the resistance to keep your muscles growing. You’ll need to continue doing this until you reach your goal.
  5. Thou shalt use free weights. If you’re just getting started with building muscle, you can get great results with your body weight (i.e., push-ups at home) or by using machines. But to really progress to create athletic-level muscle size and strength, you’ll need to hit the free weights. They allow you to progress to higher levels of resistance without the balancing assistance and limitations of strength training machines.
  6. Thou shalt eat before and after exercise. Before your workout, consume some sort of complex carbohydrate to ensure a steady release of energy during your workout. It will help you power through the routine. After your workout, consume simple carbohydrates (the resulting spike in your blood sugar will quickly get the glucose from the carbohydrates into your muscle cells where they’re needed) and protein.
  7. Honor thy body with rest and recovery. After you’ve created the tiny tears in your muscle, you must back off and allow your body a chance to rebuild them. This process makes the muscles stronger and bigger.
  8. Thou shall still do cardio. The truth is, cardiovascular exercise is great for all people, regardless of their goals. Because you don’t need the additional calorie burn, you’re doing cardio for the overall health benefits; as such, limit cardio to a handful of sessions per week that last less than 30 minutes. High intensity interval training is best-suited for individuals looking to retain and/or build muscle.
  9. Thou shalt consume sufficient calories, protein, carbohydrates and fat. Remember, you can’t build something out of nothing! To add any type of mass, you must consume more calories than required to maintain your body weight. Most trainers recommend a calorie surplus of 250 – 500 calories per day. Proteins provide the amino acids that muscles need to generate new tissue. Carbohydrates and dietary fats, on the other hand, provide the energy for the process to occur. Without these in place, your results will be hampered.
  10. Thou shalt assess progress. Every few weeks or perhaps once a month, look at your progress. Take measurements including muscle size, waist size and so on. Compare pictures. And then adjust your program accordingly. If you notice that you’re gaining fat, for example, decrease your calorie surplus accordingly.

Do you have any additional commandments for building muscle size? Share them in the comments below.

P.S. If you’re looking to add muscle mass, download Davey Wavey’s Foolproof Guide to Building Muscle. It’s a guaranteed, step-by-step guide to achieving your size and strength goals.

How Long Does It Take To Lose Muscle?

Dear Davey,

I am not allowed workout for almost 2 weeks due to doctors orders. I normally workout 5 days out of the week with cardio and/or weight training. I am in good shape currently, but sightly worried I will lose time and muscle mass by not being able to go workout for this long and I have never gone this long without working out. All I can do is walk.

What is the time frame you start losing muscle?

maxresdefaultThanks,
Mike

Hey Mike,

For a committed exerciser, skipping a few weeks of the gym is a scary prospect. Our muscles, strength and performance are hard earned – and we don’t want to take steps backwards. As such, recovery from surgery, an injury or even a gym-less vacation can set of warning lights.

As it turns out, several factors contribute to how quickly you’ll lose muscle including age and fitness level.

According to a study in the Journal of Applied Physiology, competitive athletes start experiencing atrophy (muscle loss) after 2 – 4 weeks of detraining. For more recreational athletes, atrophy and decreased strength occur after 12 weeks of detraining. That’s three months!

A separate Australian study found that minor atrophy started occurring in subjects after 3 weeks.

And a Japanese study compared two different groups of exercisers. The first group exercised continuously for 15 weeks. The second group did 6 weeks of training, took a three week rest and then trained again for six weeks. At the end of the study, muscle size and one rep max was the same for both groups.

In other words, missing a few weeks isn’t a big deal once or twice a year. In fact, it can actually be a good thing – and it can give your body and your muscles some much-needed and well-deserved rest.

The key to detraining, however, is your ability to bounce back. Once you return from your vacation or recover from surgery, get back into the swing of things. Don’t let your break deter you from your goals or dampen your motivation.

Love,
Davey

P.S. If you’re having trouble increasing the size of your muscles, download Size Matters: Davey Wavey’s Foolproof Guide to Building Muscle.

Does Muscle Growth Require Variety?

Dear Davey,

I’ve heard guys at my gym saying that your muscles adapt to your workout. They say it’s important to switch things up. I want bigger muscles… so do I need to introduce more variety?

From,
Jay

Games2012_KyleKasperbauer_clean_Elizabeth-615x410Hey Jay,

Let’s separate fact from fiction.

Muscle growth happens when you apply resistance to a muscle that is greater than what that muscle had previously adapted to. This signals to your body that more muscle is needed.

The way to do this is to lift progressively heavier weights. As you continually work against heavier and heavier resistance, your muscles will grow over time.

Of course, there are other variables. You need to fuel your body with proper nutrition. You need to give your muscles sufficient recovery time. You need adequate sleep. And so on.

Variety isn’t a factor in muscle growth.

In fact, variety can even work against you. If you don’t spend enough time with any one exercise, it becomes very difficult to progressively increase resistance. Instead, you’re too busy jumping from exercise to exercise.

For example, perhaps you can squat 150 pounds. Next week, you reach 160 pounds. In another three or four weeks, maybe you get to 170 pounds. And so on. This is a great strategy for increasing muscle growth.

If you’re doing squats one week and then a totally different exercise the next week, and then another exercise the following week, it becomes very difficult to establish a baseline on which to build.

Having said all of that, variety can play an important role – especially if you’re bored, at a plateau or if increasing muscle size isn’t a goal. Variety can help spice things up by giving you new exercises; this can help your workout feel fresh. If you’re trying to break through a stubborn plateau, switching things up (i.e., new exercises, changing the base of stability, changing exercise order) may help. And if you’re not looking to increase the size of your muscles, it becomes less important to stick with the same exercise for extended periods of time.

I hope that helps!

Love,
Davey

P.S. Want a guaranteed strategy for increasing muscle size? Download Davey Wavey’s Foolproof Guide to Building Muscle.

The Downside Of Energy Drinks…

rugbycroppedEnergy drinks are more popular than ever, especially among athletes. In fact, more than 50% of athletes report consuming energy drinks before training or competitions. The belief is that these energy drinks can give athletes a competitive edge.

But is it true? And what are the side effects?

To answer those questions, researchers from Camilo José Cela University published a four-year study that evaluated the pros and cons of energy drinks on athletes. Top athletes from various sports consumed either three energy drinks or three energy drink placebos before competitions. Using GPS, dynamometers and potentiometers, researchers evaluated performance.

According to the data, energy drinks do have a significant positive impact on performance. Overall, athletes were typically able to boost performance by 3% – 7%. They ran further, jumped higher and had more endurance. In competitions where fractions of a second make the difference between winning and losing, the findings are notable.

But it wasn’t all good news. Post competition, athletes who consumed the energy drinks reported higher levels of insomnia, nervousness and stimulation. These side effects are typical for any caffeinated beverage.

It’s also worth noting that energy drinks don’t provide energy. Energy is often measured in calories. One calorie can raise the temperature of one gram of water by one degree Celsius at sea level. In that sense, energy drinks don’t have any more “energy” than other soft drinks. However, due to the concentration of caffeine, energy drinks have an energizing effect.

P.S. If you’re looking to increase muscle size and strength, I recommend downloading Size Matter’s: Davey Wavey’s Foolproof Guide to Building Muscle.

Myth: Extra Protein Builds Muscles.

JedHillbyRickDay02

A body like this wasn’t build by protein alone.

Think eating extra protein is enough to make your body big and buff? Think again.

It’s a common misconception that increasing one’s protein intake is enough to cause muscle development. In reality, the following three conditions must ALL be met for muscle growth:

  1. Effective strength training program
  2. Adequate calorie intake
  3. Sufficient protein intake

Yes, protein is a part of it. But all three conditions must be met together.

Drinking a protein shake is easy. Training for increases in muscle size – a process called hypertrophy – requires some real work. Our bodies are very efficient machines and muscle mass takes a lot of calories to maintain. Therefore, your body won’t build extra muscle unless it’s absolutely required. The first step in bulking up is employing an effective strength training workout – thereby signaling to your body that it’s time to add muscle.

In order to gain any sort of mass, you need to consume more calories than you burn. Thus, the second step in adding muscle consuming a surplus of calories. It’s simple math, but it’s something that many aspiring muscle guys and gals overlook.

Last but not least, is protein. The truth is, most people already get more than enough protein. And, often times, any additional required protein can come from food. First, calculate your protein requirements. Then, if there is a gap, figure out the best way to close it. Only avid exercisers require protein supplementation through protein shakes or powders.

The bottom line: Drinking protein shakes isn’t enough to buff you up. Without an effective strength training routine and enough calories, you’ll be spinning your wheels and wasting your money.

Want more help in building muscle? Download my muscle building program right now! Use discount code “YouTube” to save during checkout.

 

 

Thinking About Your Muscles Makes Them Work Harder!

chest-pressEarlier in the year, I posted about mind muscle control. While it sounds like something from a science fiction movie, mind muscle control is really pretty simple:

Mind-muscle control refers to the feeling of connection between your mind and the muscles that are being worked.

While some of us have a tendency to let our minds wander elsewhere during exercise, turning your attention inward to the muscle being worked can actually result in a more effective workout. But you don’t have to take my word for it.

A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research concluded that thinking about a muscle during exercise makes that muscle work 22% harder.

Why? There are probably a number of reasons. When you’re being mindful about an exercise, you may be less likely to rush through it – or to cheat during a repetition. You might be more likely to maintain proper form and less likely to engage other muscles to help out.

Regardless of the reasoning, the takeaway is clear: Keep your head in the game. Make paying attention to your muscles part of your exercise practice.

What is Mind-Muscle Control?

MMCLogo1When performing a given exercise, we sometimes fall into the rut of simply going through the motions without paying attention to what we’re really doing.

Bicycle crunches can be a perfect example. As you bring in that opposite knee to the opposite armpit, are you really feeling your core and oblique muscles contract? Or are you just using momentum to peddle your legs in and out?

Mind-muscle control refers to the feeling of connection between your mind and the muscles that are being worked. In the above example of bicycle crunches, you’d bring awareness to the contraction of the oblique as you pull your knee into the opposite armpit. This ensures that you’re working the muscle that you’re intending to work.

When you focus on the contraction, you’ll discover that you’re producing stronger contractions than if you were just mindlessly going through the movements. In turn, you get a better and more effective workout. A bicycle crunch is only as good as you’ll let it be!

There are other mental techniques that you may wish to explore. Some exercisers find it helpful to visualize a workout before they complete it. Or they’ll see themselves completing a new, higher level of resistance – or an extra repetition or two. Doing so may help you to clear your mind, build confidence and boost performance.

Needless to say, tapping into mind-muscle control requires focus and present moment awareness. To do this, you’ll need to leave your cell phone in the locker room and commit yourself to your workout. You may even find that it means turning down (or off) any music/iPods to reduce distractions. And you certainly can’t do it while chatting with friends or socializing.

The mind is a very powerful tool. Put it to use for your workout.

Build Muscle with Davey Wavey’s New Workout Program!

I have some exciting news!

With the New Year’s holiday just around the corner, it’s time to make your resolution for 2013! For that reason, I’m thrilled to launch my brand-new program, Size Matters: Davey Wavey’s Foolproof Guide to Building Muscle.

And I have a special discount for you!

Many people want to add muscle to their body, but few understand how to do it. This program changes all of that! If adding muscle is part of your goals for the new year – whether it’s building a bubble butt or a total body transformation – then this is the program for you!

I know that this program works because it has worked for me. If you follow the step by step guidelines, there’s no doubt that your body will build muscle exactly where you want it. Period.

Size Matters: Davey Wavey’s Foolproof Guide to Building Muscle is:

  • A complete, comprehensive exercise and nutrition program with sample workouts and exercises
  • The perfect solution for men and women of all ages and fitness levels
  •  Based on real science – not gimmicky marketing or the latest fads

This program is already helping people build the body of their dreams, and I know it can work for you, too.

Because you’re a loyal blog buddy, I also have a special discount for you. Use discount code size13 during checkout to save 25%. This coupon expires January 5th at midnight, so don’t delay! AND, if you order before January 5th at midnight, you’ll also receive my Get Ripped Workout exercise video series (a $59 value) for free!

(Already have my Get Ripped Workout and don’t need another copy? Email me and I’ll give you a code for a 50% discount on Size Matters: Davey Wavey’s Foolproof Guide to Building Muscle.)

Start the new year off right by downloading this program – and creating the body of your dreams. I can’t wait to see your results!

Here’s to a happy, healthy and loving 2013!

Love,
Davey Wavey

P.S. This special discount expires on January 5 – so don’t delay! Use discount code size13 during checkout to save 25% today!

Exercises for Bigger Arms: Davey Wavey and Phil Fusco.

A few weeks ago, I interviewed male model Phil Fusco about his workout routine. Today, I’m excited to share a video that we made together while visiting New York City. In it, Phil and I share some of our favorite arm exercises.

And trust me, it was almost more hotness than I was able to handle. I think I’m still sweating. Take a look!