Archive for the tag - muscles

You Don’t Get Bigger at the Gym!

flexing guyHere’s a strange fitness truth: You don’t get bigger at the gym.

At the gym, working against resistance rip and damages your muscle fibers; it’s not until after the gym, when you go home or to work, that your muscles get a chance to rest, recover and rebuild. It’s through the rebuilding process that your muscles become stronger and larger.

In other words, rest is one of the most important elements in your workout plan.

Why is this important?

Because many people exercise the same muscles over and over again everyday. If you work the same muscles each day – even after they are still sore from the previous workout – then you are selling your results short. In fact, you may even regress by damaging already damaged muscles.

For these reasons, it’s absolutely crucial that you get plenty of rest and that you avoid training muscles that are already sore from previous workouts. If you’re doing total body workouts at the gym, it means taking a day off in between. If you train different muscle groups each day, as I do, then it means hitting each muscle group only 1 – 2 times per week.

The bottom line: Hit your muscles hard at the gym, but give them ample time to recover and rebuild for maximized results. When it comes to training frequency, more is definitely not better.

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!

Overload Vs. Fatigue.

Overload Vs. Fatigue: What's the difference?

Anyone looking to increase their muscle mass should be familiar with the term progressive overload.

Developed by Thomas Delorme, M.D. to help rehabilitating World War II soldiers, progressive overload is the the gradual increase of stress placed on the body during exercise training. It’s based on the brilliantly simple but scientifically-proven concept that muscles won’t grow unless they’re forced to do so – and progressively overloading your muscles is the most effective way to do just that; it’s a technique that body builders have been using for decades.

There are a number of ways to progressively overload a muscle during exercise, but the most common is adding additional resistance. If you’re new to working out, you may be able to increase the amount of resistance or weight that you’re working with by 5 – 10%. For seasoned gym-goers, 2% – 5% may be more realistic.

For example, you may typically do 3 sets of 8 repetitions of biceps curls with 50 pound weights. You’re progressively overloading your muscles if you reach for the 52.5 or 55 pound dumbbells instead. You may not be able to do each set of 8 repetitions initially, but over time you’ll be able to build back up – and then reach for heavier weights yet again.

Overload is sometimes confused with fatigue.

Fatigue is when your muscles are tired. Certainly, overloading your muscles will lead to fatigue – but they’re not one in the same; there are any number of ways to fatigue your muscles. For example, doing a huge number of bicep curls with a light weight will eventually fatigue your muscles. And it may even result in some small gains in mass, but it’s certainly not the most effective technique for muscle growth.

The problem is that many people leave the gym with fatigued muscles – and thus assume that their workout is effective in achieving their muscle mass goals. Unfortunately, this isn’t true. Fatigued muscles aren’t so important as the process by which they became fatigued. For efficient and effective muscle gains, overloading is a great long-term strategy.

Myth: Bodybuilders Are Healthy.

Put health before muscles.

We’ve all seen pictures of tanned, oiled up bodybuilders competing for titles. With their bulging muscles and impossible physiques, one might think that a bodybuilder is the epitome of health. But it couldn’t be further from the truth.

On the day of a competition, most true athletes are at a peak level of health and fitness. For a bodybuilder, it’s the exact opposite. Many are so weak and dehydrated that they’d have trouble running a mile. The reality is that professional bodybuilding can be very unhealthy – and many bodybuilders put their bodies through hell to look the way they do. There’s actually a bodybuilding saying, “Live fast. Die young. Be a beautiful corpse.”

In bodybuilding, the motivation is to look a certain way by building superficial muscles and winning an aesthetic competition. By it’s very nature, bodybuilding isn’t about being healthy. It’s entirely about doing whatever it takes to look a certain way.

According to bodybuilding.com, many bodybuilders suffer from high cholesterol and high blood pressure due to their taxing diets. Moreover, it takes a lot of effort for the human heart to supply blood such a large body mass – and so it increases the risk of heart issues and complications. And that’s without even taking into account the effects of steroid use.

With a goal of true health, proper diet and appropriate exercise are necessary requirements – but bodybuilding takes things to the extreme. Bodybuilding is about vanity and not health. I recommend putting health before muscles.

How to Even Out Uneven Muscles!

Opt for dumbbells instead of barbells and machines for better body symetry.

I’ve received a whole slew of emails from folks looking to even out uneven muscles. From uneven pecs to uneven biceps, many of us have some degree of asymmetry in our bodies. A little asymmetry is completely normal – but if there are obvious unbalances, it’s easy to take action and correct things.

The solution is simple: Opt for dumbbells. There’s nothing fancy or magic about it. Unlike machines or even barbells, there is no way for your stronger side to compensate for your weaker side. When doing a bench press, for example, it’s possible to compromise form, shift the weight and favor the strong side. With dumbbells, it’s impossible to redistribute the weight.

Moreover, you may want to train the weaker side a bit more than the stronger side – until things even out. After you perform a set, do a few additional reps on the smaller side. This will help your weaker side play catch-up.

Replacing your barbell or machine exercises with dumbbell training is an easy and simple way to gain better body symmetry.

Davey Wavey’s Second Week With Creatine.

After 2 weeks of creatine, I haven't experienced any dramatic changes.

Yesterday marked the end of my 2nd week using creatine. Last week, I shared some information about creatine and spoke about my experience. Just to recap, creatine is a popular supplement that aids in muscle function. It’s not a steroid, and it is legal in professional sports and the Olympics.

Creatine may be a good fit for people:

  • Between the ages of 18 – 60 and who
  • Are looking to increase muscle mass or improve strength and who
  • Exercise regularly with free weights and/or machines and who
  • Have no kidney concerns, issues with the liver or diabetes.

People who use creatine generally make use of cycles called loading. In periods lasting 5 – 7 days, creatine users alternate between low doses of creatine (1 teaspoon or 5 grams) and higher doses (as much as 4 teaspoons or 20 grams).

For my first week, I consumed 5 grams of creatine powder per day. I wanted to start slow to get a better handle on the effects it might cause. This past week marked my first cycle of loading with 15 grams per day.

To be honest, I don’t feel very different.

Creatine flushes the muscles with water, and most people experience a substantial water weight gain when first starting out. I have noticed that I’m more thirsty than normal… but my weight gain – so far – has been only about 3 pounds. It’s worth noting that the gain caused by creatine isn’t fat, it’s just additional water in your muscles.

I have felt slightly more powerful at the gym. Of course, psychological factors are hugely influential, and it’s possible that the creatine is causing something of a placebo effect. Regardless, I was able to progress to higher weights with some exercises, and/or perform an extra rep or two in a few instances. I was expecting dramatic changes with creatine, but for me, it appears to be more of a minor boost. Like the effect you’d get working out after a good night’s sleep.

Of course, it could be because I’m a meat eater. Meat is rich with creatine, and so the bodies of meat eaters are usually already accustomed to higher creatine levels. Vegetarians and vegans usually experience more substantial results while using creatine.

Nonetheless, it’s only been two weeks! And I’ll continue my creatine experiment for at least another two weeks. I’ll keep you posted on my progress.

In the meantime, feel free to ask questions in the comments below!

Answered: How Many Repetitions of Each Exercise is Best?

A low number of reps will grow muscle, and a high number of reps will improve strength. This picture, on the other hand, may improve pelvic blood flow. :-)

Dear Davey,

I’ve been told by multiple people, including my yoga teacher and friends, that there is a max number of reps one can do in one set. I’ve been told it’s somewhere between 21 to 25 reps. Is this true?

From,
Ryan

Dear Ryan,

There isn’t a magic number from a scientific standpoint, but there certainly are some ranges to target. Whether you’ll target a low rep range or a high rep range depends on your fitness goals.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Low reps (1 – 6): Builds strength
  • Medium reps (7 to 12): Builds size and strength
  • High reps (12 – 15): Builds endurance

Keep in mind, you want to be fully fatigued on your last repetition. Obviously, you’ll have to adjust the weight accordingly.

Swinging a weight around 20 or 30 times won’t do much for muscle growth, but it may get your heart pumping – as is often done in aerobics classes! It can certainly be part of your cardiovascular training, though you’ll still want to seek out some strength training exercises to balance your workout.

The number of reps that’s right for you really just depends on your goals and what you’re looking to accomplish.

Love,
Davey

8 Ways to Gain Muscle Mass Fast!

Not only do they look good, they taste great!

Hi Davey,

I’m in shape, 5’11 145 lbs, and toned. I work out about 4-5 times a week with a combination of weights/cardio as well as a controlled diet. I do want to gain some muscle mass, but not sure how to go about without getting too big. Any suggestions?

- Brian

Hey Brian,

First things, first: I generally recommend an 8-step approach to increasing muscle mass. It’s important that you follow all 8 steps, and not just a few of them.

  1. Lift weights. There’s no way around it. In order to stimulate muscle growth, you have to hit the gym. For best results, stick mainly to free weights (instead of machines). They’re far more effective at building muscle.
  2. Train for hypertrophy. Hypertrophy is increasing the volume of your muscles, and in order to do this, you should train with heavy weights at a medium/low number of repetitions. I generally go for 8 repetitions, but anywhere in the 8 – 10 range is ideal.
  3. Train until muscle failure. On your last rep, your muscles should be totally fatigued; it should be impossible for you to do another rep. If you feel like you could do another rep, you need to increase the weight.
  4. Keep pushing. Your muscles will only build when forced to adapt to a heavier weight, so constantly progress to higher levels of resistance. It’s called progressive overload, and it’s exactly what you need to be doing.
  5. Keep your body fueled. It takes a lot of calories to maintain muscle. As you increase your muscle mass, you need to increase your caloric intake. If you fail to bump up the number of calories you consume, then your body will be unable to maintain your muscle and your gains will cease. I recommend using the Harris Benedict calculator as a starting point. In addition, muscles require water to grow – make sure you’re staying well hydrated!
  6. Eat enough protein. There are a lot of calculations for protein consumption. Since you’re very active and increasing your muscle mass, you’ll want to eat just over a gram of protein per day per pound of lean body mass (lean body mass is your body weight in pounds – pounds of fat on your body). It’s not an exact science, but at 145 lbs and with a lean build, I suspect you’ll need around 175 grams of protein per day – no small feat!
  7. Don’t overtrain. You shouldn’t be hitting the weight room for longer than 45 minutes (and in fact, training longer may be counterproductive). Also, ensure that you are resting sufficiently in between workouts, and that you aren’t training muscles that are still sore from a previous workout.
  8. Continue with moderate cardio. Almost no one should be doing cardio for durations in excess of 45 minutes (it starts breaking down muscle at around that point – which can actually slow down your metabolism), but especially someone looking to increase muscle size. I’d recommend doing short but powerful 15-minute interval sessions. Don’t overdo it, but don’t skip it either.

For further reading, check out my top 6 reasons why a muscle-building workout might not be building muscle.

You also mentioned that you don’t want to get “too big.” Fear not. If ever you think your muscles are too large, just ease up on your workout and stop increasing the amount of resistance. And don’t worry – getting too big doesn’t happen overnight, and looking like a body builder isn’t easy.

Happy exercising to you, Brian. And please keep us posted on your results.

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?

When is It Good to Be Sore?

Dear Davey,

A day after I exercise, I tend to get really sore. Is this bad? Does it mean that I’m pushing myself too hard or that I need to change something?

Thanks,
Brian

Dear Brian,

When people exercise, there are two types of soreness: Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (called DOMS) and injury-related soreness. DOMS is good, injury-related is bad, and it’s very easy to tell the two apart.

DOMS occurs 12-48 hours after you complete your workout. It sounds like the type of soreness that you’re describing, and it’s often associated with a change in your workout program, increased intensity, etc. When you finish your workout, you don’t feel it. But in the subsequent hours, it slowly sneaks up on you.

This type of soreness is actually good. It’s part of a process that leads to muscle growth and increased strength as your body adapts to your workout regime.

There’s no simple way to treat DOMS – the best advice is simply to rest and recover until it passes. Some people have reported that gentle stretching or massaging seems to help.

Most importantly, do not exercise the sore muscle groups until they recover. Remember, the soreness is from muscles that are rebuilding – you need to let them build up before you break them down again or else you will not see results or increases in strength. Moreover, you may injure yourself.

Speaking of injury, any soreness as the result of injury is markedly different from DOMS. For one, soreness as the result of injury often hits sooner – if not instantly. And, wherein DOMS soreness is generally symmetrical (i.e., in both legs a day or two after doing squats), injury-related soreness is asymmetrical (i.e., in just one leg). Stop exercising if you have an injury and seek medical attention.

So, soreness can – and usually is – a good thing. Just make sure to give your body time to recover!