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Are you having trouble building muscle?

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Have you been going to the gym regularly for months and haven’t been able to put on any serious poundage? If you answered yes to any of these questions, it’s time to take a step back and make some plans. Building muscle is not rocket science. There are four key factors that will mean the difference between building muscle and staying skinny. You have to ask yourself these four questions.

Is my diet optimized for building muscle?
It’s time to get out of the “3 meals per day” mentality. If you want to gain (or lose) weight you need to feed your body whole foods, six times per day. This means splitting your large meals up and eating about once every three hours. Not only is this good for your metabolism, but your body will use the foods instead of storing them as fat.

Your six meals per day should consist of mainly complex carbohydrates and protein. You should aim for at least thirty grams of protein per meal. High protein foods include lean meat, chicken, fish, egg whites, cheese and milk products. Complex carbohydrates are found in brown rice, brown bread and potatoes. Stay away from foods high in salt and sugar

Should I be using supplements, and when should I be taking them?
If you can afford supplements you should be using them. The basic three you should be considering are protein, carbs and creatine. Whey protein supplements are the fastest known way to deliver quality protein to your muscles. This makes shakes particularly effective after your workouts, when your body is craving protein for muscle re-growth.

There are three key times that supplements should be taken. First thing in the morning, after your workout and before bed. If your diet is up to scratch you shouldn’t need supplements at any other time. Don’t use supplements to replace meals. Supplements are supplements, not meal replacements.

Am I training hard and not smart?
The biggest mistake the new lifters make is thinking that the more they workout the bigger they’ll get. This couldn’t be further from the truth! Two basic rules you must remember when it comes to weight training. First, quality is better than quantity. Second, compound exercises are the kings of building muscle.

Compound exercises require at least two joint movements. Big compound exercises are the squat, bench press, wide grip pull up and seated row. These movements recruit many more muscles fibers to use to move the weight. This means more muscle groups are worked, the exercise is more challenging and the potential for growth is much greater.

Generally you should be doing three compound exercises for one isolation exercise. For example your back/biceps workout might consist of wide grip pull ups, seated row, bent over row and standing bicep curl. You might think this is not enough work for your biceps? Wrong. Your biceps are worked heavily in all over these exercises; the bicep curl just finishes them off.

The length of any training session should not exceed one hour. And you only need to train one muscle group once per week. This means a split routine should only need to be three days per week. In fact, most professional bodybuilders only train four times per week. Remember, it’s quality not quantity.

Do I get enough rest and recovery time?
When you workout you’re not building your muscles, you’re breaking them down. The reason why you looked “pumped up” when you’re in the gym is because your muscle tissue is swollen and damaged. Your muscles actually grow when you are resting. So in simple terms, no rest equals no muscle growth.

So take it easy when you’re not working out. Ease up on the cardio. And make sure you get plenty of sleep. Sleep is the body’s number one time for building muscle. This is also why it’s important to eat before bed, so your body has the fuel to repair muscle in your sleep.

Simple isn’t it?
So you can see that despite what you read in magazines or on the web about building muscle, it’s surprisingly simple. If you get the four aspects I have mentioned in this article right, you will build muscle. If you’ve got any questions, I’m available on the forum on my site. See links in my bio.

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Health & Fitness

Effortlessly Maintain Your Ideal Weight With Ketogenic Eating

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Perhaps the most immediate and dramatic benefit of ketogenic eating is the opportunity for quick and efficient reduction of excess body fat. This also means easy, long-term maintenance of your ideal body composition. Ketogenic eating can make you an efficient fat-burning machine. When you are in full-blown keto, you enjoy complete dietary satisfaction, rarely feel hungry (even if you skip meals!), and never have to struggle, suffer, restrict calories, or force strenuous workouts in order to burn extra calories. Instead, you allow your body to naturally calibrate you to a healthy composition and weight.reset, you’ll learn the best way to ditch grains, sugars, and refined vegetable oils, and you’ll also discover the nutrient-dense, high-fat, low-carb primal foods with which to replace them. During the second week, you’ll focus on the supportive lifestyle behaviors that are essential to succeed with dietary transformation. These include optimizing your exercise patterns, dialing in your sleep, and implementing effective stress-management techniques. In your final approach to the 21-day mark, you’ll put it all together—thereby escaping carbohydrate dependency once and for all and plunging headlong into the world of fat adaptation.

Adopting a long-term ketogenic lifestyle is easier than you think.

You will likely notice immediate weight loss, largely due to a reduction in inflammation (and the ensuing fluid retention in cells throughout the body) and also because you will unlock stored body fat to burn for energy around the clock. It’s not uncommon for devoted enthusiasts to drop 10 to 15 pounds total, including 3 to 6 pounds of excess body fat, during a 21-Day Metabolism Reset.

Then, you’ll go keto, dropping your carb consumption to less than 50 grams a day and also likely lowering your protein to less than you typically consume, while also emphasizing nutritious, natural fats as your main calorie source. Your journey into nutritional ketosis should last for at least six weeks. Then, with your newly minted degree in fat- and keto-adaptation, you can consider and experiment with assorted long-term options, including going back into nutritional ketosis any time in the future to shed excess fat, protect against disease, and enhance cognitive and athletic performance.

Being fat- and keto-adapted means that you can veer off the plan now and then and not tailspin into a monthlong sugar binge. When you have this esteemed metabolic flexibility, you can wake up the day after eating cake by the ocean, or even a bunch more stuff on a weeklong cruise, and get right back into the groove—whether through fasting, a string of keto-aligned meals, or even strategic use of ketone supplements. Adopting this lifestyle means freedom from sugar cravings, fatigue, and overstimulation of the fight-or-flight response from excess carbohydrates. What could be better than that?

Sources:
1. Masino, Susan (ed.). Ketogenic Diet and Metabolic Therapies: Expanded Roles in Health and Disease. Oxford University Press, 2017.

2. Cahill, G.F. (2006). Fuel metabolism in starvation. Annual Review of Nutrition, 26: 1-22.

3. Rattan, S.I.S. (2006). Theories of biological aging: Genes, proteins, and free radicals. Free Radical Research, 40: 1230–1238.

4. Sohal, R.S., & Weindruch, R. (1996). Oxidative Stress, Caloric Restriction, and Aging. Science (New York, N.Y.), 273 (5,271), 59–63.

Source mindbodygreen.com

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Intermittent Fasting, Is Right For You?

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Almost everyone can benefit from intermittent fasting (IF), which—as its name implies—means alternating between periods of eating and not eating for various amounts of time. “Fasting is the oldest dietary intervention in the world,” writes Dr. Jason Fung in The Complete Guide to Fasting. “Because it differs from conventional dieting in so many important ways, fasting carries many distinct advantages.”

Among them, fasting is simple, free, convenient, effective, and allows you to enjoy life’s occasional indulgences. You can do IF on almost any plan, whether you’re vegan or paleo, and it gives your overworked digestive system a much-needed break.

IF challenges conventional health theories: Many practitioners skip breakfast, don’t count calories and go long hours—sometimes days—without eating. They think when you eat may be just as important as what you eat. And it gets results. Intermittent fasting’s numerous benefits include weight loss and chronic disease management.

At the same time, no one plan works for everyone, and that includes IF. Even Fung notes certain people shouldn’t do IF, including pregnant or breastfeeding women, underage people, and malnourished folks. He advises others like people with type 1 diabetes to proceed cautiously with fasting. While you can usually work with a credentialed health care expert and modify fasting to your condition, I’ve found people with these five issues should think twice about, and—in one case—absolutely avoid intermittent fasting:

1. You have gallstone disease.

When you fast, your gallbladder doesn’t release bile. As your liver continues to deliver bile, it becomes concentrated. Breaking you’re fast means your gallbladder could forcefully release sludge or small stones from that buildup that could get stuck in the bile duct. If you have gallbladder issues, proceed cautiously with IF. One study showed that among people with gallstone disease, a long overnight fast increased hospitalization risk.

2. You have an eating disorder.

Here’s my one big thumbs-down for fasting. A systematic review of IF’s potential harms mentioned eating disorders, and writer Emily T. Troscianko asked whether IF is “A Fast Route to Disordered Eating?” in an intriguing Psychology Today essay. If you have bulimia or otherwise struggle with other psychological eating disorders IF could exacerbate those problems. An eating disorder is one condition with which you absolutely should not do fasting. Rather, always work with your doctor when struggling with any sort of disorder.

3. You have adrenal fatigue.

Fasting can keep your stress hormone cortisol ramped up, stressing your already-overworked adrenals. One study with 16 young, healthy female volunteers who fasted for 48 hours had elevated cortisol levels, suggesting fasting could create additional stress. You’re probably not going to fast that long, but beware if you have adrenal fatigue or your adrenals are already overworked from chronic stress—fasting could make your condition worse.

4. Your thyroid is shot.

Your thyroid performs many functions, including balancing energy, body temperature, and emotions. When this tiny gland isn’t working correctly, numerous problems can result. Triiodothyronine (T3) is your active thyroid hormone. Studies show fasting decreases T3, so if you have mild to moderate hypothyroidism, you might want to reconsider intermittent fasting.

5. You’re sick.

Your body needs a steady supply of nutrients if you’re ill, and if you’re not eating you can’t get them. IF could also create physiological or metabolic stress: the last things you want to create when you’ve got a cold, flu, or another virus. At the very least, I recommend bone broth and a nutrient-dense protein shake or green drink to meet those nutrient requirements.

If you don’t fall into those conditions and want to try IF, start out slowly. Have a big dinner, close up the kitchen for the night, and then have breakfast as late as possible the following morning. That creates about a 12-hour or longer fasting window—most of it while you’re sleeping—that helps your body dip into those fat stores. Gradually increase that fasting time, but if you feel nauseous or otherwise unwell, please eat something. Don’t risk your health!

Source http://www.mindbodygreen.com

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Health & Fitness

Yoga Nidra and Consciousness: Chakras in Yoga Nidra

The awakening of consciousness through Nyasa releases tensions and lethargy, thereby healing illnesses

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According to Paramahansa Satyananda, Yoga Nidra actually begins with the experiencing of these chakras. The chakras are also known in other cultures, as we have seen with the Hopis in the USA, but also by the alchemists in Europe and the Inuits of Greenland and Canada, to mention but a few of the more evident examples.

Also: Yoga Positions for Beginners – 2 Things You Need To Know

In the deep Yoga Nidra, we use eight of the major chakras to contact the various planes of consciousness.
On my album, “Experience Yoga Nidra” (previously on cassette tape) I use the mantras (certain sound syllables) connected to each chakra. I also use visual symbols in accordance with the traditions of India and Europe.

When I started to produce “Experience Yoga Nidra” while teaching in the USA, the Indian musician Roop Verma was inspired to record the ancient musical symbols of the chakras. He was the first ever to do this. This special music has been merged with my text and guidance during the deep Yoga Nidra.

Chakras are often spoken of in connection with Kundalini Yoga, a set of methods and meditations that can be used to harmonize and awaken the psychic energy. (The name Kundalini Yoga, however, is also used as the trade mark of a contemporary movement – although they only teach standard yoga).

Kriya Yoga is probably the most profound and effective form of Kundalini Yoga. In an awesome way, it can strengthen the body’s energy field, remove depressions, increase creativity and open you up to a first-hand knowledge of the genuine mystical or spiritual aspects of life.

The chakras have corresponding areas in the brain. When they are relaxed and harmonized during Yoga Nidra, the release of unwanted states such as confusion and lack of concentration begins. People who awaken their chakras through yoga and meditation, open up to a previously unknown capacity for communication, insight, and creativity.

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