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Health & Fitness

Moving From Beginner To Intermediate Level Bodybuilding



By now you’ve made significant progress in your bodybuilding career. For the past three to six months you’ve learned how to perform the core lifting exercises in a technically correct manner. You’ve also conditioned the body and developed sufficient core strength to prepare yourself for a whole new level of intensity. Hopefully, you’ve also built some rock-solid muscle! But that’s only the beginning.

In recent weeks your workouts have probably lost some of their effects so, even though you’re lifting bigger weights, your muscles now need even greater stimulation to generate maximal growth. Don’t expect miracles though – from this point onwards, every little bit of improvement will take even greater and more intensive work than before.

Because you’ll be working your muscles more intensively, they’ll also need more recovery time to adapt and grow and that’s why you’ll be reducing your workouts to three a week. Each primary muscle group trained will now need one full week to recover. After being used to whole body sessions and more workouts per week it may seem as if you’re not doing enough but the point is, you’ll be working your muscles very, very intensively and making better use of your time.

As you gain more experience you’ll be able to tweak or re-design your basic muscle building program to suit your own individual needs, but the program described here should provide a useful starting point. What I’m proposing is basically a 3-split of the body on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

MONDAY (Chest, Triceps, Shoulders)
1. Chest Exercises
Incline dumbbell press – this is a compound exercise that targets the chest but also works the triceps and shoulders to a lesser extent.

Pec-deck flye – this is an isolation exercise that works the pectorals.

2. Triceps
Dips – this compound exercise targets the triceps but also works the chest and shoulders.

3. Shoulders
Front military press – this compound exercise targets shoulders but also works the triceps.

Dumbbell lateral raises – this isolation exercise works the shoulders only.

Bent over dumbbell laterals – this isolation exercise works the rear delts.

WEDNESDAY (Back, Biceps, Forearms)
1. Back
Front lat pulls – a compound exercise that targets lats but also works the biceps and mid-back.

Deadlifts – a compound exercise that targets the back and quads but also works hamstrings, calves and glutes.

Dumbbell rows – a compound exercise that targets mid-back but also works biceps and lats.

Dumbbell shrugs – isolation exercise that works traps.

2. Biceps
Dumbbell biceps curl – isolation exercise that works the biceps.

Dumbbell hammer curls – isolation exercise that works the biceps.

3. Forearms

Barbell wrist curl – isolation exercise that works the forearms.

FRIDAY (Lower Body)
1. Legs

Squats or leg press – a compound exercise that targets the quads but also works the hamstrings, calves, and glutes.

Leg extension – isolation exercise that works the quads.

Leg curls – isolation exercise that works the hamstrings.

Standing calf raise – isolation exercise that works the gastrocnemius calf muscle.

Seated calf raise – isolation exercise that works the soleus calf muscle.

You could start this program by aiming for two sets of 8-10 reps per exercise but as your strength and size increase, you should really introduce techniques that boost the intensity even further. This can be achieved in a number of ways including the use of pre-exhaustion, supersets, partial reps, isometric contractions and forced reps. These techniques are covered in detail elsewhere in this series of articles.


Food & Nutrition

The Importances of Great Supplements



Supplementation has become a big topic in the health and fitness world as more people are turning to natural answers for optimal health.

Why do we need supplements if we are already exercising and eating well? Supplementation provides the foundation within our bodies to perform at the highest level. Even if we are working out regularly and eating an all-organic diet, there are still going to be gaps in our nutrition. Uncontrollable influences such as chemicals in everyday products, genetic predisposition, and injuries can cause lack within our bodies that require extra help; help that can come in the form of supplements.

Also check out: Jade Atkinson’s Lower Body Plyos

Athletes and fitness enthusiasts put a strain on their bodies regularly in order to reach new goals or performance levels. Supplements such as Vitamin C or D3 can help reduce inflammation. Reduced inflammation speeds up the healing process within our bodies and enables us to reach our goals faster with less pain and damage.

Other supplemental vitamins and minerals like calcium and magnesium improve bone health and oxygenate our blood; two vital needs for those of us building and maintaining muscle. Omegas 3’s are essential for heart health, and we don’t always have access to fresh fish and organic nuts where Omega 3’s are usually found.

Another great aspect of taking supplements is the convenience of it. We cannot always be at the gym, and maintaining a strict diet 24/7 is difficult. Supplements can be taken on the go and will enable our bodies to maintain the health we have worked so hard to achieve. A strict diet can also be difficult to maintain if we do not have access to certain foods at all times. Supplements can be easily ordered online regardless of location.

Supplementation is not an an-either-or option with a good diet. Rather, excellent supplementation compliments and enhances the positive benefits of a great diet and exercise.

Get more information on WrkEthicSupps:


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Workout Wednesday

Jade Atkinson’s Lower Body Plyos



Jade Atkinson has one of the most beautiful and inspiring physiques in the fitness industry. She’s an IFBB Bikini Pro Competitor and Fitness Gurls Athlete and she shares her secrets on how to tone your lower body exercises this session.

Get Jade’s Last Article: Jade Atkinson’s Full Body & Core Workout

Plyometrics involve power jumping, repetitive bounding, and quick force production. They are a fast movement that happens over a short period of time.

Plyos help facilitates weight loss and is good for people who are looking to improve their muscular power, speed, strength, and endurance. They require a lot of energy, as they are high-intense. They help tighten, tone and define. Most importantly Plyos combine strength training and cardio exercises allowing you to burn more calories and improve muscle tone and definition.

Perform all 4 exercises without breaks.
Rest for 60 seconds.
Perform 4 Rounds

1 Circuit 1

Jump Squats x 15
Plyo Jump Lunges x 12/leg
Tuck Jumps x12
Plyo Step Ups x15/leg
Plyo Up and Overs x15/leg

2 Circuit 2

Box Jumps x15
Reverse Lunge with Knee Drive x12/leg
Long Jumps x10
Kneeing Jump Squat x10

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Health & Fitness

How To Create Your Own No-Guilt Travel Workout

I like looking at training problems from angles most people don’t think of



I like looking at training problems from angles most people don’t think of – until they come up, of course. Take your typical travel workout, for example. The usual articles focus on killer bodyweight workouts in idyllic settings. But how often do you have a perfect gym while you travel? How often are you actually motivated to do any exercise? And how often do any of those travel workouts resemble what you do at home? Hardly ever, in my experience. I find that there are two main roadblocks to travel workouts: equipment and motivation. Let’s talk about jumping over these hurdles, and then I’ll tell you how to create your own perfect travel workout.

Mastering Motivation
Most travel workouts feed fears that if you don’t train while you’re away, you’ll lose all your. But I prefer to look at it from a more positive spin: If I work out while I travel, it will be much easier to bounce back when I get home. I found this out firsthand when I took two back-to-back trips over the holidays.

Training to Bounce Back
Normally, if I’m traveling for a week or less, I couldn’t care less about missing lifting sessions. I see it as a chance to let my body recover because I rarely miss a session at home. But two weeks is a long time to do nothing. Once you get into the 2-3 week range, it could take several weeks to bounce back. When you come back to lifting after a layoff, you have to back up a few steps. If you don’t lower the weight and decrease the volume upon returning, it’s very easy to find yourself with a pulled muscle or worse. This has happened to me on a number of occasions (see my tips for avoiding this below). I’ll add that sometimes you have to force yourself to train when you travel. You do it even though it feels like shit at first, and then it’s easier once you get started. Put on your clothes and shoes, pull out your resistance band or whatever meager equipment you have, and just do it. (Never was there a more apt marketing slogan.)

Equalizing Equipment
Recently, I stayed at a hotel in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, that had a full gym and even a personal trainer. I was in pure nirvana.

But this isn’t going to happen every time you travel. In fact, it varies wildly from hotel to hotel.

The solution is to make equipment a secondary concern. Instead of focusing on what equipment you might have (it’s often unknown), focus on your goals. Do you want to maintain your strength or cardiovascular endurance? Make it easier to return to the gym when you get back? Stay regular? (A valid goal if there ever was one.) Once you know your exact goal, you’ve got everything you need.

Creating A Successful Travel Workout
Traveling isn’t the best time to start a whole new style of training. Improvise on what you normally do with quick workouts that deliver a nice burn. It also helps enormously to plan what you’ll do ahead of time. Write it down or put it in your phone before you leave (you’ll thank me). Just remember your goals.

Full Body Works Best
A full-body workout is perfect for traveling because you get a lot of bang for your buck. A 30-60 minute workout that trains your whole body might even feel more challenging to you than your usual training split. During the two weeks, I was Texas and Mexico, I did three full-body workouts. I was pleased with this and felt it helped me come back strong when I got home. (I didn’t train at all the first week and it didn’t affect my strength.)

I normally do upper/lower body workouts, so I enjoyed the noticeable challenge of full-body workouts. I ended up doing more volume than I’d do at home because I trained each muscle three times instead of twice.

How to Create Your Own Full-body Travel Workout
here are certain things that will give you more bang for your buck in a travel workout. You may not think of it once you get there, so plan ahead.

  • Supersets. Doing two exercises back-to-back lets you save time, burn more calories, and get stronger. To increase the calorie burn, rest as little as possible between exercises.
    • Hamstrings/glutes and quads (hamstring curl and reverse lunge)
    • Chest and back (chest press and bent-over row)
    • Anterior and posterior shoulders (overhead press and rear delt raise)
    • Chest and shoulders (push-ups and lateral raise)
    • Calves and abs (standing calf raise and plank)
    • Biceps and triceps (cross-body curl and overhead extension)

You can do any of these exercises with either a band or dumbbells. Or if you don’t have any equipment, do push-ups, pull-ups, planks, and bodyweight lunges, squats, and hip thrusts.

  • Low-risk exercises. You don’t want to strain your low back or pull a groin muscle on vacation. Risky exercises for your low back include deadlifts, good mornings, and even barbell squats. Bent-over rows can tweak your back too. If it feels iffy, don’t do it. If you feel strong and like your normal self, go for it. You might want to avoid upright rows, too, or any other shoulder exercise that might get wonky. Keep your form pristine and don’t rush.
  • Back-healthy exercises. Do face pulls, cobras, scapular retraction, and any other exercise to strengthen your upper back. Bunching up in planes and over pina coladas can tighten you up good.
  • Core activation exercises. Get more bang for your buck by doing exercises that engage your core big time. Unilateral, full-body, or standing exercises will do the trick. Think squat to presses, lunges, single-leg planks, or military presses.
  • Unilateral exercises. It’s always smart to do exercises one leg or arm at a time to improve your balance and stability. But unilateral exercises are especially useful if you don’t have access to heavier dumbbells. Do lunges, Bulgarian split squats, and single-arm presses and rows. 

Don’t forget to warm up thoroughly, either on a cardio machine or with dynamic warm-up exercises.

Two Ready-Made Workouts
Here are two workouts I created that can work while traveling:

I bet you hadn’t thought of some of these tips, had you? Now go enjoy yourself and come home feeling strong.

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