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The Most Powerful Muscle-Building Tool Available

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The bodybuilding debates will never end. The endless arguments over how an effective muscle-building program should be structured will most likely continue until the end of time. Just scour the Internet message boards, flip through any muscle magazine or talk to the sales rep at your local supplement store. No matter who you talk to or what you read, it seems that everyone is an expert these days.

If everyone is an expert, confident in their own ideas and beliefs, how can the average beginner possibly know who to listen to? He or she is instantly confronted with endless questions that seem to have no clear-cut answer.

How many days should I train per week? How many sets should I perform for each muscle group? What type of rep range should I be using? What are the most effective exercises for stimulating muscle growth? How long should my workouts last?

These questions go on and on until he or she is eventually led to believe that building muscle is an infinitely complex process involving rocket-science precision and an intimate understanding of human physiology. I mean, that’s what takes to build muscle, right? Wrong! Believe me, there are answers to these important questions, and if you are willing to put in the time and effort you will most definitely find them. But that’s not what this article is about.

You see, amidst all of the confusion and endless debating, the majority of lifters end up losing sight of the big picture. Beyond all of the specific workout principles, such as rep range and exercise selection, remains one crucial principle, a principle that lies at the very heart of the muscle growth process. If this principle is not given full attention, or even worse, completely ignored, building muscle becomes next to impossible.

The bottom line is that muscles grow as they adapt to stress. When you go to the gym and lift weights, you create “micro-tears” within the muscle tissue. Your body perceives this as a potential threat to its survival and reacts accordingly by increasing the size and strength of the muscle fibers in order to protect against a possible future “attack”. Therefore, in order to continually increase the size and strength of the muscles, you must focus on progressing each week by either lifting slightly more weight or performing an extra rep or two. In doing this, your body will continue to adapt and grow to the ever-increasing stress.

Building muscle is all about building strength!

So what is the most powerful muscle-building tool available? Quite simply, it is a pen and a piece of paper!
Every time you go to the gym you must write down exactly what you accomplished and then strive to improve upon it the following week. If you aren’t always getting better, then you’re either staying the same or getting worse. Every week you should have an exact plan of attack ready to be executed. You absolutely cannot afford to start throwing weights around aimlessly without a clear-cut goal in mind.

The specifics of building muscle are important to understand and implement, but regardless of what style of training you’re currently using the ultimate deciding factor between success and failure is progression. You can sit around all day obsessing over specific principles, but the bottom line is that if you aren’t getting stronger every week, you absolutely will not be getting any bigger. Examine your training approach closely. If you haven’t been paying laser-like attention to the amount of weight you’ve been using, the number of reps you’ve been performing, and then striving with every ounce of your energy to improve upon those numbers each week, you are completely ignoring the very foundation of the muscle growth process. If you want to see the best gains in muscle mass and strength that you possibly can, a pen and a piece of paper is the most important tool you could possibly have in your arsenal.

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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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