Thursday, October 30, 2008

Five easy pieces to a bodybuilding lifestyle - part one

If you're ready to get in shape and stay fit here's the first of five easy steps to begin a bodybuilding lifestyle. I'm in the middle of a Jack Nicholson Movie Marathon. Hence the "five easy pieces" reference.

1. Equip yourself with a home gym.You don't need a lot of space for this, certainly not a whole room. I workout most of the time in my living room which is about 10 x 10 feet and my actual floor space is about 7 x 4 feet. One tip, get compact equipment or a gym that's portable and easy to store away.If you’re a beginner, or haven’t done resistance training in a while, start with a resistance band or a set of bands.

If you have the money purchase a set of pro-grade Beach Body bands starting at $29.95 for a set of 6 bands. I’ve owned several other brands over the years and theirs are the best quality I’ve found. I’ve actually broke two sets of Richard Simmons bands. If you buy only one band make sure it’s challenging enough that you can only perform 8 to 12 repetitions per set before feeling a burn in your muscles.

Other excellent products to start your home gym are adjustable weight dumbbells. I own and recommend Bowflex SelectTech 220 Dumbbells. a pull up or chin up bar, push up stands. I own and recommend BodyRev Perfect Push Ups,and if you can afford one, a portable gym like MyGym, Total Gym, The Bean Flex 10, or Bowflex.

One of the best workouts you can get requires no free weights, bands, or portable gyms. Use your body weight for resistance. You can build a great physique with isometrics and calisthenics like squats, push ups, pull ups, lunges, calf raises, chair dips, and more. Power 90X relies heavily on these moves and I've achieved my best results with it.

For an inexpensive solution for aerobics workouts buy several exercise videos. Variety will keep your workouts fresh and you'll be less likely to quit. For video recommendations read my recent article on the best exercise videos for beginners.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Keeping Fitness Interesting

Professional figure competitor Debbie Leung keeps her workouts varied
By Cary Castagna

Variety is the spice of gym life for Debbie Leung.

The 34-year-old Alberta bombshell, you see, doesn't like to do the same workout twice.
It's a training concept developed partly to stave off boredom. But it also ensures that Leung blasts her taut, shapely muscles from different angles. Blindsides 'em and keeps 'em guessing, in other words.

"Every workout, I'm trying to do something different. ... You're switching it up constantly, so your body doesn't know what's hitting it," she explains. "Because each workout's different, my body is always shocked with it and it stimulates the muscle fibres."
Leung knows what she's talking about.

The five-foot-two hard body competes in professional figure contests - a streamlined offshoot of bodybuilding - in the International Federation of Bodybuilders (IFBB).
She's also vice-president of the Alberta Bodybuilding Association (ABBA).

The Winnipeg-born Leung, now living in Calgary with hubby David Leung - who is serving as ABBA president - began religiously pumping iron about a decade ago.
She recalls that she first dabbled with weights while studying physical therapy at the University of Winnipeg.

Thanks to a sedentary post-secondary lifestyle, Leung had succumbed to the dreaded Freshman 15.

"I just sat on my butt and ate, and put on my 15 pounds," she says, noting she soon managed to sweat off that excess weight and found a new hobby in the process.
In 1998, a couple of years after graduating as a physical therapist, Leung took the Body-for-Life challenge - a 12-week healthy living contest based on the book of the same name by American fitness guru Bill Phillips.

By then, Leung was already hooked on weights.

After making some solid progress in the gym, she decided to take her bulging biceps and hop onto the posing dais in 2000.

Leung won the lightweight class in her first show - the 2000 Southern Alberta Bodybuilding Championships - which heralded a meteoric rise through the sport's tiered ranks.

She captured a provincial bodybuilding title in 2001 and a national title in 2002, before making the switch to figure competition.

The following year she took her class at figure nationals. And in 2004, she turned pro by virtue of an overall triumph at figure nationals.

Leung's pro career has been highlighted by a 16th-place finish at the IFBB's prestigious Figure Olympia and three top-15 appearances at the Figure International.

These days, Leung - who competes at around 115 pounds while weighing 125 pounds in the offseason - hits Gold's Gym in Calgary three times a week.

The owner of a physical therapy and acupuncture business doesn't waste much time during her 45-minute weight-training throwdowns.

While taking minimal rest between exercises, Leung strives to perform as many sets as she can in the short period of time.

She describes it as "boot camp-style," noting she executes a variety of athletic-type exercises, including plyometrics.

"It almost seems like I'd wither away doing what I do," she explains. "But you don't lose a blink of muscle and it keeps everything tight year-round."

In addition to weights, Leung does cardio four times a week for 30-45 minutes. As expected, she's not partial to one particular piece of cardio equipment.

"I'll use everything - the StepMill, different ellipticals, the treadmill, inclines, flats, sprinting," she says. "That's the key - keep changing it."

Prior to a contest, Leung jacks up her training frequency to five weight workouts and 10 cardio sessions per week.

She also follows a stringent pre-contest diet.

"Right now, I eat everything. If I'm dieting, it's obviously stricter," she says, pointing out that she consumes a lot of high-protein foods, fruits and veggies, dairy and some starch fare.
Although bodybuilding has been a big part of her life for the past eight years, Leung - who ran track in her younger years - isn't afraid to give new sports a go.

She tried skeleton (similar to bobsled and luge) for a year, has her yellow belt in judo and recently took up Aussie rules football with the Calgary Kookaburras.

"I'm always up for trying new sports. If I like them, I stick around," she says. "I don't necessarily get bored. I just like to keep things a little bit more interesting."

As ABBA vice-president, Leung is helping to organize an entry-level bodybuilding show this weekend in Edmonton. The 2008 Alberta Annual Fall Classic is slated for Saturday at the Victoria School of Performing and Visual Arts, 10210 108 Ave. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster.

For more on Leung, visit

Monday, October 20, 2008

Don't be fooled by protein gimmicks

Save money by sticking to the basics
Colin Kennedy
The Daily Evergreen

With the increasing popularity of health supplements, particularly weightlifting supplements, there seems to be an increasing lack of clarity as to what some actually contain. While protein powders originally started as just that, popular protein supplements are now advertised as containing numerous ingredients that will cause “muscle-bursting pumps” and many other fancy promises that may not mean much to the average consumer.

The label of the popular Nitro-Tech protein formula advertises that the product contains “ultra-absorption of nanoparticulated amino acid peptides.” Oh, yeah – those. I once had a buddy tell me I need to try the protein blend he was using because its label claimed that it “alters your DNA.” What does that even mean? Is this a promise to build some muscle, or a suggestion that I could sprout a third arm and get prostate cancer if I use the product?

Supplement manufacturers tend to exaggerate the benefits of the miraculous compounds they mix into their protein blends. Such marketing allows them to sell these products at much higher prices. However, a general knowledge of the various kinds of protein beneficial to muscle gain can allow one to purchase the right products without spending too much extra cash.

The two primary types of protein critical to the lifter’s arsenal are whey protein and casein protein. Whey protein is derived from milk and is the fast-absorbing protein, making it ideal for consumption immediately after a workout. It also contains most of the protein in common supplements.

Most bodybuilding sources recommend taking 20 to 40 grams of whey protein within an hour of lifting weights, as timely protein uptake is critical for muscle repair. Many bodybuilders will have a scoop of whey prior to their workout, as well, to prevent muscle fatigue. Additionally, whey protein is beneficial in the morning because it allows for fast absorption after your muscles have been starved of any protein for eight hours.

Casein protein also can be critical in achieving muscle gain, but is less used by weightlifters. Casein is the slow-digesting protein, making it optimal for consumption before bed. According to, casein protein forms a gel when it reaches the stomach and can take more than twice as long to digest than whey protein. When you go to sleep, your body will be starved until breakfast, so a slowly-released protein is ideal to feed your muscles throughout the night.
In addition to powder supplements, casein protein can be found in various food products. For example, according to Men’s Health magazine, cottage cheese is an excellent source of casein that can allow one to feel full for a longer period of time.

Don’t want to spend the bucks on two different proteins? Many supplements offer whey-casein combinations, which are also beneficial for shakes.

When purchasing a protein supplement, try not to focus on the countless enzymes and miracle compounds advertised on the label. Identifying the specific type of protein in the supplement can ensure you are feeding your body at the proper times and can end up saving you some cash.

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Secret of Bodybuilding

Body building as all of us know is about building muscles and giving a proper shape to the body. It is about growing the muscles that remain hidden in a man's body. But building these muscles and making them visible needs lot of hard work.

NOT ONLY does body building need pumping of iron but also requires lot of thought into what one eats and how the rest is taken. If a person is opting to do bodybuilding, then there is a lot, which has to be taken care of like the diets, schedule, time of workouts.

The diet is considered to be one one of the most important factor, when it comes to bodybuilding. While professional have a good knowledge about that and knows exactly what diet suits his body, there are many who are oblivious of these facts. Those bodybuilders use a number of ways to maximise the muscle hypertrophy.

The first one is the strength training, in which they train by lifting heavy weights.

The second is the special nutrition, which contains loads of protein content that they should take for maximum muscle building.

The third factor is the adequate rest period, in which the builders should slow down a bit and relax their body so that their body gets a break, which is also very important for continuous processing, which includes adequate sleep and breaks between workouts.

The fourth and the most important is the water factor which comes into play. They take adequate amount of water during and after the workout session to prevent dehydration.

Body building is an activity, which helps one to achieve the highest level of physique. Arnold is one of the famous body builders of the past and was known for his massive body. He won the Mr Olympia title seven times and the title of Mr Universe three times.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Best Fitness Books For Men

Best Fitness Books For Men
by Carol Bardelli, Fitness Examiner

Effective workouts don't have to be done in a gym.Like women, you guys out there need a balanced approach to fitness. Your best bet is a combination of resistance training and aerobic exercise. Unfortunately, few books cover both topics thoroughly. These three books give you excellent coverage of muscle building and resistance training. Add in some jogging, biking, swimming, elliptical, or better yet cross training, and you're guaranteed to achieve a fitter, sexier body.

Weight Training Workouts that Work: Volume I by James Orvis

Designed for the entry-level weight trainer, this book is a great place to start if you've never or rarely performed resistance training. At 150 pages, it's a small volume as weight lifting books go, but the subject matter is covered concisely and clearly.With twelve weeks of workouts outlined, James Orvis gives you a complete step-by-step run down on what exercises to perform and how to maintain proper form. All you need to know to launch your fitness goals are in this book.

The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding : The Bible of Bodybuilding, Fully Updated and Revised by Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bill Dobbins

If you're serious about getting fit this book is a must-have. Arnold Schwarzenegger teamed up with photographer Bill Dobbins to write a book like no other. This is truly "the bible of bodybuilding."This book covers advances in weight training, and also covers bodybuilding competition – an intriguing subject even if you don't plan to compete. Diverse topics are covered including diet and nutrition, dietary supplements for fat loss and muscle gain, sports psychology, treatment and prevention of injuries, and training methods. Illustrated with detailed photos of bodybuilding's greats, this book is also visually appealing.There's plenty here for all levels of expertise and experience. The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding will motivate you and help you achieve your full physical potential.

Men's Health Home Workout Bible: by Lou Schuler (Editor), Michael Mejia

Let's face it, few of us have time to spend hours in a commercial gym, let alone afford the price of gas to get there. Working out at home is a viable option. Good new and used equipment is available, often for less money than a gym membership or personal trainer fees.Lou Shuler and Michael Mejia show you how to transform an area of "your humble abode into your personal war room." They fully cover the art of resistance training. And they make it clear that commercial gyms are in no way superior to an in-home gym. "Where it really counts-results-there's zero difference between a home gym and a membership gym." Schuler is the fitness director at Men's Health magazine and author of many bodybuilding books. He knows his stuff inside and out. This book is written with the average Joe in mind, Joe six-pack who want Joe six-pack abs. All you need to know to get in shape is covered in an expert, no-nonsense writing style. You'll learn about muscle groups, how to buy effective and affordable equipment, correct lifting form, and which exercises you need to perform. Michael Mejia provides more than 200 pages of exercise programs. These routines are easy to understand and effective. You'll never get bored with your choices of routines and neither will your muscles.