How To Build Your Own Home Gym – For Less Than You Might Think

power-rackOver the years I’ve trained both at home and at a number of commercial gyms. And although they each have their advantages and disadvantages, on balance I still prefer to train at home.

For a start training at home is much more time efficient. You can train when (and how) you want, there’s no driving to and from the gym several times per week, and you never have to hang around waiting for the bench or the squat/power rack to become free. You also save money on your membership fees, as well as your travel costs, so the moderate cost of setting up a home gym will usually be recouped in 2 – 3 years.

You will need a reasonable amount of space however, either in your garage, basement or a spare room. And if you’re the sort of person who finds it difficult to motivate yourself to train at home, then you’ll need to stick to a commercial gym. But otherwise, if the idea of building your own home gym appeals to you, here’s what you’ll need to do it… Continue Reading →

The Truth About Dietary Fats: The Good, The Bad And The Indifferent

salmon and avocado flickrDespite what you may have heard, fat is an essential part of a healthy balanced diet and has many important functions in the body. Apart from being a valuable source of energy, it also helps you absorb certain vitamins and minerals, it’s needed to build cell membranes and the sheaths surrounding nerves, it’s essential to blood clotting, it’s required for the manufacture of certain hormones and it’s vital to the health of your skin, joints, muscles, and much more.

And on top of all that having sufficient fat in your diet is essential for optimal muscle growth as well.

Fats are made up of fatty acids attached to a glycerol molecule. And fatty acids are basically chains of carbon atoms with hydrogen atoms attached to them. But some fats are more beneficial than others of course; so in this article I’ll describe the four different types of dietary fat – the good fats, the bad fats and those that fall somewhere in between. Continue Reading →

How To Build Big Shoulders

bodybuilder 7 flickrWhen you are wearing clothes a good pair of shoulders is probably the most impressive part of any physique. They will make you look wide and powerful from all angles, and a pair of broad shoulders will also accentuate the appearance of a small waist. So in this article I’ll tell you how to build big shoulders in the fastest and most efficient way possible.

But first you should know a bit about the structure of the shoulders (or deltoids as they are more properly referred to). They are made up of three distinct heads – the front (anterior), the side (lateral) and the rear (posterior) deltoids. So for maximum size and thickness all three heads need to be developed; but it’s the side head that needs the most emphasis if you are looking to create the appearance of width.

To properly develop the shoulders from all angles you need two types of movements – overhead pressing movements and lateral raises. Continue Reading →

Training To Muscular Failure: Should You Train To Failure Or Not?

training to failure flickrOne of the most hotly debated topics in the fitness industry today is that of training to the point of muscular failure.

Some authorities say that when training with weights you absolutely must train to failure if you want to get the best results in terms of increased muscle size and strength. Others however say you should avoid it like the plague.

So who’s right? Should you train to failure or not?

What Is Training To Failure?

Well, first we need to define what training to failure actually is. Failure is reached when you are unable to complete another rep of the set you are doing, and so you fail mid rep. Many fitness coaches will have you believe that this is what’s required to stimulate maximum muscle growth and that without it your results will be less than ideal. Continue Reading →

The Renegade Diet Book Review

renegade dietAre you tired of hard to follow diets that fail to deliver the results they promise? I know I was. Low carb diets, high carb diets, ketogenic diets, eating six meals per day, starving yourself to lose fat or stuffing yourself to build muscle. Surely there must be a better way.

Well as it turns out there is. Jason Ferruggia spent over two decades experimenting with every kind of diet you can think of – both on himself and his clients. And the final result of all that experimentation, combined with the latest scientific research, is The Renegade Diet.

The Renegade Diet is essentially a modification of The Warrior Diet, but it takes into account the needs of those who want to build muscle and improve performance, as well as those who just want to get really defined. But perhaps even more important than any of that is the fact that it has a very strong focus on achieving and maintaining optimum health – something that is sorely lacking in most other diet plans.

So what exactly is The Renegade Diet? Is it really all it’s cracked up to be? And more importantly, is it the right diet for you? Well, here’s my review of the book so you can decide for yourself… Continue Reading →

Should You Always Use A Full Range Of Motion In Your Training?

bench press flickrIf you go to the gym regularly you’ll see people doing exercises through a partial range of motion all the time. Half bench presses, half squats – even quarter squats. And if you are anything like me, you’ll probably shake your head disapprovingly at them. But are they right? Is there any value to using a partial range of motion or should you always use a full range of motion? Well the answer is, it depends.

First you have to decide how you actually define a full range of motion. For instance in the squat is it parallel or is it well below parallel? In the overhead press is it bar below the chin or right down to the chest? In pull ups is it chin over the bar or chest touching the bar? In parallel bar dips is it the backs of the arms parallel to the floor or is it well below that? I could go on, but you get the point. Continue Reading →

Weight Training For Women: How To Get A Lean, Hard And Sexy Body

Ladies; if you want to get a lean, hard, curvy, sexy body that will turn heads everywhere you go, there’s only one way to do it – you’ve got to lift some weights.

And not just the little pink dumbbells – they won’t do anything for you at all. You need to train hard and heavy; almost identical to how a man would train really.

But most women are scared to do this because they think they’ll end up looking big and bulky. But you won’t. Women don’t have anywhere near the amount of testosterone needed to build big muscles; and all those women you see posing on stage in bodybuilding competitions are taking huge doses of steroids and other growth promoting drugs. It’s simply impossible for a woman to look that way naturally. Continue Reading →

The 5×5 Workout Routine For Strength And Size

bodybuilder 2 flickrIf you want to substantially increase your strength as well as your muscle size one of the best ways of doing this is with the 5×5 workout routine.

The 5×5 system of training has been around for decades, and it’s still one of the most popular training methods there is for the simple reason that it works so well.

Reg Park (who built 20 inch arms and did a 500lb bench press before steroids were ever used in the sport) trained this way in the 1950’s. And Arnold Schwarzenegger (whose mentor was Reg Park) later used it in his training to build a solid foundation well before he ever used more conventional bodybuilding routines.

The method was then further popularized in the 1970’s by legendary football strength coach Bill Starr, who used it to train all his athletes. Continue Reading →

How To Build A Bigger Back

bodybuilder 5 wcMany people neglect their back because it’s not really a “show muscle” like the pecs, delts and arms. But this is a big mistake as a wide, thick, muscular back is extremely impressive. Also the back muscles make up a very large part of your total musculature, and developing them will add pounds of mass to your frame. So in this article I’ll tell you exactly how to build a bigger back.

The back is divided up into three main parts. These are the latissimus dorsi (lats) which can be seen from the front and give the appearance of width, the trapezius (traps) which is the diamond shaped muscle that runs from your neck all the way down to your mid back, and the erector spinae which are the cable like muscles of the lower back that extend from the top of your glutes up to your lower traps. But there are also several smaller muscles, such as those around the shoulder blade area, which include the rhomboids, teres major and minor, infraspinatus and rear deltoids.

So if you want to effectively build up all the muscles of the back there are three main exercises you need to do, and a few optional extras that might be worth considering too. These are as follows… Continue Reading →

How To Lose Fat Without Losing Muscle

So you’ve managed to build a decent amount of muscle, but you’ve put on too much fat in the process. Or maybe you always were a bit fat and you’ve now decided to do something about it. Either way you now want to lose all that excess body fat, and get a lean defined look. But how do you do it without losing some of your hard earned muscle?

Well, as I’ve said before, the No. 1 requirement for losing body fat is a calorie deficit. That is you need to consume fewer calories than you expend. When you do that your body has to find an alternative source of energy in order to meet its requirements. This can come from stored glycogen, body fat – or muscle tissue. And normally it will come from a combination of all of these.

So that means under normal circumstances when you lose weight you will lose both fat and muscle. But there are ways that you can signal your body to keep hold of its muscle mass and just use your body fat for energy instead. How do you do that? Well, here are the 8 best ways to ensure you lose fat without losing muscle… Continue Reading →