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Quad Routine


Quadricep Anatomy

This is a legs routine, designed to build new size, strength and detail into your quads.

Leg Extension – 4 sets, 30, 25, 20, 15 reps superset with
Bodyweight Walking Lunges – 4 sets, 24 steps

Leg Press – 4 sets, 20, 12, 10, 8 reps superset with
Bodyweight Sissy Squat – 4 sets, 15 reps

Hack Squat – 4 sets, 15 reps superset with
Bodyweight Squat – 4 sets, 20 reps

Make sure when doing bodyweight squats take them to parallel then come to a point just short of full lockout to keep constant tension in the quads.

Rest 1-2 minutes after each superset grouping.


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Letting Your Knees Travel Too Far Forward During Lung-Type Movements


Lunges

Keep your knees behind the plane going straight up from your toes for knee safety.

Behind the Blunder
If you have healthy knees, this blunder might not apply now, but if you ignore this today, one day it might hit a nerve. Lunges, which used to be thought of as a female-driven exercise, are so popular and beneficial that they have been embraced by most males, and for good reason. Despite popular belief, the lunge is not just for the glutes, but it also blasts the quads and hamstrings, making it a great move for the entire lower leg. Whether you use just your bodyweight, dumbbells or a barbell across your back, the message is clear: Keep your front knee back and do not let it travel beyond the vertical plane of your toes. The sheering forces caused by the lunging motion can be fatal to the knees in the long run.

The Fix
If you find you let your knee travel too forward, try the split lunge for a few sets. Unlike the standard lunge in which you step forward and then press yourself back up to the starting position, with a split lunge, once you get into a lunge position you stay there. Practise the up-and-down motion of the lunge concentrating on keeping your front leg bent at 90° in the bottom position. This will help you remember that the entire leg is working in concert to perform the lunge. Although some trainers would disagree, the back leg is also hard at work because you have to press through the back leg to raise your body. After some split lunge practise, try the standard lunge, remembering to use both legs to control the entire sequence.

Start:
Stand erect with a dumbbell in each hand, arms out to your sides. Keep your head straight, chest up and abs tight.

Action:
Take a long step forward with one foot. Bend both knees to lower yourself, making sure your front knee does not pass your toes. Stop just short of your rear knee touching the floor and reverse direction, driving though the heel of your forward foot and the balls of the trailing foot to return to the start.

Leg Remedy: Dumbbell Lunges Corrected
Think “straight up and down” as opposed to “forward£. Once you have re-trained yourself to keep your forward knee back and you have realised that both legs help in raising the body, the last element is to imagine a string at the top of your head pulling you straight up to the ceiling on each rep. The up-and-down motion will provide an additional level of safety for the front knee while also helping you target the quads, hams and glutes. Finally, to help solve the problem, take a good, long stride. Many people suffer from knee problems during this move because they are not steeping our far enough.

https://veefitness.wordpress.com/2013/09/30/leg-blunders/
https://veefitness.wordpress.com/2013/10/02/lifitng-your-hips-off-the-pad-during-leg-presses/
https://veefitness.wordpress.com/2013/10/03/pointing-your-toes-excessively-inward-during-the-hack-squat-or-other-closed-chain-movement/


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CARBS: The Anabolic Nutrient


Carbohydrates can help you pack on muscle or body-fat depending on when, what and how much you eat. Here is what carbophobes and carboholics need to know about this important macronutrient for optimal physical gains.

Ask 10 bodybuilders about the importance of protein for muscle building and you will get clear support. Ask the same group about the value of carbohydrates and you will likely get 10 different answers. Among the macronutrients, no other has faced more scrutiny than carbohydrates. In fact, over the years nutritionists and diet specialists have spoken out of both sides of their mouths about carbs, claiming they are everything from beneficial (eg give you energy) to evil (eg make you fat) – a debate that leaves most of us confused about where carbs fit into a bodybuilding diet.

There are several reasons for the confusion and contradictory advice. First and foremost, not all carbohydrate sources are created equal, and different forms of carbs cause several different reactions in the body. Second, research is only just starting to unravel the benefits and caveats of carbohydrate ingestion in its many different forms. As a serious bodybuilder, you understand how critical it is to find the right balance of protein, fats and carbohydrates in your nutrition plan. This post will aim to remove some of the question marks surrounding carbs with a comprehensive overview of what, when and how to successfully include carbohydrates in your diet and supplement regimen, both to build muscle and lose body-fat.

Basic “Carboscience”
Carbohydrates are so named because they are made up of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen atoms (or hydrated carbon). These compounds serve many functional roles in the body beyond food energy. For example, ribose sugar comprises the backbone for the genetic RNA and is also important in the formation of many co-enzymes. This post will focus on specifically on carbohydrates as food or supplement sources for bodybuilders.

For a fast-acting source of energy, carbohydrates trump both fat and protein because sugars are more easily and readily metabolised than other macronutrients. The amount, type and rate of digestion of different carb sources dictate the level of blood glucose and amount of insulin released by the pancreas. Insulin is a hormone that delivers excess blood glucose to be stored in muscle cells and liver as glycogen. Once glycogen levels are topped up, the remaining blood glucose is converted to fat and stored in fat cells. The fact that insulin is integral to driving nutrients into skeletal muscle makes it one of the most potent anabolic agents and the focus of many research studies in exercise science. Insulin sensitivity (the body’s ability to use insulin) greatly increases in trained individuals, especially right after training. In contrast, insulin sensitivity declines in the evening.

Getting past all the science, the main point to deduce is that depending on the state of nutrition and timing of intake, high blood sugar and insulin levels could lead to either desirable or undesirable outcomes. Ideally you want to spike blood sugar and insulin levels at appropriate times to take advantage of energy storage and anabolic effects while avoiding fat storage.

“Carbotypes”
Monosaccharides
These are the simplest class of carbohydrates, as they can not be hydrolysed any further to form a simpler sugar. Simple car sources taste sweet and include glucose (dextrose) and fructose (fruit sugar). Glucose is absorbed high in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and thus elevates blood sugar and insulin rapidly and greater than any other carbohydrate form. Fructose, on the other hand, digests low in the GI tract, has a relatively minor impact on blood sugar levels and is considered a slow carbohydrate.

Disaccharides
These sugars are formed by the chemical combination of two monosaccharides. They also taste sweet and have a relatively fast absorption rate. The three common disaccharides include lactose (glucose-galactose or milk sugar), sucrose (glucose-fructose) and maltose (glucose-glucose). Maltose elevates blood sugar very rapidly (in fact, it does so faster than glucose) and sucrose only moderately increases blood sugar, whereas lactose digests slowly and has a small impact on blood sugar.

Polysaccharides
These are carbohydrates formed by bonding several chains of monosaccharides and or disaccharides. This form is commonly known as complex carbohydrates and includes starch, cellulose and glycogen. Starches are made up of multiple glucose units bonded together and are “plant sugars” produced by all green plants as an energy source. Common sources of starch are potatoes, wheat, corn and rice. Cellulose forms the structural components in plants and is relatively indigestible in humans – fibre is a form of cellulose. Most starches are considered medium-to-slow-digesting, however, exceptions exist, one which is waxy maize. The reason waxy maize absorbs so quickly is that it is a modified high-molecular-weight cornstarch that has los osmolality, which enables it to bypass the stomach a d het absorbed in the small intestines (causing a rapid rise in blood glucose).

The Glycemic Index
A common misconception is that all simple carbohydrates are fast sugars and all complex carbohydrates are slow sugars. This is definitely not the case. In fact, some complex carbohydrates (like maltodextrin) raise blood sugar and insulin levels rapidly, whereas a simple sugar like fructose has minimal impact on blood glucose. The variation is exactly why the glycemic index was created – to help you understand how different carbohydrate sources impact blood sugar. Using this tool is quite simple – all carbohydrate foods are ranked on a scale relative to glucose (a fast sugar, rated 100). Anything lower than 100 impacts blood sugar less than glucose and anything higher impacts it to a greater degree. One important point to note is that fats, fibre and, in some cases, proteins can significantly slow the speed at which fast (high-glycemic index) carbs elevate blood glucose. Keep this in mind when employing the strategies outlined next.

Carbohydrates and Bodybuilding
Carb-Based Muscle-Building Strategy
There is an abundance of scientific research supporting carbohydrate supplementation for muscle building. After exercise, muscle glycogen stores are depleted and insulin sensitivity is greatly increased, thus proving the perfect opportunity to spike by ingesting fast carbohydrates like dextrose, maltodextrin or waxy maize. Not only does the boost in insulin increase glycogen repletion, but it also serves to carry amino acids and nutrients into damaged muscle cells. Several studies indicate that post-training carbohydrate and protein supplements boost the anabolic response, augment recovery and promote increased gains in lean mass.

To take advantage of these muscle-building benefits, you should drink a post-workout shake containing a 2:1 ratio of high-glycemic index (fast) carbohydrates and fast-absorbing protein. The best combination is dextrose or maltodextrin and whey protein hydrolysate or isolate. Individuals who are sensitive to dextrose or maltodextrin can use waxy maize as an alternate fast-carb source. If you opt for waxy maize, just make sure to take it 15-20 minutes before your protein powder, as its impact on blood sugar may be slowed when taken at the same time as protein. In any case (depending on your body mass), you should strive to ingest approximately 60-100 grams of fast-absorbing carbs and 30-50 grams of fast-absorbing protein as soon as you finish working out. In general, you should aim to consume 1-1.5 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight per day (divided into six doses throughout the day, with one being 30 minutes prior to training and one being immediately after training).

Carb Loading
Carb loading in bodybuilding is primarily used as a strategy to make muscles look fuller and skin appear tighter while onstage, during a photo shoot or whenever you want your physique looking its absolute best. There are numerous diet and workout strategies used for carb loading in bodybuilding, but the common goal among all approaches is to create an environment of glycogen super-compensation in skeletal muscle. This state is achieved by depleting glycogen stores by high-repetition, long-duration workouts for days under carbohydrate restriction. Once carbohydrate depletion is achieved, the diet switches to short-term, high-carbohydrate intake, during which the body restore glycogen in muscle to a higher level than before depletion. From a performance standpoint super-compensation provides more glycogen for subsequent exercise bouts, but (important for bodybuilding) it also results an increase in muscle cell volume (cell volumisation). This boost in cell volume occurs because each molecule of glycogen takes four molecules of water into the cell, resulting in less subcutaneous (under the skin) water and fuller-looking muscles, which give the body a leaner/harder appearance.

Here is an example of carb-loading strategy: For 3-5 days, deplete muscle glycogen stores by decreasing your carbohydrate intake by 50% or more (replace calories by increasing your fat intake) and train using full-body, high-rep workouts. After glycogen depletion, double your original carb intake for the three days preceding your competition, photo shoot or special event. Since each individual responds differently to carb loading, you should experiment with this strategy in the off season to know exactly how many days you need to deplete/super-compensate glycogen and look and feel your best.

Carb Cycling
This is a relatively new strategy that aims at maintaining or building lean mass while losing body-fat, as it combines the ababolism-boosting benefits of carbohydrate ingestion and the fat-burning advantages of low-carbohydrate diets. In a quest to get lean, many nutrition plans are centered on low-carb strategies to force the use of body-fat as fuel. However, there are theories suggesting that staying on a low-carb-diet for extended periods can lead to a decline in leptin levels. Leptin is a hormone that staves off hunger while simultaneously keeping your metabolic rate elevated. By going through alternating periods of low-carb and high-carb dieting, you can prevent drops in leptin levels, maintain hunger control and ensure your metabolism stays revved.

Carb cycling also provides a psychological advantage over strict low-carb diets. Knowing you will be able to eat carbs again in a few days makes getting through the low-carb days much more manageable. Another problem with strict low-carb diets is that they force you to limit fresh fruit and whole grains, two food sources that provide a number of health pulses like antioxidants and phytonutrients.

As you can see, carbs serve a major role in bodybuilding, from bulking up to the final touches in your contest preparation. The key to using them effectively is to have a basic understanding of how they affect the body based on ingestion timing, amount and impact on blood glucose.


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Preventing Loss of Muscle Mass And Strength


Something for the relatively older folks on here (young folks could equally benefit)

5 tips on how to prevent loss of muscle mass and associated strength with age:

1) Exercise, specifically resistance training. Both men and women. The deeper I delve into this subject and whenever I look at research, the more the importance of weight training is confirmed.
2) Opt for at least 1kg/kg of bodyweight of protein intake per day. That’s 0.5gr/lb.
3) Get adequate vitamin D, either from sunlight or supplemented if you’re lacking from exposure to the sun. I can’t recommend the importance of vitamin D enough.
4) Balance intake of acid-producing nutrients with alkalising fruits and vegetables. This is something often overlooked yet I incorporate this in virtually every single one of my meals.
5) Emerging evidence suggests adequate vitamin B12 and folic acid intake to improve muscle function too.


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Caffeine Increases Growth Hormone Response To Weight Training


Many athletes take caffeine in the form of pills or energy drinks to enhance performance or energy levels during training. Caffeine stimulates adrenaline release and can improve the quality of workouts. A study from the Journal of Sports Science Medicine, found that caffeine (6 mgs per kilogram of bodyweight) increased growth hormone release for at least 30 minutes after weight training session. Caffeine increases blood fatty acid levels, which triggers increases in growth hormone. Caffeine might be a useful supplement because it increases strength and training intensity, and promotes a post-exercise anabolic response.