Building Muscles for Tall Men vs Building Muscles for Short Men

September 23, 2009 by  
Filed under The Fitness Bug

short-man-tall-man-workout

Since growing to my adult height of 6’1 at age 16, I decided that it was time to hit the gym as my late high school years were coming to an end. Yes, it is true that I may have kept growing up until the age of 21, but I was happy with my height, yet I simply was not a fan of the skinny man look as an adult.

That was some years back now and from my experience of building muscle, I can conclude that it is definitely harder to gain muscle mass on a tall persons frame than it is for a short person.

Now don’t get me wrong, overtime time I have realised that both body types will build muscle at the same rate, it’s just that tall peoples muscles are distributed over a larger area. This means that taller people will need to work harder to grow their muscles to point where they look ‘HUGE’. But when they do get to that stage, they will definitely adopt the’ stand out from the crowd’ look.

This is what the shorter guys won’t get!

Shorter guys can build muscle faster for sure, because their muscles are distributed over a smaller area, but they will only get the small powerful look and once they reach a certain size, there won’t be much room to grow any further either because of their smaller frame. So although taller guys have a hard time gaining weight, with hard work there will always be room to grow.

Tall persons frame

= Larger bones

= More distance between joint and insertion point of muscle

= Better leverage

= Stronger

Taller persons frame

= Larger ROM (Range of Motion)

= What some argue… weaker!

Taller persons frame

= Larger frame

= More potential for weight gain in workouts

But Shaun… people are neither ‘just tall’ nor ‘just short’, there are many variations of body types!

You are right,

  • Long legs vs. short legs
  • Long arms vs. short arms
  • Long torso vs. short torso

And all kinds of combination’s

But you can discuss those variations of body types at the end of this post. For the purpose of this post lets just assume we are talking about,

Short – typical ectomorph

Tall – typical ectomporph

Lets now look at how both body types are affected with particular exercises to prove the fact that it is harder to build muscle mass when you are taller and that tall people are at a disadvantage.

Pull-ups

Pull-up

Pull-ups are one of the best strength gaining and muscle building exercises, and it gets even better when you add a dipping belt to the mix. Despite its greatness, the pull up is simply not a tall persons exercise and someone like myself has to work much harder to get those strength gains (Painful!).

The main issue is that a tall person would have a wider grip compared to a shorter person, and that is what makes it tough.

However, I did work hard, and I know for sure it took me a lot longer to get strength gains than my shorter framed friends. My only real personal advantage was that I didn’t weigh too much to begin with in those early days, so I was able to put out more reps than my heavier taller friends.

Bicep exercises (chin ups/ Curls)

preacher-curl-main_Full

If you are tall then it is very unlikely that you will have short arms, and I know from experience (again, painful!) that a tall person has a tough time building ‘stand out biceps’, even to the stage where they look developed. Taking them to the ‘HUGE’ level is a different matter altogether. (But it can be done). The key difference here is that a shorter person with naturally shorter arms can build big biceps in a fraction of the time that it will take for the tall person to get achieve the same results (damn these long limbs).

Bench Press

machinebenchpress

This is another short man exercise. For years I’ve met many people that were able to lift a lot more weight than I could on the bench press exercise and I just couldn’t figure out how that was so. I mean… I was and still am a pretty strong guy (In my view) and can lift some pretty serious weights. But every time it comes to bench press, it just takes more work.

Why?

  • Longer arms!
  • Wider grip!
  • More Range of Motion to perform a full rep!

Without a doubt, there are advantages and disadvantages to both body types. It may seem like I’m bashing the short guys for having it all, but hey, that’s my experience. The bottom line is that in general, shorter guys can do less and gain muscle mass much quicker than us tall guys. Whichever body type you are, just be sure to replace those exercises that feel awkward to perform with something else, and if a shorter/ taller guy out-performs you at a particular exercise, just mind your own business! Because if you try to challenge them you will get egg on your face, then you WILL be embarrassed.

Which exercises do you have difficulty performing?

What is your body type? Is it a variation of the above?

Tis the S-curve lifestyle… Which means you can continue any current activities you’re currently doing. Even ummm… ‘Crossfit’. Some of our best members were already taking in part in that. We do the best in everything we do. So… Make sure you choose the best shoes for crossfit training, if you’re into that.

Forever building muscles See you in the comments.

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Unique Bodyweight exercises (part 2)

September 18, 2009 by  
Filed under The Fitness Bug

After yesterdays post i am still quite enthusiastic to share some of the most unique bodyweight exercises that you can perform to build and maintain super strength . And supreme strength is the very thing that I am quite certain of that most gym buffs lack. But after reading this continuation of unique bodyweight exercises, a strength less gym buff you will be not!

I have talked about abs quite a lot over the weeks. Why? Well, it’s what everyone asks for and it was and still is one of the muscle groups that i am passionate about building. But this next exercise will be a true test of your strength as well as building up your abdominal muscles .

Flying human flag: Oblique ab crunch (Vertical)

  • Difficulty: 8 /10
  • Time to master: 6-8 months

As you can see, this exercise does look pretty insane, and it can take some time to master. The heavier you are the harder it will be to do. Before attempting this, I would advise that you get really good at performing chin ups and handstand exercises. Once you do that you should then have enough strength to attempt this exercise.

To perform this, you will need very good core strength. Start by keeping your knees tucked in close to reduce leverage. Each week you should gradually be able to hold the form for about one split second longer. When you do, you must begin to gradually extend just one leg outwards… and then so on.

When you do nail this exercise you can show off as much as you like, and best of all, you will have super strength.

Now… you may have been able to master pull ups. You may have been able to master the dips exercise. You might have even mastered doing them with a dipping belt. But could you imagine performing both exercises in one whole movement? Well… if you are up for the challenge then such an exercise does exist. It is called the

Muscle up

  • Difficulty: 10/10
  • Time to master:10-12 months

What is a muscle up? It is a pull up exercise followed immediately by a dips exercise. In general you will need rings to perform this (like in gymnastics), but you can use a chin up bar. However, using a chin up bar will make the exercise harder to perform.

This exercise is truly a sacred hidden gem for sure. You may possibly have heard of them before, but i bet you don’t hear about many people performing them. The guy in the video is simply a beast! He makes this exercise look really easy to do. But i can assure you… this exercise is tough and you will need brute Tarzan strength to perform it.

Requirements

Perform

  • 15 pull ups
  • 15 dips

One arm chin up

one-arm-chin-upone-arm-chin-2

  • Difficulty : 10 / 10
  • Time to master: 6 months to several years!

This is actually one of my favorite exercises. It’s not the fact that it will increase my muscle mass or strength, it’s just that i was always really bad at trying to do these exercises, and to progress and be able to do them fluently is quite a good feeling.

But enough about me. Once you have mastered ordinary chin ups, this exercise is the one that will truly challenge your strength. If you do manage to master it, it will prove that you are one of very few who possess this raw human strength and you can be proud to wear that trophy too.

After seeing part’s one and two of unique bodyweight exercises, it is quite possible that you are lost on how to actually perform each one. Because of that, i will be posting an in depth guide over the next few days on how to actually perform them in the correct way, the do’ s and don’ts and how to really prepare for them. So stay tuned.

See you in the comments.

The unique bodyweight exercises ebook

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How To Build Muscle Mass With A High Metabolism?

September 14, 2009 by  
Filed under The Fitness Bug

gain muscle on skinny man

It’s been a ride so far here at stayfitbug.com and I have covered many topics, many of which have been suggested by readers like yourselves and those in other online communities. One of the biggest topics has been ‘how to build muscle mass with a high metabolism’. I have covered this topic through out various posts in the last few weeks, but the information is scattered across the site, so I intend to make this a bible post for all of you skinny men out there. I will help you get that muscle and I will make it my duty that you achieve from the information you pick up from stayfitbug.com!

You are what you eat

This we all know, but when you suffer, or should I say, when you are ‘blessed’ with a high metabolism, you just have to eat more. And these are the foods you will want to include in your diet.

  • Spinach – This is muscle fuel and will help repair muscles after working out (but you have to eat loads of it)
  • Pineapple and papaya – Will help speed up muscle recovery and will help breakdown and digest protein.
  • Salmon – Or any other type of fish will help you (Especially for cardio training).
  • Pasta and meat sauce – Is good for building and repairing muscle.
  • Pork tenderloin – Will help reduce fat around your waist.
  • Cold water – Will help with endurance.
  • Chocolate milk – Helps with hydration. Chocolate milk gives the perfect balance of carbs, protein, and fat for a speedy muscle recovery.
  • Coffee – Good for pain relief after workouts.
  • Green tea – Good for muscle recovery.

Other great additions

  • Peanuts
  • Turkey
  • Porridge
  • Brown bread
  • Brown rice
  • Black beans
  • Potatoes
  • Eggs

If you are lost for what meals to include, have a read of killer foods for fitness (one and two).  That is still in it’s early stages and you will see more of killer foods for fitness, but in the mean time see my verdict on this book ‘Gourmet Nutrition’.

The high metabolism meal plan
Good male nutrition

In one of my very early posts I described how to eat in the early days of building muscle for mass, and this is how you should structure your daily meals.

  • Meal 1. A GOOD breakfast like porridge with bread mixed in.
  • Meal 2. Drink a gainer meal
  • Meal 3. Lunch with a lot of carbs 2/3 and 1/3 proteins
  • Meal 4. Drink a Gainer meal
  • Meal 5. Dinner with 1/3 protein and 2/3 carbs
  • Meal 6. Drink a gainer meal
  • Meal 7. Eat a dish with 2/3 proteins and 1/3 carbs

Realistically this can be hard to keep up, as I have tried doing this on a number of occasions to fit around my daily schedule. But if you keep it to at least 5 meals on the busy days and 7 meals on your free days, you will put on weight for sure. If you really do struggle, like most people do nowadays, then you can always take a supplement and add that to your diet. Whey protein is my personal favourite as of now, but take a look at my personal view on how to use these supplements.

Note: Also make sure you have a healthy bank account; all this food can be costly, depending on how and where you eat. Again give the Gourmet nutrition book a read for some tips.

Resistance Training

Resistance traing

How much and how often?

I have frequently talked about the importance of setting goals when training for results, and you will have to do this here too. But because we are talking about training to build muscle on a high metabolism/ ectomorph body type, the goal (no matter who you are) will be mostly the same.

1) Resistance training 3-4 times a week (1 hour a day)

2) One cardio training session a week. Depending on how skinny you are it could be a case of doing no cardio training at all in the early stages.

To see how to set your own personal goal, see my guest post on Dieselcrew.com

Lift Weights at Moderate Speed

Now, there has always been this myth that,

Lifting weights slowly = Bigger muscles

You can agree to disagree with me here, but I no longer believe this to be the case. For years I use to perform slow movement weightlifting and I would usually always achieve slow results… compared with now. With 2 years of power lifting and ‘explosive movements’ I would see results every 3-6 weeks!

The reason why lifting slow is bad is because,

1) It puts stress on the muscle from taking to long.

2) Allows pressure to build up in the joints… from taking to long.

3) Oxygen and energy run out before the muscle is even worked.

In general, changes will occur in your muscles when the muscles contract ‘intensely’. And this is why your weight lifting should not focus on slow movement. Yes… it may possibly give you an increase in strength, but you may lose muscle mass and you will only then be a strong, but still… skinny man!

The Ultimate Solution

There will be arguments on which is better,

Lift fast, or lift slowly? Why and for which type of goals?

But the key thing to remember is that weight training whether fast or slow is better than no weight training at all. But for you high metabolism types, the best thing to do is,

1) Start with lightweights – This will allow you to understand how to lift the weights properly regardless of the exercise.

2) Do the exercise properly – Once you have mastered how to do it, focus on control and execution.

3) Lift at moderate speed – Explosive yes! But not fast and not slow.

4) Increase the weight – Do the above 3, but always aim to increase the weight.

Structuring your weight lifting techniques like this will allow for the blood in your body to flow properly when lifting, and will give you the ‘pump’ that your muscles need. Do this and your muscles will grow!

build muscle from skinny to gain muscle

You and the previous You!

See you in the comments.

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TRX Door Anchor

September 11, 2009 by  
Filed under Gym Equiment, The Fitness Bug

TRX Door Anchor

Home workout_Fitness at homeHome workout_fitness  at home

In a previous post (Hotel Workout) I talked about the importance of keeping fit while on vacation, without letting your workout routine disrupt your ‘holiday time’. For my home workouts, i use a chin up bar placed between a door frame. This allows me to maintain my muscle mass while I’m not at the gym. But while I’m away i use a door anchor instead, as i know most hotels don’t build there rooms around fitness and workout needs. My first reaction when i first got introduced to this tool was, ‘Is this thing even safe…what if it slips off the top when I’m using it?’. You are probably thinking that right now, but rest assured, it really is safe to use. I personally use it for building and maintaining my triceps, forearms and back shoulders. But the versatility of this thing is great so you can use it in a variety of ways for different muscle groups and it will work those muscles you may usually miss doing normal exercises. If you:

  1. Workout at home
  2. Travel a lot
  3. Have no time for the gym

Then add this to your collection of home gym accessories if you haven’t already done so.

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Progryp 100% Leather dipping belt

September 11, 2009 by  
Filed under Gym Equiment

Progryp 100% Leather Dipping Belt, One Size Fits All, Black Progryp 100% Leather Dipping Belt, One Size Fits All, Black

A Durable And Comfortable Way To Increase The Safety Of Each Lift!






I can’t actually believe i have left it so late to share my favorite toy with you all. For those who don’t know what this is, a dipping belt is something you wear to add extra weight to your body while doing bodyweight exercises such as chin ups and pull ups (see ‘ How to build lats (wings) like these‘ ). This is what you need to have when certain exercises become very easy, which means you have gained strength and have gotten used to lifting your own body weight. exercises such as

  • Chin ups
  • Pull ups
  • Dips

The reason I recommend the leather one is because it is more durable than material belts (lasts longer). if this product looks alien to you it could be becasue you don’t see many guys doing chin ups/ pull ups in the gym. If that is so, i can tell you this…. they do not know the secret to build functional raw strength! But if you have seen people using this and you have wondered what it is… now you know! For more understanding on how it works,

And again, read that post to get an idea of how i used it.

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How To Build Lats (Wings) Like These

September 9, 2009 by  
Filed under The Fitness Bug

Strong Lats muscles

Other than the shoulder muscles, I would say that the Latimuss dorsi (Wings) muscles are the biggest contributors in promoting a large muscle bound appearance. These are the muscles that will give you a V-shaped upper back and make you look like these guys,

captain_america musclessuperman muscles

By having well developed lats, you can get away with wearing certain types of clothes that you can only usually wear confidentially if you have a well-rounded body (Even if you have slightly less developed arms). However, if you do have well-developed arms but have slightly less developed lats, you will just look like an ‘average Joe’ or even worse… adopt an unnatural and imbalanced appearance.

There are many exercises out there that can help you develop this muscle group, but we’ll list my favourite exercises that will help you develop a monstrous pair of lats.

Pull ups (Gironda Sternum)

chin ups
I have talked about ways to build ‘real’ strength quite a lot in recent weeks, and this exercise is a really good way to do it.

Instruction

  • Grab the pull-up bar with an overhand grip, approximately shoulder width apart.
  • Now hang with your arms fully extended.
  • As you pull yourself to the bar, have your head lean back as far away from the bar as possible and arch your spine throughout the movement.
  • At the upper end of the movement, your hips and legs will be at about a 45-degree angle to the floor. You should keep pulling until your collarbone passes the bar and your lower chest or sternum area touches it.

Warning! The first time you do this exercise you will struggle!

Most people will initially struggle when lifting their own bodyweight, and doing any bodyweight exercises will be a real test of your strength. Although you will probably fail miserably and end up doing,

3 Sets

Reps

  1. 8
  2. 4
  3. 2

Your strength will gradually increase. But in the beginning stages you can always get a spotter to help you out. However, you don’t want to rely on that help too often, as too much help will hinder your strength gaining efforts.

You are talking nonsense… this is easy!

If you are reading this and thinking that, then you would have mastered lifting your own body weight. Unless you are some sort of transformer or mutant, there is no way to dramatically increase your weight. But you can do by using a dipping belt.

dipping belt to build muscle

This accessory will be essential when developing real muscle mass on your lats. What this belt will allow you to do is add extra weight around your waist, making it heavier and harder to lift yourself up. Once you get to this level, then I would say ‘you truly are the best’.

Straight-arm pull downs

straight_arm_pulldown
This exercise has to be good! Every time I am in the gym there is a queue for this machine. 😐

Putting the sarcasm aside, this is for sure one of my favourite exercises, and the pain that it inflicts never seems to ease up overtime either. This exercise is also lat specific, so you can easily gauge your efforts.

Instructions

  • Stand in front of a lat pull down bar with your arms outstretched towards the bar.
  • Place your palms flat on the bar and pull it down to shoulder level.
  • Keeping your elbows slightly bent and your wrists locked, pull the bar down towards your body in an arcing motion.
  • Once you contracted the lats fully and the bar has touched or come close to your thighs, slowly allow the bar to come back up to the starting position.
  • Keep your torso erect!

Dumbbell bent over rows

bentoverdumbbellrolls
Back when I first started to workout, this was one of the first exercises I would include in my routine, and it still is a key exercise that I do today. This won’t just build your lats though. It will help build up your entire upper back and even your biceps.

Instruction

  • Kneel over the side of a bench by placing your knee and hand (of the supporting arm) on the bench.
  • Position your foot of the opposite leg slightly back to the side.
  • Grab the dumbbell from floor.
  • Pull the dumbbell to side until it makes contact with your ribs or until your upper arm is just beyond horizontal.
  • Return until your arm is extended and shoulder is stretched forward.
  • Repeat and continue with opposite arm.

These are the 3 exercises that I KNOW have helped in building the main bulk of my lats, and they are the exercises I have used when I am trying to get back into the groove. The good thing about doing these is that they tend to give the quickest result, which is great for boosting your confidence levels, as that can tend to drop quite frequently. Include these exercises into your routines and YOU WILL build a great pair of super hero lats in no time.

Which exercises do you use to build your lats?

See you in the comments.

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Help Me Bulk Up My Long Giraffe Neck!

September 5, 2009 by  
Filed under The Fitness Bug

longneck

As it stands, I am still on my quest to solve the problem of building those muscle groups that simply get neglected (forearms, Legs), yet are very important in regards to developing a well rounded muscle bound body.

In a previous article I talked about those individuals who have plenty of muscle, but don’t appear to have any when fully clothed. A big contributor to this issue is having a long neck, or just a very un-muscular one. But today we will discuss how to overcome this.

Talking from experience, having a long neck is a bad thing, because when you,

  • Wear a shirt (and trousers)
  • Wear a suit and tie
  • Wear a collarless jumper

People simply cannot tell that you are finely chiseled underneath the clothed armour. So for appearance sake (and we all know you build muscle to impress others), building a strong and powerful neck is crucial, and when you do build it, you will,

  • Stand out from the crowd
  • Give the impression of power and strength

But looks aren’t everything! By developing strong neck muscles you will,

  • Prevent injury (From performing many everyday tasks and during fitness and sporting activities)
  • Protect your spine and spinal chord

What are the neck muscles?

strong_neck_musclesstrong trapezius muscles

The 3 main neck muscles are,

  • Splenius
  • Sternocleidomastoid
  • Trapezius

These muscles are responsible for flexion, extension and rotation of the neck.

How do you build the neck muscles?

Now that I’ve gone over the textbook stuff, lets talk about how to build muscle onto your giraffe neck. When people think of muscles around the neck, they would probably have these exercises in mind.

  • Front dumbbell raises
  • Lateral raises
  • Wide grip pull ups

These will all be great contributors to forming a great set of upper body muscles, namely your,

  • Deltoids (Shoulders)
  • Upper back muscles (Traps)
  • Triceps
  • Wings (The latissimus dorsi)

But one must put a real focus on developing the neck and ONLY the neck, here’s how.

Implement safety first!

1. Dedicate a ‘neck only’ day for exercising. This is to make sure that your neck doesn’t suffer from fatigue from doing other exercises. It also allows for more concentration, I guess you could this as one big isolation exercise.

2. Make sure you stretch before, after and in-between every neck exercise. The classic rotate left, rotate right neck exercise will be good enough. Either sitting or standing, turn your head to the side, as though you are looking over your shoulder, and make sure that you don’t raise or lower your head. You can use your hand to press against the side of your head to create more resistance (Hold for 10-20 seconds and do it 3 times for each side). By doing this you will stretch out the three main muscles – the splenius and levator scapulae on one side and the opposing sternocleidomastoid.

3. Ensure that you have the correct form… Always!

4. Use full range of motion

The exercises

The best thing about ‘these’ exercises is that you can perform them at anytime, regardless of where you are. In fact, perform each of these exercises as you read them. That should make for some truly interactive reading 🙂 . Now it’s time to say good-bye to the long neck!

Make sure you are comfortable and relaxed in all of the exercises described, whether sitting or standing.

Neck Flexion

Target muscles: Upper trapezius and the splenius

This one is simple but very effective.

  1. Begin the exercise by bending your head forward, allowing your chin to drop towards your chest.
  2. Stretch until it feels tight.
  3. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds, then gently raise your head back up.
  4. Do this ten times and several times throughout the day.

Neck Extension

Target muscles: Sternocleidomastoid

I call this one ‘Mr Noddy’.

  1. Place your hands on your forehead
  2. Apply tension
  3. Tilt and push your head down to your chest
  4. Keep the tension and raise it back up
  5. Do this ten times and several times throughout the day

Upper Trapezius Stretch

Target muscles: Trapezius

This is the triangular shaped muscle that connects your 2 shoulders and head together in the upper back area. This exercise is an important one as it will keep your neck flexible and help prevent injury.

  1. Put your right arm behind your back.
  2. Hold the right side of your head with your left hand.
  3. Use your left hand to gently tilt your head toward the left.
  4. You should feel a gentle pull on your right side, from the side of the neck down to the shoulder.
  5. Hold for this position for 10 to 20 seconds.
  6. Relax and repeat three times for each side.

The Chin Tuck

I call this one the ‘double chin’.

  1. Using either hand, put your fingertips against your chin and gently push your head straight back.
  2. Keep looking forward as your head moves back.
  3. Hold the position for five seconds, and then relax.
  4. Repeat this movement 5 times.

Neck Side Bend

Target muscle: Sternocleidomastoid

This exercise is similar to talking on a mobile phone while your hands are busy doing other things.

  1. Begin by tilting your head so that your right ear moves toward your right shoulder.
  2. Take it to the point of tightness or discomfort, but not to the point of sharp pain.
  3. Relax and return to the starting position then tilt your head so your left ear moves toward your left shoulder.
  4. Be sure not to rotate your head, or to raise your shoulder toward your head.
  5. Do this 10 times each side.

There you have it folks! Your official guide to eliminating your giraffe neck once and for all. Keep doing these exercises regularly and sooner or later you will develop a strong and powerful neck that will make you stand out from the crowd. Now here is the goal i am setting you,

strong neck

😉

Do you have a long neck?

How do you build your neck muscles?

See you in the comments.

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Bugs Recommended Product Review: Prolabs N-Large 2

August 30, 2009 by  
Filed under Supplements, The Fitness Bug

N-Large 2 for protein gains

Prolabs N-Large 2

It’s that time again, to share the goodness with you all! I always do get asked about products that I have tried or tested, and I will continue to share whenever I do.  I actually started to use this product back in July, but I didn’t want to post anything about it until a few weeks had passed so that I could give a worthy verdict.

Product: N-Large 2 by Prolab (Monster supplement)

Focus: High Protein Gainer

MSRP: $23.99 for a 3.8lb (pounds) container (view the flavours and cheap supplement prices here)

Available: Online

Remember

Always aim for a good diet before beginning to take ANY supplement!

Why?

Because no supplement can be a replacement for a bad diet!

Just like cod liver oil, it can give the body any nutrients that it maybe lacking in, but it will not fix a bad diet. Get that in order first. If you want a good starter, check Bugs killer foods for fitness.

Many of you may have heard of or even tried N-Large 2, but for the purpose of those that are in the stayfitbug.com community on and offline and who have been asking, here is my verdict.

Now to begin with, I only decided to put this product to the test while I wait for newer product samples to arrive. They should be on their way in the coming weeks so keep your eyes pealed for some fresh recommendations.

N-Large 2 has gotten a lot of praise since it has been around, and after using it for 6 weeks, I can see why.

It works!

One of the key things I look for when trying these supplements is that they have to at least taste good, and this does taste pretty good for a supplement. If your supplement doesn’t have a good taste, then I really don’t see the point in taking it. That would be like voluntarily taking a disgusting tasting medicine… something you would not do. If you are, then stop!

N-Large 2 comes in 3 flavours

  • Strawberry
  • Chocolate
  • Vanilla

I took the vanilla flavour, as that tends to taste good in most food variations.

It’s all pretty simple to make,

1) Mix

2) Stick it in a blender (recommended)

3) Drink

That’s all but a 2-minute job, so there is no messing about. If you want you can make your own mixes, but I just stuck to the instructions on the pack. For those 6 weeks I drank it 4 times a day along with my usual meals, but 3 times a day is what the average person should take for this to start to work and show results.

In the first 4 weeks of using this, I gained a whooping 14 POUNDS! (ONE WHOLE STONE). For myself, that is a great weight increase and a boost in the levels of proteins that my body needs. To be specific on the amount of calories I would consume daily, it was approximately 1900 calories (4 servings). It sounds like a lot, but keep in mind that I would be burning a lot of calories during my workouts, and taking a shake of this stuff after a workout would help replace those calories that I had lost.

Just like my other supplement review over at recommended products, this one also gave me no side affects. Quite often supplements like these can leave you feeling bloated (a horrible feeling), but that was not the case here.

My only problem with taking N- Large 2 is that if you decide to take it, you must keep on taking it. If you stop then all that weight and muscle you put on will just start to disappear, even if you maintain your workout schedule (which I noticed around week 7). So make sure you start as you mean to go on whether it is once a day or 4 times a day.

All is good and well here, and as I stated. It works! If you decide to give it a try, then,

1) Go for the Vanilla flavour

2) Take it in moderation

3) Start off with the 3.8 lb container. (Should last you around 2-3 weeks)

See you on the next review.

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Stay-Fit Bug | Killer Foods for Fitness (part 1)

August 27, 2009 by  
Filed under The Fitness Bug, The Food Bug

In the last few weeks there has been much discussion on and off of stayfitbug.com regarding what’s the best food to eat for fitness when exercising.  We are talking about food that is high in,

  • Carbs
  • Protein
  • Helps burn fat
  • Helps build muscle
  • Improves cardiovascular health
  • Provides pain relief

Now I could dive straight in and talk about foods that most of you know and that others are aware of. But I won’t! That’s just boring. What we will cover here are,

– Unique food combinations (with uncommon foods and those foods you are familiar with)
– Foods from across the globe

These are foods that some of the top performing sports men and women that you know of are stacking away in their guts, which help them rocket down the runway in their sport leaving their competition at the terminal!

I don’t plan to cover all of these in one week; I think that would be information overload for almost anyone. Besides, I don’t want you to get too excited from feeding you the secret formulas all in one go. 😉

Week by week there will be an update and most of this will come from myself, but also from community members and contributors.

Lets begin

Porridge with bread

Porridge to build muscleEat porridge to build muscle

I’m starting with porridge, as this is an athlete’s favourite. It is made up of rice, wheat, barley and corn and my favourite brands that provide this are Ready Break and Quaker Oats. Eating this every morning will fill you up till lunch for sure, but if you want to really boost your carb intake,

Add Bread

White or wholemeal, both are good. Bread is filled with carbs so you really are packing it in here. But be warned if you do this make sure you wake up early and give yourself plenty of time to digest it. It will take an hour at least. If not, you might just throw it all back up.

Instructions

  • Get 1 or 2 slices of bread
  • Spread butter
  • Slice into medium sized pieces
  • Mix and blend with porridge

Salmon rolls in Nori

Eat fish oil

Good for cardiovascular fitness

The reason for eating fish is because of the oil inside of it. By eating fish, it will lower your heart rate and you will consume less oxygen during intense training or exercise. The fatty acids in fish oil need to become incorporated into muscle and heart cells to have an effect, and that takes weeks of consumption.  So either,

– Take fish oil pills
– Or eat Salmon rolls in Nori

Why salmon in Nori?

Nori is a sushi wrapper made of seaweed. So along with the benefits of the fish oil you consume, you can add seaweed to that. Seaweed is good because,

  • Great for digestive health
  • High in nutrients, low in calories
  • May improve heart health
  • Good for de-toxing your body
  • May help regulate hormones (helps in preventing cancer)
  • Goes well will other healthy foods (like salmon)

Now that’s a mix!

Here’s what you need to make Salmon rolls in Nori

  • 1 pack of Japanese Yaki Sushi Nori (roasted seaweed – .75 oz pack)
  • 3 cups uncooked Japanese sushi rice
  • 1/2 cup Japanese rice wine vinegar
  • 2 1/2 Tablespoons of sugar
  • 1-tablespoon salt
  • 4 oz thinly sliced smoked salmon
  • 1 tube Wasabi paste (Japanese horseradish paste)
  • Strips of thinly sliced carrot
  • Strips of thinly sliced peeled cucumber
  • Optional thinly sliced ripe avocado
  • Optional sesame seeds
  • Optional: favourite dipping sauces for the Nori rolls (soy sauce, wasabi sauce)

Chocolate milk

chocolate-milk to rehydrate

Good for hydration

Milk is better than water or sports drinks at re-hydrating the body after exercise, as milk has more electrolytes and potassium.

Add chocolate

The addition of chocolate gives milk the perfect balance of carbs, protein, and fat for a speedy muscle recovery.

Peanut butter and jelly/jam sandwiches

It always is a good idea to eat after a workout. The perfect meal would consist of

  • 400 calories
  • 20 to 30 grams of protein (to build new muscle)
  • 50 to 65 grams of carbohydrates (to repair old muscle)

And Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches contain just that!

This is a favourite in Europe and the UK and I definitely grew up eating it. But I didn’t realise its greatness until I was much older,

Recommended

  • Pepperidge Farm Bread
  • Plain white bread
  • Or toasted if you find it the bread is too soft
  • Santa Cruz Organic Dark Roasted Creamy Peanut Butter

Peanut butter and banana toast

This is one of my favourites, especially as a pre-workout snack. It works best with by using a proper toast maker as it prevents the filling from spilling out of the sides.

This meal has a good source of fat, protein and carbs.

Ingredients

  • Bread
  • Peanut butter
  • Banana (sliced)

Instructions

  • Toast the bread in toaster
  • Spread peanut butter on toast
  • Arrange banana on top of peanut butter
  • Eat and enjoy!

If you really want to spice things up add honey. That’s it for this week, but I’ll leave you with a picture.

Peanut Butter, Banana and Honey Open Faced Sandwich - Food for health

See you in the comments.

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Help! I Can Barely Lift My Own Body Weight, How Do I Start?

August 22, 2009 by  
Filed under Bugs Workout Routines, The Fitness Bug

Build strength with bodyweight

When I first began to get serious about working out and improving my body strength, I was still a student. I wasn’t entirely broke like most students are, but paying for a gym membership would definitely sting my bank account every month. Even so, I didn’t let that stop me and I at least wanted to make a start.

My plan was to initially use my own body weight to increase my strength and size by doing the following,

  • Push-ups
  • Dips
  • Pull-ups
  • Squats
  • Lunges

After about a week of getting into the routine I realised that I had one slight problem.

I could barely lift my own body weight!

I WAS WEAK!

This was especially noticeable with pull-ups. I would do,

3 sets

Reps
1. 10
2. 5
3. 2
(To failure!!!)

In my view that was just simply pathetic strength endurance for a young and generally fit guy, almost embarrassing. Not to mention that these were ordinary pull-ups too, no wide/ close grip, which is where most people initially struggle.

With that said, things did improve over time, but that was with the assistance of weight training.

The key thing to take home here is that using your own body weight for exercising (Functional training) is still the no.1 method for increasing your strength, balance, flexibility, and natural muscle development. Below I’ll outlay some methods of how this can be done.

Green fitness Exercises

Before you even decide to start increasing your strength from doing bodyweight exercises, you may want to start doing these first, especially if you are as weak as I was. This would include taking up activities such as sprinting, riding, climbing, hiking or yoga. All of these activates will improve your functional strength, strength that you would use performing real world activities.

Start with the basics

Once you have a routine in place, then you may begin to consider starting to use your own body weight to increase strength. Earlier I mentioned that I started with,

  • Push-ups
  • Dips
  • Pull-ups
  • Squats
  • Lunges

These are a great set of body weight exercises to start with. I would recommend that you structure your sets ‘To failure’. Which means that you push your self until you can push no more.

Example

Sets 3

Reps
1. 10
2. 8
3. 6

Everyone’s strength levels will be different, so change your sets to suit.

Advance to this

Once you have become quite competent in those exercises, get yourself a dipping belt for your pull up exercises, this will allow you to add weights to your body to increase the difficulty of the exercise. Then add these into the mix,

  • One-arm push-ups
  • One-legged squats
  • Handstand push-ups
  • Headstand leg raise
  • Mahler Body Blaster
  • Knee Jump

All of these exercises can be quite challenging, so I wouldn’t recommend jumping straight into them unless you know that you will be competent at doing them.  If you do then here is a routine to follow,

  • Handstand Push-ups – 5-10 Reps
  • One-Arm Push-up – 5-10 Reps
  • One Legged Squat – 5-10 Reps
  • Knee Jump – 5-10 Reps
  • Headstand Leg Raise – 5-10 Reps
  • Mahler Body Blaster – Work up to 25-50 Reps

If you really want to test your strength and you think you are an expert, try out the exercises in the videos below. If you do manage to perform all of these exercises with no trouble at all, then you must post a link in the comment sections of you doing so. If you do, I will be very impressed. Not even I could do some of these, and I’m quite an animal when it’s time to ANTE UP!

To conclude

Lifting weights will always be a superior way to increase strength and in quick succession. But if you’re a beginner, just want to be strong and have a naturally toned body, then this would be the way to go.

What are your experiences with body weight training?

See you in the comments.

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