All posts by Carla

Bodybuilding Do’s and Don’ts

Once you have decided to build muscle, increase strength, or lose fat to improve your body composition, you need to begin weight training. To ensure that you get the best results in a quick time frame, you need to ensure that your workout is designed for you. It should consider your current body stature, your experience, and your goal.

The problem with bodybuilding is there are so many different routines that can be employed. Weight training can be tedious, and with all the conflicting information about it finding a routine that will suffice can be hard. Always identify your why when choosing to start an exercise regimen. This will help you stick to the program.

Six Factors to Consider When Designing a Workout Routine

To put together a routine that is going to suffice, there are six factors to consider. The six things that need to be considered are:

  1. frequency
  2. schedule
  3. intensity
  4. volume
  5. exercises
  6. progression.

The only way to gain muscle and lose fat is to follow each factor carefully.

When discussing frequency, this means how many workouts you plan on doing per week. It also takes into account how each muscle group is going be trained during the same period. Isolating certain muscle groups on certain days will give the muscles time to rest, before they are retrained.

A weightlifting routine should be performed three to four times per week. The workouts should rotate. Pull muscles can be trained for two days a week, push muscles for two days per week, and two days can be dedicated to cardio. Beginner and advanced exercise schedules will vary.

Setting a Weekly Split Schedule

After determining the amount of days that are going to be dedicated to working out, a weekly split schedule needs to be selected. Performing exercises on a split schedule will produce the best results. For three day schedules, take a break after each day a routine is performed. For example, on Monday a full-body routine will be done, then on Tuesday rest, and on Wednesday perform another full body routine.

The four-day split schedule differs from the three-day routine. When performing a four-day split, focus on specific areas of the body. On Monday do upper body exercises, on Tuesday do lower body, and on Wednesday rest. Repeat the cycle, ensuring that four days are dedicated to completing a routine, and three days are taken for rest. Do not take more than two days off consecutively.

The Best Weight-Bearing Exercises

There are six workouts that are effective for building muscle. These workouts are a basic bench press, rows, overhead press, pull ups, squats, and deadlifts. Performing each workout with perfect form is the only way to gain the physique that you desire.

The Dos and Don’ts of a Basic Bench Press

bench pressThe only way to build upper body thickness is by bench pressing weights. Every infamous bodybuilding champion will agree that this basic move is vital to gaining mass. There are a few things to be aware of when performing this move.

Make sure that your body is laying down on the bench, with feet hip width apart on both sides of the bench. Do not pull your neck up. Remove the bar from its locked position on top of your head. Bring the bar to chest level and press up. Once arms are fully extended, lower the bar down to the chest and repeat. Perform five to ten sets and then take a break.

How to Perform an Overhead Press

overhead pressThe Overhead Press routine is a full-body workout. The arms and shoulders will press the weight overhead, while your legs, lower back, and core will provide stability. This is a prime workout to build the shoulders and biceps.

Properly performing an overhead press starts with standing with feet hip width apart. Place the bar onto the shoulders. Lift the bar up overhead, until elbows are in a locked position. Do not bend the knees, keep the legs locked and straight. Lower the bar down to the shoulder area again, and repeat the exercise.

Performing a Proper Pull Up

pull upPull-ups are a compound exercise that works the back, arms, and core. The arms are used to pull the body up, and abdominals should be engaged to prevent the lower back from bending into an arch position. Pull-ups are also known as chin-ups.

Starting the workout, place hands onto the bar and allow the body to hang loose. Keep the body loose during the entire routine. Grip the bar with both hands, shoulder-width apart. Pull yourself up until your chin passes over the top of the bar. Lower down until arms are straight and repeat.

The Importance of Squats

squatBody weight and weighted squats work every muscle group. Performing this exercise regularly will strengthen the body. Squats do not just work the lower body, but they also work the upper body, when done correctly.

It is also a good idea to use pull up bar squat rack – a fitness equipment to help perform variety of exercises, including squats and pull ups effectively.

To begin squatting, stand with feet wider than hip width. The toes should be pointed outward, five to twenty degrees. Keep head in a neutral position, straight ahead. To keep your head from moving, pick a spot on the wall and do not allow your eyes to move from it.

Squats are a simple thing to work into your routine. However, they are commonly performed incorrectly. Do not perform a deep squat, until you have mastered squatting properly in a half squat. As the body adapts to doing the exercise, you can always progress it to challenge yourself.

Proper Deadlift Form

deadliftWhen beginning a deadlift, start with the weight on the ground. Grab onto the bar, with hands shoulder width apart. Pull the bar up with hips and knees in a locked position, keep arms straight. Count five seconds while in this isometric position, the lower the weight back down to the ground. Do as many reps as you can handle, with proper form.

Make sure while doing the deadlift that the back remains neutral. Do not round the back. Rounding the lower back will squeeze the spinal discs, which could lead to adverse health conditions.

Bodybuilding is an art form. It takes a strong person to consistently train their bodies daily to obtain the physique that they desire. Remember, to be strong for everyone else, first you must be strong for yourself.

Causes & Treatment of Stretch Marks

Any sudden change in body like puberty, sudden weight gain and pregnancy can lead to stretch marks in different parts of the body. Almost all the women (about 90%) who get pregnant end up with these marks usually around their abdomen, thighs and heaps. Another unfortunate, and now proven, reason is heredity. It means if a mother has such marks then there is high probability that her children will get them too, regardless of gender. However, they are not necessarily inevitable or untreatable.

Before moving on to the cures, it is better to get a clearer idea about the different causes.

Causes

Pregnancy

Pregnancy is the dominant cause for this condition and is usually developed quite rapidly during the last month or so. For pregnant women, in addition to rapid stretching of skin, various hormonal imbalances also play a vital role.

Rapid weight gain and puberty

These two reasons are somewhat connected because in both cases body mass, both in height and width, increases disproportionately to skin elasticity. Consequently skin tears and recovers rapidly and causes these marks. Male children risk these more during puberty compared to female children.

Medication and diseases

In addition to natural conditions like pregnancy and puberty, various medications like corticosteroid cream are among the common causes. Frequent and unmeasured consumption of steroids is a dominant reason among body builders. Adrenal gland diseases and some hereditary conditions like Ehlers-Danlos syndrome seems to be equally potential as well.

Treating Stretch Marks

What Does NOT Work

Naturally, there are “ideas” dominant quite persistently about products/items that help to treat this condition while in reality, they do not at all. Some such products are:

  • Cocoa butter does not work in reducing or curing marks in any way even though it is one of the most popular products among pregnant women.
  • Any repair serum/cream that claims to be peptide based will not work.

What DOES Work

All known working methods in this case are topical and externally applicable. Some of them are mentioned below:

  • Using the best anti stretch mark cream would be definitely worth it, because a quality cream also has moisturizing properties, which ensures better skin elasticity. This means skin can stretch more without risking tear and break. Moisturizing daily makes the skin naturally more capable of trapping necessary moisture within skin cells and thus makes it more flexible. Some people hesitate to use over-the-counter products regularly since they contain various chemicals that could react abnormally due to personal conditions. In that case, they can make up their own herbal moisturizer using measured amounts of aloe vera, wheat germ oil and olive oil. Not only does this mixture have no side effects, it is also one of the fastest working treatments there is. However, moisturizers only, commercial or DIY, cannot get rid of those marks even though they do improve the appearance.
  • Retinoic acid (aka Retin-A) or thuja occidentalis based creams are a sure way of reducing, if no curing completely, new and emerging marks. These creams are great at boosting collagen production which develops better tear resistance by making the skin more flexible. They do not appear to be much helpful at treating existing marks. However, these chemical based creams have a massive downside: under no circumstances should they be used during pregnancy because there is extreme probability that the mother would suffer during childbirth and the child will be born with some form of defect. Since they also make the skin less resistant to sunlight, it is better not to go outside with one of these creams on.
  • Alpha-hydroxy acids, especially glycolic acid, are good at boosting collagen production. This means they make the skin more elastic and tear resistant. Glycolic acid is somewhat more effective than retinoic acid and it is also usable during pregnancy. However, like retinoic acid, it also temporarily makes the treated skin vulnerable to sunlight and heat. So it is a good idea to use them in parts that usually remain covered when one goes outside. There is a popular method of using glycolic acid by combining it with Retin-A since the mixture is more potent than they are individually. The combination is actually extremely effective and takes no more than 2 weeks to completely get rid of tear marks. But as one can guess, it is not usable by pregnant women.
  • Two other mark-resistant items are vitamin E and egg oil. Mixing vitamin E with unscented moisturizers work great although that seems to be especially effective for women who have already given birth at least once for no known reasons. Stretch and similar marks can be completely avoided with the help of egg oils. Women who use this from the eighth week of pregnancy to the sixth month after childbirth can completely avoid these marks.

A Look At Treatment Options For Acne

Acne is a skin disease that occurs in humans. Some of its common symptoms include pimples, blackheads, red spots and a scaling skin that may also have scars. Acne is linked to sebaceous glands, which are found at the base of follicles, within the skin layers. As such, acne will mostly manifest itself through its symptoms around areas of the body that have high concentration of these glands.

Treatment for acne

The treatment of acne will largely depend on the severity and type of acne in question. Acne that is not severe can be treated by drugs bought over the counter. Some of these solutions are antibiotics, retinoid, sulfur and hormonal treatment. Chronic acne, on the other hand, will require that one seeks the attention of a professional dermatologist. The treatment administered for this is more advanced.

Foods rich in vitamins are also recommended by nutritionists and medical professionals as treatment for acne. Vitamins are known to boost the immune system, rejuvenate the skin, help in getting rid of skin toxins and in maintaining a balance of body hormones.

Acne creams are used to prevent and avert the outbreak of acne as well. There are different types of such creams, most of which are designed to fight milder forms of acne. However, before using such products, it is important to confirm whether it is safe to use them on the skin.

One can ensure this by:

  • Looking at the contents that make up the cream. Natural ingredients are safer to use than artificial ones. Some artificial ingredients may cause adverse effects on the skin, further complicating the condition.
  • Checking the track record of the manufacturing company to find out what other consumers say about their creams. The internet can be a great resource in this regard.
  • Asking friends, relatives or colleagues who may have used such creams before will help one choose the best products.
  • Lastly, and most importantly, it will be wise to get advice from a doctor before purchasing these creams.

All in all, eating a balanced diet and maintaining a healthy lifestyle are major ways of preventing acne.