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The Get Ripped Diet

You’ve worked hard, lifted the weight, put in the hours, trained to exhaustion and gone back for more. Now it’s time to get ripped and shed excess fat and water weight. Maintaining those hard earned gains while getting down to a lean body fat percentage is a tricky balance of calories, exercise, supplements and hydration. Whether you’re trying to get lean for a competition or a photo shoot, or just to be the best you can be, here are some tips for getting lean, getting ripped and getting psyched about it! 4 Weeks 2 Shred You may be familiar with Kris Gethin’s 4 Weeks 2 Shred program. The same principles he uses in his trademark program are the foundation of getting ripped safely and quickly. A safe and effective strategy for getting lean includes regimented quality nutrition, consistent workouts, supplements, and rest.  Body fat percentage has a lot to do with just how ripped you can actually get. Another popular program is Men’s Fitness’ 7% Body Fat Diet. As the program states, getting to a 7% body fat state takes hard work and dedication. A body fat percentage that low may not be healthy or even achievable for some people, but the same foundational principals of quality diet, consistent training, supplements and rest can help you achieve a body that is healthy ripped muscle. Eating To Get Lean We’re way beyond eliminating processed foods here. And if you’re still eating that kind of garbage, take a lap. The best way to start any shredding diet is to determine how many calories and how much of each micronutrient (carbohydrates, proteins, fat, minerals, vitamins) you need for optimal health.  Begin by multiplying your current body weight by 12. This is the number of calories you need every day. Be honest. If you have a lot of fat to lose then do this equation using your goal weight as your current body weight. By a lot of body fat, we’re talking about 20+ pounds, not a few extra nagging pounds. Example: Current weight: 185 x 12 = 2,220 calories per day Your diet should include one gram of protein for each pound of body weight. So if you weigh 185 pounds, you need 185 grams of protein. To put this in perspective, the average size chicken breast has 43 grams of protein; an egg, 6 grams. You can do the math from here. 30% of your diet should come from healthy fats, like avocados, raw nuts, olives, salmon and tofu. Don’t skimp on the fat. It’s what will keep you fueled and satisfied and out of the snack drawer.  The rest of your diet should be carbohydrates. Choose quality, low fat carbs that will deliver a nutritional punch… Sweet potatoes, whole grains like brown rice and quinoa, whole fruits – stay away from juices which contain too much sugar and convert to fat – vegetables and legumes. Make A Plan And Stick To It Simple, right! Lean protein, good fats, quality carbs. It’s […]

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The Most Effective Triceps Exercises

Triceps don’t usually get the attention they deserve. Officially called the Triceps Brachii, which is Latin for “three headed muscle of the arm”, your tricep makes it possible for you to extend your arm and reach for things. Located at the back of the upper arm and running from the shoulder to the elbow, there’s an out-of-sight-out-of-mind mentality when it comes to working out this critical muscle. Perhaps it’s because working your chest and biceps can involve big heavy weights and you can really see what you’re doing and where you are making gains. However, well-developed triceps not only makes you stronger, they add definition to the arm and balance out the strength and mobility of the bicep muscle. Different Approaches for Tricep Exercises You can approach exercises for triceps from two different objectives: building mass or gaining definition. That’s not to say you can’t do or have both, but the way you approach training will be different for each desired outcome. You probably already know that the most effective workouts work complementary body parts, so rather than doing biceps and triceps on the same day, which can exhaust one muscle before you have worked the other, a good combination is chest and tricep workouts on the same day, and then back and biceps on another day. That can help you fully engage each muscle group and work to fatigue in a productive way. Building Mass In Your Triceps If you are looking to build mass, the best triceps exercises will be workouts that use the heaviest weights you can manage and perform the most difficult exercises first. The list exercise that will build the greatest amount of mass in the triceps is relatively short: close-grip presses and dips.  You can add variety to dips by using machines, benches or parallel bars, but remember that the heavier the weight the greater the mass achieved. To build mass start with the exercise that is more challenging for you, and choose a weight that will take you to fatigue in about six to eight reps. Also, try mixing up dips in each set, going from machine to free weights, etc. in rotation. This will help keep you mentally sharp and focused, even when you’re working to muscle failure. You can still achieve mass in your triceps by doing other type of triceps exercises, like skullcrushers or rope pulls, but the greatest size gains will be made with these two primary exercises. Achieving Definition In Your Triceps Definition in the triceps can be achieved using a greater variety of exercises. In addition to dips and close-grip presses, reverse presses (also called skullcrushers,) push downs, triceps extension with a rope, and kickbacks with free weights are all good options. Definition exercises for triceps are generally performed using a lighter weight with higher reps. If working toward a goal of definition, pay close attention to form. Using a weight that is too heavy can engage other muscles to assist. The best definition comes from isolating […]

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Jack Knife Sit-Ups

An oldie but a goodie, jackknife sit-ups can add an extra dimension to your abdominal workout. They can be performed with or without weights, in a face up or prone position, and with or without resistance bands.  A classic exercise that has endure the test of time, jackknife sit-ups or V-ups may be just what you are looking for to carve out and finely sculpt that six-pack you’ve been working so hard to achieve. So what exactly is a jack knife sit-up? Consider the jackknife; a compact device that unfolds into a multi-faceted tool set. Jackknife sit-ups get their name from the pocket knife of the same moniker – from a compressed position you unfold your body, and then compress it again.  Also known as V-Ups, this abdominal exercise works all the quadrants of the abdomen and done correctly, requires extraordinary focus and strength to isolate the muscles of the torso. Begin In Jackknife Position Before we talk about weights, resistance bands, balls or other accessories that you can you to enhance V-Ups, let’s start at the beginning. Laying on your back, extend your legs fully and reach your arms over your head. Now pull your shoulders away from your ears, keeping your arms extended. This helps isolate and contract the abdominal. Now exhale and pull your navel to your spine, keeping your abdominals contracted.  From this position, lift your torso and legs using only your abs. At first you may only get your legs and torso a few inches off the ground.  That’s ok. It means you’re doing it correctly! Release back to the floor and do it again, focusing on using your abs to lift your legs and torso. When you start engaging your hip flexors and using your neck and shoulders for lift, you aren’t doing the exercise correctly and you may injure yourself. Practice makes perfect, so keep trying. These V-ups build strength quickly, so before long you’ll have great form and be able to switch things up a bit. Enhancing Jackknife Sit-Ups These abdominals exercise can be frustrating, so one way to get the full benefit without the hassle is to use an inflated ball.  In plank position, place the top of the ball at your shins and flex your feet over the end of the ball to stabilize it. Using your abdominals, begin to lift your hips to the ceiling, keeping the ball glued to your shins, and coming into an upside down jackknife position. Lower your hips and roll the ball back the starting position. Repeat until muscle fatigue. You can also perform a modified V-up using a resistance band. This version is great if you are injured or want to isolate the obliques and sides of your abdominals a bit more. Wrap a resistance band around one foot and extend your legs. Holding the other end of the band with your hand, begin to lean your torso back toward the floor, raising the leg that has the resistance band around it. When […]

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Weighted Ab Exercises

Using weights to work your abs can take your six pack to a new dimension. Let’s face it, there are only so many crunches and bicycles you can do to build strength and definition, but throw in some iron to your ab exercises and you’ll transform both your workout and your mindset. If you have a set of kettlebells handy, grab one and get started. And remember, you don’t need a ton of weight to see immediate results. Low weights – as little and 5 to 20 pounds – can help you sculpt an amazing set of chiseled abdominal muscles. Here are 3 of the best weighted ab routines that you can incorporate into your workout. Turkish Get Ups This is the mother ship of weighted abdominal exercises. In fact, it’s really a full body exercise, but the core plays a key role, so it qualifies as an abdominal workout. Form is the key to Turkish Get Ups, so start with a lighter weight than you may want to make sure you’re optimizing form. As your core gets stronger you can increase the weight without sacrificing form. Lying on the floor with a kettlebell at shoulder level, extend the leg opposite the side with the kettlebell. Bend the knee of the working side, and lift the bell weight so your arm is fully extended, perpendicular to the floor. Your opposite arm is extended on the floor at a 45 degree angle.  Roll up on to the elbow of the extended arm, then place your hand on the floor. Using the foot on the working side, engage your core and press up to standing with the kettlebell extended fully above our head. Take a deep breath, exhale, and then lower back to your starting supine position on the floor.  All movement radiates from your abdominals. Your legs and arms are just supporting the weight. Complete 3 sets of 5 reps on each side. Pro tip: If your form is sloppy or you are feeling wobbly, start with no weights and really concentrate on your form. Gradually add weights as your strength and stability improves. Do these in front of a mirror so you can see where you might be coming up short in the form department. Plank Rows Plank rows with kettlebells are like plans on steroids. The trick to these – and to planking in general – is to make sure your abdominals are fully engaged and that you’re not just hanging out in your joints. As with Turkish Get Ups, start with a slightly lower weight than you think you can lift, because again, form is important. With 2 kettlebells, one at each shoulder, come into plank position. Before you do anything position yourself so that you are on your toes with your heels lifted, about 10 to 12 inches between your feet. The wider the stance of your feet, the easier this exercise is. Make sure your wrists are directly under your shoulders.  Now engage your abs and tuck your […]

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Does Creatine Make you Gain Weight?

Before we dive into the question of whether creatine will make you gain weight let’s take a minute to understand just what creatine is and what it does. One of the most popular supplements on the market, Creatine, a naturally occurring amino acid in the body, helps provide energy to the muscles. Used as a supplement, creatine can help you perform better, and longer, because of improved energy. As a supplement, creatine is used to improve strength, build lean muscle mass and aid recovery after a workout. It is believed to be more effective in activities that require short bursts of energy and intensity, like weightlifting, and less effective in endurance type sports such as running. According to some studies, an estimated 40% of college-level athletes and 50% of professional athletes use the supplement as a part of their training regimen. Creatine comes in various forms and formats. You can use it in powder or pill form, or consume it via bars and gummies, making it accessible to almost everyone in their preferred form. It is also available in different concentrations and formulations, such as Creatine Nitrate, which allows for a higher concentration of the substance to be absorbed by the body. Creatine Hydrochloride is taken in smaller doses with less water and is purported to cause less bloating and water retention than other formulations. What Happens When You Use Creatine? One of the most common side effects of taking creatine is bloating and water retention. This can make you feel, and sometimes look, fat. Remember, water weight is not permanent, and it certainly isn’t fat, which is much harder to reduce or eliminate. Taken as a supplement, creatine nitrate will provide greater muscular energy, which in turn should lead to better performance and, as a result, gains in the gym. As you get stronger you can lift more and build more muscle, which is the kind of weight that you want to be gaining. When Should You Take Creatine? Creatine Monohydrate is the most widely used formulation of the supplement. It is less expensive than other more complex formulations and is usually mixed with water and consumed in liquid format. Most athletes who are looking for good results use the supplement both before and after a workout. Some trainers suggest that certain formulations of the supplement should be taken in a “loading phase” for about a week to build up the body’s stores.  After the loading period, creatine can be incorporated into your performance routine.  While there is no ideal schedule for consumption, many athletes supplement about half an hour to one hour before working out, and then immediately after training as part of the refueling/replenishing routine. Because your natural creatine levels can get depleted easily with regular high-intensity training, supplementing regularly to maximize muscle building and energy is recommended. Which Form of Creatine Works Best? Which form of creatine you use as a supplement really depends on your particular physicality and training regimen. Muscletech brand creatine, which can be […]

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