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Articles Tagged: lean body mass

Balance is Crucial: Bulking and Cutting

Do you ever feel like you’re on a “perma-bulk” or always seem to be in a cutting phase?

Most of us are genetically predisposed to either carrying more body fat than we’d prefer, or less muscle mass than we’d like. Only the lucky few are naturally inclined towards those lean bodies packed with muscle.

While there’s a greater proportion  of the lucky individuals in the world of competition compared to the general population, plenty of competitors still land on either side of the spectrum.

As such, we tend to gravitate towards the eating/training style that matches our natural struggle–those of us who struggle to lose weight are always eating at a calorie deficit and doing a lot of cardio, while the “hardgainers” among us pack away calories day after day and spend a lot of time pumping iron. Continue Reading Balance is Crucial: Bulking and Cutting »

Putting on the Brakes: Why Your Prep Needs a Reverse Diet!

Competitors–have you ever felt like you’re on a permanent prep diet? Do you have trouble remembering the last time you consciously increased your calories for an extended period of time, outside of a post-show binge?

Do you also feel like your energy levels, strength and stamina have decreased while your stress levels have increased over time?

Is getting lean and staying there becoming more and more difficult, requiring you to drop calories further and further and/or increase cardio more and more each time you cut?

Bikini athletes in particular tend to suffer this scenario due to the fact that high levels of muscle are not as emphasized of a requirement as other divisions of fitness competition, and thus many women never go into a “bulking” stage that is foundational to programs for bodybuilding, physique and figure divisions. Continue Reading Putting on the Brakes: Why Your Prep Needs a Reverse Diet! »

Troubleshooting Weight Gain

A couple of years back I wrote an article series on troubleshooting weight loss that was quite popular with my clients who were struggling with identifying the reason they’re weight loss efforts had stalled.

I have been meaning to write a companion article for some time now on the other side of the coin–weight gain, for my hardgainer athletes who find themselves in plateaus on the other end of the spectrum: where they feel like they should be gaining weight but are either maintaining weight, or even losing weight.

I unfortunately got distracted by other obligations but now I am getting this article out there once and for all.

When I talked about the issues with weight loss plateaus, they mainly centered around unwittingly eliminating the calorie deficit that weight loss requires through one or more factors.

These same factors are typically responsible for stalls in weight gain for those looking to put on size, so it behooves us to review them, but from the perspective of someone desiring to add mass rather than reduce it. Continue Reading Troubleshooting Weight Gain »

Two Critical Factors to Natural Muscle Gain That You’re Currently Ignoring

“I work out hard all the time and I just don’t grow!” Sound familiar? How about, “No matter how much I eat, I can’t gain weight!” or, “My bench has been stuck at __ lbs forever and I just can’t get stronger!”—any of those sound like something you’ve heard recently, or perhaps even said yourself?

Every day, thousands of hopeful hardgainers travel to their local gyms, diligently work through the latest muscle magazine or bodybuilding.com workout program, and summarily fail to achieve any of the incredible results promised by these programs despite their best and continued effort.

While some maintain a headstrong attitude in the face of continued failure for years, most eventually burn out and give up. And who can blame them? Nothing is less motivating than working excruciatingly hard at something, only to see literally nothing for your hard work.

The reason I am so familiar with this feeling is because I went through the same thing myself as a young adult. Throughout high school and early college, I was a scrawny, muscleless weakling and was treated as such by everyone around me.

Continue Reading Two Critical Factors to Natural Muscle Gain That You’re Currently Ignoring »

3 Mass-Gain Recipes for the Alpha Athlete, Pt. 1

Intro by Coach B: Small guys gotta eat big to get big. One of the biggest hurdles hard-gainer guys face when it comes to gaining and retaining mass is simply eating enough without feeling like they’re going to explode like the Michelin tire man sitting on a pin.

Luckily for you guys, recipe-maker-extraordinaire and resident coach Tracy has drummed up a series of high calorie recipes that taste awesome, are easy to hork down and have macros designed for maximum performance and accumulation of lean mass—in other words, high carbohydrate, moderately-high protein and moderately-high fat.

Also, these recipes pack a nutritional wallop so they’re exponentially better than eating a bunch of crap like Pizza Hut, McDonald’s or another form of fast food that tends to make up the majority of the hard-gainer’s diet.

Without further ado, here’s the first three recipes. We will update the blog with many more recipes in future weeks so you guys have a large variety to choose from and can still be confident that you will get the calories in each day that you need.

Article Series: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4 and Part 5

Continue Reading 3 Mass-Gain Recipes for the Alpha Athlete, Pt. 1 »

Is Coffee Good or Bad for Me?

There is a lot of debate surrounding coffee and caffeine consumption in relation to weight loss. There clearly is no single answer as to whether it is good or bad for you, since there is plenty evidence for as well as against the claims that coffee is good/bad for one’s health.

Coffee has been around for a long time, so it’s become a big part of our daily routine. Not only do we consume it for its rich, aromatic taste, but many times it is consumed for purposes such as a simple pick-me up or for a pre-workout boost.

Drinking coffee has become even more popular as big companies such as Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts have developed full menus of various flavors and recipes so that even those of us who don’t enjoy traditional coffee can still get our fix. We are constantly offered new coffee drinks from them, but what we often seem to overlook is that those coffee “drinks” can offer much more than what we are actually asking for, and I am not talking about getting more of what you want for your dollar here. Continue Reading Is Coffee Good or Bad for Me? »

Weighing Yourself on a Daily Basis: Good or Bad?

Weighing yourself is one of many ways to keep track of the progress you have been making. Not only is this quick, is it also very easy to see where you are, how far you’ve come and how far you have to go. A lot of us ONLY use the scale to see progress (or lack thereof) but is this the only way to measure, or even the best?

There are a few other ways you can use to measure your progress, which don’t necessarily focus on a single number–as we all know, we sure can get caught up on that number on the scale. This is especially true when the number doesn’t change as we were expecting… but does that actually mean we haven’t made any progress? Continue Reading Weighing Yourself on a Daily Basis: Good or Bad? »

How Do I Get Rid Of Cellulite?

Cellulite is every girl’s nightmare. It is mostly seen among women, although some men have it as well. You don’t have to be obese or overweight to have cellulite; even “skinny” people can have it. Because of the impact that cellulite has on us—mostly our appearance—countless companies have been coming up with solutions to get rid of it, from creams to skinny wraps… I’ve seen it all.

The truth is that all those creams and treatments don’t work. Cellulite cannot be erased; its appearance can only be minimized. But, before I get into the how and why, let’s figure out what the condition really IS and how it forms. Continue Reading How Do I Get Rid Of Cellulite? »

Will Lifting Weights Make Me Bulky?

This is one question that will always come up when the topic of lifting weights comes up in a discussion involving women. This is a hard concept for women to understand because there is such a misunderstanding on the effect weight training has on the female physique.

We have been fed images of the enormously-muscular, veiny male body-builders holding weights or being featured on articles about lifting weights for years, so it’s understandable that this connection would be made. It doesn’t help that some unscrupulous folks in the fitness industry promote the idea that traditional weight training leads to a “bulky” body in an effort to steer consumers to their fad programs.

The weight room is also traditionally seen as the “men’s room”, while the cardio area is where most women spend their time. To feed into this mindset, many gyms even have a “women’s area” that is filled with tiny little weights and even more cardio equipment to underline this concept that women should not lift heavy weights. Continue Reading Will Lifting Weights Make Me Bulky? »

Troubleshooting Weight Loss, Pt. 6

Welcome to the final part of our 6 part series about obstacles to weight loss.

So far we’ve touched on 5 potential reasons for a lack of results, in order of likelihood. Either you’re not eating in a deficit, you’re “sneaking calories”, fat-free mass gains are masking fat loss, your workout and/or nutrition program are suboptimal, or you’ve depressed your metabolism through irresponsible dieting/exercising habits.

What happens when all of these issues have been accounted for, when you feel like you’ve literally tried everything possible, and you’re STILL not seeing results? Continue Reading Troubleshooting Weight Loss, Pt. 6 »