Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Natural Bodybuilding

I wanted to do a post about natural bodybuilding versus enhanced.  As I began to research I found so much information that it is almost confusing as to what they both really are, how they are defined and where the lines are drawn.  From what I can tell, it depends on who you are talking to?

I feel like I am a "natural" bodybuilder because all I take on a regular basis with my weight training is protein, liquid or powder, preworkout and amino acids to enhance my workouts.  Does this meet the definition of "natural" bodybuilder?

Most research refers to natural bodybuilding as "the practice of body modification without the use of banned substances."  The practice is the same as far as using workout or fitness centers, gyms, home gyms or outside facilities.  Natural bodybuilders try to reach high levels of physical fitness without the use of performance-enhancing drugs.  Okay so let's say that those PE drugs are obviously steroids and humane growth hormones (HGH) to name the main ones.  Not only do these drugs allow for an unfair advantage in sports, but they can also cause major, life-threatening side-effects such as prominent breasts, baldness or infertility in men and a deep voice, increased body hair and baldness in women.

Worse than that, both men and women can experience severe acne, liver abnormalities or tumors, aggressive behavior, depression, drug dependence, inhibited growth, dehydration,  muscle cramps. exhaustion, dizziness, heart and blood pressure issues and possibly death.

As "natural" bodybuilders, we steer clear of steroids and PEDs based on this research and results and a deep concern for our overall long-term good health.

Natural bodybuilders perform workouts that include multiple muscle groups along with a cardio routine.  Muscles are broke down during workouts and rebuilt afterwards to make them stronger.  Natural bodybuilders tend to be totally and completely physically fit.  Natural bodybuilders have a strict and regimented diet.

Natural bodybuilders also have their own display competitions which seem to be multiplying as of late and which are run by the WNBF (World Natural Bodybuilding Federation) responsible for drug testing all competitors and keeping the sport clean, safe and drug free.

So there you have some idea of what Natural Bodybuilding is all about.  If you need more, continue to research this highly controversial subject on the web and decide for yourself.

We would like to solicit all your comments and thoughts on this subject.  Just comment back here.

As always, enjoy your workout, be safe and we'll see YOU in the gym!  Visit TEAMJAQT at www.MasterSgtJAQT.com for all your workout supplement needs.  #TEAMJAQT  Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Avoiding Overtraining

Be careful of OVERTRAINING!  You’ve seen them and mostly likely talked to them or read about them.  The huge guys or gals in the gym that spend countless hours, six days a week, maybe even more than one workout a day in the gym, right?  And they are cut and shredded, the way you want to be.  Be careful.  These are professionals, most likely on a muscle enhancer like steroids, etc.  They train to display and many times don’t work.  Don’t mimic these people.

If you try to keep up with a professional bodybuilder, you will fall into the OVERTRAINING trap and pay the price!  What price; little to no gains in size or strength and possibly even muscle loss or illness.

What are the signs of overtraining?  You may reach a plateau or a drop in your performance.  Your heart rate may be elevated most of the time, during or after your training.  You may experience more muscle soreness than you have been.  You are considering or actually skipping workouts and have lost desire to go to the gym.  You seem to be more tired overall and lack full concentration.  You could be experiencing a lack of appetite or having trouble with your sleep schedule.  You may be losing weight unintentionally.  Any combination of these can be a clue that you may be in the overtraining zone.

What is an ideal training ritual?  Here are a few suggestions from Bodybuilding.com:

- Don’t train more than four days a week.  You need to recovery to build.  I personally like the three days a week routine.

- Don’t train more than 2 days in a row.  If you are ramping up the intensity in your workouts, you need 1-2 days off in between.
- Weight training sessions should last somewhere between 60 to 75 minutes.  This is the time where you pretty much depleted your body of its resources and moving on can only delay your anabolic state.
- Free weight compound exercises will build more muscle than using machines which isolate one particular muscle.  If you have limited time, use free weight compound moves.
- Try 6 – 12 reps. Lower reps are for strength building and high reps are for endurance.  If you want to build muscle, stay in the middle.
- Always, always use correct form, concentrate, focus and squeeze at the peak!
- Refrain from drinking alcohol.
- Allow for ample rest time to recover.
- Change up your routine; vary the exercises, set and rep cycles.
- Stay mentally focused and keep emotions in check.

So, keep an eye on the symptoms and don’t fall into the OVERTRAINING trap.  Plan out your workouts and we’ll see YOU in the gym. www.MasterSgtJAQT.com (home of TEAM JAQT)

Thursday, August 24, 2017

What Kind of Sets Are Your Favorite?

What are the different kinds of sets when weight training?  We’ve all heard terms "thrown" around in the gym like, superset, pyramid set, etc. etc., right? But what does that all mean?  Let’s take a minute to clarify here for those that don’t know what sets there are and what their definition is to help the beginning bodybuilder.

Straight sets – performing a straight set is simply lifting the same weight with the same amount of reps per set for any one exercise.   For example, lifting 40 lbs for 12 reps for 3 sets on 1 exercise and then maybe 30 lbs for 10 reps for 3 sets on a different exercise.  The weight and reps stay the same through all 3 sets.

Pyramid sets – for pyramid sets, you increase the weight while decreasing the reps for each set.  For example, lifting 50 lbs for 12 reps, then 60 lbs for 10 reps and finally 70 lbs for 8 reps.  This will give you a chance to “warm-up” as you increase the weight.

Super sets – when two exercises are paired together, you are performing a super set.  There is no rest period between the first and second exercise, only between the paired reps, after the second exercise is completed.  There are 3 types of supersets; agonist, antagonist and upper/lower body supersets.  For agonist, you pair exercises from the same muscle group, for antagonist, you pair exercises from opposite muscle groups and for upper/lower body, you simply pair an upper body exercise with a lower body exercise.  Supersets are more intense but allow for less time spent in the gym.

Tri-sets and Giant sets – basically, if you combine three exercises together, you are obviously performing a tri-set and if you group four or more exercises together, you are performing a giant set.  Both of these will "intensify' your workout.

Drop/Strip sets – one of my personal favorites, although I use several different set patterns as I like the variety.  Drop sets are used to increase muscle mass and endurance.  Simply, you perform an exercise with a weight heavy enough to go almost to failure on the last rep.  You then decrease the weight in order to continue on through the set.  I find this very effective on the cable machine if I start heavy like with biceps or triceps and reduce one plate after each set of reps.  Maybe start at 120 lbs for 10 reps, then 110 lbs for 10 reps, then 100 lbs for 10 reps all the way done to 40 lbs for 10 reps.  Want your triceps to feel like rocks!  Try this and get "pumped!"

So there you have it, experiment, use several or all types, switch out; remember you have to keep your muscles confused in order to build.  Never do the same set of exercises in the same order for every workout.  Hope this was helpful.

From everyone at TEAM JAQT, see YOU in the gym!
And as a reminder, be sure to purchase your workout supplements today;  click here! 

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Eating habits that will help in fat loss!

Did you know that a study from Cornell University found that just switching to a smaller plate for your meals can help you consume less food?  Try something in the 8 to 9 inch range. 

Stay away from sugar-laden drinks.  That is why drinking water is paramount for an athlete. Also many supplements, like a pre-workout, needs to be hydrated (with H2O) in order to experience the full strength and effect of the product.  Check out the calories on these sugar drinks.  Sugar proved to spike insulin in the body, thus inhibiting the body from using fat as fuel.

Take time to chew slowly and completely. You will be able to determine more preciously when you are full than if you are just rapidly “shoveling” it in and then feel bloated from overeating.

Put away all distractions when eating a meal.  If you are texting, web browsing, watching TV or even reading, the feeling of being satisfied will be reduced and can lead to overeating.  Focus on your meal just as you focus on that next set! 

Drink more water. Drinking water can actually boost your metabolism as much as 30% over a period of 1 ½ hr.  Drinking water before meals proved that you will most likely eat fewer calories. All of this adds up to burning more calories.

Drink green tea.  Green tea contains small amounts of caffeine but is also loaded with catechins, powerful antioxidants.   Catechins are believed to work synergistically with the caffeine to enhance fat burning. 

Try cooking with coconut oil.  Cooking with coconut oil is very healthy because of the high level of special fats called triglycerides, which are metabolized different than other fats.  These fats are shown to boost metabolism by 120 calories per day and helps to reduce your appetite so that you eat approx. 256 fewer calories per day.

Go on a low carb diet.  You can lose on average 2 – 3 times more than following a standard weight loss diet.

Keep healthy snacks around for when you get hungry.  A few snacks would be whole fruits, nuts, carrots, yogurt or even a hard-boiled egg or two.

If you brush your teeth after dinner, you may be less likely to be tempted by a late night snack.

Try to get good sleep.   Poor sleep has been shown to be one of the strongest risk factors for obesity, 89% increased risk in children and 55% in adults.

Eat more protein.  Protein is the single most important nutrient when it comes to losing weight.  Eating a high protein diet can boost metabolism by 80 to 100 calories per day.  Adding protein is one of the easiest and most effective and delicious ways to lose weight.  If you just cannot consume enough protein through food, adding a protein supplement works well.  You can find quite a selection by clicking here!

There you have it.  Plan your meals and snacks and lose weight.  See YOU in the gym!              TEAM JAQT

Monday, June 26, 2017

NUTRITION:   Dark Chocolate and Bodybuilding?  Yes!

Is chocolate a healthy food to be considered when deciding what foods to eat when you are weight training or just participating in a fitness program?  Yes, dark chocolate will be your "choice."  In fact, dark chocolate is loaded with essential nutrients that can have a positive effect on your health.  It is an antioxidant and helps to lower the risk of heart disease with compounds such as polyphenols, flavanols and catechins. But, stay away from milk chocolate as the added milk and sugar is not what you want to stay lean and "not" gain excess fat. 

Also, look for more of the organic dark chocolate in the range of 70% or greater cacao.  I, personally, like a 70% because any greater percentage to me starts to get bitter.  But try, say, an 80%, you may like it.  Experiment but be sure to stick with dark chocolate.

Dark chocolate contains fiber as well as healthy amounts of iron, magnesium, copper, manganese, potassium, phosphorus, zinc and selenium.  There are calories, of course, but in these darker chocolates, sugar is minimal.  The fat is mostly saturated and monounsaturated with a small amount of polyunsaturates.

Another study has found that dark chocolate may be great for your skin.  The flavanols can actually protect against sun-induced damage and improve blood flow to the skin and help to increase skin density and hydration.

The benefits are numerous for adding dark chocolate to your diet and more are being discovered every day.  For example, dark chocolate helps to lower your blood pressure, big deterrent against strokes and heart attacks, as we mentioned earlier. The fat in chocolate is actually in the form of oleic acid, typically found in olive oil, which is found to have antioxidant properties.

What about improving the function of the brain?  Yes again!  One study showed that consuming high flavanol cocoa improved blood flow to the brain thus improving cognition and verbal fluency in elderly people.  It also contains simulants like caffeine and theobromine.

Dark chocolate (70% >) helps to prevent diabetes and obesity by inhibiting blood sugar issues and to improve mood because of the chemical serotonin which is a natural anti-depressant.

Remember, to get minimum 70% cacao.  There are brands that offer 80% up to 90%.  These are known as semi-sweet.  Remember, the more bitter the better.  Just know that if you love chocolate, knowing the health benefits can get you past the bitter!

Eat more dark chocolate!  TEAM JAQT  See YOU in the gym!
And don't forget to order your favorite workout supplements today by clicking here!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Practicing Good Gym and Fitness Center Etiquette

First let's start with cleaning the equipment you use at the gym or fitness center. Many venues offer cloth or paper towels and some sort of disinfectant for cleaning and sterilizing. This simple 30 second procedure will make sure minimal spread of infections and give an appealing environment free of sweat moisture, etc.

Next, don't be a bully! Yes, it is difficult to work out sometimes if there is a crowd but go with the flow and share. Don't "hog" a machine or bench or area. Perform your set and move on. Talk to others to make sure you are not "cutting in" if they are still in their set. And don't sit there and "play" with your cell phone or iPod if you are done in that area. Step away if you must and let others get to their workout.

Be respectful of how long you are using a machine or item in the center and be cognizant of others who may be "hovering" to use the same machine or item you are using. There may be times when you are asked if they can "work in" with you. This is totally appropriate and unless you are super-setting, let them in and take turns. You'll begin to make new friends and enhance their gym experience and yours.

Don't forget to hydrate, just don't monopolize the fountain. Do you need to fill your water bottle or jug? That's fine but let those who just want a drink from the fountain to go ahead and don't form a line if possible.

Are you taking phone calls on your cell while working out? No problem and that is your choice, but please be respectful of others working out around you. First off, no one wants to hear your conversation and second, when you talk in a noisy environment, you will tend to talk louder to the person on the other end of the phone. Don't invade others privacy.

Return the equipment you are using when you are done with that exercise. There is nothing more annoying than looking for something that was there yesterday but someone moved it and left it in the hallway or somewhere it doesn't belong. Re-rack the weights, clear your machines, return the mats, etc. so the next person can find with what they need.

Take a whiff! If you are sweating and begin to detect an unpleasant odor, those around you most likely can smell that as well and it is very unbecoming. Try using a small amount of deodorant or antiperspirant before entering the gym or fitness center. And, conversely, if you are wearing a strong cologne or powerful smelling perfume, try rubbing some off before starting your workout.
Wear appropriate attire for working out. Please don't wear anything overexposed or explicit. Enough said.

So whether you are a veteran or just starting out, enjoy your fitness experience by following these simple rules of etiquette. See YOU in the gym! TEAM JAQT   www.MasterSgtJAQT.com

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Cardio Exercises - Perform at the Beginning or End of Your Weight Training Session?

Cardiovascular exercise, cardio for short, increases blood circulation in the body and increases heart rate. Cardio is a most effective way to burn excess calories resulting in fat loss. It is also a great way to "exercise" the heart.

But the question for most bodybuilders remains, should cardio be performed "before" a weight training session or "after?" It all depends on what a person is attempting to gain and the goal they have set for their workout. Ultimately, two end results can be expected from a workout session; muscle gain and/or fat loss.

The muscles in our bodies contain a chemical called glycogen. It is also stored in the liver. Glycogen is a natural carbohydrate reserve and available to be readily converted by the body to glucose as needed to satisfy its energy needs like during a weight training session.​ When all glycogen is exhausted from the muscles, the body will look for other alternative sources for energy and will begin to burn any excess fat that it finds.

Simply, if cardio is performed "before" a weight training session, all glycogen in the muscles will be used thus diminishing the energy that can be tapped for lifting heavy weights. Since lifting weights does not raise the heart rate as cardio exercise does, there would be minimal fat burning taking place.
Performing cardio "after" a weight training session would allow a person to lift more weight in the beginning to power through a grueling workout and take advantage of the "heavy weights" to build muscle mass, the goal of most bodybuilders. A person needs to be more focused and alert at the beginning of a weight training session and proper form would be easier to keep. Form plays a greater role in weight lifting than it does in cardio. Proper form is needed while lifting weights to achieve a good muscle growth and avoid injury. Focus and form are key when lifting heavy weights.
In this scenario, once glycogen is used by the weight training, the body will again look for other ways to continue to generate the fuel it still needs. At this point, performing an intense cardio session will burn more calories at a faster rate thus resulting in greater fat loss. In bodybuilding, this is known as "shredding."

Simply, if the goal of the training session is fat loss, performing high intensity cardio on the days other than weight training days is probably going to be the best choice. If the goal for doing steady state cardio is to improve your endurance then leave it for after a weight training session.


Monday, May 22, 2017

Gain More Muscle Mass While Bodybuilding or Weight Training by Following These Simple Two Techniques

So you are working out hard, lifting heavy and frequently but not gaining desired muscle mass or definition anymore? There could be several reasons for this. We'll explain just two of them here.

-- You may have reached a "plateau?" I don't know what a plateau is! According to Webster's, a plateau can be several things. We'll go with definition #2 which seems to fit here: A period when something does not increase or advance any further; to stop growing or increasing. Definitely looks like definition #2 fits the bill!

The easiest way to get off that "plateau" is simply to change your workout routine. As Arnold would put it, you need to "shock" your muscles in order for them to continue to grow. Do you go to the gym and do the same workout in the same order every time you go? If so, try changing your routine on a frequent basis. Most experts recommend a change at least every couple of weeks. One time, you may do hammer curls when you first enter the gym and then you go onto the bench press and then onto dips for the triceps.

Your body will get used to this routine and try to figure out how to compensate or accommodate what you are doing to protect itself since you are tearing it up. Change it up! Next time try doing dips first. Then possibly continue with your delts as your second exercise for example. Continuously changing up your routine and keeping those muscles confused or "shocked" will help them to grow.
I, personally, like to do a full body workout (as taught by Joe Weider), three times a week but I never do the same workout two times in a row. One day, I may do legs first, then the next workout, traps first and then again on the next workout, lats first. Change the order, change the number of sets, change the number of reps and/or change the weight. All of this will confuse or "shock" your muscles and you should start to notice a gain once again.

-- To increase muscle mass, you will also need to increase your weight? Not your body weight, but the weight you are lifting. This is the unwritten first priority of all bodybuilders and can be one of the reasons you are not gaining the muscle mass you are looking for. It's a proven fact and the main building block in the sport of bodybuilding.

The "rule of thumb" used by most bodybuilders is to increase your weight on any particular exercise when you are maxing reps in each set and not feeling complete exhaustion of the targeted muscle. You should be lifting heavy enough where you can't possibly finish the last rep or even two. This should give you a gauge where you should be. Once you can lift a particular weight and complete all reps "without a sweat," it's time to increase. Bump it up! This will most likely happen approximately every thirty days but then that will vary depending on your workout routine, frequency, how long you've been lifting, etc.

So there you have it! A couple possible causes of not being able to gain muscle mass. There are more reasons so if you need additional help in this area, a little research will give you a few more options, but these seem to be the main causes.

One word of caution, if you are working out (lifting) alone, you should not attempt to "max out" in any exercise that may cause bodily harm if it cannot be executed and completed in a safe manner. Enjoy your workout but please be safe in order to lift another day!

See YOU in the gym!  TEAM JAQT   And don't forget to order your supplements today! 

Monday, May 15, 2017

Target Those Lat and Back Muscles More Directly During Your Workout by Changing to a "Gorilla Grip"

Do you need to target your back and lat muscles more directly during weight training sessions? If so, let's talk about one exercise that clearly focuses on that very muscle group, the Dumbbell Bent Over Row.

During the Dumbbell Bent Over Row (typically performed one arm at a time, kneeling on a stationary bench) wrapping your thumb around bar will bring the hand and grip more into play, cheating your back and lats from full focus which is the intent of this particular exercise. This is called a "closed" grip and can cause pain in the wrist as the hand is overworked and result in or aggravating injuries such as carpal tunnel, wrist strains, etc.

One slight change to your grip can make a huge difference to help you get that focus to target your back and lat muscles exclusively and help you to get that "V" shape you want from a hard workout or lifting session. Try using a "gorilla" grip the next time you visit the gym and pick up the dumbbells for the Dumbbell Bent Over Row. The correct term that everyone in the sport would understand better is the "open hand" grip. The open hand grip is when you do not wrap your thumb around the bar, which is actually the "natural" feel and normal position. The end result after using the "open" grip can be a more relaxed set and a noticeable concentration and focus on what a Bent Over Row was designed for, targeting the back and the lats.

An "open" grip though is not for everyone. Beginners should be aware that improperly performing the "gorilla" grip can cause the weight to roll out of the hand and drop to the floor, hopefully not injuring you or anyone near. It takes practice but can be mastered even for a heavy weighted row.
And even though we are only discussing one exercise here, once you become comfortable using the "open" grip, you will be able to adapt several other exercises in your work out repertoire as well. However, be extremely careful which ones you chose to use the "open" grip with. The "open" grip is also called the false grip as well as a thumbless or suicide grip. For those extremely heavy weighted exercises such as the bench press (straight, inclined or declined), the squat or any exercise over the head or chest, it is not recommended. You should use the closed grip to ensure safety and prolonged good health!

Monday, May 8, 2017

NUTRITION: I just finished a hard long work out, do I need carbs or protein? Actually both! If you work out hard in the gym and we’re not talking just an hour on the treadmill, then your body needs both carbohydrates and protein. Let’s explain.

Once consumed, carbohydrates are stored in the muscles as glycogen. Glycogen is actually used to supply energy for bursts of power. The longer and harder the work out, the more glycogen your body will require. And we’ve all felt what it’s like to run out of glycogen, right?  Your energy level will drop and it will become harder and harder for you to contract the muscle. For the more intense work outs (2+ hours), the rule of thumb in the industry is 3 – 4 grams of carbs per pound of body weight is required each day. Without enough carbohydrates, your body will make muscle to use as “fuel.” Definitely not what you want!   Eat the "good" carbs.  What are some of them?  Try some whole grains, a vegetable, a fruit or even some beans.  No leftover pizza!  Note: Personal carb requirements depend on your work out intensity as well as your body size.

Protein, on the other hand, helps to “rebuild” your muscles after your intense work out. The rule of thumb here (from the USDA) for strength and weight training, is the average 1.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight per day, not to exceed 2.0 grams/lb/day. Too much protein will not make any difference so don’t overdo. And spread out your protein intake throughout the day. Your body can only process around 30 grams at any one time, so spread your carb intake out over your 5 or 6 small meals that you are already eating per day.  I, personally, use protein supplements and shakes to get my daily requirement because I can't eat that much food.  If that is you, check out the supplements market to get the protein you want and need.


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Welcome to www.MasterSgtJAQT.com and TEAM JAQT!  As a new member of the fitness community, we will be posting useful information frequently from the industry and hope to hear from you as well.  Your input is always welcome here as we all move together to a healthier and longer life of fitness and exercise and just feeling good!  Let's Do It!  Muscle Up! And don't forget to order your supplements to take your workout to the next level. Shop here!