Alcohol, in moderation, can be good for you. Just ask all those glass-a-day wine drinkers out there.
On the other hand, overindulgence of alcohol is one of the major reasons for ruining not only your physique, but your health as well. It’s a dangerous game to play, yet many bodybuilders and weight trainers go overboard on alcohol.
If you really want to maintain your six packs (abs not beer) and your mass, you have to be conscious about drinking alcohol because it can cause deterioration of muscle fiber.
What are the effects of alcohol in your body?
1. Increases estrogen and decreases testosterone levels.
If you wanted to increase your muscles, then you have to maintain or increase the levels of testosterone inside your body.. It will be a loss on your part, as men, if you allowed estrogen to overcome your testosterone levels because that can also cause secondary female characteristics.
2. Affects protein synthesis
You know that protein is one of the most important nutrients that your body needs in order to gain those additional mass. When you hinder protein synthesis because of too much alcoholism, you tend to hinder for protein to be distributed all throughout your body. Protein synthesis will be slowed down about 20%.
3. Strips the body of minerals and vitamins.
Alcohol has a diuretic effect on the body which promotes increase excretion of minerals and vitamins inside the body. When too much alcohol is consumed, it tends to strip off some of the important elements that our body needs, namely Vitamin A, B complex, C, calcium, phosphorus and zinc. These elements are drained in rapid manner which can cause comprises to our body’s chemical balance. In order to function properly, one must maintain a sufficient amount of minerals and vitamins inside the body to support muscle growth.
4. Dehydration can and will occur.
Around 70 percent of muscle is water. Since alcohol is a diuretic and irritant, your body can quickly dehydrate when drinking heavily. Too much drinking leads to massive dehydration and muscle loss.
4. Increases storage of fats
Many drrinkers are known to possess large bellies, hence the term beer belly. That’s because alcohol can trigger deposition of fats inside our bodies. Alcohol contains about 7 calories every gram which is the main reason why alcohol can make people fat in an unnatural way.
You have to take care of how you manage drinking especially if you want to maintain, as well a grow, muscle. A few drinks occasionally aren’t bad as long as you can handle the effects. Otherwise your muscle gaining goals can be totally affected in a very negative way.
In other words, if you can’t drink in moderation, don’t drink at all.
Your muscles will thank you for it.
Sports drinks and energy drinks have become a popular substitute for water. They are sold in almost every grocery store, department store and pharmacy. Sports drinks are advertised in most sports magazines and all sports television.
But what about the controversy of sports drinks vs water? Which is better?
Gatorade is one of the most universally known sports drinks and is available in different colors and flavors that will satisfy most taste buds. There are other sports drinks that are on the market that have differing amounts of electrolytes and additives. All reportedly improve athletic performance.
In 1965 a group of specialists from the University of Florida began pioneering sports drinks to encourage their athletes to fight tired muscles without performance-enhancing drugs. What they found is that athletes who used the sports drinks became dependent upon them. Research found that after having used energy drinks 90% of athletes then preferred them to water after a tiring activity.
The original intent of sports drinks was to be used during an activity to help the athlete continue and not to refuel after an activity. Post athletic activity refueling is important and can be accomplished successfully without the addition of the empty calories found in sports drinks. In fact drinking them without exercising intensely will lead to quick weight gain, often the opposite effect that a client is trying to achieve.
But sports drinks vs water? Sports drinks are not an alternative to water, which is the major component of the body. They are stimulants, which help the athlete to continue to work, but they will never replace re-hydration with water. In fact, using a sports drink after an activity without also using water will lead to dehydration.
Most sports drinks contain carbohydrates to fuel muscles and supplements to replenish fluids and nutrients. There are three types of drinks. Isotonic that sustains energy for middle and long distance events; hypotonic that are best for jockeys and gymnasts; and hypertonic for ultra distance events and used with isotonic drinks.
The difference in each of these sports drinks is the amount of carbohydrates and electrolytes. The higher the level of these additives the slower they empty from your stomach and the longer you feel full.
So which is better: sports drinks vs water?
The answer lies in the amount of time you’ll be exercising, your drink preferences, and your pre-exercise hydration level.
Water hydrates best for people who are exercising between 25 and 45 minutes. Only the true endurance athletes really need sports drinks to replace their sodium loss from sweat. If you are exercising for 30 minutes you won’t need to hydrate during the workout. If you are going for 45 minutes water will hydrate you and maintain your performance.
Only you can answer this question best for your situation. You know your program. Use the drink that will help you perform the best.
There is simply no way to gain muscle mass without having an effective workout routine.
There is a reason they call it a workout; it’s work and it’s hard. Doing a good workout is not only tiring but it also takes time. Therefore, you really want to get the most out of your time in the gym, and there are a number of things that you can do to develop larger muscles faster.
What Kind of Exercises to Do
First of all, if you’re a beginner in the gym there are a number of effective lifts that you can do for maximum muscle mass increase. Here is a short list of things that you will want to use when you get started:
Biceps- Curls, and Pulldowns
Triceps- Bench press and Skull Crushers (lying triceps extension)
Chest- Bench Press, Incline press, and Dips
Back- Chin-ups and Rows
Shoulders- Military (Overhead) Press
Legs- Squats, and Deadlifts
You’ll eventually put a few more things into your routine that these are some of the best ones for gaining muscle fast. They target the larger muscle groups and if you do these ones consistently you’ll find that your muscles start getting bigger very quick.
Find Your Maximum
One thing that you will want to do before too long is to figure out what your maximum list is for any of the exercises mentioned above. Some people make the mistake of trying this on their first visit to the gym. This is not a good idea.
If you attempt your maximum lift on your first trip to the gym you are simply asking for an injury. At the very least your muscles will be too sore to return for quite some time. It is a much better idea to start off easy just for a little while. Make sure you don’t take it easy for too long though. All you want to do is get yourself ready for that maximum lift.
The reason for figuring out a maximum lift is that many of the techniques that you will use are based on a measurement that uses the most that you can lift. Using your maximum lift weight is not something you will do every time you work out. It is also a number that will change over time as you become bigger and stronger.
Form is Important- Do Not Cheat
No matter what the exercise you’re doing in the gym, it is important not to cheat. Cheating in this case is talking about using other body parts or swinging a weight in order to complete the exercise. This happens often with exercises like curls. When you do this you are only cheating yourself.
This isn’t rocket science. Follow the basics, work hard and smart, and you’ll see results.
Recovery is the time when your muscles are being built back up by the body and oddly when you’re not working out, this is when your muscles actually experience their growth.
What Happens When you don’t Recover
If you don’t allow for the necessary amount of time and get the proper nutrients for recovery you can really be sabotaging your efforts. Instead of finding your body in an anabolic state, you’ll actually be in a catabolic state. If you go to work out in your muscles have not fully recovered, not only will you find that you are not able to build muscle mass but often you can lose ground that you have already gained. Catabolism is the situation where nutrients are being taken from tissue for fuel. This means that the very muscles you’re trying to build up are actually being used as fuel.
How long does it take to recover?
Previously it was often held that muscles to about two or three days to recover and then could be trained again. Recent studies of shown that the recovery time is actually longer than this and can be as long as four to seven days. It is been shown that people who train a similar muscle group every four to seven days as opposed to two or three will actually receive the same results and in some cases better results.
Recovery time depends a lot on the type of training that you’re doing. Aerobic workouts and light weight workouts in order to tone allow for shorter periods of recovery. If your goal is to increase muscle mass as much as possible then your muscles need a longer recovery time as they have been broken down more substantially.
It is important to realize that people who are starting a weight training program can actually realize gains with shorter periods in between workouts. This would seem a little counter intuitive but it’s true. Often after a period of about three or four months you will find that you hit a plateau.
It is then that many people make the mistake of trying to work out more often to improve their results. You’ll usually find the opposite effect and in fact after this amount of time you want to back off your workouts. Realize that you’re not backing off the intensity of workouts, simply the frequency.
Time Spent in the Gym
Another common mistake is that people often spend too much time in the gym. In order to achieve maximum muscle growth, the most effective plan is to have shorter, more intense workouts. This is where the availability of nutrients comes in. If you work out for too long, the available nutrients to those muscles is diminished and you will not see the same kind of results.
Take recovery seriously. The most effective weight training plan to increase size actually calls for a certain amount of restraint. This can actually make things easier for you in the long-term, knowing that you have to spend less time and less effort to achieve more satisfying results.
The importance of recovery when it comes to building muscle mass simply cannot be overstated. The process of increasing muscle size is the combination of two things.
First of all intensive workouts are required to break down the muscle tissue. It might seem odd that lifting weights is actually damaging muscle but in effect that exactly what is happening.
It is during the recovery time that the muscles are built back up by the body and when they are, they end up being bigger and stronger.
As you have read, there are a number of things that you need to do in order to achieve the maximum results; you need to make sure that you maintain a good diet, you have to mitigate factors that will prevent you from staying motivated and you also have to put in some serious work at the gym.
Recovery is crucially important to building muscle mass and the good thing about it is it is easiest part of the plan.
Things that you Need to do to Improve Recovery
The process of recovery is more than simply resting between workouts, although this is a big part of recovery. There are things that you need to in order to keep your body in a state where can rebuild muscle.
This is something that is often overlooked when it comes to weight lifting. Many people think that stretching only benefits your flexibility. It does, but there is a lot more to it than that. If you stretch well before and after a workout you’ll find that you experience less muscle soreness. This will make your workouts easier. Even on days that you’re not working out, it is helpful to do some stretching.
On days that you’re not working out certain muscle groups, is still good to go through some light movements. You’ll find that this helps with muscles that are stiff. Even light contraction of muscles will help stimulate blood flow in those areas. When skeletal muscles contract it forces blood to move through the arteries and veins. This will help the muscles to recover as they are getting the necessary nutrients.
Sleep is Key to Recovery
As you probably know, sleep is the period when the body recovers the most. It is essential to get that we get seven or eight hours of quality sleep every night. This shouldn’t be too hard as you’ll find that when you’re working out your sleep patterns will often improve. Try to maintain a good schedule and go to sleep at the same time every day. Avoid any kind of caffeine later in the day and give yourself time before you go to bed to do something relaxing.
Diet for Recovery
To get the muscles to recover properly you need to maintain a diet that feeds them. Protein and carbohydrates are the most important factors and not only do you need to get enough of them, but it is important to take them at the right time. Knowing that the period when you sleep is when your experience the most recovery, try to make sure that you get enough protein in your last meal of the day to fuel the recovery.