Kill Your Gains With These 5 Mistakes

Ever wonder where the name Ripped Science came from? Building muscle and getting mad gains isn’t rocket science, but it’s actually bio-science. Today we’re going to help you learn 5 mistakes that are killing your gains.These mistakes are easy to correct, but only if you’re honest with yourself. So, pay attention!

Mistake Number One:
You’re Not Listening To Your Body

You’re about to sprint into the gym for a big chest day, but your triceps and front delts are hollaring at you from yesterday’s shoulder workout. You stayed up until the wee hours watching back-to-back episodes of Family Guy and you feel like the new member of The Hangover gang. What do you do?

Many #gymfreak4 life guys will hit it anyway. I mean, doesn’t everyone say, “No pain, no gain?” Which is true—to a point. There comes a time when you’re only stacking abuse on top of abuse.

You need to listen to your body and what it’s asking—or screaming at you. Maybe it’s saying that a day of straight-up, no-strings-attached rest is necessary.

Or perhaps it’s telling you that knocking against the ceiling of your abilities every day isn’t the way to go, and that a program with a bit more rest time is a better fit for your abilities and lifestyle.

Athletes learn and improve. You know who doesn’t? Injured athletes. Muscle tears, strains, and systemic over-training will all cost you time and muscle mass. Don’t give up performance in the name of ego! Trust me on this. Been there, done that.

Mistake Number Two:
Not Mastering Mind-Muscle Control

yoda

Maybe because of all the intense (and sometimes hilarious) faces that people make in the weight room, it can be easy to forget how much fun training actually is. It’s like a playground for adults, with every station offering a different adventure.

With so many options to choose from, it can be tempting to simply move from station A to B, push weights from points A to B, and trust Yoda that it’s working. If you’ve accomplished everything pages 42-45 of your muscle mag said to do, the workout was a success, right?

Yes and no. In reality, half the battle is the process. If you really think about each muscle fiber squeezing and contracting as you lift the weights, you’ll dial into the zone and work the muscles you aim to. You’ll maximize the time under tension (TUT), which is a proven way to grow. Allowing stronger muscle groups to take over a movement pattern is the fastest way to miss out on gains in the muscle you actually trying to target.

Learn how to really focus and tune in on a muscle, and you’ll see an instant boost in how your workouts feel and your body grows. May the force be with you!

Mistake Number Three:
Not Staying Accountable During the Weekend

Staying accountable during the week isn’t a problem. Most guys get into a scheduled routine that is relatively constant and can control when and what they eat, usually avoiding major diet no-no’s.

Then the weekend hits, and you find yourself out with friends putting back some cold ones with cheeseburgers and basket of loaded tots. Even if you just go out and “let loose” one evening each week, you can seriously set back your physique goals—especially if alcohol is involved.

A drink or two is one thing, but let’s get brutally honest: Getting straight-up drunk on a regular basis has no place in a serious athlete’s life. And if people are telling you that you have a problem, fact is, you probably do. Compromise happens in fitness and in life, but it’s still up to you to decide what’s most important to you.

Are you willing to sacrifice maximum gains in order to redefine a cheat day to meet your lifestyle? Or, is making the absolute most progress possible a top priority? If it is, then you’ll want to think about being the designated driver next time.

Mistake Number Four:
Overdoing Cardio to Stay Lean

A lot of people say you don’t need cardio at all and that setting foot on a treadmill or biking a trail is going to cost you gains and leave you skinny-fat. Eh, I’m not a 100% believer. Cardio does serve a purpose in most programs, but it’s definitely possible to overdo it, particularly if you do hours of it every week in order to “stay lean” while trying to bulk. You’re doing two different concepts: leaning out and bulking up. It’s like a gym comedy routine.

First, overdoing cardio training can dramatically decrease your energy to produce the growth stimulus you need during your lifting session. Remember, it’s TUT that really pushes muscles to grow and you need energy to produce it. And if you’re eating to build muscle, you especially need to maximize your strength training, otherwise; you set yourself up to add fat where muscle should be.

Second, too much cardio stacked on top of weight training can also cause your testosterone levels to drop. . . *gasp*. Men who have low T levels tend to maintain higher body fat levels and lower levels of total lean mass. Those are two mega strikes against overdoing cardio.

While trying to get mad gains, stick to high-intensity interval training for cardio—provided that it doesn’t interfere with your recovery. Save the low-intensity cardio for other training cycles throughout the year.

Mistake Number Five:
Under-Emphasizing Calories and Over-Emphasizing Protein

When someone tells their trainer that they’re struggling to add muscle, the immediate reply is to consume more total calories—a great suggestion. But in the quest to both stay lean and add mass, trainees too often try to perform an elaborate macro-nutrient dance where they shoot protein intake through the roof while cutting carbs and sometimes fat. Mucho bad idea, bro.

Too many people go to the gym and train hard, but don’t eat enough calories to support gaining muscle mass and size. I have fallen victim of this in the past while trying to keep my body fat low and abs showing. I would virtually strip out all carbs for long periods of time. All this did was kill all the gains I made over the previous few months.

There’s no denying the importance of protein in any mass-building diet, and sure, you’ll need more of this crucial macro-nutrient than someone who’s a couch potato. Just remember that carbohydrates are what the body uses as fuel while it works to assemble protein into new muscle tissues.

If you don’t have enough carbs, the protein you eat won’t be put to good use. Likewise, fats are required for optimal hormonal levels, and your hormones are the foreman of your body’s muscle construction crew.

So when aiming to build muscle, eat more of everything, not just more protein. Once you reach 1-1.25 grams of protein per pound, step back and make sure you do not neglect another macro-nutrient.

Tristan "Lucky"

Written by: Tristan “Lucky”
www.Ripped-Science.com

Sytropin HGH Oral Spray Supplement Review

Tristan gives this product 4.5 STARS 4.5 Stars

 

To be perfectly upfront and honest, I haven’t used many oral supplement sprays prior to testing out Sytropin HGH by Speedwinds Nutrition, Inc. In fact, this was my first one! I must say that I’m actually surprised by my results.

What is HGH?

In case you don’t already know about it, HGH stands for Human Growth Hormone. It is called the “fountain of youth” in the mainstream world, yet younger guys can also take advantage of its powerful effects.

Basically, in a nutshell, HGH has these benefits:

  • Increases your energy level and physical endurance
  • Improves sports performance and shortens recovery time from injuries
  • Strengthens your immune system to fight against diseases linked with aging
  • Lose weight and build lean muscles
  • Increases your bone density
  • Lowers your blood pressure
  • Improves your libido and sexual performance
  • Improves your cardiac function and cholesterol profiles
  • Reverses aging changes in your skin and promotes thicker hair
  • Improves your mood and sleep patterns

I mean, with all of these benefits, you just can’t go wrong. I decided to test out Sytropin since I’ve only heard positive reviews from friends and know it is from a trusted company that uses the highest quality FDA approved ingredients produced in a GMP-certified lab. I am very particular about what I put into my body and you should be too.

sytropin HGHSytropin HGH does not contain steroids. Primary ingredients include growth factors such as L-Arginine, GABA, L-Glutamine and L-group amino acids.

There are no side effects with Sytropin and this is mainly due to the fact that it is an oral spray, not an injection. Most of the time, any side effects with HGH is to do with an infection at the injection site. Folks will complain about joint swelling and joint pain.

Instructions on how to take Sytropin HGH – Easy as 1-2-3

  1. Two sprays of Sytropin directly into your mouth (under your tongue) in the morning. Do not swallow it, instead try to hold in under your tongue for several minutes. This helps it better absorb in your system. It says not to drink anything for 20 minutes after, so I do this before I leave my house and drive to work.
  2. Same as above, except it is four sprays and right before bed. This is the max dosage recommended by the manufacturer.
  3. Continue to take Sytropin on a daily basis. One bottle equals a 30 day supply.

What was my Sytropin HGH experience?

The very first thing I started noticing in the first week was an increase in energy. I had been feeling sluggish the past few months and usually that adrenaline rush I used to get at the gym stopped kicking in. I would leave the gym looking like a train hit me. With Sytropin, I was able to train longer and left with some energy still in my reserve tank.

Another thing I wasn’t expecting was change in sleep. Sometimes, I had slight insomnia and I was waking up feeling tired even after 7-8 hours of sleep. Now, I sleep like a baby and wake up refreshed and ready to conquer my day! I actually stopped drinking coffee which still is blowing my mind. I was addicted to my morning Starbucks. And with that, I save $6 a day. Not crying over that one.

After two weeks, I noticed a definite difference in my body. I was leaning out and noticed significant gains. My mood felt more positive and I had a decline in anxiety and depression. I felt balanced and more healthy overall than before.

The only reason I didn’t give it 5 stars is because the taste is something I had to get used to. It isn’t bad by any means, but I guess I was expecting it to taste like fruit punch or something….and that isn’t exactly logical. I’m still a child at heart hoping for some cherry flavored cough syrup. Just being honest!

Where can you buy Sytopin HGH for a discount?

If you want to try this rockin’ product, I found the VIP link for a 25% discount and Free Shipping. I am definitely a guy who searches the web for the best deal.

Click the link below to claim the VIP offer before it expires:
www.Sytropin.com/VIPoffer

Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for reviews on more products soon.

Tristan "Lucky"

Written by: Tristan “Lucky”
www.ripped-science.com

 

 

 

Shut Up and TRAIN: Gym No-No’s

For many of us, the gym is like a sanctuary – sacred ground. You walk in with a sense of reverence and respect as your mind and body become one in the zone.

You turn on your favorite pump music, grab a set of dumbbells, sit down to do an Arnold press and the guy next to you is on his cell phone talking to his bro about the girl he took home the night before. All of a sudden, your sacred temple turns into the gateway of hell.

Here are a list of gym etiquette so you respect a place that deserves respect:

1. Shut Up and TRAIN: Get off your phone. It is obviously not enough you’re glued to it 24/7. Pretty soon guys will start asking if they can legally marry Siri. Stop talking, stop texting, stop updating your facebook status, stop stalking your ex, stop watching cat videos. If you want to be on your phone ,there’s a place for that – OUTSIDE of the gym.

2. Stop Looking at Yourself and TRAIN: Sure, we realize there are mirrors everywhere. But, if you’re that one dude who stares at himself the entire time….you know, the guy who watches himself even while he is walking from one bench to another…it’s time to focus your attention elsewhere. Put your mind in your muscle, not on lusting after yourself. It’s fine to be proud of your body, but it’s another to be a narcissist about it.

3. Stop Taking Selfies and TRAIN: Yes, we have probably all been guilty of this at some point. I know I have. We like to have photos that show our progress and it isn’t a bad feeling to have positive comments on the web. The problem is when you’re taking multiple shots during one training session. Between sets you’re posing, not to practice for a competition, but for a photo.

4. Clean Up Your Sh*t and TRAIN: One of the worst things for me as a germ-phobe is getting to a bench that is still drenched in some other dude’s sweat. I’m glad you’re working hard and all, but the least you can do is wipe off the bench. Common gym courtesy. It is also logical not to make every bench turn into a slip-n-slide.

5. Re-rack Weights and TRAIN: I’m not one of the heaviest lifters at the gym, so when I go to do some chest presses, having 350 lbs on the bar for me is nothing short of a miracle. Then, on the flip side, I can’t stand it when I go to grab a set of 45’s and one is there, but the other one is on the floor, alone, sad, and solo. Not to mention, I wasted 5 minutes trying to find it.

6. Stop Staring and TRAIN: Obviously, there are usually some smoking hot gals training at the same time you’re there. It is natural to take a glance or two, but the long stare at the perfect curve of her a$$ isn’t helping your muscle gains, except for one. Plus, she’s there to train, not to have guys undress her with their eyes. Pay her respect and instead of staring, give her a compliment that is not sexually inappropriate.

7. Stop Clubbing and TRAIN: Pumping through your earbuds is your favorite tunes and sometimes you want to just sing along and break out in Michael Jackson “Thriller” moves. Hold it in, bro…hold it in. Remember that show ‘So you think you can dance?’ – ’nuff said. This also isn’t an audition for American Idol. I’m guilty of doing the head nod with each bass beat, but I’m not getting jiggy with it between sets or rapping Jay-Z at the cables. Save your mad skillz for Saturday night.

8. Stop Interrupting and TRAIN: There you are, on your 4th rep and some dude walks so close to you that you have to move over even though there is ample space. Speaking of space, ever heard of personal space? Then, that same guy, walks over to you on your 7th rep to ask if he can use your bench. If you’re that guy, take a clue. Give people enough space to train without having to move and don’t talk to them during sets. You can wait until they’re done.

9. Stop Stinking and TRAIN: To the dude who doesn’t wear deodorant, c’mon man…I need clean air to breathe. Nobody likes a gym skunk. I know after training hard we don’t smell like a bed of roses, but you can always quickly find the guy who just reeks like he hasn’t bathed in weeks and fell into a vat of cat urine. Respect the gym air and go clean thyself.

10. Don’t Drop-n-Scream and TRAIN: There is just nothing better than hearing a huge amount of weight hit the floor following by a loud scream of a caveman on hunt for Stegosaurus. It is distracting for everyone else who is trying to concentrate. You can’t help but break out of your zone and turn around making sure someone didn’t just drop the weight on top of their head. Don’t throw the weight down. Seriously. Just stop it already.

Thanks for reading! Now go TRAIN.

Tristan "Lucky"

 

Written by: Tristan “Lucky”

www.ripped-science.com

The Body Mass Index (BMI) is BS

BMI ComparisonThe body mass index (BMI), or Quetelet index, was developed between 1830 and 1850 by the Belgian polymath Adolphe Quetelet. The BMI formula is a measure of relative weight based on an individual’s mass and height.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that muscle weighs more than fat, so plenty of bodybuilders and athletes could easily be classified as “obese” according to this method. This is why trainers are more likely to measure your body fat percentage and throw the BMI out the window. According to my personal BMI, based on my height, I should weigh 135 pounds. I can assure you, I would look anorexic at that weight. I haven’t weighed that since my freshmen year of High School.

In early 2000, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published a study showing that body-fat percentage may be a better measure of your risk of weight-related diseases than BMI.

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The BMI Formula Breakdown:

  • Very Severely Underweight: Below 15
  • Severely Underweight: 15 to 15.9
  • Underweight: 16 to 18.4
  • Normal (healthy weight): Between 18.5 and 24.9
  • Overweight: Between 25 and 29.9
  • Obese Class I (Moderately obese): 30 to 34.9
  • Obese Class II (Severely obese): 35 to 39.9
  • Obese Class III (Very severely obese): 40 and higher

Here are 2 reasons why I call BS to the BMI:

body fat percentage measurement1. The guy who dreamed up the BMI explicitly said that it could not and should not be used to indicate the level of fatness in an invidual.

When Mr. Quetelet introduced the BMI in the early 19th century, the fact is, he was a mathematician, not a physician. He produced the formula as a quick and easy way to measure the degree of obesity of the general population to assist the government in allocating resources. In other words, it is a 200-year-old-hack.

2. It is scientifically nonsensical and physiologically wrong.

It ignores waist size, which is a clear indicator of obesity level. It makes no allowance for the relative proportions of bone, muscle and fat in the body. Bone is denser than muscle and twice as dense as fat, so a person with strong bones, good muscle tone and low fat will have a high BMI. Again, why athletes and fit individuals tend to be classified as overweight and obese. The BMI cannot differentiate between The Terminator and The Pillsbury Dough Boy.

My Simple Conclusion: Stick with measuring your body fat percentage and toss the BMI in the dumpster.

Tristan "Lucky"

Written by: Tristan “Lucky”

www.ripped-science.com

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Turn Baby Biceps Into Loaded Guns: 6 Killer Moves

bicepsLet’s admit it. Guys with big arm muscles look good. Women lust after them and so do we, just in a different way. We WANT them for ourselves. Instead of coveting your brother’s bulging biceps, I’m going to teach you 4 exercises to get you the guns you’ve been dreaming about.

TWO HEADS ARE BETTER THAN ONE.

Biceps are muscles with two heads – hence, the “bi” part of the word. As they say, two heads are better than one. Have you ever seen a guy with biceps that look impressive from one side, but then the size vanishes when viewed from the front? Conversely, have you seen biceps that appear thick and meaty from the front, but viewed from the side, they’re flat and shapeless? This is when you know that one of the biceps heads has developed while its brother has lagged behind.

I’m taking here about the good ole’ biceps brachii. The biceps brochii has two heads running parallel to one another along your upper arm. The short head runs on the inside of the arm, closest to the chest, and adds to the thickness when viewed from the front. The long head runs along the outside of the arm and forms the peak when flexed. If you’re genetically lucky, you may have been gifted with an obvious split between the two heads.

Here’s my list of 6 biceps exercises to bulk you up:

1. Pushup-position hammer curl

pushup hammer

HOW TO DO IT:
Grab a pair of dumbbells and assume a pushup position with your palms facing each other. Without moving your upper arm, curl the weight in your right hand toward your right shoulder. Lower it, and repeat with your left arm. Continue alternating right and left curls for 30-60 seconds. Add weight in subsequent workouts, but don’t try to speed up the movement.

HOW IT WORKS:
If you’ve done rows from a pushup position, this exercise will seem familiar. But, by doing a curl instead of a row, you move the load farther from your center of gravity and base of support. Your core muscles, in turn, need to work harder to stabilize your spine, making this one of the best ab exercises you’ve probably never done.

2. Kneeling single-arm curl

kneeling curl

HOW TO DO IT:
Select a dumbbell you can curl for no more than 5 reps or 15 seconds. Hold it in your nondominant hand, palm in, and kneel. Keeping your elbow against your ribs, curl the weight, twisting your palm so it faces your shoulder at the top of the move. Do 3 reps a side as many times as you can in 5 minutes. Once you can go back and forth 10 times (30 total reps on each side), increase the weight.

HOW IT WORKS:
Your biceps have two functions: to bend your elbows and supinate your forearms. Doing both with heavy weights and low reps leads to fast results. When you do these curls from a kneeling position, with the weight on one side, your obliques work overtime to keep you upright, giving you another way to target your core and biceps simultaneously.

3. Split-jack curl

split jack

HOW TO DO IT:
Hold a pair of dumbbells at your sides, palms in, feet hip-width apart. Jump into a split stance—left leg forward—while curling the weights to your shoulders. Return to the starting position and repeat, landing with your right leg forward. Continue for 20 seconds or 10 reps. To make it harder, drop into a lunge as you land. For a fast, 4-minute cardio workout, rest 10 seconds after each set and do 8 sets.

HOW IT WORKS:
With lighter weights, it’s a good cardio drill that works your biceps. With heavier weights, it’s a killer power-training exercise. The deeper you sink into a lunge and the faster you jump out of it, the more you target your fast-twitch muscle fibers. They’re the biggest and strongest, and they have the greatest potential for growth.

4. Resistance band jumping-jack hammer curl

resistance band

HOW TO DO IT:
Stand with your feet together and centered on a looped resistance band, holding the top of the band with your palms facing each other. Curl the band toward your shoulders and jump out with both feet. Reverse the move to return to the starting position. Repeat for 20 seconds or 10 total reps. Do 8 sets, resting for 10 seconds between them. You can mix it up by alternating sets of curls and overhead presses (4 sets of each).

HOW IT WORKS:
Jumping out against the band targets the hip muscles that provide stability during lunges and squats but that are rarely worked directly. Strengthening these muscles can improve the appearance of your lower body while also protecting your knees. Oh, and your biceps will get some work as well.

5. Squat concentration curl

concentration curl

HOW TO DO IT:
Hold a pair of light dumbbells (10 to 15 pounds) and stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart and your toes pointed out slightly. Push your hips back and squat until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Keeping your weight on your heels, your elbows pressed against your inner thighs, and your palms facing each other, curl and lower the weights for 30 to 60 seconds. Do it one arm at a time to add an element of instability and increase the challenge to your core.

HOW IT WORKS:
Sitting at a desk most of the day closes your hips, which can strain muscles in your thighs and lower back. This move forces your thighs out and opens up your hips. Pressing your upper arms against your thighs keeps the movement at your elbows, preventing other muscles from assisting.

6. Eccentric curl

eccentric curl

HOW TO DO IT:
Select a pair of dumbbells that are 5 to 10 pounds heavier than what you’d typically use for 5-rep sets. Hold them at your sides and assume an athletic stance, your feet hip-width apart and your ankles, knees, and hips slightly bent. “Cheat” the dumbbells to the top position with a dumbbell clean: Explosively stand up straight while bending your elbows to draw the weights to your shoulders. Take 5 seconds to lower the weights. Do 3 sets of 5 reps, resting 90 seconds between sets.

HOW IT WORKS:
Your muscles can lower more weight than they can lift. That’s why eccentric (or negative) reps, which lengthen muscles, can spark new growth. Plus, the dumbbell clean improves total-body power. Of all the exercises in this article, this one may be the best all-around biceps builder.

 

Tristan "Lucky"

Written by: Tristan “Lucky”
www.ripped-science.com

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Have a Testosterone Boosting Three Way: Part 1

Boost Testosterone with DietIn our prior post, What You Probably DON’T Know About Testosterone, we covered aromatase – testosterone conversion to estrogen, synthetic vs. natural hormone replacement therapy (HRT), and (my personal favorite) “moobs”.

I promised a post that shows a 3-step plan to help boost testosterone naturally. This formula has been successful for many guys, including myself, over the years. For some, it doubled their T levels within a 90-day period. We will cover this topic in a series of three posts so you get all the info without getting a migraine afterwards.

Testosterone levels are taking a nose dive. Studies have shown that the average male’s testosterone in today’s society is nearly 25% lower than in the 1980’s. Without the big T, men become infertile, impotent, docile, and weak.

The FIRST STEP to increase T naturally is: DIET

Not to surprise you, but diet plays a huge role in our testosterone production. Our glands need certain minerals, like zinc and magnesium, to get T production started and our Leydig cells need cholesterol to make testosterone. Some foods such as broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage can boost levels by removing estrogens in our body that lower our T.

One of the biggest changes I made to my diet was increasing my fat and cholesterol intake. There’s a reason why bodybuilders drank raw eggs once upon a time (though, perhaps some still do). Studies have suggested that higher fat and cholesterol consumption results in increased levels of total T; in fact, men eating low-fat diets typically have decreased testosterone levels.

The Hormone Shop states that essential fats, such as omega-3 fatty acids and saturated fats, are essential for normal testosterone production and by avoiding such fats you will decrease your natural T production. According to 4-Mens Health, evidence suggests that consumption of meat boosts T levels. Vegetarian diets, on the other hand, cause a decrease.

Before you go out and buy a bunch of eggs, bacon and steak, I want to remind you of something very important. The antibiotics and stress levels in animals not raised in a humane manner can actually cause hormone shifts in your own body. You owe it to yourself, your health, and your testosterone to buy grass-fed beef, organic eggs, and bacon that is nitrate-free. Chicken needs to be free-range and fish needs to be wild caught, not farm raised. I cannot stress enough to buy organic and memorize what the Dirty Dozen is. It may be a bit more expensive, but the alternative isn’t worth it. Say “NO” to GMO.

Weekly Food PrepThe cholesterol question is indeed a good one. If you want to read more about it, then check out The Definitive Guide to Cholesterol and The Straight Dope on Cholesterol – Part 1 and Part 2.

There are quite a few foods that naturally boost testosterone levels. In fact, click here to view the list of the Top 50 Foods That Boost Testosterone Naturally.

On the flip-side, diets which are high in complex carbohydrates and simple sugars will result in lower T levels. Consuming excessive amounts of carbs will cause blood sugar to elevate and therefore release increased levels of insulin and cortisol.

The “Journal of Endocrinology” has determined that soy (which contains phytoestrogens) will decrease testosterone levels. A study performed by the Gifu University School of Medicine located in Japan revealed that testosterone concentrations were inversely related with the intake of soy products; hence, the fear of consuming soy products. According to a 2008 Harvard study, sperm counts in male infertility clinic patients were found to be lower by 41 million/ml in those who included soy in their diets. If you do decide to indulge in soy, only buy organic and non-GMO.

No BeerThis may break your heart, but the hops in beer are so estrogenic, they are currently being studied as a treatment for hot flashes in menopausal women. If you want to optimize your testosterone levels, it’s best to completely avoid alcohol. Research has shown that even two drinks per day can lower your T levels. My advice would be to avoid alcohol during the week and sip on vodka on the weekends. A couple of filthy martinis won’t crush your testosterone as much.

TIP #1: To keep your metabolism running on high, eat 5 small meals per day. The easiest way to do this is to food prep for the week. Many people will spend Sunday evenings cooking up a storm. Yes, their fridge ends up looking like the kingdom of Tupperware. End the day with a slow-digesting casein protein unless you are dairy intolerant. In which case, I suggest a protein shake.

TIP #2: Always use BPA-free bottles since it may be the biggest culprit to declining levels of testosterone. BPA is Bisphenol-A, a synthetic chemical often found in various plastic containers that leach out once heated. When workers were exposed to BPA, it resulted in lower T levels and androstendione, a precursor to both testosterone and estrogen. BONUS: If you’re trying to have kids, a recent study showed that 89% of men attending fertility clinics had BPA in their urine. Not only did they have lower T, but also lower TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone). Bottom line: Use glass or stainless steel whenever possible.

TIP #3: I cannot emphasize enough the importance of increasing muscle mass and decreasing body fat when it comes to testosterone levels. Adipose tissue (fat tissue) contains an enzyme called aromatase that converts testosterone into estrogen. The more body fat = more estrogen = less testosterone. Period. End of story.

Stay tuned for Part 2.

Tristan "Lucky"

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Tristan “Lucky”
www.ripped-science.com

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Top 5 Forgotten Muscles You Can’t Ignore

Forgotten Muscle Groups

Okay, admit it. If you’re the typical guy, you’re probably guilty of editing your workouts to include only those muscle groups that get judged most. You know, the ones that actually turn heads.

You’ve been caught. We see you spending 30 minutes hitting the same muscles as always and 15 minutes hitting on the toned brunette on the leg press. The last 15 minutes are spent hitting on yourself in the mirror and possibly sneaking a “selfie” to post on Instagram #gymfreak4life.

If this is you, then it’s time to stop using the pretty-boy training method and instead spend a little time developing some of those other areas that we often forget.

Here are the five most often neglected muscle groups, and a set of simple fixes to get them up to speed.

    1. The Forgotten: Rear Delts. You’ve seen those guys—heck, maybe you are one of them. They show up at the gym to work their chest and their abs (quite intensely, in fact) and then head out the door. You think you’re getting great pecs and a six-pack with time left over to go to lunch. But what you actually end up with is a rounded back and tightened and shortened chest muscles. Bad posture isn’t pretty, and in the long term it also isn’t very safe. It’s time to fix that and get yourself standing up straight again.
      The Fix: Add some rear delt work by doing bent-over reverse flys. Another consideration is to sacrifice some of that weight you’ve been lifting on your narrow-grip cable row and choose a wider grip while raising your elbows. This will recruit more of your rear delts, or the back of the shoulder, into your back-work and help correct your some of that poor posture.
    1. The Forgotten: Forearms. So, do you remember the last time you worked your forearms? Have you ever even worked them? If not, or if you’ve ever given a weak handshake, then you likely need to get on those forearms. Don’t worry—with a little consistency, great forearms and a firm grip can be in your future. Shockingly enough, my girlfriend goes crazy over my forearms. You’d be surprised what muscles the ladies drool over that you’re neglecting.
      The Fix:
      One of the first things you can do is get a grip, literally. Forego those lifting straps for awhile. Sure, they’re great for doing those heavy pulls, but leaving them at home for a while will force your forearms to work that grip and increase your strength. Another thing to add is wrist extension and flexion exercises. When you do this, remember that you want to keep the weight heavy enough to rep out in a set of around 10. That’s the hypertrophy (muscle-growth) zone. My favorite little trick I do is hold dumbbells out at 90 degrees and and rotate my wrists inward and outward.
    1. The Forgotten: Hamstrings. Are you ever worried about knee injuries? Or, maybe your knees have been “talking” to you a bit. One of the sure-fire ways to help protect your knees is to strengthen those hamstrings. Sure, you do your squats and leg extensions, but you need to add some extra work for hamstrings.
      The Fix:
      Try two of my favorite exercises—RDL’s (a.k.a. Romanian Dead Lifts) and physio ball curls. Both of these exercises require your glutes and lower and middle back to engage as you perform the work. They also require to you work your hamstrings in a somewhat unstable environment, which is a great thing for those who like to be active and want to ensure knee health. Most injuries occur when there is a muscular imbalance, an unstable environment, and an applied force—and the knees are no exception. The bonus: nicely developed hamstrings complete a great set of legs.
    1. The Forgotten: Calves. You know those little bird legs you have below the knee? Well, it’s time to stop contemplating implants or stuffing your socks. Instead, put in some good gym time to get them stronger and increase the size of your lower legs. To develop some good strength and size you’ll need to be a bit aggressive with the heavy weights during your calf workout. You don’t want to be that guy with the muscular top that doesn’t match the bottom. Awkward.
      The Fix:
      To get you started, you’ll want to at least add a couple sets of standing calf raises to your workout. The standing calf exercise will allow you to hit your triceps surae (that is, the medial and lateral heads of the gastrocnemius and the soleus, which are the two major muscles in the lower leg). This is basically the entire calf muscle group. To focus your development on the medial (or inner) head, turn your toes out slightly; to develop the lateral (or outer) head, turn your toes inward slightly. If you want to go one step further, add a seated calf raise as well. In the seated position, your gastrocnemius will relax, allowing your soleus (the muscle that lies under the gastroc) to do the majority of the work. Creating size underneath will make that gastroc pop just a bit more, and doing both exercises will give you size, strength and a great looking calf.
  1. The Forgotten: Cardio. Ok, this isn’t about a specific muscle group, but I put it on the list because I believe that most guys generally don’t do enough cardio work (if any). The only time cardio comes to mind is during a lean-out phase or in a nightmare. Truth be told, a strong cardiovascular system will help keep you healthier. It’s that simple. And, of course, it’s also a great base for any training that you do, including strength training.
    The Fix:
    It’s time to bump up that cardio output and get yourself breathing seriously heavy. You can do this in any number of ways: running, swimming, cycling, cardio weight circuits, or group exercise classes like bootcamp or crossfit. The key is to remember F.I.T.T.:

    Frequency: Ideally, you want to be doing some cardio 3-5 days a week. This is best to do after weight training so you don’t deplete your endurance and strength up front.

    Intensity: Your cardio session needs to be hard enough to get you to breathe vigorously. At some point during the workout, you should be able to hear yourself breathing.

    Time: It is estimated that it takes 15 minutes for the body to properly respond to cardio. Anything prior to that is like scratching the surface. You want to push for 30 minute sessions, even if not all at once.

    Type: To help keep your body constantly guessing and prevent it from acclimating to workload (and to keep yourself sane), you want to change up what type of cardio you are doing. In fact, you can do various types in one day. Just make sure you get it in.

What You Probably DON’T Know About Testosterone

testosteroneHormones can be tricky to master, especially when trying to elevate testosterone without having it convert into estrogen.

HOW MUCH “T” YOU GOT THERE, MAN?

Most guys don’t even know where their T-levels are at. I suggest getting a basic blood panel and checking your lab results to see where your testosterone and estrogen levels are at. Surprisingly, more men than you think have no clue they produce estrogen. In fact, they don’t realize that the higher their body fat %, the more estrogen they produce.

According to the Mayo Clinic, testosterone levels are at their highest during adolescence and early adulthood. As men get older, their T levels decline about one percent a year after age 30….ouch!

Male

Age T Level (ng/dL)

0-5 months 75-400

6 mos.-9 yrs. <7-20

10-11 yrs. <7-130

12-13 yrs. <7-800

14 yrs. <7-1,200

15-16 yrs. 100-1,200

17-18 yrs. 300-1,200

19+ yrs. 240-950

Avg. Adult Male 270-1,070 (-1% per year after 30)

 

ONE OF MAN’S WORST NIGHTMARES: MOOBS

If you are over 40 years of age, there is a good chance that more of your testosterone is converting into estrogen then you would like. This not only causes loss of energy, weight gain, fatigue and difficulty adding lean muscle to your body, but it also leads to what is called ‘estrogen dominance,’ which makes you more susceptible to a whole host of other problems, including cancer.

The obvious signs of too much estrogen, aside from those mentioned above, is added fatty tissue around the chest (man-boobs). *gasp*

WHY NATURAL IS BETTER THAN SYNTHETIC

There is a big push by drug manufacturers for men to have their testosterone checked to see if that’s what causing erectile dysfunction, loss of stamina and libido.

Unfortunately, they are more interested in prescribing synthetic testosterone drugs instead of using the old fashion, inexpensive testosterone that doesn’t have a patent on it. When you take synthetic testosterone drugs as replacements, your body will produce lesson its own, so when you stop taking the drug you feel terrible and compelled to get another prescription.

EVERYONE CONVERTS TESTOSTERONE INTO ESTROGEN

T-E-Aroma

 

Men are designed to retain most of their testosterone and only have a tenth of it be converted into estrogen. What speeds up the conversion process is the activation of an enzyme called aromatase.

BOOST YOUR TESTOSTERONE NATURALLY

We will cover the “Three Way Testosterone Plan” in our next post. Stay Tuned!

10 Healthier Beers To Chug This July 4th

Feeling guilty about knocking a few back this July 4th weekend? It might be time to stop the guilt! Moderate beer consumption has been shown to help protect against heart disease and lower the risk of hypertension. Just remember, we’re talking moderate consumption. As it turns out, all beers are not created equal, so grabbing whichever tallboy is on special this weekend doesn’t guarantee health benefits. Here, we’ve rounded up the beers most likely to bring a health punch to the party.

Popping Bottles—The Ultimate Beer List

Yuengling Light

1. Yuengling Light Lager: Looking for a full-flavor lager that’s still light on calories? Search no further. Yuengling managed to combine the health benefits of a lager with a lower carb count. At only 99 calories, this is a solid selection for a healthier classic brew.

Type: Lager
Alcohol Content: 3.8%
Calories: 99
Carbs: 9 grams

New Planet 3R Raspberry Ale

2. New Planet 3R Raspberry Ale: This newer brew skips the gluten and uses sorghum, corn, and raspberry puree malt to create a not-too-sweet, fruity brew with extra antioxidants (from the berries). Perfect for those looking to enjoy themselves while avoiding gluten. Bonus: New Planet donates a portion of sales from this beer to Colorado-based non-profits using the 3R philosophy—reduce, reuse, recycle.

Type: Ale
Alcohol Content: 5%
Calories: 160
Carbs: 17 grams

Abita Purple Haze Beer

3. Abita Purple Haze: Abita Purple Haze: Don’t enjoy the bitter taste of beer but still want to reap the heart-health benefits? Have no fear! Abita infused this brew with real raspberries to deliver a fruity aroma and a sweet taste. The berries pack an antioxidant punch and give the beer its namesake purplish hue.

Type: Lager
Alcohol Content: 4.2%
Calories: 145
Carbs: 11 grams

Left Hand Good Juju

4. Left Hand Good Juju: Complete with a hint of fresh ginger (one of our favorite superfoods!), this unique ale combines unique herbs and spices to bring out a full flavor. This lighter-bodied brew is perfect for those that want full flavor without sacrificing their waistline.

Type: Ale
Alcohol Content: 4.5%
Calories: 131
Carbs: 12.1 grams

Guinness Draught

5. Guinness Draught: This dark Irish blend—famous for quenching thirsts on St. Patty’s day—is a classic beverage with a creamy, decadent flavor and a sneakily healthy twist! Packed with phenols, this super-dark staple brings the taste and feel of a stout with fewer carbohydrates and calories.

Type: Stout
Alcohol Content: 4%
Calories: 126
Carbs: 10 grams

Sam Adams Light Lager

6. Sam Adam’s Light Lager: Creating a light beer that still stands up to the Sam Adam’s taste was no easy task. Brewers stuck to the basics and invented a lighter calorie beer that didn’t sacrifice flavor, making this beer perfect for those looking to stay health-conscious without skimping on taste.

Type: Lager
Alcohol Content: 4%
Calories: 119
Carbs: 9.7 grams

New Belgium Blue Paddle

7. New Belgium Blue Paddle: This brew packs the hops without expanding the waistline, since it’s relatively light in calories. Complete with a fruity, herbal aroma and a slightly bitter finish, this beer delivers a healthy wallop! Not to mention, it has some pretty awesome packaging.

Type: Pilsner (Lager)
Alcohol Content: 4.8%
Calories: 145
Carbs: 14 grams

Full Sail Session Lager

8. Full Sail Session Lager: This full-bodied, old-school brew is a far cry from bland mass-produced lagers. With a positively measly calorie count and plenty of flavor, this classic beer is perfect for any summer gathering or meal. Plus, it comes in adorable “stubby” bottles with sweet retro labels. What’s not to love?

Type: Lager
Alcohol Content: 5.1%
Calories: 135
Carbs: 10 grams

Butte Creek Organic IPA

9. Butte Creek Organic India Pale Ale: Looking for an organic pale alethat is made free of potentially hazardous pesticides and chemical fertilizers but still tastes great? Look no further! Butte Creek has managed just that with this Indian pale ale.

Type: India Pale Ale
Alcohol Content: 6.4%
Calories: 201 (22 oz.)
Carbs: 1.9 grams

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

10. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale: Combining a heap of hops with slight hints of orange blossom is no small task. Sierra Nevada pulls it off with this award-winning brew.

Type: Pale Ale
Alcohol Content: 5.6%
Calories: 175
Carbs: 14.1 grams

*Note: All nutrition facts are based on a 12-ounce serving unless otherwise noted.

The Science Of Muscle Performance