All posts by Tristan

6 Super Fun Ways to Stay In Shape

Staying in shape usually requires a lot of hard work and discipline. However, it can be easier if you enjoy doing it. So, here are six ways to stay fit and have a lot of fun in the process.


This is a great activity for the summer, but not exclusively related to summer months. Swimming in lakes, rivers or the sea is an enjoyable activity for most, but the fun doesn’t have to end when it gets cold. Visit your local swimming pool and get a season pass to just keep swimming whenever you feel like it. Swimming is beneficial for the proper functioning of your cardiovascular system, it tones your muscles and, at the same time, it keeps the pressure off your joints and bones. This is particularly valuable benefit for people suffering from arthritis or similar conditions, since it’s especially hard for them to stay active and fit by doing other activities which require too much leg or arm work.


To most of us, there’s nothing like the fresh air on our face while cycling, so this activity definitely falls under the category of fun. Bikes don’t have to be too expensive, and once you buy one, they don’t require too much maintenance, so they are a great investment. The wonderful thing about it is that you get to choose the scenery you prefer and just cycle wherever you want. Cycling is easy on the joints while it helps you build strength, and not to mention muscles. It does wonders for your heart and the cardiovascular system, while it helps you burn calories and get rid of those extra pounds. And there are special raincoats for bikers, so you don’t have to let rain or wind stop you from doing what you love and being in a good shape.


This is an action sport, but it can also be a wonderful recreational activity. It’s an outdoor activity and breathing in the fresh air is always good for you. Plus, it makes it faster and more fun to get from one place to another. It’s easy to get a quality skateboard and appropriate protective equipment, so you’ll be set to go in no time. Skateboarding provides ankle flexibility, improves your balance and coordination, while burning calories. It tones your leg and stomach muscles and you use your arms for balancing, all at the same time.


This is an amazing activity for all those who love winter and snow. Skis can even be rented, so you don’t have to buy your own. If you don’t know how to ski, you can always learn by getting instructions. Skiing will make your bones and joints stronger, improve the state of your cardiovascular system and strengthen your lower body muscles. Besides that, it will alleviate stress and you will sleep better afterwards. Plus, it burns calories, which makes it even more useful.

Rock climbing

Not only is rock climbing beneficial to your body, but also to your mind. This is another great outdoor activity for those who are adventurous and enjoy nature. However, if this is not the case, there are gyms with indoor artificial rocks and climbing walls. Rock climbing will boost strength in your arms, legs, back and neck, while improving your breathing and heart rate. You have to activate most of your muscle groups and your whole body in order to climb walls or rocks, so this activity will definitely get you in shape and keep you that way. Also, it clears your mind, gives you more confidence and it relieves the stress. So, choose an interesting place and get going!

Martial arts

This used to mean mostly karate, judo or taekwondo, but it’s not the case anymore. Today, you can take up Krav Maga or Mixed Martial Arts instead. Martial arts will increase your strength, mobility and flexibility. They will also improve your concentration and lower your blood pressure, while helping you stay healthy and in shape. You can even choose to practice indoors or outdoors, whichever you like better.

It’s not that hard to be fit when you’re having fun. So, try to have a good time while keeping in shape and doing exercise. After all, that’s the point of it all.


Luke is a fitness and health blogger at and and a great fan of the gym and a healthy diet. He follows the trends in fitness, gym and healthy life and loves to share his knowledge through useful and informative articles.

5 Ways to Upgrade Your Gym Workout

Getting used to visiting the gym on a daily basis is a fairly difficult task to accomplish as is, however, getting stuck in a single exercise routine is easy. You’re probably thinking that any workout is better than no workout, right? Have in mind that getting stuck in an exercise routine is one of the main reasons why people stop making improvements and start losing motivation. Fortunately, there’s a number of ways you can elevate your workout routine and the following five are the easiest one to incorporate into your every life.

  1. Drink the right protein

You probably already know that drinking a protein shake after a workout helps muscles recover and promotes a healthy weight gain. What you might not know is that different types of protein produce different results. Whey protein’s concentrate and isolate forms are well-known for their excellent muscle-building properties, however, there appears to be an even better and far more effective form of whey called hydrolysate. The Journal of Applied Physiology featured a study in 2009 that compared the effectiveness of whey hydrolysate with micellar casein and soy protein. Whey hydrolysate, which is a broken-down form of the popular whey isolate, is not only absorbed faster, but also stimulates the synthesis of muscles to a far greater degree than casein and soy.

2. Stretch between sets

Stretching is a great way to maintain and improve flexibility, but unfortunately, a lot of lifters simply don’t give stretching nearly as enough attention as they should. Stretching decreases the chance of sustaining an injury during a workout and helps us increase our range of motion and prevent becoming bound by our muscles. Make sure to incorporate some basic stretching exercises in between sets. This will help you increase your lifting performance and allow you to do it more safely. For example, you can stretch your hip flexors while resting between deadlifting sets.

3. Find a gym partner

Finding a good gym partner is important for two reasons. First, a partner can motivate and push you to work out even when you don’t feel like it and can be a real life-changer when it comes to working out regularly. Secondly, every exercise you do needs to be done in a certain manner in order for it to be effective. Some exercises might be difficult to do, especially if you’ve never done them before. Your gym partner can act as your “spotter” and make sure that you’re doing your exercises safely and accurately.

4. Keep track of your progress

Trying to remember every exercise, every repetition and weight progression for each exercise is next to impossible. What you should do instead is make a detailed record of your exercise and lifting history and give yourself a visual representation of your progress. You can go old-school and use a pen and paper or you can simply download one of the countless fitness- and workout-tracking apps available in the store. Some apps even send motivational messages to get you pumped up before a workout.

5. Wear the right workout gear

Enclothed cognition is a term used to describe a type of mental shift one experiences when wearing a certain type of clothes. Clothing can have a profound impact on attitude and behavior and changing into a specific type of clothes allows people to “get into character” the same way an actor would get into character by putting on a specific costume. The very act of changing into your gym clothes or putting on a quality pair of bodybuilding shoes is enough to put you into the necessary mindset and mentally prepare you for the task at hand.

Simply going to the gym is not enough. You need to take every possible step you can towards improving your workout regime and keeping it interesting over time. No matter what type of exercise you’re doing, it’s important to have someone who will not only keep you company but also ensure you’re working out properly. Always wear the appropriate gear, stretch between sets and use whey protein after workouts to help your muscles regenerate more quickly.


Luke is a fitness and health blogger at and and a great fan of the gym and a healthy diet. He follows the trends in fitness, gym and healthy life and loves to share his knowledge through useful and informative articles.

How to Recover Your Muscles After a Hard Workout

The moment you stop working out, the opportunity for your muscles to grow begins. During your gym sessions, your muscles suffer micro tears, and your body starts repairing them immediately after. However, your body needs your help, so you should follow the right recovery protocol.

By exercising beyond your endurance levels and by failing to include proper nutrition after the workout session, you can experience muscle fatigue. It leaves you with aching muscles, unable to do anything but crash in your bed. To maximize your recovery and get the most out of each workout, you should prioritize post-workout recovery. Here is what you can do to stay on top of your gym game.

1. Always stretch

It seems that stretching is still an underrated element in the muscle growth process. One can hardly reach the desired muscle gain without muscle flexibility and pliability. For example, if your ankles are too tight, you can’t go deep enough in a squat. Find the time to stretch and cool down, for at least about 20 minutes after each workout. It’s one of the best ways to relieve muscular tension and downplay the up-and-coming soreness.

2. Foam rolling

Foam rolling can do far more than basic stretching in coping with the post-workout soreness. The rolling of the tissue and compression stimulate the healing processes and blood circulation to help improve your muscle pliability. Thanks to its immediate impact it can have on one’s overall health and performance, foam rolling has been gaining in popularity among elite athletes. Look at these foam roller moves and start active recovering from your hard workouts.

3. Post-workout protein

By drinking a post-workout protein shake, you’ll feed your muscles with the much-needed nutrients that will boost your muscle growth. After each workout, it is best to consume about 20-50g of protein, depending on your body weight. Whey protein is among the most popular protein supplement choices because it has a fast absorption rate and it’s easy to mix. By combining it with a post-workout drink rich in carbohydrates, you’ll provide your body with fast-acting carbs that bump up insulin levels, replenish glycogen levels, restore energy, and help the restoration of muscle proteins.

4. Quality sleep

Getting enough sleep is probably one of the most important prerequisites for recovering after an exhausting workout, but people still fail to have at least 7 hours of sleep each night. Daily obligations pile up and work can’t wait. Besides impairing your physical health, sacrificing sleep hours can make you mentally weaker as well, which affects your motivation during workout sessions. The minimum amount of sleep time is 7 hours, so try and find a way to organize your daily schedule in such a way that it allows you to go to bed earlier.

5. Cannabis

In the distance-running community, combining sport and cannabis has become an underground habit. Many runners are promoting the link between cannabis and healthy living, with many runners admitting to running under the influence of marijuana. Besides runners, other athletes are experimenting with weed as well. Bodybuilders use it to sleep better and prevent muscle soreness, to forget previous traumatic experiences (injuries or falls), to aid pain relief, and reduce muscle spasms. When it comes to medical use of marijuana, the matter is still controversial to a certain extent. Many countries have decriminalized the use of marijuana and started destigmatizing the plant’s bad reputation. So, if you find yourself in a U.S. state where it’s legal, there are respectable medical marijuana dispensaries that you can visit to get your marijuana strains for post-workout recovery. As for the dosage, it depends whether you want to use extract cannabis oil, smoke it, or use other extractions.

Editors note: If you’re looking for a non-psychoactive, yet beneficial cannabis, try cannabidiol (CBD). It is derived from hemp plants that are high in CBD and low in THC, but still provide amazing benefits. The team at Ripped Science recommends CBDPure.

6. Epsom salt bath

Taking a hot Epsom salt bath is a great way to loosen your muscles after a tough workout. The magnesium from Epsom salt gets absorbed through the skin, improving your muscle function and reducing soreness. Blood flow is also speeded up due to heat of water, helping you sleep soundly. Pour ¾ of a cup of Epsom salt in a tub, swirl it to make sure it’s dissolved properly, and soak yourself in.

In the end, a post-workout recovery doesn’t mean you should lie around all day and do nothing. To make your recovery an active one, you can go for a walk, throw a Frisbee in the park, go for a bike ride, or do some light mobility exercises. This will stimulate your blood flow, improve circulation to the muscles, and relieve muscle soreness. So, pay close attention to your post-recovery to maximize your workout efforts and muscle growth potential.


Luke is a fitness and health blogger at and and a great fan of the gym and a healthy diet. He follows the trends in fitness, gym and healthy life and loves to share his knowledge through useful and informative articles.

A Low-Carb Diet for Beginners

The low-carbohydrate dietary program basically means restricting carbohydrate consumption. The person who dares to embark on this diet is meant to replace easily digestible carbohydrates (which include sugar, bread, beer, candy and sodas, etc.) with a higher percentage of protein and fats (for example, meats, eggs, seeds, cheese, most fruits and vegetables, etc.).

The allowed amount of carbohydrate intake varies from one diet program to another, but the basic idea remains the same. Sometimes, they go far into no-carb territory that they can be called “ketogenic” diets. These sorts of diets restrict carbohydrate intake to such an extent that they can cause ketosis. This is a metabolic state in which your body has to start relying on ketone bodies in your blood. This is a stark contrast to a state of glycolysis in which, as the root of the word suggests, the glucose in your blood provides most of the energy.

In order to understand better how to put these facts into practice as fast as you can, here’s a brief overview of a low-carb diet for beginners.

How did we get here?

Are you old enough to remember the “fat” craze? For decades, we have been misinformed that fat is detrimental to our metabolism and overall health. This movement was filled with horror stories about cardiovascular diseases and cancer rates.

However, as it turns out, this had inadvertently led to another problem. Low-fat diet products were flooding the market. These supposedly healthy meals and snacks were actually filled with sugar which led to the beginning of obesity epidemic that has lasting consequences to this day.

What’s the twist?

As it turns out, the latest medical studies have reliably shown we have no reason to fear natural fats. In fact, fat is an important factor in a low-carb diet, and if you are one of those people that don’t trust contemporary science, try the diet out and you’ll have empirical evidence on your own body. When you minimize the intake of starches and sugar, you increase the intake of other foods, among others, foods brimming with natural fats, which you can eat to your heart’s content and still lose weight.

It’s a metabolic process that’s actually really easy to understand. When you avoid carbohydrates like sugar and starch, your blood sugar will stabilize at a particular level. This level is dictated by a fat-storing hormone insulin drop. As a consequence of this, fat burning increases and makes you feel less hungry. This naturally leads to weight loss, which basically means there are two major benefits of a low-carb diet – a lean body and blood sugar control.

What to eat, what to avoid?

In order to get there, you’ll have to avoid sugar-filled snacks, bread, pasta, rice, beans and potatoes, beer, bananas, rice (cooked), chocolate bars, candy, and sodas.

The foods you should consume include meats like chicken, fish and turkey, as well as eggs, vegetables that grow above the ground, natural fats like butter, olive oil, cheese. If you can afford it, avocado is really an excellent source of nutrients you need on a low-carb diet and it is considered by many to be a quintessential super-food.

Also, it’s important to note that you can eat as much fiber as you want and drink a lot of water and tea. Don’t worry, you don’t have to give up on coffee, it’s actually helpful, and if you need to get decadent every once in a while, red wine is totally in the green zone. With all the aforementioned foods out of the loop, you just need to eat when you’re hungry until you are satisfied. It’s as simple as that. The times of counting calories are gone.

However, we all get that chocolate-bar craving from time to time. It’s downright impossible to resist the urge and the image of a delicious chocolate bar can be stuck in the back of your mind for several days. To satisfy this need, you can go with a low-calorie Optifast power bar meal replacement. Most of these nibbles are based on clinically-proven dietary programs that are supposed to manage obesity and they can come in all shapes and sizes – from berry crunch power bars to chocolate mousse or chicken soup.

The benefits of this diet are manifold. You’ll lose weight, calm your stomach, reduce sugar cravings and even reverse type 2 diabetes. It can even normalize your blood pressure, lead to less acne and help lessen the impact of chronic migraines. All these benefits can contribute to a significantly improved lifestyle and add to your longevity.


Luke is a fitness and health blogger at and and a great fan of the gym and a healthy diet. He follows the trends in fitness, gym and healthy life and loves to share his knowledge through useful and informative articles.

6 Tips to Protect Your Joints

When you’re working out, you should pay extra attention to your joints, especially weight-bearing joints such as knees and ankles, because they absorb most of the impact during strenuous bodybuilding training. Joint injuries are frequent in sports, and they ultimately lead to damage and disease, one of which is rheumatoid arthritis. Unlike back or hip problems that are characteristics of old age, joint problems plague people regardless of how old they are. Fortunately, there are some tips and tricks that can help you stay injury free, and keep your joints healthy when you’re training.

Warm up and stretch

Joints connect two bones, and their surrounding smooth tissue, cartilage, as well as a lubricant, synovial, prevent friction between two bones. Warm-up exercises and stretching are essential for prevention of all kinds of injuries, including joint strains, dislocations, or sprains. Many people think that warming up is the same thing as stretching, which is a common misconception. These two procedures are complementary, and both are highly beneficial for improving joint flexibility and increasing mobility. A warm-up should start with joint rotations that will stimulate the production of synovial fluid. After warm-up exercises, comes stretching that will prevent joint stiffness, and ultimately injuries.

Watch your nutrition

Inflammations and excess fat are the greatest enemies of healthy joints. This means that you should eliminate sugar, processed foods, or carbonated drinks, from your diet as they stimulate inflammatory responses. Make sure to include foods rich in antioxidants, such as dark, leafy green vegetables, berries, or nuts as they can successfully fight inflammations. Orange vegetables are loaded with vitamin A and beta-carotene, essential for preventing rheumatoid arthritis and similar inflammation-related conditions. Fish like salmon, mackerel, or sardines are high in omega-3 fatty acids, important for suppressing the production of enzymes that lead to cartilage erosion.

Do yoga or Pilates

Bodybuilding lifting and yoga are, practically, match made in heaven. A demanding and strenuous exercise regimen requires some kind of antidote, that can help the body to completely relax and recuperate. Although many weight lifters aren’t actually into Pilates, this low-impact training can actually help them improve their balance, as well as joint mobility and flexibility. Yoga is composed of various stretching exercises that can do wonders for sore and stiff joints, and improve the elasticity of the whole body.

Take supplements

Supplementation is one of the essential elements of any effective exercising regimen. Apart from regular supplements aiding muscle growth, there are those used for keeping your joints healthy. Hyaluronic acid is naturally produced in the human body and it’s a major ingredient of the synovial fluid and cartilage, and its role is to protect your joints from injuries and make them more elastic. There are supplements that increase and retain hyaluronic acid in your joints, and they’re used to prevent injuries and disorders, as well as to treat them. A study has found that this supplement can alleviate symptoms of knee osteoarthritis. People who train a lot should make sure to take high-purity glucosamine in order to replenish the stores of this chemical compound, whose responsibility is to reduce osteoarthritic pain and swelling, increase joint mobility, and help repair the cartilage. Its production is reduced due to a natural aging process and sustained traumas, and this ultimately results in cartilage destruction, so it’s important to boost it with a high-quality supplement.  

Reduce stress

Believe it or not, but stress also contributes to joint issues and aggravate them. Namely, when you’re stressed, levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, are soaring and wreaking havoc on your immune system. Apart from setting the fertile ground for various inflammations, cortisol has a negative impact on the production of collagen, a protein that makes connective tissues, by inhibiting its production and breaking it down. When you’re stressed focus on your breathing pattern and try to breathe deeply for 10 minutes.  Yoga is also beneficial for controlling cortisol levels, as this ancient practice incorporates meditation and diaphragmatic breathing.

Choose good shoes

As an athlete, you’re aware how important shoes are for your performance. When it comes to such high-impact activities such as bodybuilding, your joints are exposed to various loads that they have to absorb, meaning that they’re under a great deal of strain. That’s why it’s important that your shoes are comfortable, and that they provide support and stability. Unlike running shoes that should provide cushioning in order to absorb impact, shoes for strength training should have a thin sole in order to improve your balance.

Joints are extremely prone to injury, so it’s of vital importance to be careful and follow these tips in order to keep them healthy. Remember that joint injury can damage your cartilage beyond repair and ultimately result in various diseases, such as osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis.

Luke is a fitness and health blogger at and and a great fan of the gym and a healthy diet. He follows the trends in fitness, gym and healthy life and loves to share his knowledge through useful and informative articles.

What Proteins Do For The Body?

Proteins are large molecules, composed of long strings of amino acids that perform various roles in the body. They make up approximately 20% of the total body mass, and they can be found in hair, bones, skin, muscles, nails, and connective tissues. Many crucial processes in the human body depend on proteins, and they’re instrumental in building new cells and maintaining existing tissues. In other words, they help in cell renewal and tissue repair. The human body wouldn’t be able to perform some of the most basic functions without proteins, so it’s essential to take them on a daily basis. Here’s an overview of what proteins do for the body and their benefits.

They boost the immunity

One of the most important roles of proteins is to protect the human body from various viruses and bacteria. Namely, when the immune system identifies these foreign bodies, it reacts by sending antibodies, which are basically a type of protein. Antibodies, also known as immunoglobulins, find and destroy the virus or bacterium, and prevent their multiplication. They’re the body’s first line of defense against invading pathogens, which is why it’s crucial to strengthen the immune system. This can be done by eating high-protein foods which will help the body initiate new protein synthesis, the process necessary for the functioning of the immune system.  

They build muscle

So-called structural proteins are integral parts of every cell in the human body. As their name suggests, they provide cells with internal architectural support. Apart from the cellular level, the importance of structural proteins is to support the human body on the whole. Without them, it would be impossible to stand or move. Collagen is an example of a structural protein and it ensures the elasticity and regeneration of the skin, joints, bones, and cartilage.

It stands to reason that eating protein is fundamental for muscle growth, and numerous studies show that people whose diet is rich in high-quality proteins have more lean muscle mass. Hitting the gym is a must if you want to increase your strength, but only when it’s paired with an adequate, protein-rich diet. For achieving the best results, make sure that the various kinds of proteins are on your plate, such as:

  • Eggs. Start your day with a delicious omelet. However, you should be aware that eggs can lead to increased cholesterol levels, so the American Heart Association recommends no more than 4 eggs a week.  
  • Fish and seafood. These excellent sources of protein are also low in fat. Besides that, salmon, herring, tuna, and sardines are packed with omega-3 fatty acids, which are beneficial for the heart.
  • Pork. This meat is rich in leucine, a branched-chain amino acid, which helps muscle recovery after a workout.
  • Dairy. Yogurt, cottage cheese, Swiss cheese, or chocolate and milk are recommended not only because they’re full of proteins, but also because they contain high levels of calcium, necessary for healthy bones.
  • Soy. Dairy intolerant people can opt for this protein source, which is also good for preventing heart disease.
  • Mixed nuts. These healthy snacks are great for the overall health as they contain unsaturated fats. Still, sometimes they can be high in sodium, so opt for unsalted versions.  
  • Chicken and turkey breast. These lean meats are extremely popular with bodybuilders as they have the highest amount of protein among poultry. Just remove the skin and brine it before cooking.  
  • Protein drinks are the best way to replenish energy after a strenuous workout, and they’re especially effective for maintaining and gaining muscle.


The help you lose weight

There are several ways in which protein helps you lose weight and maintain your muscle mass.

  • The fact that proteins have a high thermic effect is a game-changer for any successful diet. The body burns calories during the process of digestion, and proteins burn twice as many calories as carbs. In plain English, it’s good for you to eat protein-rich foods if you want to lose weight. This so called thermic effect is why high-protein diets are extremely effective for losing belly fat.
  • Another reason why proteins should be included in a weight-loss diet is that they’re filling, so you can eat less food and calories, and still not be hungry. Of course, this can work only when it’s accompanied by a regular fitness regimen.      
  • In order for a diet to be effective, calorie intake must be reduced so that the body can start burning the fat that has already been stored. However, in many cases, such diets lead to losing muscle mass, too. Luckily, this problem can be easily solved by introducing sufficient amounts of protein to the diet. How much protein is enough? According to relevant sources, adults should take at least 0.8 grams of protein for every kilogram of their body weight a day, while for bodybuilders, the recommended intake is 1.2-1.7 grams.  

They help prevent cancer

Although there’s no definitive cure for cancer, there are some measures that can be taken in order to prevent this vile disease. Some research studies have found that whey proteins can suppress the development of certain types of cancer, such as colon and prostate. They increase immune levels and at the same time kill cancer cells. 180,000 women in the US fall victim to breast cancer each year, so a study has been conducted on rats to test the effects of whey protein. The findings say that 100% of rats that were put on a casein diet developed mammary tumors, while only 50% of the whey-fed rats were affected by this disease. Similar results were obtained for soy protein, as the incidence of mammary tumors was reduced by 25% in rats that were put on diets containing soy protein isolate.      

They help prevent osteoporosis

There’s a misconception that a diet high in protein isn’t good for bone health. According to this theory, during the process of digesting animal protein, acids are released into the bloodstream, and in order to neutralize them, the body uses calcium, some of which comes from the bones. Still, these findings have been disputed by recent research, which shows exactly the opposite, as it says that people who eat more protein have better bone density, thus being less likely to develop osteoporosis. A lower incidence of hip fractures has been observed in women whose diet is high in protein. However, eating fruits and vegetables rich in antioxidants is recommended in order to additionally reduce the impact of acids on bone density.

They improve brain functions

Certain nutrients, such as vitamin B12, carnosine, creatine, and vitamin D, which are essential for the brain, can be found in animal protein, and that’s why it’s irreplaceable for the normal functioning of the nervous system. Neurotransmitters, which are used to carry messages between neurons, are composed of amino acids, and since proteins, too, are composed of amino acids, they’re crucial for the health of these biochemical messengers in the brain. This means that a protein-rich diet can improve memory and cognitive health. In addition to that, serotonin, a mood- stabilizing neurotransmitter, and dopamine, which is responsible for controlling emotions and reward-driven behavior, can’t be produced without good proteins. These two chemicals are, basically, happiness hormones, and that’s why proteins are mood-boosting foods that can help fight depression.

Proteins play several essential roles in the body, and they’re the most important nutrients for building strength and size. Their proper intake also lowers the risk of developing certain serious diseases, including cancer, osteoporosis, and depression.   


Luke is a guest blogger here on and a fitness and health blogger at and a great fan of the gym and a healthy diet. He follows the trends in fitness, gym and healthy life and loves to share his knowledge through useful and informative articles.

Bodybuilding Contest Prep: 3 Biggest Mistakes To Avoid

Contest Prep Mistake #1 – Time

You must give yourself enough of the above. Most people underestimate how long it takes to get in competition/photoshoot shape.

As a general rule, if you don’t have abs at the start of the diet, plan for 16-20 weeks. Otherwise you’ll have to crash diet, which will cause muscle loss and you’ll end up looking smooth and flat (in addition to becoming a public menace).

So, at first you must decide how many pounds you need to lose in order to get to the bodyfat level that you desire. From there on, plan your diet with a reasonable caloric deficit so that you will drop about 1-2 lbs of fat a week (it won’t be all fat, but that’s another article).

Keep training as you did before. I still go as heavy as I can, in order to keep as much muscle as possible. Higher reps with lower weights do not burn more fat, but will put you at risk for muscle loss. As for cardio, start adding it gradually as you go along.

It is also preferable to be in shape 2-3 weeks before the event. This will allow you to properly taper off from training. Someone with rested muscles will simply look fuller and better than the guy who was doing two hours of cardio until a day ago. At same time, being in shape early will give you a chance to post as many Facebook updates as your friends can handle.

Contest Prep Mistake #2 – Over-Reliance on Supplements, Especially Fat Burners

Here is how the typical contest prep starts: calories are being cut, cardio added or increased and a fat burner is being thrown in the mix with perhaps an estrogen blocker. Low and behold, the athlete loses weight, at least for a while.

The problem with that is: You don’t know what works.
Where do you go from here if you reach a plateau?

My approach is to keep some arrows in the quiver. At first you cut your calories by 500 a day. Your diet is responsible for 80+% of what you will look like, so it pays off to be meticulous in that department.

After two to three weeks of reduced calories, I start adding cardio for about 2×30 minutes per week. If you keep getting leaner while keeping your strength, stick with that approach. If not, I suggest cutting the calories further by 200/daily and adding a third cardio session. If your strength drops more than 15%, bump your calories (especially carbohydrates) by 40% for two to three days in order to upregulate the metabolism.

Finally, for the last 6 weeks you can use a fat burner to eliminate stubborn fat deposits. This will also help provide that extra boost of energy so you can make it through your workouts. I recommend to lay off the fat burner the last two or three days before your event since most of these substances can interfere with the carb load.

Contest Prep Mistake #3 – Last Week Changes

Here is where most people get confused and end up damaging themselves greatly by following some obscure last-minute sodium/carbohydrate/water depletion/loading scheme. The result is that they look worse than before.

Now to be clear –  water, salt and carbs will have an effect on your appearance, but a proper loading scheme will only make a good physique look great. It will not turn a mediocre body into contest shape in 7 days. In short, athletes who win shows look great the week before already. With that being said, let’s cover the big three briefly.

Carbohydrates: most athletes consume very few carbs the week before a show in order to deplete, and start carb loading on Thursday/Friday to store more glycogen in the muscles. The idea is to take advantage of the so-called “super-compensation” effect, where a carb depleted muscle sucks up carbs like a sponge thus creating a fuller and drier appearance. There is nothing wrong with that approach but there are many shades of grey.

I personally only do a mild depletion from Sunday to Wednesday before the show, where my carbs drop about 25-30%. Then I do a carb load Thursday through Friday and consume about 120% of my regular carb intake. Other people go zero carb for the whole week and only do a heavy load on Friday. For me, that approach doesn’t provide enough time to fill out, but you have to experiment for yourselves to see what works. Simply take notes as to how many carb days and what kind of carbs it takes to make you look awesome.

Here is the carb-load approach I used for my last show:

Sunday to Wednesday – I ate 150 grams of carbs as well as chicken and white fish for 300 grams of protein, fat was kept at a minimum.
Thursday and Friday – 3 meals of 4 oz chicken and 8 oz white potatoes, 2 meals steak and 1 1/2 cup of rice.
Saturday – Was pretty much the same, but I added salt.

Water: That is probably one of the most misunderstood subjects there is. Very often, water is being blamed for what really is fat. “Oh I am just holding some water.”  Think again.

Most people shouldn’t even try to manipulate their water intake. If your training/diet got you in great shape the week before, why change it now? If you feel you should use any kind of diuretic, legal or not, keep in mind that your muscles are mostly made from water and dehydration will leave you flat. Therefore, it is critical not to cut water out too early.

So what about the opposite: the dreaded spill over? Don’t despair, if you feel you have spilled it can be fixed by doing a light whole body pump workout. This will make you sweat and force the body to transport the water from under the skin into the muscle cells. Most people actually don’t spill, they were simply not lean enough in the first place.

If you must know, I did cut my water late Friday afternoon and only sipped through pre-judging. Use what works for you. I have seen people jugging down a gallon backstage and still winning the show. Everybody is different.

Salt: salt, like water, is very much misunderstood. A sodium de-loading and loading protocol will only make a very good physique even drier and crisper. But, if you are not vascular the days before a show, it’s not the salt that is holding you back. Again, you are not lean enough.

Sodium is needed to ensure that the muscle cells can contract and relax. All this is done via low electrical stimulus from the nerves. If sodium levels are inadequate for neuronal function, then a muscle cell will fail to function properly. This is why long periods of cutting sodium out don’t make any sense.

Without sodium, you cant get a pump and your body will appear flat. Cutting sodium out on Friday and re-introducing it on Saturday before pre-judging should do the trick.

Some athletes don’t bother without it at all and still look great. Again, it is all about observing and paying attention to detail.

These are the three biggest pitfalls when it comes to achieving peak condition. With your newly gained knowledge you should be able to get yourself into top shape.

4 Bodybuilding Supplement Scams to Avoid

The world of bodybuilding has its fair share of supplement companies marketing their products with hyped up claims. Some of these supplements are go-to products that many bodybuilders “think” they need, when in reality, they’re really just wasting their hard-earned cash.

We’ve compiled a short list of the Top 4 Supplement Scams out there that have grown popular. You’ve probably bought one or more of these already! Save your money and use it on supplements that actually provide you with benefits.

ONE: “Advanced” Forms of Creatine

One of the most widely researched muscle compounds in existence is creatine. It’s been used by bodybuilders and athletes since the mid 1990’s and is most commonly sold in the form of creatine monohydrate.

Over the last decade, we have seen companies out there release new “breakthrough” forms of creatine that supposedly is more effective than the original monohydrate form. These “new” forms include: creatine ethyl ester, creatine hydrochloride, buffered creatine, creatine nitrate and creatine malate.

Don’t let the marketing hype fool you – not one study has ever been performed that has shown any of these “advanced” forms deliver any benefits above and beyond the monohydrate form. In fact, several studies show that certain forms, one being ethyl ester, are actually inferior.

These supplement companies will jack up their price range for their “new and improved” creatine product that delivers equal or even worse results than the original.

Save your money and stick with 3-5 grams per day of high quality, German-grade micronized creatine monohydrate.

TWO: Weight Gainers

First off, there’s nothing wrong with taking a weight gainer in controlled amounts, just keep in mind that all they really are is a basic mix of whey protein and simple sugar. Yes, that’s it!

A far better approach would be to add your own blend of carbohydrates and healthy fats to whey protein powder. You can add oatmeal, fruit, natural nut butters and healthy oils (like flaxseed or extra virgin olive oil) are all great options.

This will give you the high calorie density that you’re after while still giving your body a great dose of minerals, vitamins, phytonutrients and fiber, rather than a bunch of nutritionally void sugar.

THREE: L-Arginine (“Nitric Oxide Boosters”)

The idea behind NO2 products is to enhance oxygen delivery and blood flow to your muscles in order to increase nutrient uptake and give you a permanent pump and lasts throughout the day.

Usually, these NO2 Products are based off of different forms of the amino acid l-arginine, with l-arginine alpha-ketoglutarate being the most widely used.

This is the perfect scam for dishonest supplement companies out there since l-arginine is a dirt cheap ingredient that can be easily added to pre-workout formulas and other products to hype up labels and keep production costs to a minimum.

The problem for you as the consumer is that there is absolutely zero research showing a positive relationship between l-arginine and an increase in nitric oxide or muscular performance. That is correct, ZERO.

If you’re looking for a truly effective way to enhance your workout strength, energy and focus, one suggestion is to use a natural human growth hormone (HGH) spray like Sytropin. It’s safe and legal!

FOUR: L-Glutamine

I know you’ve heard about glutamine. It’s been a staple part of bodybuilding supplement plans for decades. Even though many bodybuilders swear by it, the concrete research on glutamine is extensive and shows minimal results.

First off, a very large portion of orally consumed glutamine never will make it to your muscles at all and is instead used as energy by the intestines. Percentages vary, but the average seems to be around 65%.

Second, around 10% of your total protein intake is already made up of l-glutamine. That means if you’re consuming 200 grams of protein per day, you’re already taking in 20 grams of l-glutamine right there. Don’t think that consuming more is better. It’s not.

Third, pretty much all of the standard claims about l-glutamine’s effects on bodybuilders have been debunked over many different studies.

Save your cash – you don’t need to add l-glutamine to your supplement list.


Now that you’ve seen our list, make wiser choices when it comes to your supplement routine and don’t be made a fool by companies that don’t have your best bodybuilding goals in mind.

Top 10 Supplements For Bodybuilders (2016)

Ask any bodybuilder out there what supplements they are currently cycling through and you’re bound to get a different answer. What works for Joe doesn’t work for Harry. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of supplements on the market targeting the bodybuilding and weight lifting circuit. It’s easy to get lost as you try to figure out what’s legit vs. just a bunch of hype.

If you choose wisely, certain bodybuilding supplements will easily be worth more than their cost by helping you achieve hardcore results. A bodybuilder’s biggest mistake is to ignore the nutritional supplement aspect of the sport.

Here at Ripped Science, we pulled a team together and spent months researching hundreds of supplements and came down to this ultimate Top 10 list.

Are you ready for it? The countdown begins…


pure inventions

WHICH TO BUY: If you’re looking for the best green tea extract, liquid is better than capsules. Our top pick for you is nothing other than Pure Inventions Green Tea Antioxidant Extract.

WHY USE IT: Simply stated, green tea is your tool to shred fat. Green tea elevates norepinephrine levels which prolongs thermogenesis. Translation? You will be turned into a fat-burning machine.



WHICH TO BUY: We zeroed in on a product called Solaray Mega Multi Mineral which contains several times the amount of amino acid content than ordinary products. This product is also “reacted” with whole rice concentrate opposed to soy or yeast.

WHY USE IT: If you’re training hard, which you should be, then consuming a multi-mineral supplement is a good idea to reduce the effects of excessive ROS and inflammation produced from the intense training. You don’t want to risk being deficient in anything, do you?


raw fiber

WHICH TO BUY: We’re big fans of Garden of Life products and they just so happen to have a product called Raw Fiber – Beyond Organic Fiber. It contains 15 Raw Organic Superfoods and is sure to keep you in tip-top shape…especially in the bathroom.

WHY USE IT: With all the caveman portions of protein you’re eating, it’s important to get in some good fiber to help you get rid of toxins and also to keep your digestion in line.



WHICH TO BUY: Our research pointed us in the right direction when we discovered Equalize by ACN. This product uses ground-breaking ingredients to enhance testosterone and stop testosterone from converting into estrogen. Two other products we recommend are AntlerX IGF-1 and Alphatropin for the ultimate stack.

WHY USE IT: I don’t know one bodybuilder that wants an above normal amount of estrogen. Yes, believe it or not, men do produce estrogen and it can wreak havoc on your gains. An estrogen blocker is imperative to keep your hormone levels balanced and minimize muscle loss.



WHICH TO BUY: It wasn’t rocket science for us to figure out which supplement nails it when it comes to joint health. If you haven’t added Synotrex to your daily routine yet, better go grab it. NOW.

WHY USE IT: Every bodybuilder knows the importance of joint health. If you don’t support your joints, you might as well sit on the bench. Over time, if you skip joint health, it will be a huge (and I mean HUGE) regret!



WHICH TO BUY: The post-recovery workout powder we salute is BSN’s Amino X.  This BCAA formula supports endurance during your workout and aids in muscle recover post-training. BOOM! You need this! Blue Raz is our favorite taste of the bunch.

WHY USE IT: All you hear about these days is pre-workout and how many scoops you took that day. But, equally important (if not more), is post-workout because if you don’t recover, how will you hit it harder and make gains? You follow me?



WHICH TO BUY: We searched high and low and finally found the supplement to win this category: Swanson Premium’s High Potency Antioxidants delivers a comprehensive collection of powerful antioxidants – including, vitamins C, E, selenium, SOD and more.

WHY USE IT: If your immune system is suffering, so are your workouts. You need antioxidants not only improve your immune system response, but to reduce oxidative stress. It’s time to challenge free radicals and stop them in their nasty tracks!


fish oil

WHICH TO BUY: We love fish oil, but we don’t like fish oil supplements that are not tested for heavy metals or impurities. We also don’t like fish that aren’t wild-caught. Thankfully, there is a wonderful product by AMRAP Nutrition that is the Fish Oil of champions.

WHY USE IT: Fish oil is crucial to improve athletic recovery and is also an anti-inflammatory. Despite what you saw on a gym meme, you can definitely gain without the pain. Everyone knows that lubing up is always better! Your joints will thank you.



WHICH TO BUY: You need to care about the whey you use. If you don’t use whey from grass-fed cows…you’re going to screw up your hormone levels. Thankfully, on the 8th day God created Xwerks Grow – the cleanest, nutrient rich protein you can drink!

WHY USE IT: I’m not sure this one needs an explanation. If you don’t know that this helps up your daily protein intake, and is a staple for bodybuilders worldwide, then you must be a newbie. Hit the weights, kid!



WHICH TO BUY: There are so many to choose from, but after a ton (and I mean a TON) of research, we decided that Optimum Nutrition’s Micronized Creatine Powder wins the gold medal prize. It’s packed with 99.9% pure creatine with no fillers or additives.

WHY USE IT: Adding this to your supplement regime is a no-brainer for bodybuilders. I’m not sure you can call yourself one if you don’t use it. In short, if you’re ready to have insane strength and power, this stuff is for you!


Do You Have A Rotator Cuff Injury?


As you are probably aware, injuries to the rotator cuff are fairly common to athletes and bodybuilders. The shoulder is actually a complex series of joints that can be difficult for the average Joe to understand. As a result, many rotator cuff injuries are self-diagnosed and are likely to be something else entirely.

In the event a legitimate rotator cuff injury rears its ugly head, staying informed on how to deal with it is absolutely critical to proper healing.

First, let me describe what the rotator cuff is, which may be confusing all by itself. The rotator cuff is four muscles in the shoulder that are responsible for some of the shoulder’s motion. A lot of that motion involves the rotation of the humerus, the long bone in the arm, which is why the group of muscles is referred to as rotators. Another major role these muscles play is the stabilization of the shoulder, which is a series of joints that requires muscular stabilization to allow for greater range of motion.


When one of the muscles, or the tendons that connect the muscles to the bones, becomes torn, either partially or completely, you have a rotator cuff injury.

In one study of athletes, the research indicated that only 10% of partial tears heal completely, and another 10% heal partially. 53% of tears will actually worsen and 28% will progress into full tears, which do not heal on their own. In some cases these tears can cause long term changes to the joint itself.

The acute phase of rotator cuff treatment occurs immediately after the injury occurs and will continue until pain free range of motion (below shoulder height) has been achieved and normal daily activites are relatively pain free.

Apply cold therapy and compression wrap to the shoulder. This will help reduce pain and inflammation. Apply ice for up to 15 minutes every 2 hours, gradually reducing the frequency of applications as the shoulder improves. Posture is important and sitting upright with the shoulders back, especially when sitting at a desk or using a computer can help relieve symptoms. Also, it’s not a bad idea to add a natural supplement for joint aches and pain, like Synotrex.

A doctor may prescribe NSAID’s or anti-inflammatory medication (e.g. ibuprofen) may help in the early stages although it is argued they are not as effective later on or if the injury becomes chronic. Always check with your Doctor before taking medication if you are not sure. Electrotherapy, such as ultrasound, may be beneficial to reduce pain and inflammation.



The recovery phase begins when the initial pain and inflammation has dissipated, most normal daily activities are pain free and the injured arm has at least 75% range of movement compared to the uninjured one.


  • Regain full, pain free range of motion
  • Normal upper body strength
  • Normal shoulder joint movement patterns

Range of Motion

This is achieved by wand or pole exercises which help with flexibility above shoulder height, progressing onto stretching and mobility exercises without assistance from a pole. Scapular control is progressed with balance board exercises on your hands, press up type exercises and ball catch and return exercises.


Exercises to isolate the rotator cuff muscles can begin including strengthening exercises which concentrate more specifically on the external rotator muscles (the ones that rotate the arm out) and the scapular stabilizers (muscles that support the shoulder blade). It is also important to strengthen the whole joint with weight training exercises such as the bench press, shoulder press (military press) and pull downs – but with very light weights. For example, aiming for 12 to 20 reps of a light weight concentrating on correct technique.

Shoulder pain


During the functional phase exercises which are more sports specific are introduced in preparation for returning to full training and competition.


  • To increase power and endurance in the upper body muscles
  • Improve strength of the shoulder joint in all directions
  • Introduce sports specific shoulder exercises

Increasing Power

This is done through more plyometric or explosive type exercises and may depend on your particular sport. Sports specific exercises using exercise bands and throwing and catching type exercises with mini medicine balls can be done.