One Trick To Efficiently Build A Lean Body

You’re wasting your time in the gym. Toned arms do not come from barbell curls or triceps pushdowns. Great legs don’t come from leg extensions and leg curls. The key and the only tip you need to efficiently building quality muscle is to ditch the isolation exercises and start replacing them with compound exercises.

Why Are Compound Exercises The Best For Building Lean Muscle?

Compound exercises work many muscle groups at one time. Isolation exercises, on the other hand, work a single muscle. Because of this, you can get a greater amount of work done in a shorter amount of time using compound exercises.

In addition, since compound exercises work several muscle groups at once, they help you improve your insulin sensitivity to a greater degree. By depleting glycogen stores in several muscles, you enable your body to keep insulin levels under control the rest of the day so that fatty acid mobilization can occur.

Compound exercises also cause a positive hormonal response that is beneficial for building muscle and burning fat. Hormones like testosterone and growth hormone are boosted in response to a set of intense squats.

Doing a set of squats will activate every muscle from head to toe. It forces you to have a high-intensity workout, which is key for both muscle building and fat loss.

Big arms are not made by doing curls, they are made through heaving rowing and pressing movements. A 300-400 pound bench press is going to do more for your arms than any triceps kickbacks or pushdown will do.

The same goes for your legs. You can sit on the leg extension machine trying to build great quads, and you might get a great pump and burn from it, but nothing is going to build great legs like squats will.

Are All Isolation Exercises Worthless?

No. Isolation exercises have their place, as you will soon see. However, they should not be the core of your workout. You will build all the muscle you need, and in a faster amount of time, if you would just stick to the core compound exercises.

When are isolation exercises effective? Two of the best times to use them are when you’re trying to work around an injury, or when you are trying to isolate a lagging body part (muscle imbalance).

Using isolation exercises when you’re injured allows you to continue exercising without aggravating your injury. For example, if you have an injured back, doing bent over rows is going to be detrimental to your recovery efforts. However, barbell curls will still allow you to train your arms.

The same goes for when you want to bring up a lagging body part. Isolation exercises let you hone in on one particular muscle without stimulating others.

Best Compound Exercises

The list of compound exercises is long, but there are a dozen or so core movements that you can incorporate that will make a big impact. These core movements also have several variations to them.

You can change the resistance curve by adding bands or chains, changing hand positioning to target slightly different muscles, changing angles, or by swapping out barbells for dumbbells. You can also do their bodyweight versions.

Here’s a list of compound exercises you should consider adding into your workout program:

  • Bench Press
  • Squats
  • Deadlifts
  • Pullups
  • Good Mornings
  • Overhead Press
  • Barbell Rows
  • Front Squats
  • Incline Press
  • Stiff Legged Deadlifts

Whether you’re a male or female, compound exercise principles apply. There is no best exercise for a girl or best exercise for a guy. Muscle is muscle, and it grows the same regardless of gender. Men might have an easier time putting on muscle because of their hormonal profile, but that just makes it even more important that women take advantage of compound exercises.

As you put together your exercise program, make sure compound exercises form the core of your program. Isolation exercises are fun and add variety to your workouts, but only compound exercises can provide you with the resistance and intensity necessary to efficiently build muscle.

ONE-TRICK-TO-EFFICIENTLY-BUILD-A-LEAN

8 Exercises You’re Doing Wrong At The Gym

At the fitness club

So you’re pumped and ready to get into shape. In your no-nonsense Lycra, you bravely step through the gym doors, only to realize that you haven’t a clue where to start. Whilst any exercise is better than none at all, good form is key to ensuring that you’re making the most of your sessions and not at the risk of injury.

Even the most experienced gym-goers make mistakes, so it’s worth brushing up on your knowledge of technique and posture whether you’re a newbie or not. Let’s start with these 8:

1. Tricep Extensions: You Don’t Tuck In

If you’ve been blasting the bingo wings with tricep extensions but don’t seem to be achieving the sculpted arms you’d hoped for, it may be because you aren’t tucking your elbows in. As you extend your arms and lower the dumbbell behind your head, it’s all too tempting to let your elbows fall to the side – this is the easy route! If you really want to challenge those triceps and tone-up, keep your elbows as close to the ears as possible. You’ll notice a massive difference in difficulty/resistance.

2. Bicep Curls: You Only Go Half Way

If you want the full effect of the bicep curl, lower the weight past your chest/closer to your hips, so that your arms are perfectly straight. This encourages a full range of motion, forcing the muscles to work harder. Again keep the elbows pinned to your sides. If you’re lifting heavy to strengthen up, don’t rush your reps. Whilst there’s no harm in going fast; slow, controlled movements are the best way to get strong and sculpted – effective breathing matched with good pace and form achieves the best results.

3. Dumbbell Rows: You Hunch Your Back

Dumbbell rows are great for strengthening the arms, shoulders and back. However, when done incorrectly, they can be dangerous. Many pay very little attention to how their upper body folds over, and simply concentrate on moving the arms up and down, job done. But there’s so much more to this exercise. To fix your form, engage the core in addition to working the biceps. When bending forwards, naturally straighten the back so it’s roughly parallel to the floor, draw the stomach in and look ahead. This position promotes strength and prevents injury.

4. Planks: You Stick Out Your Bum

The idea of positioning your body perfectly straight is trickier than you first think. It takes multiple muscles, primarily the core, to hold your body weight in place, which can result in shaky arms and achy abs to begin with. Don’t take it easy by sticking your bum in the air or sagging the hips; yes it takes the pressure off, but it’s far less effective than a plank in good form. Lower the hips, tuck your stomach in (core engaged), squeeze the glutes and remain strong and steady for as long as you can hold.

5. Crunches: You Pull Up With Your Neck

Many step away from 3 sets of crunches with a sore neck and not much else, and that’s down to poor technique. Rather than engaging the core and controlling the lift through the tummy muscles, they lift through the neck. As you can imagine, this does nothing except create unnecessary pain. To perform it correctly, push the small of your back into the floor, engage the abs and roll your shoulders off the floor, ensuring that your weight is carried by your core; not the base of your neck/back. If you still can’t quite get it right, try switching to another tummy targeting exercise, like Russian twists or flutter kicks.

6. Squats: You Aren’t Lowering To 90-Degrees

Squats are amazing; if you aren’t doing them already, you need to be. They build muscle throughout the body, as well as shape and tone your glutes and thighs – watch out Kim K! However, that being said, with the squat comes a multitude of potential errors when it comes to mastering form. It isn’t just a case of lowering to the floor. Practice your squat in front of a mirror to ensure that you’re achieving that 90-degree angle, with the thighs parallel to the ground and the knees aligned. If you don’t, it’s wasted effort and you’ll witness no change. You really need to engage the glutes and the upper part of your hamstrings to feel the burn.

7. Squats: You’re Stuck In A Rut

You squat like there’s no tomorrow but aren’t reaping the benefits. Your form is in check, but you’re not making progress. Chances are you need to either a) add variety or b) add weights. Squat plateaus happen, and a way to avoid this is by increasing the difficulty. Enhance your squats by switching them up: try the jump squat or pistol squat, or include a half turn. If variation isn’t holding you back, look to your weights. Many make the mistake of lifting light when they squat – this won’t make a difference. Take your barbell, dumbbell or weight plate up a notch; the increased weight will really maximise your squats.

8. Leg Lifts: You’re Arching Your Back

Leg lifts are deceiving. They seem simple, but the burn soon kicks in. To alleviate the pressure it’s common for gym-goers to arch their lower backs, which not only limits the effectiveness of the exercise, but it could also potentially strain your back. To fix your form, maintain the lower back’s natural curve (don’t raise it). Keep your head/shoulders pressed to floor, with the core engaged. Completing leg raises with good technique is more important than rep count – don’t run before you can walk.

EXERCISES-YOURE-DOING-WRONG

7 Ways To Build Muscles And Lose Weight Fast

women-only-gym

Everyone’s swapping silly fad diets for strength training, and it’s great. Getting strong and lean is so much healthier than restrictive diets. But like anything, it can take a little while to get to grips with.

Before slamming the barbells down in frustration, take a minute to read up on our essential strength training tips. Good form and technique is critical to your fat-burning success, and we can prove it.

1. Stop Lifting Any Old Weights

You’ve braved the free weights at the gym, did a couple of reps and retreated back to the safety of your stationary bike; that’s enough right? Wrong. If you want change, you really need to push yourself.

Lifting well below what you’re capable of is wasted effort. Strength training isn’t supposed to be easy. You need to feel the burn, up to the point where you physically can’t lift another rep after your last set.

Leave the puny pink dumbbells to one side, embrace the challenge and really work up a sweat with weights that get results.

2. Stick To Strength

You’ve finally accepted that cardio isn’t everything. Don’t get us wrong; it brings its fair share of health benefits – but lifting heavy is a big deal too!

If your gym session is dedicated to strength training, make sure it stays that way. A quick cardio warm-up on the bike or treadmill is great for getting the heart pumping, but don’t overdo it. Pushing yourself too hard on the machines will only leave you feeling fatigued when it comes to lifting weights.

Concentrate on exercises that match your goals. If you’re looking to burn body fat fast, excessive cardio isn’t the answer, which Penn State University supports.

Researchers conducted a study comparing the fat-burning effects of cardio vs. strength training on obese participants. And whilst both groups lost a similar amount, around 21 pounds overall, they found that those who lifted weights shredded an impressive 6 pounds more fat than those who didn’t – that’s 40 percent greater fat loss!

Whilst cardio helps you slim down, it can also take muscle with it, stopping you from achieving that lovely lean look. Strength training burns and tones, so stick to it.

3. But Keep Your Routine Varied

It’s easy to get in the habit of sticking to the same routine. But unfortunately, this only gets you so far. Avoid hitting a plateau by keeping your training varied. Every 5-6 weeks, shock your body into development by revamping your workouts.

You could try new exercises, increase the intensity, up the speed of your reps or even slow down; opting for measured and controlled movements rather than a high quantity of reps. Now and again, try 4-6 reps 3x on the heaviest weight you can manage without risk of injury.

Then there are compound exercises; these instantly enhance your strength training game. If you haven’t already, fit barbell squats into your routine – this targets the whole body, strengthening the core and improving flexibility.

4. Ditch Super-Long Workouts

It’s always quality over quantity with strength training. 15 squats in good form is far better than 50 done badly. Rushing reps not only opens you up to injury; it also stops you from working the muscles effectively. To start with, take time to master the technique of each movement.

Pick the best exercises for your ‘problem areas,’ acknowledge your weaknesses and know that your workout is getting the job done – which doesn’t need to take more than 45-minutes.

5. Eat The Right Things

If you’re committed to fat burning, tweak your diet habits to really maximise your gains. Don’t starve yourself of calories – you need them! Eat little and often, 3 staple meals coupled with 2 snack breaks to keep the metabolism ticking over nicely.

A good rule to shop by: avoid fizzy drinks, refined sugars and processed foods, and stack your fridge with fruits/veg, lean proteins and lots of h2o.

If you’re a budding strength trainer, remember to consume protein up to 30 mins after exercise. This is the best time to feed those tired muscles with the amino acids they need to repair and grow. Low-fat Greek yoghurt and chocolate milk are just 2 post-workout protein favourites for gym goers.

6. Be Aware Of Portion Control

Don’t take regular workouts as a green light to binge eat! Be careful that you aren’t consuming more calories than you’re actually burning, as this can limit your strength training progress too.

Without calorie counting too much, try to keep track of what you eat throughout the day. Snacks and nibbles creep into your diet without you even realising, and it all adds up! Food diaries aren’t new, but they are a useful way for you to see your eating habits in black and white. Be mindful of the foods you’re eating and don’t undermine your hard work with a poor diet.

7. Sleep

We can’t emphasise this enough; you need your rest. People go from one extreme to the other, they’re either a) well into their new found love of weights and unwilling to put them down, even for 1 day’s rest or b) take the concept of ‘rest day’ a little too liberally – every day’s a rest day!

Listen to your body and find the right balance of work vs. rest. 1-2 days a week is the advised rest time for regular gym goers; choose yours wisely.

WAYS-TO-BUILD-MUSCLES-AND-LOSE-BODY-FAT

9 Simple Home Exercises

at-home-exercise

You want to work out but you don’t always have the time to implement a workout routine into your busy day. Finding time for daily exercise takes discipline and commitment, and often you feel like you need to go for a long run or intense workout at the gym in order to feel a sense of accomplishment.

There are many simple exercises you can do at home in order to improve your strength, agility, and cardio vascular endurance. The problem with some at-home workout routines or quick exercise routines is that you might be doing the wrong kind of exercise.

If you are trying to build upper body strength you don’t need to do squats or calf raises. On the other hand, if you are trying to build lower body strength knocking out a ton of pushups and bench dips isn’t going to help either. Make sure you determine what you want to improve on before you undertake an exercise regimen.
Often people focus too much on upper body and lower body strength when the core of your body needs more attention than any other part. Your core keeps you stable and balanced. I like to think of it as the fulcrum of your body. Without a strong core you probably aren’t going to experience as much strength and stability in your upper and lower body. Mixing in intense cardio is always a good idea as well, and you don’t need to run 10 miles to do it.

Instead of trying to 1,000 pushups per day focus on building your core along with some cardio. I guarantee you will feel stronger and more energetic than you ever have before, and your body will thank you.

Here are 9 great exercises that will improve your cardio and core strength. I have also included a sample workout plan at the end of the article which incorporates all of these exercises, so please read carefully so you know how to perform each exercise properly.

Please consult a medical professional first if you have any injuries or medical conditions to ensure you are able to perform physical activity.

1. Sitting Holds

sitting-hold

This is a very simple but effective exercise to burn the core, legs, and arms all at once. Additionally you get to sit down while doing it, so it can’t be that bad!

Sit down in a position with your feet off the ground, straight out in front of you. Hands should be extended out in front as well. You are simply going to hold this position for a given amount of time.

Try not to strain and tighten up your body too much while doing this. This is especially important with the back and neck. If you find yourself straining too much than stop. You can always build on the amount of time you hold this posture.

It is important that you also stay as still as possible throughout the duration of the hold. It is going to get difficult but challenge yourself to remain in the steady position throughout.

2. Burpees

burpees-1

Some people love them. Some people hate them. Even though I do these quite a bit during my summer training, I fall in the latter group. They are very challenging, but in my opinion, there is no better exercise that incorporates complete body training (core, cardio, upper body and lower body strength). You even get a little upper body strength training when you do these, so it is a win-win.

To do a burpee start standing straight up with your feet little more than shoulder width apart. Bring your hands to the ground in between the distance of your legs but slightly in front of your body. When you come down to the ground bend at the hips not at the back. You should bends your knees with your back straight as you bring your hands to the ground.

As soon as your hands are on the ground, you will jump back with your legs, so that you are in a plank position (hands are shoulder width apart aligned with your chest and your back is straight, not hunching towards the ground; legs are straight back and shouldn’t be touching the ground). For an extra challenge add a pushup at this point of the burpee.

After you get into the plank position you immediately bring your legs back up to your hands (like they were before you kicked them back into the push up position). With your knees bent, come up and jump straight up in the air. That is 1 repetition.

3. Mountain Climbers

moutain-climbers22

If climbing mountains isn’t your forte than this will be probably be the closest you get to climbing an actual mountain. This is a great workout for your core, cardio, and lower body.

You are going to start in a plank position. It is important that you keep your core tight and strong the entire time you do this exercise. The tendency during this exercise is for your body to droop towards the ground or be arched towards the sky as you get tired. You want to make an effort to keep your back straight and don’t allow it to come out of the perfect push up position. This can lead to back problems.

From the push up position you alternate your feet up and back towards your stomach. You are trying to knee yourself in the stomach (not literally but for the exercise purpose). When the right knee comes up, the left knee stays back. When the right knee goes back, the left knees comes up towards the stomach. You do this as rapidly as you can. You want a full range of motion so ensure you are bringing your knees up as far as possible and stretching them back as much as possible.

Your hands shouldn’t be too far out in front of you. They should be right around your shoulders. By this, you are also receiving an upper body workout because you are holding the plank position as well as moving your feet as fast as possible.

4. Running High Knees

running-high-knees

This is a great cardio exercise that incorporates an intense range of motion from your legs. You can do this exercise running in place or with movement. The goal of this exercise is to get your knees up as high as possible and as quickly as possible. It is beneficial when you stay on your toes and utilize quick movements. As soon as your toe hits the ground you explode back up with your knee.

Use your arms properly when doing this exercise. Similar to running you want to alternate your hand and knee movements. When the right knee goes up, the left arm comes up simultaneously. When the right knee goes down, the left arm goes down. Maintaining an effective arm and leg movement balance will help you get into a rhythm as you speed up and increase the intensity of the exercise.

5. Step Ups

step-ups32

Find something in your house that is solid and won’t move if you step on it. I suggest using a sturdy couch or chair, maybe even a bench if you have one available. If you don’t have anything solid then place a chair against the wall so it won’t move. Make sure the height of the chair or bench is not too high to where you can’t step onto it comfortably.

The goal of this exercise is explosive movements. Again you are focused on a complete range of motion. Step up onto the platform of your choosing with one leg. With the opposite leg you are going to explode it in the air and then step back down onto the ground. If this motion is too difficult than simply step onto the platform with the other leg. Alternate legs and repeat.

Use your arms effectively during this exercise to ensure that you give your arms a solid workout, and to assist you as you explode your legs onto the platform. For example when you put your right leg onto the platform, the left arm is already up in the air. As you explode onto the platform with the left leg, the right arm raises up to boost this movement. The left arm falls to the side.

As you create a dynamic pace, challenge yourself to see how quickly you can alternate feet. This will increase the intensity of the cardio. Stay on your toes and focus on swift movements up and down from the platform.

6. Jumping Jacks

jumping-jacks-32

You probably did these when you were a kid. These are a staple for many youth physical education classes. Even though this is a basic exercise it can be quite effective when completed with vigor and you guessed it, full range of motion.

Start standing straight up with your hands at your sides and your legs together. Jump your legs out so that they land wider than shoulder width apart. Simultaneously, your arms should move straight out over your head until your hands meet. It is not imperative that your hands touch over your but it is an effective reference point to ensure you use full range of motion with your arms. Then jump back to the starting point. This is one repetition.

The focus of the exercise is to work both the lower body and the upper body. By jumping the legs to a point that is slightly uncomfortable you are stretching out the hips and gluteus maximus muscles, which are all essential for core strength as well.

The more rapidly you perform this exercise the better cardio results you are going to experience. As is the case with most of these exercises, stay on your toes as much as possible. Try not to land on your heels when jumping out because this will restrict the pace at which you exercise.

7. Towel Knee Bends

sliding-plank

This exercise is great for the entire body but it really targets the middle core. You will need a large towel or two small towels for this exercise as well as a slippery surface in which to perform it.

Start out in a plank position with the towel(s) at your feet. Hands should be shoulder width apart underneath your shoulders. Bring both feet up at the same time as far as possible. Then bring your legs back down into the plank position. This is one repetition.

Similar to the mountain climbers, you are attempting to knee yourself in the stomach. You don’t want your knees to come together because this takes away from the isolation of the exercise. Each leg must work on its own to thrust towards the stomach. This range of motion is important because you want to experience the full benefits of the exercise.

Keep your core aligned the entire time you do this exercise. Don’t allow the back to hunch upward or slouch downward. Part of the challenge is holding the plank position coupled with the leg movement.

8. Towel In and Outs

in-and-out

For this exercise you are going to need two small towels (or sliders), one for each foot. Start out again in the plank position just as the previous exercise. This is a core exercise as well, but it focuses more on external oblique muscles, or the side of your abdominals.

Instead of bringing both feet towards your stomach you are going to extend both feet outward, away from one another. You want to push your legs out as far as possible depending on how flexible you are in the hip region. Try to extend your legs at least shoulder width apart. If you are unable to stretch them that far, than go as far as you can. Then bring your legs back together to the starting plank position. That is one repetition.

As the intensity of this exercise increases and you become tired, there is a tendency to use more legs than core. You want to try to avoid this. Concentrate on using your core to extend your legs back and forth. Do less reps if necessary but make sure this is a core exercise, not merely a lower body exercise.

9. Wall Sit

wall-sit32

This title doesn’t leave much for the imagination. You are literally going to sit against the wall. This is a great way to finish your workout. It is primarily a lower body workout but it also integrates some core training.

Sit against the wall with your back straight against the wall. Your feet should be right under your knees. Make sure your knees are not extended over your toes. This can be detrimental and cause knee pain. On the other hand your feet should not be extended too far out underneath your knees because this takes away from experiencing the stretch in your quadriceps and the rest of your legs. You should be sitting in a position with your knees bent at a 90 degree angle. Arms should be above your head or laterally at your side the entire time. Do not place your hands on your knees.

Your Training Plan

Exercise                               Repetitions/Time                                      Rest
Sitting Hold                           15 seconds-1 minute                                      15 seconds
Burpees                                  5-20                                                                   30 seconds-1 minute
Mountain Climbers             5-25 each leg                                                    30 seconds-1 minute
Running High Knees           5-15 each leg                                                    30 seconds-1 minute
Step Ups                                10-25 each leg                                                  30 seconds-1 minute
Towel Knee Bends               5-20                                                                   30 seconds-1 minute
Towel In and Outs               5-20                                                                   30 seconds-1 minute
Wall Sit                                  15 seconds-30 seconds                                  30 seconds

These are simply repetition and time estimates for a basic workout plan. I have no idea what your conditioning level is. If you can’t do the allotted repetitions, that is perfectly ok. Figure out how many repetitions you can do but challenge yourself by doing them correctly every time.When you can’t do anymore reps properly, then you are finished with that exercise.

The rest periods are seemingly low and not enough time but in order to improve your cardio on your own it is imperative that you perform highly intensive exercises with shorter recovery times. This will challenge your cardio, help you lose fat, and stress your body in an appropriate manner. If it becomes too intense and you need more time to rest, than take the time you need. You know your body better than anyone else. These are mere guidelines. Eventually as you continue exercising you may notice you need less and less time to recover before the next exercise.

The amount of sets you execute is ultimately your decision. Start out with one set and see how it feels. If you are unable to complete one set of all these exercises, then finish what you are capable of. I think you will observe profound changes in your fitness levels by consistently taking the time to perform these exercises. Good luck and have fun!

9-SIMPLE-HOME-EXERCISES

6 Best Exercises To Get Rid Of Back Fat

back-exercise-woman

Most gym sessions are spent tightening and toning the areas we consider the most noticeable—butt, stomach, legs. But here’s a secret all top trainers know: Strong back muscles are not only key for an overall defined look, but they’re your best defense against pain, injury, and poor posture for years to come.
Here are 6 exercises to help you get rid of back fat, target all of the muscles in your upper body to help you banish back fat, bra bulge, and sculpt a strong, sexy back, and shoulders.
How this workout works: Three or four days a week, do 1 set of each exercise back to back, with little or no rest in between moves. After the last exercise, rest 1 to 2 minutes, and repeat the full circuit 2 more times (3 times total).

1. Chin-Ups

chinup

If you want a V-shaped torso, you must do chinups. They build width because they target your latissimus dorsi (a.k.a. lats), the large back muscles that wrap around the sides of the upper body just below the arms. These muscles are the ones that give the torso a wider, flared shape, and can make you appear slimmer even if you haven’t lost an inch around your middle.

DO THIS: As you pull your chest to the bar during each rep, think about pulling your shoulder blades toward your back pockets. This will force you to use your upper-back muscles—as opposed to your biceps—to perform the move.

2. Lat Pulldowns

lat-pulldown

While you can’t beat the chinup as a back builder, the lat pulldown is also great for increasing muscle. In fact, fitness trainers swear by it. Get the most out of the move by performing the exercise at a slow, controlled tempo. You should “feel” your lats working each rep. Make sure your upper body remains in nearly the same position from start to finish.

DO THIS: Sit down at a lat pulldown station and grab the bar with an overhand grip that’s just beyond shoulder width. Without moving your torso, pull your shoulders back and down, and bring the bar down to your chest. Pause, then slowly return to the starting position.

3. The Y-Raise

swiss-ball-y-raise

This exercise develops shoulder strength and stability.

DO THIS: Lie on the ball facing downwards with your legs and feet together and only the tips of your toes touching the floor and your arms and hands hanging loosely on either side of your body. The ball should be on your stomach. Slowly raise your arms forming a Y-shape and hold that position for about ten seconds. Similarly, lower your arms slowly until they reach the floor again and repeat. For a challenge hold a comfortably weighted dumbbell in each hand.

4. Deadlifts

barbell-deadlift

When it’s done right, the deadlift is an excellent back builder. As you pick up and put down the weight, your upper-back muscles—including your rhomboids, traps, erector spinae, rear deltoids, and lats—must fire on all cylinders to keep your torso straight and your lower back from rounding. It’s when you fail to engage these muscles that injuries can occur.

DO THIS: Load a barbell and roll it against your shins. Bend at your hips and knees and grab the bar with an overhand grip, your hands just beyond shoulder width. Keeping your lower back naturally arched, pull your torso up and thrust your hips forward as you stand up with the barbell. Lower the bar to the floor and repeat.

5. Lateral Raise

lateral-raise

The prime movers in dumbbell lateral raises are your shoulders, or the deltoids.

DO THIS: You can start off with lighter ones and change to heavier ones if you want to increase the difficulty level. Start with a feet apart position with your feet as far apart as your shoulders are. Then bend at your knees and waist but careful to keep a good posture for your back. Next, slowly raise your hands holding the dumbbells on both sides keeping your arms as straight as possible and keep the position for 5 seconds before slowly lowering them again.

6. Bent-Over Underhand Barbell Row

underhand-barbell-row

Compared to other variations of the row—like the single-arm dumbbell row—the barbell version allows you to use more weight. Rowing with heavier loads elicits more muscle growth in your middle and lower traps, rhomboid major, rhomboid minor, upper traps, rear deltoids, and rotator cuff muscles.

Use an underhand grip to target your rhomboids, the small muscles that start at your spine and attach to your shoulder blades. They assist your traps with pulling your shoulder blades together. These muscles tend to be weak due to the long amount of time we spend sitting at desks, in cars, or on couches every day.

DO THIS: Grab a barbell with an underhand grip that’s just beyond shoulder width, and hold it at arm’s length. Lower your torso until it’s almost parallel to the floor, and bend at your hips and knees. Let the bar hang at arm’s length. Pull the bar to your upper abs as you squeeze your shoulder blades together. Pause, and slowly lower the bar back to the starting position.

6-BEST-EXERCISES-TO-GET-RID-OF-FLABBY-BACK 6-best-moves-to-get-rid-of-back-fat

18 Best Foods To Build A Fit And Lean Body

fit-and-lean-bod

It’s true. You really are what you eat. And that’s why some days you end up feeling more like a cream-filled Twinkie than the lean cut of beef you aspire to.

But you probably already know that. That’s why, like all of us, you’re most likely trying to clean up your act and start eating healthy. But the truth is, that’s just not enough. Because if you’re gorging yourself on apples, bananas, and salads made with iceberg lettuce, you may be eating healthy-but you’re not eating smart.

In order to build the body you want you need to make every bite of food you put in your mouth count. That means building your diet around the most potent, nutrient-dense, disease-fighting, muscle-growing foods around.

So, based on recommendations from expert dieticians and nutritionists, here are are the 18 most important foods every gal should include in her diet for maximum fitness. Pile them on your plate during each meal and watch yourself turn into a lean and mean machine.

1. Turkey Breast

turkey-breast

Buy it skinless and you get seven grams of muscle-building protein per ounce. Turkey is high in B vitamins, zinc (a known booster of sperm production), and the cancer fighter selenium. It’s also got a ton of amino acids, and there are little or no saturated fats. Plus, it’s one of the most versatile cuts of meat around, so you can easily eat it throughout the week and never have the same thing twice.

2. Olive Oil

olive-oil
Olive oil is rich in good monounsaturated fat, making it an ideal food for heart health. In fact, studies show that replacing two tablespoons of saturated fat (found in butter and lard) with monounsaturated fat may reduce the risk of heart disease. But that’s not the only reason to eat it.

A study in the journal Nature reports that olive oil also has potent anti-inflammatory properties, meaning it can help reduce pain and swelling just like a dose of ibuprofen. In addition to cooking with olive oil and using it as a dressing for your salad, you can get even more in your diet by mixing a tablespoon or two into your daily protein shake.

3. Quinoa

quinoa

Chances are you may not be familiar with this exotic whole grain grown in the Andes mountains. But you should be. It has a light, mild flavor-making it ideal for guys who hate other whole grains. Even better, it’s higher in protein than any other grain around, and packs a hefty dose of heart-healthy unsaturated fats. Quinoa is also a great source of fiber and B vitamins on top it being actually one of the tastier grains.

4. Black Beans

black-beans

Tiny as they are, beans can help you feel energized and fuller longer than almost anything else you can eat. The reason is twofold: They’re incredibly high in fiber, which swells in your stomach and promotes a feeling of fullness. And, they’re stuffed with a highly complex form of carbohydrate that can take your body a long while to convert into energy. Like meat, they’re also packed with protein. But unlike meat, they’ve got no saturated fats.

Beans of all types are always high on most nutritionists’ lists but black beans are the best. Ounce for ounce, they have more fiber per serving than any other member of the legume family.

5. Green Tea

green-tea32

From cancer prevention to weight loss to potentially slowing the development of Alzheimer’s, green tea has been shown to help fight almost every major medical ill. Hot or cold, there’s almost nothing better you can drink.

Not the teabagging type? Try buying a liquid extract. Drop a bit in water and voila! Instant tea.

6. Eggs

eggs

An egg a day is A-OK. Here’s why: Eggs contain a heavy-hitting 4 grams of pure muscle-building amino acids inside every shell, in addition to boasting some of the highest naturally available doses around of a vitamin called choline, which is thought to help enhance memory. They’re the gold standard in terms of providing all the right nutrients for muscle growth.

7. Milk

milk

You know milk does a body good, but you may not know that skipping dairy makes your body angry, sort of. When you’re not getting enough, your body releases hormones that cause your cells to retain calcium-and fat.

Calories still count, so you should drink your milk by the glass rather than the gallon. But just make sure you get some. There are components in dairy that help turn on your body’s fat-burning system and slow down the storage of fat. And although other forms of supplements are great, this is one case in which the real thing works the best.

8. Water

water

You know you need to be drinking more water, and for good reason. Water flushes toxins from your system, regulates body temp, acts as an insulator for joints, prevents kidney stones, and supplies the body with a raft of crucial minerals. Without water, none of the other super-foods would matter.

Although water helps in every way, it may be at its most powerful when it comes to weight loss. Drinking a glass or two of water a half hour or so before mealtime, for example, can help take the edge off your hunger.

Getting in all that water each day seem like a drag? Try making a half gallon of sugar-free lemonade you can sip throughout the day, or buy a pack of calorie-free flavorings to add to your water bottle at work.

9. Sweet Potatoes

sweet-potatoes

A four-ounce sweet potato holds more than 100% of our daily supply of beta carotene, a hefty dose of iron, and a plentiful shot of vitamins C and E. Together, these nutrients work together to protect your body against cellular damage of all types, especially in athletes who compete in extreme environments (such as altitude, heat, cold, or pollution). They’re also one of the best foods for muscle recovery after a tough workout.

And there are more ways to eat them than just baked, boiled, or topped with marshmallows. Try stirring cooked, diced sweet potato into chili or your favorite potato-salad recipe. You can also grate them into hamburgers or meatloaf, or use them to make your own oven-baked fries.

10. Soy

tofu

Tough Navy SEALs eat soybeans all the time – they call soy the ‘perfect food’. It has the protein of meat, the fiber of a whole grain, and the antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals of the best vegetables and fruits.

If you don’t like tofu and soy milk-there are easy ways to boost your soy intake. Soy nuts and the soy protein used in some protein shakes and bars not only taste great but are very guy-friendly.

11. Beef

beef

It’s not only high in muscle-building amino acids, it’s also a powerhouse of iron and zinc, which aid circulatory health. In fact, beef is so nutrient-dense that a three-ounce serving supplies more than 10% of your recommended daily intake of a number of nutrients, including protein, B6 and B12, selenium, phosphorus, niacin, and riboflavin.

Worried about the fat? Don’t. According to USDA data, today’s beef is up to 20% leaner than it was a decade ago. In fact, 19 cuts of beef meet government guidelines as being a lean meat. To keep the meat you’re buying lean as well as tender and flavorful, opt for cuts with the words round or top in the name-things like eye round roast, top round, or top sirloin steak.

12. Whole Wheat Bread

whole-wheat-bread

White flour doesn’t just rob you of fiber and protein, it also digests incredibly quickly in the body, giving you a rapid spike of energy-but one that comes crashing down just as fast. Over time, those spikes in insulin production wear on the body, damaging cells and promoting excess storage of fat. So why would you ever eat white bread?

Even if you’re cutting carbs, there’s still a place for complex whole grains in your diet. They leave you feeling fuller longer, and they provide the longest possible supply of sustained energy. Just watch out when you’re buying something that claims to be whole grain. It may only look brown because it’s colored with molasses. Rather than buying based on color, check the ingredient list. The only true whole-grain products are those that contain 100% whole wheat or whole grain listed as the first ingredient on the packaging.

13. Almonds

almonds

High in protein, fiber, and vitamin E, almonds are great for your heart, digestive system, and skin. Although they’re also loaded with healthy unsaturated fats, some girls avoid them because they’re so calorie-dense. But that’s a mistake. A recent study followed folks who added two ounces of almonds to their diet on a regular basis. Turns out they had no significant weight change. Since nuts are such a hard food, it appears that a significant amount of their calories are never absorbed into the body.

To work more almonds into your diet, try keeping a bag of dry-roasted or lightly seasoned almonds in your desk drawer at work-and snack on a handful rather than hitting the vending machine. You can also blend almond butter into smoothies, or use it in place of peanut butter to make an, uh, AB&J sandwich.

14. Yogurt

yogurt

Yogurt has all the benefits of milk, plus active cultures that boost the number of germ-fighting bacteria along your intestinal walls, says Mueller. Why does that matter? It helps keep you from getting sick. Studies show that people who eat yogurt most often are less likely to catch a cold than people who rarely eat the stuff. Like milk, yogurt contains calcium that not only boosts fat-burning but also helps you feel satiated, making it an ideal food for weight loss.

Try to buy yogurt that is less than a week old to ensure you’re getting the most benefit from the active cultures (The later the product’s expiration date, the newer it is.)

One word of caution: Most yogurt is packed with added sugar and high-fructose corn syrup.

15. Spinach

spinach

What do button-down dietitians have in common with brawl-happy cartoon sailors? They all love their spinach! And for good reason. One serving of these leafy greens is loaded with fiber, calcium, and virtually your entire day’s recommended dosage of beta carotene, a nutrient vital for immune-system health, good vision, but not-as far as we know-huge wrist flexors.

If you can’t stand spinach plain, try dropping it into burritos, pasta dishes and canned soup.

16. Salmon

salmon

Salmon made out list for a number of reasons, but the biggest has got to be because its so densely stuffed with omega-3’s. These fatty acids are thought to slow memory loss as you age and boost heart health by regulating heart rhythms and keeping arteries and veins supple and free of blockages. While saturated fats lead to obesity, the polyunsaturated fatty acids in fish appear to correct and prevent obesity, according to a study published in Clinical Science.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Salmon is also an excellent source of protein. A three-ounce cooked serving contains 20 grams-making it ideal for building muscle and trimming fat. Besides helping stimulate your metabolism three to four times more than carbs or fat, protein is the absolute best food for helping fill you up, so you take in fewer calories and burn more. And that’s what being a fit food is all about.

17. Blueberries

blueberries1
Of all the fruit you can eat, blueberries may be the absolute best. Whether you’re getting them raw, tossed into cereal, mixed in fruit salad or a smoothie, blueberries pack more fiber, vitamins, and minerals per ounce than any other fruit in the produce aisle. Chief among those nutrients are free-radical-fighting antioxidants. Free radicals, which increase in number as you get older, travel around your body damaging cells, promoting disease, and triggering signs of premature aging. And blueberries harness the firepower to knock them out of service.

Need another reason to eat them? How about your memory? Those same antioxidants that fight disease are also effective in helping keep connections between cells in your brain and nervous system healthy, ensuring clearer, quicker thinking and the best memory possible.

18. Oatmeal

oatmea

When it comes to eating breakfast in the morning, there’s nothing better than a bowl of oatmeal to spike your energy levels and provide you with an hours-long supply of fuel. Oatmeal is also filled with stress-fighting and immunity-boosting zinc.

If that weren’t enough to convince you to pop a bowl in the microwave, keep in mind that oatmeal can also help promote weight loss and lower your risk of heart disease. Oatmeal is filled with high levels of soluble fiber that protect your heart and arteries by trapping and expelling cholesterol, dropping levels by up to 30 points or more in some cases, says Kubiak.

The best oatmeal may not be the most convenient, however. Those flavored, single-serving packs that litter grocery-store aisles are often filled with added sugar-and therefore excess calories. Instead, stick with the big tub of instant oatmeal and add your own fruit and calorie-free sweeteners, if you need them.

18-best-foods-to-build-a-fit-and-lean-body(1) 18-BEST-FOODS-TO-BUILD-A-FIT-AND-LEAN-BODY