Cardio Before Strength Training, or Vice Versa?

Combining cardio with resistance training is believed to offer numerous health and fitness benefits, but does the order of your workout play a role?

Since prolonged aerobic performance can potentially "weaken" exercise muscles, thereby impairing ability to lift weights in a resistance session, researchers theorized putting cardio before weight lifting would result in less favorable anabolic effects.

The research team at the Department of Biology of Physical Activity at the University of Jyväskylä in Finland studied some 200 healthy men and women as well as endurance athletes from 2011 to 2013, with initial findings on the physically active men published in journals Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise and the European Journal of Applied Physiology.

Participants were between 18 and 40 years old and performed either supervised cardio immediately followed by strength training, or vice versa, 2-3 times per week for 24 weeks.

Read more at NY Daily News

How to Build Muscle Mass on a Plant-Based Diet

With celebrities like NFL running back Adrian Foster and former President Bill Clinton embracing a vegan lifestyle, more and more health-conscious individuals are shifting towards a plant-based. Plant-based nutrition is known to improve long-term health and benefit animals and the environment, but many weight-trainers hesitate to make this healthy lifestyle change due to one question: is it possible to build muscle?

The answer is: absolutely. (See my picture to the right.) Many athletes have already made the transition with outstanding success, and a quick glance at some powerful herbivorous animals such as horses, oxen, and gorillas also demonstrates that meat is not essential for building strength and muscle mass.

To put together a mass-gaining meal plan based on plant foods the objectives are no different than they are on any diet. 


15 Bodybuilding Tips for Beginners

If you are new to bodybuilding and you want to improve the way you look, here are some useful tips that will help you a lot! You should not expect huge improvements over night, but muscle mass will slowly grow over time.  It’s really important to have patience, to stick to your workouts and diet, and results will definitely show!

1. Stick to Free Weights.
Even though the modern gyms are full of fancy and shiny machines, they will not help you build a solid foundation of muscle mass. Dumbbells and barbells are the best when it comes to building muscle and especially for a beginner.

2. Do Compound Movements.

While you might be tempted to try all the possible exercises you see on fitness magazines or websites, you should stick to the basic movements first. Exercises like the squat, the deadlift, the barbell bench press and the military shoulder press should not miss from your routine.

Read more at Lifehack

Secret Sacrifices of Entrants in Bodybuilding Competitions

EMBEDDED in the body of every competitive bodybuilder you can see the signs of sacrifice. The grooves of their abdominals and their slab-like muscles tell a story of dedication and obsession, even of masochism.

Eight-time Mr Olympia Ronnie Coleman, who toured Australian recently, said bodybuilding takes "a tonne of sacrifice"."If you want to be the best in the world you have to be willing to give up so much to be that person," he said. So what are some of those sacrifices? What's the pain that leads to all that gain?

IF you want to get big, say goodbye to three standard meals in a day, variety in your diet, dessert, eating in restaurants or anything with flavour. Say hello to massive portions and/or waking up in the middle of the night to feed.

Ronnie Coleman is a good example. A typical meal is two whole BBQ chickens and half a kilogram of potatoes. "I eat chicken and rice, steak and baked potato. That's it,'' Coleman said. "I probably get in like five meals a day. Every now and then I get six."

Or have a look at Indian bodybuilder Mir Mohtesham Ali Khan, whose daily diet is reproduced on Wikipedia. It consists of 30 boiled eggs (without yolk), one kilo of chicken breasts, 12 oranges, 200 grams of green salad, one cup of sweet corn, 150 grams of oatmeal and two to four chapattis.

Closer to competition time, bodybuilders go even more hardcore, stripping back water intake in the days before events to get that "shredded" look.

Keep reading at

20 Tips for Terrific Bodybuilding Workouts

To improve your bodybuilding workouts, and your muscle-building progress, apply these 20 tips:


1. Find a reliable training partner who has a similar recovery ability to yours, and a high level of motivation for serious training.

2. Train at a time of day that suits you, and try to avoid the gym’s busiest periods so that there are fewer distractions and delays. Schedule at least one workout on a non-working day so that you have at least one session a week at the optimum time of the day for you.

3. If you feel physically beat and are due to train, rest another day. If you need to make this adjustment often, modify your training program and lifestyle so that you recover properly between bodybuilding workouts without having to take unscheduled rest days.

Get the rest of the tips at HardGainer

Summer Bodybuilding Workouts To Get A Lean Summer Body

How long do your summer bodybuilding workouts need to be in order to get in shape for summer? Unless you are a competitive bodybuilder who needs to perform several sessions of 45 minutes of exercise a day (some sessions of cardio and some of weights) to achieve the results needed for a competition  physique, the most you will need to be in the gym for your summer bodybuilding workouts is 3 weight training sessions of 60 minutes alternated with 3 cardiovascular training sessions of 20-40 minutes.

Why Not 2 Hours At The Gym?

Because after 45 minutes to 1 hour of training the muscle building/fat burning hormones of most people begin to deplete while cortisol levels (fat storing/muscle burning hormone) increase.

This routine is designed to be performed in the comfort of your home assuming that you have the following equipment...

Read more from Labrada Nutrition

Sculptured by Weights and a Strict Vegan Diet

Jimi Sitko gets up at 4 most mornings, works out two to four hours a day and can bench-press nearly twice his weight. He has a shaved head and a brightly colored tattoo on his left arm, and he can easily be mistaken for a Marine separated from his platoon.

Competitors like Jimi Sitko are forging a distinctive subculture of antibeef beefcakes who hope to change more of their competitors’ eating habits.

Kenneth G. Williams, a 44-year-old bodybuilder in Oakland, Calif., is a vegan who has taken on traditional bodybuilders and won.

His apartment is filled with medals and trophies from bodybuilding competitions, snapshots of his tanned, rippled physique in full flex. His uniform is an assortment of sweat pants and hoodies, which he occasionally lifts when his abs look particularly fierce.

But most surprising is what is inside Sitko’s stomach: tofu, fresh greens and plant-based protein powder. Sitko is among a niche community of vegan bodybuilders.

As the popularity of veganism has spread in recent years — fueled in part by a flurry of food-focused documentaries like “Super Size Me,” “Food, Inc.” and “Forks Over Knives” — its imprint can be seen in industries like publishing (VegNews) and fashion (hemp tote bags).

Read more from The New York Times

Bikini Competition Meal Plan

Here is my Bikini Meal Plan for the next few weeks. Remember that this may not suit your lifestyle and personal dietary needs, as it is designed to help me lean out for a fitness Bikini competition and is therefore pretty restrictive and to many of you, bland! If you are not going to engaging in a similar activity, simply use the meal plan to inspire overall healthy eating.

Visit Blogilates to download the full meal plan

Train With Higher Frequency for Faster Gains


In the bodybuilding and fitness world there are an infinite number of ways to structure an exercise program and achieve results. There are dozens of variables you can manipulate, such as weight (as a % of your max), reps, sets, exercise selection, rest intervals, rep tempo, exercise order, time under tension, and the list goes on. There are also even more sophisticated concepts you can utilize such as periodization, overreaching, and deloading, to name a few. 

So given this bounty of options, why is it that we virtually always see the same program being utilized by every athlete, from the novice all the way to the competitive bodybuilder? If you look at 99% of lifters' training plans, they will consist of training each muscle group once per week, and using 3-4 sets of 3-4 exercises for each muscle group, with a rep range of 8-12 (5-15 if you're dealing with a mold breaker!). 

One can argue that this is a tried and true method that will yield the greatest results for the most individuals, which may be valid given its prevalence, but I would argue that it's more a matter of convenience and lack of creativity. Bodybuilding magazines have provided these kinds of routines since enhanced athletes have adopted them in the early nineties, but I would argue that there is a better way, and that is by utilizing the variable Frequency.

Six Perfect Meals

The following six meals have one thing in common: They're perfect. They'’re flawless. They're clean as can be, and they're ideal because they help you build muscle (provided you'’re hitting the gym devotedly), burn fat and promote overall stellar health. And, conveniently, they account for a full day'’s worth of great eating. Not sure what to eat for breakfast? Lunch? Dinner? All of the above? Now you are. And while you may have to tweak portion sizes to fit your bodytype, the following meals are about as universally bodybuilder-friendly as they come. Enjoy.

The Perfect Breakfast
-  4-–6 egg whites with 2 whole eggs
-  1 serving Cream of Wheat cereal
-  1 banana
525 calories, 38 g protein, 59 g carbs, 15 g fat

Why? Eggs, a universal bodybuilding staple, offer easy-to-digest protein to kick-start muscle growth. Cream of Wheat provides energy-rich complex carbohydrates, and bananas contain both fructose and potassium, which support glycogen formation in the liver and muscles to minimize muscle breakdown in the body.

Hardgainer Tip: Substitute 16 ounces of low-fat milk for water in prepping the Cream of Wheat. This adds another 16 grams of protein, 24 grams of carbohydrate and 4 grams of fat.

Shredding Tip: Go with all egg whites to keep fat and calories as low as possible and substitute a cup of strawberries for the banana to shed another 50 calories.

Read more from Muscle & Fitness

Body Transformation: Disappearing Body Fat!

My story began six years ago when I started my surgery internship. I worked 80-plus hours per week, survived on hospital cafeteria food, had high cortisol levels, and zero interest or energy to exercise. I gained weight easily and weighed my heaviest in 2009 at 175 pounds after two pregnancies nine months apart.

I was a soccer player through high school and during my first year of college. I enjoyed being active and fit, but was never lean. Being overweight was frustrating and I was embarrassed about my body. I quit practicing medicine to care for my children and had regrets about the decision. As an overachiever, having no goal to work toward was depressing. I became unhappy and settled into being an overweight mother.

The turning point and catalyst to start my fitness journey happened when I picked up a Muscle and Fitness Hers magazine and saw pictures of competitors in the back pages. I had no idea that the fitness industry and competitions existed. I saw stories of women who made physical transformations and became competitors. I decided then, in May 2012, that I was done being overweight and set a goal to compete in a bikini competition within one year. I had a goal, a newfound determination, and was extremely excited to obtain the results I saw in the magazines.

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