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How to increase muscle mass

What is the best way to create muscle mass? The long held belief was that lifting heavy weights, 80-90% 1RM (one rep max) was necessary in order to build strength and increased mass. Lifting lighter weights for more repetitions was only going to make you leaner and help tone muscle you already had.

Well new research coming out of McMaster University may have just blasted that old myth. It turns out that muscle mass can be increased by using lighter weight (the study used 30% of 1RM) and the key appears to be lifting to fatigue. The results published in the Public Library of Science (PLoS) indicates that lifting to muscle failure, not lifting heavy weights alone, is what is required in order to increase gains. It appears that lifting to fatigue triggers the body to increase muscle protein synthesis which means, more muscle.

This theory has merit aside from the new research. Consider this; if you were to bench press 200lbs for 3 sets of 5 reps you would essentially lift 3000lbs in one session at the gym. Now if you lift 150lbs for 3 sets for 15 reps that's 6750lbs! Over time you would be lifting more weight more consistently and that would lead to increased gains.

Does this mean you should stop lifting heavy weights and concentrate on lighter weights alone? Not exactly. The body responds to variation over time. Periodization will take effect in 4-6 weeks however this is good news for those with injuries that don't allow them to lift heavy weights or for those that don't want to worry about an injury in the future. I would recommend a day or week of relatively light work with high reps, 30-50% your 1RM for 15 - 20 reps. Then 75% with 8-10 reps the following week and a heavy week of 80 - 90% your 1RM for 4-6 reps. It is also wise to consider pyramid workouts, starting with a weight 80-90% 1RM and then working your way down by 10-15% of the weight each set until fatigue has burned the muscle out, that appears most appropriate for variation and to conform with this study for optimal results.  Varying your workouts like this will keep it interesting and that is the key to getting back to the gym to be consistent.

I anticipate that this study will not resolve the age old debate about how to increase body mass or what the best way to lift is but this study does mean that you don't have to hurt your self in order to increase mass, just hit the gym knowing that pushing your body to fatigue may be all you need to increase size.

Tip of the Week

I see many people spending hours in the gym without making any significant progress. I see others who spend hours counting calories but only a few minutes doing any physical activity. I see many people work out harder then myself who then step into a pizza shop or grab a coke or candy bar; what is that about?!?! In reality it is of course necessary to combine both healthy eating with exercise in order to shape ones body and maintain any physical state but there is something all those gym rats and weekend warriors may not realize. YOUR DIET WILL BE RESPONSIBLE FOR 80-90% OF YOUR RESULTS!!!

Thats right, unless you are a superstar athlete whos sole purpose is to work out daily then most likely you are not burning the 5,000 - 10,000 calories a day necessary to handle the caloric intake of todays fast food and huge portions. Michael Phelps indicates he eats whatever he feels like upwards of 10,000 calories a day but he is in the pool and training daily while the rest of civilization works the 9-5 gig. Imagine the increased superiority he could attain if he focused solely on an organic diet based largely on fruits and vegetables with moderate amounts of meat or plant protein rich foods. He could potentially be more of a superman then he already is!

No one is perfect and everyone could be better, even superstar athletes. Day to day you can make the choices to correct your life and therefore attain your goals. One day of bad eating will not ruin your life as long as you realize that you can change course at the next meal. Habits become hard to break and using the last meal to rationalize continued poor eating is a slippery slope. The one area of your life that you have total control over is your diet. You decide what you eat, when and how much. Your physical results will largely be dictated by what you are consuming and then will be amplified by the quality and consistency of your selecting work outs. The age old adage, "you are what you eat" is possibly one of the greatest truths of them all.

Hit your work out today and take it All the Way! Enjoy.

Pain participating in outdoor fitness: Elliptigo to the rescue!

Anyone who has suffered a knee injury, back injury, hip injury or who is simply plagued by ongoing pain issues while exercising outside of a controlled environment like the gym understands how deflating that can be for staying active. Outside of an overall healthy diet that can promote wellness and healing there are options for activities that don’t require pounding the pavement.

For instance, the Elliptigo is a cross training device that sprang to life due to one mans inability to continue running at the ripe age of 32 because of knee and hip injuries. In his consideration to return to cycling he realized he did not wish to be in an uncomfortable saddle. The pain free use of the Elliptical in the gym allowed him to continue his physical fitness pursuits but left much to be desired in terms of scenery and inspiration to perform. The idea for the Elliptigo was born!

5 years later the company has refined the Elliptigo and as of February 2010 has been selling the Elliptigo to a growing fan base. The Elliptigo boast speeds of up to 25mph providing eight gears, is quite stable and is excellent for climbing hills. Most importantly, if you are suffering from knee, hip or back problems that prevent you from running, riding or other physical pursuits, the Eelliptigo might provide you with a return path to outdoor physical fitness.

I have not had the pleasure of riding one yet but plan to give it a shot in the future as I have had my own knee and back issues. Once I do I will make sure to do a little synopsis on how the Elliptigo performs and maybe provide some video feedback.

The Elliptigo is priced the same as a quality road/mountain bike at approximately $2,199.00 and has a stand for sale for $394.99 for stationary training. The Elliptigo can be purchased online or at local retailers that can be found on their website, http://www.elliptigo.com/.

Lets Begin!

Lets start from the beginning. I grew up in a family of athletes. My father was the head athletic trainer at UCONN and worked there for close to 40 years, so my roots are in fitness. I spent the better part of my life as an athlete and now consider myself somewhat of a Renaissance man in terms of fitness, nutrition and living well as I have my hands in all of it and don't claim to be an expert in any. I have extensively studied these subjects on my own and continue to do so. I have begun studying for a future in some and continue my own exploration in others. Needless to say, there are areas of fitness and nutrition that people will always disagree on and no matter who you obtain information from you should always take it with a grain of salt and pursue your own research to verify the accuracy of that information. We are all different. No one person is the same as the next and biochemical individuality will always mean that what works for one will not provide the same results for another. I am not a doctor nor do I claim to be but I have had success with all the trials and errors I have gone through to get where I am and continue to pursue perfection.

I became interested in writing a Blog about organic fitness, nutrition and living after driving my wife and family insane. My wife insisted that instead of bothering her with all this information I should simply share it with the world. I have a tendency to try to improve the nutrition and fitness levels of those around me because I want them to be the best they can be. All the Way Fitness seemed the perfect moniker because there is no halfway when you want to see results in your life, its everything or nothing, all the way or not. I see people hit the gym and then go to McDonald's for lunch! I see people eat great all day and then go home and eat greasy pizza for dinner every night! I see people avoid chemical toxins in one area of their life and embrace them in the next. This Blog will get us back to the natural, organic route to fitness, nutrition and overall wellness.

This Blog is of particular interest for all those out there that have felt overwhelmed by the plethora of information on nutrition and fitness. Many people ask me, "what do I eat to stay fit and slim?" "how do I exercise to reach my goals?" "what do I need to remove toxins from my body and what do I use in my home and life to live well?" The answers are simple but complicated at the same time as we are all different and so are our goals. However, with a simple plan, follow through and knowledge these goals can be reached without extreme measures, allowing everyone to live a life without regret but with a better outcome for their health.

This Blog will answer all those question and more. All the Way Fitness will provide everyone with information on the latest studies conducted on fitness and exercise as well as up to date information on food and nutrition. There will also be information concerning how to live well as fitness, nutrition and living well are all tied together in the end and you will never reach your goal in one without finding harmony in the others. This Blog is not my only venture and therefore I will only be able to post a few times a week at most in the beginning but hopefully I will be able to post daily in the future. I will attempt to post one article on fitness, nutrition and natural/organic living every week if possible. If you have any question about fitness, nutrition, living well or something you would like me to investigate for you in further detail, please do not hesitate to ask. Lets Begin!