A Diet Rich in Nuts Improves Sperm Count and Motility

nuts

Improvements associated with better male fertility and explained by a reduction in sperm DNA fragmentation

Date: July 4, 2018

Source: European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology

Summary: The inclusion of nuts in a regular diet significantly improves the quality and function of human sperm, according to results of a randomized trial which measured conventional semen parameters and molecular changes over a 14-week study period. The findings, say the investigators, ‘support a beneficial role for chronic nut consumption in sperm quality’ and reflect a research need for further male-specific dietary recommendations.

Full Story: The inclusion of nuts in a regular diet significantly improves the quality and function of human sperm, according to results of a randomised trial which measured conventional semen parameters and molecular changes over a 14-week study period. The findings, say the investigators, “support a beneficial role for chronic nut consumption in sperm quality” and reflect a research need for further male-specific dietary recommendations.

The results of the study are presented today by Dr Albert Salas-Huetos from the Human Nutrition Unit of the Universitat Rovira i Virgil in Reus, Spain.(1)

The study was performed, he said, against a background of general decline in quantity and quality of human sperm, attributed in industrialised countries to “pollution, smoking, and trends toward a western-style diet.” (2) In this study subjects randomised to the nut group had significant improvements in their sperm count, vitality, motility and morphology (shape); these were consistent with improvements found in other recent studies with diets rich in omega-3, antioxidants (eg, vitamin C and E, selenium and zinc), and folate. Nuts are dense foods containing many of these nutrients and other phytochemicals.

The study was a 14-week randomised clinical trial in which 119 healthy young men aged 18-35 were allocated to either their usual western-style diet supplemented with 60 grams/day of mixed almonds, hazelnuts and walnuts, or their usual western-style diet without nuts. In its analysis the study recorded not just sperm parameters (according to WHO benchmarks) but also changes in several molecular factors, including sperm DNA fragmentation.(3) Sperm and blood samples were analysed at baseline and after 14 weeks of intervention.

Results firstly found significantly higher levels of sperm count, vitality, motility and morphology in the men randomised to the 60 g/day nut diet than in those following their usual diets free of nuts. Improvements in the former group were by around 16% in sperm count, 4% in sperm vitality, 6% in sperm motility, and 1% in morphology. These four parameters, explained Salas-Huetos, are all associated with male fertility. Moreover, the subjects in the nut group also showed a significant reduction in their levels of sperm DNA fragmentation, a parameter closely associated with male infertility. Indeed, it was this change in the level of DNA fragmentation in the sperm cells by which the investigators explained, at least in part, the improvement in sperm count, motility and morphology.

Although these are statistically significant results from a randomised trail with a high level of scientific evidence, Salas-Huetos emphasised that subjects in the study were all healthy and apparently fertile men following a western-style diet. He thus warned that results cannot be extrapolated to the general population.

So should men hoping to conceive a baby — either naturally or with IVF — add nuts to their everyday diet? “We can’t yet say that,” said Salas-Huetos, “based solely on the results of this study. But evidence is accumulating in the literature that healthy lifestyle changes such as following a healthy dietary pattern might help conception — and of course, nuts are a key component of a Mediterranean healthy diet.”

1. This was a collaborative study led by Dr Mònica Bulló from the Rovira i Virgili University and Drs Joan Blanco and Ester Anton from the Autonomous University of Barcelona. The study was funded by the International Nut and Dried Food Council.

2. There remains some controversy over a decline in sperm counts in developed countries, mainly because of how the measurements were taken. However, a huge meta-analysis last year reported “a significant decline in sperm counts between 1973 and 2011.” The analysis, which included more than 40,000 men whose semen samples were screened in 244 studies, found the results “driven by a 50-60% decline among men unselected by fertility from North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand.” The decline in sperm concentration was put at -1.4% per year and in total sperm count at -1.6% per year. (See Levine H, Jørgensen N, Martino-Andrade A, et al. Temporal trends in sperm count: a systematic review and meta-regression analysis. Hum Reprod Update 2017; 23: 646-659.)

3. The World Health Organization lists four semen quality parameters in its latest manual of 2010: concentration (ie, count, which should be a minimum of 15 million sperm cells per ml semen); progressive motility (32% minimum); vitality (58%); and morphology (4%). These are the main parameters measured to evaluate semen quality within a normal range. At the molecular level it has also been proposed that the genetic integrity of each sperm cell is essential for successful fertilisation; if DNA strands in the cell become damaged or fragmented, they will be unable or less likely to fertilise an egg and maintain embryonic development. It is believed that this DNA fragmentation is caused by oxidative stress as a result of environmental and lifestyle factors. Sperm DNA fragmentation can be tested by a range of assays.

Story Source:

Materials provided by European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology. “A diet rich in nuts improves sperm count and motility: Improvements associated with better male fertility and explained by a reduction in sperm DNA fragmentation.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 July 2018. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/07/180704112048.htm>.

 

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How To Gain 20 Pounds In 28 Days: The Extreme Muscle Building Secrets of UFC Fighters

The following is Part 2 of a two-part guest post from Nate Green, who works with John Berardi, PhD, Georges St-Pierre’s nutritional coach.

Part 1 detailed how top UFC fighters rapidly lose weight before weigh-ins for competitive advantage.

Now, in Part 2, Nate shares how he gained 20 pounds in 28 days, using techniques an elite fighter such as Georges St-Pierre (GSP) might utilize to move up a weight class. This is a very, very comprehensive post.

If you’ve ever wondered how to quickly gain muscle — or how a GSP versus Anderson Silva super-fight could happen — you’ll want to print this out and refer to it often.

Let’s jump into the detail…

Georges St. Pierre vs. Anderson Silva: The Superfight

For the past couple of years, there have been rumors of a super-fight between current UFC Welterweight champion Georges St Pierre and current Middleweight champion Anderson Silva.

If the fight becomes a reality, it will easily be the biggest fight in UFC history.

Fans want it. Sponsors want it. UFC president Dana White wants it. The only people who seem like they don’t want it?

St Pierre and Silva.

And it’s easy to see why when you look at the stats:

St Pierre, who’s 5’10″, fights in the 170-pound division. Silva, who’s 6’2″, fights in the 185-pound division.

After reading Part 1, you know how elite fighters use weight manipulation to strategically lower their body weight before official pre-fight weigh-ins. You also know that they quickly rehydrate to get back up to their real weight.

In GSP’s case, that would be about 190 pounds. In Silva’s? 230 pounds.

So for the super-fight to go through, and for it to be a reasonably fair fight, one of two things would need to happen: either St Pierre would have to gain 20-30 pounds to move up a weight class, or Silva would have to lose 20-30 pounds to move down a weight class.

Both are very difficult.

In fact, it’s enough of a weight disparity to make even the most enthusiastic MMA fans chalk up the super-fight to a pipe dream, something that will likely never happen.

But here’s the thing: That kind of extreme weight manipulation isn’t impossible. Far from it.

In fact, it’s entirely possible to gain 20 pounds of quality mass in as little as 28 days.

That’s what Nate did recently with some help from GSP’s nutrition coach, Dr. John Berardi and Martin Rooney, a strength coach who regularly trains UFC athletes.

And in this post, we explore how a guy like GSP could gain 20-30 pounds in a short period of time, increase his power, boost his strength, and maintain his athleticism and (mostly) endurance.

And maybe — just maybe — these techniques will make this super-fight a reality.

Take it away, Nate…

Enter Nate

I recently decided to try and gain 20 pounds of quality mass in 28 days.

Why?

For starters, a lot of people in the fitness world don’t think this is possible without taking steroids. Fortunately, this isn’t true. With the right program and world-class advice, it’s attainable. I wanted to prove this beyond the shadow of a doubt.

Dr. John Berardi wanted a guinea pig to show exactly how someone like GSP could–if he wanted to–gain enough muscle to move up an entire weight class and take on a fighter like Anderson Silva.

I started the official experiment at 169 pounds and 28 days later, weighed in at 190.

This post detailed exactly how we did it.

Nate Green before muscle-building experiement

Here’s a breakdown of the strategies I used to put on 20 pounds in 28 days.

6 Strategies for Rapid Muscle Gain

[Note from Tim: Nate shares the exact meal plan and workout program after outlining the six strategies/principles. Again, after reading once, this is probably a post you’ll want to print out for reference.]

STRATEGY #1: CYCLE THE AMOUNT OF FOOD YOU EAT.

We kept things simple here. My nutrition plan was split into two different kinds of days: High-Calorie or Low-Calorie.

On my weight-training days, I ate more food. This ensured I was getting a huge influx of nutrients on the days where my muscles could put them to use. On the days I did interval workouts or took off from the gym, I ate a little less food. This helped me to add weight without adding lots of body fat.

It’s important to note that even my “low calorie” days still involved eating more food than I was previously used to. So, no matter the day, I was always in a positive energy balance. Except for Sundays. Which brings me to the second strategy.

STRATEGY #2: USE INTERMITTENT FASTING.

Every Sunday I did a 24-hour fast to offset the inevitable fat gain that would normally come with an eating plan like this. The goal was for me to be in a caloric surplus – an anabolic state – six days per week, eating more calories than I burn which would lead to muscle growth.

And then I’d be in an extreme caloric deficit one day per week, which would help reset my insulin sensitivity, boost growth hormone secretion, and help stimulate fat loss while preserving my lean mass.

STRATEGY #3: GIVE YOURSELF ROOM TO GROW.

Making a big change is all about small incremental improvements. You try something for a little while, see how it works, and if you need to, make a small change and repeat the steps.

For this experiment Berardi started me off with a lot of food, enough to where I’d be in a caloric surplus and gain muscle. But he didn’t overload me as much as he could have. Not at first, at least. He wanted to leave a little wiggle room to make changes if needed.

In both Weeks 3 and 4 we strategically added more calories to help push me past a plateau when my weight stalled at 178 pounds. (You’ll see how we did that below.)

STRATEGY #4: EAT MORE FOOD. MUCH MORE.

My weight-gain nutrition plan called for way more food than I was used to eating. So instead of focusing on counting calories — which would have been a nightmare — we turned our attention instead to making sure I was in a positive energy balance.

When you eat more calories than you burn, you gain weight. Dr. Berardi knew all I’d have to do to gain weight was eat more food than I was eating before we started the experiment. And that was easy to do, since I was eating enough to only maintain a 170-pound body.

So how much food does it actually take to gain 20 pounds? I went through and added everything I ate in 28 days. Here it is:

  • 65 pounds of meat
  • 54 bananas
  • 84 scoops of protein powder
  • 72 pieces of bread
  • 36 sweet potatoes
  • 7 jars of almond butter
  • 5 jars of fruit jam
  • 8 jars of sauerkraut
  • 144 cups of vegetables
  • 36 pieces of fruit
  • 72 squares of dark chocolate
  • 8 bags of frozen blueberries and raspberries
  • 7 cans of coconut milk
  • 4 cartons of heavy whipping cream

STRATEGY #5: TRAIN YOUR ASS OFF.

Most guys think the training program is the most important part of gaining muscle. Well, most guys are wrong. If I didn’t eat enough food I could have trained as hard or as long as I wanted and not much would have happened.

Of course, the workout program is important. So Martin Rooney hooked me up with a variation of his Training For Warriors routine that he uses for high-level UFC athletes like brothers Jim and Dan Miller.

Here’s what it looked like:

Monday: Upper Body Strength

This workout focused on compound exercises and used heavy weights to build strength and target fast-twitch muscle-fibers, the ones most primed for growth.

Tuesday: Hurricane Day – Sprints

An intense total-body workout that promoted rapid fat burning and power development. Martin calls them “hurricanes” because the workouts are like a brief, powerful storm that create disruption in the muscular, cardiovascular, and neurological systems.

They’re also some of the hardest workouts I’ve ever done in my life. (I nearly passed out after my first Hurricane session; I took a 5-minute nap next to the treadmill.)

Wednesday: Off – Recovery

A much-needed rest for my muscles and mind.

Thursday: Hurricane Day – Energy Circuit

A brief, intense workout comprised of five unconventional exercises (like sledgehammer slams, medicine ball work, and rope climbs) all done in circuit fashion.

Friday: Upper Body Hypertrophy

A second upper-body day that used less complex exercises and higher reps to promote more muscle growth.

Saturday: Lower Body Strength

Just like the Upper Body Strength day, this workout focused on compound exercises and used heavy weights to build strength and target fast-twitch muscle-fibers.

Sunday: Off – Recovery

Another rest day.

So when you put it the weight-gain nutrition plan and workout program together, this is what you get:

Monday: High Calorie / Upper Body Strength

Tuesday: Low Calorie / Hurricane Sprints

Wednesday: Low Calorie / Off

Thursday: Low Calorie / Hurricane Energy Circuit

Friday: High Calorie / Upper Body Hypertrophy

Saturday: High Calorie / Lower Body Strength

Sunday: Fast / Off

STRATEGY #6: USE STRATEGIC SUPPLEMENTS.

We like to say “Supplements are supplements.” In other words, they’re ingredients you add to a smart eating and training program. They don’t replace them.

Despite what the supplement ads say, no guy has ever built a good body by taking a weird powder with a stupid name and doing nothing else.

For this experiment, however, Dr. Berardi decided I should use a few supplements strategically to maximize the amount of muscle I could build on such a short time-frame. With only 28 days to gain 20 pounds, I had to look at every opportunity to take in more calories.

The following surely didn’t “make the difference”. But they did help.

Multivitamin: Helps fix small decencies of vitamins and minerals and enhance energy metabolism. I used Optimen Multivitamin.

Protein powder: Makes eating large quantities of protein easier. I used Optimum Gold Standard Casein (for my Breakfast Pudding) and Jay Robb Egg-White Protein (for my Super Shakes).

Vitamin D: Even though natural sunlight allows our body to create Vitamin D, many of us are still deficient, which can lead to loss of muscle strength and mass and low levels of immunity. I used Vitamin D3 by NOW.

Creatine monohydrate: Helps regenerate muscle energy stores and can improve strength, boost performance, and increase muscle mass. I used Biotest creatine monohydrate.

Liquid fish oil: A key source of omega-3 fatty acids that helps improve mood and motivation while boosting fat-burning and dampening inflammation. I used Carlson’s Very Finest Liquid Fish Oil.

BCAA capsules: Helps reduce the chance of muscle tissue breakdown while stimulating protein synthesis, leading to better recovery and preservation of lean muscle mass. I used Optimum BCAA capsules primarily on my fasting days.

Greens powder: Veggies, fruits, algaes and/or grasses that have been compacted and distilled into powdered form and contain vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytonutrients. All good things for a growing man. I used Biotest Superfood.

Peri-workout drink: Supplies essential amino acids to help re-build muscle and acts as a performance-enhancing stimulant. I used Purple Wraath by Controlled Labs.

Post-workout drink: A mixture of high-quality protein and fast-acting carbohydrates that helps your body recover and rebuild quickly. I used Universal Torrent.

The Weight Gain Menu – Weeks 1 and 2

Now that we know the strategies, let’s get to the actual menu.

HIGH CALORIE DAY (MONDAY, FRIDAY, SATURDAY)

Breakfast

Breakfast pudding

The following was all put into a blender and blended into a pudding.

2 frozen bananas, blended until creamy
1/4 cup of almond milk
3 scoops casein protein powder
2 squares high cacao chocolate

Side dish

4 pieces whole grain bread
2 Tbsp peanut or almond butter
2 Tbsp jam
multivitamin
3,000 IU vitamin D
1 tsp creatine in coffee or green tea

Immediately Pre-Workout

500ml water
10 grams BCAA’s

Sip During Workout

1L water with
1 scoop of workout drink

Immediately Post-Workout

1L water with
3 scoops post-workout drink

Post-Workout Meal

1.5lb any type of lean meat
3 cups of favorite veggies
½ cup sauerkraut*
2 large sweet or white potatoes
1 Tbsp Udo’s 3.6.9 oil

Anytime Meal

1lb any type of lean meat
3 cups of favorite veggies
½ cup sauerkraut*
2 servings of your favorite fruit
1 Tbsp fish oil

*Your body has a mixture of good and bad bacteria in it. Fermented foods like sauerkraut are rich in enzymes and help increase the amount of good bacteria in your intestines. You’ll notice my diet contained a cup of sauerkraut per day. That’s not in there by chance.

LOW CALORIE DAY (TUESDAY, WEDNESDAY, THURSDAY)

Breakfast

Breakfast pudding

2 frozen bananas, blended until creamy
1/4 cup of almond milk
3 scoops casein protein powder
2 squares high cacao chocolate

Side dish

2 pieces whole grain bread
1 Tbsp peanut or almond butter
1 Tbsp jam
multivitamin
3,000 IU vitamin D
1 tsp creatine in coffee or green tea

Lunch

1.5lb any type of fattier meat
3 cups of favorite veggies
1/4 cup mixed raw nuts
½ cup sauerkraut
1 large sweet or white potato
1 Tbsp Udo’s 3.6.9 oil

Dinner

1lb any type of fattier meat
3 cups of favorite veggies
½ cup sauerkraut
1 servings of your favorite fruit
1 Tbsp fish oil

FASTING DAY (SUNDAY)

I fasted every Sunday with the goal to reboot my insulin sensitivity and carb tolerance before another 6 days of big eating. The rules were simple:

Rule 1: Stop eating by 10pm on Saturday.

Rule 2: On Sunday, have 3 “meals” consisting of the following:

  • 1L water with 1/2 serving greens powder
  • 15g BCAA’s
  • 1 cup of green tea

Why have these fake meals? According to Dr. Berardi, we release a hormone called ghrelin about 30 minutes before our normal meal times, which stimulates hunger pangs and gets us ready for the upcoming meal.

So it was psychologically comforting to have some kind of eating routine. The BCAAs and greens powder made it feel like I was still “eating”, which helped curb those hunger signals. (Plus the BCAAs helped preserve my lean muscle mass.)

Also, the caffeine in green tea (or coffee) helped to liberate stored fats. This helped my body eat the “food” that was stored in my love handles instead of requiring me to actually have a meal.

Rule 3: Break the fast at 10pm Sunday night by eating 1 pound of any protein with 3-4 cups of veggies.

Nate Green's high calorie breakfast

Nate Green high calorie lunch

Nate Green dinner

The  Weight Gain Menu – Weeks 3 and 4

My menu on Weeks 3 and 4 followed the same base menu as above but we strategically added calories. In Week 3, we introduced a Super-Shake (basically a fancy protein shake) because by this time I was tired of chewing. Drinking a shake was much easier.

Here’s what we added:

WEEK 3 ADDITIONS

High-Calorie Day Super Shake (Monday, Friday, Saturday)

  • 8 oz unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 Tbsp heavy cream/whipping cream
  • 1 scoop protein powder
  • Handful frozen raspberries
  • Handful frozen blueberries

Low-Calorie Day Super Shake (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday)

  • 8 oz unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 oz coconut milk
  • 1 scoop protein powder
  • 2 Tbsp cacoa nibs or 99% chocolate
  • 1 Tbsp favorite nut butter

WEEK 4 ADDITIONS

We continued to add more food to my existing meals in Week 4.

Additions to High-Calorie days

  • 1 banana to my breakfast pudding (for a total of 3 bananas)
  • 1 chocolate square to my breakfast pudding (for a total of 3 chocolate squares)
  • 1 scoop Purple Wraath to my workout drink (for a total of 2 scoops)
  • 1 scoop Universal Torrent to my post-workout drink (for a total of 4 scoops)
  • 2 Tbsp nut butter to my breakfast toast side-dish (for a total of 4 Tbsp)
  • 1 Tbsp of jam to my breakfast toast side-dish (for a total of 2 Tbsp)
  • 2 Tbsp heavy cream to my Super Shake (for a total of 4 Tbsp)
  • 1 scoop protein to my Super Shake (for a total of 2 scoops)

Additions to Low-Calorie days

  • 1 banana to my breakfast pudding (for a total of 3 bananas)
  • 1 chocolate square to my breakfast pudding (for a total of 3 chocolate squares)
  • 1 Tbsp nut butter to my breakfast toast side-dish (for a total of 2 Tbsp)
  • 2 oz coconut milk to my Supe Shake (for a total of 4 oz)
  • 1 scoop protein to my Super Shake (for a total of 2 scoops)
  • 1 Tbsp chocolate to my Super Shake (for a total of 3 Tbsp)
  • 1 Tbsp nut butter to my Super Shake (for a total of 2 Tbsp)

These were seemingly small changes that made a big impact on how much weight I gained this week.

Workout Program – Week 1

MONDAY – UPPER BODY STRENGTH

Warm-up

3 sets jumping jacks x 10
3 sets pogo jumps x 50
3 sets of wide outs x 10
2 sets of 20 yard skips
2 sets of 20 yard side shuffle
2 sets of 20 yard carioca
2 sets of 20 yards backward run
1 set of fire hydrants x 8
1 set of forward hip circles x 8
1 set of backward hip circles x 8
1 set of side leg raise x 8
2 sets of band shoulder external rotation x 10
2 sets of band shoulder row x 10
2 sets of band shoulder extension x 10

Weights

Bench Press

Warm-up sets of 5 reps up to the weight of your 5RM (5 Rep Max)
Perform 5 sets of 5RM.

Weighted Chin-up

Warm-up set of 8 reps.
Second set with 25 pounds of 6.
Perform 4 sets of 6 reps with 6RM.

Weighted Dips

Warm-up set of 10 reps.
Second set with 30 pounds for 8.
Perform 4 sets of 8 reps with 8 RM.

Overhead Press

Perform 4 sets of 10 with 10RM.

Barbell Curls 

Perform 4 sets of 10 with 10RM.

Abs of your choice

(I did 3 sets of 8 reps of weighted crunches.)

TUESDAY – HURRICANE SPRINTS 

Warm-up

3 sets jumping jacks x 10
3 sets pogo jumps x 50
3 sets of wide outs x 10
2 sets of 20 yard skips
2 sets of 20 yard side shuffle
2 sets of 20 yard carioca
2 sets of 20 yards backward run
1 set of fire hydrants x 8
1 set of forward hip circles x 8
1 set of backward hip circles x 8
1 set of side leg raise x 8
5 sets of quick steps for 5 yards
5 sets of high knees for 5 yards

Hurricane Category 2

Round 1

Sprint on treadmill at 10 mph and 10% grade incline for 25 seconds.
Jump off treadmill and perform the following:

1 x 20 regular crunch
1 x 20 table-top crunch

Repeat from beginning for a total of 3 rounds.
Rest 2 minutes before moving on to Round 2.

Round 2

Sprint on treadmill at 11 mph and 10% grade incline for 20 seconds.
Jump off treadmill and perform the following:

1 x 20 knee-grab crunch

Repeat from beginning for a total of 3 rounds.
Rest 2 minutes before moving on to Round 3.

Round 3

Sprint on treadmill at 12 mph and 10% grade incline for 20 seconds.
Jump off treadmill and perform the following:

1 x 20 bicycle crunch

Repeat from beginning for a total of 3 rounds.

WEDNESDAY – OFF

THURSDAY – HURRICANE ENERGY CIRCUIT 

Warm-up

3 sets jumping jacks x 10
3 sets pogo jumps x 50
3 sets of wide outs x 10
2 sets of 20 yard skips
2 sets of 20 yard side shuffle
2 sets of 20 yard carioca
2 sets of 20 yards backward run
1 set of fire hydrants x 8
1 set of forward hip circles x 8
1 set of backward hip circles x 8
1 set of side leg raise x 8
5 sets of quick steps for 5 yards
5 sets of high knees for 5 yards

Training For Warriors Circuit 

Complete each station of the circuit for 1 minute for 5 total minutes. Rest for 3 minutes and repeat.  Rest for 3 minutes and perform the last round for 30 seconds each station.

1. Rope

Begin standing holding one end of the rope in each hand. Start by performing 10 double arm swings by bringing the arms up and down as violently as possible. Then perform 10 alternating swings by bringing each arm up and down one at a time. Then perform 10 rotations by bringing each arm up and out to the sides and back down. Once all 30 reps are completed as fast as possible, start back at the beginning for the allotted time.

2. Kettlebell Swing

Begin standing with the kettlebell in both hands. Swing the bell between the legs. Extend at the knees and hips and swing the bell forward to shoulder height.  Repeat for 10 reps.  Then perform 10 more reps using each arm (single-handed swings). Once the 30 reps are completed, start back at the beginning with two hands for the allotted time.

3. Medicine Ball Slams

Begin holding the medicine ball in both hands overhead. Fire the ball into the ground as hard as possible. Recover the ball and repeat for as many reps as possible in the allotted time.

4. Sledge Hammer Swings

Begin facing the tire with both feet forward holding the hammer. Bring the hammer back and over one side of the body and hit the tire as hard as possible. Return the hammer over the other side of the body and repeat for as many reps as possible in the allotted time.

5. Ladder

Begin standing inside of the ladder with both feet.  Jump and land with your feet outside of and forward one box. Jump your feet back into the box and repeat for the length of the ladder and back.  Once completed, begin running with high knees using one foot in each box, down and back the length of the ladder. Once this second set is finished, perform side steps through the ladder using two feet in each box down and back up the ladder.  Once the third set is completed, start at the beginning and complete as many reps in the allotted time possible.

FRIDAY – UPPER BODY HYPERTROPHY

Warm-up

3 sets jumping jacks x 10
3 sets pogo jumps x 50
3 sets of wide outs x 10
2 sets of 20 yard skips
2 sets of 20 yard side shuffle
2 sets of 20 yard carioca
2 sets of 20 yards backward run
1 set of fire hydrants x 8
1 set of forward hip circles x 8
1 set of backward hip circles x 8
1 set of side leg raise x 8
2 sets of band shoulder external rotation x 10
2 sets of band shoulder row x 10
2 sets of band shoulder extension x 10

Weights 

Close Grip Bench

Do 3 warmup sets of 5 reps.
Perform 4 sets of 8 with your 8 RM.

Cable High Pull

Do 4 sets of 10 reps after a warmup set.

Band Triceps Pushdown

Do 4 sets of 15 reps.

Cable Rows

Do 4 sets of 8 reps with 8RM.

Dumbbell Curls

Do 3 sets of 8 each arm.

Abs of your choice.

(I did 3 sets of 5 reps on each side of half-kneeling chops.)

SATURDAY – LOWER BODY STRENGTH

Warm-up

3 sets jumping jacks x 10
3 sets pogo jumps x 50
3 sets of wide outs x 10
2 sets of 20 yard skips
2 sets of 20 yard side shuffle
2 sets of 20 yard carioca
2 sets of 20 yards backward run
1 set of fire hydrants x 8
1 set of forward hip circles x 8
1 set of backward hip circles x 8
1 set of side leg raise x 8

Weights

45-degree back raise

Perform 1 set of 10 with bodyweight.
Perform 1 set of 8 with 25 pounds.
Perform 1 set of 8 with 45 pounds.
Perform 1 set of 8 with 70 pounds.

Barbell Squat

Do 3-4 warmup sets.
Perform 5 sets of 8 reps with 8RM.

Deadlift

Do 3-4 warmup sets.
Perform 5 sets of 8 reps with 8RM.

SUNDAY – OFF

WORKOUT PROGRAM – WEEK 2

MONDAY – UPPER BODY STRENGTH

Warm-up

Same as Week 1.

Weights

Bench Press

Warmup sets of 6 reps up to the weight of your 6RM.
Perform 5 sets of 6RM.

(The goal is to use heavier weight in last few sets than Week 1 at 5 reps.)

Weighted Chin-up

Warmup set of 8 reps.
Do second set with 25 pounds for 8 reps.
Perform 4 sets of 8 reps with 8RM.

(The goal is to use heavier weight in last few sets than Week 1 at 6 reps.)

Weighted Dips

Warmup set of 10 reps.
Do second set with 30 pounds for 10.
Perform 4 sets of 10 reps with 10RM.

(The goal is to use heavier weight in last few sets than Week 1 at 8 reps.)

Overhead Press

Perform 5 sets of 6 with 6RM.

Barbell Curls

Perform 5 sets of 8 with 8RM

Abs of your choice

(I did 3 sets of 10 weighted crunches.)

TUESDAY – HURRICANE SPRINTS 

Warm-up

Same as Week 1.

Round 1   

Sprint on treadmill at 9.5 mph x 10% grade for 25 seconds.
Jump off treadmill, grab a 65-pound barbell and do the following:

Push Jerks x 10
Close Grip Snatch x 8

Repeat from beginning for a total of 3 sets.
Rest 2 minutes before performing Round 2.

Round 2   

Sprint on treadmill at 10.5 mph x 10% grade for 25 seconds.
Jump off treadmill, grab a 65-pound barbell and do the following:

Wide Grip Bent Over Row x 10
High Pull x 10

Repeat from beginning for a total of 3 sets.
Rest 2 minutes before performing Round 3.

Round 3  

Sprint on treadmill at 11.5 mph x 10% grade for 25 seconds.
Jump off treadmill, grab a 65-pound barbell and do the following:

Biceps Curl x 10
Cleans x 10

Repeat from beginning for a total of 3 sets.
Curl into a ball and try not to throw up.

WEDNESDAY – OFF

THURSDAY – HURRICANE ENERGY CIRCUIT 

Warm-up

Same as Week 1.

Training For Warriors Circuit 

Complete each station of the circuit for 1 minute for 5 total minutes. Rest for 3 minutes and repeat. Rest for 3 minutes and perform the last round for 30 seconds each station.

1. Farmer’s Walk   

Begin standing holding a heavy dumbbells in each hand with the elbows extended. Walk for 20 yards down and back as many times as possible in the time allotted.

2. Sandbag Drag   

Begin facing the sandbag while gripping the bag with both hands.  Drag the bag backward for 20 yards, using a toe-heel foot contact. Repeat for the distance as many times as possible in the time allotted.

3. Hand-Over-Hand Rope Pull 

Begin standing with the single rope in each hand. Pull the rope to the hip with the far hand and then grab further down the rope with the opposite hand. Repeat for as many times as possible in the allotted time.

4. Prowler Push or Sled Push

Begin using the high grip on the Prowler. Taking as big of steps as possible, push it 20 yards. Run around to the other side and push it back using the low grip. Repeat for as much distance as possible in the allotted time.

5. Tire Flip 

Begin facing the tire. Bend down and grab both hands under the bottom rim. Using the legs, lift the tire onto one side while keeping the elbows extended.  Turn the hands over and push the tire down as hard as possible. Run to the opposite side of the tire and flip it back to the other side. Repeat for as many reps as possible in the allotted time.

FRIDAY – UPPER BODY HYPERTROPHY

Warm-Up

Same as Week 1.

Weights

Close Grip Bench

Do 3 warmup sets of 5 reps.
Perform 4 sets of 10 with your 10RM.

Cable High Pull

Do 4 sets of 8 reps after a warmup set.

Band Triceps Pushdown

Do 4 sets of 20 reps.

Cable Rows

Do 4 sets of 8 reps with 8RM.

Dumbbell Curls

Do 3 sets of 8 each arm.

Abs of your choice.

(I did 3 sets of 6 reps on each side of half-kneeling chops.)

SATURDAY – LOWER BODY STRENGTH

Warm-up

Same as Week 1.

Weights

45-degree back raise

Perform 1 set of 10 with bodyweight.
Perform 1 set of 8 with 25 pounds.
Perform 1 set of 8 with 45 pounds.
Perform 1 set of 8 with 90 pounds.

Barbell Squat

Do 3-4 warmup sets.
Perform 5 sets of 8 reps with 8RM.

Deadlift

Do 3-4 warmup sets.
Perform 5 sets of 8 reps with 8RM.

SUNDAY – OFF

WORKOUT PROGRAM – WEEK 3

MONDAY – UPPER BODY STRENGTH

Warm-up

Same as Weeks 1 and 2.

Weights

Band Bench Press

Warmup sets of 5 reps up to the weight of your 5RM.
Perform 5 sets of 5RM.

(I used mini-bands. Here’s a video of how they work.)

Alternating Grip Weighted Chin-up

(One hand using a overhand grip, and the other hand using an underhand grip.)

Warmup set of 8 reps. (4 reps with each grip.)
Do second set with 25 pounds for 8 reps. (4 reps with each grip.)
Perform 4 sets of 8 reps with 8RM. (4 reps with each grip.)

Weighted Dips

Warmup set of 6 reps.
Do second set with 40 pounds for 6 reps.
Perform 5 sets of 6 reps with 6RM.

Overhead Press

Perform 5 sets of 5 with 5RM.

Barbell Curls

Perform 4 sets of 8 with 8RM

Abs of your choice

(I did 3 sets of 10 of reverse crunches.)

TUESDAY – HURRICANE SPRINTS 

Warm-up

Same as Weeks 1 and 2.

Round 1   

Sprint on treadmill at 9.5 mph x 10% grade for 25 seconds.
Jump off treadmill, grab a 65-pound barbell and do the following:

High Pull x 10
Bent-over Row x 8

Repeat from beginning for a total of 3 sets.
Rest 2 minutes before performing Round 2.

Round 2   

Sprint on treadmill at 10.5 mph x 10% grade for 25 seconds.
Jump off treadmill, grab a 65-pound barbell and do the following:

Close-Grip Snatch x 10

Repeat from beginning for a total of 3 sets.
Rest 2 minutes before performing Round 3.

Round 3  

Sprint on treadmill at 11.5 mph x 10% grade for 25 seconds.
Jump off treadmill, grab a 65-pound barbell and do the following:

Cleans x 10

Repeat from beginning for a total of 3 sets.

WEDNESDAY – OFF

THURSDAY – HURRICANE ENERGY CIRCUIT 

Warm-up

Same as Weeks 1 and 2.

Training For Warriors Circuit 

Same exercises as Week 1 but with different time parameters  Complete each station of the circuit for 30 seconds for 2.5 total minutes. Rest for 1 minute and repeat. Do 4 total sets.

FRIDAY – UPPER BODY HYPERTROPHY

Warm-Up

Same as Weeks 1 and 2.

Weights

Incline Barbell Bench Press

Do 3 warmup sets of 5 reps.
Perform 4 sets of 10 with your 10RM.

One-Arm Dumbbell Row

Do 4 sets of 8 reps after a warmup set.

Cable Triceps Pushdown

Do 4 sets of 12 reps.

Bent-Over Reverse Fly with Dumbbells

Do 4 sets of 8 reps with 8RM.

Dumbbell Curls

Do 3 sets of 8 reps.

Abs of your choice.

(I did 3 sets of 8 reps on each side of half-kneeling chops.)

SATURDAY – LOWER BODY STRENGTH

Warm-up

Same as Weeks 1 and 2.

Weights

45-degree back raise

Perform 1 set of 10 with bodyweight.
Perform 2 sets of 8 with 45 pounds.
Perform 2 sets of 8 with 90 pounds.

Barbell Squat

Do 3-4 warmup sets.
Perform 5 sets x 6 of 6RM.

Deadlift

Do 3-4 warmup sets.
Perform 5 sets x 6 of 6RM.

SUNDAY – OFF

WORKOUT PROGRAM – WEEK 4

MONDAY – UPPER BODY STRENGTH

Warm-up

Same as Weeks 1, 2, and 3.

Weights

Band Bench Press

Warmup sets of 8 reps up to the weight of your 8RM.
Perform 5 sets of 8RM.

Weighted Pull-Up

Warmup set of 8 reps.
Do second set with 25 pounds for 8 reps.
Perform 3 sets of 6 reps with 40 pounds added.

Weighted Dips

Warmup set of 6 reps with 25 pounds added.
Do second set with 40 pounds for 6 reps.
Perform 5 sets of 6 reps with 80 pounds added.

Overhead Press

Perform 4 sets of 8 with 8RM.

Barbell Curls

Perform 4 sets of 10 with 10RM

Abs of your choice

(I did 3 sets of 12 of reverse crunches.)

TUESDAY – HURRICANE SPRINTS 

Warm-up

Same as Weeks 1, 2, and 3.

Round 1   

Sprint on treadmill at 10 mph x 10% grade for 30 seconds.
Jump off treadmill, and do the following with light weight:

Cable Row x 10
Cable Triceps Pressdown x 8

Repeat from beginning for a total of 3 sets.
Rest 2 minutes before performing Round 2.

Round 2   

Sprint on treadmill at 10.5 mph x 10% grade for 30 seconds.
Jump off treadmill, and do the following with light weight:

Cable High-Pull to Chin x 10

Repeat from beginning for a total of 3 sets.
Rest 2 minutes before performing Round 3.

Round 3  

Sprint on treadmill at 11.5 mph x 10% grade for 30 seconds.
Jump off treadmill, and do the following with light weight:

Cable Lat Pull-Down x 10

Repeat from beginning for a total of 3 sets.

WEDNESDAY – OFF

THURSDAY – HURRICANE ENERGY CIRCUIT 

Warm-up

Same as Weeks 1, 2, and 3.

Training For Warriors Circuit 

Same exercises as Week 2 but with different time parameters  Complete each station of the circuit for 30 seconds for 2.5 total minutes. Rest for 1 minute and repeat. Do 4 total sets.

FRIDAY – UPPER BODY HYPERTROPHY

Warm-Up

Same as Weeks 1, 2, and 3.

Weights

Incline Barbell Bench Press

Do 3 warmup sets of 5 reps.
Perform 4 sets of 6 with 6RM.

One-Arm Dumbbell Row

Do 4 sets of 8 reps after a warmup set.

Cable Triceps Pushdown

Do 4 sets of 10 reps.

Bent-Over Reverse Fly with Dumbbells

Do 3 sets of 10 reps.

Dumbbell Curls

Do 3 sets of 8 reps.

Abs of your choice.

(I did a basic plank for 3 sets of 30 seconds.)

SATURDAY – LOWER BODY STRENGTH

Warm-up

Same as Weeks 1, 2, and 3.

Weights

45-degree back raise

Perform 1 set of 10 with bodyweight.
Perform 2 sets of 8 with 45 pounds.
Perform 2 sets of 8 with 90 pounds.

Barbell Squat

Do 3-4 warmup sets.
Perform 5 sets x 10 of 10RM.

Deadlift

Do 3-4 warmup sets.
Perform 5 sets x 8 of 8RM.

SUNDAY – OFF

Girth, Body Fat, and Performance Metrics After Gaining 20 Pounds

Nate Green after muscle-building experiment

So let’s say Georges St Pierre wanted to put on 20 pounds to move up a weight class to fight Anderson Silva. (Granted, he probably wouldn’t do it in 28 days.)

What would happen to his performance? Would he get slow and fat? Or even more powerful and agile?

We can only speculate with GSP, but here’s what happened to me.

Baseline After Weight-Gain
Weight 169.6 190.2
Girth Measurements
Neck 15.25 15.38
Shoulder 48 49.25
Chest 41.5 44
Upper Arm 14.75 16
Waist 31.5 32.25
Hip 38 39.5
Thigh 23.13 24.25
Calf 15.5 15.38
Body Fat Measurements
Mid-Ax 2.8 3.8
Cheek 2.8 5.7
Chest 2.8 4.7
Ab 7.6 3.8
Subscap 5.7 7.6
Triceps 2.8 3.8
Suprailiac 2.8 4.7
Knee 5.7 2.8
Hamstring 3.8 4.7
Calf 9.5 6.7
Body Fat (%) 3.03 (probably ~6) 4.1 (probably ~7)

GIRTH MEASUREMENTS

Expected: We were confident every part of my body would increase in size, and for the most part, that was true.

Surprised: My calf measurements actually went down. We believe it had something to do with the resultant fat loss from doing the Hurricane sprint days.

BODY FAT PERCENTAGE

A quick note about the body fat test: We used calipers and a 10-site skinfold test. All measurement days were done at the Missoula Underground Strength Training Center and performed by trainer Mike Scialabba.

When testing body fat with calipers, there’s always a 2 – 3 percent margin of error. Mike, who’s done this same test on hundreds of his clients, ended up with skinfold measurements that indicated the obviously wrong numbers of 3.03 and 4.1 respectively. Adding a 3% margin of error, the real numbers were probably more like 6-7% and 8-9%.

All of this to say, my body fat percentage went up, but very minimally.

Surprised: I expected to gain more body fat than this (but was pleasantly surprised that I didn’t). Also, while most of my individual sites increased, there were a few that went down (ab, knee, calf). Those were three of the places that had the highest body-fat percentage on the initial Day 0 test.

And here are the performance metrics:

STRENGTH TEST: DEADLIFT MAXIMUM

Baseline: 405 pounds
After Weight Gain: 475 pounds

POWER TEST: VERTICAL JUMP

Baseline: 28 inches
After Weight Gain: 31.7 inches

STRENGTH ENDURANCE TEST: 225-POUND BENCH PRESS

Baseline: 8 reps
After Weight Gain: 15 reps

ENDURANCE TEST 1: MAX VELOCITY ON TREADMILL (VMAX)

Baseline: 9 minutes and 32 seconds of sprinting at 8mph, working up to an incline of 8%
After Weight Gain: 7 minutes and 38 seconds of sprinting at 8mph, working up to an incline of 6%.

ENDURANCE TEST 2: MAX TIME ON TREADMILL (T-MAX)

Baseline: 3 minutes and 11 seconds of sprinting at 8mph with 6% incline
After Weight Gain: 3 minutes and 14 seconds of sprinting at 8mph with 6% incline

STRENGTH/POWER/MUSCLE ENDURANCE TESTS

Expected: We expected to improve performance dramatically in all three of my non-endurance tests (vertical jump, 225-bench, max deadlift).

Surprised: No surprises here.

V-MAX AND T-MAX

Expected: I wasn’t too sure what to expect here, honestly. I felt like I was in better shape than on our baseline testing day, but I didn’t know if my short duration Hurricane sprint training (25 second sprints) would translate to better endurance.

Surprised: What surprised me about both the VMax and the TMax was that I actually felt like I had more endurance. However, I was much heavier and I felt it during the endurance testing. Perhaps I didn’t have enough time to adapt to my new body weight.

Now, this is something GSP may not have to deal with, since he’d likely gain weight over a longer period of time and his body would have more opportunity to adapt.

Closing Words

During each phase of my experiments, I pushed my body to its physiological limits.

I ate as much as I could for 28 days straight. I fasted for a full 24 hours multiple times. I purposefully dehydrated myself and robbed my body of water. I lifted heavy weights and sprinted as fast as I could.

I proved that it’s possible to for a regular guy to gain 20 pounds of (mostly) lean mass in a month. That it’s possible to then lose those 20 pounds in a week. And that it’s possible to gain them all back in a day.

In the process, I hope I’ve demystified the process of muscle building, weight cutting, and rehydration. In the end, there’s no voodoo and witchcraft here. Just the right advice, expert guidance, and a ton of hard work.

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For more about Nate and his writing, check out his blog. And for more on Dr. John Berardi and his work, check out Precision Nutrition.

Additional resources: You can download the entire weight-gain nutrition plan Nate used here: Muscle-Building Nutrition Plan. And you can download the entire training program he used here: Muscle-Building Workout Program.

A 24-Hour Guide to More Muscle and Energy

Reblogged from Nate Green’s blog here: http://www.scrawnytobrawny.com/bigger

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“Give me a one-page bullet-list of exactly what I should do. That’s worth more to me than a stack of books that I have to dig through to get to the good stuff. I may give you 50 bucks for the books. But I’ll pay you $5,000 for the one page.”

That’s a quote from Alwyn Cosgrove, a world-famous strength coach and entrepreneur. When he told me this a couple years ago, I remember thinking he was crazy. More money for less stuff? That’s stupid.

But now I see just how smart his statement is: Information is only as good as the action you take after reading it. 

If you want to get something done, it’s usually more effective to skim the book (or article or blog post), write down what you need to do, and start. In most cases, the one-page cheat sheet is more valuable than the book.

So that’s what we’re gonna do here. Consider this post your “how to build muscle and have more energy” cheat sheet. It’s simple, quick, and incredibly effective.

We know it’s effective because twice a year we open our S2B Coaching Program, and help hundreds of guys build muscular, athletic bodies. Over the course of the year-long program, their day ends up looking something like what we have here.

What to do in the Morning

Get your ass out of bed

Hitting the snooze alarm is a sign you aren’t getting enough sleep. But we’ll take care of that problem in a bit.

Right now, get out of bed when your alarm goes off. A new day is here. Do something with it before it dies.

Drink 20oz of water

Your muscles need water to grow. Your body needs water to live. Right now, you’re dehydrated. Before you get in the shower or do anything else, drink 20 oz of cold water.

You’ll have more energy immediately.

Drink a Super Shake

If you’re a skinny guy who wants to put on weight, you need food and you need it fast. If you know you’re not gonna cook breakfast, you need to make a protein-rich Super Shake instead.

Got a blender and 3 minutes? Good. Here’s your recipe:

  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 frozen banana (peel it the night      before and stick it in the freezer)
  • 1 handful fresh baby spinach (get the      pre-washed stuff at the grocery store)
  • 2 scoops chocolate protein powder
  • 1 huge spoonful of almond or peanut      butter

Blend on high. Drink.

Take your vitamins and fish oil

Even if you’re eating healthy whole foods, you can still have small deficiencies of certain vitamins and minerals, deficiencies that can slow your metabolism and impair your ability to build muscle. A multivitamin can help fix that.

Also, take 5 grams (1 teaspoon) of liquid fish oil. It’s full of omega-3′s which help improve mood and motivation. (We prefer liquid, but you can also use fish-oil caps.)

Have a little caffeine

A cup or two of black coffee or green tea can help increase athletic and mental performance.

Don’t like caffeine? No problem. Skip this step and make yourself some herbal tea or have another glass of water.

What to do at work/school

Drink 20oz of water

Get used to it right now, because drinking water is gonna be a recurring theme throughout your day. Invest in a slick reusable water bottle and keep it wherever you spend the most time throughout your day. (But please don’t carry around a two-gallon milk jug of water. That’s just looks ridiculous.)

Have a Muscle Snack

The rules: protein, fat, veggies.

Food ideas: hardboiled eggs, salami, beef jerky, tuna salad, mixed nuts, peanut butter, protein powder, baby carrots, sliced bell pepper, grape tomatoes, celery, berries, apple.

No bullshit energy bars or any kind of granola, as they’re usually loaded with sugar and unpronounceable ingredients

What to do at lunch

Eat a Muscle Lunch

Your normal sandwich and chips isn’t gonna cut it.

In S2B we hate measuring food and counting calories. Instead, we like to use hand measurements to determine how much food to eat. (Why? Well, you may not have a food scale, but you probably have a hand. We hope.)

So take a look the palm of your hand. Act like you’re cupping some water that you don’t want to run through your fingers. To build muscle, you need at least 2 palms of protein (chicken, fish, beef, etc).

Now make a fist. You need 2 fists of vegetables and 1 fist of starchy carbohydrates like sweet potato, qunioa, or pasta.

Still a little confused? Check out the photo below for one of our recent Muscle Lunch meals. Make your meal look like that. Then eat it.

(Lunch tip from Nate: I almost never make my own lunch. I’ve tried before, but it’s just too time-consuming in the middle of the day. That’s why I usually have a few pre-made meals from Whole Foods ready to go.)

Read something

Yeah, this doesn’t really have anything to do with building muscle, but if you’re eating by yourself, you gotta have some reading material. And if you’re eating lunch with friends, put down your phone (or book) and have a conversation. No texting or Facebook stalking. Enjoy your meal.

Drink 20oz of water

Yes, again.

What to do in the afternoon

Have another muscle snack

Stick with the above rules or try our Easy Protein Pudding.

  • 1 and 1/2 cups of Greek yogurt
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1 handful of raw mixed nuts
  • 2 squares of 70% or higher dark      chocolate

Stir the hell out of it with a spoon and eat.

Drink 20oz of water

You knew it was coming.

Plan your next day

This is another thing that doesn’t really have anything to do with building muscle. But it will help you be more productive and successful.

  1. Write down all the important stuff you      need to do tomorrow. Work stuff, personal stuff, everything.
  2. Set a specific time      to actually do it.

It may seem like a small, inconsequential step, but it’s incredibly powerful. Now that all your tasks and plans are out of your head and on paper with a corresponding time, you no longer have to stress out about them. It’s taken care of. Move on with your day.

What do to in the Evening

De-stress for 20 minutes

Most guys know how to go full-steam but have no idea how to chill out and calm down. Their bodies are in a constant “fight or flight” mode, their nervous system working on overdrive.

In S2B, we have our clients pick one calming task — meditate, nap, read, go for a walk, stretch, listen to relaxing music, sit in a room and do nothing — and do it every day for at least 20 minutes.

This gives their sympathetic (fight or flight) nervous system a break and allows their parasympathetic (rest and digest) nervous system to take over.

The rules: no phones, computers, or outside distractions for at least 20 minutes.

Eat a Muscle Dinner

Same rules as the Muscle Lunch.

  • 2 palms of protein
  • 2 fists of vegetables
  • 1 fist of starchy carbohydrates

Pick different foods and maybe throw in some fruit on the side.

Drink 20oz of water

You know the drill.

Be social

Surround yourself with cool, positive people.  Remember: You’re the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with. So don’t hang out with assholes.

Have sex

I mean, why not?

Follow your sleep ritual

You have a sleep ritual, right? No? Here, follow ours:

  1. No caffeine after 2PM.
  2. Turn off your TV and computer an hour      before bed.
  3. Make yourself some decaf tea, listen to      soft music, and read something light.
  4. Turn off all phones and gadgets and put      them in another room.
  5. Set your bedroom temperature to 67-70F      [19-21C.] (Ever try to sleep while sweaty? It sucks.)
  6. Take an Epsom salts bath before bed.      (The magnesium will help you sleep.)
  7. Have a small pre-bed meal. (Try cottage      cheese mixed with chopped apple, and a spoonful of peanut butter.)

Sleep for 7 hours

Getting at least 7 hours of sleep will help your body recover from your workouts, rejuvenate your brain, and improve your life.

Getting less than 7 hours can slow muscle growth and reduce brain power.

Repeat every day

Because this stuff won’t work if you just do it every now and then.

 

What about the workout program?

We left out exercise on purpose. Why?

When you’re trying to build muscle, working out isn’t as important as you may have been led to believe. 

I mean, yeah, you have to do something in the gym a few days per week. You have to stimulate your muscle fibers and give them a reason to grow and get stronger.

But if you’re more focused on what to do for the one hour you’re in the gym instead of what to do for the other 23 hours of the day, you’re simply not going to build the kind of body you want. Trust us, we’ve been there.

In the S2B Coaching Program, our guys follow our progressive workout program designed specifically for building muscle fast. But the workout program is only a small part of how we help them build a badass body.

Remember: It’s what you do outside of the gym that matters.

Of course, we can’t leave you hanging. So as long as you’re following the below rules when you work out, you’ll be good to go:

  • Train 3-4 times per week.
  • Use compound exercises.
  • Go as heavy as you can with good form.
  • Drink a post-workout shake of      fast-acting carbohydrates and protein.

 

30 Things I Wish I Would Have Known Before I Turned 30

Reblogged from Nate Green’s Scrawny to Brawny blog: http://www.scrawnytobrawny.com/30-things-about-life

Written by Martin Rooney, the creator of the Training For Warriors system and a pioneer of strength and conditioning for the martial arts.

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1. I wish I spent more time deciding what I really wanted from life.

Figure out your passion and purpose. Don’t wait until 30 to find that out. Chances are the guys that figured it out earlier already have the dream house, the dream job, and the dream girl.

2. I wish I would have known protein was essential for post workout nutrition.

I went from just water and no eating, to carb-only “sports” drinks. I know I would have had way better results if current science had been available. A Gatorade just doesn’t cut it.

3. I wish I would have been more excited for other people’s success.

This will get you ahead faster than only being excited for your own success. Take time to hear what people think. You won’t ever get called a jerk for listening too much.

4. I wish I would have had a full length mirror in my house.

Then I would have known I had to train my legs, too. To think of all the times I did biceps curls instead of squats…

5. I wish I had paid attention to the effect food had on me.

Some foods made me drowsy and others gave me a throat full of phlegm. I thought it was “normal.” Now I replaced that word with “allergy.” Start figuring how foods you eat are affecting you.

6. I wish I would have known girls are more attracted to guys who have fun.

Guys who try to look big and tough miss out.

7. I wish I would have learned to keep my house and car neat.

Someday a girl is going to come to one of them and care about chewed fingernails and the stain on your pillow case. Protein bottles in the back? They smell worse than you think they do.

8. I wish I got rid of things faster.

Once your favorite t-shirt has more holes than a Tiger Woods alibi, it’s time to let it go. Same goes for the old sneakers you’ll never wear again. Same thing with resentment and ill-will.

9. I wish I would have saved more money.

Get a financial planner, an IRA going, and invest. Don’t wait until you’re married and someone else is counting on you. And regardless if you have much money or not, put some away now. Learn the Law of 7 and the idea of compounding interest.

10. I wish I would have learned that driving 20-30 miles doesn’t make a bar any better.

Odds are the bar in your town will be just as fun. And your chances of trouble (DUI, etc.) go way down.

11. I wish I would have known what kinds of food weren’t good for me.

Most labels with “Light,” “Healthy,” or “part of a nutritious diet” are really just trying to cover up how crappy the food actually is.

12. I wish I followed my instincts more.

Listen to that knot in your gut. If you think she might not be the right girl, she probably isn’t. Same goes for your job. Of all the voices you hear, your own may be the wisest and hardest to listen to.

13. I wish I had been more coachable.

Welcome feedback and understand that criticism is positive. Just like rubbing alcohol on a scrape, it will be painful at first. But you’ll be better off cleaning strategic areas of your life.

14. I wish I would have written down exactly what I wanted.

Spend more time planning where you’re going in life than planning where you are going on Friday night.

15. I wish I started my “private” university earlier.

Build your personal library and read. 20 pages a night 5 days a week turns into 100 books in 5 years. 100 books in 5 years can turn you into an expert…in anything.

16. I wish I would have know there was a rotator cuff, feet muscles, neck muscles, hip adductors and abductors.

I would have worked on those more.

17. I wish I had learned the true power of a thank you.

Since I’ve adopted an authentic “attitude of gratitude,” my life has been much smoother. Hint: send a card or gift to someone that deserves it today.

18. I wish I had not been “too busy” for my parents.

When you get older, get a real job, and get married, you only have less time for your parents. Realize that they’re people, just like you. And that they’re actually pretty smart and fun to be around.

19. I wish I used my “down time” better.

Speaking of “too busy,” never say that you are. 24 hours is enough time to get stuff done and still have fun.

20. I wish I was less concerned with what everyone else thought about me.

I now know a thick skin isn’t just important for your hands and working out. It’s important for life and not caring about other people’s opinions of you. The fastest way to be unhappy is to worry about making everybody else happy and not staying true to yourself.

21. I wish I would have laughed more.

Make sure to laugh everyday. Learn to speak the language of “serious fun.” As it implies, get the serious stuff done…but make sure you have your share of fun and play, too.

22. I wish I would have quit some things faster.

Know when to quit things. Although it may seem counterintuitive, there are people, situations, and places where you are spending your time that aren’t serving you. Quit them.

23. I wish I would have defined my values earlier.

Decide what you stand for. If you don’t stand for much, you’ll fall for anything.

My first jobs, workouts, and girlfriends were because other people said they would be good for me. Make that choice for yourself and you won’t develop a weak set of knees when the time comes to stand up for yourself.

24. I wish I didn’t let other people’s expectations hold me back.

Eight words to remove from your vocabulary: “What will people say? What will people think?”

25. I wish I had gossiped less.

Build people up to their face and don’t talk to people behind their back. It only leads to trouble.

26. I wish I had trained around injury better.

Your body has incredible recuperative powers. Don’t let injuries or time off hold you back. And remember, even if you took time off, it’s never too late to start again toward fitness.

27. I wish I would have treated my body like my car.

In other words, don’t just pay attention to your body when there’s a problem. Also, make sure you are putting the right things in the gas tank. Just because it looks good on the outside doesn’t mean everything is good on the inside.

28. I wish I had “kept in touch” better.

Don’t let more than three months go by without staying in touch with the important people in your network.

29. I wish I had built my network even faster.

Surround yourself with people more fit, successful, and wealthy than you are. Just like the tide, you will rise or fall according to the influential bodies around you.

30. I wish I would have realized that the world is “service” oriented.

Serve others. You’ll learn as you get older that it’s not about what you get, but what you give back that really counts.

 

 

Hack Your Hormones: 5 Natural Shortcuts For More Sex, More Muscle, and More Power

Reblogged from Scrawny to Brawny here: http://www.scrawnytobrawny.com/hack-your-hormones

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Learn how to safely and naturally manipulate your hormone levels (including testosterone) with 5 simple workout, nutrition, and lifestyle tips.

The Sex Education That Wasn’t

I have fleeting memories of my junior high “sex education” class: A well-meaning but clueless PE teacher, complicated chalkboard diagrams of various glands and body parts, and lots of penis jokes followed by hysterical laughter. (We were 13, what do you expect?)

Yeah, we were just a bunch of prepubescent boys about to enter a period in our lives where much of our existence would be governed by hormones. Too bad we had no idea what the heck was going on or what the teacher was talking about.

We’re older now, but most guys still don’t understand the chemicals flowing through their blood — or how they can naturally manipulate those hormones to become bigger and better men.

This article will give you a quick primer on the things you need to know — and how to put that knowledge into action immediately with our Top 5 Hormone-Boosting Tips.

What The Heck Is a Hormone?

Hormones are like tiny chemical messengers that transmit information from one part of the body to another. Most hormones are produced by glands located throughout the body and are collectively known as the “endocrine system.”

Once the gland produces their respective hormones, these hormones are secreted into the bloodstream where they travel to all parts of the body looking for particular cells.

Each cell has receptor sites (imagine a locked door) for specific hormones (imagine the matching key), which can open and enter the cell. Once inside, the hormone goes to work flipping on and off switches that govern pretty much every function in the body.

Hormones don’t last forever and must be made and released at precise times to maintain optimal balance within the body.

4 Hormones To Hack

So here’s where the fun comes in: you can easily and safely “hack” your endocrine system and strategically influence certain hormones and use them to your advantage to help you build more muscle, increase your sex drive, and generally feel more powerful.

The hormones we’ll focus on are testosterone, growth hormone (GH), insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), and insulin.

For easy and quick reading, the most important points are bolded. If you want to skip the science, just skim down and read the section, “Top 5 Ways To Naturally Boost Your Hormones.”

Testosterone

Testosterone is a steroid hormone that has androgenic and anabolic effects in both men and women. It’s considered the daddy of all hormones and has many important functions like regulating libido, energy, bone health, immune function and muscular development.

Special cells in the testes convert cholesterol into testosterone when they get a signal from the hypothalamus and pituitary glands. Testosterone is then secreted in a circadian pattern. Though no two guys have the same cyclical pattern, it’s safe to assume that for most guys, testosterone levels peak early in the morning and slowly tapers off as the day progresses.

Growth Hormone and Insulin-Like Growth Factor-1

The pituitary gland makes and secretes growth hormone (GH) in a pulsating manner, much like testosterone. However, unlike testosterone, GH levels peak at night with a big spike in the first couple of hours of sleep and smaller spikes every four hours or so.

Once GH enters the bloodstream it positively affects metabolic functions, glycogen production, protein synthesis, fat metabolism and structural elements such as bone and cartilage. Perhaps the coolest thing GH does is to stimulate the production of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1). IGF-1 triggers a chain of events that ultimately make your muscles grow.

It appears that GH mostly impacts the fat burning process, while IGF-1 mostly impacts muscle growth. So GH and IGF-1 working together lead to the greatest results in looking better.

Insulin

Insulin is a hormone secreted in low levels by the pancreas and will spike proportionately in response to increased blood sugar levels, usually following the ingestion of food and/or beverages. As the level of blood sugar subside so do insulin secretion levels.

Once insulin is in the blood it transports nutrients like glucose, amino acids and fatty acids into tissue cells. If these nutrients are shuttled into muscle cells, then the muscles will grow. Conversely, if these nutrients are shuttled into fat cells, then body fat increases.

The key is to get insulin to store more of the nutrients into the muscle cells and less into the fat cells by increasing insulin sensitivity in the muscle cells while decreasing insulin sensitivity in the fat cells. Doing this turns insulin into a powerful anabolic hormone.

Top 5 Ways To Naturally Boost Your Hormones

Here are the top five strategies you can do today to hack your body and improve the levels of anabolic hormones flowing through your veins:

1. Get 7-9 hours of sleep every night.

To place the body into an anabolic (muscle-building) state, adequate sleep is essential. While you’re sleeping, protein metabolism occurs at a more proficient rate, mainly due to a big spike in GH release within the first hour or so of sleep. Then, smaller bursts of GH are secreted about every four hours. The more sleep you get, the more GH you produce.

On the other end, a lack of sleep contributes to an increase in cortisol production, a catabolic, muscle-damaging hormone, which will lower testosterone levels. Not good.

 

2. Do stress-reducing activities like meditation or yoga every day.

The modern way of life that most of us have become accustomed to also creates a constant, high degree of daily stress. Being overly stressed will quickly increase cortisol levels, cause testosterone levels to plummet and decreases the secretion of GH. Doing a daily stress-reducing activity will allow you to manage daily stress and minimize any negative effects.

 

3. Perform regular, high-intensity exercise with short rest periods.

Compound, multi-joint exercises (think squats, lunges, pull-ups, and presses) at high-intensity with minimal rest between sets increases GH, IGF-1 and testosterone secretion. The release of this hormonal trifecta is proportionate to intensity. The more intense a workout, the more anabolic hormone is released.

The daily frequency and amplitude of these hormones will increase when this type of exercise is followed consistently. (That means you gotta make it to the gym and actually follow your program!) This will allow more anabolic hormones to pulsate through your blood more frequently throughout the day.

 

4. Drink a protein/carbohydrate drink within an hour after working out.

The post-workout drink is arguably the most important “meal” of the day for anyone looking to build muscle. High-quality, fast digesting protein consumption immediately after a workout allows for the proper “building blocks” to be in plentiful supply.

Adding some carbs into the mix will create an insulin spike that will shuttle all of those muscle-building nutrients directly into the muscle cells, jumpstarting the repair and regrowth process.

 

5. Eliminate or significantly reduce your intake of caffeine, alcohol, nicotine and other drugs.

If you want to be super-anabolic, you need to stop or seriously reduce the amount of alcohol, caffeine and other drugs you take.

Alcohol interferes with protein synthesis, dramatically reduces testosterone levels, decreases GH secretion and lowers insulin sensitivity causing nutrients to be delivered into fat cells rather than muscle cells. Caffeine and other drugs will elevate cortisol levels, which drive down testosterone production as previously mentioned.

(It doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy some coffee or a beer a few times per week; it just means you need to be aware of the potential effects.)

Warning: 3 Things That NEGATIVELY Affect Your Hormones

Now that we’ve gone over 5 things you can do to naturally boost your hormones, let’s quickly talk about 3 things that can negatively affect your hormones.

Interestingly, the factors that decrease insulin sensitivity in the muscle cells and suppress testosterone, GH, IGF-1 levels are essentially the same.

Here are the top three things to avoid:

Stress

Overtraining, sporadic or poor sleep patterns, lack of quality nutrition, excess alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, drug use and environmental stressors are all forms of stress that will cause the body to limit testosterone, GH and IGF-1 production, decrease insulin sensitivity in the muscle cells and in turn increase stress hormones like cortisol and epinephrine A.K.A. adrenaline.

Aging

All right, so you can’t really avoid this. But it’s good that you know this, too. GH and testosterone level drop significantly around age 30 and will continue to drop by as much as 10% every decade thereafter. This will decrease insulin sensitivity and decreased insulin sensitivity can escalate the aging process leading to a vicious downward spiral.

(Note: even though we’re getting older, hope is not lost. You can still boost your natural hormones significantly by following our 5 Tips above.)

Extra Body Fat

Extra body fat will cause insulin to shuttle more nutrients into fat cells. (Which you don’t want.) Also, extra body fat throws the optimal testosterone and estrogen ratio out of whack causing more testosterone to be converted into estrogen. Just another reason to stay relatively lean.

Your Homework: Follow The Top 5

Now that you have a basic knowledge of the hormones that make you a man, try following our top 5 tips. Don’t worry about trying to follow them all at once, however. That’s how plans fail.

Instead, pick just one strategy from below — the one that sounds the easiest to you — and practice it for two weeks without missing a day.

Give it a few days and you may just feel like a brand new man.

  • Get at least 7-9 hours of sleep every      night.
  • Do a stress-reducing activity like      meditation or yoga every day.
  • Perform regular, high-intensity exercise      with short rest periods.
  • Drink a protein/carbohydrate drink      within an hour after working out.
  • Eliminate or significantly reduce your      intake of caffeine, alcohol, nicotine and other drugs.

 

About the Author: Calvin Buhler is a Scrawny to Brawny Coach. You can find him on Facebook.  

 

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Six Rules for Success

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Six Rules for Success:

1) Trust Yourself

2) Break The Rules

3) Don’t Be Afraid to Fail

4) Don’t Listen to the Naysayers

5) Work Your Butt Off

6) Give Something Back