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the biggest bodybuilders

Bodybuilders continually demonstrate what’s possible with the human form. These are individuals who devote their entire lives to improving their physical appearance through hours at the gym and rigorous dieting. However, it’s more than just pumping iron and sticking to an extremely strict diet. It’s about being able to look in the mirror and openly understand what needs improving.

The best bodybuilders in the world know their strengths and their weaknesses at the same time.

When looking at the biggest bodybuilder in the world, it comes down to not only the overall importance of the individual but also the sheer size of their muscles.

These muscles are not artificially inflated with silicone implants. It’s pure muscle fiber.

So whether you’re looking to emulate one of the biggest bodybuilders in the world or you’re just curious, here are some of the top professionals, at one time or another, in the industry.

The Biggest Bodybuilders:

lou ferigno

Lou Ferrigno

In many ways, Lou had a very similar career path as Arnold. He doesn’t have the same kind of IMDB acting credits, nor did he become the governor of a state, but from bodybuilding to acting, Lou and Arnold stand above most others in the industry. His name recognition and his impact on pop culture is what puts him on this list.

Lou often trained with Arnold Schwarzenegger. He also directly competed with Arnold on many occasions. One of the most famous documentaries on the sport of bodybuilding is the 1975 film Pumping Iron.

The movie focused on Lou’s attempt to defeat Arnold Schwarzenegger at the 1974 Mr. Olympia competition. In the competition, Arnold finished first and Lou second. However, the film helped propel him to stardom, both within the industry and outside of it.

His first win came in 1971 when he took home first place in the Pro Mr. America WBBG Teen award. In 1973, he won the IFB Mr. America Overall Winner and then won Mr. Universe two years in a row (1973 and 74). He never won Mr. Olympia though. Following his second-place finish to Arnold in 1974, he finished third in 1975.

He did take nearly two decades off while he acting (and even play in the Canadian Football League) before returning to competition in 1992. In 1994, he finished in the Olympia Masters competition.

Outside of Arnold, he has maybe the largest filmography on the list. He played Hercules in the 1983 movie Hercules, and later its sequel, The Adventures of Hercules. He is probably most famous for his role as “The Hulk” in The Incredible Hulk TV show, that ran from 1978 to 1982. He also played The Hulk in several live-action movies between 1977 and 1990.

Due to his appearance as The Hulk for 13 years, he’s forever connected with the role. That has led him to appear in many of the more recent movies. He had a cameo role in 2003’s Hulk, in which he plays a security guard with Stan Lee (the creator of The Hulk). He had a voice cameo in 2008’s The Incredible Hulk and has provided voice collaboration work for every current Marvel movie the Hulk has appeared in.

In addition to playing the Hulk, Lou Ferrigno played himself for 20 episodes on the television comedy The King of Queens, starring Kevin James.

Kenneth Wheeler

Kenneth, better known as “Flex,” may just be the most athletic individual on this list. There’s a reason why he picked up the nickname “Flex” (he was also known as “The Sultan of Symmetry). He started originally in the world of martial arts but gravitated to weight training. Even after he retired from his professional career, he would commonly say in interviews he was a martial artist first and a bodybuilder second.

Many bodybuilders, due to their sheer size, do not have the greatest flexibility. Flex proved to be unlike most other professionals as he could perform the splits during an open competition.

During his 10 years professional career, he took home a number of titles. His first being the 1993 Ironman Pro Invitational, the Arnold Schwarzenegger Classic, the Grand Prix France and the Grand Prix Germany, all in 1993.

He never won Mr. Olympia, finishing second in 1999 and third in 2000. His last first-place finish came in 2000 with the Hungarian Grand Prix. He did briefly come out of retirement in 2017 (at the age of 51) to compete in the Mr. Olympia Classic Physique competition.

kai greene

Kai Greene

Kai is one of the more recent bodybuilding professionals. He won the 2016 Arnold Classic (on top of the 2016 Arnold Classic Australia and Arnold El Clasico Brazil) and finished second in the Mr. Olympia competitions three straight years, from 2012 to 2014. He started competing in 1994 and took home first place in the 1996 WNBF Pro Natural Worlds.

He later won first at the 1999 NPC Team Universe Championship. He has won numerous New York Pro championship titles (he is from Brooklyn).

Like many current bodybuilders, Kai has started to work his way into the world of acting. Fans of the Netflix original show “Stranger Things” may recognize him as the actor who played Funshine in season two.

Phillip Heath

In terms of the most dominant bodybuilding professionals of the modern era, it’s hard to find anyone else with the resume of Phil Heath.

He has won seven straight Mr. Olympia competitions, which alone is extremely impressive. In many ways, he has a similar physique to Arnold in that he does not have one muscle group substantially larger than the rest. He’s nearly perfectly proportionate.

It’s important to note the current record for consecutive Mr. Olympia titles is eight, so it’s possible he ties this number within the next year)

Phillip doesn’t take part in as many competitions as other professionals might. He almost exclusively takes part in Mr. Olympia. Of course, he has taken home first place in every single competition since the 2010 Mr. Olympia, in which he finished second. That’s 10 straight first-place finishes.

The lowest he ever placed in any professional competition dates back to the 2009 Mr. Olympia and the 2007 Arnold Classic, in which he finished fifth.

So while Phillip Heath’s name hasn’t been around as some of the other professionals on this list, in terms of sheer dominance, nobody else outside of possibly the top position on our list can compete with Phillip’s track record.

By the time his career is done though, he may go down as the most prolific bodybuilder in the history of the sport.

Lee Haney

Speaking of Mr. Olympia titles, Lee Haney is one of the two men who currently have eight Mr. Olympia titles. He’s tied with the individual at the top of our list (we didn’t completely rank each of these individuals in order, but we did want to save the best for last).

He won his first bodybuilding title in 1979 with the Teen Mr. America and the Teen Mr. America Tall awards. He won the 1982 Junior Nationals Heavyweight and Overall award in 1982, as well as the Nationals Heavyweight and Overall and the World Amateur Championship Heavyweight, awards the same year.

His first professional competitive award came the following year at the Grand Prix Las Vegas. In 1983, he took part in his first Mr. Olympia competition, for which he placed third. The next eight times he participated in Mr. Olympia he took home the top prize.

Greg Valentino

Greg doesn’t have the same kind of name recognition as some of the other major titans in the bodybuilding industry. However, he is known for having the largest biceps in the world. He said he slowly reached his peak size with 25 years of continual training. At the pinnacle of his training, his biceps measured out to between 27 and 28 inches.

You probably know people who don’t even have a waist that large. While he doesn’t have the same kind of professional titles as some of the others on this list when we’re talking about the biggest, Greg Valentino is someone you need to include.

Gunter Schlierkamp

Gunter Schlierkamp

Gunter has said many times he based much of his bodybuilding regimen on that of Arnold Schwarzenegger (he started professionally competing about 25 years after Arnold left the sport to focus more on acting). Gunter is also another one of the famous German bodybuilders on this list.

He competed professionally for 16 years. In 1990, he won the German Championship “Overall Winner” award and the German Championship Junior Tall awards in 1990.

He won the European Amateur Championship and the German Championship in 1992, then the World Amateur Championship in 1993. He placed favorably in most of his competitions throughout the years and then won the 2002 GNC Show of Strength award.

Nonbodybuilding fans may recognize Gunter as “Schlemmer” from the movie Beerfest.

Markus Ruhl

Markus is another professional in the long line of German professional bodybuilders. There’s a reason why Indiana Jones had his butt handed to him by a German mechanic in Raiders of the Lost Ark (only to be saved by an airplane propeller). Markus competed in a number of major competitions over the course of his career.

Many of the biggest names in bodybuilding competed against one another, so finishing off first didn’t always happen (unless your name is Ronnie Coleman, who we’ll cover in just a bit). However, he did take home the 2000 Toronto Pro and the 2002 Night of Champions titles.

If you’re interested in checking in on some of Markus’ workouts, he did star in a handful of different training videos over the years, including XXXL-Big Beyond Belief, Made in Germany, Big and Loving It and Ruhling 4 Ever. So check those out if you’d like more insights on Markus.

Arnold Schwarzenegger

In terms of body size, plenty of other bodybuilders surpassed that of Arnold. However, Arnold is on this list because he really popularized bodybuilding. He did more for the sport than most of the other professionals combined.

Few outsides of the industry pay close attention to bodybuilding. Because Arnold transitioned from professional bodybuilding to career actor, it shed light on the sport.

Arnold initially competed in powerlifting before making the switch to bodybuilding. He won his first bodybuilding competition in 1965 as Junior Mr. Europe before winning the 1967 Mr. Universe amateur award.

The following three years he won the pro-Mr. Universe, and then won six straight Mr. Olympia competitions, followed by a seventh in 1980. In total, he won 19 first place bodybuilding awards.

Arnold didn’t have the largest muscles or individual muscle group, but his complete physique helped him dominate the industry in the 1970s.

Some of his competitive stats included 22-inch arms, 57-inch chest, 28.5-inch thighs, 20-inch calves and a 34-inch waist.

Ronnie Coleman

In terms of sheer dominance within the industry, you’re not going to find anyone else who can stand up to Ronnie Coleman. With 26 total titles, he has more International Federation of BodyBuilding (IFBB) championships and wins than anyone else in the history of the sport.

If you’re creating a Mount Rushmore of bodybuilding, Ronnie’s face is certainly going to be on the list.

Bodybuilding is unlike any other sport in the world. It’s both part extreme physical fitness and part pageant. The combination of the two sets it apart from anything else out there (although you might find soccer players who seem to think their sport is a beauty pageant). It takes hard work to obtain the physical appearance of each and every one of these individuals.

 

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However, as they have proven, it’s not impossible.

So if you’re interested in building a body like one of these pros (and former professionals), feel free to look up the desired bodybuilder to find out how he worked out.

And if you’re comfortable with your own body, at the very least you can marvel at how incredible the human body is.

-Terry Asher

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10 things that happen when you stop having sexSex is good for you. Plain and simple, we all know it. It has many health benefits for your body, From promoting better sleep to a stronger immune system to burning calories and boosting our mood, relieving anxiety and stress – getting some is good for you in many ways. Not to mention, its fun (most of the time) and feels good.

So, what’s the problem?

Why would anyone want to give up sex?

Of course, that also means that not having sex can create some negative changes for both men and women.

Whether you are experiencing a dry spell in your life or you’ve decided to go sex free for some reason, there are some changes to be aware of once you start experiencing some lack in the sack (in no particular order) ……..

What Happens When You Stop Having Sex

Your Stress/Anxiety Levels Increase

This one is a no-brainer. Having sexual intercourse releases all those feel-good things that make you feel warm and fuzzy. Thanks to the release of endorphins and the “love chemical” oxycontin.

The bio-chemicals acetylcholine and dopamine AKA endorphins, have a similar chemical structure to morphine, which is probably why it makes you feel so good. In fact, endorphin production can increase 200% from the beginning to the end of sexual activity.

Can I get a drip?

They also help reduce stress/anxiety and boost confidence. Oxytocin is a hormone and a neurotransmitter that is involved in childbirth, sex, etc.. It is also associated with empathy, trust, sexual activity, and relationship-building.

It is sometimes referred to as the “love hormone,” or “love drug” because levels of oxytocin increase during hugging (hey you can still hug it out) and orgasm. So, therefore, the lack of these chemicals will result in an increase of stress.

 Your Immune System Can Weaken

The lack of activity in the sack can actually cause you to become more susceptible to sickness. Want to avoid getting cold?

Have more sex!

Seriously though, if you are no longer getting busy regularly, then you are no longer getting those benefits, and you may be more prone to illnesses and infections that your immune system would otherwise fight off.

The Risk of Prostate Cancer Increases

For men – this is no joke. Sexual intercourse for men helps reduce the chances of developing prostate cancer.

How so?

Well, studies have shown that whenever a male does not have sex or ejaculate often, inflammatory cells can gather in the seminal vesicles adjacent to the prostate gland, which over time can lead to cancer.

So, no orgasms and possibly death…No thanks.

 You Won’t Get Turned On As Easily

You know what they say “if you don’t use it, you lose it” this goes for both men and women here. Sexual organs are muscles and when they are not being used, they are not getting any healthier.

Having regular sex is basically a way of tuning up your sexual organs, and going without for a while means that once you start up sex again, they will take a little longer to rev up.

So for ladies, the lack of sex leads to lack of lubrication. And men, lack of sex can lead to lack of erection. And cancer.

Your Libido Decreases

Aka you will lose the urge to have sex. Not only will your sex parts take longer to function properly, but once you stop having sex for a long period of time, your body will actually stop craving it.

Your Intelligence Can Suffer

Having sex makes you smarter?

Yep!

New research says sexual activity can grow brain cells.

Scientists have demonstrated that sexual activity boosts neuron growth in the brains hippocampus which in return can make you smarter. Sounds like a no-brainer here.

A study published in the Journal of Sex Research tested the working memory of 28 healthy individuals when they were asked to keep track of neutral, negative, positive, or pornographic stimuli. “Results revealed worse working memory performance in the pornographic picture condition,” concluded Matthias Brand, head of the cognitive psychology department at the University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany.

Your Risk of STDs / UTIs Decreases

This is a good thing, obviously. Women who stop having sex will no longer experience UTIs caused by sex and both men and women will be decreasing their chances of catching any sex-related disease which typically occurs within 24 hours of sexual activity.

Here is the silver lining.

Your Self Esteem Goes Down

Not using it, you are losing it – in more ways than one. You might start to feel less attractive, sad and depressed. Sex is a natural endorphin release an ego booster. As human beings, we crave physical touch and physical connection, both which sex has to offer.

So if you’ve got yourself in a dry spell, be aware that you might start to feel a little less sexy and a lot more down in the dumps.

Now, this can happen if you are single, celibate, or in a relationship. If you are in a relationship and no longer having sex, that can cause many other issues aside from just feeling sad and unattractive. If you’re in a relationship and no longer connecting sexually, expect to feel more distant from your partner.

 Men- Chances of Erectile Dysfunction Will Increase

According to the American Journal of Medicine, if men are not having sex at least once a week, they are increasing their chances of developing erectile dysfunction.

After all, the penis is a muscle. If you are not using it, you can literally lose the ability to use it.

Women– not having sex regularly will cause the vaginal walls to weaken. The vaginal walls will get thin and weaken to the point of tearing while entering menopause, making sex extremely painful whenever you decide to hop back on the wagon.

You Can Gain Weight

Sex is a calorie burning activity.

So, if you go from having sex all the time to dry as the Sahara, it goes without a doubt that you might notice some weight gain. You might not realize just how many calories you can burn in between the sheets, but you will certainly notice once you stop.

According to Woman’s Day, you can burn around 476 calories making out in about an hour!

And lets factor in that maybe pre-sexy time, you gave your partner a message that can help you burn an extra 80 calories in just an hour. Next, that massage lead to foreplay – hand stuff will burn about 100 calories in an hour, and oral can burn twice as much at about 200 calories!

For the finale, you’ve got the real deal S-E-X burning all those calories. Depending on doing the most work that is…

custom meal plan

Conclusion

It is scientifically proven that sexual intercourse is beneficial for your health. Whether or not you decide to do the dirty or not is up to you. Should you chose not to, there are other ways of keeping your body a healthy one.

So, who’s getting down and who’s not?

Let us know!

-Terry Asher

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Muscle Contest 2018

There’s nothing like seeing results after all the long hours put into the gym, and all the fantastic food you had to turn away from. Time and a serious amount of dedication have elevated you to a new level of fitness. Here’s everything you need to know about Muscle Contest 2018!

But what should you do now?

It really can be difficult to maintain the level of fitness throughout the year. After all, sometimes back to back pizza parties happen, or that weekend bachelor party in Vegas happens, or who knows what else happens, and suddenly you’re derailed.

Muscle Contest 2018, Should You Sign Up?

We’ve found, one of the best ways to keep your fitness in perspective and to continually push yourself to greater limits is to have something to shoot for.

You know how you schedule a special event a few weeks (or months) out and having that one goal helps get you through work?

Well, consider doing that with your fitness.

Maybe you have a beach goal coming up, a wedding or another special activity.

But what then?

What should you do to keep it up?

Why not consider a muscle contest in 2018?

These aren’t something you need to do, but if it’s something that sparks your interest, by all means, go ahead!

It might open up a world of opportunities for you (not to mention a nice boost to the confidence level). You just need to make sure you’re well prepared and educated for these upcoming muscle contests.

Before Enter A Competition, Watch One…

Doesn’t winning a muscle contest just have a fantastic ring to it?

Sure it does!

But you can’t just walk into an event and think you’re going to win it, especially if you haven’t actually seen such an event before. Muscle contests will open your eyes not only to the world of muscle competition but you may end up seeing definition and muscle development beyond anything else you’ve been around.

Hitting the gym, cutting down your body fat and having solid biceps and pectoral muscles are all fine and good, but judges will look over every inch of your body, and if there’s one weak muscle link, you won’t fair as well as you think.

One of the biggest mistakes newcomers, or at the very least, those who have never seen any muscle competition before, make is not really understanding what the contest is about. It’s not who has the best biceps.

It’s who has the best complete muscular body & symmetry.

We recommend not to just watch one on TV or YouTube (although these sources do provide some great research).

Instead, actually visit one.

So much is cut out on television that even if you’ve seen the videos online before, you may not really know what’s going on. So prior to signing up for anything, head on out to a muscle contest. Some even offer workshops that can give you pointers and insights into the best course of action for competing, all of which is well worth the ticket price.

Start Small & Be Realistic

Everyone has a crazy dream growing up. Maybe it’s throwing a game-winning touchdown in the Super Bowl or winning Best Director at the Academy Awards. We all have those dreams.

However, you don’t go from point A to point Z in one move, nor are you going to walk off the streets and win the biggest muscle competitions in the world.

You need to learn how to swim before jumping in the deep end (even if you had one of those uncles who would just toss you into the pool without knowing how to swim).

So how do you do this?

How do you get your feet wet in the muscle contest circuit?

Look for something coming up in your area. If you live in a larger metro area, chances are there will be competitions coming up. Summertime really is where it’s at for major events like that (although you can find contests throughout the year). If you don’t live in a major metro area, there will be spots in your state. Look up competitions in locations near universities in your state, or even nearby states. If you go to a local gym, talk to gym management about whether they have any insights on local muscle contests.

You wouldn’t believe how many people don’t even look towards the local shows.

They want the big time!

They sign themselves up for a competition in Las Vegas or Miami, spend a lot of money flying out, booking hotels, and then they arrive and are completely not prepared for the contest. Dropping thousands of dollars to walk across a stage and not really learn anything is a pretty steep price to pay.

And you wouldn’t be alone.

Because here’s the thing.

There is almost always at least one person on stage who completely shouldn’t be there.

Everyone knows it.

Even the partners, wives, sons and boyfriends of competitors who know nothing about muscle competitions will see it a mile away. And one of the worst feelings is ultimately being laughed off the stage. It sounds harsh, but it really is.

Let’s put it this way.

You know those singing competitions on television like American Idol and such?

What is, in reality, the best episodes to watch?

The first audition episodes.

Why?

Because you see people go on stage and completely bomb. They sound terrible, yet they have a false sense of security and think they’re the greatest thing since sliced bread. That’s not a unique experience for the music industry. It happens everywhere. There will be plenty of other hot-shots who think they can just walk in and dominate.

Perhaps you could.

But we recommend skipping this for now in favor of the local, smaller event and always, always (we can’t stress this enough) take in a contest ahead of time.

What Are People Taking To Get So Jacked At Competitions?

People have this kind of mental tendency to, whenever they see someone in amazing physical shape with larger than normal muscles, assume the person is obviously doping. They see the size, then turn and look at their own, and jump to the assumption that the person must be taking steroids.

That, more often than not, is not the case.

For common muscle competitions and regular bodybuilding contests, steroids are really, really not needed.

We just want to mention this here and then move on.

As Is the Case With Just About Everything, There Are Politics

If you haven’t figured this out by now, just about everything in life is politics. From your job to landing the best table at your favorite restaurant, there are politics in everything.

This includes muscle competitions.

Now, this doesn’t mean you need (or should) slip each judge a few hundred bucks.

Don’t go that road.

You’ll be more liable to get kicked out and banned from the sport for that.

But it’s a major reason why you need to start off with the small competitions.

Because here’s the thing: many of the best performers have very similar muscle compositions. It’s understanding how the sport works.

Think of it as a basketball coach on the sideline.

One yells and bickers and has his voice in the sideline official’s ear all night. Eventually, he might even land a technical foul.

But then, as if by magic, the calls start going his team’s way.

That isn’t a coincidence.

It’s because the coach knows how to play the game and knows how to politic during the game. You’ll learn these tricks of the trade, so stay with it and do what you can at these competitions.

Always keep your ears to the ground and pay attention to what’s going on, who wins and what they are doing.

It’ll help you as you move along in the sport and above all, politics or not, bring your A game always!

Schedule Yourself Into A Local Muscle Contest

Muscle Contest competitions is not a spur of the moment kind of thing.

You need to prep for it.

If you want to see some simple things I did for prep you can click here.

or the blog “9 Things I’m Doing While Training For A Physique Competition“.

Here’s an excellent schedule to help you get started and to really illustrate what you need to do in order to give yourself the best chance of success.

Recommendations are as follows:

  • 1 Year Before the Show

Start looking at possible options. If this is your first year, check for smaller venues and shows in the area. This will give you a goal to set your sites on. You’ll enter the preliminary stages of your show training. You might be a solid shape now, but you’ll need to push yourself as the year goes along. You can also pick out a few performance songs and clothing to wear for the events. You’ll also want to start up on a diet of tons of protein and eating every few hours to get your body accustomed to it (before you really hit the training hard).

  • 6 Months Before the Show

With half a year to go, begin working on your poses. If this is your first time it might sound a bit odd to begin working on poses.

After all, don’t you just flex?

Not exactly.

Watch videos of poses online. You’ll find very specific poses and, most importantly of all, those professionals competing understand how to get the best pump and best flex for their particular body. Also, if you don’t practice, it can lead to cramping. Muscle cramping is a real thing during these shows. Prior to the show, you’ll flush out as many liquids as possible, which does make your muscles more liable to cramp (do you really want to lose because of a muscle spasm?). By practicing the pose your muscles will become accustomed to moving and remaining flexed in a certain position, which in turn will help you avoid cramps.

You’ll also want to change your workout routine a bit. Look at yourself in the mirror.

What muscles are great, and what muscles are lacking?

While you should maintain workouts for your major muscles, you’ll want to start targeting these weaker areas of the body. You’ll also want to put in 30 minutes of cardio every day, to help burn off those added calories. Also, if you haven’t already, order your posing suit. You might be surprised as to just how backed up these orders can be. It is recommended to order a suit two sizes smaller, because you will shed inches under your workout and diet routine.

  • 5 Months Before the Competition

This is when your real competition diet starts. Some people will start at 12 weeks, but that leaves little time for error, and as you probably know, moving into a new diet often gradually is far easier than stopping and starting instantly.

This will make it easier for you.

At your gym, ask if there is someone who has muscle competing before (or even a judge) around. If there is someone, have them look at your physique and tell you what is lacking. Also, take photographs of your poses. This way you can see how you look and if something isn’t looking as good as you’d want.

Lastly, ask the contests you’ll be competing in for a list of the rules. Each muscle content has something a little bit different, and you’ll want to make sure and follow the rules.

  • 2 Months Before the Competition

Register and pay all the necessary fees for your contests. Also, hold onto the receipts just in case. Plus, there may be a membership requirement for the contest, so take care of these as well. You’ll also want to start making travel plans, look for accessories and make-up, plus you’ll need to start tanning. If this is your first time through, you might be amazed as to just how much tanning goes into it. You’ll want to invest in quality self-tanning as well (and make sure to exfoliate so you don’t have odd smears and blemishes).

  • Final Week Before the Competition

It’s your final week.

You can see some great tips on “Peak Week Tips – Simple Rules I followed During “Hell Week””.

You’ve put in almost half a year of dieting and intense workouts. You may just be in the best shape of your life. So make sure you have your bases covered before you head out.

Continue to practice your poses and routines, plus bring several copies of your music.

And, on the day of the competition, make sure you leave plenty early, as you never know what kind of traffic issues there might be.

So What Do Judges Look For?

This is a great question and one that can vary a bit from one competition to the next. However, in general, the most important points to focus on include muscle proportion, size, and separation. Separation comes from your cardio and dieting as it reduces water weight and fall cell size around your muscles.

What Kind of Classes Are There In Muscle Contest?

This really depends on the competition. The more prominent a competition, the more classes there are.

Take, for example, Lindsay Productions Muscle Contests.

These are some of the most popular contests in the world.

We won’t get into the different height categories (there are a ton, take our word for it).

For the men’s, some categories include unlimited men’s bodybuilding, novice men’s bodybuilding, masters men’s bodybuilding (40+), unlimited men’s physique, men’s physique masters, men’s physique masters (40+), men teens physique (usually 16-19), novice men’s physique and often some specialty physique classes.

As for the women, you’ll find categories including women’s physique, unlimited bikini, masters bikini (35+), masters bikini (40+), novice bikini, unlimited figure, masters figure (35+) and masters figure (40+).

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Conclusion

If you’re interested in taking part in muscle contests more power to you!

We completely support your dream to compete as a professional bodybuilder.

We just want to make sure you are well prepared and ready for the contest. This is not something you just walk into and assume you’ll win. Far too many people have done that over the years, and most have been laughed off the stage.

So start your training, stay focused, and make sure to stop by and check out some of the different contests in your area.

You will begin to learn the ropes and discover what it takes to become a winning competitor.

And, most importantly, remember to stick with it, because it is a considerable amount of work.

-Terry Asher

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the avengers workoutWant to build superhero muscle, here is your avengers workout!

Barring a spider bite, chemical exposure, or a billionaire father, building superhero muscle and strength can be a difficult task.

This journey can be a slow process, but we’re going to look at three important lifts you should add to your workouts to build superhero muscle fast.

The Top 3 Avengers Workout Exercises

avengers workout exercises#1 Pull-Ups 

You know the scenes where a hero slides down the crumbling building and catches someone with one hand while holding on to the other?

If so, you’ve probably wondered how difficult that would actually be. Especially pulling the person up to safety and climbing to stable ground. That’s superhero strength, and the best place to start for scenarios like this is the pull-up.

In addition to hanging from buildings or cliffs, pull-ups are an amazing exercise for building muscle in the back, arms, and even the core. Building a stronger upper back can also improve your v-taper and give the appearance of a smaller waist. When performed correctly, you’ll activate nearly every muscle in your upper body with pull-ups.

Here’s where to start.

How to Perform A Pull-Up

For the pull-up, you’ll want to take a shoulder-width grip on a bar. Before you do anything else, you should focus on tightening your core by flexing your abs and glutes (butt).

Next, you should retract your shoulder blades – or pull the shoulder blades back and down. When done correctly, this should take your shoulders from shrugged (near your ears when hanging) to lock in place (as if you were standing tall with your chest out).

This will not only keep your shoulders injury-free, it will also put you in a stronger pulling position.

Once you’ve gone through this process, you’re ready to pull. While keeping your elbows in front of you or under the bar, pull your upper chest to the bar. It may help to think about pulling your elbows to the bottom of your rib cage instead of pulling your chin to the bar. You should feel the difference in core activation as well as the muscles of your back.

We’ll talk more about how to get your first pull-up below, but the biggest takeaway from this section is learning how to retract your shoulder blades. You can implement hanging shoulder blade retractions right away. To do these, simply hang from the bar and pull your shoulder blades back and down. It should look like you’re doing a reverse shrug of sorts.

How to Get Your First Pull-Up

As great as pull-ups are, they’re very challenging. If you’re in the early stages of your superhero journey you may lack the upper body and relative body weight strength to perform a pull-up right away. As you get stronger and improve body composition, pull-ups and body weight exercises will get easier by default. That said, there are strategies to implement right away to get your first pull-up in no time.

Depending on your ability level, you may want to start with building overall upper body strength before transitioning to this specific strength improvement. In this case, the first two examples below will cover overall strength development while numbers 3-6 cover pull-up specific development.

Cable or Machine Lat Pulldown

If you’re not ready for band-assisted pull-ups just yet, lat pulldowns are a great way to mimic the same pulling movement pattern with resistance. Increasing the weight you’re able to do each set on the lat pulldown should almost transfer directly to pull-up strength.

Bent Over Dumbbell Rows and Cable Rows

Building upper body and pulling strength overall will enhance short-term body composition results and shorten the time frame for your first pull-up. Rowing and pulling movements of any kind are the perfect substitute in the early stages of your superhero journey and should always have a place in your training.

Bar Hangs

If you can’t hang from a bar for more than 10 seconds, you’ll have a tough time performing more than 1-2 pull-ups. Implementing timed bar hangs where you simply hang (and work on scapular retraction if needed) is an excellent way to improve your ability to do pull-ups. A stronger grip leads to greater overall strength. These will also help your performance in our third movement in this article.

Pull-Up Eccentrics

The eccentric portion of a lift is the lowering of a weight or in this case, your body. This phase of a lift is where most of the muscle damage is done, a potent stimulator of muscle growth.

To perform eccentrics on your pull-ups, position a box or bench where you can either jump to the top position or step off and hold yourself at the top position before lowering to a dead hang (elbows locked at the bottom). The slower the eccentric, the better. Aim for at least a 3-second count from the time you begin lowering your body until reaching the bottom.

Band-Assisted Pull-Ups

What better way to improve at something than doing the actual movement with assistance?

You can use the assisted pull-up machines in the gym, but you’ll likely find the band-assisted version to be a totally different feel.

Inverted Rows (TRX or Bar)

Because you can move your feet closer or farther away on inverted rows, it’s easy to mimic a pulling movement with 100% of your body weight or 50%. If your feet are in close, your legs can support more of your weight, while moving the feet away or even elevating them transfers all of your body weight into your pull.

Progressing the Pull-Up

When you’ve progressed or for those already knocking out sets of 10+ on the pull-up bar, there are a number of ways to continue progressing the difficulty of pull-ups. It’s important to note that before you add any pull-up progressions to your training you should know your purpose.

Progression is necessary over time but if you don’t have a need for a 2x bodyweight pull-up, it’s not a great idea to strap weights around your waist and find a one-rep max on pull-ups. Okay, now that we’ve established that, let’s look at ways to progress the pull-up.

Weighted Pull-Ups

Adding weight via a weight belt or holding dumbbells or kettlebells between your feet can be a great way to increase your raw pull-up total and overall strength.

Wide-Grip Pull-Ups

Most people find a wider grip to be more challenging and better for isolating the lower lats.

Chin-Ups

Chin-ups may be easier than pull-ups for some, but they’re a potent bicep builder and target the muscles of the back from different angles.

Paused Reps with Eccentrics

Similar to eccentric training for getting your first pull up, you’d add a pause at the top and use slower negatives in the process of doing full reps.

If you can do 15 pull-ups unbroken, it would be a challenge to get 10 using this method. 

Bulgarian Split Squat

# 2 Split Squats

We’ve covered the single-arm cliff-hanging rescue move, but we need to talk about making athletic and powerful moves look easy. If you’re planning on kicking ass and taking names, a strong lower body is an absolute must. Not to mention, if you build a great looking v-taper with tons of pull-ups, you need a strong lower body to match.

Everyone knows that squats are great, right?

But squats are extremely technical and require an empty squat rack, which can be a problem depending on your training environment.

That’s why you should work the split squat and its many variations into your leg workouts. They can be loaded heavy enough over time to rival a heavy barbell squat. And even better, they’re the perfect substitute for those with low back pain.

 

 

You may see this exercise called Bulgarian split squats, rear foot elevated squats, single leg elevated lunges, or plenty of other names but just know, we’re talking about one foot elevated behind you and static front leg squatting or lunging.

A few things to know:

  • Front foot placement will determine which muscles you’re targeting. If your front foot is closer to you, you’ll target more quads and muscles on the front of your thigh. If your front foot is farther away from you, you’ll target more hamstrings and glutes. A great starting point is with a vertical shin. Meaning, your shin is perpendicular to the floor.
  • Additionally, be mindful of where your weight is distributed in the front foot. Pushing through your toes will activate more quads, while pushing through your heel will activate more hamstrings and glutes.
  • Your rear foot shouldn’t be too far away, nor too close. The knee of your rear leg should be able to stay relatively flexed throughout the range of motion. If you find yourself stretching your rear leg at the bottom of the squat, you may be too far away. Likewise, if you feel too much of a stretch in the quad of your rear leg, you may be too close.
  • You should have a slight forward lean and maintain a neutral spine throughout. In other words, you should have a straight line from the top of your head to your butt. Avoid rounding or hunching the shoulders at the bottom.
  • Balance is usually the biggest limiting factor when starting out with split squats. Use a wall, rack, or another object for balance assistance. Don’t progress to any variations below until you’ve mastered balance and stability during your body weight split squats.

Bonus tip: Use a weight plate or an object to mark where your front toes are on each set. That way when you reset legs or come back for another set, you don’t have to find your mark again.

split squat exercises

Once you’ve mastered the movement, you have a ton of options for progression. Here are a few ideas:

Weighted Split Squats

The easiest way to increase the difficulty with split squats is to add weight. You can hold dumbbells by your side, add a barbell to your back (or use the smith machine), use a goblet hold, hold kettlebells overhead, or even front rack a barbell. No matter the method, be sure safety is a primary concern. Don’t front rack a barbell on one leg without safety bars. Otherwise, you may lose your balance and crush your front leg. Ouch!

Deficit Split Squats

These can be performed with body weight by elevating your front foot. This can be a great way to increase the range of motion for the hypermobile superhero or those not ready to add weight just yet.

1.5 Split Squats and Paused Split Squats

To perform a 1.5 squat, you would simply perform the eccentric squat and instead of coming all the way up to standing you would go half way up, back down, and then up. One and a half rep. For a paused split squat, you would pause in the bottom position for 2-3 seconds. You’d be surprised how challenging these variations can be.

deadlifting 101#3 Deadlifts

The deadlift was born in battle, with its origins rooted in the removal of the dead from battlefields. It’s only fitting that a superhero would incorporate this exercise into their training program.

Deadlifts are one of the best full-body exercises around for strength training. Since this movement allows you to move more weight than arguably any other lift, you can expose your body to out of the ordinary amounts of stress to stimulate superhuman changes.

There are a ton of different deadlift variations, but the four you’ll run into the most are the conventional, sumo, stiff-legged, and the romanian deadlift. In terms of powerlifting and deadlifting in competition, the conventional and sumo are the two primary variations used.

Before we look at choosing the best variation for you, let’s cover the movement pattern required for deadlifting.

Deadlifting 101

A hip hinge, or bending at the hips with a neutral spine, is one of the more difficult movements to learn. The hinge is involved with nearly every movement you do in the gym and everyday life. So learning, or not learning, how to hinge properly can set you up for success or a catastrophic injury.

Since it’s a difficult movement to learn, it’s a great idea to have a coach or someone help you learn the movement. Until then, here’s a walkthrough to teach yourself:

  1. Set up a chair, bench or box about 2.5-3 feet away from a wall. Grab a broomstick, PVC pipe, or a straight object of some kind.
  2. Stand between the chair and the wall, one foot-length away from the wall. You want the chair to be on your toes or slightly in front of the toes.
  3. Place the broomstick behind you with it touching the back of your head, your upper back, and tailbone. Have a friend hold this in place if needed. If you don’t have a broomstick, place your hands behind your head and keep your chest up.
  4. From this position, push your hips back until your butt touches the wall behind you while keeping a neutral spine. If you lose any point of contact with the broomstick, you did not maintain a neutral spine. If your knees pushed the chair forward, you’re trying to squat instead of hinging. Your knees should be “soft” or slightly bent but should flex minimally during the hinge.
  5. You should feel this “load” your hamstrings and glutes, and your weight should shift into your heels. It’s common for the toes to come off the ground if you’re not very flexible in the hamstrings.
  6. Using your glutes (squeeze your butt) stand up while maintaining a neutral spine and lock the hips out. Repeat until you’ve ingrained the movement pattern into your mind.

top 3 avengers workout exercises

Deadlift Variations

A few common mistakes include hyperextending the lower back and locking the knees to push the hips back. The former can be corrected by flexing your abs while hinging. The latter is more of a learned-over-time correction through repetition.

Once you’ve learned the hinge, you can progress into deadlifting. The truth is, it’s hard to tell which variation is best for you. Your body size and lever lengths will have some say in which gives you the best mechanical advantage for superhuman strength. One of the most important things to consider when choosing your deadlift variation, however, is your desired outcome.

If you want to get into Olympic lifting, for example, a conventional deadlift will have the most carryover. Let’s say you want a pair of superhuman glutes. In that case, the sumo deadlift may be superior for glute recruitment.

Or maybe you’re after overall development and don’t have any particular goals that would benefit from one variation or another. The correct answer there could be all four.

You’ll hear plenty of arguments over which is superior for this reason or that reason. Don’t waste too much time deciding and get busy trying them out for yourself. If you feel a sumo deadlift puts you in a more upright position and is, therefore, the safer deadlift for you, go with sumo.

Likewise, if you feel an RDL gives you all the hip extension power development you need, go with that. The deadlift is such an individual movement, your best bet is to experiment and embrace variety until the winner reveals itself to you.

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Conclusion

  • Pull-Ups are an excellent upper bodybuilder that can be progressed for years to come by adding resistance, slowing down eccentrics, and adding variation to grips. Progress to your first pull-up by adding more rowing and pulling exercises like rows, pulldowns, and assisted pull-up variations.
  • Split squats are a challenging single leg exercise that can be loaded heavy enough over time to rival a barbell squat. Because of the simplified movement pattern, these can be easier to learn and safer for beginner lifters when compared to the barbell squat. Master the body weight split squat before progressing to weighted or more advanced versions.
  • Deadlifts are excellent for developing full-body muscle and power. The exposure to heavy loads is unrivalled in the gym and can lead to a potent hormonal cascade as well as benefits from heavy mechanical tension. However, you should learn to hinge properly before deadlifting.

About the Author:

Kyran Doyle is a certified, incurable workaholic. When he’s not lifting heavy things he can be found online at fitnesscrest.com. His goal is to humbly empower others to grow stronger and take control of their health and fitness as he continues to grow himself as a lifter.

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waist trainers before and after

While strolling down the halls of an ornate, historical, art exhibit, you’ve probably come across one or two paintings where the woman seemed to have a beyond normal curve in the mid section.

It’s not that they had some kind of huge booty and curves, but instead, they just had a tiny waist.

That has to be some kind of artistic licensing…or at the very least a very strange birth defect, right?

Who is born with that kind of an exaggerated hourglass figure?

Well, it’s not a birth defect, and chances are there wasn’t any artistic licensing (unless the painted subject sat on a throne somewhere and threatened to remove the painter’s head from his neck if he didn’t reduce the waistline).

Waist cinching proved to be all the rage hundreds of years ago (back when having wide hips identified someone as capable of giving birth to many children) and while it never completely went away, it has proven more popular now than it has been in decades, thanks mostly in part to celebrities such as the Kardashians (we use the term “celebrity” loosely here).

These looks are not always natural but instead obtained through a device known as a waist trainer.

Is a waist trainer desirable, and is it even healthy?

We’ve got you and your answers covered right here!

What is a Waist Trainer?

A waist trainer is a churched up term for a corset. 

The corset comes with a very old-fashioned visage of a Medieval woman struggling to slip into a corset while a half-dozen ladies-in-waiting tie up straps in the back to tighten up the woman’s waist and give her the thin appearance she (or the rest of the world at the time) wanted.

In order to avoid that kind of imagery, makers of the modern corset now refer to it as a “waist trainer.”

To be fair, there is no actual training with a waist trainer. You don’t call braces teeth trainers, yet the two work in very similar manors. People just like the idea that they are “training” for something. Plus manufacturers of the product probably tapped marketing firms to come up with the best name for such a product and they came back with the waist trainer.

The design of the waist trainer hasn’t changed all that much from the original corset. It fits right around the waist, typically resting right above the hips and ending right below the bust.

The corset is then tightened in order to give an exaggerated appearance of an hourglass look.

What Do Waist Trainers Do?

We’ve mentioned a bit ago, waist trainers are very similar to that of braces.

Braces work because over time, the tightened brace causes the teeth’s roots to push up against ligaments holding the teeth in place, resulting in the teeth to shift into the desired location.

With regards to waist trainers, the tight confines of the construction squeeze in completely around the bone structure of the rib cage. This, over prolonged and continual usage, will eventually start to pull the rib cage in. It’s like if you’ve ever seen a tree (or another plant) grow around a fence or other object. It has slowly morphed and changed due to continuously applied pressure.

The wearer of the waist trainer can then continue to tighten the corset in order to continually increase the defined hourglass look, or they can stop.

Before we go further, let’s make sure you understand the difference between a waist trainer and a waist cincher.

The two are different products.

A waist trainer is another word for a corset.

A waist cincher, on the other hand, is designed more if you carry weight in the front of your body/belly. The waist cincher is not going to give you the defined hourglass look. Instead, it is going to tighten and pull up the body fat to help reduce the appearance of the front bulge.

This kind of an object is used by really anyone (both men and women). It is also commonly used by mothers who just gave birth and have an excess tissue.

waist trainers san diego

What Happens to the Body During Waist Training?

First of all, let’s answer the main question.

Do waist trainers work?

The main purpose of the waist trainer is to give you more of that hourglass look. If worn properly, it can give you the defined hourglass look, so yes, these devices really can work.

However, you can’t just wear it every once in a while if you want the physical appearance of an hourglass (even without the waist trainer on).

When you purchase the waist trainer you need to wear it every day. Most will come with some instructions, or you can follow different style guidelines for wearing one. Like braces though, each person is a bit different and responds differently to a waist trainer.

Now that we know a waist trainer does actually work, let’s look at what it can do to your body.

The waist trainer physically applies pressure to the area between your hips and right under your bust area. This makes up almost your entire rib cage. The steady pressure along with the hourglass shape of the waist trainer eventually squeezes in the bones, resulting in the physical hourglass appearance on your body.

Of course, the shift in your rib cage isn’t the only thing that is shifting and moving. You have bodily organs inside your body that move along with it. Now, minor waist training may not result in any real movement in your organs.

However, if you train for a prolonged period of time it will eventually result in a rather drastic adjustment in your organ placement (Women’s Health, 2014).

The Dangers of Waist Trainers

If you were to ask a manufacturer about possible dangers regarding their products, they would naturally tell you it is perfectly safe.

There are celebrities who endorse waist trainers, while others who have worn waist trainers for years say they have never had a side effect associated with wearing the waist trainer.

All of that is fine and good, but it’s necessary to look at the facts and to really understand the possible dangers of using a waist trainer.

After all, shifting your bodily organs can’t be all good for you, right?

According to an interview conducted by USA Today (2015), Dr. Paul Jeffords, a spinal surgeon, says wearing a waist trainer is like putting a rubber band around your finger. Take it off after a few hours and it will go back to normal.

However, if you wear the rubber band for days, if not months, around your finger, you’re going to develop some serious problems. The adjustments and shifting of bodily organs not only causes this rubber band effect (as more organs are compressed into a smaller space), but it can cause problems with the attached nerves and ligaments connecting the organs to the spinal cord.

Realistically, the problems with waist trainers and organ shifting are something that occurs to those people who wear the corsets for months at a time, and often for well past the recommended 10 hours or so a day.

The more common side effects and medical conditions someone who wears the waist trainers for just a few weeks include an increased level of heartburn, a boost in indigestion issues and even passing out due to the lack of oxygen (due to the body not use to a restricted airflow, which is caused by the squeezing of the diaphragm, which cuts down air brought in through the lungs).

So, in terms of actual medical recommendations, you’re not going to get one with regards to wearing a waist trainer.

Doctors will say it is fine to wear such a trainer for special occasions if you want the appearance of an hourglass look, but in terms of any kind of long-term use, it should be avoided completely due to the possible organ damage it may lead to.

Are There Any Actual Health Benefits?

Alright, so if you use waist trainers for a prolonged period of time you might crush your organs.

Not exactly a glowing endorsement, but for some, pain is beauty (although we do draw a line when it comes to squeezing our bodily organs).

For those who are still interested, or at the very least considering a waist trainer, is there actually any kind of health benefit behind it?

Yes…kind of.

Basically, with all of your organs being crushed, there is pressure placed against your stomach. This pressure reduces your level of hunger, meaning you are less likely to overeat. So, in reality, you may end up dropping a few pounds because you don’t eat as much, but that is just a potential health benefit. Most manufacturers of waist trainers will instruct you to eat a healthy diet simply because your stomach may struggle to digest larger amounts of food (especially if you eat heavier food with an abundance of carbs and fats).

It is also recommended for you to eat a healthy diet due to the increase in heartburn and indigestion issues.

Each person is different here.

However, as you squeeze all of your bodily organs into a smaller internal cavity, the organs are going to push back.

This means, over time, you are likely going to see the results of the tighter waist begin to fill back out. Again, we’re going to use the braces comparison. You may know some people (it may have even happened to yourself) who wore braces and yet their teeth are crooked, or a bit out of place again.

Now, it is a bit different with teeth because it is the ligaments between your teeth’s roots and the jaw that shift, so any continued shifting with teeth is usually because the ligaments were either loose or still shifting. With your waist, it is part your organs pushing back against the rib cage and gravity.

Because the shift in your body may result in losing some of your waist shrinking results, there are plenty of people who return back to their waist trainer in order to restore the look. The problem with this is it squeezes the organs again. The continual squeezing and shifting of your organs is not something you want.

So going into it, should you decide to proceed with wearing a waist trainer, you need to understand it likely is not a permanent result. Your waist will start to push back to its original shape (Marie Claire, 2016).

Should You Work Out With a Waist Trainer?

If you decide to go about wearing a waist trainer, do you need to go about working out your core?

After all, you’re reducing the size, so won’t it be tender or something else like that?

There are some who won’t work out, but it is essential for you to work your core if you use a waist trainer. You are going to shift and adjust your muscular alignment doing this, which is another reason you should probably avoid doing it long term.

However, if you do not have abdominal muscles, it becomes even more difficult to perform basic tasks (like bending over to tie your shoes). This is because as your abdominal muscles are adjusted, you don’t have as many stabilizing your movements.

You may have seen older cartoons of women wearing corsets and they seem to wobble from their midsection. There is some truth to this because they don’t have the core muscle strength to remain erect. Target your abs and work your core.

Otherwise, you’ll end up like one of these cartoon characters (Elle, 2016).

In Conclusion

In answering the basic question of “do waist trainers work,” the answer is yes. If you want a smaller waist then yes, the object does work.

The biggest question though should be whether you risk the health side effects to do it?

This answer comes down to whether you’d rather listen to Kim Kardashian or medical professionals.

The choice is yours.

-Terry Asher

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Want to look like a star? Of course, you do! Who wouldn’t? Good news! We give you the tips you need to build a physique with the Matt Damon Workout. But, it’ll take work. Are you ready?

No one can say Matt Damon hasn’t made sacrifices for the sake of his acting career. The Jason Bourne and Good Will Hunting actor has, without a doubt, put his body through more than one striking change for the sake of getting into character. Indeed, he has made headlines again and again for putting his body through extreme changes.

He’s packed on weight for his roles in films like The Informant (which he credits to a gut-busting diet of McDonald’s and all the dark beer he could guzzle down) and shrunken down to a shell of his normal buff self when he played a heroin-addicted soldier in Courage Under Fire. In fact, in that movie he went to such great lengths to achieve, doctors later warned him he could have permanently damaged his heart. He actually suffered from extreme adrenal gland damage that left him on medications.

A simple Google images search will reveal this yoyoing of body transformation Damon has put himself through. But lately, in his mid-40s, a time when many are letting their physique slip away, Damon has gotten into the best shape of his life. Not only has he returned to perhaps his most famed role after a nine-year break to step back into the role of Jason Bourne, Damon also appeared in the critically acclaimed film The Martian, and has once again graced the big screen this year in the highly anticipated movie, The Great Wall.

To deliver his best work for this back-to-back crop of films, Damon knew he’d have to get his workouts and diet on point. He needed to do so not only to chisel out his physique but also to maintain it for the course of the filming of all three movies.

Lucky for you, you can skip the extreme deprivation diets and beer-gut gains he’s put himself through in years past. Instead, you can simply adopt his current workout plan to get the same striking results that Damon’s been sporting lately. You don’t even have to have the best of Hollywood trainers or any fancy diet techniques.

Why?

Simple.

We break down Damon’s workout and diet plan so that you too can craft your best body ever.

The Basic Plan Matt Damon Workout

While Damon’s workout plan was slightly altered for the three different roles he appeared in back to back, his trainer and the overall approach they took remained a constant throughout. You won’t need any fancy equipment to copy the results at home or at your gym. And, while Damon’s approach this go around was one of intensity, there was none of the extreme deprivation or binging as when prepping for movies in his past. In other words, you won’t have to put your body through hell to get the same results.

Damon’s workouts focused on a balanced approach of giving him a solid base of fitness, while not forgetting to tend to his mobility and flexibility. This isn’t your heavy lifting approach where strength is the only priority.

There’s more to it!

Damon’s plan is balanced and ensures a well-rounded approach that won’t only whip you into great shape, but will get you healthy and functionally fit in every sense.

You’ll also be glad to hear that Damon’s workouts don’t only rely on gym equipment. There was a healthy dose of bodyweight activities to get him chiseled the old-school way. That included such things as squats, sit-ups, push-ups and squat jumps.

Of course, you know by now that there’s no outworking a sub-par diet, which Damon has been no stranger to in the past. This time, he took a level headed, common sense approach. He followed the diet designed by his trainer.

This diet included a moderate 2000-calorie range per day during shooting.

With that said, it did also employ some more taxing, competition style techniques such as cutting back on water intake prior to shooting to show off his hard-earned muscles. You can see for yourself the clear effects of this during scenes in the newest Jason Bourne.

Case in point: The boxing scene where Damon appears especially lean and mean.

The Trainer Was Key

A key part of Damon’s recent transformation is his constant sidekick of a trainer, Jason Walsh. Walsh is a big name around Hollywood. He has whipped into shape not just Matt Damon, but actors like Emma Stone, Jessica Biel, Bradley Cooper and many others.

He’s an in-demand trainer for the simple reason that he delivers without a doubt impressive results, a fact which Damon realized early on when he began working with Walsh back in 2013 for his film, Elysium. Needless to say, that was a film in which he had to get totally shredded and leaned out. His results were so impressive that Damon continued to enlist Walsh’s help when he found out he was cast in the three back-to-back roles.

Walsh’s approach for Damon this go around was to focus on getting the athletic build he needed to pull off the Bourne role, rather than only on packing on the brawn. Walsh describes his training approach for the Bourne film simply by stating he puts Damon through tough workouts just short of breaking him.

Before he began his grueling approach though, Walsh’s main concern was to work on ironing out some shoulder and lower back issues that had been plaguing Damon since they first began working together. Once those issues were 100% healed, they began the real work.

These Are The Workouts

Damon’s workout plan is simple and fairly easy to copy. Don’t kid yourself, though, it’s still quite grueling. After all, you don’t get into Jason Bourne shape, or fit for his latest role as a man trapped inside the Great Wall of China, by cutting corners or going for overnight changes. Walsh designed a four-week, high-intensity, heavyweight program to get Damon into street fighter shape for the latest Bourne film.

But, Walsh also focused on creating a solid base of fitness that could continue to be built upon.

He stressed building up that base first with basic routines of lunges, squats, and crawls.

Why?

The reason was so that when they advanced to the next phases, Damon could continue to build rather than break down the progress they’d made. His plan was also designed to increase his range of motion, flexibility, and agility.

How?

With the use of simple bodyweight moves and high rep ranges.

As time progressed into the filming, Damon had greatly increased the weights he was using. At one point, he even began using 125-pound dumbbells for Bulgarian split squats! A far cry from the bodyweight foundations they’d begun with.

For his initial four-week program he used to get into Jason Bourne shape and convincingly pull off the much leaner and meaner look he sported in the last movie, compared to the prior ones, Damon did lots of classic moves. That included stuff like bench presses, rows, curls, deadlifts, triceps pushdowns and other common mainstays like these. Most were done for three or four sets of 10 reps per workout move.

Another technique that Walsh and Damon credit with much of his leaning-out progress was the use of the VersaClimber. In case you don’t know, that’s a cardio machine that forces your entire body to be pushed to its max.

How?

You use your arms and legs to pull your body up and down (think mountain climbing on speed).

This was posted on Instagram during the filming and production of the movie. The post showed him on the machine following Walsh’s lead of seeing how fast they could hammer out 200 feet or more in the course of one minute. Walsh stated that Damon looked like he was about to throw up by the end of it.

To pull off the lean and mean look that was needed for Damon to sport for this role, and at the ripe old age of 42, some serious time commitment and determination was required. Luckily, Damon was no stranger to a grueling schedule.

Even back in 2013 while training for his role in Elysium, Walsh and Damon trained for up to four hours a day, every day, breaking it up into two-hour chunks in the morning followed by two more hours in the afternoon. Walsh would also sometimes give Damon four to five-mile recovery runs just to break up the gym-time sameness.

Damon filmed his part in his latest film, The Great Wall, in which he plays a knight, before filming the latest Bourne. That meant that he didn’t actually have to look the part of Bourne during this chunk of time. But, his role required him to be in top fighting shape just the same to pull off physically demanding fight scenes, often riding a horse, swinging a sword, all while wearing armor in the Gobi Desert.

Since Damon had to then quickly transition back to Bourne (tired yet?

We’re tired just from reading about his back-and-forth changes from role to role), Walsh and Damon would knock out some of their training in the streets of northwestern China, near the Mongolian border. At times, that was all the space they had to train. Once back in L.A. after filming of The Great Wall wrapped, they had all of two weeks to turn around and polish off Damon’s physique before Jason Bourne filming started.

All in all, in spite of a very draining filming schedule, many different physiques required for diverse roles, and Damon’s prior injuries and age, Walsh’s biggest achievement appears to have been one that might surprise some folks. Walsh says his biggest achievement was keeping Damon not just strong and ripped, but injury free during demanding times and even more demanding action-packed roles.

He always had Damon approach moves like back squats and heavy deadlifts with caution. Walsh stressed the strength work like single-leg exercises and high-rep pullups to keep him functioning in peak shape and keep his mobility and flexibility at top notch.

The Matt Damon Diet

Any good workout routine would be incomplete without the diet to match. We’ve all heard it a million times over, but you truly can’t outwork a shoddy diet. Needless to say, Damon and Walsh know this fact all too well. To keep up with the grueling workout schedule and complement the time Damon was logging in the gym, his work in the kitchen had to be equally as thought out and purposeful.

Walsh prescribed Damon a moderate, 2,000 calorie a day diet to make sure his body was torching calories and shredding the fat in order to see the hard-earned muscle he was building each day. He also tinkered with hydration.

Why?

To push Damon’s physique to the edge for key filming scenes like the street fights when Bourne needed to look his most defined.

The general process entailed having Damon drink lots of water leading up to the day of the shooting, and then cutting back two days prior. On the day they filmed, Damon would barely drink any water at all. Of course, that’s a technique that while not sustainable over the long term, can give you that extra leanness on filming day.

Conclusion

Even for the toughest super fighter, balance is key. It’s been reported that on the last day of filming, Damon had a large pizza waiting for him.

Needless to say, he devoured it.

Keep in mind that while pushing yourself if you are looking for extreme results there are a few non-negotiable items. Listen to your body. Never push it to the point of injury. Give yourself the fuel and rest your body needs to rebuild. With these tips in mind, you, too, can achieve Matt Damon’s level of results, whether you’re a former CIA assassin or just training to look the part of one.

By Emmy Schneider-Green

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Dave Bautista Workout

Want to look like a movie superhero? How about also looking like a former world champion? Guess what? One man already does. We will explain the Dave Bautista Workout . You’re welcome!

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is known for his time in the WWE ring and on the silver screen. But he’s not the only wrestling superstar that has traded in his championship belts for starring movie roles. In the 1980s, there was Hulk Hogan, “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, Terry Funk and Jesse Ventura. More recently, there’s been “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, The Miz, John Cena and Dave Bautista. With that said, Bautista isn’t trying to be just another ex-wrestler.

He’s preparing to be better. 

It all began with his prep for Guardians of the Galaxy.

Over the course of his career, Bautista wore many hats. He started his career working as a bodybuilder. That stint as a bodybuilder helped shape Bautista and allowed him to transition into his next profession, pro wrestler. But, it did not come easy. World Championship Wrestling trainers told him he didn’t have what it took to make it in the business. It didn’t matter.

Dave Bautista, known to the wrestling world as Batista, worked as a WWE wrestler for 15 years where he became one of the most accomplished and well-known performers in the business. He joined WWE’s Smackdown brand in mid-2002 as Deacon Batista before moving on to Raw near the end of the same year. On Raw, he quickly joined with Ric Flair, Triple H, and Randy Orton to form one of the greatest factions in wrestling history known as Evolution.

For the next year, the group dominated by capturing all the gold.

By the end of his career, Batista was a six-time World Champion. His first World title win came in 2005 against Triple H. He was also a four-time tag team champ winning that alongside greats like Rey Mysterio, John Cena, and Ric Flair. But, that wasn’t enough for Bautista. As a result, he went on to face his next challenge as a Mixed Martial Arts fighter. After winning his first, and only, fight, Bautista decided to make one last change.

He went on to test his luck in the world of acting. Though he’s been acting for over a decade, Bautista recently played his biggest role yet. That role was as Drax the Destroyer in the box-office hit Guardians of the Galaxy.

So how did Dave Bautista become Drax the Destroyer, one of the most feared men in the galaxy?

Dave Bautista Diet

When you look at guys as lean as Dave Bautista, you always tell yourself it’s not possible to ever build a body like that. After all, these types of guys have a team of nutritionists that watch their every bite. Though it is tough to do alone, eating healthy does not always have to be a chore. Bautista, whose body fat is under 10%, doesn’t keep a strict diet in terms of what he eats on a daily basis.

Instead, he just tries to ensure that he eats good quality meals.

The only true limits that he puts on himself are limiting fats while maintaining a steady helping of protein. This ensures that his body fat stays low, while his muscles are fed and maintained. Unlike most other Hollywood fitness buffs, Bautista does not pay much attention to calories or carbs. Because of his rigorous exercise program (which we will get into just a little later on), he feels that he has some wiggle room in terms of his diet.

Though he does not like to limit his diet based on numbers, Bautista did recently begin limiting the types of food he puts in his body. In the last couple of years, Bautista has adopted a gluten free lifestyle. He has also been cutting out all red meats.

This change began during his MMA career, where most fighters live like that in an attempt to keep weight low. When Bautista began doing this, it started out as simply a trial run. But, after a month, he decided to keep it full time, crediting it with not only helping him look better but also feel better.

What follows is an example of the type of gluten-free meal plan that would suit Bautista’s needs:

 

Breakfast

Herb And Onion Frittata

1 Cup 1% Milk

1 Slice Gluten-Free Buckwheat Bread

 

Morning Snack

6 Ounces Low Fat Plain Yogurt

1 Cup Cantaloupe Melon

 

Lunch

Warm Quinoa Salad with Edamame And Tarragon

1 Medium Orange

 

Afternoon Snack

1 Ounce Roasted Salted Soybeans

 

Dinner

Spicy Cioppino

1 1/2 Cups Tossed Salad Mix

4 Teaspoons Vinegar And Oil Salad Dressing

1 Cup Strawberries

3/4 Cup Cooked Brown Rice

Bautista also augments his diet with many different supplements to help fortify any potential deficiencies in his menu.

What does that include?

For starters, Dave takes caffeine pills rather than drinking coffee. This helps give him the energy and fat-burning power of the caffeine without any of the drawbacks. Also, he supplements with vitamin D, fish oil, DHEA and protein supplements. Even with the perfect diet, supplements are a vital aspect of turning from average Joe into a guy like big Dave.

How Did Dave Bautista Lift?

Dave Bautista has faced more challenges in his life and in the ring than most men could handle. He was a bodybuilder. Then he conquered the world of pro wrestling. But, arguably his greatest challenge was trying to find a way to make himself fitting of the name Drax the Destroyer. With a name like that, enemies must quiver in fear just by you walking into a room.

The best way to do this is to get bigger, stronger and more ripped than anyone else in the galaxy.

For Bautista, getting bigger wasn’t necessary. Let’s face it: Listed at 6’6” and well over 260 pounds, he is already just about as big as they come. But, for Guardians of the Galaxy, he decided big and strong was not enough and Bautista dedicated himself to getting cut. This meant changing his philosophy of bodybuilding and changing his routine completely.

At 48 years old, and after the beating that his body took from pro wrestling and mixed martial arts, working out daily is no longer an option for Bautista. In recent years, Bautista has also limited the weight he will lift. Rather than doing a low rep, high weight exercises, Bautista has switched to less weight but extra reps. This allows him to train his muscles for endurance, which is crucial during his 12 to 15 hour days on set. Also, it helps him get bigger while eliminating body fat. This is what gives him his massive, but ripped, look.

So, what exactly do you have to do to go from plain ol’ (kind of) Dave Bautista to transform into the biggest tough guy in the universe, Drax the Destroyer?

What follows is the type of workout used by Bautista.

 

Dave Bautista’s Workout

Day 1 Is For Legs

3-4 sets of Seated Calf Raises with 10-15 reps

3-4 sets of Standing Calf Raises with 10-15 reps

3-4 sets of Seated, Standing Leg Curls with 10-15 reps

3-4 sets of Standing Leg Curls with 10-15 reps

2-3 sets of Hack Squats with 10-15 reps

3-4 sets of Leg Extensions with 10-15 reps

2-3 sets of Leg Presses with 10-15 reps

 

Day 2 Is For Rest

 

Day 3 Is For Back And Shoulders

3-4 sets of Front Pulldowns with 10-15 reps

3-4 sets of Rear Pulldowns with 10-15 reps

2-3 sets of Seated Cable Rows with 10-15 reps

3-4 sets of Lateral Raises with 10-15 reps

2-3 sets of Barbell Behind-the-Neck-Press with 10-15 reps

2-3 sets of Bent Laterals with 10-15 reps

3-4 sets of Dumbbell Shrugs with 10-15 reps

 

Day 4 Is For Rest

 

Day 5 Is For Chest And Arms

3-4 sets of Incline Bench Press with 10-15 reps

2-3 sets of Dumbbell Bench Press with 10-15 reps

2-3 sets of Cable Crossovers with 10-15 reps

3-4 sets of Dumbbell Curls with 10-15 reps

2-3 sets of Preacher Curls with 10-15 reps

3-4 sets of Triceps Presses with 10-15 reps

2-3 sets of Triceps Extensions with 10-15 reps

3-4 sets of Wrist Curls with 10-15 reps

3-4 sets of Reverse Wrist Curls with 10-15 reps

3-4 sets of Hanging Leg Raises with 10-15 reps

2-3 sets of Crunches with 10-15 reps

 

Day 6 Is For Rest

Note that on every other day, Bautista rests. Also, though it is not mentioned, one of the biggest staples of Bautista’s workout is cardio. As a pro wrestler, Bautista’s weight hovered around 285 pounds. However, now that he is working in Hollywood, he decided to shed the weight and live at a more chiseled 265 pounds.

Bautista believes in using his entire workout as a cardio exercise. This is one of the main reasons for keeping his reps high. By using high reps, and keeping rests short, he is able to keep his heart rate up constantly. At the end of his workouts, if he is not satisfied with his cardio, he will hit the elliptical for 20 to 30 minutes. That’s where all of his years in the wrestling ring really come in handy.

Bautista’s exercise does not end when he walks out of the gym. Because of the types of roles that he is cast in, he must maintain a high level of hand-to-hand combat. Bautista uses boxing to help not only make it seem real on the screen but as a way of preparing for the physicality of the intense scenes. Though staying in shape can play a huge factor, hand-to-hand scenes look much crisper if the actor is experienced.

Conclusion

Dave Bautista is looking to break out of his WWE shadow and hit the mainstream of acting in a way very few of his peers (other than The Rock) have truly achieved. Just as in WWE, becoming a star will not happen overnight. Now with over a decade in the business, Bautista is beginning to break through. With recent films like Riddick, Spectre, and Guardians of the Galaxy, Bautista has shown he’s more than just a wrestler.

The main takeaway from Dave Bautista’s workout is to keep your heart rate up.

Rather than doing three reps and then walking around the gym for the next 10 minutes talking about your max (if this isn’t you, then you at least know many like this), you need to focus on high reps and short rests. It’ll not only keep your blood pumping, but it will help you burn fat while getting bigger.

As well, though working out daily might seem great to some, the truth is that allowing your muscles a chance to recover and rebuild is crucial to getting bigger and remaining healthy, especially as you age. Getting enough quality sleep is vital. You simply must rest if you want to build a great physique.

You also need to remember that muscles are made in the kitchen, not in the gym.

Bautista proves this. If you truly want to adopt the Dave Bautista lifestyle, then the first step is to cut out the red meats and go gluten free. More and more Americans are opting for this lifestyle and they now have a huge endorsement from Drax the Destroyer. Bautista feels it helps him not only aesthetically, but also functionally.

Since adopting the gluten-free lifestyle, he says he not only feels better but also has noticed a decrease in both his asthma and allergies. Bautista’s diet proves you do not need a team of nutritionists in order to get in shape. You just have to listen to your body and find something that works for you.

Becoming a superhero has never been so easy!

By Michael Hersey

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Chances are there is room for improvement in your gym routine. But, do you know where to start? Most don’t. Check out these gym mistakes and make sure you’re not making them.

Picture this situation: You are walking into the gym, headphones are in and your pre-workout just kicked in.

Little did you know about that you would find someone curling or deadlifting in the squat rack. Dang, it looks like your squat everyday workout is going to have to wait at least 15 to 20 more minutes today.

Maybe you have been on the other end of this spectrum?

Ask yourself, are you the one deadlifting or doing biceps curls in the squat rack?

I know it seems like no big deal at times. However, when one has a long day at work and is looking forward to some heavy squats or bench press, the day may just be getting worse for that person.

Common courtesy goes a long way.

As a gym goer, you may be doing some things that are common mistakes. All around the world, people are hazed, looked at funny, taking too long on gym equipment and sometimes being the sweaty person. With that, you might be decreasing your overall progress for whatever goal you have set. Let’s take a look at the most major and common mistakes that people make in the gym.

Let’s get better today.

Most Common Gym Mistakes

top gym mistakes

You’re Taking Too Long On A Machine Or Piece Of Equipment

If you are someone who has a strict workout routine, you likely don’t find yourself taking too long on certain pieces of gym equipment. If you do, your workouts may be taking too long. When your workouts start to get up over an hour, you are actually decreasing your possible strength and muscle growth gains. With that, you may be holding up the gym flow.

Of course you are a paying gym member, however, common courtesy goes a long way in life.

You Only Do Steady-State Cardio For Fat Loss

This common gym mistake is starting to decrease as circuit and interval training becomes more popular across the world.

However, the common fitness myth of doing steady-state cardio for fat loss is still very much alive. If you are looking to burn fat, lift heavy and fast. Developing a foundation of muscle will ultimately burn more calories in the long run. A 200-pound male with 15% body fat will burn more calories than a guy of the same body weight, with 25% body fat. Muscle needs more energy.

You’re Checking Social Media, Emails And Texts

The number one tip for this is to leave your phone locked away in your car or gym locker. If you do not have your phone in sight, it will be out of mind. Your gym selfie may not happen by leaving your phone in the car, but you can always post something when you hit a major goal you have accomplished.

You Spend Too Much Time In The Gym

Spending hours in the gym should be left for the people who work there. Ask the people who are strong or lean. Most of their efforts are done outside of the gym. This is especially hard to overcome if you truly enjoy exercise.

If you love lifting or doing cardio, you simply may not want to leave!

Yet, the best exercises are typically the ones that are short and sweet.

You Spend Too Little Time In The Gym

If you are in the gym and you notice someone who works out for about 10 minutes and hits a few sets of bench press and biceps curls that person may just being doing it wrong. Now, don’t argue that at least that person is getting into the gym and exercising.

Why?

Maybe that person can be more efficient with his or her time in the gym. For instance, do burpees for 10 minutes and the workout efficiency will be maximized.

You’re Not Going Hard Enough

If you are unhappy with your strength or muscle gains, maybe you are not going hard enough in the gym?

To build muscle size and strength, the overload principle must be in place. Whether you are overloading the mind and muscles with a heavy load or high volume of reps, you must overload your body. This will allow your body to adapt and become stronger for your strength and muscle hypertrophy goals.

gym mistakes

You’re Not Training Legs

With the social media trend of squatting everyday, this is starting to be less likely. If you are looking to increase your bench press or deadlift, maybe you should start squatting more. There is no other exercise that’s better for loading up your body for strength and muscle growth adaptation. While training legs, the male hormone testosterone is also increased. That helps with all three muscle features: Increased size, strength, and definition.

You’re Program Jumping

If you’re not seeing the progress in strength, muscle size or overall exercise progress, program jumping might be the reason. Program jumping is pretty much the process of not following a workout program for more than one or two weeks.

If you want to really see some progress and make serious gains, you must pick a program that makes sense for your specific goals. If you are not following a detailed training program, it might be time to do so.

Sticking with a block of training and building upon each one is what separates people who have training progress and those who do not.

Deadlift

Curling Or Deadlifting In The Power Rack

While touching on this common gym mistake in the intro, you might just need the friendly reminder. Even though this might not happen on a daily basis, when it does happen, it usually is not fun to witness. For every hour that a gym is open, there is going to be at least one person using the power rack for squats or even bench press.

Most gyms have an extra bar that is used for deadlifts.

Then for curls, use the dumbbells or other bars that your gym has available. Unless you can biceps curl 135 pounds or more, stay out of the power rack while doing curls. As for deadlifts, there really is no reason why anyone should be deadlifting inside a power rack cage.

You’re The Dirty Guy

Sweating and working hard in a challenging workout is awesome. But, if you typically sweat a lot, make sure you are cleaning your trail of sweat. That applies whether it is in a group or individual setting. Having sweat drips can be unsanitary for the people around you. Make sure you are carrying a towel around with you. Then, use the gym facility’s machine or seat cleaner.

Whether that is spray bottles or wet wipes, make sure you are cleaning up after yourself.

You Talk Too Much

Every gym in the entire world has someone like this.

Hey, sometimes this can be a good thing!

But, sometimes people are on a strict schedule and their workout can only last so long. Talking someone’s ear off is sometimes a huge inconvenience for people trying to get in a hard workout. With inconvenience comes lack of motivation.

Instead of talking to someone about what happened during last night’s big game, ask if they will work out with you. That way, you can talk about the game while changing weights or resting between sets.

You’re Not Using Proper Technique

One of the most important tips that you should take from this article is that you need to use proper technique. If you are struggling with the form or range of motion for a certain exercise, make sure you are executing the lift with the proper movement pattern. If you are able to master the movement pattern of an exercise, you will become significantly stronger, guaranteed.

Tip: Record a video of your technique on an exercise and compare it to other people that you see in the gym. Recording movement patterns will go a long way in your training progression.

You’re Knocking Others

As you already know, most gyms have all levels of fitness. That ranges from the first time gym goer to the experienced bodybuilder or powerlifter. If you are someone who would be seen as intimidating, make sure you are helping others and not putting them down. When it comes to hazing, don’t do it. If you see someone hazing another gym-goer, speak up and be a leader.

Lift people’s spirits.

Don’t put them down.

Your Music Is Too Loud

With most headphones now being bigger and louder, the people around you can hear them. If you feel that your music is pretty loud, simply ask someone if they can hear it. It doesn’t have to be a stranger. Ask the gym manager and see what he or she says.

You’re Grunting

This is something that a lot of commercial gyms nowadays currently ban. Grunting shouldn’t be eliminated completely. If you are lifting very heavy loads (like 500 pound back squats) grunting will probably not be frowned upon. However, if you are only doing a couple plates (or less), you shouldn’t be grunting. It is typically wasted energy that you could use to do more weight.

You Make A Mess

If you incorporate deadlifts into your training program, you more than likely use chalk. If you do, don’t be the guy that claps his hands together and puts dust in the air. We have all seen LeBron James do it, so we get fired up and tend to do the same. Out of common courtesy, don’t make a mess and treat your gym like you would like you own home to be treated.

After reading all of these common gym mistakes, you may have found yourself guilty of a few of them.

If you have, what will you do to fix that?

One thing that works wonders is writing out your actions. Then come up with a plan for how you are going to achieve a goal that you set to correct these mistakes.

For example, if you know that you need to be training legs more often, here is a great challenge for you over the next seven days:

Day 1: Back squat: 3 sets of 5 reps at 65% of your estimated 1 rep max. Tip: Don’t overestimate your squat max. Make sure you have good form.

Day 2: Walking lunges: 3 sets of 2 minutes at the end of a workout.

Day 3: 100 Bodyweight squats

Day 4: Back squat: 4 sets of 3 reps at 70% of your estimated 1 rep max. Follow the same tip as day 1.

Day 5: Walking lunges: 2 sets of 3 minutes.

Day 6: 100 Bodyweight squats

Day 7: Work up to 50% of your 1 rep max for multiple sets of two.

With that seven-day challenge, you can easily apply something like that to all of your common gym mistakes that you have found. Do you not talk to anyone at your gym? Set a goal to say ‘Hi’ to the front desk or office worker. Sometimes a short, yet polite comment can make someone’s day.

Conclusion

Not all gyms are the same.

Not even close!

A mainstream chain gym in Seattle is often nothing like an old school gym in Ohio. They tend to be two completely different types of gyms with members who have different goals in mind. In spite of this fact, these common gym mistakes are likely to be most of the common gym mistakes seen across the world as a whole. If you know you are at the right gym, then that is awesome.

Keep up the great efforts and continue to crush the day.

Just make an effort to correct your mistakes. If you can do that, you’ll better your odds of achieving your goals.

By Patrick Thompson, NSCA-CPT

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Need another reason to get onto Instagram? How about 15 of them? Here are the 15 hottest fitness Instagram accounts you need to follow today!

With Instagram being media-based, it’s the perfect outlet for fitness media that you can obsess over. Fitness accounts on Instagram can vary by style and approach. Typically, the best performing accounts on Instagram have a theme not only for content but also for visual aesthetics. Users love to see pretty pictures and accounts that take the care to show not just pictures, but well-crafted pictures.

Why?

They’re more exciting to see. People also like a variety. They want photos of different things in different places.

Throw in some videos and you have a winner!

When it comes to the approach accounts can vary widely. Some offer a purely photo and video based inspirational account that fill your feed with the motivation to get and stay fit. Others give real tips for working out. Some even include recipes to help you eat healthy (because you can’t truly be healthy without fitness and nutrition). And, a good amount of them splash in some lifestyle to make it personal and make users feel like it’s all more relatable.

With a lot of options out there, who’s best to follow?

What accounts would cater to what you like? If you’re not sure where to start or are just looking for new fitness accounts to follow, we can help. Here’s a varied list of the 15 hottest fitness Instagram accounts.

#1 Tanya Poppett @tanyapoppett

This Sydney based fitness instructor has an aesthetic and diverse Instagram. There’s a great mix of inspiring photos, workout videos, food pictures, inspirational quotes, and messages. The fitness photos and videos offer workout suggestions to get you interested in her app called Train With Tanya. This account has a beautiful rhythm for promoting a fit lifestyle that will be sure to keep you motivated and give you tips.

Rather than focusing on a crazy diet or specific routine, her overall approach seems to be one of balance. 

What does that include?

You need a balance of good foods, habits, and workouts. The inspiration is also never-ending with this cutie in a sports bra, easily appealing to all genders. And, since Instagram is a mainly media-based platform, it’s refreshing to see a beautifully orchestrated fitstagram with great colors and pictures. The best Instagrams have a visual theme and this one is spot on. Definitely, a high recommendation to follow this one!

#2 Katrina and Karena @toneitup

Founders of Tone It Up and Perfect Fit, these girls have a lot to offer. This dynamic duo’s website not only offers a nutrition plan you can pay for, but they also give free workout plans for varying day amounts. They’re not only great for beginners, but also for people just looking to add some variety to what they already know and do!

Their Instagram account has it all. It includes a variety of workout photos, lifestyle photos, and videos. They’re sure to keep you smiling and to remind you to think about your health and fitness. Their pro videos are the best part of this account and will likely be what makes you curious to check out what they have for sale on their website. Overall, the account is a bit sporadic. But, it does focus on health and fitness in a positive light to keep you inspired!

#3 Amanda Bisk @amandabisk

Beautiful poses and photos galore. Can’t beat that! This former pole-vaulter Aussie is an exercise physiologist, athletics coach and yoga instructor with a 12-week training program called Fresh Body Fit Mind. She’s stylish, smiley and cute with an excellent Instagram aesthetic.

Even the quote photos fit with the overall look of the account. And those food photos are mouth-watering! Plus, one of the best things about this account is how much it feels like a regular person, but still focuses on the healthy lifestyle theme. It’s likely most appealing to yogis, dancers, and runners. Still, it can surely offer fitspiration to anyone looking to achieve or maintain that hot bod!

#4 Terry Asher @TerryAsher

This former skinny boy and founder of GymJunkies.com changed his best friends life with personal training and then took the health and fitness industry by storm after. His winning smile, motivational posts and active pictures are sure to remind you of the lifestyle you want to have.

He also participates in things like trail running, which equates to over 42 miles a week, to get you feeling jazzed and excited about fitness goals. He’s got a different style than the most physique competitors already listed to offer some variety to the typical workout guy. Follow this fun-loving sensation for reminders that a healthy and fit lifestyle also means a happy and fun lifestyle!

#5 Curtis Williams @curtiswilliams17

Workout videos with a little spice of quotes, lifestyle pictures, and marketing for his company Training C.A.M.P. fill up this motivational fitness account. He’s an NFL athlete, member of the Under Armour Performance Training Council and the first Director of Strength and Conditioning at New York University. He is also certified as a Performance Enhancement Specialist by the National Association of Sports Medicine.

With this well-earned resume, Williams offers real world knowledge and encouragement focusing on performance and overall body movement. He posts mostly videos of real people working out in his program, as well as promotions for his company. It’s refreshing to watch everyday people work through it, especially since most accounts only show the glamorous final product. Follow this account for great tips and real-world motivation!

Push your limits & challenge yourself with every workout! #workoutwednesday

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#6 Marie Purvis @mariepurvis

Nike NTC Global and Master Trainer Marie Purvis posts great photos in diverse locations. Practically always smiling, this workout guru has great fitness style. She not only posts fun pictures of her enjoying her workout but also her with other fit people.

This girl will get you excited about the lifestyle of someone who lives for fitness. And, she’ll inspire you to include it into your daily life too. She’ll also participate in challenges, such as Nike’s 21-day #betterforit challenge, to get you interested in new ways to stay fit.

What more could you want?

#7 Hunter Cook @hunterfitness

This super flexible fitness guru includes cool and intriguing yoga pose pictures and workout videos. Some of his poses make you wonder if he does contortionist work. The cool thing about this account is how it includes varying fitness styles. That’s especially unique for a male fitness fanatic.

Also, most of his videos take place in a gym – even when it’s only body movement – which is a testament to how well this guy blends his workout styles. If you’re looking to fill your feed with fun fitness tidbits and amazing male flexibility, this is a great account to follow.

#8 Emily Skye @emilyskyefit

With about 1.4 million followers, this Instagrammer actually has the blue check by her name for official recognition. She’s also got a meal and workout program you can follow on her website. This account offers great workout videos with suggestions, as well as pictures upon pictures of Ms. Skye showing off her fit bod.

The workout videos are really clear and have bold text to tell you what’s going on. It really depends on what type of motivation you’re looking for when choosing an account to follow. If smiling fit pics, random lifestyle photos and a splash of workout videos inspires you, then this is a good account to follow.

PUSH-UP Workout ???? www.lmbfitness.com/guides Push ups. Enough said. Give your chest, triceps and core a real workout with this series of push up variations. Not up to toe push ups yet? No problem! These can all be modified to be performed on your knees as you work your way up…but I recommend trying at least one or two reps from your toes each round to challenge yourself! Complete 10 reps of each move for 4 rounds. That’s 320 push ups. You got this ???????? ⭐️ fingertip push-ups ⭐️ forearm push-ups ⭐️ head touch push-ups ⭐️ down dog push-ups ⭐️ oblique crunch push-ups ⭐️ scapula push-ups ⭐️ reverse grip push-ups ⭐️ plank walk out push-ups Tag and share this workout with friends!! Have fun! ???? Wearing: @brasilfitaus #homeworkouts #livingmovingbeing #pushups #LMBfit #getfit #fitnessvideo #exercisevideo #LMBfitness

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#9 Chriss Mogg @livingmovingbeing

Another cute Aussie fitness girl, this account is loaded with fitness videos, photos and delicious looking food pics. Add in a side of funny quotes and she’s got a winner. Want beautiful photos? She delivers. Want to follow a beautiful girl? She’s an option. How about beautiful food? It’s all here.

She also throws in tips in her picture captions to keep you thinking about your fitness. As well, she’s got a blog full of longer, more flushed out advice and recipes. It’s all on a mat or outdoors – no gym. And while she’s obviously big into yoga and showing off her poses, she also includes real workout vids, too. She takes the cake for best incorporated, well-described and aesthetically pleasing food pictures for a fitness account!

#10 Ben Booker @thebenbooker

For male fit pics of inspiration, there’s Ben Booker. He’s a Daily Burn trainer and the owner/founder of Second Chance Fitness gym.

There are a lot of weight-training videos on this account. There is also some of his family and the everyday person may find extra inspiration from a family man. This account would likely also be motivating for bodybuilders or competitors as this guy is absolutely shredded!

I wrote a review of 2016 for myself, to process the amazing and intense year I had, but I’ve decided to share it with you! {link in bio} # It’s called “A Nomadic, Open-Hearted YES: My 2016 In Review.” Be warned: it’s long, unrelated to body image, and not intended to teach anyone anything. # Instead, I’m sharing it only because so many of you have been eagerly keeping up with my travels the last year, and have asked me questions about why I went certain places, what the experience was like, and what I’ve learned. (Hint: SO MUCH.) # If you’re at all curious about me, my life, or my travels, this blog post is for you- click the link in my bio to read it! # Consider it a behind-the-scenes look at both my life, and the way I write when I don’t have a word limit. ???? # Here’s to 2017!!

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#11 Jessi Kneeland @JessiKneeland

With a strong focus on yoga poses (and a good amount of nude yoga pose pictures), this girl is a TedX speaker and the founder of Remodel Fitness. You’ll find workout videos and pretty fitness pose photos.

It’s a fun mix of working out in the gym and out of the gym. The account actually seems to go through phases of what’s focused on. You may see gym pics for a couple weeks and then all outdoor pics after that.

For frequent motivation to improve your flexibility and strength, this is a great account to follow!

DONT BE AFRAID OF CHANGE, BE MORE AFRAID OF A LIFE, THAT DOESNT CHANGE AND DOESNT BECOME BETTER!!! It’s getting closer for the release of my @rebelarmscorp Signature rifle in collaboration with @vzgrips weapon solutions and @slrrifleworks late April for the NRA show. My signature pistol will also be released from @innovativegfsolutions in collaboration with @s3fsolutions @deadendgunworks @inforce01 Weapons cleaning solution signature Pouch for 9mm-45 cal and 223 from @breakthrough_clean and last but not least my signature range/deployment bag from @hazard4california super excited!! SO STAY TUNED!!! #shootingday #rangeday #weaponsreloaded #gunfanatics #glockfanaticweaponsdaily #molonlabe #merica #2a #2ndamendment #staythecourse #donttreadonme #usmc #swat #beastmode s #gunsdaily #veteran #tacticaltraining #tactical #tacticalgear #tacticallife #hazard4 #glock #ar15 #gunfanatics #lawenforcement

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#12 Tony Sentmanat @realworld_tactical

Here’s a funstagram that mixes fitness with firearms. This USMC Veteran, 1st Phorm Athlete, and MMA Trainer showcases his tactical skills both in the gym and out. With photos and videos, this is an action-packed account.

It gives a real world perspective from someone who packs a serious punch. This is likely most inspirational to anyone who wears a uniform or has considered it. It might also appeal to those who take part in any combat fighting or MMA because this guy looks tough and lifts heavy.

Looking for a way to mix up your cardio? Give your joints a break from the pounding of running with some intervals on the bike. Here are two of my favorite sets I do on my bike days. 1) For 30 seconds alternate every 3-4 pedals from sitting to standing, keeping your posture and your core firing as you transition. Then, 30 seconds off of normal peddling. Repeat 5-10 times. 2) 30 seconds at a comfortable pace, 30 seconds at a sprint, 30 seconds slow pedaling with hard resistance, and 30 seconds standing for a total of 2 minutes. Repeat 5 times or as much as you like. #fitness #health #fitnessdruggie #fitnessmotivation #fitpso #TFIT #legguide #buttguide #squatvideos #squatadvice #FitGirlVideos @fitgirlvideos #sixpackfemmes #LegionOfBoom #1stphorm #iam1stphorm #1stphorm4life #nextlevelshit #cardio #bike #bikeintervals #intervals

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#13 Tamara Aboumrad @tamsfitness

Newer on the Instagram fitness block, this girl is sure to climb. With workout videos, tips and recipes galore, she really offers you everyday advice to bump up your healthy lifestyle.

If you don’t mind the don’t-care-about-the-camera-work look, this account has a lot to share. As an ex-division 1 athlete, this fitness freak provides variety and another real world perspective. And, with about 18.9k followers at less than 100 posts, she’s on fire so far.

#14 Elliott Drew @fit_with_el

And here’s the last cute Aussie fit girl that makes the cut. Aesthetic photos, a variety of fitness and yoga, some food pics and a splash of lifestyle – this account is fun and offers up that frequent motivation of what you want your healthy lifestyle to be. This personal trainer also offers sessions, programs, a blog and YouTube videos to add to her Instagram inspiration.

The cool thing about this account is that it isn’t overloaded with yoga poses, not that we don’t like yoga poses. This girl just shows a little more variety in her fit pics. It’s refreshing to the Instagram world. Also, if you’re into fitness fashion, she’s got great style photos of her fit wear. This account doesn’t have much how-to advice or tips. It does offers great fitspiration and pictures to keep you thinking about your lifestyle and how healthy, fit and happy you want it to be.

#15 Joanne Encarnacion @gofitjo

This SF Bay Area mom is on a journey. She became a mom at 21 and in 2013 she started a fitness and health transformation. She went from a size 12/14 to a size 2 in just one year. With a husband and two kids, this is a relatable real world account that offers a recurring reminder that no matter where you are in life, you can overcome and you can be who you want to be. You can have the fit and healthy lifestyle you’ve dreamed of no matter what.

Her Instagram account is a mix of fitness photos and lifestyle photos with a great aesthetic to boot. Plus, her photo aesthetic is completely different from all the other accounts. It has a more artistic approach and less vibrant, more urban color theme.

Conclusion 

Girls make better fitness accounts. Just kidding! Well, not really. Instagram is a great place. It lets you focus on media and because fitness requires that visual aspect, it has a wonderful home on Instagram. Hopefully, some of these accounts cater to what you like. They’re sure to keep you motivated to stay healthy and fit!

By Alyssa Bright

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Ridiculous People

The gym is a great place. But, not all the members seem normal. There are all sorts of Ridiculous People. Check out this list to be sure you’re not one of them.

The gym is often an interesting place packed with interesting people. You see parodies of gym personalities in comics, YouTube, and the mainstream media. Like all parodies, what you see has some basis in reality. We have all been subjected to at least one of these very eccentric people once or twice in our health club visits — some strange enough to make you take the headphones out of your ears and stare in disbelief.

With that said, you have to give credit to anyone who is in the gym instead of being permanently stuck to a sofa with potato chips. Going to the gym is not easy. But when you actually do go, you get to see some of these types of folks with their eccentric personalities. On the bright side, there’s at least some entertainment value in them assuming they don’t annoy you.

We’ll look at the top 15 common gym stereotypes as a means to help you identify and classify inappropriate behavior, and to help you steer clear from falling into one of these categories as you continue your fitness journey. Don’t go too far in generalizing these stereotypes to everybody in the gym, but prepare to meet some folks who fit the mold all too well.

#1 The Social Butterfly

The social butterfly goes to the health club to meet people rather than to exercise. No, it’s not just you. The last thing some people do in the gym is work out.

You’ve seen them. Every gym has one. Her outfit is the only indication she has any intention of working out, because had you only seen her perfectly made-up face and hair, you would have thought breaking a sweat was the last thing on her mind. The social butterfly wears more makeup than you would wear on your wedding day. Expect this person to be talking on the phone, flirting from one machine to the next and on the prowl for a potential date.

#2 The Singer

It seems like just about everyone wears buds in their ears during their workout. If you have worked out without them, then you have likely heard and seen the singer at your gym.

The singer listens to his or her music and sings right along so everyone else in the gym knows what he or she is listening to. You may even see this person get into a dancing mood when one of his or her favorite songs is playing.

If you’re able to sing and dance in the midst of a workout, are you really getting anything done?

#3 The Fashionista

The fashionista spends more money on clothing than she does on anything else. She wears the latest in fashion wear and spends more time in front of the mirror than she does exercising.

After setting down her designer purse and matching water bottle, she begins her routine, which mostly consists of abs crunches, cardio and an unnecessary amount of stretching. The fashionista apparently has some kind of superpower that many of us would sell our souls for because when she leaves, she looks exactly the same as when she arrived. Then again, maybe we wouldn’t. After all, if you never sweat, you’ll never build the body you want.

#4 The Bulging Bodybuilder

Many believe that bodybuilding is less about strength than it is about a look. Since they can’t show off at home, a gym is necessary for a bodybuilder to put all those massive muscles on display for other people to admire. The bulging bodybuilder exercises shirtless.

Why?

Simple, so every person in the gym gets the treat of seeing his full physique. But, if the gym requires its members to be fully clothed, a sleeveless shirt will suffice.

The bulging bodybuilder spends all his time lifting heavy weights for fear that he will lose a pound if he goes anywhere near a cardio machine. Every gym has at least a few bodybuilders who spend more time strutting and posing than lifting.

#5 The Howler

Go to any gym and you’ll find someone like this guy whether he screams, grunts, howls or moans. The howler believes that making animal-like sounds somehow improves the quality of his workout. He may even shout from time to time when lifting heavy weights. You’ll always know the moment this person enters the gym.

Why?

Because you’ll no doubt hear him and his silly noises long before you even spot him.

This is extremely irritating to other gym members. Don’t be the guy that draws attention because of some oddball noise. If you are using 20-pound dumbbells for biceps curls and it’s a struggle to lift them without making goofy sounds, consider dropping to a lighter weight.

#6 The Slob

It’s likely that anyone who has spent time at a gym has seen some bad behavior, including that coming from the slobs who leave nothing but a mess at every turn. The slobs never wipe down equipment and never put things back where they belong. They lift heavy weights and they have no intention of putting them away.

The slobs are usually dripping with sweat and have the body odor to match. They never wear deodorant and often leave their odor to linger for hours after they have vacated the area.

#7 The Hoarder

The hoarder uses more than one piece of equipment at a time and carries many items around the gym unnecessarily. This type of person makes it hard for other people to get access to exercise equipment and acts like he or she owns the place.

Anybody who’s gone to the gym has seen the effects of a hoarder. What are they? A bunch of different weight plates and dumbbells scattered all over the floor. It almost looks like a hurricane has passed through the building thanks to the messy and selfish nature of the hoarder.

#8 The Know-It-All

This type exists everywhere, not just the gym. The gym know-it-all has advice about anything and everything. He or she will tell you about the newest research, latest supplements and best techniques.

You never asked for any advice, but they still won’t stop talking no matter how many hints you drop. You don’t have to look for these people in the gym. They will find you. The know-it-all often finds the most inconvenient time to interrupt your workout to discuss every little detail of your program and is happy to point out everything that you are doing incorrectly.

#9 The Fighter

The fighter is the guy you see shadow boxing in front of the mirror. Even though most couldn’t name more than a couple current pro boxers, boxing has become a popular sport for many fitness junkies. It’s not surprising because it provides the best workout and challenges many of our senses.

Every gym has a wannabe boxer. He’s the guy that beats on invisible opponents instead of going to an MMA or boxing gym and going up against the real thing. Most gyms aren’t meant for fighting. Most gyms are meant for cardio and weight training. If you really want to get in the ring and show your stuff, then find the right gym.

#10 The Mixer

If you’ve ever stepped into a puddle of some sticky stuff on the gym floor, then you can say you’ve been a victim of the mixer. The mixer usually carries a shaker cup. In it, you’ll find the fruits of his or her labor: A glowing liquid.

You often see the mixer putting ample amounts of powder into his or her cup in the locker room. If you must mix your drinks in a public place, at least make sure that all of the powder actually lands in the cup.

#11 The Guy With All The Gear

You just can’t miss this guy.

Why?

Simple, because this is the guy who will strut his stuff around the gym making sure you see he has every sort of gym equipment known to mankind.

You will see him carrying around compression gear, lifting straps, knee wraps, workout gloves and a fancy sports watch. Find a guy who is using a not-so-healthy combo of these items and you’ll find the gear guy. Do us all a favor: Don’t buy all the equipment at the sporting goods store. Leave some for the next guy. You’ll save some money and won’t look like the gym fool.

#12 The Depressed Man

The depressed man works out because either his wife or mirror has forced him out of the bar and into the gym. You will notice the depressed man slowing moving between machines with a sad look on his face.

He usually walks around in a random t-shirt and sweat-stained gray sweatpants. Sometimes, he will wear a headband as he stares at you sadly while you work out. All in all, he will be uncoordinated and miserable.

#13 The Former Athlete

The rest of the team may have moved on to bigger and better things, but he is still the big man on campus. The former athlete shows up at the health club sporting his team jacket and jersey, though his frat days are a distant memory.

He watches the game on TV while jogging or cycling, but he is dedicated to his workout. The former athlete believes that the healthiest way to relive his glory days is to keep them alive.

#14 The Marathoner

The marathoner heads to the gym to get sweaty and compete with himself. This person is goal-oriented and focused and he or she doesn’t pay attention to other gym-goers.

Runners and athletes know that stretching is crucial, as is working different muscle groups and maintaining a schedule. They also know that it’s smart to plan a few days off each week to let your muscles heal and keep your joints healthy.

So does the marathoner!

#15 The Tough Guy

The tough guys march around the gym like they own the place. You see, the primary objective of a tough guy is to let everybody else in the gym know there’s a tough guy working out.

Tough guys often slam weights after each set. These guys love to grunt and they take it to the extreme. It completes them. Some tough guys swear like drill sergeants. And they swear loudly at any time and in front of anyone. The tough guys also flock to the hot chicks like buzzards to a corpse.

Conclusion

It’s important to dedicate time to yourself, your fitness and your health. Exercising regularly carries many mental and physical health benefits. According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, all adults should get at least 30 minutes of exercise five days a week. Going to the gym five days a week is one way to achieve this goal.

As much as some would like to believe that ice cream and cake are the elixir for a healthy, long life, we know that is not the case. We also know that a regular exercise routine is one of the great paths to a healthier and longer life.

By knowing what stereotypes exist at the health club, you may not only avoid bumping into them, but you can also avoid becoming them. The last thing you want to do is be the sweating, stinking hoarder that everyone talks about.

Pay attention to gym behaviors that irritate you and take into consideration your own behaviors to make the gym a better, friendlier place. Leave your ego at home. Be sure to clean up after you’ve finished. Don’t be a machine or equipment hog. Respect those around you. Be smart and stay safe. The gym is a place to build a better version of yourself.

Never forget that!

By Suzana Dos Santos

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