Sunday, February 28, 2016


Building muscle takes more than just putting hours in at the gym. While training is obviously important, rest is equally significant. It’s during this time muscles heal from the stresses forced on them during exercise.

However, most importantly, an athlete must have the right nutrients, minerals and vitamins in their diet for adequate muscle recovery and repair. Supplementation can help boost an athlete’s protein intake or give that all-important vitamin hit post-workout, but meat should be the preferred source.


It’s imperative for an athlete to consume a sufficient amount of protein daily to support muscle growth and meat is an excellent source.

It has High Biological Value (HBV) and is made up of Essential Amino Acids (EAA) and Non-Essential Amino Acids (NEAA). The body can produce NEAA naturally, whereas EAA, which is essential for protein synthesis, cannot.

According to the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, strength athletes require between 1.2g and 1.7g of protein per kilogram of bodyweight per day. Endurance athletes need a protein intake of 1.2g and 1.4g of protein per kilogram of bodyweight per day.

Therefore, a strength athlete weighing 105kg will require 126g to 177g protein daily and an endurance athlete weighing 75kg will need between 90g and 105g protein each day.

It’s thought a typical 6oz lean fillet steak contains approximately 32g protein.

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Vitamins & Minerals

Meat is naturally rich in multiple vitamins and minerals, all of which essential for muscle gain. It contains high quantities of zinc, selenium and B vitamins e.g. B 2, B 6 and B 12, as well as iron, in red meat.

Zinc, known for helping in the production of protein, assists in the recovery, repair and growth of muscle cells as well as boosting the body’s immune system.

Selenium, an anti-oxidant, helps prevent muscle injury post-workout by preventing oxidative damage to the healthy muscle cells, thus allowing them to repair and grow faster.

B vitamins help release energy from foods meaning an athlete will have a much more energetic and worthwhile workout.

B6 and B12 even have specialised roles that directly relate to muscle growth. B6 is needed for AA metabolism and B12 is required for maintaining nerve function, thus allowing muscles to contract.

A 4oz lean cut of beef provides your body with approximately 50% of the RDA of B6 and 25% of the RDA of B12.

Iron, known for boosting energy levels and combating fatigue, also helps facilitate the production of red blood cells. These then transport oxygen around the body and helps stimulate cell growth – particularly in the muscles.


Naturally found in meat, creatine is a nitrogen-containing compound that provides muscles with energy and helps improve protein synthesis, thus encouraging muscle gain.
90% of creatine is found in the muscles with the remaining 10% in the heart and brain.

Essentially, meat is well-balanced and excellent natural source of various elements crucial for muscle growth.
However, meat can be high in saturated fats so, for optimum muscle growth, it’s recommended athletes choose lean cuts like turkey, chicken breast and lean steaks and trim off any excess fat before cooking.


Saturday, February 27, 2016


Eggs – The Nation’s Favourite Superfood

Back in the 1980’s the Nation had a bit of an egg revolt.  According to then experts the consumption of eggs was to be limited because of their links to high cholesterol.  

Since then, though, the nutritional profile of eggs has changed dramatically thanks to the improved diet and lifestyle of the Chickens that lay them.  As a result, eggs are firmly back on the daily menus of many – including athletes, fitness enthusiasts and bodybuilders.

Egg whites are especially popular because they’re high in muscle building protein, low in fat and contain absolutely no carbs, but the egg as a whole should not be dismissed.

In fact in a recent article by Dr Juliet Gray, eggs were described as a natural health food and diet aid - essentially a superfood with outstanding nutritional and health benefits we should all be eating.

Yet while we know the 1980’s research is outdated and the protein value of egg whites, in comparison to fat content, is arguably unrivalled – just how many of you know the true health and nutritional benefits of eggs?

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The White

The egg white has so much more to it than just protein. It’s extra low in fat and contains many an essential mineral including:

* Magnesium

This mineral serves so many functions it’s hard to list them all.  

In a nutshell, though, Magnesium is needed for the creation of ATP, regulating blood sugar levels, helping you sleep and maintaining bone health.

Research also suggests Magnesium can have a positive impact on blood pressure as well as prevent strokes and heart attacks.

* Iron

Iron plays a huge role in the growth and development of the human body by metabolising proteins and encouraging the growth of red blood cells.

This is essential because the more you train the greater the risk of becoming anaemic which can have a negative impact on your workouts.

Studies also show Iron fights fatigue, helps transport oxygen around the body and boosts your immune system.

* Calcium

We all know calcium is important for healthy bones and teeth, but it has other health benefits too.

Most recently Calcium has been proven to have positive impact on weight loss as it can actively prevent weight gain by promoting fat to be burned as energy and less fat to be stored.

The Yolk

Once vilified the big bad wolf of the egg world because of its dreaded cholesterol stores, the yolk has been reinstated as a food to munch in recent years thanks to its many nutritional positives….

Essential fatty acids

Egg yolks contain Omega-3, which is needed for keeping your brain and body in peak condition.

Without it, your concentration levels could drop, you could feel fatigued and you’ll most likely struggle for motivation.

Egg yolks also have Omega-6, which is essential for healthy skin, hair, libido and response to injury!

Vitamin D

AKA the sunshine vitamin, Vitamin D is essential for keeping your bones and teeth healthy as well as regulating your mood.

The greatest source of Vitamin D is sunlight (hence is AKA!) but a small number of foods also have it - eggs are one of these lucky foods providing you with roughly 21% of your RDA per serving!


Zinc is extremely important in not only maintaining your overall health and well-being, but it keeps your immune system healthy too.

It can also boost your brain function by regulating how neurons communicate actively affecting your cognitive function.

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The list goes on and on.  In total, the egg has 25 vitamins and minerals, most of which found in the yolk and all of which have positives for your health.

They are antioxidants due to their selenium content, powerful immune boosters, a great source of energy and help your body build lean muscle the whole food way.

It’s easy to see why this once condemned foodstuff is now the Nation’s favorite superfood.

Thursday, February 25, 2016


Cure your biceps blunders with this heavy-duty dose of dumbbells. 

You know the adage: Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. When you aim to improve your physique, you don’t use the same approach day after day; instead, you diversify, incorporating several different movements, angles and loads. And when something stops working for you in the gym, common sense dictates that it’s time for a change. Yet there are some who play to the adage, repeating the failed workouts of yesteryear in hopes that this time will be different. One of the joys of lifting weights is that you have hundreds of options at your disposal, and there may be no greater ally than dumbbells in the quest for a better body.

Dumbbells are the Talented Mr. Ripley of the fitness world, doing the work of barbells and machines in nearly every imaginable exercise, oftentimes better. Their versatility is second to none, allowing lifters to detect muscular imbalances, train without a spotter, vary wrist angles…the list goes on. This month, take a mostly unilateral approach to your biceps training. Open with a standard mass-builder, dumbbell-style. From there, it’s on to dumbbell incline curls, which target the outer head of your bi’s. Close with a one-arm preacher curl to bombard that often-neglected inner head.

Need to inject a little variety into your biceps workout? Then walk away from that rack of EZ-bars and try our all-dumbbell routine. You’ll work your peaks from different positions that are guaranteed to keep them growing.

1. Standing Dumbbell Curl

How Many? 1 warm-up + 4 sets; 10, 10, 12, 12 reps

1) START: Stand erect holding two dumbbells at your sides. Maintain a slight bend in your elbows. Palms face forward.

2) MOVE: In an explosive yet controlled manner, simultaneously curl both dumbbells, keeping your elbows tight at your sides. At the top, squeeze your biceps hard as you hold the peak contraction momentarily. Slowly reverse the motion, bringing the weights back to the start. Repeat.

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2. Incline Alternating Dumbbell Curl

How Many? 4 sets; 8-12 reps apiece

1) START: Set the bench to about a 45-60-degree angle. Hold a dumbbell in each hand as you sit back on the bench and allow your arms to hang straight down toward the floor. Palms faced forward.

2) MOVE: Curl one arm at a time toward the same-side shoulder, keeping your elbow back. Keep your head straight and don’t lean to either side. Squeeze your biceps at the top. Slowly lower to the start. Alternate arms.

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3. One-Arm Dumbbell Preacher Curl

How Many? 3 sets; 10-15 reps for each arm

1) START: Hold a dumbbell in one hand and secure yourself on a preacher bench. Keep your nonworking hand on the bench for balance.

2) MOVE: Slowly lower the dumbbell, stopping just short of locking out your elbow. In a smooth and controlled motion, curl the weight toward the same-side shoulder. Squeeze at the top before slowly returning to the start. Complete all reps for one side, then repeat with the opposite arm.

by Eric Velazquez