Building muscles takes a whole lot of time and a whole lot of effort. But, that’s not the only problem. You also have to follow a particular system in order to see the gains you want to see. Muscle building isn’t just about hitting the gym and lifting the first set of weights you spot.
If you don’t have a system or a fixed approach, you’re going to see extremely poor results. To help you out, we’ve decided to list a few common muscle building mistakes that most beginners make. Hopefully, this will help you get started on the right path.
Avoid Sports After a Workout
As odd as it might sound, playing sports can actually get in the way of your muscle growth. You see, your muscles need at least about 2 days to recover from the stress placed on them. If you engage in exercise immediately, you are going to end up using all those calories for fuel instead of rebuilding.
So, take some time off from cardiovascular activity. If you can’t, limit it to 20 minutes, thrice a week. Now, cardio may not interfere with your strength development. However, it will interfere with the development of muscle mass. In other words, if you want bigger muscles, you need to limit your cardio.
Sticking to a Rep Range
You’ve probably come across the theory that muscle growth is best achieved with a moderate rep range. This might sound like a “sound” theory, but the evidence is actually inconclusive. What we do know for certain is that a lower rep range (1-5 per set) helps with strength development, which, in turn, allows you to lift heavier weights in a moderate rep range, such as 10-12. This way, you get to create more muscle tension, which leads to better growth.
On the other hand, a high rep-range, such as 15-20, can boost your lactate threshold. This can help you minimize fatigue and boost time under tensions. This is also good for growth.
To put it simply, muscle growth is optimized when you explore the full set of rep ranges.
Not Cutting Down on Sugar
Diet plays a huge role in muscle development. So, if you aren’t eating right, you need to reconsider your priorities. That brings us to the topic of sugar. Sugar is nothing short of poison. Eat enough of it and you’re looking at obesity and poor muscle development.
Excessive sugar consumption can cause your cells to become unresponsive to insulin, which is an anabolic hormone. This leads to poor absorption of glucose, which, in turn, leads to high sugar levels and diabetes. At the end, you’ll end up suffering from low energy levels and of course, muscle catabolism.
Now, you’re probably thinking “oh, but I stopped eating sweet stuff a long time ago!”. Well, you might have stopped gorging on donuts, cakes, and candies, but there are some foods out there that are deceptive. For instance, did you know that certain kinds of sushi have sugar?
If you’re surprised, we don’t blame you. The food industry isn’t exactly transparent and you can’t expect them to be. So, it’s up to you to seek out information and update yourself. Talk to a dietician, if you must.
Apart from the above tips, we also suggest you start taking protein supplements to help boost your muscle growth. You can choose from a wide range at https://www.sportsfuel.co.nz/.
12 WAYS TO COMBAT STRESS, SLEEP BETTER & FEEL AMAZING EVERYDAY
Stress affects us all. Some days it's worse than others, and over time, it takes its toll on how we look, feel and perform.
Over 90% of adults say they experience stress or anxiety daily, and 74% say it's so great they feel unable to cope1. Add to this physical stress of training, injury, infection, or environmental toxins. Even certain foods can create stress on our bodily systems.
Some acute stress is helpful. However, chronic stress can be very harmful - even deadly!!
Here are ten things stress can cause and 12 ways to effectively combat stress:
Reduced Thyroid Function
Lowered Sex Drive
Irritability & Loss of Empathy
How do we fix this?
Exercise is more effective in reducing stress, anxiety, and depression than the top 5 antidepressant medications 2.
It might sound counterintuitive, but regular acute physical stress can significantly combat chronic mental stress. People who exercise regularly are less likely to experience anxiety and depression3.
Exercise releases endorphins and gives you confidence which may help reduce your stress. During or immediately after training, be sure to use essential amino acids like AMINO SWITCH™ to accelerate recovery. AMINO SWITCH™ also contains the adaptogen Schisandra, which has been shown to increase energy and reduce stress.
You've probably heard the term 'LAUGHTER IS THE BEST MEDICINE. Well, when it comes to stress, that is entirely true.
When you have fun and laugh, it's hard to feel stressed. Laughing has a natural lowering effect on cortisol (stress hormones) and increases serotonin (happy hormone). It also activates the Vagus nerve, which helps transport the serotonin from your gut to your brain.
One study showed laughing could help healing by activating the immune system, which could further reduce the effects of physical and emotional stress4. When we are stressed, it lowers our immunity which can result in increased inflammation and reduced recovery.
Try watching comedies or hanging out with people who make you laugh and enjoy life. Once you start, it can become infectious. 😊
Like laughter, singing also boosts serotonin and activates the Vagus nerve. This has a relaxing effect and has been shown to reduce tension, stress, and anxiety.
In one study, the music you enjoyed, because it brought back happy nostalgic memories, was the most effective at reducing stress markers.
So next time you're in the car on your way to or from work, belt out a tune you love at the top of your voice and watch your stress levels drop.
4) SPEND TIME WITH FRIENDS:
People who live the longest, healthiest lives have two things in common: Purpose and community. Supporting friends and hanging out with friends and family can be stress-reducing.
One study showed men and women with the least social connections had the most significant levels of anxiety and depression.
However, pick your friends carefully and hang around people who support your goals and are genuinely fun to be around.
Many natural ingredients can reduce stress. Here is a list of the top 7 and the supplements you can find them in -
· Magnesium – ADRENAL SWITCH™ & ALPHA SWITCH™
This super important mineral is involved in over 600 bodily processes per day. It is critical for energy metabolism, nervous system relaxation, muscle recovery, energy, and so much more.
Nearly 75% of the population is not getting enough magnesium for their daily needs. Simply supplementing with magnesium citrate after exercise or before bed will profoundly benefit your recovery and lower your cortisol (stress).
· Ashwagandha – ADRENAL SWITCH™ & ALPHA SWITCH™
Known as the king of herbs. This Ayurvedic medicinal root has been used for centuries to help combat fatigue, reduce stress, and support energy. It is an adaptogen class of compounds that aid our mind and body adapt to stress.
Ashwagandha contains a natural compound called Withanolides that have been shown to lower cortisol (stress) and support natural hormone balance.
· Schisandra – AMINO SWITCH™ & ESTRO SWITCH™
This traditional Chinese medicinal berry supports qi (energy & life force). It elicits some of its benefits through liver detoxification. It is also an effective adaptogen (like ashwagandha) and improves how your body responds to caffeine by reducing jitters, improving energy levels and preventing an energy crash.
Schisandra needs to provide high levels of Schisandrin A like that found in AMINO SWITCH™ & ESTRO SWITCH™.
· Alpina galanga – COFFEE SWITCH™, THERMAL SWITCH™ & POWER SWITCH™
This unique alpine grown galangal extract has been shown to improve your tolerance to stress. It was voted 2019 innovative ingredient of the year and outperforms caffeine in focus and alertness scores without activating the central nervous system (without producing adrenaline or cortisol).
Alpina galanga will often be found in combination with caffeine or coffee, as it has been shown to amplify your body's response to caffeine by 30 – 50% and make it feel cleaner & longer lasting.
Alpina may also reduce adenosine in the brain. Therefore, preventing mental fatigue, tiredness and procrastination. It also boosts D2 dopamine receptor sensitivity, which helps combat stress by boosting mood.
The feeling of Alpina and Caffeine together is one of happiness, alertness and profound focus.
· Glycine – ADRENAL SWITCH™ & COLLAGEN SWITCH™
This non-essential amino acid has many benefits, including its tonifying effect on the nervous system. Glycine also helps support connective tissue recovery, immune response, and energy by supporting endogenous (internal) creatine production.
Like GABA, it has a calming effect if used after exercise or before bed. However, Glycine can be consumed before training, where it can help improve energy.
· L-Theanine – ADRENAL SWITCH™
L-Theanine is another non-essential amino acid with the ability to calm your body and brain. L-Theanine is found in green tea and has been shown to take the edge off caffeine (reduce jitters or anxiety) while promoting focus and elevating mood.
· Medicinal Mushrooms – VITALITY SWITCH™ & COFFEE SWITCH™
Medicinal mushrooms have been used in traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurvedic medicine systems for centuries. They are adaptogens that help support your body's response to stress. They're also great at lowering inflammation which could be causing chronic physical stress. Medicinal mushrooms like Shitake, Maitake, Turkey Tail, King Trumpet and Cordyceps support energy and immunity while fighting pathogens like viruses, bacteria, fungus etc.
6) GET YOUR MACROS & MICROS RIGHT:
Undereating or eating calorie-dense but micronutrient depleted food can profoundly affect your mental health, stress, and body fat levels.
Keep in mind 'FOOD CAN CHANGE YOUR MOOD'. Eating food that spikes and then drops your blood sugar levels can leave you exhausted, tired, grumpy, and hungry.
Being in a chronic calorie deficit can increase cortisol (stress hormone), slow fat loss, increase muscle loss, and increase inflammation and stress. Make your diet cyclical and have higher calorie days mixed in with your calorie deficit. Using KETO SWITCH™ between meals or during fasting on your calorie deficit days can reduce muscle loss, support brain function, and reduce hunger.
7) MEDITATION & MINDFULNESS:
We all know meditation and mindfulness are helpful ways of reducing stress. However, some people have difficulty clearing their minds when attempting meditation. Apps like 'Head Space' and others can teach you or guide you through meditation, which can be life-changing.
Cuddling, hugging, kissing, and sex can relieve stress by promoting the release of oxytocin and serotonin. These practices have been shown to lower blood pressure, heart rate and other emotional and physical symptoms of stress.
Chimpanzees also cuddle friends and family who are stressed, and it has the same hormonal response in our closest primate relatives.
9) YOGA & STRETCHING
Yoga is an ancient Ayurvedic practice that has been shown to lower stress and anxiety for centuries. Studies looking at Yoga's overall effects have shown it to boost mood and lower stress. It may be as effective at treating depression as some medications.
Slowing your breathing helps to activate the parasympathetic (rest, digest, relax & recover) nervous system. It is the opposite of the fight or flight sympathetic nervous system, which is activated by shallow quick breaths.
If you get into anxiety or panic, try 'Box Breathing'.
· Breathe in through your nose for 4 seconds.
· Hold your breath for 4 seconds.
· Exhale through your mouth for 4 seconds.
· Hold the exhale for 4 seconds.
· Repeat 4 times.
11) GET A PET:
Pets are like cuddling. They help us release oxytocin and serotonin. However, sometimes pets are even better because they generally provide unconditional love in return, and the relationships are not as complicated as human ones.
Having a pet may also keep you active as you must exercise them daily, which is stress-relieving.
12) GET OUT IN NATURE:
Being in nature, surrounded by trees, mountains, lakes, streams or even on the beach, listening to the crashing waves is therapeutic and stress relieving. Part of the stress-relieving effect is due to our connection to the planet, and part of it is the disconnection from emails, social media and more which can increase stress.
Another part is the sunlight on our skin boosts Vitamin D, endorphins and oxytocin, which have immune-boosting, hormone-regulating and stress relieving benefits. Disconnect at least once a week and exercise in nature (not just in the gym or around the block). Breathe in the fresh air and take in the calming effects being away from the city provides.
There are so many stressors in our lives and multiple ways to help manage or destress. You need to consider what is stressing you the most and make efforts to remove these stressors from your life.
If you practice all the above techniques but continue to expose yourself to a stressful job or relationship, it is like trying to put out a forest fire with a garden hose. It will help but may not prevent all the adverse effects of stress.
Switch Nutrition aim to help people live healthier, more active lifestyles providing your body with all it needs to get the most out of each day with their wide range of products. Check out their range of products here.
One of the most apparent symptoms of stress is a lack of energy or enthusiasm. Getting a good night's sleep by having ADRENAL SWITCH™ before bed will be the number one place to start.
And when you wake up, try replacing your daily brew with COFFEE SWITCH™ for longer-lasting healthier energy!!
Disclaimer: The above article is merely a guide and is in no way a recommendation or a treatment protocol for any health conditions or diseases. You should always consult with a qualified healthcare provider before changing your supplement, training, or nutritional strategy. Formulated Supplementary Sports Foods must not be used by pregnant or breastfeeding women, anyone consuming prescription medication or children under the age of 15 unless advised by a qualified healthcare provider.
Are you struggling to gain weight? If no matter how much you eat or how hard you train you just can’t make the number on the scales move, then you need to read this article. We’ve got five tips for gaining weight for “hard gainers” to apply and watch their bodies grow!
Caffeine is something that the majority of adults consume on a daily basis whether it's in coffee, tea , preworkout, weight loss supplement or energy drink. As a stimulant, caffeine provides a noticeable energy boost that can fight fatigue and increase your energy levels during workouts.
A vegetarian or vegan diet has been shown to have distinctive health benefits, and many people today choose to give up meat, dairy and eggs in order to be kinder to animals. While a vegetarian or vegan diet can be healthy and conducive to natural lifestyles, serious athletes and bodybuilders who restrict or eliminate animal-derived foods from their diets can end up deficient of certain nutrients. This can make it difficult to see results from workouts and interfere with athletic performance. The good news is that it's possible to bridge the diet gap with the right sports nutrition supplements.Here are four of the best supplements for vegetarian and vegan athletes and bodybuilders:
1. Vegetable Based Protein PowderProtein is absolutely essential for building new muscle cells and for repairing the strain put on the body during exercise. You can get protein from plants, but most plant proteins are incomplete, which means that they do not contain every single one of the amino acids that are used as building blocks for proteins. Vegetable based protein powders can supply a vegan-friendly form of protein to ensure that you're getting enough of the amino acids that your body requires. Soy protein powders tend to be preferred by many people as they contain a complete amino acid profile. You can also try vegetarian blends with ingredients like pea protein and hemp, or if you eat dairy, a whey protein powder is a vegetarian option with a complete amino acid profile.
2. Branched Chain Amino AcidsLeucine, isoleucine and valine are three key amino acids for muscle development. Called the branched chain amino acids or BCAAs, these amino acids decrease the risk of muscle breakdown when you're completing a grueling workout. The BCAAs have also been shown to stimulate muscle cell production after exercise and to reduce fatigue and increase endurance. Most vegetarian and vegan diets are lacking in these important amino acids, but you can add them to your diet easily in pill or powder form.
3. CreatineCreatine is an important fuel for producing energy in the muscles during exercise, and much of the nutrient stored in the muscle tissue comes from animal proteins in the average adult diet. Since you don't eat meat, there is a good chance you have lower amounts of creatine stored in your muscles than the norm. Taking just 5 grams of creatine per day can help you to promote muscle growth, reduce fatigue and increase your strength.
4. Beta-AlanineBeta-alanine is another amino acid that is found primarily in meats that plays an important role in energy production and that amplifies the benefits of creatine. Experts recommend that vegetarians take 3 to 6 grams of the amino acid per day divided into 2 to 4 even doses. Be prepared to experience a tingly feeling when you take your supplement; that's a normal side effect of beta-alanine and no cause for alarm.For help selecting supplements that are vegan or vegetarian-friendly, feel free to contact us. We'll be glad to help you put together the best sports nutrition programme to help you stick to your diet and get better results at the gym.