Tag Archives: muscle gain

The Secret to Better Muscle Growth

Many people spend hours at the gym lifting heavy weights, expecting it to be the only way to build muscle mass. But it is only a combination of a healthy diet and exercise that works for effective muscle growth. If you are unable to see any substantial muscle gains, even after spending hours at the gym, then you should consider the following.

1. Eat balanced meals

Protein is really important for your muscle growth but removing carbohydrates from your diet can have a negative effect on the growth of your muscles. Your body utilizes carbohydrates as a source of energy and needs protein for repairing wear and tear of the muscle tissues. Therefore, a balance between carbohydrates and protein is required when you are trying to build muscles. Include protein packed food in your diet to build muscles. Also, drink plenty of water to keep your body hydrated. The recommended intake is 10-12 glasses of water in a day. Lack of water can inhibit increase in muscle mass.

2. Proper exercise routine

Your exercise routine should include a warm up initially and stretching at the end. Stretching should not be done to cold and stiff muscles as this can lead to injury. It should be done at the end of the workout. Also, instead of spending hours at gym, limit your workout schedule to 45 minutes to 1 hour. This will help you in avoiding negative effects of over working and tiring your muscles out. Always keep increasing the intensity or frequency of your exercises. Don’t waste time at the gym.

3. Avoid stress and sleep well

Stress increases the production of the hormone cortisol, a hormone that encourages your body to store fat and burn muscle tissue. Therefore, try to keep yourself away from stress. A bare minimum of 8 hours of quality sleep is important for muscle growth. It is during sleep that your body repairs torn muscle tissues and secretes hormones for muscle growth. Giving rest to your muscles is also important because if you don’t rest it can lead to muscle wasting.

4. Avoid alcohol

Alcohol is very high in calories and when consumed in excess, can even have negative effects on the hormone balance. If affects the release of the growth hormone testosterone which is really important for muscle growth. The growth hormone is predominately secreted during the early sleeping hours of the night and because alcohol tends to disrupt natural sleep rhythms, it will decrease the amount of growth hormone released. Also, when you consume alcohol it leads to production of a substance in the liver that is toxic to the release of testosterone. This substance decreases the concentration of testosterone in the body, resulting in lower muscle mass and definition.

5. Eat whole fruits instead of juice

Whole fruits provide you with fiber, vitamins and minerals, which are lost once they are converted into juices. In fact, packaged fruit juices are a hidden source of sugar, as sugar is added in high amount while packaging, to maintain the taste

and to preserve them for a longer shelf life. Include 2-3 servings of whole fruits in your day. You need these essential nutrients for fast muscle tissue repair and growth. You can add sliced fruits to a cup of low fat yoghurt and can include it as a healthy snack option. This will also give you a punch of protein.

For an average person, effective muscle growth is only possible with a proper diet and exercise plan. You cannot have an erratic exercise and diet plan and expect to see results. Keep the above points in mind while creating your plan. Of course, we, at Fitho, keep all these points in mind while creating your customised diet and exercise plan.

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo
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Lifting Heavy Weights Help to Gain Weight

Question / Dilemma: I’m working out every day of the week. As is the belief, will doing more weights help me gain faster?

Answer: First of all, you have taken the right approach by going for weight training, but there are certain things that you should keep in mind as you strive to reach your fitness goals. Since you want to be healthier and add to your weight, weight training is definitely the best approach. But, you should not be doing it daily. Don’t go for weights on an everyday basis, limit your regimen and go for the workout not more than 3 to 4 days a week. Also, if you are focusing on doing weights in the gym, you need to balance by limiting your cardio. Make heavier weights your focus. However, don’t start by exercising with really heavy weights – start small and aim big. Fewer repetitions and heavier weights is thus your basic goal.

Answered by Prachi Agarwal, first

appeared in HT City (Hindustan Times), Get Healthy Delhi! campaign, where she is a Fitness Expert on the panel of health experts.

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

Best Exercises for Abdominal Fat or Love Handles

After belly, thighs and arms and butt the other common weight gain area is your waist. Over a period of time, weight starts to collect on the side of your stomach which is also known as “love handles” or “tyres”. All these terms are nothing but common slang for abdominal obesity.

Eating unhealthy food and no exercise is the most common cause of love handles. These tyres were mostly seen on women in the past but now more and more men seem to develop it in their late twenties & early thirties. Indians are genetically inclined to accumulate fat around their waist which is also linked to Type 2 diabetes and heart health.

The simplest way to check for abdominal fat is to measure your waist. Run a tape measure around your waist at about the level of your navel. Breathe minimally, and make sure not to pull the tape measure so tight that it depresses the skin. The average BMI  (Body mass Index) of an Indian woman ranges from 18-24.9 , a waist circumference greater than 34-35 inches is considered high risk to lifestyle diseases.

Another way to measure abdominal fat is by calculating the waist to hip ratio. This is done through simple calculation of taking the ratio of the waist and hip. The healthy range in women is less than .7 and men is less than 1.

The best way to lose weight is through exercise and watch what you eat. Ensure that your body is getting adequate nutrition to improve the metabolism. Do not resort to fad diets as they might show weight loss in the short term but in the long term you put the weight back on besides depriving your body of important nutrition resulting in multiple deficiencies in future. For healthy weight loss, consult a good professional weight loss expert to help you lose weight and get fit.

Here are a list of exercises that are very effective to lose abdominal fat or love handles:

Running: Love handles are fat accumulated on your sides. So it is more about burning the fat in the body. You can lose maximum fat by running or doing any cardio exercise. Running allows you to burn maximum fat in a workout other than boosting metabolism. So do start running in variations and push yourself more for quicker results. Include sprinting, bounding,
German drills, etc in your plan. Burning maximum calories starts burning fat gradually from the body. Manage your diet and eat adequately according to your daily requirement to allow fat to burn faster.

Crunches: Love Handles are part of your core and require core to be worked to exercise the area and build some muscles underneath. Crunches are highly beneficical is strengthening your core for better balance in the body and provides strength for intense workouts. Do crunches on medicine ball and see the muscle gain.

Side Crunch: Working the obliques help in reducing the love handles on the side and side crunch is very effective for oblique muscles. Lie down on right side of your body with right arm over your chest. Crunch your left armpit towards the left hip and raise your legs while crunching. Repeat and do both sides.

Elbow to Knee Crunch: You could do elbow to knee crunch either standing or while lying down. Lie down on the floor with knees bent and arms over your chest. You have to touch your right elbow with the left knee and alternatively. While doing the exercise, move your torso for the exercise. This works the rectus abdominis and obliques while the standing one works the entire mid section and hip flexors.

Side Bends: Stand straight with dumbbells in your hands by your side. Alternatively bend your side and stretch the other side, holding for a few seconds and then do the other side. This execise stretches the love handles and improves blood flow in the area.

Burpees: It is a aerobic exercise which is a combination of a few exercises mixed together for greater fitness. To perform the exercise, stand straight in the first step. Then get down to squat position. Third put your hands on the floor and throw both your legs back stretching your back and looking up in the air. In the fourth step bring back your legs to the squat position and lastly jump up to starting position. Repeat. This exercise not only stretches the core and works the entire body but the faster version of it burns many calories too.

Russian Twist: Sit on the floor with your knees bent and hold your arms straight in front of you and lean your back a little while your torso is at 45-degree. Brace your core and rotate to the side and as far as you want. Repeat for both sides and mind the posture. This exercise also helps build the muscles on the side and works the core. To make this exercise more intense hold a weight between your hands or lift your feet in the air and perform the exercise.

Wood chop: It is again one of the finest twist exercise which can be done with an object, cable, dumbbell, bat, base ball bat etc. As you pull the weight across your body, you rotate your hips and bend forward slightly so the weight ends up slightly below your hip. Keep your torso, chest and head in line with your hips. Do it for both sides.

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo