Saturday, 30 November 2013

The secret weapon

L-leucine, meet the gunpowder of the bodybuilding world. By adding increased amounts of this amino acid into your diet you could literally watch your muscles blow up! Here's 5 reasons/tips as to why it's so important and could benefit your muscle building and recovery goals...

- L-leucine is a branched chain amino acid. It cannot be made in the body and must therefore be obtained from the diet.

- the amino acid leucine is essential for protein synthesis. This is because it directly activates the gene pathways responsible for building muscle.

- try adding 5g of leucine into your post-workout shake and 5g with your pre-bed meal or shake. This will literally "switch on" and pull the trigger on protein synthesis/the muscle building effect at the times you need it.

- make a mediocre meal into an anabolic powerhouse! Simply by sprinkling a few grams of leucine on it. Leucine with a protein-rich meal further increases the rate of muscle protein synthesis.

- older people, especially over the age of 40, will not experience as much of a post-workout metabolism boost unless leucine is present, therefor it may be worth adding additional leucine after your workout.

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Friday, 15 November 2013

Stairway to heaven

.....or hell! I did a calf workout the other day that is just pure evil! I just have to share it with you guys! Despite being extremely simplistic, it is a challenge and does involve a high amount of volume to really torture your calves into new growth! All you need is - a small dumbbell, a set of stairs and a high pain tolerance. 

The way it works is simple, you do 10 reps per leg of standing calf raises then move up a step. 10 reps per leg again and move up to the next step. And just keep working your way to the top. The beauty of doing it unilaterally is 1 leg gets a rest whilst the other is working. However if you need additional rest, especially when you get close to the top, by all means take it. 

I used a 10kg dumbbell and did 24 steps. That's a total of 240 reps of standing calf raises per leg! 

Because of the volume of this workout I'd only use it for a total of 4-6 weeks. You could even alternate it with a lower volume calf session. Or just use it once every so often as a shock tactic. 

It's easy to progress this type of workout too. You can either:

A) use a heavier weight
B) complete more steps
C) do more reps per leg
D) aim to complete the same amount of steps/reps in a faster amount of time 

After completing this session you might want to avoid the stairs for the next few days...don't say I didn't warn you!