Cellulite – How To Get Rid Of It Naturally

By Kyle Milligan / May 16, 2017
Cellulite - How To Get Rid Of It Naturally

This article on how to get rid of cellulite naturally is a guest post by my friend, Jackie! Jackie’s background and contact information can be found at the bottom. Make sure you check out her Instagram and Twitter. Okay Jackie’s article on cellulite starts…now.

Cellulite sucks. If you’ve had trouble with cellulite you can know what a pain it is to deal with. The first step to addressing cellulite is figuring out where it comes from, why it exists, then what we can do something about it.

What is cellulite?

That dimple look we see are fat deposits under the skin. It happens when those fat deposits push against the connective tissue making them look distorted. Cellulite is medically referred to as edematous fibrosclerotic panniculopathy or EFP. It is estimated that 90 percent of adult women have cellulite. I am definitely part of the 90 percent.
We notice it more common in women over men because of the differences in the way fat, muscle, and connective tissue are patterned under the skin. It is important to know that cellulite is not related to a weight issue. Anyone can have it and it is normal to have.

What causes cellulite?

Genetics plays a big part in whether or not you will have cellulite, but there are other factors. Our lifestyle can have a huge impact. We might have a greater appearance of cellulite with poor nutrition, low water intake, little exercise and excessive smoking. We have to remember what we put in our body, runs our body. If you feed your body crap your body will respond with crappy looks and crappy performance.

How to get rid of it?

Drink Water

One of the main keys to reducing cellulite is to remove toxins from the body. Your body will store toxins in your fat to minimize the exposer of them to the organs. Drinking a lot of water is a great way to flush out toxins. It also hydrates the body making the skin look smoother and reduces the appearance of cellulite. My suggestion is drink as close to a gallon of water a day as you can.

Eat Clean and Get Nutrients

Another great way of removing toxins is by eating natural and nutrient dense foods. Eating foods with alkaline helps to pull the acidic toxins out of the body. Alkaline can be found in fruits and vegetables like broccoli, berries, and asparagus. They should make up a good part of your daily diet. You want to have about half your meal be vegetables. Don’t forget vegetables are nutrient dense. So not only are we getting great nutrients, but we are also going to feel fuller longer, which as a bonus, may result in some fat loss.

Build Muscle and Sweat

We all know working out has tons of benefits. One of those include releasing toxins through the skin by sweating. Again, by decreasing toxins we reduce the appearance of cellulite.
Working out also helps build muscle. When we build muscle, we burn fat helping to reduce cellulite. Strong muscles will make the skin smoother and less lumpy and overall give your body a more flattering look.

Massaging/foam rolling

Foam Rolling Helps Cellulite

Foam rollers are useful for dealing with cellulite as well as sore muscles.

Probably one of my favorite ways to reduce cellulite is by massages and foam rolling. Massaging helps increase blood flow and reduce fluid buildup in the body by stimulating the lymphatic system. Plus it also feels amazing. There are specific massage machines (Endermologie) used to reduce the appearance of cellulite. The machine pulls, sucks, and squeezes the areas. However, this is not long term and very expensive. Foam rolling is a great alternative to break up the fluid buildup in that area. It is also great for muscle recovery.

Here is a little bit of information on our guest-poster, Jackie!

“My fitness journey began during my professional ballet career. I was working so hard but not getting the physical results I wanted. I researched and learned what I needed to do to meet my goals. I fell in love with the process and the knowledge I was gaining. Soon, it became my lifestyle. I got certified as a personal trainer through ISSA. I wanted to share what I had learned and continue to learn.My goal now is to help others learn how to reach their fitness goals through offering different training programs that are personalized specifically for each person to fit their needs, schedule, and goals! To find out more shoot me an email at jfitnesslife@gmail.com or find me via twitter/Instagram @Jackie_Fitlife

3 Ways to Discover Your Unfair Advantage And Embrace It

3 Ways to Discover Your Unfair Advantage And Embrace It Thumb

Your unfair advantage. Your slight edge. Your genius zone. There are a lot of different names for this phenomenon. No matter what guru you first hear this concept from, it’s always the same.

You are inherently good at something. So much so, that you probably don’t even realize you are good at it. It just comes natural. That’s what makes your unfair advantage so unfair. You don’t even realize your ability and you probably take it for granted.

That’s the danger. That you would so badly misjudge the value of this unfair advantage, that you might squander it. Writing it off as “I’m not special,” or “anyone can do that.”

Use Your Unfair Advantage To Become an Expert

“To be an expert at something, you only need to be marginally more knowledgeable than the person you are addressing.” Heard that one before, too?

It’s all the same. You are a pro at something and don’t even realize it.

expert high jump

Athletes are a great example of individuals who find their unfair advantage and hone it. They don’t try to play every position, just one very well.

People ask you basic things all the time. For instance, I was doing overhead press in the gym and someone asked me, “hey man, what does that do for you? Do I need a belt?

These things seem so obvious to me. Overhead press works shoulders (delts) and no, you don’t need a back brace. But in that moment, when I spoke to that guy, I was the fitness expert.

3 Methods to Discover Your Unfair advantage

1. Increase Your Awareness

It’s only because I have read and heard unfair advantage and the expert line so many times that I recognized the situation at the gym and was able to recall it. This kind of thing probably happens to you daily and you don’t even realize it. You might be a friend’s go-to guy for a certain type of advice.expert high jump

This might even be to a point of annoyance. Like, “dammit, Jeff is calling me again. I know it’s about how to hook up his new webcam to Skype.” You’re Jeff’s expert. When Jeff buys recording software, even software you have never used or seen, he’s going to call you up again.

There are tons of Jeff’s out there in the world, full of questions that you think are common sense but they have no clue! Next time someone asks you what you think to be an annoying and basic question, think about it for a second. They may have just hinted at your unfair advantage.

2. Ask Your Friends

You may get a unanimous decision from the people you ask about your unfair advantage, and you may get something ambiguous.

It can also be dangerous. Expect the first 5-10 responses from your bros to illustrate how good you are at gross favors for them. Still, it’s a worthwhile experiment.

I asked a couple people and got varying answers. I’m good at sales. I have drive. Another person told me they thought my advantage was my fearlessness. I don’t shrink away from an idea because it might crash and burn. So I am able to do more things than most people. That at least gives me more CHANCES at success.

These all started to get me thinking about what I can do that other people can’t do.

Because I’m not afraid of falling on my face in front of people, I can fearlessly write personal content to engage people and share my story. My drive allows me to do this every day across different blogs (I have a couple with my name and face on them…). Finally, I have no qualms making firm, yet subtle recommendations for products that I love, which will earn me a couple cents.

Product Launch Formula Jeff Walker

I first heard of working within “your genius zone” in Launch by Jeff Walker

Find Your Genius Zone

3. Consider Your Hobbies

Hobbies are massively underrated in the new entrepreneur, hustler, hype-world we live in.

In many circles, hobbies are basically demonized as wastes of time. And instead it’s all about “crushing it” 12 hours a day. But I’m calling bullshit.

First, most humans aren’t really crushing it 12 hours straight. You can be at your desk 12 hours straight and not get shit done. Trust me.

I gave up ALL my “waste-of-time” hobbies to be more “productive.” To make more time to “crush it.” Let me tell you a story…

In high school I had a band, and at age 16 I walked into bars and asked for the managers to schedule my band on the weekends. They said okay. I charged $300 to play. I just wanted to play because it was my favorite thing to do. We sold T-Shirts. All the kids at my school bought them. I’m wearing one of them right now as I write this.

I didn’t realize it then, but I was an entrepreneur, selling my hobby.

I also didn’t realize how insane it must have appeared for a pimply faced 16-year old wearing a leather jacket and Metallica T-shirt to walk into a bar and ask for the manager.

Then college came. It was time for me to be a success in the eyes of society.

The band broke up. I discovered a love for booze. 6 years vanished in a poof of smoke. I woke up sitting in a cubicle in Charlotte, working at a CPA firm. Misery.

Forget Your Weaknesses

One more slightly related tip. To embrace your unfair advantage you have to basically ignore your weaknesses.

We’re all so acutely aware of our weaknesses. When I went through my game/dating/pick-up days, my weaknesses were all I could focus on as I tried to keep my sanity barreling through rejection after rejection.

Screw your weaknesses. The truth is your weaknesses don’t really hold you back. Nothing holds you back. Weaknesses don’t exist. What is a weakness other than something you aren’t good at?

Weakness isn’t a thing that holds power over you and holds you back. It’s just an absence of skill. Your perceived weakness isn’t a “bad” thing. It is a “less good” thing. So focus on your “more gooder” thing. Your unfair advantage.

Weaknesses are just things that don’t push you forward. But they don’t stop you.
Remember this forever and ever: There are no weaknesses, only things that don’t push you forward.

So, ya know, don’t think anymore of them. They just are.

But you’re lucky, because all you really need is your unfair advantage. Your slight edge. Your genius zone. You are an expert if you are one step smarter than the person you are addressing.

Chris Pratt’s Secret to Getting Ripped Abs for GOTG

By Kyle Milligan / May 10, 2017
Chris Pratt's Secret to Getting Ripped Abs for GOTG Thumb

So I just saw Guardians of the Galaxy 2 recently and it was a pretty awesome movie. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll see a jacked Andy Dwyer from Parks and Rec (AKA Chris Pratt) save the galaxy with his friends for a second time.

The movie was great but this isn’t a movie critique. This is about a once fat guy turned action hero and national heartthrob.

Chris Pratt Abs Star Lord Guardians of the galaxy

Chris Pratt as Peter Quill (Star Lord) in Guardians of the Galaxy

Now I’m not going to sit here and retype Chris Pratt’s workout piece by piece, either. You can get Chris Pratt’s workout routine as well as other celeb’s fitness regimens on popworkouts.com. The point of this article is to reveal Chris Pratt’s secret to amazing abs and transforming your body.

A Day Like Any Other Day

So how did Chris Pratt get those sexy abs? I’ll tell you through a story.

Today I came home from the gym and laid on the floor. I stared at the ceiling and I thought about how pointless my life was.

This funk had plagued me my entire workout. I wondered, “What’s the point? I don’t have a job. I barely make any money online or from sales of my dating novels. And I have absolutely no direction.”

To get by I do freelance work for stupid cheap and cross my fingers everyday that YOU might buy something REALLY expensive off of amazon after clicking one of my affiliate links.

But then what? Where is this going? Is any of this ever going to be worth a shit?

I had wondered this from the time I woke up until I found myself on the floor, staring at the ceiling. Which was actually a couple hours!

I woke up at 5am to give myself time to write an article about Chris Pratt’s abs in Guardians of the Galaxy. An article with some stupid, gimmicky click-bait title to get you to click. Then some sort of soft product pitch laced within the text. Hell, I gotta put food on the table.

But every time I started to write about Chris Pratt’s shirtless scene or body transformation, I stopped.

And I thought, “This is stupid. I’m a loser. My life sucks.”

So I went to the gym and worked out with the article unfinished. Even though I carried the weight of my heavy, depressing thoughts on my back, I had no trouble completing my workout like I was supposed to. Perhaps I could thank Pulse pre-workout for that. 😉

Now on the floor, I wondered about that and found it incredible.

“How is it that I cannot pick myself up off the goddamn floor right now, but I can go to the gym every day? Is there some secret? Is there a trick I’m doing that I don’t even realize?”

Yes. There is a secret.

Chris Pratt’s Secret to Amazing Abs

After I saw Guardians of the Galaxy 2, I thought, “I bet a lot of people would click an article about the secret to Chris Pratt’s abs. I’ll write one.” But I couldn’t write it. It felt forced and stupid.

Chris Pratt Andy Dwyer Parks and Rec

Chris Pratt as Andy Dwyer in Parks and Recreation

Mainly because Chris himself had said over and over again that “there is no secret.” He said the time is going to pass anyway, how do you want to spend it? Or something like that…

So Chris Pratt’s secret is…

CONSISTENCY!

That’s the punchline. If you look up his workout routine, it’s just regular exercises.

REGULAR. ASS. EXERCISES.

Pull ups, push ups, bench press, rows. But it took him 8 months to achieve his physique.

He got his abs the same way I got my abs. We went to the gym.

I thought, “Oh shit! That’s my secret too!” But I’m not on TV so my secret doesn’t make headlines.

My floor story is important because today, even when I was in a total funk, I hated life, and I felt like a loser…I went to the gym. And I didn’t even give a second thought until I got home.

Before you continue your Google quest for the “secret to really ripped abs,” consider your gym schedule.  Do you go 4 or 5 days a week and just do the regular ass exercises like me and Chris Pratt, with our awesome abs? Think about the last stupid excuse you made for missing the gym. That’s your answer. That’s the “secret.”

Even I can afford a gym membership at $10 a month. I never “don’t feel like it.” It was just time to go to the gym so I went. No emotion or thought to it.

I don’t put “gym” on my calendar. I never check it off a to-do list. It is just assumed. It’s a habit. I go every day.

That’s how Chris Pratt got his abs and that’s how I’ve gotten mine. Just show up. Simple as that.

If you are interested in more details about my daily workouts, or just need some guidance, click here for my guide to get leaner in just 28 days.

3 Things You Should Know Before You Start Intermittent Fasting

By Kyle Milligan / May 9, 2017
3 Things You Should Know Before You Start Intermittent Fasting

Maybe you’ve heard of the tons of great health benefits from intermittent fasting and you’re interested in getting started. There are still just a handful of things you should know and prepare for before you start intermittent fasting, which we’ll cover in this article.

First, before we can even dive into this list, you need to know that intermittent fasting is just selecting specific timed windows each day to consume all your calories. Then you stop consuming calories (AKA fasting) for the rest of the day. Often, fasting periods last 16-18 hours of the day.

When I first tried intermittent fasting, I was skeptical. The first day I felt fine. Then I woke up the second day and…still fine. I knew by day 3 or 4 there was an energy crash coming. Some heavy hunger pangs. Something bad was going to happen to me.

But after day 5 and 6, I still felt fine. Before I knew it, it was time for a cheat day!

Most people are REALLY hung up on the fasting period of intermittent fasting. I know I was. But what’s so awesome about intermittent fasting is that you are forced to eat all your food in a specific, timed window. As a result, you eat A LOT! And you actually get to diet AND experience the sensation of being full!

Furthermore, you feel lighter and tighter when you fast regularly. But not hungry. When I was trying to eat six meals a day, I felt like hell, not to mention I was always starving.

In the wild event that you haven’t heard of the awesome benefits of intermittent fasting, here’s a neat little intermittent fasting infographic with a couple benefits below!

Everything you need to know about intermittent fasting

 

Essentially, intermittent fasting allows your body to:

Clearly, intermittent fasting has a lot of great health benefits. So I’m sure you’re ready to get started.

Know Your Fasting and Eating Schedule

This shouldn’t be too hard. If you are already working out regularly and have a job, you usually have a set daily schedule that might only deviate during the weekends.

So to perform a great intermittent fasting regimen, all you want to do is select 6-8 hours of the day that you want to eat! Personally, I usually eat during 8 hour windows, and it’s NOT a big deal at all if I occasionally bleed into the 9th hour. I usually eat between 10am and 6pm.

I don’t think you need to be overly meticulous with any one aspect of your fitness. Some days you’ll lift a little more, some days you’ll lift a little less. Some days you’ll eat a little more, some days you’ll eat a little less.

When it comes to intermittent fasting, some days you’ll knock out all your calories in 7 hours, some days you may forget and have to finish in the 9th hour.

What is truly important in the grand scheme, is that you set hard limits on your buffers and you make deviations as rare as possible. Remember, breaking your plan is a VERY slippery slope that you MUST acknowledge and respect. But if it absolutely (REALLY) cannot be helped, don’t lose sleep over it. Just do better tomorrow.

And did you know Terry Crews uses intermittent fasting to stay in shape? Watch this one minute video as he explains how he uses intermittent fasting to stay in shape.

Know Your Macro Goals

So once you have your schedule locked down for what times of day you can and will eat, the next important step is to lock down how much you can eat.

BY FAR your daily macro goals are the most important element of your fitness. Your macro composition determines in what ways your physical efforts will be reflected aesthetically. The amount and ratio of your macros determines whether you shred fat or build muscle, or both!

I have written extensively about what macros are and how I arrange mine. I haven’t really tracked my macros outside of when I’m on a cutting diet but I will break down the basic formula I use, which I learned from Michael Matthews, author of Bigger Leaner Stronger.

Protein = 1.2g x lbs of body weight

Carbs = 1.0g x lbs of body weight

Fats = .2g x lbs of body weight

Simple as that. I use that formula to determine my total daily calorie intake and then I only eat it from 10am until 6pm.

Know What Breaks The Fast And What Does Not

Just because you are fasting doesn’t actually mean you can’t have ANYTHING. There is actually a lot of maneuverability within the guidelines of things you can and can’t have without breaking the fast and you may indulge in some or all of them. Personally, I do almost all these things.

The cool thing is, you can have a bunch of things outside of your eating window, so long as they don’t rev up your metabolism. What kick-starts metabolism? Calories, which trigger insulin, which gets everything moving.

You probably already have some ideas, but if not, here are a couple things you can consume without breaking the fast.

Conclusion

Intermittent fasting has a lot of amazing health benefits. And it can really help you get shredded. It doesn’t require a lot of knowledge to get started, but once you lock the basics down, you are ready to start intermittent fasting.

Intermittent fasting is a great dieting option for anyone trying to lean out. You can still eat the exact same things you always do and you’ll get to enjoy a tighter, leaner feeling body. And without perpetual pangs of hunger!

Addiction Is Not A Lonely Road

By Kyle Milligan / May 1, 2017
Addiction is not a lonely road thumbnail

I had a grandma who smoked herself to death. Remove oxygen mask, insert cigarette. Insanity.

I had a grandpa who ate himself to death. Surgery after surgery, bypass after bypass. His foot was amputated and still he couldn’t stop eating goddamn Italian beef sandwiches for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

I had a brother once. I never talk about him.

His death was not glamorous. Though he had more God-given, natural talent in him than I ever will, his life was not lived full of meaning or purpose. It was spent sleeping a lot and the endless pursuit of fleeting euphorias. And to this day I’m embarrassed for him and the way he went.

I had a childhood once. I never talk about it.

Because when you grow up in a family full of addicts the narrative doesn’t fit people’s expectations. And people don’t like to hear about unpleasant things or things they don’t understand. It frightens them. Makes them uncomfortable.

In the end, the addicts who weep for themselves are always hurting those closest to them, but they are too self-involved or too prideful to do anything about it.

Lucky for me, I was at least born observant. In my youth I saw the crippling effects of addiction on otherwise beautiful and gifted human beings.

I saw the steady, deliberate decay of amazing genetics. Attractive, symmetrical bodies, marred by sores and hacking coughs. Sinking cheeks and leathery wrinkles.

I saw rage appear from out of nowhere. Objects thrown, insults thrown, punches thrown.

I saw the cash in, cash out. The debt piling up. The misery of working for nothing and then the escapism of WHATEVER substance of choice was for the individual. Because everyone’s addiction is “not as bad” as some other “worse” addiction.

An addict usually doesn’t ask for their burden. And they think they struggle alone, but they don’t.

Right up until we put them in the ground, those of us who try to help them, struggle right beside them. And once they are dead and gone, we start a new struggle.

We struggle with the idea that we could have helped more. We could’ve tried harder. Like one more gesture would have made all the difference in the end.

Addiction is a selfish road. It might feel like a lonely road but it isn’t. It’s the opposite.

Addiction reaches out from its host and clings and grips and tears at anyone merciful and generous enough to try to approach and exorcise the demon.

Resources, time, energy. They have a finite supply. Addiction doesn’t care. It’s insatiable. And I hate it.

To this day I still have relatives and friends who pursue their addictions. But after every funeral, I can tell I’m just a little more cold; even less empathetic than I started.

I’m still angry at my brother. The band we’ll never start. The gym we’ll never open. The memories we’ll never share.

And I’m still angry at addicts. The life they waste. The precious hours and minutes that no one can ever get back. The talents and health they take for granted.

What should you take away from all this ranting?

Are you an addict? Think about the people you drag down. And don’t you dare take the easy way out. Don’t pity yourself any further. Get help.

Screw your embarrassment and pride. Everybody already knows, you aren’t that clever. So cast your ego aside, call a spade a spade, and get help.

Are you struggling with an addict? I’m sorry but…that struggle can last for life.

You can’t change the world. You sure as hell won’t save it. It’s hard enough to change even one person. All you can do is the best to take care of yourself. Lead by example.

You can hold yourself accountable for your habits and make them good, healthy, habits. Habits that promote your well-being and afford you the strength and energy to lift those around you up.

If you’ve fought through addiction and recovered, good for you. Share your story. Give back the time you stole from others. Times two.

Intermittent Fasting for Fat Loss and the Fasted State

By Kyle Milligan / April 30, 2017
Intermittent fasting for fat loss thumbnail

Fasting to some people may seem like an extreme practice of starving and stuffing your face, but it’s really not. It is something you can comfortably practice on a daily basis. Essentially, intermittent fasting is consciously choosing what time of the day you will eat so that you can place your body in a “fasted state.”

That begs the question: What is a fasted state?

A fasted state is just the state your body enters when it has burned all the food in your belly. So it is no longer drawing nutrients from food you consumed but from its own fat storage.

The way our bodies are built, they are designed for survival. Therefore, to survive, your body wants to hold onto all of its precious fuel in case an emergency comes up and there’s no food around. As a result, it will always choose to burn the nutrients from food before it targets its own fuel storage; also known as “fat.”

So if you want to burn fat (your body’s nutrient storage) you want to enter a fasted state.

How Do You Reach Fasted State?

How long does it take to reach a fasted state? It depends on your body chemistry and what you ate recently.

For instance, more “natural” carbohydrates like those from veggies and fruits, are complex carbohydrates. Those take longer to break down and digest than carbohydrates from processed foods.

Processed foods are full of simple sugars and lack the same nutrients as non-processed foods, so they digest fast and you find yourself hungry more quickly. This is why I suggest brown rice over white rice in my guide How to Get Abs in 28 Days – Without Doing ANY Cardio!. White rice is processed. It has fewer nutrients and complex carbs than brown rice and burns up faster in digestion, which can leave you hungry.

Processed Foods and Health

Processed foods are full of simple sugars and lack the same nutrients as non-processed foods, so they digest fast and you find yourself hungry more quickly.

So how long does it take to reach a fasted state? We just explained “it depends” based on the quantity and quality of the food you eat, but having some sort of time frame is both beneficial and important.

Some sources claim it takes as few as 6 hours to enter a fasted state and some say as many as 16 hours. Let’s say it takes about 8-10 hours for your body to approach a fasted state. Ideally, you’d fast approximately 16 hours to reach prime fat-burning status.

When you exercise without a glucose and glycogen (a starch stored in your muscles for fuel) supply from food, your body is forced to begin burning the only available energy it has: its fat and muscle.

Your Body Will Burn Its Muscle for Fuel Too…

That’s right, your body will burn muscle for fuel too.

This is why the post-workout whey protein shake has become a staple in the fitness community. To “protect your gains.”

Proteins are the building blocks of lean mass. Whey protein is fast assimilating protein, one of the proteins your body can absorb the quickest. When you consume whey in powder form immediately following a workout, you are actually feeding your muscles what they need so they don’t break down. Pretty neat huh?

Branched Chain Amino Acids

If you don’t really want to break your fast but want to feed your muscles some energy, there is a neat little work around called branched chain amino acids or BCAAs.

BCAAs are essential amino acids that make up proteins. They are essential amino acids meaning they must be consumed, your body cannot make them.

Anyways, your muscles use BCAAs for fuel. So if you consume some BCAAs before or during your workout, you can preserve lean mass while still getting the fat burn of fasted training. That’s right, you get the best of both worlds because BCAAs can be consumed in powder form that doesn’t break your fast because it is only 15 or so calories to a serving.

I recommend Optimum Nutrition’s Gold Standard BCAA Train and Recover. It has BCAAs plus electrolytes for energy, Wellmune for immune support, and rhodiola, which is known for its fat burning and energy boosting properties. You can see my review of Gold Standard BCAA here or you can buy Gold Standard BCAA off Vitamin Shoppe.

You can also consume black coffee and unsweetened green tea for energy without breaking your fast.

So what DOES break the fast?

Why Fasting Works and the Six Meals a Day Myth

So we know that your body will burn fat and muscle if it needs fuel in a fasted state. We know we are able to slow the effects of muscle breakdown by consuming fast assimilating protein post-workout, or BCAA powders right before or during our workouts.

So how do we break a fast?

What happens when we break a fast?

Why won’t we burn as much fat if we aren’t fasted?

A super quick and easy way to explain this is to lay it all on insulin. You see, when you eat food your body puts out insulin to transport nutrients everywhere. Insulin just happens to inhibit fat burning also. When you are fasted, there is no food or nutrients to be broken down, and there is no need for insulin. Therefore, your fat burn is not being inhibited by insulin.

Some other side benefits of this knowledge is the ability to improve your body’s response to insulin.

The more you fast and the longer period you fast, the more sensitive your body becomes to insulin. The more you eat and the more frequently you eat, the less sensitive your body becomes to insulin. Reduced sensitivity to insulin (or insulin resistance) is a huge factor for all sorts of health problems; like heart disease and cancer.

So put the whole fat burning issue aside for just a moment, and note that maintaining proper insulin sensitivity and regulation is a primary factor for good health in general.

But I Eat Six Meals a Day to Keep My Metabolism Up

Good news! You can stop. Not only is six meals a day a pain to keep up with and track, it never lets you feel “full.” Believe me, I’ve tried it. As a result, I actually felt way hungrier doing six small meals than the three or four large meals I eat now.

In an 8-week study that you can check out here, it was shown that when everything was held equal except meal frequency, the group that had more small meals did not show improved body weight loss than the control group.

Playing devil’s advocate for a moment: this is only one study and the sample size was only 16, so I’m welcome to someone showing me more (scientific, published, peer-reviewed) data on the topic.

But even with that in mind, I say that my experience with intermittent fasting, mentally and physically, has been far more favorable than when I tried the six small meals a day. Therefore, while I will accept new information, it won’t change my behavior because six small meals was complete misery and I didn’t have to do that to get abs.

How Many Meals Should You Eat A Day to Lose Weight? Six or Less?

By Kyle Milligan / April 3, 2017
How Many Meals Should You Eat A Day to Lose Weight

If you're anything like me, you hate being hungry. Among my biggest diet peeves, behind people who blindly gorge on "healthy fats," is when someone tries to schedule out six meals a day for weight loss. I hate the six small meals a day diet plan. I've tried it and it sucked. While eating many small meals a day I never experienced the sensation of being full, ever. I was hungry every second I was awake. Again, if you're anything like me, you hate being hungry. Furthermore, scheduling that many meals "every three hours" or whatever, is just a pain.​

I'm vaguely aware of this small meal planning as being one of those contagious, airborne types of fitness "knowledge" that everyone somehow just knows and believes. Like "high reps, low weight to cut up, bro." The idea is that six meals a day keeps your metabolism humming, and thus encourages weight loss via excess calorie burn. I don't know how everyone comes to discover these things, they just pick it up somewhere. And with zero investigation, they believe it like gospel. It's like the six meals a day myth is stained into the fabric of our collective unconscious. Most frustrating, it's unfounded!

Six Meals A Day Plan - Where's The Support?

That's right. There is little to no scientific evidence to support this nuisance that is the six meals a day diet. 

Many small meals for weight loss is not supported in this study, which showed that "increasing meal frequency from three to six per day has no significant effect on 24-h fat oxidation, but may increase hunger and the desire to eat." Sooo, no fat-burning benefits and INCREASED hunger?

Yeah, that sounds like my experience with six meals a day diet plan...

​This meta-analysis came back inconclusive on meal frequency. In their analysis of the data they found the positive findings of higher meal frequency were the product of just one study, "casting doubt as to whether more frequent meals confer beneficial effects on body composition." (A meta-analysis is a bunch of similar studies pooled together to analyze the results as a whole. Like one big study.) 

This study that appeared May 2015 of Nutrition Research is the closest thing I've found to support for the 6 meals a day theory and revealed this:

"Body mass was successfully lost (P ≤ .05) under both feeding regimens (2 MF: -2.8 ± 1.5 vs 6 MF: -1.9 ± 1.5 kg)"​

What that means in English...

So in two weeks, both test groups lost weight. People eating only 2 meals a day lost about 6.2 lbs on average, give or take 3.3 lbs​. People eating 6 meals a day lost 4.2 lbs on average, give or take 3.3 lbs. The study went on to conclude...

"Overall, reductions in MF (2 MF) were associated with improved HDL-C levels; but the clinical significance is not clear. Alternatively, increased MF (6 MF) did appear to favorably preserve FFM during weight loss."

So what the hell does that mean? 

"Reductions in MF" means reductions in Meal Frequency. The people who had 2 large meals a day had improved HDL-C.  So what is this improved HDL-C?

HDL-C refers to "high-density lipoprotein cholesterol" also known as the "good cholesterol." This is the cholesterol that removes harmful bad cholesterol from where it doesn't belong. Having high HDL levels is associated with lower risk for heart disease. So with TWO meals a day you actually have healthier levels of HDL-C. Cool. 

However, increased MF (six meals a day) did appear to favorably preserve FFM, which stands for fat free mass. What kind of mass do we have that is "fat free?" Lean mass, i.e. muscle. 

So that means when you eat more it preserves muscle mass better. Oh but I've already covered this in my 3 Step Strategy to shredding fat and building muscle. When you fast, your body must burn its energy reserves, encouraging weight loss. The side effect of fasting is that it jeopardizes your lean muscle mass. That's why I recommend you supplement BCAAs when cutting and fasted training to get the good effects of fasting, while protecting your lean muscle mass. 

How Many Meals Should You Eat A Day To Lose Weight

I like this question because I love how awesome the answer is. How many meals should you eat a day to lose weight? IT DOESN'T MATTER.

But Kyle! You just said six small meals a day wasn't the best way? So how does it not matter? Well, I can explain how many meals I eat a day and you might have a better idea of what I mean.

 In my guide How to Get Abs in 28 Days Without Doing Any Cardio​, I recalled a story of how my Granny took one look at my heaping plate of chicken, broccoli, eggs, and rice, and told me I would NEVER lose weight EATING ALL THAT FOOD.  Well I don't really structure out my meals like most people. I simply track my macros, which you can read about in this free pdf. It just so happens that I usually have three whopping meals a day.

few large meals chicken and rice

Anyone on a cutting diet plan knows it's all about the chicken, rice, and veggies...

That's because weight loss only comes down to just TWO factors. The number of calories you consume, and the number of calories you burn. And frankly, that is it. A diet is just a way of reducing the calories you consume and exercise is just a way to burn more calories. You can tinker with both to try and shred JUST fat and also BUILD muscle at the same time, but those are details. Only two things really matter: Calories in, and calories out. 

I know I can have about 1,800 calories a day. And I also know I hate going to bed hungry. Therefore, I usually hold off on my first meal of the day until after working out. I like fasted training. It makes sense logically and is supported by science as the best way to burn fat. Also, it allows me to conserve my calories and macros for later in the day, so that I can have the kind of few, large meals that actually make feel satiated and happy. 

How Many Hours Between Meals? A Few Good Meals

There is one final strategy I want to share briefly, and that is intermittent fasting. I don't want to talk too much about it here because I have planned on writing something fairly involved on intermittent fasting diet plans. But the gist is this: you only eat at certain periods of the day, then you stop, or fast. Ideally, when intermittent fasting you fast for 16 hours of the day and eat during an 8 hour window. So for instance your window begins at 10am and 8 hours later at 6pm you're done eating for the day and you fast. You can still have water and other low-cal / zero calorie items. i.e. Black tea, green tea, BCAAs. And you still track macros. Intermittent fasting diet plans isn't a license to go nuts for eight hours. You just make sure to consume all your calories in that eight hour window. ​

Conclusion

At the end of the day, it isn't meal frequency that matters so much as total calories consumed and the composition of your macros. Everybody is a little different. I can only speak for my personal experience with how many meals a day that helps me lose weight. My biggest beef (no pun intended) with the six meals a day diet plan is that it leaves me hungry all day long.  Eating several 300 calorie meals is never going to make me happy. 

Alternatively, when I down about 450 calories post workout, I'm not in a huge rush for another 450 later. And then I can down a big 900 calorie meal finale, and stay content for the rest of the night. And then of course I don't really have to plan my ENTIRE day around my next meal. When you are planning for six meals, you basically can't leave your house without a bunch of tupperware.

P.S. If you haven't already, make sure you check out my 3 Step Strategy to Shredding Fat While Building Muscle!

3 Muscle Recovery Supplements to Keep Crushing Your Workouts

By Kyle Milligan / March 29, 2017
3 Muscle Recovery Supplements Thumbnail

You come home from the gym and you're tired. You're a bit sweaty. But you're stoked. You're so stoked on yourself that you put in another day of work to make yourself better. You go to sleep that evening with a smile on your face and pride in your heart. You wake up the next morning, ready to spring into another day; only to find there is no spring in your step. Instead all of your joints have been replaced with rusty hinges and your muscles filled with lead. What do you do? You my friend, are having a muscle recovery problem. Luckily, there are tons of great muscle recovery supplements on the market to help get you through this. 

Whey Protein Powder - Post Workout

Nothing is more of a classic supplement for muscle recovery on the earth than the post-workout protein shake. Whey is great because it's fast absorbing and easily accessible. Whey protein is just a byproduct of cheese. There are more companies making whey protein powder supplements now than you can shake a stick at.

Protein Shake for Muscle Recovery

Supplementing your diet with the right things is the fastest way to recover from sore muscles.

The only thing there are more of than companies making protein, is the variety of flavors you can find protein in. Some whey protein is amazing and some is just plain terrible. Still, if you want to really improve your muscle recovery, you should really supplement your diet with a post workout protein shake.

How Whey Protein Helps Muscle Recovery

The first you thing you must understand is protein's role in your diet. Protein is a macronutrient, meaning your body needs them in large quantities to function properly. Proteins are the building blocks of muscle. Protein also makes up DNA, composes most cell structure, and makes up enzymes that catalyze metabolic reactions

As you workout, your body breaks down your muscle fibers. After you workout, whatever protein food or supplement is ingested gets used to rebuild those damaged muscle fibers. It's important to get protein to your muscles in a relatively short amount of time so that your body doesn't burn away your lean mass for fuel after your workout. 

There are different types of protein supplements you can consume. One is whey and one is casein. The difference between the two is the speed at which your body can process and absorb them. Whey protein is a fast assimilating protein; one of the most rapid absorbing protein sources you can consume, which makes it an amazing supplement for muscle recovery.

The most efficient period to consume a whey protein supplement for muscle recovery is about 30 minutes after your workout. The sooner the better, some say. While your body does not stop protein absorption, say, 31 minutes following your workout, it has been proven that the most effective period for protein absorption is right after a workout. During the time immediately following a workout, your body is capable of processing higher capacities of protein which helps a lot with muscle recovery. 

Gold Standard Whey Protein muscle recovery Supplement

Optimum Nutrition's Gold Standard Whey Protein is a must have muscle recovery supplement.

Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) - During or Pre-Workout

Maybe it’s because I have been looking into them so much lately, but branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) are probably one of the most exalted muscle recovery supplements you can go after. You should especially look into BCAAs when cutting or fasted training.

BCAAs are known for their amazing muscle preservation effects, which also factors into muscle recovery. BCAAs comprise leucine, isoleucine, and valine, three essential amino acids. What makes these guys “essential” amino acids is that your body cannot produce them, you must consume them. They get their name “branched chain” from their chemical structure.

BCAAs have been shown to:

  • Increase protein synthesis
  • Improve muscle recovery
  • Decrease muscle soreness
  • Improve training endurance and reduce fatigue
Gold Standard BCAA Train and Recover Powder

BCAAs are some of the best supplements for muscle recovery & soreness

BCAA Basics

Amino acids are strung together with peptide bonds and make up proteins, and proteins are the building blocks of your muscles. You can get BCAAs from consuming proteins like usual. BCAAs can be found in animal proteins (like chicken, fish, turkey, or beef), nuts, eggs, and so on. But when you eat BCAAs through regular food it gets digested the regular way. That is, slowly. In order to maximize muscle recovery you can use a supplement like BCAA powder to speed the process up.

The reason BCAA supplements work so well for muscle recovery is because they help prevent muscle breakdown with their rate of absorption. Catabolism occurs because your body increases protein breakdown in order to use amino acids as fuel.

When you ingest BCAA supplements, you are directly feeding your muscles the fuel they need to work and rebuild themselves.

As I said, you can ingest BCAAs when you consume protein, because amino acids are strung together with peptide bonds and make up proteins. But when you consume BCAAs in the form of a supplement powder, they are considered to be unbound. They don’t have to be liberated from their peptide bond through digestion before being absorbed into the bloodstream.

This improves the amino acid’s rate of absorption tremendously, and allows the amino acids to be shuttled directly to your muscles. As a result, muscle catabolism can be significantly reduced. This is one of the reasons you see people chugging pink water at the gym. It’s probably BCAAs and it feeds their muscles fuel RIGHT AWAY. That’s also why BCAA supplements for muscle recovery make so much sense.

As a result of their rapid (almost immediate) absorption, BCAAs contribute to increased protein synthesis, muscle recovery, and therefore reduce delayed onset muscle soreness, or DOMS.

BCAAs to Preserve Muscle Mass

Make sure you use BCAAs as a supplement for muscle recovery if you are cutting, because muscle recovery can become an even greater issue for someone on a strict diet. BCAA supplements can really make a positive impact on your recovery and energy when cutting.

Working out actually increases the metabolic effects of cutting. You must operate at a caloric deficit to shred fat and lean out, and the decrease in glycogen storage (glycogen is a substance in body tissue that serves as energy storage) and energy will take a toll on your muscles. Your body will have to adopt to this restricted energy supply may not build new lean mass, and may even burn it for fuel.

BCAA supplements come into play here by allowing your body to do a couple things.

  1. Feed your muscles unbound amino acids rapidly
  2. Stimulate protein synthesis (particularly the amino acid leucine)
  3. Reducing the rate protein breakdown by reducing the activity of components in protein breakdown

There are varying opinions on how much BCAA supplements for muscle recovery you should consume. Generally, BCAA supplements provide 5 grams of branch chain amino acids in 1 serving with a 2:1:1 ratio, leucine, to isoleucine, to valine. For optimal muscle recovery you can consume BCAAs with your post workout meal or recovery drink, which will quickly replace the BCAAs in the muscles.

Beta-Alanine - During or Pre-Workout

Another fantastic supplements for muscle recovery is Beta-Alanine, which can be found as a stand-alone powder or in many pre-workouts (it’s what gives you that tingly pins-and-needles feeling that may have scared you to death the first time you tried pre workout). Personally, I ingest beta-alanine through a pre workout powder as opposed to a standalone supplement.

I don't take a pure beta-alanine supplement for muscle soreness and recovery. Instead I take pre workout powders that contain beta-alanine. I've always been a big fan of Legion Pulse pre workout powder. And my second favorite is Cellucor's C4 Original. ​

Unlike BCAA supplements, Beta-Alanine is a non-essential beta amino acid, which means it isn’t a necessary part of your diet because it is naturally created by your body. Beta-Alanine forms a di-peptide with L-Histidine, and that’s important because it creates the compound Carnosine.

So why take beta-alanine as a supplement for muscle recovery if your body naturally produces it? For the additional carnosine, of course.

So you're like, "uhhh...so what is carnosine?" Legit question. Let's dive into that now.

How Beta-Alanine Reduces Muscle Soreness and Fatigue

Your body needs Carnosine when you are training to help prevent muscle fatigue. Once the Carnosine compound is created from beta-alanine and L-histidine, it works in your favor to keep you lifting harder and longer.

When you are performing high intensity training, your body accumulates a large amount of hydrogen ions, which put it in an acidic state. This creates a build-up of lactic acid, which results in feelings of fatigue and muscle soreness. And this is where beta-alanine becomes a useful supplement for muscle recovery: because beta-alanine contributes to the creation of carnosine which combats this fatigue and soreness.

Carnosine is necessary when this occurs to delay muscle fatigue by buffering the overall pH of the body. Think of it this way: acid = bad. It makes you feel muscle soreness and fatigue. So If your body has a buffer for the acidity, it can continue to work longer and harder. Furthermore, pH stability also aids in muscle recovery because of the lower amount of muscle and tissue damage your body experiences.

Following so far? More carnosine equals more gains.

squirrel confused about sore muscles and recovery foods

My face when I first tried to understand beta-alanine benefits

Why Supplement Beta-Alanine

The reason you need to supplement beta-alanine is because it is the limiting amino acid in the carnosine compound. Remember, carnosine is a compound made up of beta-alanine and L-histidine. Basically, your body will run out of beta-alanine way before it ever runs out of L-histidines.

You ever been to a dance and it was all dudes and no girls? That’s what we have here, a sausage fest. So we pump the dance party full of beautiful beta-alanines to get the party started.

So you know that acid is bad for muscle recovery and carnosine helps reduce its harmful effects, so why not supplement directly with carnosine instead of beta-alanine? Great question! I have an answer for you…

When you consume carnosine, it doesn’t reach your muscles intact. The carnosine gets broken back down into its components beta-alanine and L-histidine. Then those two have to be reformed once again into carnosine, which is a major inefficient bummer. The best solution to this problem is to just use beta-alanine as your supplement for muscle recovery.

How to Take Beta-Alanine

​Personally, I ingest my beta-alanine in my preworkout. But I read up on beta-alanine powders for this post.

If taking beta-alanine as a stand alone powder, it is recommend to do a trial and error phase when starting beta-alanine as a supplement for muscle recovery. In clinical studies, the amount of benefit-showing beta-alanine ranges from 2 to 4.8 grams. Start with a few grams spread over two or three doses during the day for the first week, then move into the maintenance phase, taking in about 3-5 grams divided into three doses.​

You on beta alanine supplement

This is you on beta alanine.

I just like to take my beta-alanine in my preworkout powder. And I eased into it. I started by mixing half the serving size of my pre workout supplement (which contained about 2.4 grams of beta-alanine) with 10 oz of water. I would drink it about 20 minutes before my workout. Over time I steadily increased my dosage to the standard serving size (4.8 grams of beta-alanine).​

Don’t forget, when you first start beta-alanine, you may notice a tingling sensation in the body due to nerve stimulation. Don't panic. The tingles are normal. Consider it a sign that the beta-alanine supplement is working. Beta-alanine reacts differently to each person, but if you are taking large doses and not noticing any tingly tickles, call shenanigans on that pre workout supplement and try something else. Remember, you want to see AT LEAST 2 grams of beta-alanine per serving on the label.

​The muscle recovery from supplementing beta-alanine is immediate. You will be able to power through your final rep without terrible muscle fatigue and soreness. After training, having balanced pH levels will provide lower amounts of muscle and tissue damage, and reduce muscle recovery periods. As one of the most affordable and consistently-effective performance enhancing supplements, I highly recommend adding it to your daily supplement regimen.

​Supplements for Muscle Recovery Wrap Up

You now have a three pronged approach to preventing muscle soreness and some supplements for muscle recovery.

Whey protein is the classic muscle recovery supplement. ​It's a rapid absorbing, fast acting protein that sends your muscles the resources it needs for repair. 

You can supplement BCAAs and beta-alanine products before, or during your workouts to help prevent fatigue and push you through your sets. BCAAs can also be consume post workout as well for muscle recovery benefits.​

Let me know in the comments if there are other great supplements for muscle recovery that you use!

Thanks for reading!

5 Best Workout Supplements for Beginners in 2017

By Kyle Milligan / March 28, 2017
5 Best Work Out Supplements for Beginners 2017

Regardless of your goals: shredding, bulking, even maintaining, there is something to be gained from utilizing the classic supplements in the fitness community. Still, it can be tough to decipher what are the best workout supplements for beginners in 2017 to get. What with all the marketing in your face, the gurus blasting you with their sponsor's products, and general wrongness of the advice from the bros at the gym. When it comes to supplements for beginners, you should go with those supported by science as both safe and effective. If you're just starting out, you can benefit from starting off with these 5 workout supplements for beginners.

Ripped Man Abs and Pecs

Supplements will definitely enhance your results, but they can't get you there on their own.

Any beginner looking into workout supplements really wants to know two things:

  • What supplements to take to shred fat
  • What supplements to take to build muscle fast

The definition of supplement is "something that completes or enhances something else when added to it." So before you dash to the store to pick up any of the supplements I'm about to list, what you need to do FIRST is nail down a good workout plan and weight loss program to follow and guide you to the results you are looking for.

As a beginner in 2017, here is the order of priority in your fitness journey:

  1. Diet
  2. Workout Routine
  3. A bunch of other stuff
  4. Supplements​

Therefore, don't try to bypass the hard work and sweat part, thinking that taking a scoop of chocolate protein powder or a magic muscle pill is gonna get you jacked! Alright, I'll step off my soap box and share with you some of the best work out supplements for beginners. 

0.5 Protein Powders

There is no supplement more well known in 2017 than the classic protein powder.  There is not a more flippantly thrown around piece of workout wisdom than to add more protein to our diet. But for good reason. It's one of the soundest pieces of advice someone can offer. 

Most people do not get nearly enough protein in their diet, exercising or not. Getting adequate protein is especially important when cutting weight, because failure to do so may mean your body will burn off lean mass (muscle) for fuel!​

Protein is a macronutrient, and the building block of your body's lean mass. Also, protein composes DNA and most cell structure, and makes up enzymes that catalyze metabolic reactions. Knowing this, you can kind of get a general idea as to why​ getting more protein in your diet could be good for building muscles. That's where protein powders come into the picture.

There are two main types of protein powders. Whey protein powders and casein protein powders.

1. Whey Protein

​The first type of beginner workout supplement we will discuss is whey protein powders. Whey protein is a fast assimilating protein. What this means is that it is rapidly digested and shuttled to your muscles. Why is that important? 

Why consume a fast acting protein?

It matters how fast your protein digests when you are on a cutting diet, because your body should be operating at a calorie deficit. As a result, your body will be consuming its stored energy sources to sustain itself. ​ That can be either your body fat or muscle. 

Gold Standard Whey Protein Supplement

Optimum Nutrition's Gold Standard Whey Protein supplement is a must have.

You want to consume a rapidly digesting protein right around your workout. You can consume whey protein before or during your workout and it will feed your body what it needs while you exercises. You can also consume it directly following your workout. Consuming a whey protein supplement before, during, or after your work out will:

  • Reduce muscle breakdown
  • Decrease soreness
  • Reduce recovery times

If you have a smart weight loss program in place, you can use this to your advantage to consume the right amount of protein to preserve your muscle mass and maintain your calorie deficit. As a result, your body will burn fat and build muscle.

2. Casein Protein

Your second beginner work out supplement is casein protein. So if whey protein is a fast acting protein, what do you think casein protein is? That's right, casein is considered a "slow" protein. All that really means is it takes longer for your body to fully digest casein than it does whey. So my beginner work out supplement student, how can we turn that information into our advantage?

​Casein actually clots inside your stomach. It forms globules of protein in there and  this slows down the rate of digestion. This means the amino acids in casein enter the bloodstream at a steady rate.

Gold Standard Casein Protein supplement 100

I like Gold Standard Casein 100. Instead of chocolate for my casein, I like to go with something sweeter like blueberry and mix it with oatmeal or yogurt.

​Studies have shown that casein protein can actually take up to 7 hours to digest which is one of the reasons some people advocate casein protein consumption right before bed. While you are sleeping, your body isn't getting fed and nutrients and it may start to break down muscle for fuel. Casein can counteract these effects.

If you do intermittent fasting or are on a strict diet, you may want to attempt to include more slow-burning casein in your diet to keep feeding your body fuel for those periods when you can't eat. ​

How Much Protein Should You Eat?

A good rule of thumb for your daily protein intake: Consume 1 times your body weight (in lbs) in grams of protein. So if you weigh 160 lbs, you consume 160g of protein daily. If you are dieting AND working out, consume a more protein. I eat 1.2x my body weight in grams of protein when I am cutting. 

3. Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)

I've been working out for years and I am now recommending all 2017 beginners supplement their work outs with Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs). Since I started incorporating BCAAs into my daily routine, I have noticed an improvement in my energy during workouts and general recovery rate.

Branched Chain Amino Acids are essential amino acids, meaning they must be consumed from eating foods. Your body cannot produce them. Most BCAAs supplements supply you with leucine, isoleucine and valine. Leucine is the most important, playing a critical role in protein synthesis.

As amino acids that are sent directly to the muscle and metabolized, BCAAs when cutting are especially important for preserving muscle tissue and reducing recovery times. Because of their muscle preserving properties and the fact that they do not break a fast (allowing you the fat burning benefits of a fasted state while preserving your muscle), BCAAs are a critical supplement everyone, beginner and veteran alike, should try out. I use Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard BCAA Train and Recover. 

Gold Standard BCAA Train and Recover Supplement Powder

I am currently using Gold Standard BCAA as a pre workout supplement.

4. Omega 3 Fish Oils

Next on our list of work out supplements for beginners: omega 3 fatty acids AKA fish oils! You can look everywhere, you'd be hard pressed to find a person who has a negative thing to say about fish oils. They are like a super supplement. I think I found fish oils while dealing with joint soreness and I was looking into glucosamine chondroitin supplements. 

Anyways, fish oils are renowned for their myriad health benefits such as preventing and managing heart disease. Here's a little clip I grabbed straight form our friends at webmd.com​:

Findings show omega-3 fatty acids may help to:

  • Lower blood pressure
  • Reduce triglycerides
  • Slow the development of plaque in the arteries
  • Reduce the chance of abnormal heart rhythm
  • Reduce the likelihood of heart attack and stroke
  • Lessen the chance of sudden cardiac death in people with heart disease

Working out isn't just tough on your muscles, it's tough on your whole body; heart included. Omega 3 fatty acids are great for you if you if you are weight training or not. 

WARNING: Do NOT go out and buy fish oils from your grocery store. You can find all sorts of junk products on shelves in 2017. What is important for fish oil supplements is the docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) content. That's the good stuff that gives you all the benefits listed above. The only company I've seen that provides a decent amount of those things is Nordic Naturals. 

Dr. Weil M.D. of drweil.com recommends taking a fish oil supplement that provides 700 to 1,000 mg of EPA and 200 to 500 mg of DHA daily in the smallest number of pills.

Now take a common grocery store brand in 2017, Nature Made fish oils for instance.​ Their label shows that in two of their pills there is 500mg of EPA and DHA combined. That is far short of recommended value.

The only guys I have seen get this right are Nordic Naturals and their Ultimate Omega product. 2 of their softgels yields and impressive 650mg of EPA and 450mg of DHA. There may be other brands like Nordic Naturals; this is just the one I'm familiar with. 

Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega 3 fatty acids Supplement

Very few omega 3 supplements get it right. Look at the labels for the EPA and DHA content. I haven't found one that does as good a job as Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega

5. Pre Workout Powder

Your fifth beginner work out supplement: per workout powders. Pre workout powders are half the fun of lifting weights! Let me go ahead and say: you should consult your physician before taking pre workout supplements, especially if you have heart or blood pressure problems. 

I really do love the tingly rush and pump of taking a pre workout powder. It just puts me in a state of mind to pick up weights. ​

This supplement will be a little different from the previous four. Pre workout powders are not all created equally. The four previous supplements are fairly similar with slight differences brand to brand. Pre workout powders, however, are usually a special proprietary blend.

Still, almost all pre workout powders have two things in common: Caffeine and beta-alanine.​ Those guys give you a super rush and the tingles. Because your body has the ability to build up a tolerance to these ingredients. It is recommended you cycle off pre workout powders every 8 weeks for a period of 2-4 weeks. 

I've always been a big fan of Legion Pulse pre workout powder. And my second favorite is Cellucor's C4 Original. ​ 

Beginner Supplements 2017 Conclusion

Supplements are a lot of fun. Purchasing supplements also gives a sort of psychological stimulation. It's an investment on your part to better yourself and it makes you feel like you've got an edge. Either way, if you're setting aside time to work out, you want to get the most out of your efforts, and supplements can help.

Above all else, having a great workout and diet plan is the most important thing. Nothing matters if you don't have that laid out first and foremost. Supplements, at the end of the day, are exactly what they sound like- supplemental. ​

Feel free to share in the comments if you think I missed anything!

Thanks for reading!​

The 4 Best Back Exercises at the Gym for Mass and Definition

By Kyle Milligan / March 21, 2017

So you want the best back exercises for mass and definition? If you're not sure where to start, it's always a great idea to start at the basics. That's what I'm going to recommend to put more mass on your back. Some guys love to complicate things with all sorts of row variants and cable exercises,  but building a stronger, defined back requires focus on some of the most basic lifts. Now some of this back routine you're going to have to lift heavy weight. But you will get results.  Anyways, we are going to keep it crazy simple. I am going to give you the FOUR best back workouts for mass ever. And that's it. All you need is four.

The Best Back Exercises For a Wider Back, More Mass, and Definition

Strong back mass

Not I. I probably wouldn't tan that well even with the spray stuff.

Like I said, I like to keep fitness simple. You won't be burdened with a bunch of different back exercises and variants. I'm just going to give you the best back workout for mass and definition as I know it. We will only mention 4 back exercises. They are:

  1. Barbell Deadlift
  2. Bent Over Barbell Row
  3. Wide Grip Pull Ups
  4. Close Grip Pull Downs

I really don't enjoy spending more than an hour in the gym. Actually, I get a little anxious after about an hour in the gym. I feel like I have other stuff I need to pay attention to that is getting neglected. 

Just like in my chest routine, we are going to do just four basic back exercises so we can get in and get out. But this will not be a slack effort. We are going to lift them hard and heavy. I'm even going to put a special spin on the wide grip pull ups to help achieve the rep range.  

For this back workout to give you the most mass possible, you'll want to keep your rep count right around 6. That's because this is the ideal rep range for building strength and mass. By making your muscles larger and stronger, you can burn more calories, cut more fat, and become more defined. Just remember: You want your back workout to be failing at rep number 6. 

Back Exercise 1: Barbell Deadlift

When to perform: Barbell deadlifts are not just a back exercise, they are a total body builder. They are an "everything" exercise. Because they require so much effort from so many muscles, I like to perform them at the beginning of my back workout, while I'm still fresh. By putting barbell deadlift first, when you have the most energy, you will be able to significantly improve your overall back mass, definition, and strength week over week. The deadlift is one of those nearly limitless exercises. You can almost watch the weight climb up and up forever. 

Why Barbell Deadlift: In reality, barbell deadlifts are much more than a back exercise; they hit the entire posterior chain all the way down from your calves and all the way up to top of your traps. As a result, barbell deadlifts are fantastic for your back development.

How to Perform / Form: I really can't stress form enough for barbell deadlifts. When you start picking up very heavy weight, it becomes even more important to practice good form to protect your legs, knees, back, lower back, shoulders; just everything, really. If you are brand new to deadlifts, start at a weight you can easily handle while you learn the ropes of proper deadlift form. 

Barbell Deadlift Back Day
  • Step 1: Slide your feet under the barbell. The barbell should hover halfway up your feet. Your feet should be planted right at shoulder width apart, and slightly pointed out.
  • Step 2: Bend slightly at the knee and lean over so your back is straight and parallel to the ground.
  • ​Step 3: Reach down just outside of your shins and grab the bar. For heavier weight, you may want to alternate grip. I grip with my right hand (strong hand) facing away and my left facing toward me. For REALLY heavy weight, pick up some lifting chalk
  • Step 4: Keep your back straight and stand straight up. Drive with your heels.  ​
  • Step 5: Exhale as you straighten your body out. Stand tall and lock your shoulders back.
  • Step 6: Slowly return barbell to floor. The barbell should just hang in your hands. It might drag your thighs and knees a little bit. Maybe even your shins. You do not want the bar hanging way out in front of you. That means you are lurching your back or your shoulders forward and risking injury. Keep your shoulders locked back and your back straight.

Back Exercise 2: Bent Over Barbell Rows

When to perform: I do my barbell bent over rows directly after my barbell deadlifts. I strip the weight and use the very same bar.  I like to do these while I still have energy left because keeping good form with bent over rows requires some effort. You have to bend over at the waist, pick up a barbell, raise it to your chest, and then lower it back to the ground. All while keeping your back straight. 

Why Bent Over Barbell Rows :​ Bent over barbell rows are fantastic for hitting all the different areas of your back at the same time. This is great for defining your lats and upper back. The stability required to maintain form is great for strengthening your stabilizers in your legs and lower back while the actual lift itself focuses on your lats and upper back. 

How to Perform / Form:​ For barbell bent over rows you want a wider stance than barbell deadlifts. Your feet will be slightly wider than shoulder width apart; toes pointed out. Your hands will be just a little wider, outside of your knees. 

Barbell Bent Over Row Back exercise

  • ​Step 1: Place your feet beneath the barbell. The bar should hover about halfway up your feet. Bend at the waist. Back straight. Grip the bar just outside of your knees. 
  • Step 2: Keeping your back straight and your heels planted, raise the barbell up to your chest while keeping your back as still as possible.  Even I have trouble keeping my back completely parallel to the ground while performing this lift and that's okay. You just want to avoid jerking the weight up off the floor. 
  • Step 3: Touch the barbell to your chest and squeeze your shoulders back. 
  • Step 4: Return the barbell to the floor in a controlled manner. Do not drop the weight. Do not bounce the weight. Ideally, as you repeat this, you want to keep your back flat, parallel to the floor, perfectly straight, while only moving your arms. This can be very difficult. Do your best. If you find yourself lunging, jerking, or yanking on the weight at all, it's too heavy and you should lower the amount of weight you're lifting.

Back Exercise 3: Wide Grip Pull Up

When to perform: I love pull ups. Similar to how I arrange my dips on chest days, I structure my workout so body weight exercises are towards the end. Also, like my dips, I add weight to this exercise so that I don't perform a zillion reps. I like to keep my rep range at 4-6 reps. I have found it to be the best rep range for strength and muscle growth. 

Why Wide Grip Pull Up: You should always include some overhead pulling movement in your back workout. This is a great way to target your lats and get that awesome, coveted V-shaped torso. For putting emphasis on your upper lats, wide grip pull ups are the best bet. This means extra mass and definition for your upper back.

How to Perform / Form: Generally, there should be a pull up bar (or several) scattered around your gym. Sometimes they are built into cable machines. Sometimes they are atop squat racks. Whatever, find one that has a wide grip so that you can hold it with your hands facing away from you just outside of shoulder width apart.

Wide Grip pull ups for upper lats
  • Step 1: Grip the wide grip with your hands opening away from your body.
  • Step 2: Draw your chin up to your hands. Don't sway, jerk, lurch, or wiggle. The motion should be smooth and it should feel as though your elbows are doing all the work. 
  • ​Step 3: Once your eyes are above your hands, try to squeeze your elbows into your sides. It should feel like you are trying to bend the grips into the shape of a rainbow and squeezing your elbows into your ribs. 
  • Step 4: Slowly lower yourself to your starting position. The more extended your arms are before your next rep, the better. You don't want to lower yourself until your elbows reach 90 degrees and then pull yourself back up. That would stop you from getting the full range of motion and the most out of this back exercise. 

Back Exercise 4: Close Grip Pull Down

When to perform: I perform my close grip pull downs last. Sort of as a complement to wide grip pull ups. I like to do these seated and with a cable machine because otherwise you are almost doing the same exercise as wide grip pull ups and you don't get the most out of it.

Why Close Grip Pull Down: By utilizing a neutral, close grip, you actually are able to achieve a longer range of motion and increase the time of tension for your lats. This is great for widening and building your back muscle and increasing your strength. 

How to Perform Close Grip Pull Downs: To get the most out of any cable exercise, you want to squeeze each rep for all its worth. That means working out in an even slower, controlled pace than your other exercises. When you draw the cables down, do so methodically. When you reach your chest, squeeze your shoulder blades back together and feel it work your back muscles. When you are in your negative movement, let the weight drift away from you slowly and controlled.  

close grip pulldowns cable exercise for back
  • Step 1: Lock your knees into position. Reach and grab the grips.
  • Step 2: Draw your shoulders back. Pull your shoulder blades close together.
  • ​Step 3: With your shoulders still locked back, draw the cable in a steady manner to your chest. Keep your back straight and reclined slightly.
  • Step 4: Holding the grips at your chest, squeeze your shoulder blades together.
  • Step 5: Slowly and steadily let the grips return to starting position. Do not lean forward. Do not roll your shoulders forward. Keep your back straight and slightly reclined. Keep your shoulders locked back.

Conclusion

That's it! All there is to it! 4 simple and classic back exercises to build your lats and back even bigger. The key to seeing the very best results is to perform all these exercises with maximum control, and then progressively increase your weight once you are able to perform 6 or more controlled reps. 6 reps is the best rep range to maximize your exercises for strength and muscle growth. 

What are some of your favorite back exercises? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks for reading!​

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