Cutting Diet Guide

Here is a practical basic cutting guide that allows you to adjust it as you see progress (or lack of) in your fat loss phase. This will work for everyone, whether your a hardgainer or a endomorph body type.

Cutting Diet calories:

A cutting diet should start at 15 calories per lean muscle weight, unless you were previously bulking. Your lean muscle weight is calculated by first knowing your bodyfat %. If you are 12% bodyfat, subtract 100 from your bf% to get the percentage of lean muscle weight. For example, if you weigh 200 lbs at 12% bf, 100 minus 12 equals 88% lean weight. 88% of 200 lbs is 176 lbs. So this person should start at 2640 calories / dayfor cutting.

If you are currently bulking already and ready to start cutting, then ignore the 15 calculation and just lower your current total bulking calorie intake by 400 calories. If you were to lower your calorie intake to the 15 times bodyweight calculation, you would cause your body to go into starvation mode and you would lose a lot of muscle and little fat.

Monitoring progress:

Please note, that these are just starting calorie recommendations. Everyone's metabolism and genetics are different. People with faster metabolisms may need a higher calorie starting point. You first need to start at some point though, so you can use it as a reference point for your results.

For best results, its important to measure bodyfat % weekly. That way you can see how muscle muscle mass vs. fat mass you are losing. If you are losing weight too quick, or just as much muscle as fat, your calorie intake is probably too low. If you are losing a lot of weight quickly, but it is showing as mostly fat loss, then that is perfect! What you want is most of the weight you are losing to be fat (at least 2/3).

Avoding Fat loss plateaus:

As you lose fat, you will have to slowly lower calories to continue to lose fat. You won't keep losing fat on the same diet for weeks and weeks, just like the same workout routine and weightswon't lead to continued muscle gains. Long term dieters, should cycle calories to help get through more stubborn plateaus. You do this by having large high carb calorie days once in a while.

These calorie spikes help maintain healthy leptin, thyroid, and testosterone levels, which help ultimately with fat loss. If you restrict calories everyday for weeks and don't incorporate these calorie cycles, no matter what you do your fat loss will halt. All your hormones including the thyroid, which controls your metabolism, gets stunted during low calorie dieting. A large spike in calories is proven scientifically to cause a spike in all these important hormones.

Can Yohimbine Transdermals Spot Reduce Fat?

One common myth that floats around to people who don’t know much about fat loss, is the idea of spot reduction. This is the belief that you can lose fat in one area, by doing excercises for it. For example, some think if you do situps, it helps reduce fat around your stomach area. This has been debunked along time ago and fat is actually lost over the entire body in layers. There are certain areas of your body that have a higher preference for storing fat, but excercising certain muscles more won't help it lose fat faster than normal. In fact, the areas that gain fat first and the easiest, tend to be the last to lose the fat when dieting.

But what if I told you spot reducing fat was still possible?

Under normal conditions spot reducing is not possible, however a herb called Yohimbine could actually help. I'll tell you how.

What is Yohimbine

Yohimbine is a common fat loss stimulant used by bodybuilders for years. It has also been used commercially in pharmaceutical grade for treating sexual dysfunction in men. Yohimbine is a natural herb that has the unique ability to work on A2 receptors in fat cells as a alpha2-adrenergic receptor antagonist. Alpha 2 receptors tell the body to stop producing adrenaline. When Yohimbine blocks these receptors as an "antagonist", it keeps adrenaline from binding to the A2 receptors to stop fat oxidation (fat loss) in the cell.

How does Yohimbine spot reduce fat?

Initially, when losing fat a lot of it comes off easily. After you lose a bit of fat you start getting to more and more stubborn estrogenic fat that is leftover. This more stubborn fat tends to have a high A2 receptor density. The fat is very hard to get off because it is resistant to fat loss because of the high density of A2 receptors. High A2 receptor fat is usually in locations, such as chest, inner thighs, and love handles. Estrogen levels, genetics, and your bodyfat level dertermines both for men and women, how much of this type of fat forms. This is one reason why these areas are most "stubborn" to fat loss.

Taking the unique properties of yohimbe into consideration, Yohimbine transdermals were developed. The transdermals releases high doses of Yohimbe locally through the skin to be absorbed. Because Yohimbine is a stimulant, you can't take high doses orally. The transdermal allows you to absorb a high concentration of Yohimbine straight to where you want it to go, fat cells with high A2 receptor concentration.

Yohimbine Transdermal directions:

The use of transdermals for delivering supplements into the body is not something new. They have been used in the past by bodybuilders for other supplements including pro hormones. Some create their own transdermals and add the yohimbine to it. With yohimbine transdermals, you simply rub the lotion over the area you want to spot reduce the fat.

The best time to use Yohimbine transdermals is when you have low bodyfat and just can't get rid of fat from certain problem areas. If you are fat all over, there is no point in trying to spot reduce fat in one area with a yohimbine transdermal. Your first priority should be to just get your bodyfat low. You don't need to try and get stubborn fat, if you have plenty of other types of fat in the body. Once you get to a low bodyfat % and you hit a fat loss plateau, then add Yohimbe transdermal to the problem areas. You should start to lose the fat in those areas as long as you continue to diet and excercise while using it.

Where can I find yohimbe transdermals?

Popular commercial Yohimbine transdermal products are Lipoderm-Ultra and Lipoderm-Y w/ Caffeine by Avant labs. Some people even create their own custom yohimbine transdermal homebrews.

HST Workout Routines

HST stands for Hypertrophic Specific Training and this workout routine was developed based on some research studies on the best workout to build muscle. This seperates it from most bodybuilding workout routines, which are usually based on some bodybuilder guru or pro-bodybuilder claiming a workout worked for him, so he recommends everyone his own workout. The problem with using someone else's workout is just because a workout works for him, doesn't mean it is the best for YOU. The person could have excellent genetics and grow well off any workout routine or his individual genetics may do best for that particular workout. So, its good to find workout routines that have some research basis like HST and not because some pro-bodybuilder recommends it.

HST Workout Principles:

The studies they did led to them forming some of these major principles for every workout.

Mechanical Load: This is obvious, you need to lift weights to build muscle!

Progressive Load: You can't build muscle without small increases in weights. Ex. If you
always squat with 100 lbs you will never keep getting bigger.

Low volume: Low workout set volume. Research shows one or 2 sets per excercise is adequate to stimulate hypertrophy.

Chronic vs. Acute Stimuli: Workout a muscle more than once a week. Protein synthesis and hormonal adapations last only 48 hours. This means 5 other days of the week are being wasted, not being stimulated by another workout.

Strategic Deconditioning: Help avoid plateaus by reducing weights to desensitize your muscles to a certain stimulus.

Compound excercises: Compound excercises are the best mass builders, so HST focuses on mainly compound.

Progressive Rep Ranges: Every 2 weeks you should lower the rep range. This is to keep up with the increasing heavy weights you are adding to each workout because of the progressive overload principle.

HST Workout Routine Guidelines:

You can make your own small variations of a HST workout routine, what is important is that your workout routine follow the core principles of HST because most are based on their research findings. Every HST workout must be a full body workout done 3 times a week, for example monday wednesday and friday. You don't have to pick the same excercises each workout, but you need to workout each muscle in every workout all 3 days and most of the excercises should be compound. All workout sets are low volume, doing only 1 or 2 sets per excercise and 1 or 2 excercises for each muscle. Workouts start at about the 15 rep range on week 1 and about every 2 weeks you will decrease your rep range and increase your weights. Usually you will do something like 15 reps week 1, 12 reps week 2, 10 reps week 3, and so on.

After a few weeks and staying at the lower rep ranges of 5 to 6 for a couple weeks, then it is time for you to lower the weight and do the same low rep range for a week. This means you will be doing a weight that is very far from muscular failure. This is the Strategic deconditioning portion mentioned earlier as a major principle of HST. This deconditioning helps give your muscles a semi-break and helps against long term plateaus. The following week you will start another similiar workout cycle all over again, with light weights in the 15 rep range.

Why Do Bodybuilders Use Research Chemicals (Liquid Ancillaries)?

If you been in bodybuilding circles long enough, you know of bodybuilders buying at research chemical (also known as liquid ancillaries) stores. These sites sell prescription drugs for bodybuilders labeled as research chemicals. Some common un-scheduled bodybuilding drugs they sell include liquid form Nolvadex , Clomid, Arimidex, Clenbuterol, T-2, T-3, Vitamin B-12 injectable, and even new modified forms of IGF-1, HGH, or Melatonin. They usually also sell other types of prescriptions and accesories such as; viagra, cialis, hair loss, prostate drugs, syringes, needles, and conversion kits.

These sites give bodybuilders a convenient way to get prescription grade drugs or new cutting edge bodybuilding chemicals conveniently without a prescription and with almost no legal risk. All the drugs sold at these sites aren't actually scheduled drugs, making them different from actual steroid pharmacies selling scheduled substances that carry long jail sentences for even possession. It is a a minor offense in the U.S for carrying non-sheduled prescriptions without a prescription.

Bodybuilders using steroids have a "source who gives them legitimate prescription pills, like Nolva for post cycle therapy, along with their illegal steroids. Not all steroid sources have every kind of prescription at hand and at every moment. Sometimes a source can get busted or not have a certain drug at hand. That is when it becomes handy for bodybuilders to buy from these research sites. A lot of bodybuilders also buy conversion kits from these research sites, so they convert their steroids for injection.

Legality of research chemical sites:

Research chemical sites are in sort of a legal grey area. They use disclaimers and legal jargon to say these chemicals are only for medical research purposes and not for human consumption, but that really doesn't exempt them fully from the law.

Rick Collins, a leading steroid lawyer has said that prosecution of these research chemical sites can be possible, but most likely only if you can prove the intent is selling to humans as a unregulated drug. That happened with Universal kits last year, which got caught telling a undercover officer how to use their clenbuterol product. Universal kits also got busted for selling conversion kits, which in the indictment released, they called "drug paraphenalia". Law enforcement sees steroid conversion kits as drug paraphanelia because it is used to make illegal steroids. Last year, there was quite a few liquid research chemical store busts, besides Universal kits. Even some hardcore bodybuilding forums discussing conversion kits and how to use them, got shut down.

These days, research chemical sites are becoming more underground because of the recent busts. Years ago, things were much more open and busts were non-existent. Many consider these sites as a "source" and generally research store names aren't allowed to be talked about openly in many bodybuilding forums. Some bodybuilding forums no longer allow research chemical sites to advertise on their forum because of the increasing legality issues now.

Using research chemical sites a good idea?

Legally its against the law to order prescription drugs without a prescription. And buying the conversion kits, may be considered buying drug paraphenelia. In reality, the legal risk of ordering from these sites is almost zero. Unless you order really big and the site gets busted afterwards, chances are tiny anything will happen to a ordinary customer. There have been reports of some officers coming to peoples doors of previous customers of research sites, after they had been busted. Usually, nothing more than a quick visit to your door is all that ultimately happens for the few unlucky enough to get a vist. Most of the time no one comes, even if a site is busted. The reason is it's just too much time and resources for law enforcement to be going around and knocking on hundreds of customer doors, for relatively minor offenses.

The biggest problem with these sites is they are underground and honestly, you don't even know what you are getting. These sites are unregulated and you don't know for sure if you are getting the right dose or even the right drug. These products are not manufactured in a legitimate sterile factory, like commercial grade illegal and prescription pills. They are made by someone taking a prescription pill and mixing it in a solvent and then selling it in liquid form in a bottle out of their website. Chances of dosage error or being cheated on doses or it even being contaminated, can be high.

Do Nitric Oxide (No2) Supplements work?

The last 5 years there has been an absolute craze in the bodybuilding supplement industry over Nitric Oxide (NO2) supplements. Many bodybuilders have not looked at the research and just listened to what other bodybuilders or supplement companies have said. The supplement companies promise increased muscle growth, pumps, vascularity, and even sexual benefits. However, NO supplements may really be the biggest supplement scam to ever hit the bodybuilding industry.

What are NO (Nitric Oxide) supplements?

NO supplements contain some form of arginine, an amino acid. There are many different forms of arginine compounds in the NO supplements today, promising to be better than the other. The goal of NO supplements are to have the arginine break down into NO (Nitric Oxide) into the blood. Arginine can break down into the bloodstream by enzymatic action, into citruline and Nitric Oxide. NO is a vasodilator and is thought to play a role in muscle building. There is some research showing NO levels increase post workout, leading some bodybuilders to believe it is crucial to protein synthesis. Many have theorized that because NO supplements increase blood flow due to NO in the blood, that increased blood flow from NO leads to better muscle growth. NO in the blood is also the same mechanism by which viagra works too.

NO (Nitric Oxide) studies

There is not one single legitimate scientific study showing NO2 supplements taken orally directly increase NO levels in the blood by a significant level. Yes, that is right you have all have been duped by the supplement companies and bodybuilding "gurus" for years now!

Now I did mention earlier, arginine does convert to NO so, why doesn't arginine supplements increase NO in the blood? Arginine indeed does increase NO levels in the blood, but only when taken intravaneously. Why? Because if you took the doses orally that required a big increase in NO, you would be a vomiting mess. Arginine causes extreme nausea at high doses, that is why all the studies at high doses were done intravaneously. Unfortunately, the upper limit for oral doses, doesn't seem to increase NO levels much.

Extenze and Magna-RX Male Enhancement Pill Reviews

Every few months there is a new “male enhancement” pill showing up on T.V. The newest fads are ExtenZe and Magna-Rx+. Although they call them male enhancement pills, the advertisements lead you to think they are for penis enlargement and increasing erection strength and stamina. At least that is what they are supposed to do. Some supplement manafacturers have gotten sued over making similiar claims in the past. Is Extenze or Magna-RX anything different than these past male enhancement pills or is it just the same hype under a new name?

Extenze Review:

The easiest way to know if something works is to see what the ingredients are.

Serving Size: 1 Tablet Servings Per Container: 30
Folate (Folic Acid) 400mcg
Zinc (as Oxide) 25mg

Extenze Male Prohormone Support
Micronized DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone)
Pregnenolone (3?-hydroxypregn-5-en-20-one)

Extenze Bio-Enhancement Support
Black Pepper (seed)
Piper Longum (seed)
Ginger (root)

Extenze Sexual Responce Enhancement Support 600mg
Medically Designed, Proprietary Blend of the finest quality herbal and nutritional Sexual Response Enhancement Support Ingredients:

Yohimbe Extract (bark) Provides 12.5mg yohimbine alkaloids
Tribulus terrestris Extract (aerial part and fruit) Provides 50mg furanosterols
Korean Ginseng Extract (root) Standardized to 10% ginsenosides
Cnidium monnier (seed)
Eleutherococcus Extract (root) Standardized to .8% eleuthrosides
Xanthroparmelia scarbrosa (aerial part)
Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid - GABA
Velvet Deer Antler
Horney Goat Weed (leaf)
Damiana (leaf)
Muira puama Extract (stem)
Pumpkin (seed)
Stinging Nettle (root)
Astragalus (root)
Licorice Extract (root)
l-Arginine Hydrochloride
Ho Shou Wu Extract (root)
Hops (Strobile) Extract (blossom)
Boron (as Chelate)

Most of these herbs and minerals are pretty well known, but many are unproven and even debatable on how well they work. DHEA is a precursor to testosterone, estrogen, and other hormones and has been used by middle aged men as a hormone replacement. DHEA may give a long term benefit to boosting your sexual health through improving your hormone levels. The yohimbe extract is a popular bodybuilding stimulant used for fat loss, but it also has been used commercially for erections and sexual stamina. Yohimbe does seem to increase libido, erection strength, and sexual stamina. Tribulus terrestris extract ancedotally has been thought to be an aphrodesiac and there is some research on rats I have found, that may support that. Zinc is good for boosting testosterone levels as it prevents the conversion of testosterone to dht. It also is good for prostate health. Ginseng will only give you more energy. Velvet deer antler and horny goat weed have been for years thought of as aphrodesiacs, but how well they actually work is debateable. L-arginine is a common ingredient for bodybuilders to increase muscle building and pumps. It is thought to cause a increase in NO in the blood, dilating the vessels. This is the same mechanism by which viagra works. However, there is a lot of new research studies showing that arginine supplementation does not effect NO levels in blood unless it is intravaneously injected. Most of the other herbs are unproven and just sort of thrown together. Extenze is basically a combination of herbs, stimulants, amino acids, minerals, pro-hormones, aphrodesiacs (some that work some that probably don't), and a bunch of other herbs that probably don't work. They throw a little bit of everything, proven or unproven.

Magna-RX+ Review:

Magna-RX+ has many of the same ingredients of Extense, but not quite as many.

L-Arginine, Nettle Leaf, Cayenne, Muira Puama, OrchicSubstance, Oyster Meat, Tribulus, Zinc, Sarsparilla, Astragalus, Licorice Root, Pumpkin Seed, Boron, Pygeum, Maca, Catauba, Horney Goat Weed, Oat Straw

The biggest ingredient in Magna-RX is L-Arginine, which as said earlier doesn't work for erections.

Does Magna-RX+ and Extense work?

If your looking for something to increase your penis size, then forget it. These pills definitely won't do that, just like none of the previous "male enhancement pills" did. I think men thinking it might help increase their penis size is probably why most buy these male enhancement pills to begin with. If you want something to increase your energy, sexual stamina, and erection hardness, then ExtenZe probably could help. They add so many different ingredients, it should help you, especially if you are already struggling with weak erections or lack of stamina.

Magna-RX on the other hand probably won't do much because it contains less ingredients, most of which are unproven herbs. Their main ingredient is L-arginine, which recent research is showing just doesn't work when taken orally, for increasing NO levels in the blood to help with erections.

Glutamine Review

You may have stumbled on other Glutamine reviews at other sites and many bodybuilders raving how well glutamine preserved their muscles during cutting. This article is going to be different than most, I'm going to tell you something that I've known all along:




You may wonder how I could be bold enough to flat out say all the supplement companies and people advocating it could be wrong after all these years. Let's first look at some Glutamine studies to see why I say this.

Glutamine research studies

J Strength Cond Res 17(3):425-438, 2003 published a study of 29 lifters on a strength training program. They were in 3 groups, creatine only, placebo, and glutamine and creatine. Both creatine groups gained muscle more than placebo, however no difference between the non-glutamine and the glutamine creatine combo. OK, but that is one study, why should we believe only one study? The same group actually did a seperate study, this time with ribose, glutamine, and effervescent creatine. Once again, no differences in muscle gains between the glutamine groups.

Still not convinced by these two studies?

I found a study done way back in 2001 published by Eur J Appl Physiol 86:142-149, 2001. I don't know why no one knew about this study until recently, but it would have probably changed some peoples minds about Glutamine a long time ago. The study had 31 volunteers weight train for 6 weeks. There was no differences between those who supplemented glutamine (.4 grams per lb of bodyweight) and those who took placebo (maltodextrin). So we now have 3 studies showing that glutamine has absolutely nothing to do with muscle gains.

Glutamine study during dieting

Some of you may be pointing out the fact, that glutamine has usually been only recommended for bodybuilders who are dieting, to preserve their muscle. Well, I found a study that proves that glutamine doesn't even help muscle preservation during dieting either! Another study in 2003 Published in the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2003) 2, 163-168 had 18 athletes for 12 days take glutamine at 0.16 g/ lb per bodyweight, while they were cutting. They saw absolutely no difference in muscle preservation between the groups.

The research overwhelmingly shows that glutamine is not good for bulking or cutting, despite almost every website and bodybuilder giving it a positive review for the last decade. I personally tried glutamine years ago during cutting and it never helped me maintain any extra muscle. I felt the science supporting glutamine was always weak anyways, bodybuilders were already on high protein diets, so taking extra glutamine isn't likely to help much no matter how hard you try to spin it.

HGH (Growth Hormone) Facts

It’s amazing how many bodybuilders and health enthusiasits are spending thousands of dollars a year to use HGH (also known as Growth hormone), when there is so little information on it's ability to build muscles and lose fat and on it's long term side effects.

HGH use became common in the hardcore bodybuilding circles, once it became established that many pro-bodybuilders used HGH together with anabolic steroids. Pro bodybuilders today are more muscular than decades ago, one reason is thought to be because of using HGH. But Pro bodybuilders may not even be more muscular because of HGH use. It could be because of other reasons, such as synthol use, stronger steroid doses, different diets or training, or even from other growth factor drugs like insulin and IGF-1.

Whether or not HGH has actually been the reason that pro-bodybuilders are bigger now, their HGH and IGF-1 use has led to them losing that V-shape proportion they once all had. It is a scientific fat that HGH grows internal organs. When bodybuilders at a 3% bodyfat have a GH gut, it has to be due to organ growth inside the midsection from either HGH or other injected growth factors, like IGF-1 or Insulin.

Does HGH actually build muscle and lose fat?

Most of the research studies on HGH, use doses lower than what most bodybuilders use. They also don't use HGH combined with steroids, which many bodybuilders believe is important to maximizing the muscle building effect of HGH. Regardless of the faults in the studies, there is an interesting trend among all the research studies so far. Results usually show lean gains, but usually with no strength or performance enhancing benefit.

How can you gain lean muscle with no strength gains?

The fact is you can't. More muscle always makes you stronger. Each pound of muscle has the same amount of strength. If these people in these studies are gaining lean mass, but not getting stronger, than they are not gaining lean muscle, but some other kind of lean mass. Period. Remember, lean mass can be anything besides fat such as; bones, water bloat, cartilidge, and organs. I believe in one study HGH use showed excessive water retention. In these short term studies, water bloat and some organ growth probably accounts for most if not all the lean gains.

For some reason in bodybuilding circles, many assume HGH builds muscles, but there is no proof, except from reading other bodybuilders' ancedotal evidence. As stated earlier, just because pro bodybuilders are bigger doesn't necessarily mean it's from HGH alone.
Adding the fact that HGH can cause internal organ growth, is unsafe, and very expensive, I see no need to ever use or recommend HGH. If HGH has any use for bodybuilders, HGH probably is best for losing fat. The studies are a little more contradicting on whether it helps people lose fat. Even if HGH helps lose fat, HGH is one expensive fat loss drug!

Does HGH cause "GH gut"?

HGH and IGF-1 and Insulin are thought to be possible causes of GH gut. Some bodybuilders have tried to argue, HGH doesn't cause GH gut seen in some pro-bodybuilders and its actually due to Insulin and IGF-1 or a combination of HGH and these drugs. This theory is based on some research for receptors on the intenstines.

Is using HGH unhealthy?

You may have heard of many health or alternative medicine enthusiasts recommend GH for middle aged people. There is no proof that HGH actually leads to a longer more quality life, just because it makes you look younger. In fact, many studies have shown negative health effects from HGH use. HGH has pretty potent side effects on organs and the body and it's abuse is probably more harmful than steroid abuse.

The ongoing HGH debate

Admittedly, there just isn't a whole lot we know about HGH. Bodybuilders are eager to make it into some magic muscle building drug because they are overly optimistic. Doctors are ready to discount HGH like they did with steroids years ago, before they had all the evidence on whether or not it worked. About the only thing we know for sure, is that pro-bodybuilders use it commonly and that many middle aged people use it to look younger.

How To Build Up Muscle Mass

I’ve compiled a list for newbies of all the basic of what every bodybuilder needs to do to build up muscle mass. Even if your not new to bodybuilding, you should look over the list because there may be things you didn’t know.

Eat more than one gram of protein per pound of lean mass

How much protein you eat, will depend on your total calorie intake and whether you are in a bulking or cutting phase. Your p should always be between 30-40% of your total calorie intake. During bulking, the calorie amount you require is what you need to build up muscle mass, without excessive fat. During a cutting phase, it's what you need to lose fat, without excessive loss of muscle mass.

Lift heavy

Lifting heavy for muscle growth, doesn't necessarily mean you have to lift at very heavy weights. The optimum rep range for muscle building, depends on your individual muscle fiber makeup for each muscle. This is because each muscle has various percentage of type 1 vs type 2 fibers, which makes some muscles respond differently to various rep ranges. Significant muscle growth can be stimulated around the 5-15 rep range.

Training to failure is not necessary for muscle building

Some workout routines advocate training each set to failure. There is no evidence in research or ancedotally from bodybuilders, that training to failure is superior. Training to failure may have a negative impact long term because it increases risk of injury and cortisol levels during workout. What's more important is a principle called progressive overload. Progressive overload is small increases long term in the weight you use, which stimulates the muscles to grow. This is why strength gains usually lead to long term muscle growth because it allows you to lift more weights, which in turn stimulates growth.

Avoid pain killers and alcohol

Alcohol and over the counter pain killers, like Asprin and Tylenol, have been shown in research to completely stop protein synthesis. Serious bodybuilders should not user either, unless you want to seriously hinder your muscle building efforts.

Get at least 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep

Slightly noisy surroundings during sleep, have shown in studies to increase cortisol levels during sleep. Higher cortisol levels will hurt your muscle gains. Waking up in the middle of the night or constantly changing your sleep schedule, will make it hard for your body to recover and grow.

Avoid overtraining

Most bodybuilders only require a 3 day split to grow adequately. How much volume you require for optimum muscle building, depends on your genetics, whether your bulking or cutting, and the intensity (weights) you are using. Unlike endurance training, more is not always better for muscle growth. If you always feel tired and have trouble sleeping at night, you may be overtraining and will need to lower your set volume.

Change your workout (periodization)

Research has indicated changing your workout routine, called periodization, helps in better long term muscle gains. Powerlifters have been doing it for decades. Periodization is where you change your workout signficantly every few weeks, called phases. It helps avoid muscle building plateaus. For example, you can not continually lift heavy weights at the 6-8 rep range 1 minute rests and not expect a plateau after a few weeks. The body gets used to the same routine and will eventually resist change. Using lighter weights at 12 reps and shorter rest times to 30 seconds, may be one way to switch from this routine. YOu can change your workout in rep speed, rep range, volume, rest time, split, excercises. Just make sure you change at least a couple parameters at the same time.

Take a break from lifting:

Taking a break from lifting once in a while, is important for long term gains. Studies show taking a break helps boost anabolic hormone levels in the body back to normal or higher. No matter what supplements or workouts you try, you can not expect to workout 3 times a week for months and continue to grow muscle week after week. Over time, you will deplete your energy and hormones and will need a break, to re-energize your body and hormone levels.

How to increase natural growth hormone (HGH) levels

HGH (human growth hormone) together with testosterone, plays a crucial muscle building role as a bodybuilder. It’s been a long debate in the bodybuilding and scientific community though, on how much growth hormone plays a direct role by itself in muscle building. I haven't found any convincing bodies of research that shows growth hormone levels are directly correlated with muscle building, but there are studies that may point to it as a direct fat burner. So unless some new research comes out, worrying about how you can increase your growth hormone levels naturally in the body, isn't likely to help build bigger muscles. However, it may help aid you in fat loss and bulking with more "clean gains".

Below are some tips I've compiled over the years based on my research.

Ways to increase your natural HGH (Growth hormone) levels

No carbs before bed. The biggest releases of growth hormone by your body are in the first couple hours of sleep. High insulin levels will blunt growth hormone production. It is recommended to not have any carbohydrates before bed.

High Reps. During weight training studies have shown that growth hormone is released. During major lactic acid buildup, like with high reps done fast to get a "burn", seem to cause the largest growth hormone spike. This has led to some bodybuilding programs promoting a high rep "burnout set" or superset, immediately after a workout set.

Supplements / Prescription drugs. There are many growth hormone supplement scams that it is hard to find the good ones. The amino acid Glutamine, commonly taken by bodybuilders for other reasons has been shown to increase growth hormone levels in blood by a large percentage. GABA (Gamma Amino Butyric Acid) another amino acid, also has been shown to do the same. Bodybuilders used to take GHB because it helped release growth hormone, it was made illegal a few years ago as a serious drug. GABA and GHB are both inconvertible in the brain and the difference between GHB and the FDA legal supplement GABA, is that GHB can pass directly through the blood brain barrier. Most people underdose GABA, as it requires a few grams to get the growth hormone promoting effect.

Excercise regularly. Regular excercise helps maintain a healthy hormone balance, including Growth Hormone.

Avoid stress. The fastest way to kill growth hormone levels is with high cortisol levels. Cortisol and growth hormone levels have an inverse relationship, when one goes up the other goes down. People who have stressful lives, tend to have long term higher levels of cortisol, which means lower growth hormone levels.

Get a good consistent quality sleep. Not getting adequate quality sleep or constantly changing your sleep schedule, will lead to higher cortisol levels long term and less Growth Hormone produced during sleep.