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The First Rule of Muscle Gain

If there’s one thing learned in the gym, it’s that there are many basic rules you should abide by. If you want to make gains, you’d better learn them fast.

Another thing is that there are no shortcuts – you have to put in the work. It’s not just hard work. It must be smart work – working hard around the fundamental principles.

This is especially valid for a tough process like muscle gain, but with a little dedication and knowledge, you can turn your body into a lean, mean muscle-building machine.

In this article, we’ll talk about the fundamental principle of muscle growth that you simply can’t “hack” your way around.

Why Do Muscles Grow?

Ever wonder why your muscles seem to grow after a streak of particularly grueling workouts?

It’s not just “toning” because first, toning is a myth, and second, muscles actually undergo physical changes in response to new, previously unknown stress. When you subject your muscles to a novel form of stress, they respond by growing larger and stronger. This increased size and strength allows them to better withstand stress in the future.

Essentially, muscle growth is just your body saying, “alright, let’s see what else you got.” But the term “previously unknown stress” is quite generic, so let’s narrow this down a bit to a more specific definition.

Rule Number One

Most people who are new to weightlifting often ask, “How do I gain muscle?”

The answer is actually quite simple: progressive overload. Progressive overload is the gradual increase of stress placed on the body during exercise.

“Oh, so I just have to lift heavier?”

Well, yes, and no.

Progressive overload is not just about lifting heavier weights – it’s about challenging your muscles in new ways. By constantly challenging your muscles with new stimuli, you will force them to adapt and grow.

Now, without further ado, let’s have a look at the 4 tried and tested ways to realize the principle of progressive overload.

Increase Weight

There is no shortage of advice on how to progressively overload your training. But what is the most effective way to do it? Well, the most common method is to increase the training weights.

Besides bulk muscle growth, increasing the weights used will also stimulate strength gains, which compounds benefit in time. You shouldn’t go too quickly about it.

Here’s a sample progression you can use in your workouts:

  • Step 1 – Start off with a challenging weight and do 5 sets of 5 reps
  • Step 2 – With every workout, go up a couple of reps
  • Step 3 – When you reach 5×8 with this weight, increase by up to 5 kg and do the same
  • Step 4 – Rinse and Repeat

Increase Reps

In the simple progression we showed above, increasing weight is accompanied by increased reps. This is, in fact, the second most common way to progressively overload, and it may just be less strenuous and have a slightly lower risk of injuries.

Realizing it is quite simple – monitor your sets and add a couple of reps here and there.

Increase Sets

Besides increasing the reps done, and the weight used, you can also opt for an increase in the total number of sets completed.

You’ve done 5×8 for some time and can’t quite feel it?

Add another set of 8!

This is the third most common way to progressively overload, and combined with the second one (increasing reps), it’s a fantastic way to increase the total work you’ve done during a workout.

Decrease Rest

The most uncommon way of realizing progressive overload is by decreasing rest times between sets. You make the body do the same amount of work, but in less time.

This is a form of progressive overload that is often overlooked. By decreasing rest times, you force the body to work harder and adapt to the new demands placed on it. This can lead to increased muscle size, as well as improved strength and endurance.

So if you’re looking for a way to take your training to the next level, try decreasing your rest times and see how your body responds.

It might surprise you when you see the results.

Final Thoughts

So, what is the first rule of muscle gaining? It’s not just about increasing the weights used.

You must challenge the muscles in new ways. But remember that you also have to eat enough protein and get a good sleep.

By following this simple (but effective) advice, you can start getting results in no time at all! And as always, if you need an extra helping hand, don’t hesitate to reach out to us!

8 Small Steps to Improve Your Health

8 Small Steps to Improve Your Health

8 Small Steps to Improve Your Health

In a few weeks, we will start another month and moving farther away from our beginning of the year goals. To that extent, this might be a great time to reflect on those goals and evaluate our progress.

It is difficult to see the year quickly passing, but it is rewarding to see how our goals have been put into practice and achievements are being made weekly.

One of those common goals to evaluate from month-to-month is the status of our health. Many people will make a health goal (some call it a resolution) at the beginning of the year. Those goals might be to stop eating poorly, gain better nutrition, stop smoking, walk more, or finally make use of that gym membership.

While setting high-achieving goals is common, setting smaller goals will help you on your way to achieving all your goals. This concept applies to your health goals as well.

Take a moment and reflect on the goals you set at the beginning of this year, or even at the end of last year, and see how you are achieving those goals.

Dr. James Hill, Director of the Center for Human Nutrition at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center is noted as saying, “Small steps are achievable and are easier to fit into your daily routine. They are less overwhelming than a big, sudden change.”

Thinking of Dr. Hill’s words, allow us to offer 10 small steps you can take today to improve your health.

#1 – Watch your weight.

Most of us have a bathroom scale around the house. It might have found its way to an obscure corner of the room, but we know where it is located. Take an evaluation of your weight regularly.

8 Small Steps to Improve Your Health

#2 – Just a few more steps a day.

Start taking a few more steps in your daily routine. Simple things like walking a few more steps at work, in your home, in the store and everywhere can quickly add up over time. Make it a point to park a little further from the store, if you are able, and get those extra steps. You might use a pedometer to keep track of your steps. Set a goal of 8,000 to 10,000 steps a day and see if you can achieve that for one week.

#3 – Eat an excellent breakfast.

People tend to skip what we have called the most important meal of the day. Having a good, nutritious breakfast will kick start your body into action. In the days of a “grab-and-go” breakfast, many are not finding the nutrition they need to maintain a good day. Some people find success in eating a whole grain cereal topped off with fruit in low-fat or fat-free milk. It is quick and simple, while giving you a prepare start. Remember, everyone is different, but I would avoid loading your body up with sugar filled treats to start your day.

#4 – Drink water.

Your body needs hydrated and hydrated well. Just because a drink has water in it does not mean you are getting the proper hydration. Many people think that any liquid hydrates and it does not. You need to drink water daily. Many will say that you need to drink half your body weight in ounces of water. Example: if you weigh 200lbs, you should drink 100 ounces of water a day.

#5 – A salad a day.

Eating one salad a day will make a difference if you try it. While you are trying to work on your health, but some excellent food into your system. This will add motivation to your actions, you will notice a change in your lifestyle. Remember when you have a salad, not to load it up with dressing. Dressing will add calories, fat and sugar to your system. In the past, we considered it healthy to eat at least five cups of fruits and vegetables a day. Having one salad a day will help you meet that goal.

#6 – Downsize your servings.

Instead of grabbing the entire bag of chips, pour the chips into a bowl. A simple change to downsize your serving sizes will make a difference to the amount of food you put into your system. Try changing the size of your plate and see if it changes the size of your portion.

#7 – Try some yogurt.

Some in the health world feel that adding two to three servings of low-fat or fat-free yogurt to your diet will help you lose weight and even boost your immune system. This dose of daily calcium will be good for your bones as well.

Is Organic Worth It?

#8 – Track your food intake.

One of the best things you can do for your health is to track what you are putting into your system. It might be the case that you are eating more food than you realize, or you might find your food intake balance is tilted one way. Sometimes, stress eating is something we never track or consider. Try to track your food and see how it helps.

You can begin today and change your health future.

It will take action. It will take work. It will take motivation. It will take time.

You can start today and begin following a few of these steps and watch your health improve.

To your success,


Healthy Eating at a Restaurant: Is it Possible?

Healthy Eating at a Restaurant: Is it Possible?

If you and your family love to eat at restaurants, you may think this lifestyle is not good for a healthy diet. Most times, you would be correct. However, you can still enjoy restaurants occasionally and maintain your healthy diet.

It’s all about making good food choices, which starts with learning about the nutrition you need to stay happy, physically healthy, mentally stable, and active. 

One of the easiest things to do is skip the appetizer menu unless it’s to order a side salad.

The appetizers at restaurants are usually high-fat, high-processed foods that are not meant to fill you up and can make you crave even more high-fat foods. Some examples are mozzarella sticks, potato skins, and wings. Remember to  focus on your main course or, if you must indulge, share a single serving with the entire table of people. 

When choosing your main dish, it is important to look at the ingredients.

You might want to avoid anything with cream sauces or high-fat meats. Pass up the potatoes or onion rings. Instead, choose side dishes like vegetables or ask for the main course only, when possible.

Remember, portion size can be everything.

Order off the lunch menu whenever you can and ask for a doggie bag right away. Split your meal in half from the start so that you are not tempted to eat the entire thing which is usually enough for two or three portions. Some people even ask if they may order off the children’s menu to have a smaller portion. 

At the end of your meal, skip the dessert menu, just like you did with the appetizers.

Again, you can share a single dessert with the entire table if you feel compelled to order something or split your portion in half. 

Remember this, “Many fancy desserts at restaurants have more calories than your entire meal.”

Keep this in mind before you flag down the waitress to put in an order! On special occasions, it’s alright to cheat a little, but overall healthy eating requires lots of resisting temptation around you.

With these small things in mind, you have the ability to make some small changed for a better life.

Check back for more!

Low-Carb Cauliflower “Rice”

Low-Carb Cauliflower “Rice”





Prep Time:



Cook Time:



Total Time:





  • 20-22 oz. cauliflower
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • 2 oz. butter


  1. Blend cauliflower and set aside
  2. In a skillet melt butter, add cauliflower and cook for 8-10 minutes
  3. Add turmeric and salt while cooking
  4. When ready remove and serve
Just Say No: Healthy Eating and Peer Pressure

Just Say No: Healthy Eating and Peer Pressure

If you are on a diet or simply enjoying a healthy lifestyle, then you probably know that peer pressure to eat foods that are not good for you is a major part of your life.


Peer pressure never disappears. When we were younger, our parents warned of a peer pressure. There was a point where we thought peer pressure might disappear, but now we know it is not the case.

Peer pressure even finds its way into our lives and affect our health and wellness. One of those ways is healthy eating.

If you are worried about the food that goes into your mouth, don’t worry—there are ways to overcome peer pressure. It simply takes a little know-how to get people off your back!

There are several areas you need to be aware of to assist you in your desire to live a healthier life and make healthy eating a part of that lifestyle.

Parties are a major source of peer pressure where you may find yourself eating one processed off food after another. Many parties are not a sit-down meal, but a variety of appetizers and desserts. This scenario can provide many temptations to make unhealthy choices.

Another time when you may feel pressured to eat is at work when the boss orders lunch for everyone at a meeting or when you must visit a client. Instead of giving in to temptation, simply politely decline the food by letting your boss know in advance.

Most people will understand when you explain that you are on a journey to begin a healthier lifestyle and that includes eating better.  A simple discussion can make a difference and who knows, you might have an influence on the food choices for the better

Another idea when the boss order lunch or you meet with a client is to order a healthy meal and split the portion in half so you have a meal for tomorrow’s lunch as well.

Other friendly events like baby showers, weddings, birthday parties, and other special events can also wreak havoc on your diet, even if you are good at resisting temptation on your own.

When someone hands you a piece of cake and won’t take no for an answer, it can be difficult to know what to say. A polite decline and a small explanation usually provide the best way to communicate your choice for healthy eating. Most people I have encountered understand and it does not create a problem.

Remember, however, while refusing bad foods is fine, you should be eating good foods. If you do not, dangerous eating habits and disorders can develop, which will give you, your friends, and your doctor a real reason to worry.

It’s ok to say no to peer pressure, but don’t say no to food in general!

It is important to understand when you decline food that others may not understand, and it does not hurt to let them know why you are declining the invitation.

In your choice to live healthier, you may influence them to begin a healthier lifestyle as well.

Check back for more later.



Is Organic Worth It?

Is Organic Worth It?

When you head to the grocery store, shopping for products like eggs, meat, fish, milk, and produce can be very tricky. You will see signs posted everywhere labeling food as natural, organic, and several other things—but what’s the difference? Learning what specific names mean can help you decide if you should spend extra money on a product if it is a marketing ploy. 

Natural is a term associated with several fruit and vegetable products. Think about the previous sentence for a moment. Typically, this is a marketing ploy to convince you to buy the product. All fruits and vegetables are natural, right? Unless it’s a new food that has been developed and processed, the product is natural. What you probably want is organic. Organic foods are grown without chemical pesticides and fertilizers. 

There are two main benefits to organic foods:

First, you are helping the environment because those chemicals are not being introduced into nature.

Second, you are avoiding ingesting chemicals and are therefore healthy more healthy foods. 

However, organic products are usually more expensive. 

Many people who are on a tight budget, will skip organic fruits and vegetables that can be peeled, like oranges and bananas. Once the peel they discard the peel, the chemicals are also discarded. (There has been an ongoing debate whether the chemicals soak through the peel and get into the fruit. This will continually be a subject that will be researched.)

Instead, opt for organic items like apples, where you eat the peel. No matter what you buy, however, make sure you rinse off the food when you get home. 

Another tricky label you will see is “no hormones.” The label “no hormones” is usually regarding milk or meat products and is false, since all animals naturally produce hormones. Hormones help an animal (even a human) regulate body organs, have young, and otherwise function. All meat products have hormones; natural hormones.

The label “no hormones” really means that no hormones were unnaturally given to the animal, which is sometimes done to increase milk production. Regardless of hormones, however, the milk and meat is safe for a person and not a violation of an animal’s rights. 

Lastly, a label on eggs and meat can show if the animal was caged or penned. This does not make a difference in the quality or nutritional value of the egg, but is a matter of animal rights. These products may be more expensive, but if you want to make human decisions, that is the way to go.

Reading the label and making healthy choices can sometimes be difficult but learning how to do so can help you make the best choices for you diet.

Check back later for more.