Thursday, 3 January 2013

is creatine good for beginners?

Beginners Guide To Creatine

Creatine is the most popular and probably one of the most effective supplements on the market. If you are a beginner and just starting out with weight training I am sure you have a ton of questions about creatine and how it works. Let's look at the most common questions when it comes to creatine supplementation.

What is creatine?
Our body naturally produces creatine, which is used to supply energy to our muscles. It is produced in the kidney, pancreas and liver and is transported to the body's muscles through our blood stream. Once it reaches the muscles, it is converted into phosphocreatine. Phosphocreatine increases the muscle energy source Adenosine TriPhosphate, or ATP.

Creatine is 100% natural and found in a number of foods that we eat with the richest natural sources being meat and fish. However, eating meat and fish alone to get the benefits of creatine would require a very large amount. That is why creatine supplementation is so beneficial, as you get more creatine per weight of material.

How does creatine help me?
By increasing the amount of energy we have available creatine allows you to train much harder. When we exercise our muscles energy source (ATP) can only provide enough energy for roughly 5-10 seconds. Creatine helps rapidly recreate and top up ATP during exercise. This means by having more energy you are able to train harder, leading to more muscle gains.

Does creatine make my muscles look bigger?
Yes, the first thing you will notice when taking creatine is your muscles will look fuller due to the movement of fluids from the blood stream into skeletal muscle, causing muscles to swell. This will account for the 1-2kg you will initially put on when taking creatine.

Does creatine make me stronger?
Not directly, but since creatine allows you to train with more intensity and also helps you recover faster you will be in a better position for your next workout to train harder. This indirectly leads to stronger and fresher performance in the gym.

How do you take creatine?
Creatine can be simply mixed with water, juice or protein shakes. It mainly comes in a white powder form that mixes easily with liquid. It is recommended that when you first take creatine you go on what is commonly referred to as a "loading phase". This basically means the first 5 to 7 days you saturate your muscles with creatine by taking between 20 to 30 grams each day. After the loading phase you will basically take 5-10 grams a day for maintenance.

Recent research is starting to suggest that you don't need to go through the loading phase and can just start taking a 5-10 grams of creatine for the same benefits. The choice is yours.

When is the best time to take creatine?
Before and after workouts. Have a 5 gram serving before your workout and a 5 gram serving straight after your workout. For best results mix your creatine with a pre and post workout shake consisting of protein and glucose. This not only increases muscle creatine uptake, it also ignites and provides the necessary building material for protein synthesis.

On non-weight training days simply take your servings with water in the morning or the evenings.

Are there any side effects associated with creatine?
Some individuals may experience muscle cramping, however this normally occurs when your intake of fluid is low when supplementing with creatine. Simple fix is to simply drink lots of water.

Is creatine safe?
There have been no studies to show any negative effects from taking creatine.

What are the different types of creatines that you can buy?
There are three different forms of creatine products on the market, they include:
Creatine Monohydrate - Is creatine in the simplest and cheapest form and has a lot of research to back up its legitimacy.
Creatine Transport - By mixing creatine monohydrate with fast absorbing carbohydrates such as pure glucose (dextrose) you can create an insulin spike which helps transport creatine to the muscles much faster and also increase the uptake of creatine into the muscles. However these creatine mixtures are quite expensive and come with significantly less servings than the regular creatine monohydrate.
As a cheap way around it, I recommend buying a 1kg bag of pure glucose for a few dollars and mixing that with your pure creatine monohydrate instead. Avoiding taking creatine transporters on non-weight training days as you will intake excess calories through the simple sugars contained in this mixture.
Creatine Ethyl Ester - Basically creatine monohydrate mixed with an ester (inorganic compound) attached, which claims higher absorption, no loading stage and lower dosage use due to higher absorption. I would stay away from this product as it has no studies on it to back its claims. In fact a recent research (read story) actually showed that creatine monohydrate outperformed creatine ethyl ester.
So, what should I look for when buying creatine?
Obviously you want to look for a good price but also look for 100% pure creatine monohydrate. Try not to buy creatine product just because it is cheap, you will most likely get an inferior product.


Thursday, 6 December 2012


Normally when articles about forearm training like this one start, there is some type of Popeye reference. Well, not in this one. We are going to get right into it.
The fact of the matter is that you can train bi's and tri's until your arms are on the verge of falling off. If you don't train forearms, your arm just isn't going to look assymmetric and complete as it would if you do. It is as simple as that.
You Can Train Bi's And Tri's Until Your Arms Fall Off, But Don't Neglect Your Forearms.
+ Click To Enlarge.
You Can Train Bi's And Tri's Until Your Arms
Fall Off, But Don't Neglect Your Forearms.

Why Do I Need to Worry About Forearms?
    Well, unless you walk around constantly in a tank top or long sleeves, the part of your arm that is exposed the most is below your elbow. It is just like when you wear shorts. More people are going to see your calves than yourquadriceps and hamstrings. Therefore, you train your calves hard. Doesn't it make sense that you should train your forearms just as hard as you would your bis and tris?
    More importantly, training your forearms will improve your grip strength. Your grip strength improving will lead to your strength going up in your upper body lifts. You won't have to use straps to help you with those bent-over rows,deadlifts, or shrugs.

    The first thing I recommend when it comes to forearms regards when you are training the rest of your body. Every set you do, whether you are using a barbell, dumbbells, or if you are holding onto handles of a machine, squeeze the handles with everything you have.
    The harder you squeeze the better. Doing that alone will help your forearms tremendously. You will be amazed how much your grip strength will go up in a few weeks just by concentrating on squeezing the handles or bar.
    Second, lose the straps. At least do not use them on every single set. Using the straps is great to help you with the super heavy weight. Using them on every set actually deprives you of strength gains.

    Let's say you are going to do barbell rows. Warm up and do your first two or three sets without them at all. Then if you feel you absolutely need them, use the straps on your heaviest set. Also work towards the goal of being able to lose the straps completely. Your forearms as well as your other muscle groups will be better off for it.

Forearm Routine
    Now if you read my article on getting bigger arms, then you saw that I wrote not to train forearms while using that routine for four to six weeks. Once you come off of that routine and go back to a regular program, add this forearm routine to it. I think you will be very satisfied with the results you are going to get.
In this new forearm routine we are going to cover three exercises.
    Dumbbell Hammer Curls
      I love hammer curls. I feel that hammer curls just pump up the entire arm from the wrist all the way up to the shoulder. Take a pair of dumbbells and stand straight up. Keep a slight bend in your knees. Hold the dumbbells down to your sides. Make sure your abs are tight and shoulders are relaxed. Keeping your thumbs up, curl the dumbbells up as far you can. Keep your shoulders as relaxed as possible. Squeeze at the top for a count of one.

      For a different feel, you can tilt the dumbbells a little (pinkies moving outwards.) Slowly let the dumbbells lower back down until you feel a good stretch and repeat.
      If you want to, you can alternate arms. Just make it a priority not to swing and cheat so you can get more weight. You won't truly build your forearms if you do this. You are going to do three sets of 15-20 repetitions with one minute rest in between each set.
    Reverse Grip Barbell Curls
      Reverse grip barbell curls are just like regular barbell curls, only instead of your palms facing up, they will face down to the floor. Be prepared. You will not be able to use as much weight as you do for regular barbell curls.
      You can also use an EZ-curl bar if you choose to. Stand straight with feet shoulder-width apart, slightly bent knees, abs tense and shoulders relaxed. Grab a barbell with an overhand grip (palms facing down) with your hands about 6-8 inches apart and let it hang.
      From the starting position, curl up while keeping your elbows snugly against your sides. For extra intensity, pull your knuckles back as you curl up so that the top of your forearms gets a good squeeze. Hold and flex for a second at the top, then slowly return to the starting position.

      You can also have a partner spot you through these by assisting your lifting when you reach failure, just make sure you are doing the majority of the work. Also for some extra intensity, have the spotter pull as you are lowering the bar and resist the spotter's pulling. You are going to do three sets of 15-20 repetitions with one minute rest in between each set.
    Palms-Down Wrist Curl On A Bench
      Palms-down wrist curls are awesome to finish off your forearms. Take a pair of dumbbells and kneel down to the side of a flat bench. Let your forearms lie across the bench with your hands hanging off the side. Hold the dumbbells with an overhand grip (palms facing down) towards the floor.
      Make sure you are squeezing the dumbbells as hard as you can. Slowly lift your hands up like you are trying to make the back of your hand touch your wrist. Once you pull your hands up as high as possible, squeeze for a count of one. Lower the weight slowly back to the starting position. Do not let your forearms come off the bench.

      You can also do this with a barbell if you want to, but I prefer to use the dumbbells as they make each forearm work a little harder on their own in my opinion. You are going to do three sets of 15-20 repetitions with one minute rest in between each set.

Bigger Forearm Routine
    To recap, here is an overview of the "Bigger Forearm Routine"

    You can do this routine twice a week if you choose. I recommend waiting at least three days in between doing the workouts. Although to be honest, once a week for about six to eight weeks should do the trick in helping you develop a pair of forearms you can be proud of.


What is the most neglected area of the body? Without a doubt, it has to be theneck. The neck acts as a shock absorber to prevent injury. It enables the athlete to literally use his head. Football players, wrestlersboxers and other athletes know the importance of a powerful neck. How come bodybuilders neglect this muscle?
I would rather have a neck like a gorilla or mastiff. Personally, I train my neck three times a week because I need more size between my shoulders and head. My wife say's I need more brains on top of my shoulders but if I'm to have more brains I need something to hold it all up don't I?
Ronnie Coleman's Neck DevelopmentLook through any bodybuilding magazine and take a look at the pictures of the competitive bodybuilders. There are some with superior neck development, which goes hand in hand with the rest of their body.
A good example of a solid neck development is Skip LacourRon Coleman, and Chris Cormier.
Then there are those who lack any resemblance of any kind of neck development. Doesn't it make you wonder how they can win bodybuilding titles with this very noticeable flaw? It does me. It is very noticeable in the esthetics of the body.
Fortunately, for those of us who don't want to be "pencil neck" bodybuilders, the neck responds quickly to hard work. So, what is the importance of a thick, strong neck for the bodybuilder, or, for that matter, the average fitness enthusiasts? First of all, as in case of the athlete, it is a safe guard against injury. You have heard of individuals who have survived serious accidents because of their strength and size.
Did you know that whiplash and other neck injuries happen by the thousands in otherwise minor mishaps? Many of these injuries probably would not have happened if the victim had some degree of neck strength and development. For those of us weight training there are many cases of pulled, strained, and stiff neck muscles because of a weakness in the neck.
There is another reason for neck building. Like we stated earlier, it improves a physiques appearance greatly. Even an advanced bodybuilder with 20-inch arms, and 50-inch chest looks unimpressive unless he has a neck to match the rest of his physique.
In spirit of this, I have talked to some trainers advising bodybuilders not to train the neck. Why? Well, because they suggest it will make the shoulders look wider if you do not train the neck. This makes about much sense as refraining from legwork so your upper body will look bigger. Duh! Yeah, if you want to look like a Florida Flamingo! A skinny, un-trained neck on a bodybuilder stands out like the proverbial sore thumb.

Neck Building Exercises
-> Wrestlers Bridge:
    wrestlers bridgeThe wrestlers bridge is the most effective way to build the back of your neck. This exercise eliminates the light bulb shaped look that many of us start with. To begin, first get used to the pressure on your neck. Lie on the floor with your head on a pad. Now bridge up on your head arching your back with the feet under your knees.
    Keep your hands off the floor. Stay in the bridge position for approximately one minute. If you are only able to stay up for only a few seconds that's OK, increase your time each week.

-> Lying Face Down Plate Neck Resistance:
    Another exercise that can be done for building the back of the neck is too lie on a bench flat on your stomach, hang your head over the bench, as if your looking at the floor, place a 25 pound plate on the base of your head and neck, holding the plate with your finger tips, and then move your head up and down for 10 - 15 reps. Take your time with this particular maneuver, it's a tuff one.
 Click Image To Enlarge
-> Chin Touches With Towel Resistance:
    The next exercise we want to hit works the sterno-mastoid muscles that give your neck width. You need a partner for this movement. Sit on an incline bench. Fold a towel and place the center across your forehead. Have your partner stand behind you holding the towel at both ends.
    Bring your head forward until your chin touches your chest and have your partner apply tension throughout the movement. Do three sets of 15-20 repetitions, and train your neck twice a week.
-> Lying Face Up Plate Neck Resistance:
    You can attack the Sterno-mastoids at yet another angle and that is to lie flat on your back on a bench, grab an Olympic plate, preferably a 45 and then place it on your forehead with a towel in-between you and the plate. By slowly moving the plate back and forth or up and down if you will, this movement mimics that above exercises done on an Incline bench.
    Bring your head forward until your chin touches your chest and then slowly move your head to the floor. Make sure you always apply continuous tension throughout the movement. Perform 2 sets of 10 preps. There are neck harnesses on the market. They are a little awkward to use but they are great apparatuses that can help in using heavier weights for the neck.
 Click Image To Enlarge.

The only equipment you need to build a powerful and sizable neck is a towel; incline bench, a pad or foam rubber, and some weights. Training the neck is very hard to do but the conclusions will pay dividends in your appearance and feeling of superiority. Neck training is a short program and will only add a few minutes to your daily or weekly routine.


The ultimate goal for many men is the V-Shape. The V-Shape is created with broad shoulders and a small waist. To get a small waist, you simply need to follow some of the great weight loss advice here at Fat Man Unleashed. However, what is often forgotten in the quest for the V-Shape is the wide back that connects the shoulders to the waist.

Latissimus Dorsi

The latissimus dorsi (Lats) is a large, fan-shaped muscle that starts out wide at the level of the shoulders and ends medially at the level of the pelvis. Your Lats are the biggest muscle of your back and your upper body. We often forget about Lats because they are difficult to see in the mirror. Out of sight, out of mind.
The Lats are often called “wings” because when they are very wide, they actually look like wings. However, they look more like bat’s wings and less like bird’s. Your Lats perform many actions, but their main function is to bring your arms closer to your body.

Weight Loss

Along with giving you a V-Shape, training your Lats will also help you lose weight. Building these large muscles will boost your metabolism and turn you into a 24-hours-a-day fat burning machine.

Larger, wider and stronger Lats can also help you:

Throw harder
Punch harder
Pull harder
Swim faster
Climb faster
They can also help improve your posture and make your waist appear thinner.

Growing Wings

The two main ingredients to bigger and stronger muscles are diet and exercise. They are equally as important. Exercise breaks the muscle down and diet build them back up. To build larger or stronger muscles, you must eat enough calories and enough quality protein.
A wider back is a larger back. To build large muscles you should do 3 sets of an exercise with rep goals of 10 -12. The best exercises for a wide back are:
Wide Grip Pull Ups
Wide Grip Lat Pull Downs
Wide Grip Bent Over Rows
Wide Grip Seated Rows

Along with diet and exercise, you will need to sleep 7- 9 hours every night and drink plenty of fluids. You cannot grow wings over night, so be patient. With perseverance you will get there.
So you want a big back, huh? No worries soldier, in this article you'll find a great routine to use on your way to build a back thick and big like a barnyard door! So read on because it's time to earn your wings.
You're On Your Way To Build A Back Thick And Big Like A Barnyard Door!
+ Click To Enlarge.
You're On Your Way To Build A Back
Thick And Big Like A Barnyard Door!

Earning Your Wings
Enter a big gym or fitness center any day of the week. Granted, you'll see scrawny guys doingbiceps curls with bad form until they're red in the face and their shoulders are out of whack. Next time you see them they'll be doing "bouncing" bench press with more weight on than they can handle, and during that workout, they'll probably throw in some more biceps curls just to make sure to keep them "guns growing". But tap them on their back, which they completely have neglected to train, and they'll be in a world of hurt.
Ok, I may be exaggerating, but I'm sure you know what I'm aiming at here. The back is such a huge part of the body the last thing you want to do is to neglect it. Instead you want to aim your focus on it and build a back that's thick and big like a barnyard door! You want your lats to look like they're about to burst out of your skin, and you want that shirt you bought just recently to feel even tighter a month from now. Or maybe it just won't fit anymore by then? It's time to go B-A-C-K and earn your wings!
RELATED VIDEO: Brandon Curry Unleashed, Season 2
Brandon Curry Unleashed, Season 2: Breaking Back!

Brandon lets the cat out of the bag on his diet and supplements, and not surprisingly his keys to success are increasing calories and carb cycling. Watch as he grinds through some nasty T-bar rows, wild cable rope variations, and heavy underhand cable pulldowns.
Watch More From This Series Here.

Your Mission
Your mission is simple; hit that back of yours hard and heavy and never look back (no pun intended)! Sure, it may sound easy but it actually takes a lot if you want to see results. This is a workout that works, but it's not a one-time deal. Use it for a handful of weeks and then find another back routine for a while before you go back to this one again.
You need to hit this one mercilessly and then get the proper amount of sleep, not to mention that you have to eat like a Cyclops, (I hear they eat loads!). But both you and I know that you can do this, so get focused, because your mission is about to begin!
Get Focused, Because Your Mission Is About To Begin!
+ Click To Enlarge.
Get Focused, Because Your Mission Is About To Begin!

The Workout
Pull-ups are the God of lats and that's final. You need to do them in order to bring those lats out and to get that muscular look that normal guys without the will-power or the discipline would die for. If you can't do one then I'm sorry but this workout is not for you. What you need to do is to train yourself at doing pull-ups and increase the amount of reps little by little.
Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
Click Here For A Video Demonstration Of Pullups.
What we're going to do here is 50 Pull-ups to start off this workout with. I can hear you swearing from here but take it easy; you don't have to do them all at once. No, we're going to do 10 reps at a time for 5 sets with minimal rest in between each set. So let's get cracking!
All done? Great! It's time to bring out the heavy artillery and with that I'm talking about the mighty Deadlift. While this is a great exercise for your lower back, it's also a mass building exercise that you, as a bodybuilder, just should not do without. It's important that you do 1-2 warm up sets here and that you use perfect form because this is an exercise that can literally make you or break you! So please be careful.
Barbell Deadlift
Barbell Deadlift
Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
Barbell Deadlift
Click Here For A Video Demonstration Of Barbell Deadlift.
We will be doing a pyramid set here that'll consist of 4 sets altogether. For the first set you'll be doing 10 reps, then 8, then 6 and then 4 reps, and you will increase the weight as you go. Rest approximately 2-3 minutes between each and every set. Use perfect form and don't hold back on the weight.
Are you ok? You sure look a little pale there. Well, we're going to get some more blood pumped into those muscles of yours right away with some Seated Cable Row. We going to be doing a pyramid set here too, just like we did with Deadlift. This means that you'll be doing 4 sets again, and this time the rep count will also be 10, 8, 6 and 4 reps. Increase the weight for each set. You know the drill.
Seated Cable Rows
Seated Cable Rows
Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
Seated Cable Rows
Click Here For A Video Demonstration Of Seated Cable Rows.
Two more exercises to go and then you're all done. Feels great doesn't it? Next up is Wide-Grip Pulldowns Behind The Neck and you'll be doing 3 sets with 8 reps per set. So be seated, grab the bar with a wide grip that you're comfortable with and slowly start pulling the bar straight down until it touches your neck. Then return the bar to the starting position in a slow fashion. Rinse and Repeat.
Wide-Grip Pulldown Behind The Neck
Wide-Grip Pulldown Behind The Neck
Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
Wide-Grip Pulldown Behind The Neck
Click Here For A Video Demonstration Of Wide-Grip Pulldown Behind The Neck.
All right, one more exercise to go. Seated One-Arm Cable Row is the name of the game here and you'll be doing 3 sets of 10 reps. Instead of a bar you need a handle here, and the exercise itself works just like Seated Cable Row only that you just use one arm at a time. So start with your right arm and pull the handle back until your arm is at a 90-degree angle, then return to starting position. After 10 reps change to your left arm and do 10 more reps, then rest.
Seated One-arm Cable Pulley Rows
Seated One-arm Cable Pulley Rows
Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
Seated One-arm Cable Pulley Rows
Click Here For A Video Demonstration Of Seated One-arm Cable Pulley Rows.

The Routine