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  1. Machine exercises are a smart inclusion in your training plan. The few places I feel they are useful are post-injuries, for the total beginners, or towards the end of your workout when you are fatigued. The one major benefit of having more machine-based exercises in your routine is that it saves time. How is that? Usually, when you are doing machine-based exercises, the setup part of it is easier and takes lower effort than setting up exercises on an exclusive/majority free-weight routine. This is very beneficial if you are short on time or do not like waiting your turn a long time to do a particular exercise at the gym. © Getty Images So, what split can you follow if you decide to train exclusively via machines? An upper-lower machine split done twice a week would be great for your gains. Here's a sample plan that you can follow to do this split: Day 1 & Day 4: Lower Body 1. Hack Squat or Leg Press - 4 sets of 6 to 8 reps 2. Leg curls - 3 sets of 12 to 15 reps 3. Leg extensions - 3 sets of 12 to 15 reps 4. Standing machine or standing smith calf raises - 3 sets of 15 to 20 reps 5. Cable crunches - 3 sets of 15 to 20 reps 6. Lying leg raises - 3 sets of 15 to 20 reps 7. Planks - 3 sets of maximum hold (each side) Day 2 & Day 5 Upper Body 1. Seated rows - 3 sets of 6 to 8 reps 2. Decline machine press - 3 sets of 6 to 8 reps 3. Lat pulldowns - 3 sets of 8 to 12 reps 4. Incline machine press or machine overhead press - 3 sets of 8 to 12 reps 5. Tricep pushdowns - 3 sets of 12 to 15 reps 6. Cable bicep curls - 3 sets of 12 to 15 reps 7. Face pulls - 4 sets of 15 to 20 reps All these sets are to be done with 45 to 60 seconds rest between sets and 1-minute rest between exercises. If you are someone who would like to hit the gym more than 4 days a week, you can add one or two cardio sessions to your routine as well along with some abs and arms work as 'biceps are more important. © Getty Images So, go enjoy this machine split and be on your way to Gainsville. Author bio: Pratik Thakkar is the co-founder and director of GetSetGo Fitness, an online fitness company and the founder of Mars Nutrition, a nutrition supplement company. Both his companies are geared towards providing you with the right information and products without any false or fake claims. You can reach out to him at pratik@getsetgo.fitness and follow him on Instagram.
  2. While you are chasing the best diet and workout program to improve your performance in the gym and boost the results, the reason for your underperformance could be something else. via GIPHY We often neglect small things that also have great impact on our overall performance while looking for the bigger picture. I am talking about the quality of your sleep. via GIPHY If you believe that sleep does not have an impact on your performance at the gym, then let me show you in this article that how it may be the reason of your sluggish results in the gym: 1. It's A Booster For CNS Have you noticed that your head feels a little heavy if you don't sleep properly for a couple of days? Well, that's because your Central Nervous System hasn't received the rest it needs. An overworked CNS is not able to recruit as many motor units for muscle contractile strength as a rested one. via GIPHY This, in turn, leads to lesser contractile strength in your muscles. So this, in simple terms, means that you will not be able to perform at your maximum capacity in the gym. Thus, less sleep has a negative impact on your performance at the gym. 2. Release Of Growth Hormone The science of human growth hormone says that your body releases natural growth hormone when your body enters the Non-REP deep sleep (there are various stages of sleep according to sleep duration). via GIPHY Lack of sleep has an adverse effect on your pituitary glands and your natural growth hormone secretion declines. This reduction on natural growth hormone is then responsible for the loss of muscle tissue, increase in fat mass and reduction in exercise capacity of the body. 3. Testosterone Production Lack of sleep has an adverse effect on your natural production of testosterone levels too. People who are able to get proper sleep have better testosterone levels than those who do not get enough sleep. Of course, your age, diet and workout also play a crucial role in testosterone production, but sleep is also a big factor that has an impact on your natural T levels. A lower T-level would mean lesser muscle mass and which in turn will have an impact on your workout efficiency. 4. Muscle Recovery If you feel sore all the time, I would recommend you to check your sleeping cycle once. A little soreness will be there if you lifted heavy weights in the gym, but full body soreness for the whole day is uncommon and needs attention. It impacts your lifting abilities and you will see a steady decline in your PR's and 1RM's. via GIPHY Body rebuilds the broken muscle fibres only when you sleep. That's how your body grows. With those additional muscle fibres, you are able to lift more weight or the same weight feels lighter and you are able to pull more reps at the same weight. This will not happen if you do not give enough time to your body to build those additional muscle fibres. Therefore, sleep is very important for gains and performance in the gym.
  3. Injuries are an inevitable part of weight training. Every athlete faces the set back of an injury at some point in life. If you are a serious lifter, apply the following tips mentioned in this article. It will allow you to make constant gains throughout the year and prevent injuries. After all, prevention is better (much better) than cure. 1) Use Joint Supplements From Time To Time (If Possible Throughout The Year) We are obsessed with the size & strength of our muscles. But we often neglect our soft tissues' health (cartilages, tendons, and ligaments). The health of these tissues is of utmost importance if you want to maintain peak performance in the gym. Unfortunately, these tissues have limited nerve and blood supply, which makes them easier to get injured and harder to get recovered. They also adapt slower than muscles do. It is possible that following a bench press specific training program, your bench strength might increase 3 times, but the strength of your rotator cuffs (tendons in shoulders) remains the same. Therefore, I highly recommend using joint supplements from time to time. These supplements keep the inflammation of soft tissues under control and also increase their blood supply to boost recovery. Amateurs can use these supplements during a heavy training phase (3-4 months). For weightlifters, powerlifters or anyone who does intense training throughout the year, I suggest using them year round. Effective Joint Supplements . Curcumin . Boswellia . Hathjjod . Ashwagandha A combination of any two supplements from the above can be used year round. Since these are ayurvedic they also do not have any side effect. 2) Regulate Training And Life Stress Weight training is a stress for the body. Only when the body is supported with proper nutrition and recovery, training is able to yield positive results. But apart from training, we also have other sources of stress in our lives like- exams, financial ups & downs, emotional breakdowns, and girlfriends/wives. Excess of stress creates a host of unwanted things in the body- hormonal imbalance, poor sleep, body stiffness etc. Therefore regulating the stress of training and life is very crucial. If other stresses in your life are high, it is advisable to lower your training stress. Maybe train 3-4 days a week, with moderate volume, lifting lite-moderate weights. 3) Train To Failure With Caution 'Failure Training' is improperly executed by most individuals. Training to failure surely has certain benefits for Hypertrophy, discussing which is beyond the scope of this article. But it also spikes the fatigue in your joints and central nervous system. Training to failure with heavy loads, that too without being accountable for, can accumulate so much fatigue that it brings your body close to its breaking point! Be Cautious About The Following If You Train To Failure 1) Avoid going to failure on free compound lifts such as bench press, squats, rows, deadlifts. At least keep one rep in reserve. 2) Use machines like leg-press, chest-press or cables for lifting heavy weights while training to failure. 3) Failure training is best suited for lite weight and high rep isolation movements like side raise, leg extensions/curls, bicep curls etc. 4) The form is still important! Training to failure does not mean garbage looking reps. Your every rep till the last rep should be controlled and crisp. You may reduce the range of motion towards the end, or take assistance from your gym partner. But avoid those ugly reps performed using momentum and jerk. Those are not going to get you big & strong, but most probably injured. 5) Training To Failure Should Be Limited If you have performed 4 sets of leg press to failure. The next time you train legs (within a week), you need not perform leg extensions or any other quad exercise to failure. Keep at least 2 reps in reserve. Yash Sharma is a former state-level football player, now a fitness coach and nutritionist. He has helped many people with their health & performance goals. You can connect with him for fitness coaching on YashSharmaFitness@gmail.com. Also, check out his exercise videos on YouTube & Instagram. Yash Sharma is a former national level Football player, now a Strength Coach, Nutritionist and Natural Bodybuilder. He also runs a YouTube Channel Yash Sharma Fitness via which he aims to educate all the fitness enthusiasts to maximize their gains by methods that are backed by science and applicable easily. Connect with him on YouTube, YashSharmaFitness@gmail.com, Facebook and Instagram.
  4. Gaining muscles naturally is not easy. It takes a lot of diet and plenty of workout strategies to find out what exactly works the best for you. I am sure you would already be trying a lot of workout and diet strategies if you're serious about your gains. Now let's talk about the real deal for your gains, the supplements. There are so many varieties of various supplements to choose from, but not all of them are effective. But yes, one of the most effective and researched is whey protein, which should be your first priority when you go out to buy your supplement stack. Once you have your whey protein, you can try these two strategies that I am about to tell you, that will give you the gains that you have been looking for a long time. Read on: Tip 1: Mix Your Whey Protein With Casein And Other Proteins © Thinkstock Images Whey protein has the property of being rapidly absorbed and is therefore consumed post workout. Studies say that whey protein is absorbed as fast as 10g per hour and therefore gets completely absorbed in around two hours of consumption. On the other hand proteins like micellar casein and calcium caseinate gets absorbed gradually and slowly. Micellar casein can even take 8 hours to get completely absorbed. In the case of whey protein, there is a steep incline of amino acids in your blood supply once you consume it, however, that steep inclination comes down quickly as the whey protein is absorbed rapidly. What happens next? Your muscles are hungry for amino acids but there isn't sufficient amino acid in your blood as the whey protein has already been absorbed. This is where a blend of whey and other proteins can help you build better muscles. If you take whey along with casein, your blood will get an immediate boost of amino acids as well as a gradual supply for later on. With this strategy, you can satisfy your body's needs for amino acids throughout the day that will help you build more muscles. Thus, instead of buying two different flavors of whey protein , buy a tub of casein along with whey and take them in combination to see best results. Tip 2: Protein + Carbs For Better Recovery And Building Muscles © Pixabay This has been a subject of various studies that carbs, when taken with protein after your workout, helps your body to recover better and faster. Carbohydrates are the fuel that your body uses when you work out at high intensities, especially above 65 per cent of your maximum efforts. This is the reason that your body gets carb depleted when you weight train. A review published by the Texas Christian University concluded that consuming carbs after intense exercise, particularly in combination with protein promoted recovery to a greater extent. This combination of carbs and protein helps you in restoring the body's fuel source and provides the raw material for muscle protein synthesis and glycogen replenishment. Therefore you should add some clean carbs like oats with your protein to help your body replenish its glycogen stores and ignite the muscle building process. Anuj Tyagi is a Certified Personal Trainer, Certified Sports Nutritionist and Therapeutic Exercise Specialist From American Council on Exercise (ACE) . He is the Founder of the website where he provides online Training. Though a Chartered Accountant by education, he has been closely associated with Fitness Industry since 2006. His motto is to transform people Naturally and he believes that the secret formula for Fitness is Consistency and commitment towards your Training and Nutrition. You can connect with him through Facebook and Youtube.
  5. So you've recently completed a gaining period and you're headed for a beach bod in the next three months. The first thing that comes up in your mind is that you have to start doing your cardio to get ripped, right? Even today, majority of the population hitting the gym thinks that you need to do tons of cardio sessions to melt that layer of fat and get lean. What you don't understand is that too much of cardio can also lead to muscle loss. Yes, you read that right. If you put too much stress on aerobic training and prolonged cardio sessions are a regular for you, you may actually be killing all the gains that you made in past couple of weeks or months. Cardio Is Catabolic, Resistance Training Is Anabolic © YouTube Your body is in an anabolic state when it builds more muscle fiber than it breaks down. So when you do resistance training and provide your body a good nutritious diet, it becomes anabolic and you gain muscles. However, the opposite happens if you do not weight train and do not have nutritious diet. Your body becomes catabolic and eats up the muscle glycogen stores in the body making you look thin. You have to lift weights in order to build muscles. Cardio sessions alone can't help you with any muscle gain. What Is Cardio? © Pinterest Cardio is generally a term that is used for cardiovascular exercises in fitness Industry. This includes any and all the activities that elevate your heart rate and keep it elevated for a certain period of time which generally lasts for about 30 to 40 mins. Cardio could include any of the following activities, running, jogging, bicycle, elliptical trainer, zumba, aerobics, tabata, etc. Cardio exercises could be boring for majority of individuals as you have to do the same repeated movements daily again and again without much variation. Does Cardio Lead To Muscle Loss? Well, not in every case. What matters here is the diet that you are taking and the intensity with which you are doing your workout. If you fuel your body with enough carbs before and after your workout, you will probably not lose your muscles to those cardio sessions. This is because if your body has enough carbs and muscle glycogen available, it will not target muscle tissue for fuel source. However, if you are in a calorie deficit diet, and your cardio sessions make up for hours of prolonged sessions, there is quite high probability that you will suffer muscles loss. Because in this case, your muscle glycogens will be depleted and your body will turn catabolic as it needs fuel to support the energy required to perform the cardiovascular exercise. How To Prevent Muscle Loss © YouTube Yes, there is a way to prevent the muscle loss that may happen due to long cardio sessions. First, if the motive of your cardio session is to burn fat, then prefer a moderate intensity cardio over an HIIT. A moderate intensity cardio uses higher ratio of fat to glycogen than HIIT. When you do HIIT, your body uses more glycogen and carbs. Secondly, limit your cardio sessions for only a couple of days in a week. Too much of cardio is boring and undesirable. Even if you're doing it for fat loss, there are better ways to achieve a lean physique, which is mindful eating and weight training. Thirdly, if at all you do plan to do lots of cardio, make sure to feed your body with enough carbs so that your body does not turn catabolic. Anuj Tyagi is a Certified Personal Trainer, Certified Sports Nutritionist and Therapeutic Exercise Specialist From American Council on Exercise (ACE) . He is the Founder of the website where he provides online Training. Though a Chartered Accountant by education, he has been closely associated with Fitness Industry since 2006. His motto is to transform people Naturally and he believes that the secret formula for Fitness is Consistency and commitment towards your Training and Nutrition. You can connect with him through Facebook and Youtube.
  6. To look for ways to progress faster in life is human nature. So, it only makes perfect sense that people look for ways to progress faster when it comes to fitness. But the problem with trying to speed up things is that it more often than not leads to people starting to believe false claims propagated by self-proclaimed gurus. Some of these claims or “bro-science” is cleared up with evidence, but some of these have plagued the fitness industry for decades. While most of these myths are old-school, a lot of modern day myths have started surfacing as well. Here are some of them: 1) Isolation Exercises Are Useless © YouTube This myth has recently resurfaced with the increase in popularity of Crossfit that any exercise that is not a multi joint exercise is a waste of time. Yes, compound exercises give you more bang for your buck, but this does not make isolation exercises useless. Isolation exercises are a great way to compliment your training along with compound lifts. They are a great way to train smaller muscles like biceps, triceps, rear delts and calves, etc. Isolation exercises are also great for bringing lagging body parts which need some extra volume which won't be possible through compound lifts only which in turn helps with strength and muscle imbalances. So, any way you look at it, isolation exercises are a must and have an important place in your training routine. 2) Lift Heavy To Get Bigger © YouTube I am sure you must have come across the quote “Go hard or go home” many times over the internet and social media. This so-called “motivational” quote is one of the most stupid ones that I have ever come across which is also responsible for numerous injuries suffered by countless people in the gym. This trend has returned partly due to the increase in popularity of powerlifting among the masses. For an average gym goer though, the goal should be to lift optimum and not as heavy as he/she can. Training for building muscle is not exactly the same as training for getting stronger and make no mistake, training for building muscle (bodybuilding) does make you stronger, it's just that it is not your primary goal. Training for building muscle aka hypertrophy has more to do with muscle contraction than just lifting weights from point A to point B. Focus on progressive overload, that is, gradually increasing the load that you lift. Don't overdo it or your form will suffer making the whole exercise futile. Rep ranges 8-12 are considered to be the best for hypertrophy and although you can build muscle doing higher or lower number of reps, these ranges are the most efficient way to accumulate volume. 3) Going On A See-Food Diet Although no food should be considered good or bad and eating bland chicken breast and rice 6 times a day is the most stupid thing to do to gain muscle, but going on a rampage every time you come across anything edible is not wiser than the first option. Even today in the bodybuilding circles, the common practice is to eat as much food as you can without throwing up, get as much sleep as you can and not do anything physical out of the gym. This only results in big bubble guts, the size of which can put a heavily pregnant woman to shame. These are the people who end up looking for shortcuts when it comes to getting in shape, trying anything from fat burners to under the counter pills. When in reality, unless you are sticking needles in your backside to grow faster, you only need a surplus of around 300-500 calories in 90% of cases. You can only add so much muscle at a time, which means that you should eat only slightly over your maintenance calories. Also, keep your diet balanced, eat whole foods to complete your micronutrient needs and you can have the foods of your choice after. In short, keep your diet flexible. 4) Low Carb/Keto Diets This “trend” is relatively newer than the others and it doesn't seem to show any signs of slowing down or going away anytime soon. In fact, this trend has been so popular in recent times that some so-called fitness experts have made a career out of fooling people to eat this way. Now, the fact of the matter is that nutrition is science and not some internet Guru's opinion and scientific literature has time and again roved this no-carb keto nonsense to be just that—nonsense. Whether your goal is to lose fat/gain muscle, carbs are your best friend as the overload caloric load defines whether you lose or gain weight, not a certain macronutrient. Even if you are trying to increase your performance in the gym or at any sport, carbs are paramount as they are your body's primary and preferred source of fuel and will help you perform better than if you were skipping them. Nav Dhillon is an online coach with GetSetGo Fitness, an online fitness company that helps people with fitness goals right from losing weight to competing in bodybuilding shows. Nav is an avid bodybuilding enthusiast and heads the NABBA (National amateur bodybuilders association) as a General Secretary. This innate passion and position has helped him work with a lot of bodybuilders to help them take their physique at the next level. He also has a lovely pet called Buster whom he enjoys playing with in his free time. You can reach Nav on nav.dhillon@getsetgo.fitness to take your fitness and physique to the next level.
  7. What do all the fitness articles have in common? Well, they all talk about what to do in the gym and how to motivate you to get into gym. There's nothing wrong with those articles. However, there are definitely dark horses that can be silent killers to your gains which are outside your training arena. It's not just how many reps you do inside the gym but it is your total lifestyle that decides your final results. Following are a few factors that are often neglected by majority of the fitness experts. 1. Manage Your Alcohol Consumption Or Avoid It Totally If you're talking about natural way of training and gaining muscles, trust me you can't cheat away by consuming alcohol every weekend. Spending 5 to 6 days inside the gym training rigorously does not give you the liberty to have as much alcohol as you want in the weekends. This is only going to slow down your results. Regular consumption of alcohol has been associated with less protein synthesis and lesser testosterone levels. If you're serious about your goals, limit your alcohol intake to either once in a month or try to avoid it totally. 2. Manage Your DOMS And Soreness DOMS and soreness is inevitable after a heavy workout but this shouldn't become a regular thing. I find that some people are always so sore that it impacts their daily life too. Moreover, if you are already sore when you enter the gym, how are you going to perform at your peak capacity during your workouts? It"s better that you take care of this soreness once you are outside the gym. For this, you can follow a good morning stretching routine and go for a deep tissue massage once a week to help your muscles repair and recover better. © Pixabay 3. Pick An Outdoor Sport Or Simply Make It A Point To Be Active Every Day Any kind of sport activity can prove to be beneficial for your gains if you time it strategically. For example, if you have weight trained for six days in a row, you could take the seventh day off from the gym and play some kind of a sport that will help you in two different ways. First, your body will utilize fast twitch muscle fibers for a change which in turn will help you achieve better kinesthetic awareness. Secondly, it will also serve as a good fat burning cardio session which helps your body to function as a complete unit. 4. Manage Your Sleep As it is said 'muscles are not built inside the gym, but your body builds muscles only when you rest', the importance of sleep for muscle building cannot be overrated. Lack of sleep takes a toll on your muscle gains as you will not recover completely before you hit the same muscle group again. This will lead to overtraining and may also end up in an injury. Therefore, try to get at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep daily and preferably 9 if possible for complete recovery of your body and central nervous system. © YouTube 5. Discipline Outside The Gym Matters Way More Than You Think This is the major factor that has the majority of the impact on your muscle gains. Everybody likes to lift heavier weights inside the gym because you feel that pump inside your muscle. But what you do outside the gym makes the real difference. If your discipline is limited to those walls of the gym, trust me you're never going to achieve a great physique. Your discipline for your diet and the choices that you make for your body decides the results of your hard work in the gym. Anuj Tyagi is a Certified Personal Trainer, Certified Sports Nutritionist and Therapeutic Exercise Specialist From American Council on Exercise (ACE) . He is the Founder of the website where he provides online Training. Though a Chartered Accountant by education, he has been closely associated with Fitness Industry since 2006. His motto is to transform people Naturally and he believes that the secret formula for Fitness is Consistency and commitment towards your Training and Nutrition. You can connect with him through Facebook and Youtube.
  8. Whether it's about comfort, ease of movement, or showing off your toned legs (well, if you're going through the torture that a leg day entails, you deserve to show off), a pair of short shorts is the ultimate piece of garment you need. Whether you pair them with a T-shirt, or a shirt, or a blazer (for that sophisticated street style aesthetic), Summer is incomplete without a pair of fashionable short shorts. But, the tricky bit is that you need to pick the right pair, if you want to avoid looking awkward. Keeping that in mind, we have picked out 7 pairs for you that will make you ramp-ready before hitting the road: 1. Point Zero Tropical Print Reversible Shorts These panelled reversible shorts with a tropical print in blue are a must have for the times you want to relax - but in style. Price: INR 1,350/- © Ajio Buy it here 2. Zara Drawstring Denim Bermuda Shorts These ripped and frayed light denim shorts will give your outfit that extra edge, irrespective of whatever you choose to pair them with. Price: INR 790/- © Zara Buy it here 3. Koovs Raw Edge Skinny Shorts Skinny shorts in the truest sense of the term, these will definitely show your quads and hamstrings off, not to mention your glutes. Price: INR 795/- © Koovs Buy it here 4. H&M Patterned Sweatshirt Shorts When it comes to a pair of playful floral shorts, this is the ultimate pair you should invest in. Price: INR 449/- © H&M Buy it here 5. Mr Button City Trotter Shorts When you want to feel comfortable without losing out on that formal charm, go for this pair of super smart shorts. Price: INR 1,999/- © Mr Button Buy it here 6. Ed Hardy Regular Fit Jersey Shorts This coral pink drawstringed pair is super playful, and comfortable enough to be worn anywhere. Price: INR 1799/- © NNNOW Buy it here 7. ASOS Design Denim Shorts In Slim Washed Black With Abrasions Want to keep it extremely minimal, but make it 'fashion' as well? Just go for this pair. Price: INR 1084/- (approx.) © ASOS Buy it here