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Tips to Avoid the Endless Cycle of Bulk and Cut

Tips to Avoid the Endless Cycle of Bulk and Cut

If you pursue the traditional route to bulking up, you end up dealing with an endless cycle. First, you consume all of the calories you need to support muscle growth, ultimately adding fat along the way. Then, you cut back on calories, ramp up the cardio, and try to burn the fat.

While this initially sounds effective, the cutting phase also causes a decrease in muscle mass. To combat the muscle loss, you start the cycle over. You spend all of your time going around and around, never really reaching a steady point that you can simply maintain.

If you want to end the cycle of bulking up and cutting down, then use these tips to help you bulk up the right way.

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Eat (and Drink) the Right Way

To add bulk, you need to make sure you are consuming an appropriate amount of calories. However, this doesn’t mean you can ignore the nutritional value of those calories. If the type of calories didn’t matter, you could fuel yourself on pints from the local pub, but that isn’t how it works.

Building mass requires a mixture of nutrients; this includes a healthy mix of protein, fat, and carbohydrates. Vitamins and minerals are also critical to the process. Additionally, you want to get all of these nutrients from high-quality sources.

Instead of focusing solely on the calories, pay attention to your overall nutrition. You should be getting your calories from a range of foods and beverages. You should be including lean meats, fresh produce, and healthy fats. Avoid excess sugars, especially added sugar, and foods that are overly processed. Most importantly, not all sources of protein are created equal.

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Some supplements may feature a large amount of protein, but from less popular source. These may be harder for your body to use as fuel, and could lead to wasted effort. Since there are a variety of weight gain supplements on the market, make sure to choose the best options available. Then, you meet your nutritional goals while bulking up without sacrificing on quality.

If you prefer to know precisely what is going into your foods and drinks, you can also try a homemade weight gainer to supplement your regular diet. A homemade solution gives you the highest level of control, as you can choose exactly what is and is not included.

Burn That Fuel

Now that you have the right fuel coming into your body, it is important that you burn it off. Regardless of the quality of your nutrition, if you don’t burn the calories, you will add fat along with the muscle.

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If you have just started your workout routine, you may see results very quickly. This is because you are challenging your body with your workout. As time passes, and you gain more mass, your body will become more efficient. Moves that initially brought you newly sculpted arms and shoulders won’t have the same impact. Not only that, but you will also not burn as many calories performing the move.

It is important to continuously challenge your body in new ways to keep your calorie burn high enough to keep fat stores at bay. This includes regularly adding heavier weights to your foundational moves and trying new ones that work your muscles in different ways. If it ever begins to feel easy, it is time to ramp it up.

As the amount of muscle on your frame increases, you will automatically burn more calories by simply existing. Some estimates suggest that you may naturally burn up to an additional 50 calories a day per extra pound of muscle. However, you must continue to work out to keep the muscle well developed.

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Stick With It

Persistence is truly the key to success. Even if you do not see results quickly, the results will come. Re-evaluate your diet to see if your nutrition is lacking while making sure you consume enough calories to support muscle growth. When in doubt, focus on high-quality lean proteins and a variety of vegetables first. This can help make sure you have the right building blocks in place to achieve the body of your dreams.

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Published on July 9, 2020

10 Easy At-Home Leg Toning Workouts for Women

10 Easy At-Home Leg Toning Workouts for Women

As you grow older, it becomes hard to balance and have stability in your joints if you’re not engaging in leg toning workouts. You start losing muscle mass, strength, and function over time. Furthermore, if you’re physically inactive, you’ll lose 3 to 5 percent of muscle mass each decade after age 30.

Thankfully, you can still score your strongest legs ever with the help of leg toning workouts. Strong legs help you support your body better and make you more attractive. Also, they are less susceptible to injuries.

The best part? You don’t need fancy and expensive gym equipment to fire up those leg muscles. You can do that right at home.

Ready to get strong? Here are the best at-home leg toning workout moves for women.

1. Bodyweight Squats

    The squat is often referred to as the king of all exercises. It’s an amazing way to tone your legs. Not only does it help you build lean muscle, but it also works your abs, butt, and hips. Also, if you’re suffering from back pain, it’s a great option as it doesn’t strain your back when done right. To do a squat:

    • Stand straight with your feet shoulder-width apart and toes slightly turned out.
    • Bend at the knees until your thighs are parallel to the floor.
    • Pause for a moment and push yourself back to your original position.
    • Repeat.

    For extra support, consider doing this near a wall. Aim for 3 sets of 15 reps twice or thrice a week.

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    2. Forward Lunges

      When it comes to strength training, lunges are one of the most popular choices. It strengthens your legs while improving mobility and stability. Lunges also sculpt your butt and abs. What’s more, it can also help improve your posture. In order to do forward lunges properly:

      • Stand tall holding a dumbbell in each hand with your feet hip-width apart.
      • Take a big step forward with your right leg and lower your body into a lunge until both knees are bent 90 degrees.
      • If possible, lightly touch the floor with your left knee.
      • Push off on your front foot to bring yourself to the starting position.
      • Repeat on the other side.

      Aim for 3 sets of 12-15 reps on each leg. You can also do it without dumbbells if you’re just getting started.

      3. Single-Leg Deadlift

        Single-leg deadlifts targets all the major muscles, such as hamstrings, glutes, and even your core. It develops strength, balance, and stability. Another advantage of doing single-leg deadlifts is that it improves mobility through the legs and hips. To do a single-leg deadlift:

        • Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
        • Hold a dumbbell in each hand with palms facing the front of your thighs.
        • Lean forward and shift your weight on the left leg with your right leg extended slightly behind you.
        • Lift your extended right leg until your body is parallel to the floor, arms hanging down.
        • Slowly return to the starting position.
        • Repeat and switch legs after doing all the reps.

        Do 3 sets of 15-20 reps with a 60 second break in between. If you’re new to this, you can also do it without weights.

        4. Jumping Jacks

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          Jumping jacks are an excellent leg toning workout move. They work your quadriceps, glutes, and hips. According to one study[1], they may also improve bone density. Additionally, this exercise also increases strength and agility. Here’s how you do jumping jacks:

          • Stand straight with your legs together and arms to your sides.
          • Jump into the air and spread your legs slightly beyond shoulder-width apart while your arms stretch over your head.
          • Jump back quickly, bringing yourself to the starting position.
          • Repeat.

          Start with 3 sets of 10 or more repetitions of jumping jacks.

          5. Single-Leg Calf Raise

          See the source image

            The single-leg calf raise strengthens both your lower legs and helps improve balance on one foot. This is important because it can improve sports performance and prevent injuries. Furthermore, it can also help prevent the onset of knee pain. Finally, it may also increase the size of your calves. To do a single-leg calf raise:

            • Stand upright with your feet hip-width apart and arms on your hips.
            • Bend your left knee and bring it hip-level.
            • Lift your right heel off the ground and balance on the ball of your foot.
            • Pause for a moment and lower your heel.
            • Repeat and then switch sides.

            Do 3 sets of 15-20 reps on each leg. Consider adding weight to make it more difficult.

            6. Side Lunges

              This leg toning workout move targets the sides of the glutes and quadricep muscles. It’s also a great exercise for tight hips and groin. Needless to say, it strengthens both your legs and boosts stability. To execute a side lunge the right way:

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              • Stand with your feet hip-width apart and hands clasped in front of your chest.
              • Take a big step out to the right and lower your right knee until it is bent 90 degrees while pushing your butt back.
              • Keep your left leg straight during the process.
              • Push back and return to the starting position.
              • Repeat.

              Shoot for 10-12 reps and switch sides. Aim for 3 sets on each leg.

              7. Plank Leg Lifts

                Plank leg lifts work your butt and upper legs. With this exercise, you’ll also be able to get the benefits of a regular plank, meaning it will tone your whole body. It trains your core, glutes, and shoulders. Even better? It also trims body fat and improves posture. To do a plank leg lift:

                • Begin in a low plank position with your body straight and weight on your forearms.
                • Tighten your abs and raise your right leg, pausing for a moment.
                • Lower your right leg and do the same with your left leg.
                • Repeat.

                Do 2-3 sets of 15 reps. Brace your abs and glutes during the process.

                8. Glute Bridge

                  The glute bridge makes one of the best leg toning workouts for beginners. It sculpts your legs and improves hip mobility. If done correctly, it also enhances core stability. This exercise is also safe for people with chronic back pain. To do a glute bridge:

                  • Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Place your arms at your sides.
                  • Squeeze your abs and glutes.
                  • Raise your hips off the floor until your shoulder, hips, and knees are in a straight line.
                  • Pause for a few seconds and return to the starting position.
                  • Repeat.

                  Shoot for 2 sets of 10-12 reps. Do this 2-3 times a week. You can also wrap a resistance band around your thighs to challenge your endurance.

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                  9. Step-Ups

                    If you’re looking to strengthen your thighs, step-ups are an excellent choice. It targets the quadricep muscle that helps protect the knee. What’s more, it also improves balance and stability. You can do step-ups anywhere. All you have to do is find a bench, chair or any raised platform. To do a step-up properly:

                    • Begin standing facing a step.
                    • Place your right foot on the step and left foot on the floor.
                    • Press through your right heel and bring the left foot up until your left knee forms a 90-degree angle.
                    • Hold this position for a moment and then return to the starting position.
                    • Repeat and switch legs.

                    Aim for 3 sets of 12-15 reps on each side. To make it harder, hold dumbbells in your hands.

                    10. Dumbbell Good Morning

                    How to Do Good Mornings With Perfect Form | Muscle & Fitness

                      Dumbbell good mornings mainly target the hamstrings, but they also improve hip and back strength. You’ll also be able to develop stronger glutes with this exercise. Overall, it’s a great exercise for toning your legs. To perform this exercise:

                      1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent while holding a dumbbell in each hand at shoulder level.
                      2. Hinge forward at your hips, and lower your torso until it is parallel to the floor.
                      3. Hold this position for 4-5 seconds and return to your original position.
                      4. Repeat.

                      Aim for 3 sets of 12-15 reps.

                      Final Thoughts

                      There are so many benefits of having well-toned legs. Stronger legs not only look good, but they also give you greater independence as you age. Therefore, it’s important to take good care of them.

                      In addition to exercise, you should also consider exfoliation and moisturization to keep your legs smooth, healthy, and firm. Always remember that strong legs are important if you want to live a healthy and active life. So, start working those leg muscles today, and you’ll thank yourself later.

                      More Tips on Strengthening Your Legs

                      Featured photo credit: Sergio Pedemonte via unsplash.com

                      Reference

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