The steady-growth state necessary for incremental gains in lean muscle and a fitter and stronger physique requires more than simply the willingness to pound down copious amounts of protein, routinely train at high intensities to gain muscle and program the mind with positive thoughts. Crucial though these elements are and always will be,
there is one fundamental factor of importance to performing well, gain muscle and keeping the body in a continuous state of muscular growth
that’s not only arguably more important than all the others, but is often overlooked by those who would likely benefit most from it (namely, fitness and bodybuilding populations): health and wellbeing.
Not simply the absence of disease and physical and mental weakness, health can more broadly be classified as a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing. By prioritizing health, everything we do in life becomes that much easier to navigate. We have more energy to tackle daily tasks, are less susceptible to common illnesses such as colds, flu, headaches and various allergies and are more mentally alert, motivated and committed to goal achievement.
It stands to reason, then, that our Health First for Impressive Gains also remains a crucial factor in achieving fitness success.
Indeed, building muscle and optimizing performance in the gym are more readily achieved from a base of excellent health.
We may experience the following when we are physically or mentally compromised (one usually accompanies the other): decreased strength; poor physical output and general performance; reduced recovery; suppressed appetite; less tissue growth. Whether we are looking to gain muscle, get fitter and stronger, have more energy or improve our functional abilities, any or all of the above can make the task a great deal more difficult.
Whether dealing with a suppressed immune system, nutritional imbalance, overwhelming chronic stress levels, symptoms of overtraining or a myriad of other common ailments, the body is forced to rally the bulk of its resources to simply address the problem itself (leaving little room for recovery, growth and energy production) or we may simply feel down in the dumps and not be at our best physically and mentally.
Ill health might affect us in more subtle ways,
impacting recovery, performance and growth from behind the scenes – for example, the chronic inflammation which so often impedes recovery and muscle growth and which may precede a number of different disease states.
Either way, training and fitness results will invariably suffer regardless of how an illness (or any other kind of affliction, infection or ailment) may manifest itself. So, before focusing your attention on psyching yourself up for that next workout and planning your next mass-building diet, make sure you are also working to optimize your state of health – the one factor which for better or worse, influences everything else.
Below are five important ways to bolster health, gain muscle that’ll in the long run allow you to devote more time and energy to addressing the more glamorous aspects of fitness – namely: building muscle, burning fat and improving athletic performance.
All areas of Health First for Impressive Gains can be vastly improved by simply sleeping soundly.
Especially beneficial to those wanting to improve physical fitness, a solid night’s sleep
(eight or more consecutive hours) makes us more alert, reduces stress (and muscle-depleting cortisol), lowers blood pressure, regulates hormones that affect appetite and fat loss (leading to healthier eating habits and steady weight loss), improves mood and motivation (to give us more workout energy and enthusiasm to achieve our training targets), and, critically for bodybuilders, boosts both testosterone and growth hormone (GH) to enhance muscular growth.16, 25
By maintaining a good sleep schedule and consistently getting enough ZZZs,
the body is placed in an anabolic state in which the growth of every bodily tissue is optimized. Unfortunately, sleep is the one health factor people tend to compromise most to gain muscle. Whether we naturally find it difficult to drop off and stay asleep or choose to neglect this crucial part of a balanced fitness lifestyle, the fact remains: health plummets in the absence of sufficient quality shut-eye.
Besides maintaining an effective sleep schedule (by going to bed and waking at the same time each sleep cycle, avoiding stress and high calorie/caffeinated foods and beverages later in the evening and sleeping in a cool, dark room, among many other factors) the best way to sleep soundly on a regular basis is to supplement with LIGHTS OUT SLEEP.
Ultra fast-acting, LIGHTS OUT SLEEP is the newest and most effective sleep remedy on today’s market. Containing clinical doses of B6, Valerian Root, L-Theanine, GABA, Chamomile, Passion Flower, Melatonin and 5-HTP, LIGHTS OUT SLEEP improves health and wellbeing via its many sleep-enhancing benefits.21, 23 By optimizing testosterone and growth production while decreasing cortisol while we sleep, it’s also perfect for those seeking ongoing lean muscle gains.
Both gratitude and optimism are proven ways in which to enhance health, wellbeing and happiness. It’s been determined that by practicing gratitude (thankfulness, appreciation and a willingness to respond in kind) a person is more likely to be less stressed and depressed while enjoying higher self-esteem and enhanced coping skills.8, 13 Gratitude can also reduce toxic emotions – from resentment, bitterness and regret to envy and frustration. Closely related to gratitude, optimism plays a major role in the prevention of chronic diseases and immune dysfunction and is another factor that is guaranteed to significantly increase one’s quality of life.10, 14, 15, 19
By having an optimistic (or inherently positive) outlook on life we literally program the body to be more resilient to illness and disease. By
“seeing the glass as half full”- we can drive out the negative
ruminative thinking which so often leads to chronic stress and, as a result, we may offset stress-related diseases such as high blood pressure, heart disease and depression – to name but three.3
In short, being more grateful and optimistic means we are likelier to be happier and more content – states which may, in and of themselves, lead to a healthier life. While the ever-ebullient among us appear to be born happy, most people feel down from time to time. Then there are the perennial pessimists who, by all appearances, tend to exist in a chronic state of despair and despondency.
Wherever we fall on the happiness scale,
most of us could probably use a little more positivity in our lives.
In addition to learning and applying a range of tools which teach positive-thinking skills (many of which can be found online), the most effective way to change our thinking for the better is to alter, or re-wire, our brain chemistry. The most effective way to do this is to maintain a balanced diet, complete with key supplements (see below).
Another, more specific, way to permanently improve brain functioning – in particular cognition, mood, motivation, memory and creativity (all essential to enhancing one’s mindset) – is to supplement with nootropics (also known as smart drugs or cognitive enhancers). The best nootropics are all-natural substances which serve an exclusively positive function, the best of which can be found in a cutting-edge product called IMPACT PUMP.
Specifically geared for serious gym trainees, IMPACT PUMP (the non-stimulant version) nevertheless can be used by most active people to supercharge, without over-stimulating, brain functioning. The result: enhanced mental clarity and improved mood and psychological wellbeing. Among its wide range of energizing ingredients, IMPACT PUMP features two of today’s more potent nootropics: Alpha-GPC (Alpha-Glycerophosphocholine) and Lion’s Mane Mushroom, which, when combined, may improve mood, alleviate depression, lead to the growth of new neurons (brain cells) and enhance mental wellbeing and cognition.
Nothing replaces a well-balanced diet for ensuring the tissues and organs of the body may function effectively to help gain muscle. This especially holds true for those who routinely subject their bodies to stress. Whether through work or in the gym, the greater the imposed stress, the more tissue damage incurred and the more attention we must place on optimum nutrition to rectify the balance.
Without a properly-apportioned intake of a wide-variety of foods from each of the five main foods groups
carbohydrates, proteins, fats and sugars, dairy products and fruits and vegetables
the body becomes more susceptible to disease, illness, fatigue, poor performance, cellular degradation (of the harmful kind), and infection.20 While getting the right foods in the correct combinations remains the best foundation for good health, it’s becoming more and more difficult to achieve an optimal nutritional balance on whole foods alone.
Whether due to nutrient depletion (in soil or via storage/cooking methods) or the addition of harmful pesticides and other chemicals, access to wholesome foods, among other barriers to nutrient intake, rounding out one’s nutrient intake often requires supplemental assistance.
Which leads to another problem: the difficult task of combining a range of different products to achieve the correct dosage of each micronutrient needed for good health and cellular repair. This is where an all-in-one product like VITASTACK shines. Designed on the premise that even the smallest nutritional deficiency can impact performance and recovery, each nine-pill serving of VITASTACK is ultra-potent and loaded with every essential nutrient of importance to ensuring that gym progress, and the many aspects of health which serve as its very foundation, remains consistent.
Of all the components necessary for good health and vitality, the liver could be the most important. Essential to nutrient assimilation, detoxification, the construction of proteins and the metabolism of carbohydrates and fats, the health of the liver dictates to a large degree the health of our entire cellular network.1
One of the most important steps we can take to ensure good health is to take measures against liver toxicity. The best way to do this is to cleanse the liver on a regular basis. The 21-day liver detoxification system, LIVER D-TOX, offers all-in-one liver protection. With its potent combination of clinically-proven herbal extracts and key antioxidants, LIVER D-TOX can be used to restore liver function and to ensure ongoing protection against a wide range of environmental factors known to dramatically impair liver functioning (for example, alcohol, pollution and over-the-counter/prescription drugs)
As the first line of defense against infectious disease-causing microorganisms and other invaders, the body’s immune system plays a major role in keeping us healthy and functioning at our best. Among the common signs of a poor immune response are a susceptibility to colds and flu, the slow or improper healing of minor injuries (cuts and scrapes), a drop off in physical strength, frequent infections (in particular, skin, ear or sinus), inflammation of internal organs and delayed growth and development.9
Increasing immunity by following the advice given in this article along with avoiding known immune suppressants such as alcohol, cigarettes and other damaging drugs, minimizing stress and exercising regularly is one of the most important steps we can take to improve health on multiple fronts.2
In addition to maintaining a sound diet and supplement strategy can be added a further two key supplements of specific importance to boosting immune function.
While protein, in general, is important for enhancing immunity as it helps build the cells that operate the immune system, whey protein, in particular, has been shown to be superior way to increase immune function irrespective of its other important functions.4, 5, 6, 12, 24
As well as being unique in its ability to optimize a number of important aspects of immune function, whey protein has been shown to boost glutathione levels in the body. Central to the antioxidant defense system which determines immune function, glutathione, the most potent of the endogenously-produced antioxidants, prevents damage to important cellular components caused by reactive oxygen species such as free radicals, peroxides, lipid peroxides, and heavy metals. To supplement with a high-grade whey product such as ISOFLEX means we can further boost the body’s production of glutathione to significantly enhance immunity and enjoy better health as a result.
Another powerful immune system enhancer is glutamine,
a conditionally essential amino acid known to be heavily involved in muscle repair and anabolic reactions within the body. Intense training can result in a high degree of immune suppression and subsequent risk of infection. This kind of training invariably leads to low blood concentrations of glutamine. Here, the immune cells are called upon to consume all available glutamine in an effort to counter training-related stress.11 The problem is there is not often enough available glutamine to rectify the balance. This, in turn, may lead to immune suppression.7 Thus it’s important to supplement with glutamine to avoid this problem and to improve immune functioning.
When supplementing with glutamine, the macrophages (white blood cells crucial to immunity) are increased and the neutrophils (additional while blood cells important to improving immune support) are maintained at optimum levels. The most effective form of glutamine for enhancing muscle recovery and immunity is ALLMAX Nutrition’s purified and isolated fermentation-derived glutamine.
To be overweight is the antithesis of good health and vitality. Those with extra padding to contend with must work much harder to get the most basic routine jobs done much less consistently perform at high levels (in the gym, bedroom, or anywhere else that requires a modicum of strength and stamina).
Having body fat levels beyond those required for good health to gain muscle
(between 12%-16% for males and around 20% for females) increases the likelihood of heart disease, metabolic syndrome, cancer, arthritis and many other serious life-altering/life-threatening ailments.17
Of lesser consequence, being overweight is for most people a most unsightly condition to have. Holding excessive adipose rightly or wrongly conveys the perception that one is undisciplined and lazy (unattractive attributes which may pose a serious barrier to social or career success).
When it comes to improving health, the first recommendation is often to lose weight and gain muscle. However, weight loss has proven itself a most difficult task for many. Despite frequent efforts to “diet” and exercise regularly, many people cannot shift the pounds. Some give up in despair and the subsequent increase in adiposity makes further weight loss attempts even more difficult to attempt, much less sustain.
For those who struggle to lose weight
(and even for those who would like to cleave off a few more pounds to reveal their underlying muscularity) it’s important that a combination of factors be considered. Along with a healthy, individually-tailored eating plan and a steady training focus is the increasing role supplements play in removing stubborn fat and keeping it off.
Two such products are of specific importance for those wanting to get as lean as humanly possible (or simply to shift a few pounds): Liquid L-Carnitine and a powerful fat burner such as RAPIDCUTS SHREDDED.
L-Carnitine enhances performance by encouraging the body to use fat for fuel, thus sparing carbohydrates and thereby extending physical exertion and to gain muscle. This same mechanism also results in less body fat storage and a leaner, more muscular physique. A major role of the mitochondria is to mobilize fat for energy. However, over time this primary energy organelle becomes sluggish and fat burning becomes more difficult. L-Carnitine speeds up fat burning by optimizing mitochondria function.18, 22
The best form of L-Carnitine remains ALLMAX Nutrition’s LIQUID L-CARNITINE.
Besides being rapidly assimilated and highly bioavailable, this potent fat burner contains Vitamin B5, a vital component of Coenzyme A, a chemical which increases the transportation of fatty acids into the mitochondria.
Regardless of one’s training level or exercise schedule, an all-in-one fat burner remains an important way to maximize fat loss. Teaming with clinical doses of a massive array of fat burning ingredients, RAPIDCUTS SHREDDED places the body into a fat burning mode, enhances the release of fat from fat cells, then encourages the liberated fat to be used as energy. What also sets RAPIDCUTS apart is its prolonged fat burning effect following initial consumption.
Not often the most glamorous of subjects, good health and overall physical and mental wellbeing are nevertheless essential when it comes to gain muscle, high-performance workouts and an aesthetically pleasing physique.
Without a solid base of good health, energy, performance, recovery and growth all may be adversely affected.
Try training all-out with a nagging cold. Try rallying the motivation and self-confidence needed to squat 500lbs when feeling anxious and depressed.
By following this article’s insights your ability to train with full intensity and energy to spare and to bounce back stronger to do it again will be that much greater. Best of all gain muscle, you’ll not only look better, but feel better. After all, what’s the point of building the physique of your dreams when you’re constantly fatigued and feeling less than your very best? Bottom line: health should always be a major reason to begin training and among our main motivations to continue. Improve yours today.
- American Liver Foundation. 13 Ways to a Healthy Liver. [Online] https://liverfoundation.org/13-ways-to-a-healthy-liver/ – retrieved on 23.3.19
- American Psychological Association. Stress Weakens the Immune System. [Online] https://www.apa.org/research/action/immune- retrieved on 23.3.19
- Brissette, L. et al. (2002).The role of optimism in social network development, coping, and psychological adjustment during a life transition. J Pers Soc Psychol. Jan;82(1):102-11.
- Bumrungpert, A. et al. (2018).Whey Protein Supplementation Improves Nutritional Status, Glutathione Levels, and Immune Function in Cancer Patients: A Randomized, Double-Blind Controlled Trial. J Med Food. Jun;21(6):612-616.
- Cermak, N. M., et al. (2012). Protein supplementation augments the adaptive response of skeletal muscle to resistance-type exercise training: a meta-analysis. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 96(6), 1454-1464.
- Cruzat, V. F., et al. (2014).Amino acid supplementation and impact on immune function in the context of exercise Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 11:61
- de Oliviera, D. C., et al. (2016). Glutamine metabolism and its effects on immune response: molecular mechanism and gene expression. Nutrire 201641:14
- Harvard Health Publishing. Giving thanks can make you happier. [Online] https://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/giving-thanks-can-make-you-happier – retrieved on 25.3.19
- Harvard Health Publishing. How to boost your immune system. [Online] https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/how-to-boost-your-immune-system – retrieved on 23.3.19
- Ironson, G. et al. (2005). Dispositional Optimism and the Mechanisms by Which It Predicts Slower Disease Progression in HIV: Proactive Behavior, Avoidant Coping, and Depression. Int J Behav Med. 12(2): 86–97.
- Jain, P. et al. (1981). Evaluation of anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties of L-glutamine. Agents Actions. May;11(3):243-9.
- Lothian, J. B., et al. (2006). Effect of whey protein to modulate immune response in children with atopic asthma. Int J Food Sci Nutr. May-Jun;57(3-4):204-11.
- Morin, A. 7 Scientifically Proven Benefits of Gratitude. [Online] https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/blog/what-mentally-strong-people-dont-do/201504/7-scientifically-proven-benefits-gratitude – retrieved on 25.3.19
- Maruta, T. et al. (2000) Optimists vs pessimists: survival rate among medical patients over a 30-year period. Mayo Clin Proc. Feb;75(2):140-3.
- Mayo Clinic. Positive thinking: Stop negative self-talk to reduce stress. [Online] https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/positive-thinking/art-20043950 – retrieved on 23.3.19
- National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. Sleep Deprivation and Deficiency. [Online] https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/sleep-deprivation-and-deficiency – retrieved on 23.3.19
- Pi-Sunyer, X. (2009).The Medical Risks of Obesity. Postgrad Med. Nov; 121(6): 21–33.
- Pooyandjoo, M. et al. (2016). The effect of (L-)carnitine on weight loss in adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Obes Rev. Oct;17(10):970-6.
- Schiavon, C. C., et al. (2016). Optimism and Hope in Chronic Disease: A Systematic Review Front Psychol. 7: 2022.
- Skerrett, P. J., (2010). Essentials of Healthy Eating: A Guide J Midwifery Womens Health. Nov-Dec; 55(6): 492–501.
- Szewczyk-Golec, K., et al. (2017). Melatonin Supplementation Lowers Oxidative Stress and Regulates Adipokines in Obese Patients on a Calorie-Restricted Diet. Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity,
- Sahlin, K. (2011). Boosting fat burning with carnitine: an old friend comes out from the shadow J Physiol. Apr 1; 589(Pt 7): 1509–1510.
- Tordjman, S. et al. (2017). Melatonin: pharmacology, functions and therapeutic benefits. Current Neuropharmacology. 15(3), 434-443.
- Volek, J. S., et al. (2013). Whey protein supplementation during resistance training augments lean body mass.Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 32(2), 122-135.
- Watson, A. M. (2017). Sleep and Athletic Performance. Current Sports Medicine Reports, 16(6), 413-418.