Just How Important Is Building Leg Muscles?

Male or female–everyone benefits from strong leg muscles.

It’s not an uncommon sight: a dedicated weight lifter or fitness enthusiast who religiously works his upper body and completely ignores his leg muscles. Typically it’s because building a big barrel of a chest, massive shoulders and impressive “guns” are the priority. Men aren’t the only ones guilty of neglecting the muscles of the leg. Many times women become too sensitive about the size of their thighs and glutes so they concentrate on reducing their legs instead of focusing on how to build up leg muscle. There are important reasons for working your legs, though, and not all of them are geared toward bodybuilding. Everyone of all genders and ages can benefit from strong leg muscles.

The Fat Burning Factor

Leg muscle mass helps keep your entire body trim.

You already know that maintaining muscle helps with burning fat for healthy weight loss. It stands to reason that the more muscle weight you put on, the easier it will be to take fat weight off and keep it off. You leg muscles are the largest muscle group you have, taking up the entire lower half of your body. Building lower and upper leg muscles will go a long way in increasing your overall muscle mass for increased fat burning potential.

Keeping You Mobile

Strong leg muscles keep you on the go and make it possible to do everyday things like climb stairs and get you from point A to point B.

It’s easy to take your leg muscles for granted, but just try to get through one day without using your leg muscles and you’ll recognize the essential role they play in keeping you agile and mobile. The importance of agility and mobility are obvious for athletes, both professionals and weekend warriors, but these elements increase in importance as people age. A study published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology concluded that leg extension strength in older adults is associated with the ability to keep balance and prevent falling. Additionally, the medical information website Patient says that problems with balance and gait are directly related to muscle weakness, both in the upper leg muscles, such as the quadriceps and abductors, and in the lower legs where calf muscles affect foot flexion.

Symmetry: It’s Not Just for Bodybuilders

Weak leg muscles are weak links in your body’s muscle chain.

It’s no secret that symmetry is as important to bodybuilders as muscle building. According to Bodybuilding.com, an evenly developed body has no noticeable weak points and simply looks better. Aside from the appealing physical appearance, symmetry in your muscles can help reduce the chances of injury. The muscles of your body are all connected, and the ones that aren’t connected directly are linked together through other muscles. They all team up to get you around and allow you to do what you do. However, if one section of the team is weaker than others, it can’t perform properly, resulting in injury whether you’re working out or just performing simple, daily tasks. Former endurance athlete Mark Sisson explains that having weak hamstrings, for example, may result in torn cartilage, bad knees, an abnormal inward curving of the spine, or all three.

How to Strengthen Leg Muscles

In the simplest terms, the answer to how to build up leg muscles and strength is to work them — but work all of them. There are different schools of thought on whether you can or should work upper and lower body on the same day, but ExRx.net recommends dedicating one entire workout day to your leg muscles. Do exercises such as:


  • squats
  • lunges
  • calf raises
  • leg curls and extensions
  • hip adductors and abductors
  • hip flexions

Two to three sets of each exercise will challenge your leg muscles to start growing in strength and size. Those strong muscles will pay you back for the effort by helping keep you lean, reducing your chances of an injury, and keeping you on your feet and on the go.

Targit In Your Toolbox

Expand your workout options. Make sure you have more than one type of resistance training tool in your fitness toolbox.

No matter what your goals are, you need to build muscle as well as get your cardiovascular system in shape. WebMD advises that building lean muscle via resistance training is vital for getting in shape because it helps burn fat for weight loss and helps keep it off. Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends both resistance training and aerobic activity on a weekly basis in their Physical Activity Guidelines. The aerobic part is easy enough to solve, as you really don’t need any unusual or special equipment to get your heart rate up. Hop on your bike, take a jog around the neighborhood or jump rope for awhile — it’s all good. For building muscle, though, it’s useful to have more than one tool in your fitness toolbox.

Consider All Options

Some people are die-hard free weight lifters. They don’t consider it a serious workout unless they’re pumping iron–using the dumbbells or any equipment that incorporates weight plates. There’s nothing wrong with that while you’re young, but as you get older your body doesn’t recover as quickly as it used to. Plus, lifting heavy weights is hard on your joints and tendons in general. However, as you age, it’s natural for cartilage to deteriorate, according to Healthline, making heavy weight lifting difficult and even risky. That’s not to say that you should give up free weights entirely. Many experts from personal trainers to physical therapists to doctors advocate using bands in conjunction with free weights for effective strength training programs.

The benefits of resistance bands increase the effectiveness of your workout.

Advice like that from experts is what makes the TargitFit Trainer a valuable piece of equipment for your fitness toolbox. It uses bands for resistance, eliminating the load placed on your joints while still giving you a challenging workout. If you’re one of the intractable free weight enthusiasts, open your mind a little to discover the benefits of bands as resistance. There are a whole slew of them including but not limited to:

  • constant tension that isn’t subject to gravity
  • momentum is eliminated, which encourages proper form and prevents “cheating”
  • core muscles are activated to improve posture and torso stabilization
  • greater range of motion for increased effectiveness of resistance, resulting in more muscle fibers recruited for greater muscle strength

And, according to the American College of Sports Medicine, resistance bands are useful for athletes of all fitness levels, from beginners to advanced.

Injuries Last a Lifetime

bench press

Bench presses with resistance bands won’t aggravate your shoulder joints.

Injuries never go away. Your body may heal, but you’ll likely never be the same after your knee blows out or you injure your rotator cuff. Band-based resistance is a valuable training tool for anyone, but those who have an injury, currently or one in the past, will find that the non-load type of resistance bands offer are easier on their injured limbs and/or joints. It’s the reason why resistance bands are used in physical therapy and injury rehab. If squats bother your knees or bench pressing irritates your shoulder, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find that you can do both pain-free with equipment like the TargitFit Trainer. The resistance is challenging, yet won’t inflict damage or cause further injury, so you’ll be able to keep working out. Also, you’ll recover — from your workouts and your injury — more effectively.

Resistance Training for the Young ‘Uns

kid workout

Kids as young as 7 can safely workout on the TargitFit Trainer.

Another case for adding TargitFit to your toolbox is that it can safely be used by anyone of any age or fitness level, as we mentioned above. Though a study published in Sports Health concluded that strength training is beneficial for children as young as 7 years, the Mayo Clinic points out that lifting too heavy and using inappropriate equipment contribute to injuries, such as bone plate fractures and lower back, joint, and tendon damage. The Mayo Clinic and the Sports Health study agree that resistance bands and tubing are the answer. Bands don’t present the risk of injury or cause bone plate damage, making them a viable and safe alternative for weight lifting for kids. Plus, using them is a terrific way to introduce children to strength training. It allows them to learn proper form to prepare them to lift free weights when they get older.

Multiple Uses, Never-Ending Benefits

the gear

Portable, easy to store and safe — TargitFit is a valuable addition to your fitness toolbox.

As we said before, you should have more than one resistance tool in your fitness toolbox. Most experts agree that giving yourself options provides multiple benefits. Having access to a tool such as the TargitFit Trainer increases your chances of working out consistently, because you’ll have access to it when the gym is closed or overcrowded, when you’re on vacation, or when you don’t feel like leaving the house or simply can’t. You can use it without concern about aggravating old or new injuries. It’s useful as a transition tool, from young to old. It takes the place of free weight accessories such as chains for linear variable resistance but isn’t as bothersome to store and transport. Also, working out with TargitFit is a refreshing change of pace when you get bored with your workout routine. The health and fitness benefits of the TargitFit Trainer are reason enough to try it. The sheer convenience and effectiveness will make you a believer.

Losing Weight is Easier When You Put Your Mind to It

You’ve gotten used to eating on the go and super-sizing that order–but it’s undermining your attempts to lose weight.

We’re all guilty of it. Everyone stops for fast food at least once in awhile, and who hasn’t at one time or another crammed a cheeseburger down their cake-hole in a frenzy while maneuvering through lunchtime traffic? Or plowed through a full dinner plate in record time and piled the second helping high because you still felt hungry? Even if you work out religiously and are *fairly* good at watching what you eat, your eating habits could be what’s undermining your ability to lose weight.

In a fast-paced world of fast food that’s readily supersized, it’s easy to fall into a routine of wolfing your food and eating too much of it. Brian Wasink, author of “Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think,” says that people make approximately 250 food-related decisions each day, but few of them can explain their motivations behind those choices. That’s because eating has become automated, something we do when we’re hungry (of course), when we’re stressed, when we’re in social situations and, sometimes, just because it’s time to eat.

Deciding to eat on purpose and with purpose is one of the most important weight loss tips you can put into action. Mindful Eating didn’t start out as a diet and exercise plan, but instead began as a Buddist mindfulness exercise. For those who have given it a sincere try, though, being attentive when eating has turned out to be one of the best weight loss programs they’ve participated in.

How It Works

Mindful eating starts during meal preparation.

The truth is that most people know how to plan a healthy diet; they just don’t do it. The really cool thing about eating mindfully and with purpose is that it’s not all centered on denying yourself favorite foods or measuring out portions. Mindful Eating starts with preparing the food. Some people take it to the extreme of growing their own fruits and vegetables and keeping chickens and goats or cows so that they can start meditating on the food they eat before and during the preparation process. If you want to go to those levels, feel free, but you don’t have to be a farmer to improve your eating habits and lose weight.

Those who buy their food instead of raising it can begin their mindful eating weight loss plan by paying focused attention to the steps they take in preparing any of the food they eat. Notice textures, be aware of sounds and smells and take care in dishing food up for serving, even if you’re eating lunch alone at your desk.

When it comes to the actual eating part, take a few pointers from the pros. No, we don’t mean Buddhist monks. Many medical and scientific professionals have become interested in Mindful Eating after seeing studies such as the one published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. What intrigued doctors, dieticians and the like was that the study found that eating slower by increasing the number of times mouthfuls were chewed reduced the amount subjects ate. To be more aware while you eat, the University of Health Services at Berkeley says to avoid multitasking with food. If you don’t have time to take a full hour for lunch, at least give yourself the 15 minutes it takes to eat a snack for sustenance and give that snack 100 percent of your attention while you’re eating it. The attention factor is actually the central theme in any Mindful Eating advice. Pay attention to what you’re eating and truly enjoy it, chewing slowly, anywhere from 30 to 50 times per mouthful. Don’t get hung up on the number, though. If the food in your mouth has been pulverized and mostly swallowed, there’s no need to continue chomping air to get in your 50 chews. Do make sure, though, that your mouth is empty before taking another bite.

Mindful eating includes taking the time to savor and enjoy your food.

Take smaller bites, too, concentrating on measuring out your spoon or forkfuls as they come from the plate or bowl. Or break off small chunks of bread, cake, or a protein bar before leisurely placing them in your mouth. Almost every expert on eating mindfully recommends trying to schedule at least one meal a week that’s without distractions from television or your mobile phone and they even advise you abstain from reading during the meal so you can immerse yourself fully in your food.

Why It Works

Since you’ll eat less when you eat slowly, you can have your cake and eat it, too!

Even when you know how to do something, it always helps to know why it works. In the case of eating mindfully, it works as a weight loss plan mostly because it gives your body time to communicate. Web MD says that it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to recognize that you are full. That’s why it’s easy to overeat to the point of discomfort if you’re famished. Eating slowly allows you time to recognize when you’re full, but you’ll also feel full longer.  Additionally, taking the time to chew your food is healthier for you. According to a Purdue University study, food (specifically almonds in one study) that is chewed 40 times is better absorbed and utilized by the body. What’s more, a study published on PLOS.org found that slow eating and increased chewing prevents diabetes.

So there it is: the diet and weight loss plan you’ve been looking for. The one that doesn’t tell you to stop eating the things you love or to cut out entire food groups. The advice is simple and worth following if it means you can have your cake and eat it, too. So, here is the official challenge to do your own research and see how Mindful Eating affects you. When you take the time to eat mindfully, you’ll eat less, feel more satisfied for longer and will actually enjoy your food. How awesome would it be to gain a healthy relationship with food and lose weight at the same time?

HIIT It Up: 5 High Intensity Interval Workouts for Busy People

This week, TargitFit is pleased to offer some healthy living advice courtesy of guest blogger, Eric Bogy:

If you haven’t already, it’s time to jump on board the HIIT bandwagon. HIIT, also known as High Intensity Interval Training, is perfect for busy people who only have a set amount of time for their workout but also want to torch fat and gain lean muscle. In several studies throughout the years, HIIT has been found to reduce abdominal and visceral fat, the kind that leads to metabolic syndromes, like diabetes.

HIIT is also effective at increasing athletic conditioning. So if you are looking to break through a plateau or lose some weight, it’s time to HIIT it up.

Bodyweight HIIT

06151701This is a beginner-friendly HIIT workout that has 3 rounds, about 60 seconds of work, and 15 seconds of rest. You are going to need a stopwatch to help you keep track of time. The best part about this HIIT workout is that you don’t need a lot of time or space.

Complete the following exercises as fast as you can but slow enough to maintain proper form:

Pushups, as many as you can do in 60 seconds

For those who cannot do a traditional pushup, consider bringing over a stable chair or plyo box to give you an incline that is easier to manage. Another option is putting your knees down. Focus on form and maintaining a tight core as you do your push-ups. Manage your time wisely.

Rest for 15 seconds

Squats, as many as you can do in 60 seconds

Keep your feet under your hips as you bend deep into the knees. Body weight should be shifted into the heels at your lowest point.

Rest for 15 seconds

Butt Kicks, as many as you can do in 60 seconds

The higher you bring your heels to the butt, the more you have to work. As you start getting tired, you can downshift to a jog in place.

Rest for 15 seconds

Triceps Dips, as many as you can do in 60 seconds

Use a chair or low table. Your back should be toward whatever is providing support. Put your legs out straight while balancing on your palms. Bend solely from the elbows, lowering as far as you can, then press up to your original height. Keep your core tight!

Rest for 15 seconds

Reverse/Rear Lunges, as many as you can do in 60 seconds

As you step back, focus on getting 90-degree angles with both the front and back knee. Hands can be on your waist for stability.

Remember to warm up and cool down!

Rowing Machine HIIT

One of the most underestimated pieces of equipment at the gym is the rowing machine. However, the rowing machine is a full-body sculptor that improves posture, strength, and cardiovascular endurance. When used as the basis for a HIIT workout, you are going to burn some serious calories.

Complete the following circuit as written 2-3 times through or pair with another circuit listed here and finish up with a cool-down:

  • Row 30-45 seconds
  • 15-second rest
  • Pushups for 30-45 seconds
  • 15-second rest
  • Row 30-45 seconds
  • 15-second rest
  • Plank for 45 seconds
  • 15-second rest
  • Row 30-45 seconds
  • 15-second rest
  • Triceps Dips for 45 seconds
  • 15-second rest
  • Row 30-45 seconds
  • 15-second rest
  • Plank for 45 seconds
  • 15-second rest
  • Row 30-45 seconds
  • 15-second rest
  • Pushups for 30-45 seconds

Treadmill HIIT

06151703Using a treadmill for your HIIT workout means there is no need for special equipment or planning. Just be sure to have a good pair of running shoes, water, and a towel to soak up sweat.

To do the treadmill workout:

  1. Start by walking fast or jogging for 5 minutes.
  2. Increase the pace to a fast run (for beginners) or an all-out sprint (advanced) for 30 seconds
  3. Walk briskly to recover. The length of recovery should be anywhere from 15 seconds (advanced) to 45 seconds (beginners).
  4. Repeat steps 1 through 3 for several rounds (e.g., 5 for beginners; 10 for advanced exercisers).
  5. Cool down by walking for about 5 minutes. Don’t forget to stretch afterward.

Burpee HIIT

We know what you are thinking. Burpees. Still, a burpee works the triceps, chest, core, legs, and serves as whole-body aerobic resistance training. If you cannot do a proper burpee yet, there are a number of modifications that you can use to match your fitness level. For example, you can leave out the pushup or step back into plank rather than jumping back.

Complete the following circuit 3-4 times, resting 1 minute after the burpees in each round.

Pull-ups (see below)

Reps: As many as possible within 30-40 seconds. Rest for 15 seconds. 

Jumping Jacks

Reps: As many as possible within 30-40 seconds. Rest for 15 seconds.


Reps: As many as possible within 30-40 seconds. 

The pullups can be standard bodyweight or assisted. If you don’t have access to a pullup machine or are at home, you can do “Door Pull-ins,” a horizontal pullup alternative that requires a towel wrapped around the doorknob. Place your feet on either side of the door to hold it stable. Grab the towel, lean back knees slightly bent, then use your arms to pull you forward.

Jump Rope HIIT

06151704Even moderately jumping rope incinerates calories, so imagine what happens when you use it as your HIIT finisher in this combination? Plus, you are building agility and quickness.

Complete the following circuit in 4 sets and rest for 1 minute after the finisher each round.

Mountain Climbers

Duration: 60-90 seconds, 15-second rest


Duration: 60-90 seconds, 15-second rest

Plank Pose

Duration: 60-90 seconds, 15-second rest

Jump Rope

Duration: 60-90 seconds

The key to getting a lot of benefits from the Jump Rope HIIT circuit is to focus on form and speed. You want to concentrate on properly engaging the muscles of your arms and core throughout the first three exercises. When you pick up the jump rope, your arms are undoubtedly going to be tired, so use the energy remaining in your legs to blast through the finisher with as much power as possible.


Ready to fire up your workout? HIIT is going to make you stronger, faster, and healthier than ever before without needing to spend hours in the gym. Even the busiest of people have time to get fit by using these 5 HIIT workouts that are perfect for all fitness levels!

About the Author:

Eric is the content manager at Fit&Me. Fit&Me is dedicated to helping you achieve your health and fitness goals, and transform your body by offering the best fitness equipment and knowledge you need.

Building Muscle on a Keto Diet

This week, Targitfit is pleased to bring you an informative diet article by Carnivore Aurelius:



Muscles are the organ of longevity. Unfortunately, most people ignore its critical role in health.

Having muscles means living longer.

Some are worried that on a carnivore diet all their gains will disappear.

“Eat carbs,” they say, “they’re essential”.

But do you really need carbohydrates for muscle gain? The short answer is no.

The long answer is, well… I’m about to give it to you.

Why Build Muscle?

You may believe that muscle is all superficial and eating healthily is sufficient.

This could not be further from the truth. To build muscle mass means to build longevity. To not build muscle mass means to increase your likelihood of mortality by twice.

Specifically, people with low muscle mass have twice the rate of mortality as those with high muscle mass, as indicated by the study below.

Screen Shot 2019 05 05 at 6.32.29 PM

The reason for this is simple: muscle helps prevent chronic disease.

Screen Shot 2019 05 05 at 6.32.33 PM 1

How so?

  1. Building muscle and exercising increases bone density: Bone strength is essential for long term health. The largest loads on your bones come from muscle contractions. Skeletal muscle mass tends to correlate with bone strength.
  2. Muscle increases mitochondria volume: Aging is linked to mitochondria dysfunction, potentially as a result of volume reductions. The study below showed that exercise increased mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation and mitochondrial volume. Screen Shot 2019 05 05 at 6.32.37 PM
  3. Muscle increases insulin sensitivity: Disruption of the normal uptake of glucose by muscles is central to the progression of diabetes. Muscle sucks up excess glucose for storage as glycogen.
  4. Muscle improves cancer survival rates: Patients receiving therapy for lung cancer had worse survival rates with lower muscle mass.
  5. Muscle protects against injury: 50% of women older than 65 years old who break a hip in a fall never walk again. Muscles can help prevent and protect you against damage from falls.
  6. Muscle loss reduces quality of life: Sarcopenia, muscle loss with aging, significantly reduces quality of life and can lead to institutionalization.
  7. Muscle prevents obesity: Muscle increases metabolic energy expenditure. Every 10-kg difference in lean mass increases energy expenditure by 100kcal / day.

Abstaining from building muscle can be significantly debilitating in the long run. If you’re in your 30s and not building muscle, you’re losing it. If you’re losing muscle, you’re shortening your life.

Move forward, not backward. Get your ass to the gym.

How to Build Muscle

Muscle growth requires three things, none of which are carbohydrates.

1. Resistance Training and Exercise

Muscle growth starts with resistance training.

Muscle size gain results from a delicate balance between protein synthesis and protein breakdown. When you stimulate your muscles you cause changes in its myofibers, which ultimately leads to increases in the size and quantity of protein fibers in the muscle.

Scientists believe cells called “satellite cells”, precursors to muscle cells that are turned on by exercise, mediate this process:

“Once aroused, satellite cells proliferate and ultimately fuse to existing cells or among themselves to create new myofibers, providing the precursors needed for repair and subsequent growth of new muscle tissue”

Muscle size gain is controlled by three mechanisms:

Mechanical Tension: The force and stretch that creates mechanical tension are essential to muscle growth.

Damage: Exercise results in localized damage to muscle tissue. In response, your body creates inflammation around the site. Macrophages remove debris and growth hormones are released, rebuilding the muscle even stronger.

Damage tells your body that it must grow stronger for the next time it conducts the same activity. Scientists believe this is the biggest reason for hypertrophic gains.

Metabolic stress: Metabolic stress has been shown to increase hypertrophic response. Anaerobic glycolysis builds up metabolites like lactate and creatine. This changes the hormonal environment, induces cellular swelling, and increases sympathetic nerve activity and growth oriented transcription factors.

How you decide to build muscle may vary. So as long as your muscle is stressed to failure, muscle gain can occur with or without weights.

If you are not ready to toss around heavy barbells, you can still get all the benefits from bodyweight training.

For instance, this study showed that training at lighter weights for more sets & reps may actually produce greater muscle growth than 1 set to failure.

Screen Shot 2019 05 05 at 6.32.42 PM 1

No excuses.

Even in the on-demand world we live in, there’s no button you can press to gain muscle.

There’s a reason most people are not strong. You need to put in the work. Start resistance training.

2. MTOR Activation

Muscle mass is regulated by the balance between protein synthesis and breakdown. mTOR is a kinase that plays a vital role in anabolism and catabolism. You can think of it like an on / off switch for cellular growth:

“mTOR is a serine/threonine kinase which senses various environmental and intracellular changes including nutrient availability and energy status, and coordinates diverse cellular processes including cell growth, differentiation, autophagy, survival, and metabolism”

To build muscle, you need to activate mTOR. It controls all signaling that ultimately leads to the growth or destruction of muscle mass.

Two ways to activate mTOR are:

Resistance Training: As this study shows, single bouts of resistance exercise may activate mTOR for greater than 24 hours.

Nutrients: Ingesting certain foods and amino acids activates mTOR. Leucine is the primary driver of mTOR activation. It is found in copious quantities in beef liver (which is why I think beef liver is better than any protein shake). Growth factors, energy status and oxygen can also activate mTOR1, but leucine remains the most potent activator.


3. Amino Acid Intake

Amino acids are the building blocks for protein. Ingesting protein and amino acids is necessary for the hypertrophic muscle response.

The two main determinants of muscle mass gain are hypertrophic activity and nutrient availability. Amino acids are oxidized and lost from muscle cells and are necessary for repair and growth.

Your body cannot endogenously create all of the amino acid building blocks you need. Thus, amino acids are an “essential” part of your diet.

There are 9 essential amino acids: histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine.

Most nutritional and workout supplements treat protein as 1 single macro nutrient. But this crude metric distracts away from the value each individual amino acid provides.

Instead of treating protein as a single nutrient, it is better to treat each amino acid as a single nutrient. In this way, amino acids are much more akin to micronutrients than they are to carbohydrates or fat.

Amino acids vary in their digestibility. They are also very important for muscle stimulation.

The DIAAS score is the best measure of the amino acid content and digestibility of proteins.

Sources of Amino Acids

Muscle meats and animal products are a great and complete source of amino acids for muscle mass. Leucine, which is prevalent in animal products such as beef liver, is one of the most potent stimulators of mTOR. According to Dr. Stuart Phillips:

“Leucine is the king AA, it turns on the anabolic signalling pathways and initiates muscle protein synthesis (MPS) by activating mTORC1 Once leucine has ‘switched on’ muscle protein synthesis (MPS) then this process proceeds for a relatively short period of time (1-2h) until it is switched off”

Animal foods are the most complete and bioavailable source of protein.

Reading a protein powder label obviously won’t tell you this.

Not all foods have equally digestible amino acids. Many foods, especially vegetables, contain antinutrients (i.e. tannins, phytates, trypsin inhibitors), which block protein absorption.

Just because a vegetable is quoted as having substantial amounts of proteins doesn’t mean you can absorb all of it.

Building Muscle on Keto: Carbohydrates Are Not Necessary

Do you need carbs for muscle gain?

Insulin and Insulin-Growth-Factor can also activate mTOR. Carbs stimulate insulin, so people have long assumed they are required for muscle growth.

This is a common misconception. Carbs are anything but necessary for mTOR activation.

Resistance training coupled with sufficient protein and leucine intake will activate mTOR independent of carbohydrate intake.

As this study showed, Leucine can activate mTOR independent of insulin.It also found that insulin was not accretive to muscle growth, independent of protein.

“What of a role for insulin in regulating anabolic responses to nutrition (via nutrient-induced secretion)? While it is noteworthy that provision of protein alone (i.e. without carbohydrate) causes a rise in insulin similar to that seen following a mixed meal (Atherton et al. 2010), insulin apparently does not contribute to the anabolic effects of EAAs on MPS. To exemplify this, EAA infusates robustly stimulate MPS even when insulin is ‘clamped’ at postabsorptive concentration”

Another study found that resistance training can activate mTOR even without IGF activation.

And if these two observations were not enough to convince you, this study tested whether 50 g of carbohydrates post exercise would increase muscle synthesis.

When you have adequate protein intake, adding 50 g of carbs does not increase muscle protein synthesis whatsoever.

The myth that carbohydrates are necessary for muscle gain has been dispelled. You can stop eating carbs now.

Exercise Without Carbs Improves Performance

If anything, exercising without carbohydrates has been shown to be beneficial. In a randomized group of cross fit athletes, those on keto:

  • Lost 7.6 lbs more
  • Lost 2.6% more body fat
  • Lost 6lbs of fat mass
  • Improved their overall cross fit performance

What About Muscle Glycogen?

The theory around muscle glycogen is also commonly misunderstood. Muscle glycogen — stored glucose — provides size and energy for performance training. As such, many have assumed their bodies need exogenous glucose to replenish these stores.

What they have failed to understand is their bodies can create glucose endogenously by breaking down protein and fat molecules.

This study by Jeff Volek et al pictured below found that endurance athletes on the ketogenic diet had the same glycogen stores as those eating carbohydrates.

Do not fall for the propaganda. Hunter-gatherers were active.

More active than most people today. They weren’t refueling with Gatorade powders and pasta dinners. They were refueling with animal fat and protein-heavy diets.

Carnivore Diet Is The Best Muscle Building Diet

To recap, there are three pieces to the muscle building puzzle:

  • Resistance training
  • mTOR activation
  • Amino Acids

On a dietary level, the carnivore diet is perfect for all three and if done correctly, will give you olympic-level strength (check out Dr. Shawn Baker or Jerry Texeira).

The Carnivore Diet is High in Bioavailable Protein and Amino Acids

As we discussed, adequate protein intake is necessary for muscle gain.

The RDA is woefully deficient in protein. Dr Stuart Phillips has shown that at a daily intake of at least 1.6g of protein / kg of body weight up to 2.2g of protein / kg of body weight is optimal for muscle synthesis.

As the graph below illustrates, at least 1.6g / kg level is critical for lean mass gain. Data from 49 studies showed that protein supplementation significantly increased strength and muscle size when coupled with resistance training.

Screen Shot 2019 05 05 at 6.33.24 PM 2

Additionally, other studies have suggested the importance of having protein with every meal throughout the day.

This study found that frequently consuming meals with 30g+ of protein increased muscle mass.

Screen Shot 2019 05 05 at 6.33.29 PM 2

The carnivore diet centers each and every meal around protein and will ensure that muscle protein synthesis is maximized.

Not All Protein Is Created Equal

Not all protein is created equal. Veggie based protein is not a substitute for animal protein. Proteins in animal products are more bioavailable than plant based proteins.

– Out of 21 g of protein from beef, 14 g are complete

– Out of 22 g of protein from beans, 0 g are complete

16 oz of ribeye has 108 g of protein. If you weigh 160 lbs, a 16 oz ribeye would get you to almost 90% of the recommended daily protein intake..

Plants will detract from your performance. Steak and liver will augment it.

Steak is Better Than Protein Shakes

Instead of using nutritionally devoid, toxic waste like Muscle Milk, eat steak.

Muscle milk and many protein shakes are loaded with sugars, carbs, seed oils and four syllable toxins that have no place in our vocabulary, let alone our diet.

And it’s all for just 20g of protein.

Eating steak and liver post-workout will get you more bioavailable protein, without all the negative side effects.

The Carnivore Diet is High in BCAAs & Leucine

Leucine is a key trigger for muscle protein synthesis. Getting at least 2 g post workout is optimal.

“We estimate that a protein/AA source containing ∼1.8–2.0 g leucine would be sufficient to activate a postexercise “leucine trigger” due to the exercise-induced AA flux and/or improved muscle sensitivity to AAs. Leucine plays a key role in the postexercise MPS response, at least when total protein intake is lower.”

The carnivore diet provides a complete amino acid profile, high in leucine. Beef liver is one of the best sources of leucine. The foods highest in leucine are all animal products

Ketones Improve Performance

One last study conducted by Jeff Volek showed that ketones improved performance.

In this study, twenty six college men were divided into two groups: one group was on a keto diet and the other on a traditional western diet. Each group worked out three times a week.

What happened? The ketogenic diet group gained 4.3 kg of lean muscle mass while the traditional western diet gained 2.2 kg of lean muscle mass. The ketogenic group also lost 2.2 kg of fat while the western diet group lost 1.5 kg of fat.

On the carnivore diet, your ketones will be elevated. And so will your performance.


The evidence is clear. Building muscle is the result of resistance training and adequate nutrient intake. Low carb is the best diet for performance and carbohydrates are hindering your muscle gain.

The best way to build muscle while maintaining a low and healthy body fat % is a combination of the carnivore diet and exercise.

Most people are doing the exact opposite. They’re loading themselves with toxins just to get bigger.

Wake up. Take back control. Unlearn everything you’ve been taught about nutrition. Eat steak and liver. Workout hard. You will feel stronger than ever.

This article was originally published at www.carnivoreaurelius.com.

CArnivore Aurelius is a nutrition and biochemistry expert who’s studied for over 5 years. He used the carnivore diet to cure IBS, rheumatoid arthritis and his acne. He’s passionate about distilling complex nutritional information down to actionable advice.

Weight Loss Tips Part Two: How To Stick To a Diet Plan

A few weeks back, we got the weight loss ball rolling with a how-to-lose-weight post that focused on making your weight loss plan a part of your lifestyle. Studies show the most effective weight loss programs are ones that include both diet and exercise. The American Council on Exercise confirms this, revealing that 89 percent of the members of the National Weight Control Registry owe their weight loss success stories to using both strategies.

Soda addiction, stress, and lack of time for preparing healthy meals are all excuses for not sticking to a diet – but it’s all another way of saying weight loss isn’t that important to you.

There are loads of common excuses for not sticking to a diet, but most of them boil down to not having enough willpower. “I’m stressed,” “I’m addicted to soda,” “I slipped up earlier, so why not make today a total loss?” can all be said another way: “I don’t want to try.” You shouldn’t let the lack of willpower be yet another excuse not to stick to your diet, though. A study conducted by the Center for Adaptive Behavior and Cognition found that starting a diet and sticking to it was more about how complicated the dieters perceived their diet plans to be than it was about having the will or desire to see it through. So let’s make that the first on our list of diet tips.


It’s hard to stick to eating plans with complicated guidelines.

No, not the rockin’ glam-metal band. We’re talking about the acronym: Keep It Simple Sweetie. (There are no stupid dieters, just stupid excuses.) When a diet requires you count each and every calorie that goes into your mouth; when you start carrying a digital scale wherever you go to ensure you don’t eat one fraction of an ounce more than diet guidelines allow; when you hang your food journal from a chain around your neck for quick access each time you pop a handful of nuts or sip from a glass of juice, your diet is too complicated. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t be aware of caloric intake or portion sizes, but when it takes over your life, you’ll be less likely to stick with the weight loss plan.

Importance of Mindset

We covered it in the previous post, but changing your mindset is so vital for successful weight loss that it bears mentioning again. How about this: don’t ever go on a diet. The word has developed a negative association to the point of being equivalent with curse words. (“‘Diet’ is a four letter word!”) Instead of calling it a diet, rename it your healthy eating plan.  While the word “diet” may make you feel deprived, an “eating plan” has a positive, pro-active tone. It’s also important to make a commitment to a lifestyle change. Healthy weight loss that lasts requires making healthy choices every day for the rest of your life.

Don’t Demand Perfection

The Healthy Eating Plate has replaced the old-school Food Pyramid. Image by TipsTimesAdmin/Flickr.

Most people know what foods are considered healthy. You may have been introduced to the food pyramid in health class, but these days nutritional experts advocate the Healthy Eating Plate. For the most part, your daily diet should be comprised of the healthy, nutritious foods outlined on the Healthy Eating Plate. However, you shouldn’t entirely deny yourself the occasional treat, and don’t beat yourself up over slip-ups when they occur. A helpful way to keep from feeling deprived is to allow yourself a “cheat” day on which to eat small to moderate amounts of the foods you feel you can’t live without. Plan what you’ll eat on your cheat day, even write out a menu. Just don’t go overboard. Pigging out on fat and calories even one day a week can undo an entire week’s worth of healthy eating benefits.

A Few More Tips

Cut off eating at 6 p.m. or earlier to avoid taking in and storing calories that you won’t immediately use.

The TargitFit Never Fail Extreme Weight Loss Diet includes loads of tips for accelerating your results by sticking with an eating plan, and it’s free — just fill out the form on the right-hand side of this page. It explains how you can estimate portion sizes, how to figure out how much water you should be drinking and it gives options for protein, vegetable, and carbohydrate choices. On top of that, here are some other valuable diet tips:

  • avoid eating after 6 p.m.
  • switch to skim milk
  • ditch the soda and fruit juice in favor of more water
  • never skip breakfast, but plan it so you get at least 12 hours between your first meal of the day and your last meal of the previous day
  • eat your meals slowly to give your brain time to recognize when your stomach is full

Kickstart Your Day With These 5 Healthy Morning Habits

The days are getting shorter and it’s tough to get going when it’s still dark when your alarm goes off. Instead of giving in to the instinct to hibernate, why not adopt a handful of healthy habits to get the day underway? Our friends at Pyure Organic say adjusting your routine to include these five simple steps will give your day the kickstart it needs:

How you start your morning sets the tone for the day. With that in mind, you can see how your morning routines can help you or hurt you when it comes to your health goals – whether that’s feeling energized and focused, managing blood sugar levels, keeping fit, preventing heart disease or controlling your weight.

In my roles as a registered dietitian nutritionist and a certified diabetes educator, I’ve watched thousands of people work to get their healthy habits in order. Behavior changes and new habits seem to flow better when the morning starts off right. A successful start to the day simply breeds more success.

Here are 5 ways you can get your morning in tiptop shape.

  1. Start your morning before you even go to bed. Sometime in the early evening, check your schedule so nothing surprises you first thing tomorrow. Get organized by picking out your clothes, packing lunch, gathering any papers or books you may need, and grabbing a piece of fruit for a snack and some Pyure Organic Stevia packets to sweeten your mid-day work beverages. Then get into bed on time. A good night’s sleep is critical to feeling energized and being well. In fact, research suggests that short sleeping increases the risk for weight gain, heart disease, and Type 2 diabetes.
  2. Wake up gently. Skip the jarring, blaring alarm clock, and wake up to something you enjoy. I open my eyes to a simulated sunrise and soothing bird chirping sounds. It’s made a difference in how I feel each morning. And try to find an extra few minutes before jumping out of bed to think about the good that lies ahead in your day. Start your day with positive feelings whenever you can.
  3. Do coffee right. Or tea. Sipping on a warm caffeinated beverage can be a nice way to ease into your day. And both coffee and tea are associated with less risk of Type 2 diabetes and likely have heart health benefits, too. But sip smartly. For the sake of your weight, blood sugar and heart, avoid extra calories, added sugars and saturated fats. Instead of syrups and heavy cream, add a splash of milk and a non-caloric sweetener.
  4. Eat a health-boosting breakfast. It’s good to sit down to a nourishing meal, but even if you’re on the go, pick wholesome foods. Let this first meal of the day fuel you for a positive and productive morning. Eat favorite foods that fill you with both protein and fiber. For a leisurely breakfast at home, try savory oats topped with greens and an egg. Or enjoy a Greek yogurt and fruit parfait. If you’re on the run, grab a couple hard-boiled eggs, a half of peanut butter sandwich on whole grain bread and some fresh fruit. If you eat breakfast at work, steer clear of the typical sugar bombs like donuts, pastries and your officemate’s candy dish. Instead bring overnight oats with whatever fruit is in season. Say no to the sugar, and jazz up your oats with stevia or a sugar-free honey alternative and cinnamon.
  5. Get some exercise. Morning is my favorite time to exercise because it gives me time to think about my day and what I want to accomplish. And I feel terrific starting my work or chores knowing that I already did something good for myself. Sadly, only one-third of adults get the recommended minimum amount of exercise each week, and a mere 5% of adults get 30 minutes of physical activity daily. Now really, it doesn’t matter if you exercise in the morning or later on. But each morning, do commit to exercising at some point during the day – even if you can find just a few minutes. Every time you exercise, you do your body good. Physical activity is good for controlling blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol levels. It reduces the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some types of cancer. It’s good for the muscles, the joints and the bones. It can lift your mood and help you sleep better, too.

Make changes to start your day in ways that support your goals. Give yourself the gifts of time, nourishment and joy.

This article originally appeared on the Pyure Organic website.


Muscle Building: A Good Idea For Women, Too

Image courtesy of Ryderwear

Putting on muscle mass may have seem like a topic for guys who want to bulk up. However, building muscle is important for women, too. Keep your active imagination in check, resisting images of bikini-clad, muscle-bound women bodybuilders. While that level of muscle mass on a woman is an impressive demonstration of self-control and the ability to train muscles, it’s a result that requires a lot of hard work and more attention to your diet than you ever want to give. For the average woman, female muscle growth provides vital support for the bones and can positively affect the aging process. Plus, it’s easier for women who put on muscle mass to lose fat.

You Can’t Bulk Up (Easily)

It takes a lot of testosterone–more than you have–to build big, bulky muscles.

The fact that women bodybuilders exist proves that women are capable of putting on muscle mass in serious amounts. However, as fitness and nutrition expert Catherine Piot points out in her book “The Fit Body Plan,” women don’t produce as much testosterone as men do, so they don’t have the genetics to gain muscle as easily as guys can. To accomplish significant female muscle growth, a gal has to adjust her entire lifestyle, centering it around workouts and diet.

If I Could Turn Back Time

Resistance training can do more for anti-aging than a ton of expensive cosmetic treatments.

Growing older is a fact of life for everyone. Right around the age of 40, people start to notice little differences in how their bodies function and those little differences soon become major limitations. According to a study reported by the IDEA Health and Fitness Association, however, not only can muscle building workouts slow the aging process, but they can actually reverse it. In fact, the study showed that resistance training reversed the aging process right down at the genetic level.

Support Those Bones

Bones supported by strong muscles don’t break easily.

The International Osteoporosis Foundation reports that osteoporosis affects an estimated 200 million women worldwide and that 1 in 3 women over 50 will suffer from osteoporosis-related fractures. Considering that major loss of muscle mass is one of the leading causes of osteoporosis, all women should be  strength training to build muscle. Everyone from the National Institute of Health to the CDC recommends muscle building for avoiding osteoporosis. That’s because muscles not only provide support for your bones, but the stress of strong muscles working against your bones improves bone strength and will even stimulate bone growth, according to a study published in Medicine and Science in Sports Exercise. In light of these facts, muscle fitness for women should be a top priority.

Tip the Scales: Build Muscle Mass, Lose Fat

Maintaining muscle mass keeps the fat off your middle–and everywhere else.

If anti-aging and avoiding osteoporosis aren’t enough reasons for you to embark on a muscle-building regimen, then do it to stay trim. Not only do women who strength train have a pleasing, toned look to their physiques, but they also have an easier time keeping fat weight off. That’s because muscle is metabolically active. It literally burns calories all the time, even when you’re not working out. This is one of those times when something that sounds too good to be true isn’t; it’s a scientifically proven fact.

If you’re in a panic, thinking that you should have started putting on muscle mass long ago, you’re right. Whatever your age, however, it’s not too late to start resistance training. And you don’t have to pump iron if you don’t want to. Training with resistance bands is an excellent, safe alternative. It speeds up strength and muscle gains by allowing you to lift at your maximum potential. Go ahead, give it a try. You have nothing to lose and only muscle mass to gain.

Autumn Is An Awesome Time To Focus On Fitness

Shorter days, colder temperatures…winter is on its way and the holiday season is coming with it. It can be festive and fun, but the holidays are also notorious for interfering with health and fitness. We asked health and nutrition expert Helen Sanders to share some advice on using fall to kick-start your fitness and weight loss plans:

Healthy eating is often tossed aside during the holidays. Christmas and Thanksgiving usually include gut-busting turkey dinners and endless holiday parties. It can also be harder to motivate yourself to work out once the summer shorts and tank tops have been tucked away in your wardrobe for yet another year.

However, instead of being a time for winding down, fall can be the ideal time to get proactive and kick-start your fitness regime before the holidays even start. Weather conditions in the fall can be much more comfortable than the snow, rain, and ice of winter. Plus, there’s the added bonus that the gym will not be full of the post-Xmas part-timers when you visit in the off-peak fall season. So Why wait until January to make a resolution to get in shape? There’s no time better than now!

Get Out and Enjoy the Scenic Outdoors

In many parts of the U.S., fall is the most beautiful time of the year. A stunning array of autumnal colors make this an ideal time to go for a run, bike ride or even a brisk walk. Use the parks and countryside to your advantage for your fitness routine and enjoy this wonderful time of year while getting fit.

The change in season also brings about a change in climate, with temperatures often cooling down rapidly from the summer highs. Exercise can often be more enjoyable when you are sweating less but don’t have to layer up just yet. As it gets cooler, investing in breathable, moisture-wicking clothing can prevent having to peel the layers off as your blood gets pumping.

Experts in kinesiology have found that weather conditions can encourage or deter physical activity. Bad weather can actually be a barrier to physical activity, but exercising and being outdoors in nature have also been found to boost your mood. If you’re enjoying yourself, you’re more likely to stick with your fitness plan.

Take Advantage of Lower Prices


Autumn is often the best time to find a bike on sale – and a new bike is a great motivator to exercise.

With fewer people trying for that beach body and most new year’s resolutions forgotten, fall is a quieter period for many gyms. Fall can be the perfect time to take advantage of the discounts and incentives offered by many gyms to attract new members. If you prefer a traditional gym workout, now could be the ideal time to join before the colder winter months see a gym membership rush.

Fall could also be the ideal opportunity to save money on that new bike you may have been eyeing all summer. Mountain Bike World Magazine says fall is often the best time to buy a new bike. Many bike manufacturers bring out their new models in September and will heavily discount the previous year’s models to clear them. 


A stroll through the local farmers market is exercise in itself. Plus, you’ll go home with loads of fresh, healthy food.

Enjoy the Harvests of Fall

A healthy diet is an important part of any fitness plan. With autumn comes a wide variety of fresh seasonal produce full of the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants needed to fuel your body as you workout. A hike or bike ride could include a trip to the local farmers market to sample the fall harvest. You could also save money by buying local fresh produce at this time of year.

New Season, New Schedule


Fall is the perfect time to enroll in a class you’ve always wanted to try. Image by John Seb Barber/Flickr

The kids going back to school after the long summer holidays can leave many of us with free time to fill. This provides the perfect chance to try that new gym or take up a new hobby which may help with fitness plans. Maybe a salsa dance class or a martial arts course can help revive your workout sessions.

Fall can also be a time when the TV schedules feature a return of many of your favorite shows. Try doing a few ab crunches or lunges while binge-watching episodes of Yellowstone or discovering what you missed with Netflix’s Schitt’s Creek.

After a long, hot summer, fall can be the best season to kickstart your fitness regime. By starting your plan early you will be free to enjoy the holiday season with fewer feelings of guilt. A little extra work now means not having to worry about a few extra calories here and there throughout the holidays plus, you can look stunning in that little black dress when the Christmas party season starts.


Helen Sanders is chief editor at HealthAmbition.com. Established in 2012, Health Ambition has grown rapidly in recent years. Our goal is to provide easy-to-understand health and nutrition advice that makes a real impact. We pride ourselves on making sure our actionable advice can be followed by regular people with busy lives.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Working Out with an Injury

This week, TargitFit is pleased to bring you an informative health and fitness article from Dr. Brent Wells, D.C.:

There is nothing to compare to the joy of being able to move freely, without pain, and having the energy to get through our days without the need for that 3 PM pick-me-up coffee.

Exercise brings us multiple benefits, including a full range of motion without pain, and increased energy levels to name a few, but what happens to your workout when you have an injury?

Some of us love working out so much and feeling those endorphins kick in that when we become injured, whether through exercise or in some other manner, we still think working out is ok, but is it really?

Today I want to talk to you about the dos and don’ts of working out when you have been injured.

It Isn’t the End of the World

Becoming injured does not mean that your entire world comes to a halt. You should still be able to do many things you normally do, including your favorite exercise, in most cases anyway.

While you might need to give your injury a short time to heal and give your body time to rest, most times you can modify your workout so that you can still enjoy exercising without doing more harm than good.

If you were injured while playing a sport, at the gym, on the job, or simply by accident, the following list of do’s and don’ts will help you heal faster and get your regular schedule back on track sooner, rather than later.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Working Out with an Injury

Keep in mind that this list will vary from person to person based on the type of injury you have suffered. If you’ve broken your leg, for example, swimming is not going to be an option for you. So, if one item on this list doesn’t apply, try another one.

  • DO recognize when to stop. If it hurts, chances are that the injury hasn’t healed, or the exercise is doing you harm. Seek out the advice of your doctor or chiropractor.
  • DO adjust your exercises so that the affected area can rest. Yes, this may mean several weeks of rest for injuries such as tendonitis, but it is necessary to avoid re-injuring yourself and making matters worse.










  • DON’T “push through the pain.” I’ve seen too many people think “no pain no gain” is the way to go and they only end up hurting themselves even further. There is a difference between pushing your body to the max and physical pain from an injury.
  • DON’T ask your friends on social media what the problem might be and then follow their advice (unless they are a doctor or chiropractor, of course) Will tendonitis go away on its own? Your chiropractor or doctor knows, your friends, probably not.
  • DO listen to your body and your doctor. If your elbow hurts, for example, even when you aren’t working out, this would NOT be a good time to spend an hour on the rowing machine! Listen to and follow the instructions of your doctor or chiropractor. They study sports injuries in college so they are well equipped to advise you of what you need to do.


  • DO visit your chiropractor. They will not only help you avoid future problems, but they can also set you on the road to healing and suggest modifications to your workout so you can get the best of both worlds: healing and
  • DON’T stretch a pulled or torn muscle. Stretching is normally a good idea before and after your exercise routine but if the muscle has been damaged, you will only be exacerbating the problem.
  • DON’T take painkillers so you can keep working out. This is a really bad idea! Speak to your doctor, pharmacist, or chiropractor about natural anti-inflammatory supplements that can reduce pain levels naturally.
  • DO wait until you have felt no pain for one week or more before you begin exercising the injured area again.
  • DO start off slowly. Don’t expect your injured arm, leg, or back to be able to handle pre-injured levels of exercise.

Most of these do’s and don’ts are common sense, but so many people eschew them for advice from friends, relatives, or out of stubbornness.

If you are experiencing pain when you exercise or if you have sustained an injury and, despite rest, it still causes you pain after 4-6 weeks, it’s time to seek the professional help of a chiropractor or your primary care physician.


Dr. Brent Wells, D.C. founded Better Health Chiropractic & Physical Rehab and has been a chiropractor for over 20 years. Besides spinal adjustment, his clinic has treated thousands of patients in Alaska through massage therapy designed to provide long-lasting relief.

Dr. Wells is also the author of over 700 online health articles that have been featured on sites such as Dr. Axe, Organic Facts, and Thrive Global. He is a proud member of the American Chiropractic Association and the American Academy of Spine Physicians. And he continues his education to remain active and updated in all studies related to neurology, physical rehab, biomechanics, spine conditions, brain injury trauma, and more.