Many people put a great deal of time in training their chest but don't often see the results they want. Here are some mistakes to avoid, so your chest day doesn't go to waste.

If you have bad chest genetics, and your chest progress seems to lag behind the rest of your muscles, then this is especially important. No matter what anyone says, the best way to build up a bulging chest is to combine a good chest routine with an impeccable diet.

Doing High Reps Of Push-Ups
Pushups are great for anyone who is new to fitness or looking to maintain their chest strength. They are a staple of many chest routines, but they can only do so much. You want to focus on exercises with more weight and lower reps rather than high-rep (and low weight) exercises like the standard pushup. For example, three sets of heavy bench presses would be way more beneficial to pumping up your chest than 60 pushups. If you really love pushups, do them with added weight.

Improper Bench Press Form
To get the maximum chest growth out of your bench presses, you want to use a wide lateral grip on the bar. Just like a wide stance pushup, a wide grip bench press puts most of the stress from the lift smack dab on your pectorals.

Also, use a full range of motion when performing the bench press. A lot of guys add weight but then reduce their range of motion, thus cancelling any benefit of the added weight. Don't even bother doing presses unless you are going to go all the way down to your chest with the bar. Focus on breathing correctly as well.

Neglecting The Eccentric (Downward) Phase
The eccentric phase -- or lowering of the weight -- of your lifts is especially important when it comes to training the chest. Remember, half of your growth comes from performing the lowering portion of a lift correctly. Make sure you lower that weight slowly.

Using Machines
A few of the staff members at Dual Fit are guilty of this. It's OK to throw in a pec-deck[1] set once in a while, but for the most part train your chest using free weights only. Ever notice how machine workouts are just easier in general? You get out what you put in with chest exercises. Also, free weights stimulate the fibers in your chest more effectively (and naturally) than machines.

Neglecting Your Back
Strong back muscles pull the shoulders back and up. No matter how big your chest is, it's not going to look good if your shoulders are rounded. The body prefers to grow different areas at the same pace. If you are neglecting your back, then your chest growth will be limited. Bent over barbell rows and dead lifts can help you develop a back of steel.

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The best fitness tool to strip fat and strengthen your total body probably isn't already in your gym -- but it is underneath your beach towel. "Forget the dumbbells and sling some sand," says Josh Henkin, C.S.C.S., inventor of the Ultimate Sandbag Training System ( Well, Henkin would say that, given that he's created an entire business around sandbag training.

But then we tried out his innovative sandbags ourselves -- and we were amazed. "Even with what I would consider a light load, the sandbag created an incredible challenge that was unlike conventional weight training," says Men's Health fitness director Adam Campbell, author of The Men’s Health Big Book of Exercises. "It also caused a level of deep muscle soreness that I hadn't felt in a very long time."

Henkin says that Campbell's experience is typical. The reason: “As you lift a sandbag, its shape shifts, forcing more muscles to work together to maintain balance,” explains Henkin. So unlike free weights or machines, the ever-changing sandbag doesn’t let you settle into a lifting groove. That means every rep is unique and challenging.

Take the side lunge and snatch, for instance. Don’t be thrown by the name: the snatch simply describes a movement in which you explosively lift an object -- such as dumbbells, a barbell, or a sandbag -- above your head. When done with dumbbells, the side lunge and snatch requires you to move from side-to-side, which strengthens your body in an all-new direction. It also trains your glutes -- your body’s largest but often-neglected muscle group -- and requires a coordinated effort from your core, upper body, and legs to lift the weight from the floor to above your head.

Great total-body exercise, right? The sandbag makes it even better. With its awkward shape, the sandbag requires you to use more energy to lunge with it than the dumbbells did. That means you're instantly burning more calories with the same move.

Then, when you go to snatch the bag, your balance is challenged like never before. (Watch the video below to see the exercise.) That's because the bag's weight distribution shifts as it soars above your head. This requires your body’s stabilizing system to kick into action, which improves your coordination, chisels your core, and strengthens your joints.

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By Alison Sweeney

Hi, everyone:

People ask me a lot how I stay motivated to exercise. While I can say honestly that on most days I'm pretty fired up for a workout, I definitely have days when the idea of it is daunting. I think we all have those days, when we're feeling tired or unmotivated or overwhelmed by all our other responsibilities. But I really think those are the days when we need exercise most. Here are a few things that make it easier for me to start.

Do something fun
When I'm feeling blah, the idea of 45 minutes on a treadmill isn't very inspiring. So I pick something that's just fun to do. For example, I love basketball. I am a die-hard Lakers fan. So it's fun to get out on the court and play! I love playing tennis, too. It's amazing how quickly an hour or more flies by when I'm totally engaged in one of my favorite sports. I'm moving the whole time, but it's completely different from a gym workout.

Get outside
Some days I tell myself that I just need to step out of my door and start walking, or go for a mellow hike. Even when I'm dragging, walking seems doable, and chances are as I warm up I'll feel energized and pick up the pace.

Go to a great exercise class
An enthusiastic instructor and other motivated people do wonders for my energy level. I always know that once I'm on the bike in one of my favorite spin classes, and the music starts pumping, I'll get excited. And I always feel amazing when the class is over.

How do you get motivated to exercise on low-energy days? Please share your tips!

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Although some guys aren't opposed to smoking some weed, most wouldn't think of eating one. It's a shame, really, since a succulent weed named purslane is not only delicious but also among the world's healthiest foods.

Of course, there are many superfoods that never see the inside of a shopping cart. Some you've never heard of, and others you've simply forgotten about. That's why we've rounded up the best of the bunch. Make a place for them on your table and you'll instantly upgrade your health -- without a prescription. And if you want to upgrade your dinner and melt belly-fat, check out Grill This, Not That! -- the ultimate guide to turning your backyard grill into a weight loss tool.

1. Cabbage
Absent from most American kitchens, this cruciferous vegetable is a major player in European and Asian diets.

Why It's Healthy: One cup of chopped cabbage has just 22 calories, and it's loaded with valuable nutrients. At the top of the list is sulforaphane, a chemical that increases your body's production of enzymes that disarm cell-damaging free radicals and reduce your risk of cancer. In fact, Stanford University scientists determined that sulforaphane boosts your levels of these cancer-fighting enzymes higher than any other plant chemical.

How to Eat It: Put cabbage on your burgers to add a satisfying crunch. Or, for an even better sandwich topping or side salad, try an Asian-style slaw. Here's what you'll need.

4 Tbsp peanut or canola oil

Juice of two limes

1 Tbsp sriracha, an Asian chili sauce you can find in the international section of your grocery store

1 head napa cabbage, finely chopped or shredded

1/4 cup toasted peanuts

1/2 cup shredded carrots

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Whisk together the oil, lime juice, and sriracha. Combine the remaining ingredients in a large mixing bowl and toss with the dressing to coat. Refrigerate for 20 minutes before serving. The slaw will keep in your fridge for 2 days.

2. Beets
These grungy-looking roots are naturally sweeter than any other vegetable, which means they pack tons of flavor underneath their rugged exterior.

Why They're Healthy: Think of beets as red spinach. Just like Popeye's powerfood, this crimson vegetable is one of the best sources of both folate and betaine. These two nutrients work together to lower your blood levels of homocysteine, an inflammatory compound that can damage your arteries and increase your risk of heart disease. Plus, the natural pigments -- called betacyanins -- that give beets their color have been proved to be potent cancer fighters in laboratory mice. (Here are 8 More Ways to Cancer-Proof Your Body.)

How to Eat Them: Fresh and raw, not from a jar. Heating beets actually decreases their antioxidant power. For a simple single-serving salad, wash and peel one beet, and then grate it on the widest blade of a box grater. Toss with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the juice of half a lemon.

You can eat the leaves and stems, which are also packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Simply cut off the stems just below the point where the leaves start, and wash thoroughly. They're now ready to be used in a salad. Or, for a side dish, sauté the leaves, along with a minced clove of garlic and a tablespoon of olive oil, in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Cook until the leaves are wilted and the stems are tender. Season with salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice, and sprinkle with fresh Parmesan cheese.

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Rev your metabolic engine with a waist-trimming exercise called the lawnmower pull. It's a variation of the classic dumbbell row -- so it works the muscles of your back and arms. But because it gets your whole body into the movement and sky-rockets your heart rate, it's also a fantastic exercise for burning fat and improving your overall fitness, says fitness expert B.J. Gaddour, C.S.C.S.

Watch the video to see how to do the lawnmower pull with perfect form. A great approach to using: Do as many reps as you can (with perfect form) for 20 seconds on one side, then immediately go for 20 seconds on the other side.

And for an incredible routine that uses the lawnmower pull and 9 other cool new exercises, check out the Men's Health Ultimate Boot Camp Workout. By moving you through four cycles of 10 exercises at a blistering pace, it'll help you burn far more calories per minute than a typical weight-training or aerobic workout. Plus, it works every one of your muscles, from head to toe.

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Man or woman, everyone needs to train their shoulders. For men, having big, broad shoulders shows strength and masculinity. For women, toned and shapely shoulders are just sexy. When women wear dresses or tank tops, their shoulders are always exposed, so it's important they incorporate a shoulder workout into their routine. Strong shoulders improve your posture and just give you an overall better look in your whole physique.

The shoulder, also called the deltoid, is pretty much a big ball-and-socket joint. You shoulders consist of the anterior deltoid, lateral deltoid and posterior deltoid. To get big, shapely shoulders, you must work out each part of the deltoid. The anterior deltoid is located in the front of the shoulder. The lateral deltoids are the located on the sides of the shoulder and the posterior deltoid, as I'm sure you guessed, is located in the back of the shoulder.

Before beginning these shoulder exercises, it's important to warm up. Perform 10-15 minutes of light cardio, then do some dynamic stretches focusing on the shoulders.

Arm Swings. Stand up tall with your back straight and shoulders back. Hold both of your arms out at your side a little lower than shoulder height. Slowly begin to swing your arms in front of your body, as if you were to hug yourself. Repeat this motion continuously for about 20-30 seconds.

Arm Circles. Standing up straight, place your hands on your shoulders. Keeping your elbows bent, begin rotating your shoulders in a circular motion in one direction. Repeat this movement for a couple of reps and reverse the direction.

1. Shoulder Press. This move focuses on your anterior deltoid. The secondary muscle working is your lateral deltoid. This move can be done standing, but if you are lifting heavier, it is recommended to perform it sitting with a back support.

To perform this exercise: Grab a set of dumbbells and sit in the chair with your feet flat on the floor and your back straight and shoulders tall. Bring the dumbbells up to a little more than shoulder height keeping your wrists facing out. Press the dumbbells up until your arms are extended overhead exhaling as you push up. Inhale as you slowly bring the dumbbells back down to shoulder height. Continue this move for the desired number of reps. It is important to keep your back straight and shoulders up. Try not to arch your back too much beyond what's natural.

2. Anterior Raises. The anterior raise focuses solely on the anterior deltoid. All you need is a set of dumbbells. This move is difficult so it is recommended to choose a weight that is a little lighter than what you would lift for the shoulder press.

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"I used to be able to do that when I was your age."

It's a phrase you've undoubtedly heard countless times. Heck, many of you have probably uttered a similar line more times than you'd like to admit.

The aging process can be a hard thing to accept. Our bodies make it easier to store fat as we start to lose muscle. Aches and pains that didn't exist 10 years ago occur on a frequent basis.

But it doesn't have to be that way. We're all going to go down someday, but why go down without a fight? With the right training approach, your athletic prime could be in front of you, rather than a speck in the rear-view mirror.

"We've seen research on every age group, from children to men and women in their 90s, and it's clear that you can get stronger at any age," says Lou Schuler, co-author of the new book The New Rules of Lifting for Life.

"That's pretty well-established. What's less well known is that strength is directly correlated to longevity. It almost doesn't matter what type of strength is being measured -- abs, thighs, grip. The strongest people live the longest. So no matter what age you are, being even a little stronger is always better.

"The great thing about strength training is that it addresses most of the major problems that sneak up on us as we get older. The average man or woman will lose about 1 percent of their muscle mass per year, starting in middle age. With muscle goes a lot of stuff we rarely think about -- the thickness and strength of our tendons and ligaments, the size of our bones, the number of muscle fibers and nerves we can call on when we need them."

But don't blindly dash off to the gym just yet in your newfound quest to be the oldest living person. You have to train intelligently; focusing on stability and mobility in the areas you need it most, and total body strength. Strength that comes from lifting relatively heavy weights -- that means you, ladies -- and for the guys, total-body workouts that don't involve 15 different sets of arm exercises.

"Middle-aged and older women think their bones will shatter if they pick up a weight that's heavier than their purse. There's nothing stranger than seeing a woman do a bench press or bent-over row with a dumbbell that's smaller than her forearm," Schuler says.

"Then you have the guy with a 40-inch waist who comes into the gym and spends the first half-hour working on his arms. Those are the only exercises he can do with weights that seem manly enough for him. First of all, what a total freaking waste of time. Here's a guy with a body that, more than anything, needs exercise. It needs to move. And what's he doing? He's sitting on a bench, trying to move nothing but his elbow joints."

We need that stability most in our midsections -- namely our abdominals and lower back -- which are abused daily when we sit in our cars, at our desks, and in front of the television. We need the mobility in areas like our hips and shoulders, which also suffer greatly during our prolonged periods of sitting down. And what's the best antidote for sitting down? Standing up -- and Schuler's co-author Alwyn Cosgrove incorporates that premise frequently.

"Sitting for hours at a time is probably the most dangerous thing we do on a daily basis," Schuler says. "But when people go to the gym, young or old, what do they do? They sit. They sit on recumbent bikes, they sit down to do cable rows and lat pulldowns, they sit on benches to do shoulder presses. In between sets, they sit some more.

"In Alwyn's workouts, you don't sit. If you're going to do a lat pulldown, you're either kneeling or standing. Same with a cable row. It's a great exercise when you stand up to do it. You have to brace the muscles in your core to maintain your balance and posture. Not only does that make it tougher, it keeps you on your feet."

And it may make you the last one standing.

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Maybe professional wrestling isn't real, but the impact its athletes can have on people isn't limited by its legitimacy. Enter Diamond Dallas Page, a former WCW, WWF/WWE and TNA star, who has transformed himself in a fitness and wellness guru at age 56. Spurred on by "Power Yoga," Page went from battered and bruised to bouncing with life and flexibility and has continued to spread the word.

That word reached Arthur Boorman, who was a disabled veteran from the Gulf War that had been told he would never be able to walk under his own power ever again. Then he read an article about Page's success, and started doing Page's workout (DDP Yoga). The transformation documented below changed Boorman's life, and has already inspired over 1.5 million YouTube views.

Just another testament to the power of yoga, and how just because one part of your life ends, it doesn't mean another greater part can't begin.

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If you're looking to stay healthy and have a lean, muscular physique, you have to lift weights or do some sort of resistance training. This just goes without saying. But if you're lifting weights too often and not letting your body fully recover from workouts, you're actually doing more harm than good. Overtraining your body can lead to muscle loss, and who wants to put themselves through an arduous workout just to lose muscle. Nobody, right?

How often should you lift?
Most fitness experts will tell you that you should be hitting the gym 2-3 times per week to maintain muscle mass and to maximize gains. While this is generally good advice the fact of the matter is every body is different. Everybody is different and every body is different. Some people have a quicker recovery times than others and are able to get back to the gym faster. Most people though usually require a couple of days to rest before they are fully capable of pumping iron at their 100 percent maximum effort.

Resting means getting the right amount of sleep and taking in the necessary amount of calories to help those overworked muscle fibers heal. It also means not over-stressing the body by engaging in high impact activities that hamper recovery time. Going to the gym to run on the treadmill or ride the stationary bike or even taking a fitness class can be done, though. It all depends on how you feel. If it has been a couple of days and you’re still kind of sore from your last weightlifting session than give it another day. Your body will thank you and respond accordingly the next time you hit the weights.

Dangers Of Overtraining
We are living in the fattest of times. Almost 70 percent of the population can be classified as overweight or obese. People are getting fatter, exercising less and eating more than they ever have at any time in our civilization's history. So how can exercise possibly be a bad thing when it's compared to such startlingly negative statistics? If anything people should be going out of their way to exercise as much as they can, right? Wrong.

Like everything else exercise should be done in moderation. This is especially true when it comes to lifting weights. Too much of it and you could actually be doing more harm to your body than if you didn't exercise at all. Below are some signs that you might be overtraining your body.

Signs Of Overtraining
1) You're failing to lift the same amount of weight that you usually lift at the gym: If you're used to benching 225 pounds at 8 reps/3 sets and those numbers are dropping, it can be a sign of overtraining. If you can't knock out those 40-pound dumbbell curls like you used to, it could indicate overtraining. Obviously you want to go to the gym to get bigger and stronger and see your numbers increase at each session. But if you're regressing, it might be time cut back on the weightlifting.

2) If your joints, bones and limbs hurt, it can indicate overtraining: After you have lifted weights something called Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) occurs. This is the time period before you start feeling those sore muscles that you have so tirelessly worked on in the gym. But DOMS is a good thing because it means you have broken those muscle fibers down and and now they have to build themselves up bigger and stronger than before. But when that soreness becomes a constant, nagging thing and it is affecting your subsequent workouts, it could mean you’re overtraining.

3) One of the best things about working out and lifting weights is the feeling you get after a grueling, intense session. It's that rush of endorphins you get that keeps you feeling good for hours even days and keeps you coming back for more. Having that feeling and seeing your muscles grow and respond with each and every workout.

But if you start feeling moody as if there's a dark cloud over your head after each workout that could mean you're overdoing it. There is a fine line between lifting weights until failure and failure to be able to lift. You should be somewhat motivated to want to hit the gym for your next session. If you're not and your grumpy, grouchy, achy and tired all the time than you are going to have to reassess your workout regimen and schedule.

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Dual Fit


Lifting is great and some people enjoy the soreness they feel the next day after an intense workout while others really can't stand it -- especially if they did a crazy leg workout. But you know the phrase: You can feel sore or you can feel sorry. Feeling sore can offer a sense of achievement. Still, it's important to recover from many long training sessions, so try incorporating the foods below to recuperate more quickly.

Why Do I Feel Sore? Many people feel the soreness but aren't sure where the pain comes from. The question that I get most often is, "How come I feel sore the day after, but not that same day?" The answer is Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS). So what causes this? When you work out, you are creating tiny tears in your muscles. This is normally a result of high intensity exercises such as heavy lifting or sprinting. Your muscles then want to recover, so they begin to heal themselves. Consuming an adequate amount of protein and nutrients, while giving your body enough time to rest helps accomplish this; and your muscles are built during this phase. That's why recovery days are very important.

1) Whole Grain Cereal: You may have heard that you should eat carbs before a workout, which is true, but you should also consume them after as well. Carbohydrates can help your body fight the fatigue that it feels after a workout by restoring your glycogen stores. When you exercise, you are using up all of your glycogen stores (or energy stores.) It's really important to replenish them after a workout so that you do not experience that sleepy feeling. Any carbohydrate snack will do but whole grains are always the best choice.

2) Cherries: Cherries are kind of like a magical fruit. They have many anti-inflammatory properties, which are really important for relieving muscle soreness. The antioxidant that gives cherries this healing ability is called anthocyanins. Many athletes consume tart cherry juice prior to workouts for this reason. Instead of popping that ibuprofen or Advil, reach for some nice, fresh cherries or cherry juice instead.

3) Nuts: Walnuts, almonds, brazil nuts -- whatever kind of nuts you want. All kinds of nuts are very high in Vitamin E. This vitamin has muscle strengthening powers which will ultimately help to fight muscle soreness. Once you begin to get stronger, you will notice that you are not as sore as you were when you first began training. When you have been training for a while, your muscles are stronger and you don’t tear the muscle as much as you did in the beginning. Less tears equals less soreness. Vitamin E also helps repair the damage that was done to the muscle tissue. Eat foods high in Vitamin E, like nuts, to help build that muscle strength…and keep training.

4) Berries: Berries such as strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries all contain antioxidants called polyphenols. These antioxidants are what protect your cells against damage. Aside from their ability to reduce muscle pain, they also help protect against all the other damages that can be done to our cells that can cause cancer. Generally, the darker the berry, the more antioxidants it contains so try to eat dark berries such as blackberries and blueberries. They are a healthy and delicious snack. You can even throw them into your protein shake for an added bonus.

5) Salmon: Fish in general is loaded with protein and a ton of essential fatty acids. Fatty acids help to reduce inflammation which in turn fights muscle soreness. Not a fan of fish? Take a fish oil supplement.

6) Eggs: Particularly egg yolks. Ignore the cholesterol factor. Eggs are high in protein and Vitamin D. Both of these two things help fight muscle soreness and aid in muscle growth. Vitamin D has become one of the biggest deficiencies in the American diet. It is really important to consume foods high in this vitamin, especially to help reduce muscle pain. Many people tend to get rid of the yolk of the egg because of the added cholesterol and calories but those calories in the yolk are all really good calories. They provide vitamin D and protein. Eat the whole egg. If you do have high cholesterol, try to limit yourself to a couple whole eggs a week and consume Vitamin D fortified low fat milk.

Overview: All of these foods are high in many nutrients and vitamins that your body needs on a daily basis in order to sustain life. They all have the ability to reduce muscle soreness and inflammation so it's important to include them in your diet. Now, they aren't really "super" foods. If you have sore muscles and eat some eggs, you aren't going to automatically feel better but they will aid in the healing process. Aside from getting the right nutrients, it's important to allow yourself some rest. Taking one to two days a week off heavy training will be very beneficial for body. If you are an exercise freak and need to get to the gym, take it easy. Do some light cardio or lift lighter. You really only experience soreness when you push yourself to your limits.

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