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General Bodybuilding & Fitness Questions and Answers
Page 1







Question

lee,

i'm 28 and i've just started bodybuilding. something really confuses me about my bottom clothes. what should i wear under my shorts, during workout; a brief underwear or boxer shorts? plz help me out i'm really confuses 'coz i asked different friends and they all came up with different answers, so that's why i'm sending you an e-mail to fix my problem. plz help me out. thx

imran

Answer

Hi Imran,

As for the clothes you wear while working out it all depends on what you are comfortable with. There is no set dress code so to speak. I usually just wear a t-shirt and shorts or sweat pants and brief underwear underneath. But if you prefer boxers then that's fine. The clothes really doesn't matter, just wear what you feel comfortable in.





Question

Hey Lee,

I am really thankful to you for your body building tips newsletter it has helped me a lot in gaining muscle and improving my workouts.

I have a question, many guys people in the gym are saying that the shape of the muscles and body shape in general depends on your workout routine. Is it genetics or your workout routine that determines a muscles shape.

Thanks,
Waleed

Answer

Hi Waleed,

Muscle shape is determined by your natural genetics. You can make your muscles bigger through weight training and this will help improve the look of your muscles, but you can't change the physical muscle shape.

A good example of this is evident with top level bodybuilders. They all have big muscles at this level, but some guys are more blocky and square looking, others have the rounder muscle look. This is just their natural shape and CAN NOT be changed through their workouts.

Just look at the pics I've attached below for a good example of 2 totally different shaped physiques. Jay Cutler & Flex Wheeler.

Jay Cutler & Flex Wheeler

Jay has the square blocky look. Flex has the rounder more flowing look. This is purely genetics, there is nothing that Jay could do with regards to weight training that would make his muscles look more like Flex's, and vice versa, there is nothing that Flex could do to make himself look more blocky like Jay.





Question

Lee,

Is it possible to lose muscle from doing absolutly no work outs. No other variables just your average day with not working out. Im not going to stop any time soon, I can promise you that, but I just want to know out of curiosity?

thanks,
Zach

Answer

Yes, you will lose muscle if you do not workout. You need to place a demand on your muscles in order to give them a reason to grow bigger and stronger. If you don't place any demand on them, they will get smaller and weaker.

A good example of this is with seniors. They get smaller and weaker as they get older and a big reason for this is because they get less and less active. But seniors who workout regularly are able to maintain their strength and muscle mass well into their later years.





Question

hey lee,

i just turned 18 and am only 5 foot 7 inches. i ahve just started lifting with my friend because my cross country season is over. i have ordered some insoles that supposedly help you grow and i have been doing various spinal stretches to increase my height. let's say my insoles and stretching will help me grow, would lifting 3 times a week (benching, squatting, curling, etc) and drinking a protein shake along with a little bit or creatine stunt my potential growth because i am just 18?

i know it's a long question but a reply would be greatly appreciated

Answer

Weight training does not stunt your growth. That is just a myth. You are going to grow to be a certain height based on your genetics regardless if you workout or not. Most guys will grow to be about as tall as their father or a little taller.





Question

Does marijuana have an affect on muscle growth? i heard it lowers test.? is that true?

Answer

Yes, smoking dope lowers testosterone levels. A single joint will suppress testosterone production for 3 days. So if someone were to smoke up every few days they would always be in a state of having low testosterone levels.





Question

Hey Lee.

I have a question for you, once again. This one is very important to me. I've been trying to quit smoking forever now but to no avail and everyone keeps telling me about supplements to get rid of the cravings and how depremental it is for your muscle growth. What do you think I should do about this because I keep letting myself down.

Your Fan,
Keith Smith

Answer

Hi Keith,

There are all kinds of "crutches" to help you quit smoking such as gums, patches, etc. while they may help a bit it is still going to require discipline and will power on your part until you get the whole smoking habit out of your system.

I used to smoke when I was in high school and I quit when I became serious about working out. I never used any stop smoking aids to help me either. To me my health and fitness was simply more important then the pleasure I got from smoking.

Yes, it was hard to quit and I slipped up several times, but I did quit. Now I'd never consider smoking ever again. The thought of smoking absolutely disgusts me at this stage. My advice is to simply buckle down and get tough on yourself. Don't make excuses for yourself and don't let yourself off the hook. When you slip up give yourself shit for it and eventually you'll find that the pain and disappointment of letting yourself down is just not worth the short term pleasure of smoking.





Question

I am 13 years old and I want to start weight training. But my Dad will not let me workout with weights. He says it might stunt my growth. Is this a myth or not???

Steve

Answer

Hi Steve,

Weight training does not hinder growth. That is just a myth. Most guys will grow to be about as tall as their dad, regardless if they workout with weights or not. I started weight training when I was 12 years old and I'm just as tall as my dad and all my uncles so it obviously never hindered my growth.

A properly designed strength training program can improve the strength, increase cardiorespiratory fitness, increase flexibility, improve motor fitness performance, improve body composition, increase resistance to injury, decrease the time for rehabilitation, increase sports performance, increase adherence to physical activity, and stimulate a more positive attitude.

Another benefit of strength training is that it may also help improve grades in school. Regular exercise enhances mental health and well-being. This helps to develop your ability to focus and concentrate. Many schools now offer weight training in their gym classes.

Remember that with any type of physical activity there are risks. However, the benefits of being active and fit greatly outweigh these risks. Weight training offers no greater risk than other sports or forms of physical activity. Teaching teens to be active at an early age is crucial if they are to continue living an active lifestyle in adulthood. Weight training is another option that parents and teachers should consider when promoting physical activity for teens.





Question

Hi Lee,

This is George Johnson. I wanted to ask a question... I had read somewhere that once you hit a certain age, you no longer are able to "build" more muscle, just "maintain" what you have. Is this truth or myth??

Thanks,
George

Answer

Hi George,

I'm sure there is some truth to this. I just can't picture an 80 year old man continuing to get bigger and stronger on a regular basis.

However, there have been a lot of people who have reached their peak conditioning in their 50's. Powerlifting guru, Louie Simmons, has hit his personal best lifts in his 50's (i.e. 600 lb. bench press, 900+ lb. squat, and 700+ deadlift). Masters Mr. Olympia winner Robbie Robinson has gotten into his best contest shape ever in his 40's and 50's.

So you can certainly continue to make solid gains in muscular size and strength well into your 50's.





Question

Hey Lee,

I got a new email address and i would greatly appreciate it if you could add me to your mailing list, and while i am here i would like to ask you a question. I am a wrestler in high school and i am in the 10th grade and i wrestle at the 112 lb weight class, i can bench 165 lbs and squat around 255 lbs and i was wondering if that can be considered "good". Well thanks for your time and i look forward to continue recieving your email tips.

Sincerely,
Kramer

Answer

Hi Kramer,

Your new e-mail address has been added to the bodybuilding tips newsletter. Just check your e-mail and click on the "confirmation link".

Your lifts are good, you are benching almost 1.5 times your bodyweight and squatting with over double your bodyweight. Those are very respectable lifts, especially considering that you are so young. Keep up the good work!





Question

Hi Lee,

I havent been working out lately cuz i work 6 days a week 9 to 9 but im planning to start working out in the mornings like at 8 and reach work a 9. And i just need some tips that i can use to motovate me when i wake up in the morning. Anything you can think of?

And one thing how do i gain pure mass without getting stretch marks

thanks!!!
khoe

Answer

Hi Khoe,

I find having a cup of strong coffee before my workouts helps perk me up and give me a good energy boost for my training, especially for early morning workouts.

As for stretch marks there is really nothing you can do about them. Anyone who gains a substantial amount of muscular size will get them. I've had stretch marks on my arms and chest / shoulder area when I was younger, but they have faded and are hardly noticeable now.





Question

Lee please help me I'm in a crisis here. I've been doing weights for most of this year and have been following all of your tips and advice to the letter. Right now Im on an 8-week bulk and things are looking good. Overall I have been very pleased with the way I have transformed by body thanks to your tips and those I found on the message board (ofwhich I am a member). However, there is one last thing that I am honest to god losing hours of sleep pver. Its the only thing keeping me from removing my shirt at the beach and showing everyone my newly formed chest, shoulders and arms. My cursed friggin little pot belly.

Right now Im at 13.5% bf, a milestone for me, and am looking quite lean. I just came off a 2 month cut and it seems no matter how much I worked I couldnt get my stomach to get flat even though i shed fat in that area. For years ive been walking around holding the gut in almost 24/7, and when i do hold it in my torso looks great, i get a six pack and everything. But im sick of holding it in. I want to show the real me!

I know its all my TVAs and I trained them everyweek. I would suck my belly button toward my spine and hold for 10 deep breaths. Then have a 5 second rest and repeat. I did this ten times about 3 times a week. But alas my pot belly remains in force. Please Lee tell me how do get rid of this peice of crap.

Now because Im on a bulk and eating alot Im ofcourse not expecting a fully ripped six pack. But Id give anything to get this belly to retract atleast just abit.

Is there more I could be doing for my TVAs? Ill do anything. Please man ive gotta get the girl, and sooner or later we're gonna go the beach together and the shirt is gonna come off! I gotta be ready!

Thanks alot Lee :)
Dave

Answer

Hi Dave,

Almost everyone, even pro-bodybuilders have a bit of a pot belly when they relax their stomach. The stomach is just like any muscle, when you relax, it will appear soft. And during a bulk up phase you are going to be eating more and thus your stomach will be fuller making it appear bigger.

The only way to make your stomach smaller is to get leaner. Generally, guys will have to get their bodyfat down to around 8% or less in order to get a lean trim mid-section.

Even when I'm dieted down for a bodybuilding contest and have less then 5% bodyfat, my stomach will stick out a bit if I do not consciously suck it in. Whenever you see someone with good abs, be it on the beach of a bodybuilding stage, they are tensing their abdominal muscles, they are not relaxing.





Question

Hey Lee,

My exams are approaching and I may have to stop my workouts for 1 or 2 months. What should I do to keep myself in good shape? Should continue to take the suplements or should I stop them?

Alex

Answer

Hi Alex,

The quick and simple answer is you will NOT stay in good shape if you stop working out for 2 months. You'll gain bodyfat, lose lean muscle, and just feel disappointed with yourself.

Avoid taking the "all or nothing" approach (i.e. if I can't workout at 100%, then I'm not going to workout at all). Just cut back on your training frequency. You can get a decent workout done in less then an hour. If you did just 2 workouts per week this would only take you a few hours per week (this is factoring in travel time to the gym). This is a much better approach and will help you maintain the majority of your muscle size and strength. Even if you can only manage time for 1 total body workout per week, youíll be far better off then stopping your workouts entirely.

Once your exams are over you can go back to a more serious training routine.





Question

I'm 6'4" and can beat all of my friends in man to man contests of strength, whether it be arm-wrestling, pushing each other, trying to hold each other's arms still, etc. However, i find that they can rep more in every excersize, be it bench presses, curls, or whatever. Does a taller person, with their longer arms, have to do more work to do full extensions?

Answer

It just comes down to leverage. A shorter person has less distance to move the weight in exercises like bench presses, squats, curls, etc. Since your limbs are longer the same weight will feel heavier due to the longer leverage. But like you said being tall does have advantages, you are better at other sports / activities then your shorter friends, even though they may be able to lift more in the gym.





Question

Hi Lee,

I've got a question for ya. You know, people say that bodybuilding is an expensive thing. Well I think its expensive if one has other needs in life. Anyways those people were right because as u know, there lesser jobs globaly people get lesser and lesser salaries in thier jobs while working full time.

How is one gonna be successful in bodybuilding in these difficult situations? Yes I know that its bot impossible but u see the body cant exercise late at night after work? well can it?

Anyways, I'm in a situation whether I'm gonna stay in this country or not....u know....migration stuff! But I have this 'dream' of being successful in bodybuilding. I'm always hit by poeple saying that "oh u need the drugs buddy, but they'll cost u fortune", or "you're as thin as a match stick, I dont think u have the genetix" or just poeple underestimating my knowledge and intelligence. It feels really bad when poeple tell me these things, what am I gonna do?

Regards
Hans (19 yrs)

Answer

Hi Hans,

I understand exactly what you are going through. When I was 19 I was going to collage full time and I had very little money. I just worked out in my basement with a simple home gym set up that my dad gave me. I never had money for gym memberships, supplements, or any of that stuff.

Just make the best of your current situation. You can workout at anytime and still make great progress. Right now due to my work schedule I weight train between 8:00 and 10:00 pm at night and this hasnít hindered my training progress.

Bodybuilding doesnít have to be as expensive as people make it out to be. If you canít afford to use supplements, then donít use them. It is as simple as that. You can still make good progress by just working out consistently and eating lots of good wholesome food.





Question

I want to know if there's any big pro's out there who are hardgainers.

Answer

All pro bodybuilders have good genetics for building muscle. Just like virtually all pro basketball players are over 6 feet tall.

It is very unlikely for someone to be able to make it to the pro levels of any sport without having good genetics for that sport. Now that doesnít mean that the most genetically gifted person will be the best. Hard work, mind set, determination, persistence, etc. all are major factors in achieving success.





Question

Hi Lee,

I just found your site and I like it a lot. I just started weightlifting for the first time in a long time I am 18 and I just don't know how to gain any muscle. I use to work out but I got bored with it and quit I want to stick to it this time is there anything I can do to stay excited about working out and how can I gain muscle in my legs,chest,arms,and abs?

Any help would be much appreciated.

Thanks,
Joe

Answer

Hi Joe,

You should get a friend to workout with as a training partner. This will help you stick to your workouts because you not only have to be at the gym for yourself, but you have to be their for your training partner as well. You can help motivate and encourage each other to improve and have a friendly competition to see who can lift the most weight, do the most reps, etc. during your workouts.

If you stick to your workouts you will see progress, it won't be instantly. But after a few months of regular workouts you will see and feel the difference in your body. When you can see the changes in your body motivation will not be a problem. You will be looking forward to each and every workout.

I have a good beginners bodybuilding article that you should check out at: http://www.leehayward.com/art5.htm





Question

is there any way to naturally increase the level of testosterone so your muscels grow quicker, in your body with out drugs and such. thanks!

Answer

Big basic compound exercises such as bench press, squats, dead lifts, shoulder press, rows, etc. that work the large muscle groups will naturally stimulate testosterone production in the body.

Also natural herbal supplements such as tribulus terrestris help increase testosterone production in the body. You can get this online at: http://totfit.safeshopper.com/31/235.htm





Question

Hi Lee,

I was hoping you could help me. I am a 38 year old female and have been lifting weights for the past ten years. I am 5'6" tall and weigh 125 lbs. My bf% is 15.2. according to some gadget they had me hold onto at the gym. About a year ago the veins on my forearms and biceps became very pronounced and bulging. This occurs all the time not just when I am lifting. I don't particularly like the way it looks and have been wearing long sleeves since then. I stopped lifting weights about six weeks ago hoping the veins will go back to the way they were a few years ago. Could you tell me if this will work? I hate to lose all my hard earned muscle but I also don't want to wear long sleeve shirts the rest of my life. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Crystal Santos

Answer

Hi Crystal,

The fact that your veins are showing in your arms is actually a good sign. This means that you are very lean. The only way to get rid of the appearance of the veins in your arms would be to get fatter and thus thicken your skin and cover the veins with a layer of bodyfat.

Personally, I would stay lean and keep working out regularly if I were you.





Question

Do you recommend those Bowflex dumbells where all you need to do to increase/decrease the weight of them is to turn the dial of them? And what are your thoughts about the Bowflex gym system? Is it any good? Because I would like to buy both products.

Answer

Bowflex is one of the best home gym machines around. They actually have a bowflex at the gym where I workout. Bowflex is a very smooth and high quality machine. I personally haven't used their db's, but they are a great idea. There is a similar home gym db available called "power blocks" they can go up to 130 lbs. per db. I believe bowflex's only go up to around 50 lbs. per db.

You can check out power blocks at: http://www.powerblock.com





Question

Is it really true that you cannot lose bodyfat and gain muscle at the same time. What do body builders when they want to get ripped, do they not work out hard? Do they miss out on gaining muscle for months on end? I dont understand. I've gained a lot of muscle weight but now that I want to loose some body fat, I can't make muscle gains? Please fill me in I don't get it. Thank you.

Answer

You can build muscle and lose bodyfat at the same time. For example, someone can follow a good weight training, cardio, and nutrition program and lose 15 lbs. of bodyfat and gain 5 lbs. of lean muscle.

But you can not effectively get bigger (heavier) and leaner at the same time, unless you are using steroids and other muscle building and fat loss drugs. The best way to get bigger and leaner is to first bulk up past the weight that you would like to be weigh lean. For example, if someone wanted to weigh 175 lbs. lean, they would have to first bulk up to about 200 lbs. and then diet back down to 175 lbs.

As for bodybuilders getting ready for a contest, they bust their ass in the gym getting in top shape. They don't take it easy when getting ready for a contest. But the main goal at this stage is fat loss, not muscle growth. In competition generally the leaner and more ripped competitors will usually beat the softer and smoother looking competitors.





Question

hey lee,

I have browsed your site for awhile and thanks to it I have learned tons of useful information. I have enclosed some before and after shots of me that are 5 monthes apart. 5 monthes of hard work apart. My goal for now is to have an aesthetic physique. However as you can see I have a large gap between my pecs and my abs arn't the best in spite of my low bodyfat. Also I'm not very vascular which I have always thought looked cool. What advice would you give me to help me reach my goal of an aesthetically pleasing physique.

Thanks in advance for your advise.

Brad

Answer

Hi Brad,

You have made great progress for just 5 months of lifting. You just need to keep focused and get bigger. As you fill out more you will look better. Build the size first, then worry about getting lean. I have a great mass building routine that you should check out called the "20 rep squat routine" With this routine you can realistically gain 10-20 lbs. of muscular bodyweight in just a couple months.





Question

Hi Lee,

I am 22 year old female. I weigh about 137 lbs and I am really interested in competing. Although I have this interest I cannot seem to be able to find any information on what class to compete in, and how many classes there are. If you could tell me the classes that women compete in that would be great. Just as a note I am 5'6, and I am so impressed with the advise that you give out. Not many people are like you anymore. Thanks alot,

Armande

Answer

Hi Armande,

Generally there are 3 weight classes in female bodybuilding.

Light weight - under 114
Middle weight - 115 - 125
Heavy weight - over 125

You need to get really lean in order to get into contest shape. Depending on your current condition you may have to diet down to either in the middle weight or even the light weight class in order to be really lean and ripped on stage.

My girlfriend was a lean 135 lbs. in the offseason (she could see her abs at this bodyweight). And she dieted down to 119 lbs. for her last contest.

You can see some pics from her last bodybuilding contest here.





Question

Dear Mr. Hayward,

How do you feel about "Bowflex"? I was thinking of buying one, for ease of use & saving space. (I already have many free weights & barbells, and a Parabody Universal machine- it doesn't fit me well though; I'm a five foot female & the aparatus is big and high). Do you think the Bowflex is an effective piece of equipment?

Thank you for your time and efforts.

P.S. Your look great and fit in you picture! -
Rina :)

Answer

Hi Rina,

Thanks for your e-mail.

The bowflex is a great piece of equipment. It is a bit expensive, but it is a good gym quality machine. Combining bowflex with free weights will be an excellent home gym set up.





Question

hi lee,

i am tall guy.and i do calf exercises to grow my calf muscles.I dont wanna grow taller more.because i dont like tall. i just wanna know that ,if i do the calf exercises do i grow more taller.I just only want to build my calf muscles.thats all. please reply me in an answer

Answer

Your height is determined by genetics, not by what exercises you do. You will not grow taller by working your calfs.





Question

Hi Lee,

I need some advice on a couple of things. I got mono last year through december-january. I got really depressed for awhile cause I couldn't lift, I even had to quit wrestling my SENIOR year! Well school has gone and since I got over mono I hit it hard, but as of lately or the last month, my motivation has plumeted. I use to be known as the "guy in school that looks like he took steroids", to the "guy who forgot how to lift". I am still a good size and get alot of approachers saying I'm big but not as much as I use to. I use to way close to 220, now i'm 195.

I recently started your bench program, and must say it has been great for my motivation. My question Lee is how do you find motivation techniques every now and again to keep you going. I find it hard to put myself in the gym, but once I do I love it, or sometimes I dog it and say okay its only 8 more sets til I can go home. To me thats just pitiful. My old self would of slapped me upside the head. I'm still a big guy, but I need my old "HARDCORE" energy. Can you help me find it? I know thats a wierd question to ask, so any help would be much appreciated.

Mark

Answer

Hi Mark,

We have all been through times when we are not as motivated as we should be about our training. Here are a few tips that you can use to help give you that much needed "kick in the ass".

Find a good training partner. Preferably someone who is stronger then you are. By having a good training partner you can help motivate and encourage each other to improve.

Get involved in some sort of competition. It can be wrestling, powerlifting, bodybuilding, football, etc. Competition brings out the best in people. You will train harder and make better progress if you are working out for a specific reason rather then just going to the gym to "keep fit". Get out and see local bodybuilding and powerlifting contests. I love to compete and I love to watch others compete. After seeing a seeing a contest I get all excited and pumped up and I can't wait to get back in the gym.

Change your workouts frequently. If you are doing a set routine and it is not working (i.e. you are not getting stronger) change it. I personally vary my workout routine every few weeks. This helps to keep your body growing and prevents boredom from doing the same thing over and over again. I have a great workout article that you should read at: http://www.leehayward.com/workout_programs/index.htm

Set some short term goals and work hard to achieve them. One goal that you can work towards over the next few weeks is to get your bodyweight over 200 lbs. again. Focus on making small gains on a regular basis. Such as adding 5 lbs. to your big lifts each month (i.e. squat, bench, dead lift). If you just did this that would add up to 60 lbs. per year.

Learn as much as you can about training and nutrition. Read books, magazines, websites, watch videos, go to seminars, etc. The more you know the more things you can apply to your own workouts to keep making steady progress.





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