27 03 17

Nikki Griggs
Left: Courtesy of Nikki Griggs; Right: Jaquayan Photography

Sometimes tragedy sets us down a dark path from which we’re challenged to bounce back. In 2007, Nikki Griggs unexpectedly lost the love of her life to sudden cardiac arrest—at just 27 years old. “While grieving, I felt that I had lost all control of my life. I was drinking, smoking, and neglecting my health on every front,” she says. In 2010, weighing 151 lbs at 5’4″, “I realized that I needed to start living again, not just existing,” Griggs says. In a little over a year she dropped 30 pounds and is now a certified personal trainer and nutrition specialist.

Accentuate the positive

When she first started to get back in shape, Griggs set a goal of completing a 5K race. Her workouts at the time were split between running, jogging, and light weight training about three days a week. “I started out doing more cardio than strength training, but that began to change when I noticed that the stronger I was, the better and faster I ran, with less aches and pains.” She now hits the gym five to six days a week, for an average of two hours each visit.

Eat right for your goals

At first, Griggs was discouraged because she was running and working out but not seeing much change on the scale. She then decided to heavily alter her diet. “After doing some research, I threw out all processed and packaged food. That’s when I began seeing results,” says Griggs. She now eats five to six clean meals throughout the day. “I also switch up my diet regularly to avoid food aversions, but I don’t really track calories. I pay more attention to my daily macros,” she says.

SEE ALSO: The Transformation Meal Plan

Nikki Griggs
Chris Hayden

Train for peak physique

At the start of her fitness transformation, Griggs was running either a 5K or 10K every month. But soon she wanted a different challenge, so she signed up for her first NPC bikini competition in 2013. Since then, she’s entered 13 shows, with top-three placings in all but four of them. “I truly fell in love with the sport and the process of sculpting my ideal physique. I recently won a first place and an overall title in the figure division,” says Griggs.

Be a goal digger

Her advice to other women is, “Be a goal digger. Set SMART [Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time-bound] goals, and as you achieve them, set more.” She also recommends starting slowly. “If you are just starting out on your fitness journey, don’t try to change your entire life overnight. Start out with one or two goals, like eliminating sugary drinks from your diet and walking 30 minutes a day for three days. Once that is no longer a challenge, build upon that.”

How she does it: A typical shoulder workout

  • Warmup: DB External Rotation 3×12
  • DB Military Press 4×10
  • Cable/DB Front Raise 4×12
  • Cable/DB Lateral Raise 4×12 Rear-delt DB Flye 4×12
  • Barbell Upright Row 4×10

SEE ALSO: The 12 Weeks to a Competition Body Workout Plan

Source: Muscle

24 03 17
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Nestled between the mountains, the ocean, and the homebase of tech titans like Amazon, Microsoft, and Boeing, Seattle is full of contradictions. While busy workers often stress their brains more than their biceps, easy access to the great outdoors encourages all those engineers and programmers to paddle, hike, and climb in their free time. A year of temperate weather—never blazing hot, hardly ever freezing—means there’s no down season. Seattle is relatively young, with its highest concentration of residents between ages 25 and 34, but all ages like to get out and play, even on those Northwest rainy days.

Gyms are scattered throughout the city, but just as often residents take to the water on Lake Union, Lake Washington, and in the Puget Sounds to row, sail, and paddleboard. Nearby mountains and trails are havens for hikers and trail runners, and the paved BurkeGilman Trail, which travels from Ballard all the way east to the wineries of Woodinville, is often crowded with runners, walkers, and bikers.

SEE ALSO: How Trail Running Benefits Different Types Of Athletes​

Local is the watchword in Seattle, where the city’s great access to seafood and produce makes for healthy farmers markets and thoughtful chefs. Though Pike Place Market, the city’s famous hub, sells its share of fresh foods, locals flock to the weekly Ballard Farmers Market to fill their pantries with crisp veggies from local farms and prepared foods. The city hosts a number of groceries and co-ops that focus on fresh, healthy food including Metropolitan Market, PCC Natural Markets, and Portland’s newly-introduced New Seasons. When eating out, Seattle diners can find all-local cuisine at Local 360 (the majority of ingredients come from within 360 miles), the fine-dining Sitka & Spruce, or longtime vegetarian spot Cafe Flora.

SEE ALSO: Fittest Cities in America: Minneapolis 

5 fun, fit things to do in: Seattle

  1. Grab a paddle and kayak or try yoga paddleboarding on Lake Union.
  2. Lace up for a trail run or hike at nearby Cougar Mountain.
  3. Drop in for a WOD at Level4 CrossFit Seattle, billed as the first CrossFit affiliate in the U.S. 
  4. Go for an indoor climb at Seattle Bouldering Project, which has more than 35,000-square-feet of climbing space. 
  5. Face off against an opponent at Krav Maga Seattle, which mixes hanging out with high kicks. 

Source: Muscle

24 03 17

Boy, do we have a prize for you! You could win a trip to this year’s Mr. Olympia, which takes place Sept. 14–17 in Las Vegas. The winning package includes reserved VIP seating, early entry to the Olympia Weekend Expo, early entry to Meet the Olympians, hotel, airfare, and more! What more could any bodybuilding fan look for?

Enter Now for the Chance to Win!

– Select -AlabamaAlaskaAmerican SamoaArizonaArkansasCaliforniaColoradoConnecticutDelawareDistrict of ColumbiaFloridaGeorgiaGuamHawaiiIdahoIllinoisIndianaIowaKansasKentuckyLouisianaMaineMarshall IslandsMarylandMassachusettsMichiganMinnesotaMississippiMissouriMontanaNebraskaNevadaNew HampshireNew JerseyNew MexicoNew YorkNorth CarolinaNorth DakotaNorthern Marianas IslandsOhioOklahomaOregonPalauPennsylvaniaPuerto RicoRhode IslandSouth CarolinaSouth DakotaTennesseeTexasUtahVermontVirgin IslandsVirginiaWashingtonWest VirginiaWisconsinWyoming


1. How To Enter: Beginning at 12:01 a.m. (EST) on March 24, 2017, visit www.muscleandfitness.com/giveaways and follow the Mr. Olympia Sweepstakes directions. Each entry must contain answers to the questions posed to qualify for the drawing. All entries must be received no later than 11:59 p.m. (EST) on April 24, 2017. Only one internet entry per person and per e-mail address per week will be accepted. Subsequent entries will be disqualified. Subsequent attempts made by the same individual to submit multiple internet entries by using multiple e-mail addresses or otherwise will be disqualified. In the event of a dispute over the identity of an online entrant, entry will be deemed submitted by the authorized account holder of the e-mail address associated with the entry. Authorized account holder is defined as the person assigned to an e-mail address by an Internet access provider, on-line service provider or other organization responsible for assigning e-mail addresses. All materials submitted become the property of Nutrivo, LLC/Rule 1 (“Sponsor”) and will not be returned.

 2.Winner Selection / Random Drawing: Winners will be selected in a random drawing to be held on or about May 15, 2017, from among all eligible entries that are complete. The random drawing will be conducted by representatives from Sponsor whose decisions are final and binding in all respects relating to this Sweepstakes. Odds of winning a Prize depend upon the total number of eligible entries received.

3. Prizes:• One (1) grand prize winner will receive a VIP trip to the 2017 Olympia Weekend in Las Vegas, valued at $3,000, including:
o Round trip airfare for two (maximum $500.00 per person)
o Two (2) Olympia Weekend Silver V.I.P. packages, including reserved seating at judging and finals, victory gala, meet-and-greet, press conference, and seminar access, and more ($1,470.50 value)
o Hotel accommodations for two nights (maximum $250 per night)The total prize value of this sweepstakes is $3,000.

4. Sweepstakes is open only to legal residents of the fifty (50) United States and the District of Columbia, 21 years or older. Employees of Sponsor, American Media, Inc., or each of their affiliates, subsidiaries, advertising or promotion agencies, and their immediate family members and/or those living in the same household of each are not eligible. Void in Puerto Rico, Canada, and where prohibited or restricted by law. No substitution or transfer of Prize is permitted. All federal, state and local taxes and any expenses relating to the acceptance and use of a Prize are the sole responsibility of each Winner. All federal, state and local laws apply.

5. Potential Winners must submit an Affidavit of Eligibility / Release of Liability / Prize Acceptance Form within seven (7) business days of attempted notification. If any Prize or affidavit or release is returned to Sponsor as undeliverable or if Sponsor does not receive a response from any potential Winner within seven (7) business days of attempted notification, such Winner may be disqualified and such Prize will be awarded to an alternate Winner. Non-compliance shall result in disqualification and award of Prize to an alternate Winner. By accepting Prize, Winners consent that Sponsor or American Media, Inc. may use the Winners’ names, photographs, or other likenesses, the Winners’ hometown and biographical information, statements concerning the contest entry, or Sponsors’ products without compensation for purposes of advertising, promotion, and merchandising, and grant all rights to edit or modify and to publish and copyright it. Winners must also make themselves available to travel at Sponsor’s expense for promotional purposes. By accepting Prize, Winners agree to hold Sponsor, American Media, Inc., and each of their respective directors, officers, employees, and assigns, harmless against any and all claims and liability arising out of Prize. Winners assume all liability for any injury or damage caused, or claimed to be caused, by participating in this Sweepstakes. By participating in this Sweepstakes, entrants agree to abide by and be bound by these Official Rules, and understand that the Sweepstakes results are final in all respects. By participating in this Sweepstakes, entrants agree to hold Sponsor American Media, Inc., and each of their respective directors, officers, employees, and assigns, harmless against any and all claims and liability arising out of Prize. Entrant is responsible for all online charges incurred by Internet Service Provider.

6. Neither Sponsor, American Media, Inc., any telephone network, nor service providers are responsible for incorrect or inaccurate transcription of entry information, or for any human error, technical malfunctions, lost/delayed data transmission, omission, interruption, deletion, defect, line failures or any telephone network, computer equipment, software, inability to access any Web site or on-line service, or any other error or malfunction, or late, lost, illegible, incomplete damaged, postage-due, mutilated or misdirected entries or entries not properly forwarded to Sponsor or American Media, Inc. Entry materials that have been tampered with or altered are void. If the judges determine, in their sole discretion, that there is any suspected or actual electronic tampering with the Sweepstakes or if technical difficulties compromise the integrity of the Sweepstakes, the judges reserve the right to void the entries at issue and conduct a random drawing to award the Prize using all eligible entries received as of the termination date. If the Sweepstakes is terminated due to tampering or technical difficulties prior to its expiration date, notice will be posted at www.muscleandfitness.com. Any attempt to deliberately damage the content or operation of this Sweepstakes is unlawful and subject to legal action.
NOTE: Internet entry must be made by the entrant, only at the authorized website address of www.muscleandfitness.com. Entries made by any other individual or entity and/or originating at any other Internet website or e-mail address, including but not limited to commercial contest subscription notification and/or entering service sites, will be declared invalid and as such ruled ineligible for this contest.

7. Opt-In: Any information entrants provide to the Sponsor or American Media, Inc. will be used to communicate with entrant in relation to these Sweepstakes. Sponsor or American Media, Inc. may also share this information with third parties who are participating in this program. Sponsor, American Media, Inc., or third parties may contact entrants at a future date about services the Sponsor or American Media, Inc. believes entrants will find of interest.

8. For the name of the Winners, mail a self-addressed, stamped envelope to: M&F/Rule 1 Giveaway; 4 New York Plaza, 4th Floor, New York, NY 10004. Requests must be received by June 15, 2017. Residents of Vermont may omit return postage.

9. This Sweepstakes is sponsored by Nutrivo, LLC, 1785 N Edgelawn Dr, Aurora, IL 60506.


Source: Muscle

24 03 17

Woman Using Battle ropes


Turns out your stick-to-itness at the gym may actually help change the way your brain exercises control in other areas of your life. New research published in Frontiers in Neuroscience found that living a healthier lifestyle may increase executive function in the brain—the part that has the ability to exert self-control and set and achieve goals, as well as resist temptation and solve problems.

Scientists analyzed data collected from 4,555 adults via the “English Longitudinal Study of Aging.” They concluded that exercise and executive function were closely interlinked, even after controlling for other factors like demographics and health characteristics.

Those with poor executive function had subsequent decreases in participation in physical activity, while older adults who took part in sports or other forms of exercise had higher levels of executive function over time. Physical activity and executive function work together to create a positive feedback loop. 

SEE ALSO: What to Do When You Miss a Day of Training

Source: Muscle

24 03 17

Tying running sneakers


Running may be associated with sore knees, but a study published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology says otherwise. Researchers out of Brigham Young University suggest running may reduce inflammation in joints, particularly in your knees, and can delay the development of osteoarthritis.

Researchers measured inflammation markers in knee joint fluid both before and after running. In participants aged 18-35, the concentration of those markers had actually decreased after 30 minutes of running. 

“What we now know is that for young, healthy individuals exercise creates an anti-inflammatory environment that may be beneficial in terms of long-term joint health,” study lead author Robert Hyldahl, BYU assistant professor of exercise science, told BYU News.

SEE ALSO: 10 Tips for Endurance Training

Source: Muscle

23 03 17

Relieve Pain More Safely With Celecoxib

John Moore / Getty Images

For pain relief, there’s one more aid you can now count on. A 10-year study of more than 24,000 patients found celecoxib (sold as Celebrex) is just as safe as other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories when taken as a prescription.

The medication had been called into question for possible heart risks. “Overall, celecoxib is not any riskier than naproxen and ibuprofen,” says study author Elaine Husni, M.D., with the Cleveland Clinic. Plus, the medication also caused a lower rate of ulcers and GI bleeding than ibuprofen or naproxen.

SEE ALSO: 5 Natural Ways to Alleviate Allergies

Source: Muscle

23 03 17

Chicken Wings In Frying Pan


1. Avocado Oil

It’s relatively high smoke point, flavor, and health benefits make avocado oil a top choice, according to Jenna Werner, R.D. Whether you’re searing meats or fighting a dry scalp, avocado oil is low in saturated fats and high in the monounsaturated fats that protect your heart. $18, avohaus.net

2. Grape-Seed Oil

High in vitamin E, which helps open up blood vessels for better flow, grape-seed oil is a great emulsifier for mayos, but don’t cook with it. It’s made up of mostly polyunsaturated fats, which produce free radicals when heated. $9, napavalleynaturals.com

3. Animal Fat

The only oil with cholesterol, animal fats are still rich in vitamins A, D, E, and K, and the rendered and clarified fats add a depth of flavor that is unmatched by other oils. For crispy potatoes, toss them in beef tallow before roasting. $9, epicbar.com

SEE ALSO: A Guide to Heart-Healthy Oils

4. Flaxseed Oil

An excellent source of chemicals called lignans, which may help prevent cancer. Due to its low smoking point and polyunsaturated fatty acid content, don’t cook with it; use as a dressing. Flaxseed also works as a terrific seasoner for cast-iron skillets. $17, bmausa.com

5. Coconut Oil

A rich source of saturated fat, which increases “good” HDL cholesterol (but also “bad” LDL), it’s made of medium-chain fatty acids that aren’t as harmful as animal fat. Coconut oil is great for sautéing vegetables or as a shaving-cream substitute.$5, traderjoes.com

Source: Muscle

23 03 17

How to Tell if You Need Human Growth Hormone

Edgar Artiga

Hands up if any of the following describes how you feel or look lately: Your energy and vitality have been drooping: you’ve seen an unexplained increase in body fat (“What’s that inner tube doing under my shirt?”); you’ve lost muscle mass and/or strength; you have less endurance than usual; the best way to describe your libido would be “nap time at a nursing home.”

If you raised your hand at least twice, you may have a deficiency in human growth hormone. Nicknamed the “wonder hormone,” human growth hormone — also called GH or HGH — is a peptide hormone that’s produced in the pituitary gland at the base of the brain and plays a crucial role in everything from body height, brain function, and skin health to bone density, fat loss, and muscle growth.

Unfortunately, GH production peaks shortly after puberty, then goes on a steady — and, sometimes, rapid — downhill slide from there.

Are you being shorted (so to speak) in the GH department? Let’s find out.

HGH: What’s the Big Deal?

As its name implies, GH is responsible for cell growth and regeneration. It’s crucial for building muscle mass and bone density, but it also plays a major role in keeping all human tissue healthy, including that of the brain and other vital organs. It can even boost your sex drive.

When secreted, GH stays active in the bloodstream for mere minutes — just long enough for the liver to convert it into growth factors, the most crucial of which is insulin-like growth factor 1, or IGF-1. The main driver of tissue growth, IGF-1 synthesizes amino acids and metabolizes fat and protein, which build muscle and burn fat.

In short, if you’re not hacking it performance-wise, GH could be the culprit.

Get an HGH Heads Up

Clinical tests are needed to confirm a GH deficiency, but our short quiz [TK URL] can give you an idea of your levels right now. If you find they’re low, there are various lines of attack you can take:

For one, work on improving your sleep quality — it’s then that your body secretes the highest amount of growth hormone. 

After that comes exercise. A review of studies published in the journal Sports Medicine found that HIIT and resistance training stimulate GH production.

Give Yourself a Kick in the Abs

Whether you’re hoping HGH will help you muscle up, slim down, sleep sounder, or get it on better, an efficient way to raise GH levels is with a supplement like Growth Factor-9.

Made by Novex Biotech, Growth Factor-9 is the only growth hormone supplement clinically tested to increase serum GH up to 682% in two hours. This complex GH antecedent contains a patented ratio of growth-hormone-stimulating ingredients extensively vetted by researchers at a top US university. What’s more, it’s backed by four clinical trials and 13 U.S. patents.

What makes it so effective? A highly specialized ratio of critical GH-building ingredients. See, the only way to directly add more GH to our body is by injection, which is illegal in the US without a doctor’s oversight and costs thousands of dollars. It’s often abused in this way by athletes trying to gain an edge or celebrities trying to stave off the horrors of aging.

But you can naturally up your GH by supplementing with certain precursors that stimulate secretion of the hormone — they include amino acids like glutamine, lysine, and ornithine. But the timing of taking these aminos, along with the amounts, is crucial and hard to follow faithfully. Growth Factor-9, however, eliminates all of the guesswork. Packed with a proprietary combo with potent precursors, the formulation is easy to use and effective.

Take Growth Factor-9 before bed on an empty stomach. Combined with regular workouts, it can help turn your body into a GH-making machine. You may just find yourself looking and feeling younger, stronger, and more energized.

Growth Factor-9 is available at your local VitaminShoppe or GNC, or buy online at growthfactor9.com.


Source: Muscle

23 03 17

MMA Female Athletes Sparring In The Octagon


Find your fitness motivation starting to wane? Consider signing up for a workout that pits you against your peers. Research published in the journal Preventive Medicine Reports found subjects who took part in competitive workouts went to 90% more classes than those whose workouts were more individually oriented. Try kickboxing, basketball, or even running a 5K.

SEE ALSO: 5 Reasons To Add Kickboxing To Your Cross-Training




Source: Muscle