Basic Knowledge – part I

Basic Knowledge – part I

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Working out is a must whether your goal is to gain muscle or to lose weight. Without working out, NOTHING works. There are no magic tricks, and there are no products that work without training.


Weight Training

The point of a workout is to stimulate muscles to take up more nutrients. Due to workout stimulation, the carbohydrate stores (called glycogen) in the stimulated muscle become depleted because it is burned away as fuel. The protein structure receives damage as well. Therefore, protein (amino acid) and glycogen deficiency occur in that muscle. Nutrient uptake begins right after the workout is over, that’s why it’s so important to have good nutrition. Due to workout load, the muscle begins to compensate and it takes up more nutrients than it lost. The more nutrients (the more protein is incorporated and the more carbohydrates the muscles store) in the muscles, the bigger they will become. To achieve this, one has to increase the workload in the long run – bigger and bigger weights, higher intensity.

Aerobic cardio (LISS)

A form of exercise that simultaneously moves the bigger muscles – the legs are the foundation of the movement – but with such low intensity that it does not create near as much muscle stimulus and glycogen depletion in the muscles as weight training. The essence of the process is steady, monotonous exercise, eg. higher-paced walking with a consistent tempo. That is why aerobic cardio is also known as LISS cardio, where LISS stands for Low-Intensity Steady State cardio. When doing this type of cardio, the body quickly starts to use body fat as a source of fuel. Because there’s time for the time-consuming aerobic processes (tearing down the fats into fatty acids) and there is no rapid, intensive and sudden muscle work.

One has to set the workload that the heart rate does not exceed 130 beats per minute. If the pulse is higher than this, the exercise does not fall in the category of LISS cardio. This is the fat-burning exercise. We call aerobic cardio walking on a treadmill or by foot, running (only for the advanced athletes whose pulse is not increased easily), elliptical trainer, bicycle, etc.


Based on its form, it is the same as LISS cardio, but here the muscles have to work harder due to higher heart rates, therefore the body cannot use fat as fuel (slowly). This type of exercise improves one’s endurance. Cardio is advised for individuals who don’t lift weights and don’t care about muscle loss as much as weight-lifters because, for weight-lifters, cardio can cause muscle loss easily.

Cardio is not near as effective as weight training combined with LISS cardio.


Muscle growth occurs during the time of recovery when we are resting. Following an intense workout, this process can take 48 hours to up to a week. Usually, when you have muscle soreness, the muscle has not fully regenerated yet and should not be stimulated. The job of beginners is to learn how to train intensively, and take adequate rest at the same time. A minimum of 8 hours of sleep is a basic requirement.


It is required before every weight training. Consists of 5-10 minutes of LISS cardio on any cardio machine and gymnastics (ankle circles, shoulder circles, etc.). On top of this, one should do 1-3 easy „warm-up sets” before working on any big muscle groups, even separately before the actual exercises. The warm-up serves the increase of blood pressure, the warm-up of joints and the opening of capillaries, which is all required for strenuous physical activity. It also prepares the nervous system for the big workload. With proper warm-up, one can prevent joint wear and tear, muscle tear and similar injuries from happening.


The „difficulty level” of the workout. An intense workout means short pauses and a lot of weights. The workout of a beginner should not be intense, but slowly, over time one should strive on making the workouts more and more intense by increasing the number of weights and decreasing the rest between sets and exercises. Later more advanced techniques must come into play like forced reps, slowing down the negatives, etc. An intense training hurts, leaves you gasping for air, and fully pumps up the muscles. Not many gym-goer trains this way, but they should.

Rest time

When you are an advanced lifter, the rest between exercises should take as long as the panting decreases, and the pulse goes back to almost normal. If you’re a beginner, take 1 minute of rest between sets and exercises, as the intensity it not so high. If you stimulate a smaller muscle group (biceps, triceps, calves, etc.), rest time should take about 30 seconds. The function of rest time between sets is to give time for the nervous system to regenerate and for the muscle cells to reload their energy stores. Smaller muscles need shorter rest periods, bigger ones (back, chest) need longer.

Proper form

The proper form of doing an exercise is the basic condition of muscle stimulus. Under the term proper form, we do not mean a picture drawn in a book, as this is just a basic guideline (so that the average Joe does not try to do biceps curls with a bar hanging out from his ass) because every person is gifted with a different body structure. When the target muscle works exclusively during an exercise without the help of other muscles (except the basic compound strength exercises) and the muscle does maximal work by reaching total contraction and total stretch without swinging and jerking the body, we can talk about proper form. But be careful: the stretch of a muscle and the stretch of a join is not the same thing. You should feel the movement and the endpoint!


Whether your goal is to lose fa tor gain muscle, a special meal plan is required. The meal plan must include full meals every 3 hours, this means you have to eat at least 5-6 meals a day. (The nutrition of an average person is unsuitable for nourishing the body, it’s not a coincidence that there are so many sick people!) If our body does not receive nutrients, it turns to a so-called catabolic mode, it will burn the muscles away. Building muscle mass is IMPOSSIBLE in the absence of properly planned nutrition. Burning fat and changing body composition is IMPOSSIBLE without properly planned and carried out nutrition (yes, you have to measure the portions in the beginning gram by gram).

The necessary workout plans and meal plans:

Nutrient needs

During nutrition, you have to consume high-quality nutrients in adequate amounts. The amount and rate of these may vary according to your goals. The meal plan must contain adequate amounts and high-quality carbohydrates, proteins and fats. These are the basic macronutrient sources. Unfortunately, we cannot take in adequate amounts of micronutrients – vitamins and minerals – from natural sources because modern agriculture, environmental pollution, fertilization, fruits, and vegetables do not contain enough micronutrients. Therefore it is strongly advised to take supplements, vitamins, and mineral packs.

Protein’s role: protein is the building block of cells, including muscle cells.

Carbohydrates: Carbs are the fuel of the body. During bulking (gaining muscle) the body must be loaded with carbs to be able to build in the protein into the muscles. This is the so-called anabolic state. If the amount of carbs is not enough, proteins can be converted into fuel sources.

Fats: the fuel of aerobic activities, they operate the physiological function in the body. Fat is required to be incorporated into a meal plan. Neither carbs or proteins cannot play its role.

Nutrient sources


primary sources: chicken, turkey, fish, beef (on average, their protein content is 20%), eggs (over 10%), you should concentrate on these.

secondary sources: protein powder supplements, low-fat cheese, cottage cheese, use these as supplements.


primary sources: rice (carb content: 70%), puffed rice, oatmeal (60%)

secondary sources: cooked potatoes (20%), durum and whole wheat pasta (70%), cereals, legumes, whole wheat bread




primary sources: linseed oil, MCT, oilseeds, fish oils, olive oil (for cooking), extra virgin olive oil (for dressing)

secondary sources: saturated fats (physically all fats that are solid, animal fats, etc.) keep these sources of fat low in your diet!


Water makes up almost 80% of the human body. Therefore adequate water intake is a must. For every 20kg of the body, one should drink 1 liter of water, meaning that an 80 kg person should drink 4 liters of water a day, a 90 kg person 5, a 50 kg person 3, even if you are a woman. When dieting, it is advised to drink even more, so if you are 60 kg, drink 4 liters, especially in summer. The difference between mineral water and tap water is significant, as the latter is often contaminated and disinfected. If you’re looking for the best price/value ratio, choose cheaper mineral water.

Strive on consuming the primary nutrient sources, and supplement these with the secondary sources for a better taste.

To specify the nutrient content precisely, use our calorie sheets!


About misconceptions:

  1. You cannot „take” anything to become muscular. Without training, you won’t progress.
  2. You cannot „take” anything to become muscular. Without proper nutrition, you won’t progress.
  3. There are no magic celebrity workout plans which are better than the others.

The method: intensive weight training, with big weights, no need for more than 3 workout days a week, not even for advanced lifters because time is needed for recovery. The muscles grow due to the stimulus caused by weight training, in the presence of adequate nutrition, during the time of recovery (sleep, proper rest following the workouts for every muscle group). If you do not understand this, you won’t stand a chance in this sport!

For workout plans, click on this link!

To be continued here.

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