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Muscle Soreness

Question: I am a beginner for the most part. I hear all this about muscle soreness the day after, but I am not really that sore the next day. Should I worry about this?

Justin Leonard: Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is nothing to worry about if you do not experience it the day of, or the day following a workout. Some people get very sore and some do not. In my opinion, there are 4 possible reasons you wouldn't experience muscle soreness following a workout: (1) not putting the muscle through enough resistance, (2) young age (high testosterone), (3) steroids, (4) or stress. Each of these factors can put your muscles in a state to where they will not feel sore after a workout.

Bigger Legs

Question: I have been training with weights for several years now. I still don't have the size on my legs I would like to have. I "try" to take in 1 gram of protein for my bodyweight each day, but don't always! I have split my leg training to quads one day, and hams 2 - 3 days later. I do various exercises including squats and leg presses. Should I train my legs twice a week, as in quads and hams together? I've been training them only once a week for quite some time now. I hope you can help me with this question, you have before in the past, thanks!

Justin Leonard: It's not recommended to train legs twice in 1 week if you're trying to build mass, unless you train hams one day, then quads and calves another day. If your legs aren't growing as you want them to, you probably need to eat more calories. You're probably burning too many calories for your legs to grow.

Are you noticing more leg definition instead of mass? If so, you may be overtraining your legs and may need to only train them once every week and a half or every 2 weeks. You may not realize it, but the amount of workouts per week for your body type may be too many. This may not be the case with you. It varies from person to person.

Protein ratios aren't needed. They're just a typical number (1.5 - 2.0 grams per pound of body weight). Many who workout [not just bodybuilders] fulfill their requirement of protein per day. Instead, you should focus more on carbohydrates, and the time of day you consume each nutrient.

Increasing Bat Speed

Question: I'm 29 years old, 5'9 190 pounds, fairly stocky build, and broad shouldered. I am playing softball and would like to increase my bat speed to be able to hit the ball better. I don't necessarily want to get a lot of mass, I just want to get back into shape. Any suggestions?

Justin Leonard: The method for improving bat speed is a little different than many may think. For best results, you want to focus on increasing "total body" power (legs included). In particular, you should target areas such as forearms, biceps, shoulders, triceps, chest, and abdominals. These are the primary muscles used in the mechanics of a bat swing.

The secret to improving bat speed is using a weight you can perform with "explosive" and quick movements, primarily with your arms. For example, dumbbell or barbell curls for biceps, lateral raises for shoulders, and dips on the edge of a bench or close grip bench presses for triceps.

Begin with a fairly long warm up session . . . about 20 minutes in length. Perform each exercise movement controlled, but faster than normal. Keep a constant, speedy repetition pace. The poundage used should be medium. Do not exceed 12 reps. Your workout should take less than an hour to complete. It's all quick power movements!

This style of training gets your muscles used to the "fast twitch." This type of muscle is used when your body requires a quick reaction to something. For example, sprinting involves fast twitch muscle fibers. The only way to build fast twitch muscle fiber is to train the muscles with speed and power.

Basic Military Training Preparation

Question: I have just enlisted in the US Navy and need a workout that'll get me through Basic Training. I'm new to the weight training scene and am ashamed to say I'm the usual couch potato teeny-bopper. If you can give a basic workout overveiw that might be good for a 17 female, that would be awesome.

Justin Leonard: This is an easy one, since I have first-hand knowledge of what they require of you in basic military training. To be honest, weights are helpful but aren't needed. Instead, you want to focus on three main areas: abdominal strength, pectoral (chest) strength, and endurance.

When you arrive to basic training, you will do other exercises such as jumping jacks and pull-ups, but your requirement to graduate will be a set number of sit-ups and push-ups (knees on ground for females), and a 2-mile run.


If you normally don't workout, start with crunches. Get comfortable with crunches, then work your way up to sit-ups. You may even want to get a partner to help you hold your feet down on the ground, for that's what they require in basic. Once you get to the point that you can perform sit-ups, begin with only 10 - 15 repetitions. Perform the same quantity everyday for about 1 week, then increase your repetitions by 5 so that you are doing about 20 reps. The idea is to build your way up to where you need to be on all exercises. Don't try to go straight there. Most people will be out of shape the day they arrive at basic without a clue of what will be required of them. I'm not sure what the requirement for females is. For males, it was 40 sit-ups to graduate. For females, it was probably 20 - 30.


With push-ups you want to use the same technique. Begin with about 8 - 10 reps. Perform for 1 week, then increase by 5 reps every week thereafter.


In basic, you will definitely be conditioned enough to meet your 2-mile run requirement by the time you graduate. You need to practice almost daily, for in basic you will practice almost daily. To get in shape, start with "walking" on a treadmill at a fast pace for about 10 minutes. This will help to get your heart rate where it needs to be. Every week, increase your total minutes by 5 - 8, until you're ultimately able to do about 25 - 30 minutes comfortably. Eventually, you'll find that it's easier to breath when performing conditioning exercises. This means your endurance level is going up.

Please don't let any of these exercise numbers scare you. I'm sure almost 99% of basic trainees can meet the requirement. It may sound difficult, but you'll be doing what everyone else is doing. You're friends will be right there to push you through it, or you may be the one pushing them.

It's good you're getting a head start! Good luck!

Butt Loss?

Question: I'm a 28 year old guy and I weight 174 pounds. I used to weight 190 pounds. I've been working out very intense for 2 months now, and I do free weights 3 times a week and 30 minutes of cardio 2 times a week. I've notice that I've lost my butt and I believe it's because I lost a lot of weight. Do you know how can I get my butt back or do I need to go back to eating fat again? I hear squats and lunges help to increase the size of the glutes.

Justin Leonard: Wow, we don't get many questions on butts. It sounds as if you have the right idea in mind for glute (butt) targeting exercises. Squats and lunges definitely help. You may also want to consider stiff-legged deadlifts. To be honest, as long as your weight is down, your butt will be down. You may be able to target the glutes, but it will never get to where it was as long as you workout and eat right.

The trimming effect takes place all over your body, not just in one spot. You definitely don't want to go back to eating fat (considering you may have been overweight). The main thing is to remember to squeeze the glutes during each exercise movement, and in between exercises while you rest. If you squat, use a wide stance and really concentrate on squeezing the glutes on the squat finishing movement. Lunges and stiff-legged deadlifts naturally target the glutes and hamstrings. You'll definitely feel the burn!

I hope this helps you. Good luck!

Atkins Diet

Question: What do you think of the Atkins diet and does it work?

Justin Leonard: This is a diet where they tell you to significantly reduce carbohydrates from your diet and eat all the eggs, cheese, meat, fat, and oil you want. For the record, the Atkins diet is effective, however I don't recommend it for the following reasons:

Bad breath
High cholesterol
Kidney damage
Improper nutrition balance
Attitude/mood changes from bad nutrition
Increase risk of heart attack
Dry skin
Yellowish instead of white eye balls
Thinning hair . . .

The list goes on. This type of diet is ideal for a dog. It's exactly what dog food consists of . . . high fat, low carb ingredients. Any questions?

Hardcore Every Workout

Question: Is it alright to workout hardcore during every workout, and how much cardio should I do to lose fat?

Justin Leonard: No! This is a commonly made mistake. This type of training will take a toll on your joints in the long run and can actually weaken the muscles. Try "heavy days" and "light days" instead. Be sure to take about 2 - 3 days of rest per week.

Lose Body Fat, Not Body Weight

Question: I need to know how I can lose bodyfat and not body weight?

Justin Leonard: Here's how it works: When you begin working out, your body burns all unnecessary fat and calories, which usually results in weight loss. Once bodyfat is at a low, you will begin putting on quality, lean muscle mass.

The best way of going about this is by performing some type of cardio (walking on a treadmill or riding a bike) in conjunction with a strenuous workout. You don't even have to do them both in the same day. One day can be set aside for cardio, the other for weight training.

Love Handles

Question: What exercises should I do for love handles?

Justin Leonard: There is absolutely no exercise needed to rid love handles. The solution to your problem is in the diet. Try cutting calories, sodium, and fat. When this combo is performed, your metabolism is increased forcing "bad calories" to be burned all over the body (most noticeably in the abs, face, and arms). Consider our sister site, Abdominal Secrets Revealed for more info.

Protein Drinks

Question: I always find articles on nutritional drinks, but notice the protein shake is referenced as an addition to the diet, never a main part of the diet. Why?

Justin Leonard: Nothing replaces a meal better than a real meal. One of the reason real meals are better is because the ingredients are real. Protein and meal replacement supplements should be used to "supplement" normal diets.

Postworkout Meals

Question: On your website, you say eat a high calorie meal after your workouts. Do you mean eat anything or should you eat a high protein meal? Also could you give me a few examples of what to eat after a workout? Right now, I have been eating 8 - 9 egg whites with one full egg and taking a multivitamin.

Justin Leonard: A post workout meal should be higher in carbs than protein. This is to replenish the "energy" calories and nutrients lost during training. The amount of protein should be about what you are already doing. It varies from person to person. Here is what a sample post workout meal might look like:

1 or 2 chicken breasts
1 baked potato or rice
2 slices wheat bread
Small salad
Water-based beverage (about 3 cups)

Cut Calories To Lose Weight

Question: I workout with weights and do martial arts twice a week. You say cut calories to lose the love handles, but is that negating my weight lifting an hopeful muscle gains? What should I do, eat less calories but include more protein? Help!

Justin Leonard: What we mean when we say cut calories is to consume about 500 - 1,000 calories less than you normally would consume. The body only needs a certain amount to induce muscle growth and fat-burn. For example, a 175 pound male on a strength training program eats up to 4,000 calories per day. The extra 500 calories can create excess fat buildup and produce love handles.

As far as protein consumption goes, a slight increase may or may not be necessary. You have to experiment with every possible combination to find out what really works for your body.

Creatine + Protein + Amino Acids

Question: I'm a 16 year old male who has recently been on creatine for 3 weeks. Would it be a good idea if I were to get off of it and go directly to whey protein or should I go on both? Also would a healthy stack be creatine + protein + amino acids? Is this good or bad?

Justin Leonard: The stack is good! No stack is wrong or unsafe as long as it isn't a steroid stack. In this case, both of the supplements you are taking are produced naturally by the body. That is an excellent beginner's stack, except you don't need to take protein and amino acids for they are the same thing. One is in pill form, the other in powder form.

Because of your age, please do not take excessive amounts of either supplement (you won't get any bigger). Truthfully, you should only take about half the recommended dosage on the bottle/container (check with your doctor). Also understand that success doesn't come overnight. It's really the patience that yields the results.

Pilates For Weight Loss?

Question: What do you think of the Pilates training method for weight loss?

Justin Leonard: I referenced the following URL to base my opinion:


As far as weight loss, even though they say it is, it is not a truly effective training method. Pilates uses the mind, breathing techniques, and slow movements to work the body. I noticed a quote that jumped out at me:

"The method requires more personal supervision than other exercise programs, but in the long run it is safer and more effective."

Yes, it is in fact safer in the long run, but more effective? This is totally untrue. If that was the case, why aren't 99% of the gyms utilizing this training technique?

Popping Joints

Question: I have started to notice that when I am working on my abs and doing incline crunches or V crunches, I hear and feel a "popping" from my hip joints. This also happens when I do shoulder shrugs. It is not painful though. Is this something I should be worried about or is it normal as we get older?

Justin Leonard: There are several reasons your hips are popping: The main one that comes to mind is the end result of upper leg and hip muscle development. In this case, the strength and size of the upper leg muscles may be actually causing the hip joints to shift as you sit up.

In the case of shoulder shurgs, this is because your shoulders are either (1) going past or (2) popping out of their normal range. This is particularly true especially if you perform heavy shrugs, and typically may happen as you get older. Consider reverse shrugs as an alternative.

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