Best Compound Workouts to Build Strength and Improve Gains

If you’re a bodybuilder, then this article is not for you.

There has been this continuous debate around isolation workouts vs compound workouts and while both have their pros and cons, what really matters is your personal goal and what you’re trying to get out of your workouts.

If you are trying to improve strength and develop a higher level of fitness then compound workouts with heavy weights is one of the best ways to go about it. You employ multiple muscle groups and simulate real world movements that add an actual functional component to your workouts.

Compound workouts

You’ll be able to lift heavy and not just in the gym.

So, here I have discussed the best of my favourite compound workouts that will have the maximum impact on your fitness goals.

Upper Body Workouts

1. Bent Over Row

Bent over row engages your lats, Middle Back, shoulders and Biceps with concentration on your back. Being a fairly easy exercise, it is beginner friendly and is a good way to build up your back muscles for more complex exercises.

However, it is important that you stick to the right form.

2. Bench Press

Bench Press is the holy grail of chest workouts. An all time favourite of mine. However, I personally still believe that push-ups are the best way to build a strong chest, pumping 50 pushups a set can get redundant and boring after a while.

BenchPress activates your chest, shoulders and even triceps.

Moreover, the feeling of adding weight to the barbell after every few weeks feels more accomplishing than adding a few more pushups.

Here’s how you do it in right form.

3. Pull ups / Lateral Pull-downs

One of the easiest way to build your back. Pull ups and Lateral Pull-downs is my favourite super-set workout.

Both these exercises when done in succession activates a lot of your muscles that include your biceps, middle back and shoulders.

I guess you already know how to go about Pull ups. But in case you haven’t done the latter, here’s how you do a lateral pull down in correct form.


4. Barbell Military Press

Want stronger shoulders? Nothing beats a hardcore barbell military press.

The workout is primarily concentrated towards your shoulders and while your triceps are engaged too, consider it as one of the few exercises that actually have a direct real world application.

Here’s how to complete your rep with right form.

5. Dips

I’m not really a fan of Dips but they’re highly effective. When you’re doing dips, you’re engaging your chest, shoulders and triceps.

A great compound exercise that has direct real world applications and can be a great help if you’re an athlete of any kind.

Lower Body Workouts

1. Squat

The holy grail of building powerful lower body strength, if there is only one leg workout that you can do then it’s a Squat.

A Squat engages your calves, glutes, hamstrings and lower back. It is the ultimate workout, however, it is imperative that you maintain a strict form or else you can end up doing more harm than good.

Bad form while squatting can seriously injure your knees. So make sure you have a trainer spot you and show you the right way to do it. Stronglifts has a definite guide on how to do squats.

2. Deadlift

If you had the limitation of doing just one exercise for the rest of your life, a barbell deadlift would be the most effective option you can choose.

It engages your Calves, Forearms, Glutes, Hamstrings, Lats, Middle Back, Quadriceps, Traps.

However, it is a complex workout and expert supervision is recommended to make sure you’re doing it right!

21 Quick Actions You Can Do Today for a Healthier Life

You want to live a healthier life.

You aspire to be someone who looks different, who feels differently, someone who is stronger, faster and fitter than you and you can be all that.

You just have to take the first step. But maybe you don’t know where to start.

This is where you start. With 21 things that you can do today to take that first step!


1. Replace one meal with something healthier

It’s by far the easiest way to start building a better eating habit.

Start by something as simple as switching your breakfast from cereal to a chicken salad or if you’re vegan then maybe a berry salad.

2. Go on a Walk

Clear your mind, get your heart pumping more blood and feel the sweat dripping down your spine.

Okay, I might have exaggerated it a little but talking a walk in a park or even on the sidewalk of a busy street has helped me calm down, think clearly and make tough decisions.

It leaves me happier, every single time.

3. Relax your eyebrows and Smile

We might not notice it but ever so often we can see the tension mount up on our eyebrows. Take notice and relax them. You’ll feel an instant sense of calm. Top it up with a smile and you will feel happy.

4. Take a nap

A nap, when taken at the right time can do wonders for your health.

Maybe the half an hour after lunch. Pause and take a nap before you get back to work.You’ll be able to take better decisions, perform at a higher level and maintain the peace of mind that is required to produce good work.

5. Throw away/Donate all processed food

We all have done it. Binge eat on things we know aren’t good for us just because that’s the only thing available in hand.

Get rid of the temptation and make it easier for yourself to stick to a healthier lifestyle. Throw away or donate all processed food. No excuses.

6. Spend time with a friend

Sometimes all we need is to spend time with somebody we really care about. This one isn’t going to burn your calories, apart from what you would’ve naturally burnt.

But it can do wonders for your mental and spiritual health.

7. Switch off your cell-phone. I Dare Ya!

Unplug and experience life as in it’s essence. Embrace the real world, talk to real people, connect with them on a human level and go primal!

Screens are shutting us out of the real world and this madness has to stop. Take the first step.

8. Buy a standing desk for work

The perils of sitting for long durations has been thoroughly discussed and the verdict has be a collective no-no.

Do yourself and your spine a favour and get a standing desk.

9. Join a gym with a friend

Joining a gym is easy. But having to drag yourself there 4-5 times a week is the hard work. That is the grind you’ve got to go through and the easiest way to get through the grind is to do it with a friend.

Find someone who is as passionate (or more) about improving your fitness levels as you are and join a gym that’s suitable for both of you.

That is how I got started. Now two years later, my friend has shifted to a new city but I’ve developed the habit of working out day in day out.

10. Go to bed an hour early today.

Want to build up an early morning routine? Don’t cut down on your sleeping hours, rather just get to sleep an hour early.

Moreover, you’re probably too tired from the daily grind to get anything productive done at the night.

11. Cut down your caffeine to one cup of coffee a day.

Caffeine is one of my guilty pleasures. I love Coffee.

As amazing as it works for maintaining attention and keeping us alert, prolonged and frequent use of caffeine can diminish it’s positive effects and cause health issues.

Cut down on your caffeine consumption to one cup of coffee a day. This includes giving up on all other beverages that have caffeine content.

12. Don’t drink beverages with added sugar

Sugar is killing you. Probably faster than smoking.

The best way is to cut down on everything that has added sugar in it.

However, it can be tough to go cold turkey as everything from bread to tomato ketchup has added sugars that we don’t realise is there.

Start with the obvious ones. Cut down on Sodas and you’re already half way there.

13. Cook your own meals

A lot of my work requires me to make technical decisions, financial decisions and a lot of figuring out on what to do next and all of these add up to a lot of mental activity.

Cooking is my way of taking a break and just working on something that is more physical than mental.

Moreover, months of cooking at least one meal per day has made me realise the huge range of options we have when it comes to good food that actually helps us live a better life.

And good, healthy food can taste good! Try out smoothie recommendation below.

14. Go play football! Specially if you suck at it. 😀

Can’t force yourself to workout on a treadmill or do you find the regular cardio exercises boring?

Go play football!

It’s fun, you’ll burn a whole lot of calories and you’ll make new friends. And if by chance you do end up scoring a goal, that’s a boost for your confidence. 😀

Bottomline : It’s fun. Go do it.

15. Set a morning routine

No, I’m not talking about waking up early. Studies have shown that it helps but that’s not what I’m talking about.

My advice is to set up a post-wake-up routine. Set up a routine of things you do just after you wake up that will get you started on the right foot.

This takes out the guesswork and keeps you productive.

Here’s what my morning routine looks like:

1. Wake up

2. Freshen up

3. Drink a lot of water

4. Spend time with my family, discuss the day.

5. Prepare my post-workout meal

6. Leave for gym

7. Workout, Steam, Shower.

8. Go straight to one of my favourite cafes.

9. Eat on my way there. Plan what all needs to be done today.

10. Order a cappuccino and get down to work.

16. Make a Berry Smoothie!

Berry smoothies are awesome. They’re clean, gives you a lot of needed vitamins and minerals and can be made in minutes.

There are a lot of recipes you can go with but our favourite one’s can be found at Greatist’s High Protein Smoothie Recipes.

17. Start a fitness group on Facebook

Okay maybe joining a gym is a big step. We understand that.

But it has been proved that reaching fitness goals becomes easier when done in groups. That’s why you’ll see pushing yourself beyond your limits in a spin class.

Start a Facebook group and invite your friends to join in. Share your goals and push each other to reach them.

18. Appreciate yourself

Billions of dollars of advertisements and brands have convinced us that no matter how we look, it’s not good enough.

The path to a healthier body starts with self-acceptance and being comfortable in your own skin.

If you find yourself frustrated with every single thing that isn’t perfect about you, then things need to change.

Stand in front of the mirror and appreciate yourself for the things that are great about you. These can be the small random acts of kindness you’ve shown in the past few weeks, your eyes, your smile, how your friends come to you for difficult advice, all the people that love you.

In short, show gratitude for the things that are great in your life and work hard to change the things that aren’t.

19. Take a Zumba Class

My mother and sister have been reluctant to join gyms or set up a “fitness” ritual and as a lot of us do, they were struggling with maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

But that was before they started taking a Zumba class from one of my sister’s friends. They take class three times a week, they have a lot of fun and they burn a load of calories.

And now that they are putting in so much work in the physical activity, their food choices have improved a lot too.

20 . Set a Goal!

It’s time to make a decision. A decision that will change things in the long term. A decision that will set the distinction between who you are and who you want to be.

Want to lose 100 lbs? Want to build 30 lbs of muscle? Want to runs 5k?

  • Set a goal.
  • Make a realistic plan to achieve it.
  • Work hard.
  • Be Patient and give it time.
  • You’ll fail. Stay on it. Don’t give up.

And there it is. The quickest 21 things you can do today to push yourself forward towards a healthier lifestyle.

Try just 3 of these every day for the next 7 days and you’ll thank me a week from now. :)

The Ultimate Macros Guide to Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are the most abundant ones of the four major bio molecules. They are called carbohydrates because the carbon, oxygen and hydrogen they contain are generally in proportion to form water with the general formula Cn(H2O)n. They are also the most important source of energy for your body.

Carbohydrates are further divided into two kinds: simple and complex. Simple Carbohydrates include sugars found naturally in foods such as fruits, vegetables, milk and milk products.

They also include sugars added during food processing and refining. Complex Carbohydrates include whole grain breads and cereals, starchy vegetables and legumes. Many of the complex carbohydrates are good sources of fiber.

It is the second kinds of carbs that you need to focus on in order to get a perfect diet plan for muscle growth. However carbs seem to be really less popular among people than proteins.

Most people live with a misconception that they are a complete no for a healthy living. They are often ignored as substances that cause fat when a healthy diet plan is charted out.


Sports nutritionist Becky Stevenson reveals how much carbohydrates you need to consume everyday in accordance with the kind of exercises you indulge in:

  • Light activity (less than one hour per day) – 4g to 5g of carbohydrates per kg of bodyweight
  • Light to Moderate activity (one hour per day) – 5g to 6g of carbohydrates per kg of bodyweight
  • Moderate activity (one to two hours per day) – 6g to 7g of carbohydrates per kg of bodyweight
  • Moderate to Heavy activity (two to four hours per day) – 7g to 8g of carbohydrates per kg of bodyweight
  • Heavy activity (more than four hours per day) – 8g to 10g of carbohydrates per kg of bodyweight

Carbohydrates are as essential as proteins and when consumed in the right manner, they could add a lot to your muscle building process.

There is a whole set of WHTAs, WHENs and HOWs that accompany carbohydrates if you are planning to integrate them into your diet for muscle development, without compromising on your fitness.

Carbohydrates aren’t bad but you need to learn to separate the healthier ones from the fat building ones. Here is a list of WHAT sources of carbohydrates you should include in your diet plan:

  • Low GI carbs such as oats, beans and wholemeal bread slowly break down to give a steady rise in blood sugar and therefore avoid getting stored as fats. You can include such carbs in your daily plan to provide for one third of your calories without adding fat to your body.
  • High-fiber carbs also aid digestion and would help in the digestion of excess complex proteins you might have ended up consuming in the day. They also help muscle tissue absorb amino acids faster and efficiently. One bowl of all-bean contains 10.3g of dietary fibers that would fulfill more than half of your daily needs.
  • Although an overdose of sugary carbs would prove harmful to anybody, these simplest forms of carbohydrates are a gift for those indulging in excessive workouts as they deliver instant energy required prior to workouts. Any activity over an hour requires 30g- 60g of carbs and a banana alone can give you 36g of it.
  • Consuming large amount of meats in order to get a high dose of protein can lead to an increase in blood pressure. Here again, carbs come to your help as they possess the ability to lower blood pressure by 19%
  • Apart from helping you with muscle building, carbohydrates have a range of other benefits that include fighting cancer, boosting your brain power and maintaining healthy hair.

WHEN you consume carbohydrates is also another very important aspect. It is believed that carbs when consumed post workout have the most positive impact on your body.

  • The main idea behind this is that carbs help replenish muscle glycogen lost during workout. Replacing lost muscle glycogen is of utmost importance for those aiming for a great body.
  • In fact a delay of more than two hours in the consumption of carbohydrates after a rigorous training can reduce the rate of glycogen replenishment by 50%!
  • Carbs also restore the energy lost during a workout quickly helping you fight the feeling of being drained out and lethargic.
  • Another advantage of consuming carbs right after a workout is that it satisfies your craving for sugary high calorie food without leaving a negative impact on your body.
  • The best source for post workout carbs is Dextrose. Dextrose is pure glucose which when consumed post workout doesn’t need t be digested as it is immediately absorbed in the bloodstream resulting in the most rapid replenishment of muscles.
  • A combination of protein, fat and carbohydrate consumed post workout has been proved to be the best recovery drink in a study. Half a liter of chocolate milk is all you need in order to get a combination of all the three macronutrients.

HOW you are consuming carbohydrates decides whether it will add fat or energy to your body. There are a few ways by which one can minimize the chances of carbs turning into fat. Some of these are:

  • Eating complex carbohydrates like brown rice, potatoes, whole grain cereal and oatmeal works best for body builders. They reduce fat storage and promote the release of insulin which is essential for muscle development.
  • Eating small amounts of carbohydrates more often in the day rather than consuming them in large portions in a single sitting also prevents the storage of excess carbs as fats in the body.
  • Relying too much on fruits to balance your body’s carbohydrates needs is also not a very good idea. Fruits mainly contain fructose which is a simple sugar that easily converts into fats.
  • Another great idea is to mix your proteins and carbs in the same meal. It minimizes the chance of carbs getting stored as fat since they are immediately used to process the harder protein.