Introduction To BodyBuilding.
Now that you’re motivated to start weight training, the next step is to gain knowledge about the correct way to go about it. These bodybuilding tips will be broken down into three categories
Stimulate= Any action that breaks down muscle tissue via body weight training or weight training.
Recovery= After breaking down your muscles the body will repair the fibers to their original form.
Growth= When you stress your body it attempts to fix itself to prevent future harm. When you weight train your body will build muscle to acclimate itself to this new strain it’s experiencing.
Intense weight training will stimulate the muscles and start to break them down.
Proper nutrition, rest and the correct supplements will allow your body to start the recovery process which will lead to maximum muscle growth, each action relies on the last for you to receive the greatest results.
What Makes Your Muscles Grow
The human body has been evolving for millions of years, making it very effective at adapting to changes in the environment and different types of stress. This is essential since your body’s ultimate goal is to keep you alive long enough to pass your genes on to the next generation.
- When you’re tired your eyes get heavy and you start to yawn.
- Your sick, you’ll have a fever in order to fight off the infection.
- When something is causing you harm you feel pain.
- If you start to overheat you sweat.
- Get to cold you start to shiver.
These are all examples of your body identifying certain stresses in the environment and coming up with ways to overcome them to keep you alive and healthy.
Intense weight training is just another example. Lifting heavy weights puts your muscles under stress, the body’s way of trying to limit this stress in the future is to rebuild your muscles to make them stronger. This is known as Hypertrophy.
The quickest way to reach hypertrophy is to reach maximum muscle failure. (this is where you can not continue with an exercise due to muscle fatigue) The safest way to do this is to stop one rep short of complete muscle failure, this will help reduce the chances of injury.
Achieving muscle failure will create deeper inroads into your muscle fibers and cause what are known as micro tears. This process is what causes your body to perceive it as a threat which will make it adapt.
As soon as you are done working out, your body will start this process to make you stronger. It’s actually very simple when you break it down, there is one very important thing you have to understand.
For adequate muscle growth to happen, your body has to be put under enough stress that it thinks it is a threat to its well being. In other words you need to work hard and don’t half ass your way through your workouts.
How To Build Muscle Fast, The law Of Progression And Intensity.
To achieve any results you must abide by these 2 rules. This is the most important rule to pay attention to in this entire weight training guide.
Progression: This equates to regularly increasing the number of reps, or the amount of weight lifted during your exercises every week.
Intensity: How hard you push your muscles on every rep of any given exercise.
Your long term success heavily relies on this, to successfully build muscle you must.
- Train with a high enough level of intensity on each given set to trigger an adaptive response from your muscles.
- Progressively increase the workload by adding more weight to your routine over time to produce consistent gains.
In order to continually see results in muscle growth and not reach a plateau you have to keep your body adapting to harder workouts. If you always lift with the same amount of weight and do the same number of reps, your body is going to eventually get used to this and your results will diminish.
To prevent this from happening you need to gradually and intelligently increase the amount of weight you lift over time.
For example, let’s say you we’re benching 180 pounds and you did this for two months without making any changes, do you think you would see much of a difference.
No, you wouldn’t.
It is important that every single time you workout, you have a well thought out plan to implement.
You have to know what exercises, reps and amount of weight you used the previous workout to know what you are trying to achieve during today’s workout.
The entire goal of everything you achieve during your workouts is consistent progression,then clearly the entire basis for building muscle is to build strength. This is a common law of muscle growth and applies no matter what type of approach you choose to put forth in the gym.
It’s all about getting better each and every workout.
In order for muscles to grow they must perceive the stress placed upon them as a threat.
There is no room for slacking or laziness. If you truly want to add a considerable amount of muscle mass to your frame, then you will have to endure the inevitable discomfort that is associated with intense weight training.
The reality is you won’t achieve increases in muscle mass and strength unless you train at a level that is very close to complete muscle failure.
Concentric Muscle Failure.
The point at which you are unable to complete an additional positive repetition of any given exercise despite your greatest effort.
There are two sides to every exercise.
- Positive (concentric)
- Negative (eccentric)
This part is the lifting phase, such as the pressing motion of a push up or the pulling motion of a chin up.
This motion would be the lowering phase of a push up or chin up.
When we talk about Concentric muscle failure we’re talking about being unable to perform an additional positive repetition.
So, training one rep short of this point means that you should continue each set until the point where, if you were to give an all out 100% effort you would only be able to do one more rep using proper form.
If you are not willing to cross a certain threshold on each set, your body is simply not going to respond in a positive fashion. Muscle growth is an adaptive mechanism and the body will only adapt if given the right incentive.
What Nutrition Plan Is Best For Bodybuilding
To properly cover the nutritional aspect of bodybuilding I wrote an article covering the subject in its entirety.
But here is a quick list of the most popular foods to include and not to include in your nutrition plan.
Foods You Should Eat While Bodybuilding
- Skinless Chicken Breast is one of the main staples of any workout plan, it’s low in fat, calories and carbs but high in protein. Its versatility makes it easy to eat on a regular basis without getting tired of it.
- Red Meat is a great way to change things up make sure that your selecting lean cuts of meat like buffalo, bison or 97% lean ground beef. If its steak your craving then you’ll want to purchase tenderloins, sirloin, filet mignon or top round roast.
- Cottage cheese is a very healthy snack, if you buy a low fat brand it will contain 14 grams of protein, 80 calories and less than 2 grams of fat per serving.
- Oysters may not be an every day choice but if you’re going out to dinner and you want to stick to your nutrition plan they’re a great choice, a 200 grams of cooked oysters include 40 grams of protein, 10 grams of fat and a high zinc content that is important for protein synthesis.
- Eggs are another great source of protein and are so versatile that you can eat them daily and not get bored. The best practice is to mix whole eggs with egg whites so that you limit the cholesterol from the yolks and take advantage of the fact that egg whites are almost 100% protein.
Foods To Avoid While Building Muscle
- White bread is commonly thought of as a healthy choice but it is high in sugar additives and is high in carbs , you want to eat 100% whole grain breads such as ezekiel bread.
- Alcohol, I know I’m being a party pooper but high amounts of alcohol contain a lot of calories and carbs and are have no nutritional value, plus to much alcohol can stop your body from building muscle.
- Processed foods, a lot of my clients say they’re confused about what is included in this list but i have to call bullshit on them. We all know by simple common sense that junk food, fast food, milkshakes, candy bars, chips, twinkies and so on are not meant to be in a nutrition plan and you shouldn’t be eating them.
- Meal replacement shakes, there is one caveat here, meal replacement shakes can have a place in your routine if they’re only used once in a while when it is necessary and that you’ve purchased the correct brands with the right ingredients.
Do Bodybuilders eat Bananas
I know this is a weird question but I’ve been asked this enough to warrant adding this into the article.
The answer is yes, bananas are high in potassium that supplies energy and are a good source of protein.
They can be added to protein shakes, eaten by themselves or put on top of ice cream to make your cheat meal a little more healthy.
Write Your Workout Progression Down
It doesn’t matter how good of a memory you have, you must keep a written record of every workout you perform.
This will give you a visual record of the exact weight you used and reps performed in the previous workout.
This is an extremely powerful tool and will enable you to progress as fast as you possibly can. A written record will hold you accountable and motivate you to increase your weight and reps.
It’s also exciting to look at past weeks and have written confirmation that you are progressing in weight and repetitions.
How Often Should You Increase The Weight On Each Exercise.
Focus on increasing the number of reps that you can perform with a given weight until you’re able to hit the upper end of your targeted range with that specific weight. So if the rep range for a particular lift is listed at 5 to 7, wait until you can perform 7 clean reps on the first set with a given weight before adding more the following week.
Once you reach the upper end of your targeted rep range with a specific weight on the first set of the exercise, increase the weight on the first set for the following workout. For smaller isolation lifts, a typical increase would be 2.5 to 5 pounds. On larger compound lifts, it would usually be between 5 to 10 pounds.
You also don’t have to use the same weight for every set of a given exercise. For example, if you only got 5 reps on the first set with a certain weight, it would be fine to decrease the weight on subsequent sets to ensure that you stay within your assigned rep range.
Just make sure that anytime you increase the weight you keep the same form and technique, you should never compromise this just for the sake of jacking up your numbers.
True progression means that your form remains exactly the same every time you increase the weight. If your range of motion begins shortening, you start using excessive momentum, your rep speed increases or technique gets sloppy, this means your adding weight to fast.
Building muscle isn’t a sprint it’s a marathon.
Keep your ego in check. Take your time and focus on gradually increasing the weight while maintaining perfect technique at all times.
Not only is lifting heavier weights with inferior form not going to help you gain muscle faster, it’s going to greatly increase your chances of becoming injured.
Intensity and progression absolutely is the most important, foundational principle of your training routine. It must be implemented with caution and common sense if you want to produce permanent gains over the long term.
How many workouts should you do a week and how often should you train each individual muscle group?
This has been a debate for years and just like all exercise topics there isn’t one answer that can be tailored for every person.
It will depend on your experience level, genetics, how disciplined you are with your nutrition plan, how quick your body recovers in between exercises and the amount of intensity you put into your workouts.
Even with all those variables, we can still apply the basic guidelines which will help the majority of people in the majority of situations.
In today’s day and age of the microwave most of us want results overnight, unfortunately that isn’t possible when it comes to building muscle. You can apply techniques that will assure you progress at the fastest rate possible.
Your goal should be to workout at the highest frequency possible while still fully recovering in between sessions.
The more often you workout and fully recover, will overtime promote more muscle building growth periods and in the end will result in substantial progress. At the end of the day, the training regiment that allows you the fastest strength gains will likely be the same plan that produces the highest amount of muscle growth for you.
How do you know if you’re properly recovering in between Workouts
The two main things to look for are that you’re continually coming back to the gym stronger over time and that your not overly run down or exhausted during the week.
Remember, muscle growth doesn’t happen in the gym, muscle breakdown happens in the gym.
When you perform intense weight training, you are damaging your muscles. It is while you’re out of the gym resting and eating that the muscle growth process is actually taking place.
This is when your body will be rebuilding the muscles larger and stronger in preparation for the next workout. It is extremely important that you do not interfere with this process and that you allow your body sufficient time to repair and heal itself before you break them down again.
If you’re unsure of how often to train a certain muscle group, always err on the side of caution and go with more rest rather than less.
If you give a muscle an extra day of rest after it has already fully recovered, there is no threat of a loss. Muscle loss won’t occur until a particular muscle has gone untrained for about 2 to 3 weeks.
However if you over train a certain muscle, you will have a direct and immediate threat of interfering with the recovery and growth process that was gained from the previous workout.
As I already mentioned, recovery is growth. If you make a habit of training your muscles before they fully recover, you will either gain muscle mass at a slower rate than what your maximum potential would allow, or even worse you won’t grow at all.
Perform 3-5 total weight lifting workouts per week
3 to 4 will most likely be your sweet spot but those who are more advanced with good recovery ability can stretch it to 5 in certain cases.
Directly train each muscle group 1.5 to 3 times per week.
Beginners who are just starting out and using lighter weights can generally recover at a faster pace than in comparison to more advanced trainees who are handling heavier weights. For that reason, newbies are typically better suited to directly hitting each muscle group at a slightly higher frequency, while more advanced trainees should use a lower frequency.
When we talk about workout volume we’re referring to the total number of muscle sets that you will perform for each specific muscle group for each workout.
Just like training frequency, there is no way to apply a single guideline here for everyone since it can vary depending on several factors.
Keep in mind that intensity and volume go hand and hand, as intensity increases, the volume must decrease and vice versa. For that reason, the specific amount of reps a trainee should perform during a workout would be largely dependent on the overall intensity they were putting forth on each set.
For example, a person who was training all the way to complete muscular failure on every set would require less overall volume than a person training at a lower level of intensity.
You should be training 1 rep short of concentric muscular failure and this will land your optimal volume range on about the medium end of the scale.
Below is the total sets per muscle group per workout.
- Beginners will generally be best off training with a lower volume of sets per muscle group for each workout. 3 direct sets is the recommended number.
- Intermediate will land in the middle of the range with a moderate volume of 6 sets for large muscle groups and 3 sets for smaller muscle groups.
- Advanced trainees will perform a bit more volume per muscle group at 8 sets for large muscle groups and 5 sets for smaller muscle groups.
Keep in mind these are basic guidelines and can be tailored to your individual liking.
How To Select Your Exercises
There are two main exercises you will perform.
Multi joint movements which require the use of more than one major muscle group at a time. (squats, deadlifts, bench presses)
Single joint movements which only require the use of one major muscle group at a time. (tricep push downs, lateral raises, bicep curls)
If your goal is to create a well rounded muscular physique as opposed to gaining pure strength or improving athletic performance than a mix of both types of exercise is ideal.
Compound exercises will form the foundation of your workouts in order to efficiently train multiple muscle groups at the same time using maximum weight, while isolation exercises will be used to target smaller muscle groups that may not receive optimal stimulation from compounds only.
The basic compound movements include exercises such as squats, deadlifts, leg presses, lunges, rows, chest presses, pull ups, pull downs, and overhead presses.
The main isolation movements include exercises such as bicep curls, tricep extensions, lateral raises, flys, calf raises, shrugs and direct abdominal exercises.
When it comes to the issue of free weights vs machines and cables you should use all three throughout your routine as they each provide their own unique advantages depending on the situation. Free weight exercises will be used in the majority of your workouts with machine and cable exercises being mixed in for certain movement patterns where they are best suited.
Rep Ranges During Workout
Although rep ranges will vary depending on the specific exercise or muscle group being trained, low to moderate rep sets will be used the majority of the time.
Sets that utilize heavier weights and low to moderate reps are the most effective means of stimulating maximum muscle growth and strength gains.
Some exercises will have a rep range of 5 to 7, while others will be between 8 to 10. This depends on the particular movement and how large or small the range of motion is.
Once you can complete the maximum number of reps with a given weight, it’s time to add more weight to the bar.
Why 5 to 10 reps
Training 1 rep short of failure within a range of 5 to 10 will generate optimal stress and tension on those muscle fibers that are most susceptible to hypertrophy.
In addition, it’s a good range for generating maximum intensity since you know that the set will be short and sweet rather than dragging on for minutes on end.
What happens when you go above or below this range
1 to 3 reps: The primary benefit that you’ll achieve in the 1 to 3 rep range is an increase in strength. You’ll be optimizing your body’s neural efficiency, meaning you’ll become more efficient at using the muscle mass you already have.
This is a good range for power lifters and athletes who are looking to enhance their strength without actually getting bigger, but for those specifically aiming to build muscle it’s not going to be optimal.
10 plus reps: While you will certainly see gains in muscle size and strength with higher rep ranges, in the majority of situations I wouldn’t advise going any higher than 10 reps.
As you drift into higher reps, lactic acid build up increases and the cardiovascular system comes more heavily into play. This is good for increasing endurance but not ideal for achieving maximum muscle overload.
Mixing in some higher rep work toward the end of your workouts is not a big deal, but the foundation of your training should rest between 5 to 10 rep range.
This range is not too high, not too low and allows for the best mix of strength and size gains while allowing you to execute each set with maximum focus.
How Fast Should You Do Your Reps
To understand the speed at which you should perform your repetitions, you must first understand the 2 basic weight lifting phases.
Concentric or Positive
When the muscle contracts by shortening. For example, the pushing phase of a bench press or the pulling phase of a chin up.
Eccentric or Negative
When the muscle is put under tension as it lengthens. For example, the lowering phase of a bench press or the lowering phase of a chin up.
So, how fast should you perform your reps?
The concentric portion of the rep should be performed as fast as possible while still maintaining complete control of the weight, while the eccentric portion should be performed in 2 to 3 seconds.
One error a lot of weight lifters make is assigning a set speed to the concentric portion of the rep. Since you’ll be training with as much resistance as you can safely handle, the weight should be heavy enough that you must exert maximum force at all times on the positive motion.
It is extremely important that you are always in complete control of the weight, but it makes no sense to say, for example, that each concentric phase should be performed in 4 seconds. Because reps 1 through 3 will obviously be quicker than reps 4 through 7.
As you get closer to reaching muscular failure, the reps will naturally slow down as you push with all your strength and your body’s energy stores gradually run out.
Don’t worry about how long the concentric phase takes to perform, just focus on moving the weight as fast and hard as you possibly can while still maintaining proper form. The research has clearly shown that hard and fast concentric reps stimulate a greater hypertrophy response than slow concentrics do.
The eccentric phase is different and can be assigned a basic time frame to be completed in.
Do not underestimate the importance of the lowering phase. In fact, some studies show that more muscle breakdown actually occurs on the eccentric phase rather than the concentric phase.
the most important factor when it comes to this part of the rep is that you are in complete control of the weight at all times. Since your muscles are about 2 1/2 times stronger on the eccentric phase you will never reach muscular failure on this portion of the lift.
That being said, you should aim to lower the weight in 2 to 3 seconds. You don’t have to go with the super slow mentality, but just make sure you lower the weight in good form and in a controlled manner.
How Long Should You Rest Between Sets
Although many programs will advocate one exact rest time between sets, I don’t agree with that theory.This is because the amount of rest you’ll require is highly situational and can differ from exercise to exercise and from workout to workout.
The reality is that some sets will tax you very heavily and force you to rest longer, while others won’t have as great of an effect.
It all depends on which exercise you’re performing, how much weight you are moving and how you are feeling on any given day.
A set of squats is obviously going to take more out of you than a set of dumbbell presses will, while a set of dumbbell presses will take more out of you than a set of tricep pushdowns will.
In short, larger compound exercises will require a longer rest time between sets, while smaller compound exercises will need less rest.
For that reason the basic guideline you follow is this…
You should rest as long as you need to in order to feel fully recovered from the previous set and to where you’ll be able to execute the next set with maximum proficiency.
If that means resting 3 minutes after a set of squats, 2 minutes after a set of dumbbell rows or 1.5 minutes after a set of lateral raises, that is completely fine.
You should simply listen to your body and perform your next set once you feel both physically and mentally prepared to perform that set with optimal strength and focus.
As you already know, building muscle is about progressive overload.
It’s about continually adding more weight to the bar over time on all of your exercises and steadily improving upon the previous weeks performance.
If you perform your next set before you allow yourself to fully recover from the previous set, you’re ultimately selling yourself short by decreasing your performance and minimizing muscular overload.
Intentionally using a shorter, pre determined resting time between sets is certainly useful if your weight lifting goals revolve around improving muscular endurance or cardiovascular health, but in the world of muscle hypertrophy and strength this simply doesn’t apply.
If you want to maximize the effectiveness of your training sessions, stop worrying about specific workout rest times and just listen to your body.
Not only will this optimize your performance but since you’ll always be performing each set with 100% of your focus intact, it may also serve to reduce the chances of injury due to sloppy form.
In the interest of efficiency, just make sure that you aren’t taking any more rest time than really needed by ensuring that you start the next set as soon as you feel ready to do so. Otherwise, your workouts may drag on for an unnecessary amount of time and you’ll end up spending a lot more time in the gym than you really need to.
Warming Up Before Lifting.
A proper warm up is one of the most overlooked aspects of strength and bodybuilding training, yet it’s one of the most effective ways of minimizing injury risk and improving overall workout quality over the long term.
A solid warm up is very easy to execute and shouldn’t take any more than about 10 to 15 minutes to complete.
The first part of your workout will consist of simple mobility exercises.
These will prepare your body for your workout by raising core temperature, improving joint mobility, lubrication and range of motion and activating the muscles and nervous system for maximum strength and performance.
After your mobility exercises you will move on to what’s called weight acclimation.
This is where you will take the first major compound exercise of your workout and perform 3 low intensity sets, gradually building up to the weight you will use during your normal workout.
Here is a chart you can use to calculate your warm up weights, remember these percentages are based off of the weight you will use during your normal exercises.
- 50% x 7 reps
- 75% x 3 reps
- 100% x 1 rep
So if you were going to bench press 150 pounds for your first set, your warm up would consist of 75 pounds for 7 reps, 115 pounds for 3 reps and 150 pounds for 1 rep.
Your warm up should not fatigue you in any way or compromise your strength for the workout ahead, so make sure to take things slowly and to ease up if you start to feel tired.
The only purpose of these sets is to warm up your joints and muscles involved in your first exercise and to acclimate your body to the movement.
In fact, performing these three warm up sets should give you a small strength increase once the actual workout begins.
Warming up may not be the most enjoyable or exciting thing in the world but the time it takes is minimal and the benefits are well worth it.
How Long Should Your Exercises Last
The simple rule I would follow here is that your workout can last as long as you need it to, as long as your overall training intensity, energy and focus has not declined significantly.
When your intensity and focus drop, your training performance drops with it and this minimizes your ability to stimulate the targeted muscles and increases your chances of injury.
Assuming that you are resting in between sets for only as long as you absolutely need to and are not wasting unnecessary time, your workouts will likely last somewhere between 60 and 90 minutes, including your warm ups.
If your done quicker than 45 minutes than you may not be exerting yourself enough on each individual set.
If it’s lasting longer than 90 minutes than you may be taking longer breaks than needed in between sets.
Don’t obsess to much over the length of time your workouts are lasting, just make sure to train with high intensity and only take as much time in between sets as needed.
Total Body Training, Why It’s Important
If you want to experience the most dramatic results possible, you need to focus on training your entire body equally.
A huge tendency of people who are just beginning a weight lifting program is to neglect certain body parts and only train their showy muscles.
They’ll put all of their effort into select muscle groups that people tend to notice the most such as chest, biceps and abs.
It is very important that you refrain from this way of thinking and instead focus on stimulating every muscle group in your body to the same degree.
There are two main reasons for this;
Every muscle has its own unique role in making your entire physique come together.
For example, you may be interested in developing a big chest rather than a developed back, your back actually contains about 70% of your total upper body muscle. A well developed back will actually make you look bigger than an overly trained chest will.
Please don’t be the guy who only trains his upper body while completely neglecting their legs, you don’t want to look like a candy apple. Big on top, stick figure on the bottom.
Training one set of muscles over another can create strength imbalances which eventually lead to injuries.
Injury prevention should always be treated as a major concern. If you get injured, your entire training plan will be completely thrown off track.
Fail to train your entire body equally, the risk of injury increases since you will start to push your joints out of proper alignment.
For example, placing more focus on chest presses as opposed to rowing movements will eventually roll your shoulder joint forward and out of place and this can easily set you up for rotator cuff injuries.
The bottom line is fairly simple, focus on developing every muscle equally in order to end up with a complete, symmetrical, injury free physique.
Deloading (When To Take A Week Off)
Deloading is the process of scheduling periodic breaks into your workout routine as a way of preventing plateaus and injuries.
In order to successfully deload, simply take 1 full week off from the lifting after you’ve completed 8 to 10 weeks of consecutive training.
Benefits of deloading;
First off it will give your joints and connective tissue a break. High intensity Lifting can have a negative effect on your joints over time and taking a full week of rest is a useful way to prevent injuries.
Secondly, it will allow your immune system and Central Nervous System to fully recover. Training intensely does not just stress your muscles, joints and tissue but it also stresses your entire body as a whole. Deloading will help to prevent over training by giving an overall rest to all of the systems in your body that are put under stress from your workouts.
Thirdly, deloading has psychological benefits as well by giving you a chance to fully recharge and get in some well deserved mental relaxation time. Many lifters find that this increases their overall motivation and has them feeling eager to get back in the gym.
Listen to your body on this one, If you feel that a break is in order after 8 straight weeks of training than go ahead. Or, if you feel like you can go the full 10 weeks before resting then that’s fine too.
How To Prevent Injury While Working Out
While training hard is the most effective means of stimulating muscle growth, doing this also puts your joints and ligaments under massive amounts of stress.
There is no way around this, and if you don’t constantly pay attention to your technique and form you will end up with an injury that will stop you dead in your tracks.
Trust me I’ve been there, I messed my shoulder up when I was first starting out and it took months for me to get back to the type of training I was used to. It is the last thing you want to happen.
It is extremely rare to spend years lifting weights and not have at least a couple training induced injuries, unfortunately it goes with the territory.
Here are some basic fundamentals to train by, that will help you keep your joints and connective tissue strong and healthy and keep your training regimen on track for as long as possible.
If you read this entire article you already know how important the warm up phase of your workout is, it helps to get your body and mind ready to lift heavy weight, it lubricates your joints and gets your blood pumping into the surrounding connective tissue.
It’s not the most glamorous part of the workout and a lot of people half ass it, don’t be one of those people.
Always Use Proper Form
This can be done with common sense, Every set you perform should be done with the correct technique and form for that exercise, and before you perform any exercise you need to have a complete understanding of how it is supposed to be executed.
This rule especially applies to the bigger lifts such as squats and deadlifts, since you’ll be moving the greatest amount of weight and because these exercises are much more difficult to perform.
This is very important if you’re a true beginner and have never trained with weights before, as you don’t want to develop bad habits right from the start.
Exercise Within Your Own Personal Limits
When I talk about training heavy, I’m referring to you using weights that are heavy for YOU.
Whether you’re at the gym or in your basement working out isn’t a contest to see who can out do each other. (check your ego before you start your workout)
As long as you’re following the rules of progression and intensity you’re weights will increase a lot faster than you think.
Know When To quit
The absolute highest level of intensity that any set should be performed at is to the point of concentric muscular failure, I recommend 1 rep short of complete failure to help decrease the chance for injury.
Unless you’re very experienced stay away from advanced moves like forced reps or slow negatives, these are not recommended.
These moves if done to often or incorrectly is a sure fire way to injure yourself besides, these they are not necessary to create muscle growth anyway.
Simply take each set 1 rep short of complete muscular failure, or until you’re physically unable to perform the exercise with proper technique.
Nothing will guarantee that you’ll never be injured, but following these tips will drastically reduce the risk of it happening.
How To Get The Proper Amount Of Sleep To Build Muscle
Getting a sufficient amount of deep, restful sleep on a consistent basis is a far more important factor when it comes to maximizing muscle growth, fat loss and overall health than most people think.
Creating good sleeping habits will
- Keeps your energy levels, mood, brain function and motivation at peak levels to improve your performance in and out of the gym.
- Increases the output of important muscle building and fat burning hormones like testosterone and IGF-1
- Your respiratory exchange rate increases which helps your body metabolize fat for energy instead of muscle.
- Reduces cortisol which is a hormone that stores fat.
Do not ignore the benefits of a healthy sleep schedule because it will have a measurable impact on your results.
How Many Hours Should You Sleep A Night For Maximum Muscle Growth
The general rule of thumb is 8 hours but this is only an average and really comes down to the individual and can vary from person to person. I need at least 7 hours to like myself the next day where my wife is fine with 6. It comes down to you knowing your body and what fits you best.
Some people have a hard time falling asleep or staying asleep, here are a few tips that can help you get a better night sleep.
Try To Keep A Regular Sleep Schedule
Going to bed and waking up at the same time everyday regulates your internal clock and cues it to expect sleep at a certain time each night, this will reduce the time it takes to fall asleep each night and also let you improve your overall sleep quality.
Stay Away From Your Electronic Devices To Get To Sleep sooner
You may not realize it but your laptops, cell phones, tablets and the tv can act as a stimulant and keep you awake at night.
The bright light put off by the screen can suppress your melatonin levels which is an important hormone for regulating sleep.
You want to put down all electronics 30 to 45 minutes before bedtime. Melatonin levels increase when it gets dark and signal the body that it’s time to go to bed, allowing you to nod off easily and stay asleep for longer.
Instead of watching tv, skimming the web or being on your phone, spend that time reading a book, listening to an audiobook or just talking to your spouse. ( I know, that’s a crazy concept right )
If you’re like me and love to read but you read on your cell phone instead of a physical book, you can take advantage of the reading apps that have a setting that dims the screen with a sepia or orange hue, it really helps relax your eyes and allows you to fall asleep easier. I know Kobo and Google Books have these settings built in.
Try Not To Go To Sleep After Eating Too Much Or Being To Hungry.
This is common sense but being really full or feeling your stomach growling is uncomfortable and won’t help you fall asleep.
You want to stick to an average sized meal about 3 hours before bed, this will allow you to sleep more comfortably and the insulin release will help improve melatonin production as well.
Change Your Room To How You Like To Sleep.
When I go to bed at night I shut all the blinds, close my blackout curtains and turn on an air purifier because I personally like how it covers up any background noises and the constant low hum helps me go to sleep.
My wife however likes it perfectly quiet ( this has caused many conversations in the middle of the night )
The experts will tell you a colder room between 60 and 67 degrees is the optimal temp range for the best sleep.
I love it cold, my wife likes it a bit warmer.
The examples I’m giving you between my wife and I are to show you that everyone is different and you need to know what is best for you.
Make sure to put your phone on silent and if needed use earplugs or a white noise machine to hide background noises.
Say No To Caffeine, Even If You Really Really Want One
This is hard for me, I am a coffee addict and love to have an espresso after dinner but this can be a killer to your restful night sleep.
Even if you are able to go to sleep after drinking coffee it can prevent you from getting into a deep REM sleep and make you feel less energized in the morning
For the best sleeping results stay away from coffee a 4 to 5 hours before bed ( As I shoot myself ) Or drink decaf ( No matter how many people tell me decaf tastes the same as regular coffee I won’t agree)
As much as it pains me to say, you should really try to keep your coffee drinking to the first two thirds of the day. SORRY
Your Bed Should Only Be Used For Sleep And Pleasure
If you have work to do, bills to pay, or emails to respond to, or any other stress related activity you should not do them in your bed, try to designate a different area in your house such as a desk or kitchen table or sofa.
You don’t want to merge your sleeping space and workspace into the same area.
When you go to bed at night you want your mind to associate this activity with rest , relaxation or pleasure, if you’re constantly doing stress related activities in your bedroom than it can carry over into your mood disturbing your sleep.
How I feel after an epic workout.