Happy Transformation Tuesday everyone! The picture above is my 4 year transformation from about 120 lbs to 225 lbs at a height of 5’8″ (please forgive the hat and sunglasses combo, it was my first time on a boat and I thought I was cool LOL). During this time, all I cared about was becoming as big as possible. I have since made another transformation from 225 lbs to 185-190 lbs (way more comfortable at my height). I decided to post this transformation picture today because this post focuses on muscle building. Today is part 2 of my 3 part Muscle building series for this week. If you have not gotten a chance to read part 1, feel free to check it out here.
Part 2 will focus on 5 more simple tips that can be followed and implemented right away in your workout routine to start packing on some muscle as fast as possible!
1. Recovery and Sleep are Very Important
I want to start off these tips with two of the most important aspects of muscle building. Sleep and Recovery. When you are training to build muscle, you are putting stress on your body. When you lift weights, you are damaging your muscles. The stress and damage to your body causes your body to adapt. However, your body cannot adapt without time to recover. Muscle does not grow in the gym, muscle grows while you recover. Too much stress too often will break down your body beyond its ability to repair and elevate your cortisol chronically. This can lead to muscle loss, fat storage, and other problems that you do not want to deal with. Make sure you take proper rest days and give your body time to recuperate. You should also aim to get at least 8 hours of sleep a night. Other beneficial recovery methods are: meditation, deep breathing, napping, massage, foam rolling, stretching, yoga, and contrast showers.
2. Do Not Train to Failure
When performing your lifts, you should always finish your set knowing that you could have done at least 1 more repetition. While pushing yourself to failure will stimulate muscle growth, it will also burn the natural (non-enhanced) lifter out way too quickly and you will be forced to take time off. You will also risk injury if you push yourself to failure too often. You cannot gain muscle mass if you are forced to stop hitting the gym due to burn out or injury.
3. As a Beginner, Stick to Free Weights
While machines do have their place, as a beginner you want to stick to compound movements with free weights. If you read Part 1, you know that you want to be utilizing the big, compound movements such as the squat, deadlift, Press (horizontal press and vertical press), chin ups, and rows for “heavy” weight because they incorporate a large degree of muscle mass over the entire body. Machine are used more for “isolation” (body part specific) movements, which you do not need to be focusing on at this time.
4. Limit Your Workouts to about 45 Minutes
Your training sessions should be no longer than 1 hour to keep your anabolic (muscle-building) hormones high and catabolic (muscle-wasting) hormones low. After 1 hour you start to hit the law of diminishing returns and you will not see much benefit (and may even see negative effects).
5. Stay Consistent
I know that everyone is impatient. I have that problem myself. When I decide I want something, I want it now. So, I know that when you are reading this you are looking for ways to build muscle as fast as possible. One of my biggest pieces of advice is to stay consistent. Only consistency in your diet and training will allow you to reach your goals. Sticking to your goals will produce the most effective results. Stopping and starting or changing your methods too quickly will hinder or halt your results.
Stay tuned for Part 3 later in the week where I provide examples of muscle building workouts for beginners! Please subscribe if you want to stay up to date on future blog posts!!!