The weather is getting nicer and with it comes the pressure to like great wearing fewer clothes. Losing weight depends on gaining muscle. It won’t take long to find a training program that suits you and that will eventually get you results. But you want to see them sooner than a few months.
“Building muscle is tough,” Shane McLean, certified personal trainer at Balance Guy Training, says. The typical goal is gaining 1-2 pounds of muscle a month. Anything more than that is even harder because you still have to do it the right way. “You have to be really strict on yourself,” he adds.
Depending on your physical health and fitness level, you can build four pounds or more of muscle in 30 days, he says, but you won’t be able to keep the same rate year round. “Everybody has their limits. You can even build 10 pounds of muscle in a month, although you’ll be putting a lot of stress on your body,” he adds.
People who aim to get ripped make two major mistakes, according to McLean. One is they disregard the basics. Transforming your physique starts with the fundamentals. They don’t require you to drastically change your exercise routine. Small adjustments can lead to big results. “You can’t ignore pull-ups, squats, bench presses and other basic movements,” he says. Master that and then add a little more weight every week. This is the second mistake. People get comfortable with one weight and don’t change it. “Progressive overload is key.”
1. Less cardio, more lifting
You need calories and energy to build muscle, but cardio exercises use a lot of them, McLean says. You shouldn’t neglect aerobic activities, though. “A couple of high intensity sessions a week like sprints, cycling or Tabata will do.”
2. Focus on compound exercises
Work the muscles at more than one joint. Squats, rowing, presses, deadlifts are all good examples. Compound exercises help the release of testosterone, which is crucial for muscle growth.
3. Do several intense supersets in a row
Think of this as a circuit but focusing on only one group of muscles. “This is a good idea to do at the end of your routine,” McLean says, “Because you’ll get completely exhausted.” One such superset can work your shoulders. They have three different muscles and “hitting them from different directions” is better than focusing on one exercise.
4. Focus on strength
You won’t get strong without building muscle but it’s better to set a goal of increasing strength than building a certain amount of muscle. It’s strength than enables muscle fibers. Motor neurons can send powerful impulses that affect the muscle fibers. It’s the intensity of your training that affects your capacity to do more reps with heavier weights. Jump training is a great way to increase the power of these nerve impulses.
5. Lift heavier weights
How heavy is too heavy is different for everyone. “It all comes down to technique,” McLean says. “If you can’t go through a full range of motion, the weight is probably too much.” A good repetitions range is between eight and 12. You should be able to do about five sets. If you can’t, that means it’s probably a good idea to lower the weight until you feel just slightly out of your comfort zone.
6. Eat multiple protein meals
Muscle is protein. You can’t skip foods that are rich of this nutrient and expect big results. You must have all the pieces of the puzzle. Make sure you eat one or two grams of protein per pound of your total body weight. If you weigh 100 pounds, you need 100 grams of protein a day. In comparison, the Dietary Reference Intake is 0.36 grams per pound. Eat plenty of lean beef, chicken, eggs, Greek yogurt, almonds, oats.
7. Have a protein shake during training
Proper nutrition before and after exercising is important, but you should pay attention to what your body needs during your workout. Building muscle faster can be promoted by having a protein shake in the middle of your routine. You’ll get extra carbs (energy) and calories.