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How To Design A Good Workout Routine To Build Muscle Mass

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A good workout routine should be no more than an hour in length, because after an hour, the “fight or flight” hormone cortisol is released by the body and it inhibits muscle growth.

When designing your own routines, first decide what your goals are. Your goals should be specific, not vague generic goals like “I want to get bigger”, or “I want to add muscle”.

workout routine

The more specific the goal, the more likely you are to hold yourself accountable, and therefore the more likely you are to succeed.

Examples could be to gain a certain amount of muscular bodyweight within a certain time frame, or to increase a major lift to a new personal best in a set time frame. The goal should always be set against a time frame, as this will help you keep on track.

Lets say you decide to gain 10 lbs. of muscle in three months as an example.

Having decided on the goal, the next step is to decide what is a good workout routine that will enable you to achieve your objective.

The priority is building muscle, so you’ll want to use the exercises that build the most amount of muscle, which invariably means the major compound exercises like the squat and the dead lift.

I’d bet money that if you asked any major competitive bodybuilder what was the cornerstone of a good workout routine, they’d say the dead lift or the squat.

If you’re able to train both movements hard and progressively and still recover well then terrific, but most of us may find that having both movements in a single routine is too much hard work.

Both exercises can be built up to the stage where you’re moving twice and even three times your own bodyweight. This is desirable because lifting big is a vital part of a good workout routine, but know that it can be very demanding work.

My suggestion is to find out which of those two exercises suit you best, and then work as hard as possible on the chosen movement.

Uppermost in your thinking should be safety – especially if you train at home, you must be sure that you can arrange an excellent safety set up, and this may influence your choice. For example, the squat exercise will require a power rack, or at the very least a pair of squat stands, so that you can dump the bar in safety if you fail on a rep.

The dead lift does not need a power rack, so in this circumstance it may be a wiser choice. If you can do each movement in complete safety it is simply a matter of which one suits your body structure the best.

Having a major mass building lower body exercise is an integral part of a good bodybuilding routine, because your legs and back form a very large part of your overall body muscle mass, and the fastest way to build your body up is to focus on the large leg and back musculature.

Now let’s look at the upper body. This is of vital importance, but even more important is to always pay your dues on leg training, as this will make your body grow all over.

For upper body, a mix of pulling and pushing movements should be used in order to get stronger in pushing and pulling strength.

  • For pushing movements choose from bench press, overhead press and chin up.
  • For pulling movements choose from chin up, one arm dumbbell row, and the shrug.

Because the upper body exercises don’t recruit as much muscle as the lower body exercises, you can afford to have more of them in your bodybuilding routine, but make sure that your workouts don’t drag on for too long as mentioned at the beginning of the article.

You will need one or two smaller exercises like the calf raise and an abs exercise, but don’t add too many small exercises or it will hamper overall progress.

Two short but demanding workouts a week based on major compound lifts, good food and plenty of rest and sleep is the secret to big, fast gains in muscle.

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Choosing a Diet Plan

We have all failed before with a restrictive diet plan. These are the diet plans that focus on a single food, periods of fasting, high carb, low carb. Some of these plans can also be downright dangerous as they can also lead to damage of our internal organs.

We are creatures that need to eat several times a day. So how can we be happy with a diet plan that constantly leaves us hungry? Moreover, if we do not enjoy the diet plan we are on how are we ever going to succeed?

diet plan

Here are 10 top tips for choosing a successful diet plan:

1. Don’t get involved with any kind of extreme or fad dieting. Unless you are taking medical advice, it can be unhealthy or dangerous to remove certain food groups from our diet. A balanced diet provides us with all the vitamins and minerals we need to keep us healthy. Fad diets do not work in the long term.

2. Choose a diet that offers many food choices. We don’t need to restrict the kinds of food we normally eat. A diet plan that says you can eat certain foods in week 1, and then add another set of foods in week 2. However, if you gain weight you should go back to week 1. There’s very little chance we would ever make it to week 3.

3. We don’t have to Exercise with a diet plan to lose weight. Obviously we shouldn’t rule out exercise totally, everyone needs a certain amount of exercise to remain healthy apart from making us feel good. Exercise is necessary used to tone our bodies, not as a rigid part of our diet plan.

4. If someone sells a diet plan where you have to return week after week for more information, then they are simply making extra money from it. All the information we need should be there when we start the diet plan. If they have us paying week after week do they really want us to lose weight?

5. If the diet plan chosen gives you a target weight loss of 1 or 2 pounds a week. We should experience minimal or no hunger pangs. The diet should help us plan our meals and snacks correctly.

6. There is no such thing as a perfect diet plan simply because we are all different. A good diet plan should allow for those inevitable moments of weakness.

7. When we first start on a diet plan, we may initially lose 3, 4 maybe even 5 pounds a week. After the first week or two, we should aim to lose a steady 2 pounds a week. Any more than this could be unhealthy.

8. Being happy with a diet plan is necessary. If we struggle with our diet, it can become torturous. If we are not enjoying the food, we will become miserable and make the people close to us miserable. It is a long-term process to both lose the weight and keep it off. This means that we have to enjoy the foods allowed with the plan. If we don’t enjoy it we will fail.

9. Being happy with our diet plan also includes holiday eating. If it does not take into account our holidays, then the diet will be moved to the back of our minds. This alone can cause our diet to fail. Therefore, we need to enjoy the diet and the holidays.

10. Ultimately, whichever plan is selected, we should be in control, the diet should not control us. By this, I mean that your diet should meet our needs and requirements. Strict rules will only increase our chances of failure. Everyone has different needs and requirements. Therefore, you have to be able to customize a diet plan to meet ours. Then there is a good chance to succeed.

I Just Started Working Out, Why Am I Gaining Weight?

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So you’ve just signed up for a membership at your local gym, or you just began working with a trainer, but after the first two weeks you get on the scale and realize that you’re a pound or two heavier. What’s going on? Well first of all, if you have a trainer I’m sure he or she has told you to stay off the scale.

Time and time again as fitness professionals we find ourselves locked in battle with the treacherous scale as people obsess over weight instead of the stuff that really matters i.e., body fat, girth measurements and how your clothes fit.

weight

So first things first, throw that scale out the window. Whether you gain weight or not has a significant amount to do with many factors, including body type and nutrition.

At Wonderfully Fit, we begin an assessment with a basic test, which is used to measure body fat versus lean mass, resting metabolism (# of calories needed to sustain your current muscle mass without moving) and average metabolic rate (# of calories that should be consumed by your body on average during an active day. When you begin to lift weights, your body which is now stimulated by heavier loads establishes new links between your brain and muscle. Your body begins to recruit more muscle and this increases its demands for energy.

It is this increase in demand that makes you feel hungrier than normal and it represents a change in your metabolism. This is a very critical time for you as you must now make better choices on what to consume and when to consume it, in order to meet the demands of increased muscle activity. The problem that many personal trainers find is that their clients will begin to use this newly revved up metabolism as a sort of credit card which affords them the luxury of eating junk food.

This is however counterproductive to your goals of fat and weight loss and most people will experience weight gain if this is not monitored carefully. This is a time where you have a chance to combine your training with lower calorie, high nutritional value foods and get the most out of your metabolism. At Wonderfully Fit, we encourage our clients to eat often, but to make sure that you’re eating quality foods.

Not only is nutrition a key reason for why you may be gaining weight, but consider this; Muscle is about 70% water and when you work out more; your body’s response places a higher demand for consumption of more water. Also in response to weight training your body needs to prepare itself for heavier loads. One of the ways it does this is to increase surface area by hydrating the muscle fibers in order to increase surface area and provide higher power outputs.

Your lean mass includes muscle, bone and organs. Weight bearing activity stimulates muscle growth and stimulates an increase in bone density. These two things can easily cause significant weight gain within the first couple of months. This is where it is important to have a look at girth measurements and body fat. Muscle is heavier and denser than fat and as more muscle is stimulated, the body’s ability to burn fat increases, which sometimes results in a loss of inches with an overall gain of weight.

Similar to the old saying, “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people”. Exercise doesn’t make you fat, the choices a person makes, makes that person fat.

At Wonderfully Fit, we believe it’s about changing your lifestyle and by”lifestyle” we mean changing the way your body moves, looks and feels; changing the fuel that you run on and giving you the confidence to take on any challenge.

The take home messages are clear. Throw out the scale and focus on getting stronger and increasing your metabolism by moving more and eating right. The rest will fall into place over time. Rome was not built in a day and your body took years to get this far; sometimes 10, 20 or 30+. The process of reprogramming your body is not an overnight miracle, but a life-long commitment to change.

From an excerpt of Maya Angelou, “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude”. Realize that your trainer or fitness coach is there to assist you in reaching your goals, as well as support you along your journey to change. We give you the tools to succeed, but it just may be that your attitude towards food, nutrition and exercise are the only thing holding you back from a better you.