Tag Archive for: muscle building

Workout Wednesday

By working out with weights regularly, you increase your lean muscle mass, which burns calories at a much higher rate than fat does.

Total Body Transformation

More Ways to Engage Muscle Fiber Without Weights

When building muscle, there are a few things that make an impact on your progress. One is how much you are able to pump the muscle with blood and metabolites. When you train and your muscle is tense, this forces blood and hormones like testosterone and growth hormone to collect there.

Now the muscle will be ‘occluded’ meaning that blood will pool and all the signals will be sent to encourage more growth.

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The other thing that matters is the amount that you recruit and use your muscle fibers. The more you tear your muscles (called ‘microtears’), the more they’ll be forced to work to repair themselves and grow back bigger and stronger. Simultaneously, using your muscle fibers in any capacity can improve your ‘mind muscle connection’ and thereby help you to increase the amount of control you have and your ability to engage muscles as you need them.

This means that the actual amount of weight you’re using doesn’t really matter. As long as you are challenging the muscles, you can use no weight or lots of weight.

This is why body-weight training works but it’s also why there are more options available to you if you want to get more creative with your weight training. Here are some examples:

Self-Resistance

One way to challenge yourself during a workout is to provide the resistance yourself. This allows you to precisely control the amount of resistance you’re up against and thereby to strengthen muscles accordingly.

To do this, you simply need to grab hold of one arm for example with a free hand. You then prevent that free arm from curling with the other arm and thereby provide yourself with the necessary resistance you need to grow.

Self-resistance is a great way to train if you don’t have access to any equipment and you’re travelling but it can be tough on the joints and not particularly enjoyable so it isn’t a good long-term solution!

Dynamic Tension

One way to train your muscles is through something called static contraction. This simply involves tensing and contracting your muscles as much as you can even without any movement just to recruit muscle mass and just to control your mind-muscle connection.

When you use dynamic tension, this takes this one step further by including movement. You simply need to go through movements like curls but while tensing your biceps. There are no weights but the tension combined with the movement provides essentially the same thing.

Speed Training

Finally, another option is something called ‘speed training’. This involves curling weights and using your muscles in other ways but as you do, you will be going through the movement as quickly as possible. This in turn means that you’re using the same amount of power in the muscle fibers in order to accelerate. The weight isn’t there but you’re still required to produce just as much force as though it was – and as a result you can get similar benefits from this kind of training!

Workout Routines

Find the Right Muscle Building Workout For You

So you’ve decided you want to bulk up and gain some serious muscle mass but are unsure what exactly you need to be doing on a daily basis to achieve your goals. Unfortunately, finding the best workout for muscle mass is often the hardest part, and the place where most folks tend to slip up.

You see, everybody is different, and if you don’t find the right workout for you and your own situation, then you will struggle to reach your muscle building potential, and thereby make life more difficult and frustrating for yourself… and that just plain sucks, right?

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In this article I’d like to give some tips on the kind of questions you should be asking yourself when looking for the best workout for muscle mass. Use them as kind of a checklist and they’ll help you to find the right muscle building workout.

What Is Your Body Type?

This is one of the most important aspects and often overlooked by many folks searching for the best workout for muscle mass. Broadly speaking, there are 3 major body types – ectomorphs (naturally skinny, struggle to gain weight and muscle), mesomorphs (easily gain weight and muscle, naturally muscular), and endomorphs (gains weight easily, usually higher body fat levels).

The training routines for each of these body types will be notably different both in terms of exercises and nutrition. Find out what your body type and you’ll understand a lot more about what is the best workout for muscle mass.

What Level Are You At?

Are you a beginner who has never set foot in a gym, or are you a fitness fanatic that is looking to gain weight and pack on some muscle? Understanding your current fitness and muscular development level will help you find the workout and avoid pushing your body too much too quickly, or holding you back and preventing you from reaching your potential.

What Are Your Goals?

Are you a skinny guy or girl looking to add some serious slabs of muscle and gain weight, or are you somebody who is looking to gain some muscle while losing a lot of body fat in the process

Understanding what you want to achieve from your workouts is critical in finding the best workout for muscle mass, since you will need to adapt your training and nutrition requirements depending on your situation.

Does Your Muscle Mass Workout Combine Good Nutrition and Exercise Routines?

When you see a workout for muscle mass that you like, take a look to see if there is sufficient emphasis and guidance on the right approach to nutrition…if there isn’t, keep searching. Your diet and what you eat is absolutely critical if you want to see serious muscle mass gains. Any workout that doesn’t provide you with solid advice on what to eat and when to eat it, is not worth the time in my opinion.

How Flexible Is The Routine?

Does the workout allow you the ability to substitute certain exercises for others, as you may need to if working out at home or using an ill-equipped gym? Does the workout rotate training cycles which keep you changing your workout every few weeks? This is important as your body needs the constant stimulation and adaptation in order to continue building muscle.

How Often Are You Going To Be Working Out?

Does the workout allow you any off days or is it 6 days a week? In my experience, it is best to workout 3 – 4 times per week with rest days in between. This allows the optimum rest for your body to recover and develop muscle. Any more than this and you can stunt your muscular development by preventing your body’s natural recovery process. The best workout for muscle mass is one that will allow you to fit it into your current schedule and have the flexibility to move workout days around to suit.

Workout Routines

Finding The Right Workout Routines To Build Muscle

There are 3 golden rules to building muscle. Eat right, sleep right and exercise right. And most focus in the body building world is on the exercise rule. Finding the right workout routines to build muscle consumes so much time of amateur muscle builders’.

The truth is that equal focus must be put on your diet and rest, but that discussion can be left for a different article. This article will stay true to its title and help you find the right workout routines to build muscle.

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If you’re eating right and sleeping right, almost any exercise routine should show results and help you put on considerable amounts of muscle. However, there are certain prerequisites that all work out routines must satisfy before you can put on muscle and get the maximum out of your gym time. Most important is the intensity with which you train which is affected by your rep and set number, your work out speed, your break length, and the weights you lift. For workout routines to build muscle, ensure that these following criteria are satisfied.

There are all sorts of myths out there like, high reps and low weight is for burning while high weight and low reps is for gaining, and work out longer and you will gain more muscle and so many more. One article isn’t enough for me to give you all the information you need to know about these myths and why they are nonsense, however, I will tell you how to go about doing things.

First of all make sure that the routine you’re doing isn’t overworking your muscles. Your muscles need a lot of time and energy to heal and grow, and working out for too long will drain them and cause muscle fatigue which is not what you want. So keep your work outs short and frequent with sufficient breaks in between.

To get the most out of these short gym sessions, keep your rest periods at a minimum and push beyond your limits. You can vary your rep and set range but for maximum muscle gains it has been found that a rep range of 8-12 is best.

When it comes to the weight go as heavy as you can, and try to find yourself a gym partner to help you with this. Also work out routines to build muscle come in all forms. Some maybe full body work outs while other’s are split body. Don’t focus on just one of these. Keep switching every few weeks so that your body doesn’t reach a plateau.

Keep your work outs intense, push heavy weight, take fewer breaks and switch your routines to keep your body guessing. Do all this along with the right type of diet and rest and your workout routines to build muscle will work better than they ever have before.

Tips for Designing a High Calorie Diet to Build Muscle

Adding weight that is all or mostly muscle can be a tricky thing if you aren’t too sure how to approach it. We’ll just assume that most people know that to add weight to your frame you are going to need to consume more calories and to lose weight you need to consume less calories, but the process of adding muscle weight is just a tiny bit more complex than that simple equation.

When people are trying to drop pounds, they often look to eliminate empty calorie foods that are high in fats – desserts, cookies, whole milk, fried foods, etc., so a simple assumption would be to gain weight by adding these things to your diet. Well you could gain all of the weight that you wanted by wolfing down bags of cookies and buckets of fried chicken, but it’s not going to be the type of weight gain that you are looking for.

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It isn’t really as difficult as it sounds, but too many people stop listening after they hear “eat more food,” and end up eating too much of the wrong things.

So what do you do when you are attempting to pile on muscle mass?

If you’ve been on the standard diet consisting of three meals, it’s time to start stepping up your numbers. You want to consume anywhere from four to six moderately sized meals a day. Don’t get too excited, I’m not suggesting that you sit down to six steak dinners a day, there are some very simple ways to get the extra calories and protein that you’ll need to help your muscles grow.

Restructure your three normal meals so that each one contains a good lean source of protein if it hadn’t already – your breakfast could be built around eggs, lunch could be chicken breast and dinner could focus on fish – that will most likely add some of the necessary protein without having to do any extra work at all. For the three additional meals you can keep it super simple: a meal could consist of cottage cheese and some fruit, your favorite yogurt and a couple handfuls of trail mix or if you could even have a couple peanut butter sandwiches.

Protein drinks and meal replacement shakes are also excellent ways to tack on extra high quality calories. Many people don’t like to eat right before bed because it can disrupt their sleep pattern, which can also affect the rate of recovery – a great way to combat this is by drinking a protein shake shortly before you turn in. The shake shouldn’t overload your stomach or make you feel like you’ve just eaten a full meal before laying down, but it will provide just as many calories and, chances are, even more protein than a small meal. There are even some people that drink a shake before bed, then set their alarm clocks for about half way through the night to get up and have another shake before going back to sleep.

And just because you’ve upped your meal anti to five or six a day, that doesn’t mean that you should necessarily cut out the snacks. A glass of milk and a handful of mixed nuts will add even more protein, vitamins and essential fats as will carrot or celery sticks with peanut butter or a few hard boiled eggs.

The simple fact is, no matter what your body type, even if you see yourself as a so called “hard gainer” – If you approach your training intelligently, always using proper form and high intensity; allow your body plenty of time for recovery, and increase your calorie intake with good lean sources of protein while maintaining a well balanced diet, your muscles will grow.

Muscle Building Secrets

How Rest Periods Affect Muscle Growth

One of the most important yet most hotly debated and misunderstood aspects of a good workout routine are rest periods. Rest periods are crucial for muscle growth. How do rest periods affect muscle growth and what’s the optimal rest period? Let’s explore these questions.

Why Rest Periods Are Crucial

rest periods

There are a few reasons why rest periods are crucial.

First of all, when you exert your muscles you’re building up lactic acid and hydrogen ions. In small doses, these substances don’t harm your body at all. However, during a workout these substances can really build up to substantial amounts.

These substances will prevent your muscles from exerting themselves fully and cause more fatigue. In other words, it can cause you to tire yourself out without actually making any progress towards your goals.

Even worse, however, is that lactic acid and hydrogen ions can prevent the proper delivery of proteins to your muscles. In other words, your muscles won’t be getting the necessary building blocks they need to build stronger muscles.

The other reason rest periods are crucial is because of the way muscle building works. You’re basically causing tiny micro injuries in your tissues when you work out. Then when you rest, the body repairs the muscles and makes them stronger than before.

If you don’t have proper rest periods, you’ll just continually injure your body without actually gaining muscle. That can be very unhealthy.

What’s the Proper Rest Period?

The proper rest period is about 48 hours for each muscle group. That said, it’s really rare that someone can actually work out one muscle group three times in a week. More realistically, your rest period is probably going to be more like two to four days per muscle group.

Resting your muscle groups doesn’t mean not working out. It basically means you alternate working out different parts of your body. For example, you might work out your upper body today, then work out your lower body two days from now, then work out your upper body again a couple days after that.

Also try not to workout three days in a row. Working out a couple days in a row is fine, but keep in mind that even if you’re switching up the muscle groups it still takes your body a lot of energy to repair tissue every single day.

If you’re continually working out without rest, even if they’re different muscle groups, the micro tissue injuries and the lactic acid will build up.

Rest periods are a critical element of strong muscle growth. Make sure you’re getting enough rest by spacing out your workouts and alternating the muscle groups you’re training. Sometimes the best thing for your muscles and your workout routine is a nice break.

Muscle Building Secrets

Why Calories Aren’t a Good Metric

When it comes to losing weight or building muscles, the amount of calories you eat is one of the most common metrics you’ll find talked about. Unfortunately, this simply is not a good metric for tracking and improving performance.

A calorie is just a unit of measurement for energy. One single calorie is equivalent to the amount of energy you would need in heat to raise the temperature of one gram of water one single degree Celsius.

calorie

 

That energy is then converted into food and measured to see how much energy you’re taking into your body.

However, this kind of measurements doesn’t take into account many of the crucial factors that actually determine how much weight you gain or lose.

 It’s Not What You Eat, It’s What’s in Your Body

One often overlooked aspect of calorie counting is the measurement of how many of the calories you eat actually end up in your blood stream.

Two people could eat the same meal and have completely different amounts of fats, vitamins, minerals and toxins absorbed by the body.

One person may take in a lot of the fat and gain weight as a result, while another person could eat the same meal and have the fats pass right through his body.

In this case, what matters really isn’t how many calories you’re eating, but how many calories are absorbed.

It Leaves Out the Quality of the Food

Of course, measuring calories completely leaves out the measurement of the food quality.

Is a calorie of ice cream the same as a calorie from organic lean meat chicken? Just a few decades ago, health experts would have said “yes.” Today however, the answer is a resounding “no.”

Where your calories come from play a much larger role in determining whether you gain weight or lose weight than most people imagine.

Other Metrics

There are many other metrics you can use to track your progress.

One of the best metrics is your body fat percentage. If your body fat percentage is going up, then there’s probably something your dietary habits that you need to change. If it’s going down, you’re probably doing something right.

Keep a food journal and write down everything you eat. Then compare what you ate to the fluctuations in your body fat percentage. This information can help you identify which kinds of meals result in better results for your body.

This is a much more effective approach than measuring raw calories, which have a different effect on different people.

Another metric you can use is BMI. While the BMI equation isn’t perfect, for the majority of people it can provide a very good indicator of overall muscle health.

In short, calories really have limited use for someone who’s looking to build muscle or lose weight. It simply leaves too much information out to be useful. Instead, try using other metrics that actually give you data that can help you follow the correct course.

Muscle Building Secrets

Three Diet Tips for Serious Muscle Builders

Serious muscle builders treat their diet in an almost scientific, equation-like manner. What is the scientifically proven, most effective way to build more muscles?

It takes a lot of discipline to follow the rigid guidelines for developing your body in the absolute fastest manner. But if you’re really serious, that’s what it’ll take to get results the fastest.

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Here are three dietary tips for serious muscle builders.

 40% Carbohydrates, 20% Fats, 40% Proteins

The 40:20:40 rule has been tested again and again to be the optimal balance of nutrients for losing fat and gaining muscle.

Keep in mind that many foods contain both fats and proteins in them without explicitly being a fatty or protein food. For example, when you’re buying your meats, make sure to read the labels and see what percentage of the meat is actually fat and what percentage is protein.

Also avoid eating carbohydrates close to bedtime.

In the beginning, you’ll likely have to record all the foods you eat in order to get a good sense for how much fat, carbs and proteins you’re taking in. After you get more experience, you’ll be able to estimate your intake with a high degree of accuracy.

Eat in 2.5 Hour Intervals

Don’t binge. Don’t eat big meals. Big meals cause your body to spike up in blood sugar levels and then crash. It also causes food build-up in the digestive system, which is detrimental to muscle growth.

To maintain a steady energy level and to facilitate the fastest growth possible, aim to eat smaller meals every two and a half hours.

That’ll come out to six small meals a day instead of three large meals. If you need snacks in between meals, go for something healthy like mixed nuts.

Cycle Your Caloric Intake

To keep your body from adapting to a certain caloric intake level, regularly cycle your caloric intake.

Consider alternating low calorie days with high calorie days. If you’re trying to gain weight and muscle mass, you can put in more high calorie days, while doing the opposite if you’re trying to drop weight.

This process doesn’t necessarily have to be rigid or planned, but you should still keep track of your calories and consciously decide the night before whether you’re going to have a high or low calorie day tomorrow. Track your high and low calorie days so you can make sure you’re getting a good balance.

These are three diet tips geared specifically towards serious muscle builders. If muscle building is just a hobby, these tips might not be for you. On the other hand, if you’re really dedicated to building the body of your dreams, these tips can help take you to the next level.

Muscle Building Secrets

Identify Your “Why” to Build Inner Motivation

One of the most important questions you should ask yourself when you’re beginning your body-building journey is: Why? This question is so crucial, yet many people fail to ask it.

If you have a clear, concise and well-grounded answer to this question, you’ll be able to stick with your exercise routine through good times and bad. You’ll put in the time to study the theory, you’ll put in the time at the gym and you’ll have the inner motivation to put in an extra rep even when your muscles already hurt. It’ll make all the difference.

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On the other hand, if you don’t know your “why,” chances are you’ll start your workout routine, stick with it for a few days or weeks and then fall off the bandwagon when the going gets tough. After all, building a great body takes effort. You need to have the motivation to make it happen.

Identifying Your Why

Start with looking at your fitness goals. Different kinds of fitness goals tend to have different motivations.

Are you just trying to lose some weight? If so, what’s the most important thing you think you’d gain by losing that weight? Is it better health, more energy and a likely longer lifespan? Is it more social acceptance? Or more attention from the opposite sex?

If you’re skinny and want to bulk up a bit, again – ask yourself why. Why is having muscle mass better than having a skinny body? How will your life be different if you had more muscle mass?

Look at your goals and ask yourself: Why do I want my body to look this way? Often times finding your “why” is a matter of looking inward rather than outward.

Write Down Your “Why”

As the saying goes, “where there’s a will, there’s a way.” To keep your “why” alive, write it down on paper and keep it somewhere visible.

On days when you just don’t feel like getting up to go to the gym, that piece of paper can give you the push you need to get off the coach and into the gym.

Writing out your “why” also serves another function. Often times when trying to figure out your why, you’ll have a sense for it but not be able to put it into one concise sentence. Writing it out will help you form your why into a more concrete form.

To sum it up, finding your why is one of the most important aspects of being able to successfully keep up an exercise routine. If you have a strong enough reason for wanting to change your body, you can. Just make sure to keep reminding yourself of that reason, especially when times get tough.

Muscle Building Secrets

Compound Exercises: The Fundamentals of Good Muscle Building

When it comes to muscle building, all exercises can be separated into two different camps. On one side are the compound exercises, on the other side are the isolation exercises. They each have very different functions.

As the name might suggest, compound exercises are workouts that exercise multiple muscle groups at the same time. Isolation exercises are exercises that target a specific muscle group.

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If you’re trying to build muscle, using compound exercises is a much better way to go about it. Both for building overall tone and putting on muscle, compound exercises will get you there faster.

Compound exercises work out your muscles, your tendons, your joints and your ligaments. It puts the most strain on the area of your body that’s the weakest, strengthening the overall system. It’s the “broad strokes” of building overall muscle quickly.

Is There a Time When Isolation Exercises Are Better?

Yes, there is. Isolation exercises are great for targeting and improving a specific muscle group that’s out of balance.

If your right triceps is larger than your left for example, you might want to do some isolation exercises targeting just your left triceps.

Compound exercises are the fastest way to build muscle mass in your body in general. However, compound exercises aren’t great for laser-targeting specific parts of the body to develop.

Isolation exercises also have an additional benefit of being able to put on short-term mass quickly. Professional bodybuilders will often do isolation exercises before a major competition to add an inch or so of muscle. This muscle doesn’t last, however, and will disappear if you stop working out.

To build muscles that really last, start with compound exercises, then refine your body with isolation exercises if imbalances come up.

A Few Popular Compound Exercises

What are some of the most popular and proven compound exercises in bodybuilding?

Perhaps the most popular is the bench press. The bench press works out many of the muscles in your upper body, including the many muscles in your arms and your back.

Squats are another popular compound exercise. Everything from your calves to your thighs to your buttocks is worked out by squats.

Dead-lifts are another popular compound exercise. Dead-lifts will work out your abs, your leg muscles, your back muscles, your hips and your forearms.

Of course there are many other compound exercises you can choose from depending on your fitness goals. Pick the exercises you use based on the kind of body you want to develop.

In summary, compound exercises are the main building block to a solid workout routine. While isolation exercises are definitely important for sculpting the body and perfecting muscle balance, the actual work of building muscle should be done primarily with compound exercises.