A lot of people follow diets to lose weight, and strict health trends because it seems to always be visible to us. Unfortunately, there aren’t any visible guidelines for ensuring muscle growth. Muscle growth is important, being stronger is such a great feeling as you work towards being healthy. You’re free to make your own decisions regarding your training and nutrition that may end up working out great, or not so great, based on how much you know and how well you implement that knowledge.
To increase your chances of success, I’ve provided some rules you should never break when it comes to your training and nutrition. Learn and follow them, and you’ll make significant progress in your efforts to build both size and strength!
Rule #1: Never Get Too Comfortable
Progressive overload means continually challenging your body to new levels of performance. For any improvement to occur, the human body must be forced to adapt to a tension that is above and beyond what it has previously experienced.
You have a workout routine and everything is going great, for the first few months of training, you notice quite a bit of progress as the novelty of training created significant gains. So many of us get comfortable, and use the same weights as last week, or as months go by.
But here’s where many people start get off track. That workout program that led to those initial gains stops working because, ultimately, the body adapts to the stimulus placed upon it. The reality is, you need to keep increasing the degree of overload to keep seeing improvements. That often means increasing the weights as you grow stronger.
Always, always keep pushing yourself!
Rule #2: Try Different Positions
The placement of your hands/legs basically controls where you’re going to feel the exercise in your body and what muscles you’ll be working.
Wide grip, close grip, wide stance, narrow stance etc, each one works different parts of your muscles, and it’s very important you keep switching it up. If you feel like certain exercises hurt you with different positions, just stop and do it normally, but also figure out the issue. I used to do workouts where it would hurt my wrist, but I didn’t stop completely. I had weak wrists, so I worked on strengthening them and now I’m pain free.
Rule #3: Rest Days Are Crucial
Achieving any fitness goal requires long-term commitment, discipline, and consistency. You won’t see results happen overnight.
You might be someone who is very committed to their goals and be working out every single day, or that person who never wants to skip the gym to have a life, or maybe that person who gets injured and still wants to kick ass at the gym… however, you really need to TAKE. A. BREAK. Rest is needed in order to let your muscles recover and grow. Overtraining is not good for you. Without rest and recovery, your training will become less effective and you will plateau.
For me, I love planning my workout schedule for the week on the calendar app on my phone. I put what I’m training for each day, and also schedule in my rest days. It’s nice to have a planned schedule, that way you know ahead of time. Don’t forget to incorporate rolling out those muscles with a lacrosse ball, or a foam roller on your rest days. I have an article about the benefits of foam rolling. Read it here.
Rule #4: Never Skip Basic Multi-Joint Movements
Bench press, squats, deadlifts, overhead press, and rows are all known as compound lifts that should still be in your workout routine. These can and should be the foundation of your routine, done early in your workout with challenging weights. Being able to focus on heavy weights in compound movements, will help you increase your muscle size. Always do compound movements in the beginning of your workout, that way you have all your energy focusing on these heavy movements!
Rule #5: Never, Ever Overlook The Most Important Variables For Muscle Growth
Knowing the right multi-joint exercises to include into your routine is a good start, but to optimize hypertrophy, there are other things to consider.
Hypertrophy: is a growth of muscle cells. It refers to an increase in muscle size that can be achieved through working out.
This form of training is time efficient. The whole concept of this training is to hit your muscles as hard as you can in a short period of time. Make sure you choose a weight you can do between 6-12 reps! Reaching “failure” within that number range.
Studies show that if you want to increase the size of your muscle mass, you should focus on the volume of your workouts. Volume refers to the number of exercises, sets, and repetitions that you perform each workout.
- Train To Failure:
Training to failure sounds odd right? Why would you want to “fail?” Well in the bodybuilding world, training to failure means you’re pushing through so many reps until you can’t move that weight anymore. This helps by pumping maximum blood to the area. **MAKE SURE YOUR FORM IS STILL ON POINT!**
- Rest Periods:
How long should you rest in-between sets? It all depends on what your goals area. Everyone is different and it also depends on how your body feels in the moment, but here are some examples that are close to my rest periods.
– If you want to tone, lose weight, and increase endurance, rest between 20-60 seconds between sets.
– If you want to build strength, 2-4 mins between sets. Don’t take advantage of just sitting there, if it was really hard take the 4 mins, but if it wasn’t too bad, stick with around 3 mins.
– If you want to build muscle, 1- 1:30 min between sets is ideal. 3 mins if I could only do no more than 3-4 reps.
Please DON’T be like some people just sitting on their phone for minutes after minutes, or those people who actually talk/facetime on their phones. Use your phone for the timer instead!
Rule #6: Make Sure You’re Eating Enough Protein
Hangry? What’s for dinner or lunch? Is it whole foods, or the typical American grab and go? Learning to eat like a bodybuilder or just clean whole foods in general isn’t always easy, you need to always have somewhat of a plan, and meals prepped, so it’s easier to grab healthy and nutritious meals.
To ensure you’re not getting a lot of unwanted of fat calories with it, you’ll want to make sure it’s as lean as possible, and that it’s prepared without added fats, think broiling or grilling over fried. Fill your plate with a complex or starchy carb, and the last with a veggie, and you’ve got a good start to a clean bodybuilding meal! Eating clean doesn’t need to be boring. Learn to make bland foods taste delicious in my article here. ” Ways To Stop Eating Bland Foods’
Rule #7: You Really Don’t Know It All
Stop being the one who is constantly trolling other people or telling them they’re doing “it wrong”. Like the rest of us,things take time, so practice things on your own for self-experimentation. Age, genetics, gender, and other factors play into it. Not every nutrition plan, and training technique works the same for every single person.Everyone’s body responds differently.
Don’t be scared to have an open mind about things,expand your knowledge.
Rule #8: Don’t Be Scared To Eat A Lot!
Someone who is bulking is purposely eating more calories than they need. (Surplus) By providing your muscles with a strong stimulus to grow from progressive, intense training, these excess calories, especially protein, should aid to muscle hypertrophy and gains. However, if you just eat a calorie surplus without the necessary resistance training for muscle growth the excess calories will just add body fat. I suggest find out how many calories you need to eat in order to gain muscle!
Some women hesitate to add muscle because they think it will make them look “bulky.”Done correctly however, bulking can make you stronger, and leaner! Your body only needs so many calories to grow muscle, and whatever it doesn’t use will be stored as body fat. Sorry hunny, no matter what, if you want to build muscle, you will be adding some fat to your body, hence why people bulk in the winter and lean up towards summer.
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