The wonderful thing about exercising with weights is that the results are almost instantaneous. You get to see your muscles become bigger and stronger day after day. Nothing beats the way your body begins to look and feel after a couple of weeks of weight training. Just when you think that nothing is going to come between you and the Mr. Universe crown, you start to notice that you aren’t getting any bigger. No matter how much extra effort you out in, you’re muscles stay the same size. Welcome to the plateau!
The truth is that although weight training provides benefits to almost any Tom, Dick and Jane initially, within a couple of months, as your body gets used to the routine, your muscles stop to grow. What you do during this phase is what really separates the men from the boys. Muscle building is a precise science. Impressive muscles are not built by hard work alone, but by following the three precepts of exercise, nutrition, and rest.
Incorporate these guaranteed tips into your diet and workout and you will be able to overcome the plateau and build muscle like never before.
Heavy compound. Compound movements that focus on big muscle groups must be included in your workout. These movements strengthen the muscles and help them bulk up faster. They are also cardiovascular in nature and help burn fat by increasing the BMR. So take heed of what your coach and the old timers have been telling you and focus on Heavy squats, deadlifts, and bench presses if you really want to pack on muscle.
Train progressively. The human body adapts very quickly to any situation. The same holds true in the gym. Once the body gets used to the punishment you are putting it through, your muscles cease to get bigger. The idea is to never let your body get used to your routine. Focus on lifting heavier weight each time you work out a particular body part. Depending on your fitness levels and capacity, aim at increasing some weight each time you lift. This technique, known as progressive training, will help you build muscles faster.
Training intensity. If your idea of a workout is to lift a couple of weights in front of the television, you will never build muscle. Intensity is the key to optimum muscle gain. Increase the speed, or the number of repetitions, or sets to increase the intensity of your workout. If you want to build muscle, you will have to work hard for it.
Stretch. Stretching is not just for gymnasts. Stretching helps to make your muscles bigger and stronger. Stretching elongates the fascia that surround the muscles and provides more room for the muscles to grow. It also prevents injury and helps reduce delayed onset of muscle soreness, or DOMS.
Eat big. Weight training is truly a manly sport. You can’t expect to skimp on your meals, or eat like a little twelve year old girl. Increase your overall calorie intake by 500 calories to start. You have to prevent your body from going into a catabolic state, especially after intense heavy workouts. Adding that extra 500 calories to your diet will help your muscles receive the required nutrition for increased growth.
Proper pre and post-workout nutrition is one of the most important, yet overlooked, elements to muscle building. Before starting a workout you need to replenish your body’s energy sources to be able to train effectively. A couple of bananas, or a protein shake, is a good example of a pre-workout meal. Gulp down your shake or bananas at least one hour before your workout. Post workout, is essential to provide the body with amino acids to rebuild muscles that have been broken down and are now in a stressed state, waiting to recover and grow.
Protein shakes, or a meal comprising of lean protein and complex carbohydrates is a good way to provide the required nutrition. This should be consumed within 45 minutes after your workout. Miss this window of opportunity and it’s like shooting yourself in your own foot!
Go high on protein. A high protein diet is a must for any person wanting to build muscles. At least one gram of protein per pound of bodyweight is the required minimum. Proteins help in building muscles since they produce amino acids, the basic building blocks of muscles. Chicken, turkey, and egg whites are good sources of protein.
Salute the Omegas. Good fats, or the Omegas (three and six), are the key to maintaining hormonal balance and keeping fat levels down. They regulate testosterone, which is responsible for burning additional fat and building muscles. Flaxseed, hemp, walnuts, borage oil, and sunflower seeds are good sources of these Omega fatty acids.
Carbs. Complex carbohydrates such as whole grains, potatoes, and brown rice should be an integral part of your diet. Carbs provide your body with that vital boost of energy that is required to sustain you throughout your weight training session. They provide energy at a constant rate and for longer durations and help you to train harder.
Rest. Adequate rest gives muscles time to recover from stress and fatigue. It also helps them grow stronger for the next session of exercise. It stops catabolic activity of the muscles and prevent muscle loss. Try to get at least eight hours of sleep a night.
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Well, that’s it. Oh yeah, one more thing, get ready to buy larger size clothes.
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