Here it is, the 10th and final law of building muscle. We’ve got nine laws down, each of which is an important piece of the body-transformation puzzle. However, in order to be successful with your program, you have to customize your workouts and diet to fit your schedule. Every day is a learning opportunity […]
GET SERIOUS ABOUT YOUR HYDRATION It’s important that you stay hydrated throughout the day and go into your workout session in an optimal hydration state. It’s simple: When people are dehydrated, they don’t train as hard. The workout feels more difficult, and strength levels rapidly decline. Even being slightly dehydrated can impact the quality of […]
SUPPLEMENT WITH FISH FOR GREATER GAINS Regular consumption of fish oil, which includes two fatty acids called EPA and DHA, can help increase muscle protein synthesis (MPS) in response to a meal.1-3 When you eat a meal that includes protein, MPS goes up due to the anabolic nature of protein. However, when you supplement with […]
We all know that protein provides amino-acid building blocks for making muscle and other body proteins. However, not all amino acids are used to make body protein, but instead play other roles in muscle gains and performance. Furthermore, several amino-acid-derived nutrients like creatine and carnitine have special roles in muscle and should be considered as […]
Great workouts yield great results. Training with greater volume can lead to faster gains and better results over time. So how do you ensure that you’re getting the most out of your workouts every time you set foot in the gym? Certain nutrients can help increase energy and drive, as well as improve circulation to […]
When I was going to school for nutrition in the ’80s, it was always recommended lower protein to people. The thought then was that too much protein would be bad for the kidneys. Today, we know better. For people who train hard, protein recommendations are at least double what they are for inactive people. That […]
It is critical to remember that training might only account for 1-2 hours of your day. That leaves more than 80 percent of the day for nourishment, adaptation, and transformation. It’s important that you think of fitness adaptation as something that occurs throughout the day. If you want results, you’ll have to do more than […]
When you’re training to lose, you’re training to burn more calories and fat during exercise and during the 24-hour post-workout period. Doing resistance training is a great way to increase muscle mass and therefore burn more calories throughout the day, but you should also include cardiovascular training.
My favorite way to train cardio is with high-intensity interval training, or HIIT.
HIIT MORE BENEFITS IN LESS TIME
HIIT combines bursts of high-intensity dynamic exercise like running or cycling with periods of active rest. Research suggests that HIIT burns as many calories as lower-intensity cardio in much less time, and allows the burning of calories and fat to remain elevated throughout the day.1,2 Furthermore, this type of training can help muscle fibers take up more fat and carbohydrates after training to be stored in preparation for the next challenge.
To perform HIIT, do 3-10 intervals of high-intensity effort followed by lower-intensity effort. High-intensity effort should last 30-180 seconds and should be followed by active-rest periods done in a 1:1-1:4 ratio. For example, you could sprint for 60 seconds and transition into a jog or walk for 60-180 seconds.
If you are just getting started, do shorter work periods with longer active rest. As you get fitter, increase the length of work and decrease the length of rest. Try to perform HIIT for at least 20 minutes, and consider a frequency of 2-3 times per week depending on your goals.
I know, I know, you’re champing at the bit to get started in the gym. Although I’m glad you’re enthusiastic and ready to go, it’s important that you learn sound training principles before you start hitting the weights! My second muscle-building law is about the five training principles you’ll need to know before you start […]
Before you can begin a fitness program, you first need to know where you are, what your goals are, and how you plan on achieving those goals. That’s why Law 1 is called “Build Your Blueprint.” Without first developing a clear plan of action, your fitness goals won’t ever get off the ground.
As you’re building a plan for your goals, here are some important things to keep in mind:
DEFINE YOUR STARTING POINT
Where are you now, where are you going, and how are you going to get there? These simple questions have to be answered up front before you can get off to a solid start. If this isn’t your first attempt to achieve a fitness goal, then it’s a good time to bring these old ideas to the surface. It’s important to remember what worked in the past, and what didn’t.
As you gather information about your current weight, body fat, and performance level, your starting line will become much clearer. Knowing where you are now will make planning your fitness goals much easier and achieving those goals much more likely.
DETERMINE YOUR GOALS
Aside from your overall fitness goal, it’s important to set small, achievable goals for changes in strength, size, and leanness. These small goals should be measured, recorded, and celebrated on the way to your big, overall goal. I suggest that you set realistic and conservative goals to ensure success and progression for the long haul.
For instance, a 10 percent gain in bench strength and 3 percent reduction in body fat in the first 60 days of training are small, realistic goals you could set for yourself. After you’ve achieved these short-term goals, remain conservative with each subsequent one you set, but keep setting goals on the way to your long-term target.
The changes you can expect to see will depend entirely on your workout and nutrition quality. (Don’t worry; we’ll dive into these details in some of my upcoming laws.) Moreover, how dramatic these changes will be depends on your beginning fitness level. If you’re starting at a completely sedentary lifestyle, you can expect bigger changes earlier in the process.
UNDERSTAND AND MEASURE PROGRESS
Once you have a goal and a plan to reach it, determine how you will track physical and performance changes. It’s imperative that you measure and track your progress. As the saying goes, “measure what matters.”
Weigh yourself, get your body fat tested, take progress photos, and take stock of how your clothes fit. Measure strength gains by doing reps at a specific weight or keeping track of weekly exercise volume. Don’t just rely on the bathroom scale or a single measurement tool. Use your entire toolkit!
Whatever you use for assessment should be used for the entire process. Use the same scanners, trainers, equipment, and professionals to perform these measurements. If you switch your main source of information partway through your journey, you may find that your progress stagnates. Use BodySpace to track your body fat and measurements!
Keep detailed notes, and remember that you may not see progress every day or week, but be patient. Measure consistently and you’ll soon see excellent results.
Don’t forget to watch the rest of my 10 Laws of Muscle Building!