When it comes to building your body, the rules are pretty simple. Lift heavy weights, eat a lot of food, take the right supplements, and get a lot of rest… and the muscle will come! The methods seem so simple, yet building lean muscle is an accomplishment which eludes may lifters. The reason is that even though they’re working hard at completing these aspects of the muscle building process, they’re also making some common mistakes which can plague even the best of lifters. Let’s check out some top tips for activities to AVOID if you wish to build new levels of muscle mass and strength!
Overtraining is the number 1 enemy of new lifters. They have in their possession a wonderful advantage known as “beginners’ gains”, which lets them gain muscle even if they’re only training chest and biceps, using terrible form, and living on fast food menus. Training too frequently will rob beginner, intermediate, and advanced lifters of potential gains while costing years’ worth of hard earned muscle. If you want to make solid and consistent muscle mass gains, you need to rest 2 to 3 days each week, away from the gym. You also need to sleep 7.5 to 8 hours each night. You don’t grow in the gym – you grow while you sleep!
“I want to get jacked” is a nice goal which looks lovely on a t-shirt. However, it doesn’t truly translate to clear and concise expectations which can be applied to help you reach these goals. “I wish to gain 12 pounds of lean muscle in the next 4 months” is a clear goal which will have you adding 500 calories to your daily diet while at the same time adding 4 to 6 heavy compound movements to each exercise. Likewise, a goal such as “I wish to lose 9 pounds of body fat in 9 weeks” will have to cutting 500 calories from each day’s diet, adding cardio to help the journey go smoothly. “I wanna be shredded and big” will have your calories stagnant, lifting flat, and cardio missing from the equation completely. Come up with some clear goals, then stick with the required tasks until you achieve them. Then you can set more goals and achieve them too!
Avoid the ruts
Never accept a rut – when it comes to anything. The best routine is any lifting order, exercise selection, or recovery means which your body isn’t used to at the moment. As soon as you become accustomed to a workout, it no longer forces your muscles to grow to meet the demands. This can be a pain for many lifters who discover a certain chest or leg training routine which they just absolutely love. However, the wise and responsible lifter will write down this successful routine in his or her training manual, and return to it down the road. Then, he or she will work to create new and more creative lifting routines to help the continued addition of muscle mass. Some might even try to justify it by saying “I found my groove!” but that is rarely a case which will deliver much success for very long. Always keep the muscles guessing, and they will continue to grow as a result.
Staying too lean
Without a doubt, possessing a ripped and carved 6-pack is one of the most rewarding aspects of lifting, a rewarding display for all of the years of tough work and more importantly, dietary discipline. You can’t just lift your way to tight abs… you have to eat clean, too! And once you get them, letting them go can become a scary proposition. However, if your goal is to pack on 10 to 15 pounds of rock hard lean muscle mass, then you are going to have to gain some body fat as well. The added muscle will boost your metabolism, making the next fat loss phase even easier! Even the top bodybuilders in the world get a little chunky in the off-season when they’re adding muscle. Being able to stay under 15% body fat will ensure you can drop the fat quickly when the time rolls around!
Sticking with what you know
If you do what you’ve always done… you’ll get what you have always got. Training in the exact way you’re training today got you exactly this big. The diet you have used for years has you looking precisely as you look today. If you don’t sleep enough, then you wear the muscle fatigue which results. You are an immediate and honest reflection of the efforts you’ve put forth thus far, and your appearance is a testament to this. The only way to radically change your output – your gains – is to massively change the way you train, what you’re eating, how much you’re sleeping, and the supplements you are using. Mix things up with extreme passion and focus – and the results may surprise you. Each day, study those around you and try to learn something from everyone in the gym.
The good habits you need to follow to grow bigger and stronger are pretty clear… lift, eat, recover, and take your supplements. The bad habits are much cleverer at hiding and are therefore harder to detect. Avoid falling into any of the traps above and you’ll keep growing bigger and stronger by the week. Good luck!