What to do and what not to do whilst building muscle… There are so many articles and information out there about how to build muscle and it is sometimes hard to know where to start thus making it easy to get confused in regards to training in the right way. We have put together a few simple ‘do’s’ and ‘don’t’s’ rules to give you a better idea of what your goals might be and what you want to get from your training sessions. So here are our ‘What to do and what not to do whilst building muscle’.
Eat the right foods
… and do not rely on supplements. Supplements are a waste of time and money. As long as you eat right and train well, you do not need to be popping pills all hours of the day; at the end of the day they will not have any positive significant effect on your body or more importantly your health- so save your money! What I can recommend are protein powders. If you are training to gain muscle mass you will need to significantly up your protein intake and protein shakes are a great way of boosting your intake. However, be careful what protein powders you go for as a lot may be laden with sugars and damaging sweeteners. You may also want to eat every 3 hours or so in order to provide your body with constant fuel to metabolize and build muscle. If you are training hard your body will be metabolising food at a faster rate so make sure your body has enough food to fuel on. Moreover make sure you are making the right meal choices. Plenty of protein, complex carbs, healthy fats and micronutrients all need to be present in your diet. Stay away from white carbs and refined sugar as well alcohol.
If you are hitting the gym regularly and particularly if you are working up a serious sweat, you need to stay hydrated. Additionally, the nutrients you get from your foods will be absorbed more easily when your body is constantly hydrated as it carries the nutrients around the body more effective, making sure you feel hydrated and energised. If you have high levels of physical activity you should be drinking at least 2.5 litres a day.
Your body will actually benefit from rest days; and you may see more effective results. Research suggests that a strenuous weight lifting session can increase protein synthesis for up to 48 hours after your workout therefore; your muscles are quite literally growing whilst you rest. Take 2 rest days a week when you are trying to build muscle as it gives them a chance to grow and recover.
Work at your own pace
Everybody has a different goal and everyone is unique. No two people have the same body so do not compare your workouts of progress to anyone other than yourself. Individuals work in different ways to achieve their desired goals so focus on your own relationship with your body and physique in order to get to where you want to be physically and emotionally.
Sacrifice sleep for an early morning workout
You may think you are being super productive or impressively dedicated by cutting back on your precious hours sleep for a late night or early morning workout however, the truth is this may be more detrimental to your muscles than beneficial. Yes, finding time to train can be difficult sometimes but if you are training hard regularly, you need to allow tour body enough rest time for your muscles to recover properly. When you are sleeping, it is this time that muscles take the opportunity to do most of their recovery therefore, if you are depriving yourself of enough hours of sleep, your body will in fact inhibit muscle recovery thus encouraging muscle degradation.
Forget about your form to increase the weight you are lifting
Firstly, poor form whilst exercising/ lifting weights will most likely lead to an injury which means you will not be able to train at all! Furthermore, poor form is actually just a ‘short cut’ way of training. This is because sacrificing your form means limiting the amount of work the muscles you are targeting actually need to do in order to gain mass and strength. It is still possible to gain muscle with bad form however, the exercise will not be as effective and you will most likely end up injuring yourself.
Spending hours in the gym
It is true; building muscle does require hard work, regular training sessions and dedication. What it does not require is for you to spend hours at a time in the gym killing yourself. In fact, there is such thing as over-training, which inevitably means you if you are continuously training to much at a time, you are wearing down the muscle; thus this is counterproductive to gaining muscle. Additionally, if you are training for 2-3 hours a day you are probably not going to be enjoying your training sessions thus you will start to dread walking into the gym. Exercising is supposed to be productive and motivating; pushing yourself for hours and hour’s kind of defeats the point! There is no research suggesting that dragging out a long workout sees faster or more effective results. In fact, for better results, stick to under an hour and focus on the intensity of the workout.
Forget about other forms of exercise
It is often the case and easy to think that focusing all your sessions on training with weights will get you faster results. This may be true but be careful not to neglect other areas of your body. Yes you will build muscle by just training weights, but more so for health reasons, you should try and get a few short cardio sessions in as well for your cardiovascular health. Furthermore, switching up your sessions and your weights every so often, will keep your body guessing, which may lead to more effective results. Know your body and do what works for you.
Top Tip: Do not train your way out of a healthy lifestyle. It is fine to want to bulk up and get stronger but do not sacrifice your health. As mentioned; just eat well, train sensibly and live healthy.