How to Keep Building Muscle

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Photo by Alora Griffiths on Unsplash

So maybe you’ve changed your body composition and have learned how to gain muscle and get buff. But you are not where you want to be and it seems the muscle growing has slowed down or tapered off completely. What is that next step to build more muscle?

All is not lost and before you get fed up with your lack of muscle growth, just know you can do more to grow your muscles. For starters, the reason things taper off is because you are growing muscle. Your body has become accustomed to this new you which means you’ve already taken great strides.

But now your body is ready for a new challenge in order to grow more muscle and bulk up. It’s a combination of pushing yourself further in your workouts as well as changing things up with your nutrition intake. I talk about this all the time in the Bones to Bulk podcast.

With your workouts, here are three things you can do to really push you body in the gym:

  1. Do 3 new workouts every gym session.
  2. Increase your amount of sets to five on every exercise.
  3. Limit resting time in between each set to 45 seconds.

You will find just these few things can greatly impact your workout.

Second for your nutrition intake, your body needs a lot of clean power packed calories for that additional muscle growth. That means you have to eat more, but not just anything, you’ve got to eat more clean calories. Just increasing your daily intake by 500 calories a day can make a huge difference in the amount of muscle mass you put on.

So don’t get mad and throw in the towel as your muscle gains slow down. Change things up and dig deep.

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Why Your New Year’s Fitness Goal Needs Work

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It’s the new year and you are setting resolutions and goals. At the top of the list? “I want to get in better shape.” Changing something with your fitness is one of the top resolutions on people’s lists. But is your goal weak?

For starters don’t just say you want to get in better shape. What does that even mean? What is in shape mean to you? Do you want your clothes to fit different? Do you want to gain 10 pounds of muscle? Do you want to lose 10 pounds?

Awesome.

Now you’re not done yet.

How long do you want to take to hit your goal? Let’s say you want to put on 12 pounds of muscle, 12 pounds in 6 months. Broken down you know you need to gain 2 pounds a month. That’s much more tangible than just saying I want to gain muscle.

If you know you want to gain 2 pounds of muscle each month that gives you a clear idea of how much you need to be eating while working out in order to gain that.

After a month weigh in, and see if you are on track. If you are, then awesome! Keep doing what you are doing, but if you fell sightly short of it, then you know you need to increase your caloric intake.

If you just say you want to “get in shape” you are leaving your goal to chance and chances are, nothing will come of it. If this is something you truly want to change and make changes in then sit down and set specific goals. They need to be measurable (am I gaining/losing 1 or 2 pounds a month). They need to be time sensitive (how long is it going to take for me to hit my goal). It needs to be realistic (I’m going to gain 30 pounds of muscle in 6 months is not very feasible).

If you need some help kick starting your year. Check out our free online course to start gaining muscle.

So take it serious, plan it out, and this year don’t let another year go by without any true change. You’ve got this.

3 Ways to Stay Healthy During the Holidays

 

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Photo by Sheelah Brennan on Unsplash

When it comes to the holidays do you worry about all the unhealthy foods that will be at the parties? The casseroles, the dessert table, the list goes on. But there are some ways you can help avoid binging all the crap food this holiday and cruising through without sabotaging your fitness goals.

  1.  Eat before. If you know you are going to a party, don’t avoid eating before hand. You don’t have to eat a full blown meal, but have a good sized snack. Try a half cup of almonds, and a cup of Greek yogurt. Both are protein packed and will fill you up. This one thing will help you overcome loading up your plate with all the things you shouldn’t eat. The reason is because first it does something mentally. You know going in that you just ate a healthy snack so you are more in the mindset of eating healthy, second you will be more full so your eyes won’t be doing the loading up on the plate.
  2. Drink lots of water. Make it your priority to grab a water as soon as you get there. Whether it’s a bottle of water you carry around or a solo cup filled with water. This will do two things. It will keep you from grabbing soda or some sugar-laden tea and it will also keep you slightly fuller.
  3. Pick one. While I do not propose that you make a habit of eating desserts. Occasionally it’s fine to have one piece as long as you know it’s not going to set you completely off course and cause a downward spiral. But pick out a favorite ahead of time. When you first see the dessert table choose one thing you really like and stick to eating only that one thing. Keeping that in mind that you will only eat one helps you avoid making a whole plate of desserts.

You can do this, you can get through the holidays, still enjoy going to parties and get-togethers and stay on track with your fitness goals.

Keys to Winning Outside the Gym

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Photo by juan pablo rodriguez on Unsplash

We know the importance of the gym, but have you ever asked what you need to be doing outside the gym to get to your fitness goals?

There are some musts when it comes to staying on track throughout the week, because let’s face it some days getting to the gym is one of the easier aspects of staying on track. And while home workouts can be beneficial outside the gym like the ones in our free program, it also takes knowing how to handle food.

The real challenges can come in the form of the donuts in the break room, your kids’ Halloween stash, or your favorite pizza delivery service on speed dial.

Because while workouts are important, food is something we have to face almost 24/7. This is something we talk about it this week’s podcast.

The first key to resisting eating something you know is going to screw up your routine, is know it’s coming. You know there’s going to be junk in the break room, so make sure you are packing your snacks and lunch bag, and if possible just avoid the break room.

2. Prep your meals, cooking and preparing meals ahead of time can keep you from picking up junk food on those days when you get home late.

3. Stay hydrated. Drinking water throughout the day not only is super beneficial for your body, but can curb cravings and make you feel more full, making it easier to resist those candy bowls set out everywhere.

Eating healthy doesn’t have to be hard, it just takes some planning and knowing what you are going to run into ahead of time.

Can You Eat Too Much Protein?

“cooked dish” by Mark DeYoung on Unsplash

So if you want to build muscle you have to eat protein right? But why? Why are people who lift obsessed with downing globs of protein powder? Well, while we may not need as much as we think, there is a reason behind getting a good amount.

If our body has an excess of protein it goes into an anabolic state, which means our body can build muscle. If we get too little protein then the muscles start breaking down as our body will take the protein from our muscles for other important body functions. In my nutrition guide I point out a lot of the essential sources of protein.

It’s recommended to eat between 1 and 1 1/2 grams per pound of body weight for protein. But while this is recommended there’s still a lot of confusion about exactly how much protein our bodies can digest and actually put to use at once.

Photo by Caroline Attwood on Unsplash

In addition to making sure get the right amount, you want to make sure you have a steady intake of it throughout the day. So make sure you are getting a good chunk of protein at each meal, as well as in your snacks.

You also want to make sure you are having some after your workouts, as this is a time your muscles will really be needing those amino acids to help repair themselves and ultimately grow. To learn more check out this week’s podcast.

2 Keys to Increase Your Lifts

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Photo by Victor Freitas on Unsplash

So we all want to lift more? After all we equate lifting more with being stronger and it’s how we measure whether we are making progress in that regard right? So what can we do to increase our lifting?

There are several things that will go a long way.

The first is change things up week to week. Do more reps, one week, less, the next, and less the week after. As you decrease the reps you are going to increase the amount of weight you are lifting. This keeps things different for your muscles, causing more muscle groups, when you’ve dropped your reps down so low that are maxed out for weight, start the cycle over and go back to high reps.

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Photo by Jesper Aggergaard on Unsplash

When you start the cycle over you will find that you are able to lift heavier than when you first started. Continue to repeat this cycle. Ideally set your cycles up on 4 week cycles. So high reps the first week and continually decrease them over the next 3 weeks, then repeat the cycle. We are talking more about this in this week’s podcast episode.