Want to Gain Muscle (Don’t Skip This)

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Photo by Jesper Aggergaard on Unsplash

If you want to gain muscle you get a gym membership right? You then proceed to go in there like you own the place, slam some weights around and boom muscles sprout on your arms that would put Popeye to shame.

Not so much. First off don’t ever walk in like you own the place. Have confidence but don’t think you are the shit, because there is always someone you can learn from and always someone that will out-perform you. Be hungry but humble.

Second if just going in and lifting some weights made you gain lean muscle mass then there would be a whole lot more people running around looking like Arnold’s mini me’s.

In truth there is so much more that goes into building muscle. From time under tension, to making sure you are lifting properly, to your food intake.

Food intake is without doubt the biggest aid in your journey. Why do I say this? Because I used to be that guy. I went to the gym, thought I knew everything lifted, and then was so confused when I didn’t gain muscle. Now I’m not saying it’s super hard for everyone. But for me, a guy who struggled to keep weight on and had a metabolism that was ridiculously fast? I fell flat.

It was a humbling experience and I’m glad it happened. Because it made me re-evaluate everything. That’s when I finally dug down and realized that what I put in my mouth mattered so much more than the gym.

Now don’t get me wrong, the gym is important too. But you have to be aware of what you are eating. The episode I posted above talks about how you should be looking at food.

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How to Eat For Muscle Gains

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Photo by Daniel Apodaca on Unsplash

When it comes to our food why do we usually eat? Because we are hungry? Or sometimes because it just looks dang good and even though we are full, we still want it? Why should we eat though? Well there are several reasons. The first is for health. I want to be healthy. Healthy now and healthy into my old age. And also I want to gain lean muscle mass. I am always striving to build more muscle.

Your reasons may look slightly different, but chances are if you are reading this, then some of those ring true. Now let’s face it, I like food too, I don’t think kale belongs in smoothies, and lima beans are at the bottom of the list for me, but there are also a lot of healthy things I love. I talk a lot about those things in my Facebook group.

I love chicken, I really do, I never was much of a beef guy, so that transition was easy. What was hard? Ice cream. I used to lay out a half gallon of ice cream in one sitting, no joke.

It took me some time to get over that one, but it didn’t come down to just more self discipline, it came down to me getting to the heart of the matter. I knew I didn’t want to look or feel like I used to, and so I knew it was either the ice cream, or something new. I chose something new.

And the crazy part? I don’t miss it. Okay sure, once on a rare occasion I do get an ice cream craving, but compared to when I first started leaving it behind, it’s like night and day.

So if you are struggling with giving up unhealthy options, pick one thing, focus on it, and then once you have that conquered move on to something else. For more on focusing on where your calories are coming from, check out this week’s episode of the podcast.

And also? Hang on to your reasoning. Write yourself a note, reminding you of the reasons and stick to it. If your reason is to build muscle, awesome! If it’s something else, that’s fine too. But find your why.

How Flexibility Can Increase Your Gains

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Photo by Autumn Goodman on Unsplash

Often in the gym flexibility doesn’t come up much. I know it used to not cross my radar. But the more I lifted and the more I gained muscle I realized how important it was to stay flexible. What I didn’t realize until after was that it would actually improve my muscle building.

If you lift you should start building up your flexibility. This is done through a lot more than just stretching. There are tons of exercises that can help build your mobility. From working out with resistance bands, to box jumps, sprints, and sled pushes.

These all help improve your overall lifting ability. Because as you get more flexible you will find that your muscles have greater stretch ability and will aid you in your lifts.

Try grabbing a resistance band and doing different stretches, both for your upper body and lower body. Try it for two weeks and see if it doesn’t make a huge difference. For more on this check out this week’s episode of the Bones to Bulk Podcast.

Are You Doing This In the Gym?

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Photo by Jesper Aggergaard on Unsplash

Have you ever been guilty of this in the gym? You are catching your breath after a hard set that is pushing your muscle gains to the max and you whip out your phone. You glance at a few funny memes. Respond to a couple texts. Like a couple posts and before you know it you’ve blown five minutes. But in truth you’ve blown more than that.

When we lift to gain muscle we tend to think it’s all about how much we have on the bar, how much we are lifting that truly matters and little else. But in truth that’s one of the least things to concern yourself with, as it is all just about how we look in the gym (hint: no one is watching anyway).

In truth while the speed of our reps and our form is super important, so is time under tension. Time under tension is how much strain our muscles are under, and if we lift an insane amount of weight but rest five minute in between each set, our muscles have time to relax before we even move on to our second set. I talk a lot about this in our Private Facebook Group.

By doing this we are sabotaging our muscle gains. The key is resting LESS time. Rather than using your phone to distract you, set a timer. When you start your first set start the timer. Once you finish your set, don’t rest longer than 45 seconds before moving on to the next set.

Sure you will find that you can’t lift as heavy, but you will be getting stronger because your muscles are working that much harder. If you are really looking to change things up with your workout and push yourself check out this week’s episode of the podcast where we are diving into specific things to do int he gym.

3 Reasons Diets Suck

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When it comes to gaining muscle and getting in shape, there’s probably not much that turns you off like hearing the word “diet”. And it should. Diets suck. Plain and simple. If you are a part of the Bones to Bulk Facebook group, you know that I can’t stand diets. And I’m going to give you 3 reasons why if you are trying to gain muscle, and get in the best shape of your life, why you should ditch the diet.

1. They set you up for failure. Diets by design are a temporary fix to a long term problem. They are set up to be temporary thing. Think about it. If you only temporarily put gas in your car and then stop, what’s eventually going to happen? You are going to run out of gas. Your diets can’t be these 30 day or 60 day fixes and then you just go back to how you ate before.

 

2.They teach you how to eliminate foods so that you accomplish your goals. Rather than teaching you how to eat and set up a firm foundation with eating, they only teach you what not to eat, so that once you are done, you go back to square one. Eating for true health, muscle gain, and overall fitness has way more to do with the healthy options that you add in to your diet, rather than what you take away.

3. Diets have an all or nothing approach. In other words, for x amount of time completely cut out x, y, and z. Our eating habits are built over a lifetime, and we can’t expect to all of a sudden completely change everything over night. Changing the way we eat takes a long time to fully conquer. It should be approached as a gradual climb, slowly replacing unhealthy foods with healthy foods.

Remember the key to gaining muscle, getting fit, and feeling amazing starts with what you put in your body. You can find out more at Bones to Bulk.

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.

Why Food is Failing Your Muscle Gains

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Photo by GMB Monkey on Unsplash

When it comes to your nutritional intake are you eating to actually gain muscle? If you are skinny and want to have muscle or definition, you’ve got to be eating for it.

When weight loss is not the primary objective it’s easy to think that all we have to do is just go lift weights and we will naturally grow muscle. This was a common mistake I myself made when I first started. After all if bench press a lot of weight and crush it in the gym then those muscles will sprout. But that just isn’t the case.

While lifting in the gym is important, it’s just one piece of the puzzle, and it takes a lot of pieces to complete the picture. So what does eating for muscle gain look like?

It consists of first off eating enough. Chances are if you are naturally thin you have a high metabolism, so your body is burning off more calories than normal and it takes a good amount of extra calories in order to put on the muscle.

If you don’t have an excess of calories your body has nothing to build muscle with. It’s similar to if you were building a house, and decided you wanted to add on and build another room, but you only had enough material for the original plan. If you wanted to build the extra room you would have to take material away from another room, which would be counter-productive.

It’s the same way with our eating, we’ve got to have that excess. Now before you get too excited that doesn’t mean just go eat whatever you want in order to get extra calories. You’ve got to eat the right amount of calories or it will go to fat rather than muscle.

Lean meats, whole wheat and whole grain carbs, and lots of fresh veggies and fruit.

So when it comes to going from skinny to buff, don’t leave out the nutrition side. We are talking more about this in this week’s episode of the podcast, listen to it here.