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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Have you been working out but just can’t seem to make those muscles grow the way you want them to? Maybe you are seeing some slight definition but the growth just isn’t there. You are considering throwing in the towel and quitting. Maybe you’re just destined to be skinny and not buff.
Well fear not. It’s not just you, it just may take some more serious changes.
First off we have this concept when it comes to lifting weights that we have to lift the heaviest amount of weight possible in order to gain muscles. So we pile on the plates, load up the bar, and find ourselves pumping out a couple reps. And they are either half-assed reps at that, or our form is completely off.
If you want to build muscles it’s not about doing the traditional things.
The key to lifting is making sure your muscles are working hard. That they are under a lot of tension for a good amount of time. If you perform bench presses with 135 pounds and go to failure with 4 sets. You are doing way more for your muscle growth than if you get 1 rep of 225 up. Sure you had to exert some extra strength to get that 225 up but it doesn’t have any long lasting effect or a constant strain on those muscles. So get out of the mindset that you have to lift as heavy as possible.
Use less weights, but lift longer with that weight, so more sets, more reps, and slow down. Make sure your form is on point and that you are not speeding through the reps.
Another key element is making sure your rest times don’t outweigh your lift time (pun intended). It’s so easy to get lost on our phones or talking to someone on our rest. But I challenge you to start setting your timer on your phone or on your watch and limiting yourself to rests that are 45 seconds or less. You’ll find this to be much more challenging. Remember it’s that time under tension that really matters here.
The next thing you’ve got to make sure you are not neglecting is your nutrition intake. I hate when I hear people tell me they are bulking, or they are cutting. What this translates to me is, “I don’t want to eat right all the time.” That’s literally what it is. “I’m bulking” is a translation of: “Please excuse the fact that I’m downing a ton of unhealthy food every day.”
You want to grow your muscles? You have to feed them properly. You have to give them what they need, and loading up on empty calories with no nutritional value is not the thing you need to be doing, because that’s not aiding the growth of muscle.
Focus on eating right every day, and focus on eating the right amount. Enough can’t be said about this.
Finding that right amount can take work. It’s not easy finding the magical number that you need in order to get the most out of your muscle gains. Start out using a calorie tracker as a baseline. Plug in your information and go from there. You may need to adjust it and that’s okay, that’s part of it. If you are lifting hard, eating right and still not gaining, then increase your calorie intake by a couple hundred calories.
Fitness isn’t a one size fits all for everyone so it takes some time to really discover what works best for you. Don’t be afraid of this.
Something else that keeps us from gaining muscle in the gym is not working hard. If you’ve been going to the gym for some time you may be in a routine. Maybe you do the same exercises every day. Maybe you do 5×5’s every day. Maybe you do drop sets every day. If you truly want to grow muscles and break out of your skinny body, you’ve got to do what is uncomfortable. That means you do the exercises that you really hate, and change things up so that you are having to work really hard. So hard that you hate going to the gym. I There are many days when it’s not fun, when it’s not enjoyable or motivating or any other bull crap pie in the sky feeling that you think you should have every day.
I get it the gym is my 2nd home is it feels like, and I want to enjoy it. I want to have fun there, but I know that if there isn’t a little bit sense of dread for the workout that I’m about to do then I’m not working out hard enough.
That may sound harsh but in truth how much you hate your workout is a good measurement for if you are working out hard enough.
Gaining muscle takes work, that’s what makes it valuable. Because of the effort that has to be put into it. So don’t give up when it’s hard, because it’s going to be hard most of the time. You are responsible for you.
So don’t sell yourself short. Work hard. You’ve got this.
When it comes to making changes with our physique and gaining muscle our mind immediately goes to the end result. What we want to look like, how we want to feel etc. This is good because we need those goals cemented in our minds in order to make forward progress and remember where we want to be.
But just the same, it can get frustrating when we aren’t seeing the results we want to see. I’ve worked with different people who all have different goals and I can tell you the ones that have reached their goals or are close to reaching them are the ones that kept going despite not seeing progress some weeks or months.
You don’t always see the progress. Darren Hardy wrote an amazing book called the compound effect that talks about how small changes done every day add up to huge changes a year or more down the road.
When you start working out and eating healthy you won’t see immediate change, this is NORMAL. Keep making the hard and small every day decisions, to eat that healthy meal, to make it to the gym, and change will come.
So have you ever had one of those mornings or afternoons when you really just don’t want to go to the gym, or for go our for that run? Yeah I know they suck. So how do you get past those moments when you just want to pull the covers back over your head, or turn on the TV and zone out? It’s called habit.
Habit can take time to develop, but it is what keeps you going when you don’t feel like doing it. Motivation comes and goes. There is no long lasting motivation that will never wear off, because motivation is temporary. But habits are hard to break.
We often think about habits as things that are bad, but habits can be good too. Once we get into the habit of eating healthy and working out then we feel like something is off if we miss a workout, or start eating like crap. So if you are trying to figure out how to keep your motivation for the gym and healthy eating alive, stick with it and get that habit developed. It will be your best friend when you don’t feel like it.
So you want to build muscle fast? You are tired of being small and want to go from skinny to buff. Awesome, that is a great place to be at. The good news is, regardless of where you are starting from you can build muscle.
So what are the keys to building muscle? Let’s hit them.
Workout – this may sound obvious but getting in the gym at least 4 days a week is how you will make the strain so that you can begin your gains. And just because you walk in a gym doesn’t mean you are going to gain muscle. You have to work and work hard. Every single workout you do should be straining your muscles. If you aren’t breaking a sweat you are not working hard enough. I suggest getting a guide that has a workout plan in it if you are new to this. There are a lot of elements to a proper workout.
You need to eat to build muscle and no that doesn’t consist of eating as much food as possible regardless of what it is. You need to eat good clean foods, but you need to eat more than you burn in a day. If you don’t know what your calorie count per day is you need to find this out. There are calorie counting apps out there that will let you plug in your info in order to know how much you should be eating. So much of this is a numbers game so you have to know what your baseline is. Don’t go at your diet blind get some guidance if need be.
Get your head in the game. You have to be mentally strong, which can include leaving certain groups of friends if they bring you down. You are the sum of the five people you hang around. Take a good hard look at your friends and ask yourself if they are pushing you to be a better version of yourself or not.
There are a lot of questions when it comes to how to eat for building muscle. I’ve heard some say eat whatever you want, others say eat no carbs. The list goes on and on of what to eat or not to eat. The truth is in addition to eating for muscle we want to eat for longevity and overall health. We want to be healthy on the outside as well as the inside.
It makes me cringe when people talk about how they are bulking so they don’t care what they eat. This is not the way to build solid lean muscle.
You want to eat a balanced diet, lean meats (no red meat), whole grain carbs from sources like brown rice, oats, wheat bread, potatoes, both sweet and white. Lots of fresh veggies. Lots of water, no juices, teas, or sodas.
You see, eating healthy so that you can go from skinny to buff is not hard, it just takes practice. And it’s about how much you are eating. If you haven’t already, then you have to put in your statistics to an app so that it will calculate how many calories a day you should be eating to gain weight. Then aim to hit that number or higher, while eating CLEAN foods. Hitting that number that is specific to your inputs, while working out and eating clean will change you and build muscle.