We’ve taught you about how to live and eat healthy to start your year right, but that’s a completely different thing from adding some muscle.
Sure, you can keep yourself healthy without actually getting buff and working out—a few walks and jogs here and there will already give you what you need. But why stop there? Why not sculpt your abs, tone your arms, and become overall shredded. Wouldn’t you want to be like one of those statues in museums, chiseled out of marble?
Well, if that’s your plan, we’ve gathered five simple steps to guarantee that your hard work at the gym will pay off.
1. You can’t go wrong with the basics
As the old saying goes, the Philippines wasn’t built in a day. Of course, neither is a sculpted body. Without the basic movement patterns, you won’t be able to properly put on a decent amount of meat. You need to focus on mastering things like squats, lunges, deadlifts, and presses—which put pressure on different muscle groups all at once.
2. Eat, and then eat some more
When you’re tearing it up at the gym, fueling becomes more important than anything else. If you do it properly, you’ll have enough energy to recover, rebuild, and push yourself for your next workout. But you’re wrong if you think it’s not as simple as chicken breasts, brown rice, and protein shakes.
The ones mentioned are actually low-calorie, high-protein foods that are enough to salvage lean mass, but you won’t be able to see any explosive or noticeable growth. Instead, you should prioritize nutrient-dense foods like fruits and vegetables.
Unprocessed plant-based carbs
- Sweet Potato
But, sure, chicken breast is still fine—all meat, actually. Remember: a muscle-building diet includes a fair portion of carbohydrates.
1) Chew your food thoroughly. This makes nutrients available to the body immediately
2) Try to drink at least 50 percent of your body weight in ounces of water each day. Hydration is always your friend.
3. Keep it short and heavy
If you want to put on muscle and not lose weight, you won’t be able to be a strong as you could (or should) be. That’s a fact. So, to avoid this dilemma, start off with workouts that involve lower numbers of reps, but with moderate to heavy weights. This will hit a pretty decent middle ground between training for size and for strength.
4. Don't mix regimens
There are undeniably talented pro athletes out there who are actually great at more than one sport. Unfortunately, it’s highly likely that you’re not one of them. So, if your priority is really to build muscle this 2019, focus on lifting weights and nothing else.
It IS possible to put on muscle while still doing other exercises, but, for some, that balancing act will be more trouble than it’s worth. This, though, doesn’t count out your sports activities. For example, you like playing basketball or swimming, just continue that and see how it feels to do that activity while having a bit of extra muscle on. So if you’ve been playing as a guard all this time, you’re going to have to learn new moves in the post.
5. Consistency includes variety
It’s not the first time we’ve heard that, as time goes, routines tend to become boring, so it’s indeed a good idea to mix up the weights, occasionally change the rep scheme, combine several core movements into one, and just keep the body guessing.
But it’s important to remember that proficiency tops creativity. Don’t advance your moves without having the basics 100 percent down. Once you feel, or your trainer says you’ve got the routine memorized, then you can have fun challenging yourself with different variations of those base moves. All we’re saying is: just don’t rush the process. Trust it.