Training Tips To Achieve A Leaner Muscle Mass
It’s fine to hit the gym twice a week if all you want to do is maintain the muscle you already have, but if you want to add to that mass then you need to increase your exercise regime to four or five times a week. Though those sessions may be shorter to allow time for recovery, you’ll be exposing your body to a training stimulus that is really helpful in packing on the muscle. You should also aim to vary your strength qualities to keep your body guessing. It’s true that sets in the 8 to 12 rep range will be really effective in gaining muscle, but bear in mind that your body adapts to things quickly – it needs to be challenged in order to change. Rather than sticking with a predictable exercise routine, mix up your workout with some lower rep strength work for four weeks, then add in some higher rep strength-endurance work for a training block. Your body will be challenged and the variety will ensure that your muscle growth improves. You also need to add in plenty of protein – this is the building block of muscle, and you need a lot of it to see results. Most people don’t get enough in their diets, and if you’re working out and aiming to build muscle then you’ll need more. Aim for 0.8 to 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight if you want to pack on the muscle.
Don’t make the mistake of so many by avoiding carbs completely. Carbs are your body’s easiest source of energy, as well as being responsible for replacing your muscle glycogen. If you’re upping your workouts and the intensity, you certainly don’t want to be cutting out the carbs, especially in the meals around your workout. Also, contrary to popular belief, fats are vital for good cellular health and hormone signalling. Just be sure to get your carbs and fats from good quality sources, such as avocado and sweet potatoes rather than pizza and chicken wings. When you’re in the gym, compound movements such as overhead presses, pull-ups, squats and deadlifts use a lot of muscle and deliver a great deal of mass building benefits effectively. You’ll also be able to load the bar with more weights during these exercises – and this means better results in terms of building size.
Be sure to use isolated movements, not just on the big lifts. While the latter is obviously great for building mass, you don’t need to forget about isolation movements such as calf raises and bicep curls. These exercises add more volume to your programme, which is actually really important in building muscle, and also bring up lagging body parts that may have been forgotten. Because you can’t overload them with the same weights you can in exercises such as squats and deadlifts, they don’t tax your nervous system as badly. This means your body can recover far more easily. And while your time in the gym is almost wholly responsible for your training effect, your time outside of the gym still has an important role. On top of ensuring that your diet is nutrient-rich, you also need to make sure you get enough sleep – at least eight to nine hours each night. You’ll be amazed what a difference this makes to your stress levels and also on your body – this is, after all, when your body recuperates and works through the effects of your gym time.