Muscle building doesn’t have to be difficult. Let’s break it down in three simple steps.
Muscle building doesn’t have to be difficult. Let’s break it down in three simple steps. Getting results and changing your body composition takes hard work and consistency. Whether your goal is to build muscle, improve your overall fitness level or lose weight, you must do certain things on a regular basis to reach your ultimate goal. These three steps will work within your fitness improvement regimen and contribute to your muscle-building plan.
Step 1. Perform specific exercises on a regular basis.
Step 2. Eat a well-balanced diet including adequate amounts of protein and micronutrients.
Step 3. Schedule some rest days to allow for adaptations to occur.
In order to stimulate muscle growth, your body must be pushed with resistance style exercises. Muscle growth occurs when small muscle fibers tear as a result of stress, and then regenerate themselves. This growth occurs during periods of rest, and your body needs fuel to regenerate efficiently.
Progressive training is important if you want your muscle-building routine to be productive. You must be dedicated to training in a way that helps you to improve over time. If you lift the same amount of resistance for the same number of repetitions (reps) during each workout session, you’ll stay the same. At some point, you must attempt to either perform more reps, or use more resistance.
Following a reps and weight increase schedule will allow you to easily measure if you’re improving from workout to workout. Rep ranges is a simple concept to understand and apply to your training.
I like to recommend a rep range of 10-14 for strength training in the initial stages, especially when someone is just getting started. High reps will force you to choose a moderate weight. This way you’ll become proficient with exercise form (important for safety) as the weight increases. As your workouts transition more into the power range, increase weight and decrease reps.
Your goal in your first workout is to reach muscular fatigue within the set range using a set amount of resistance. For example, if 50lbs was your chosen weight for squats and you achieved twelve perfect reps, you’d simply record 1 set of squats = 50lbs 12 reps.
The goal in your next workout would be to achieve more reps with the same weight until you can perform 14 full reps. Achieving the set reps should prompt you to increase resistance in your following session, because the top end of the rep range was achieved.
The resistance for that set should be increased between 5-10% with the goal of achieving at least 10 reps in the 10-14 rep range.
Your ongoing goal should be to increase the number of reps within the rep range and then increase the amount of resistance when the top end of the range is reached. This method of training is slow, but it’s a foolproof way to increase your overall strength and muscle mass.
You’ll need to ensure that you’re getting enough fuel for your workouts and recovery. You should aim to have a good breakfast, a mid-morning snack, a sensible lunch, a mid-afternoon snack and then an appropriate dinner in the evening.
You’re attempting to build muscle and you need fuel to accomplish that. You can’t restrict your calories too much, but don’t get confused by that. You should always restrict your consumption of unhealthy calories. Choose nutrient-dense foods that are high in protein and get your carbohydrates from whole grains and fruits. Many people who are trying to gain weight or muscle will make the mistake of thinking they can eat a lot of unhealthy food. This will make you gain weight, but weight gain with unhealthy foods is detrimental to your overall health. Be sensible with your choices.
Samantha Clayton is responsible for all activities relating to exercise and fitness education for Independent Herbalife Members and employees. Through in-person training sessions, educational tools and materials, and her blog (www.discovergoodfitness.com), she ensures that the important role of exercise as part of a healthy, active life is understood by all. She also helps create, organize and promote employee fitness programs and activities as an integral part of the company’s corporate wellness program.
A native of Liverpool, England, Samantha initially worked as a consultant for Herbalife for two years and led the Herbalife24-Fit program, the company’s first comprehensive fitness training program and DVD series.
Before joining the corporate ranks, Samantha was a professional athlete. She represented Great Britain in the 2000 Sydney Olympics in both the 200m and the 4x100m relay events. Prior to the Olympics, she won two medals in the Olympic AAA trials – a silver medal for the 200m and a bronze for the 100m – as well as a silver medal in the 4x100m relay during the European Junior Championships in 1997. Her personal records include 11.40 seconds in the 100m and 23.02 seconds in the 200m.
Samantha is a personal trainer and group exercise coach through the American Fitness and Aerobics Association (AFAA) and International Sport Science Association (ISSA).