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In the last article I discussed how much muscle we can expect to pack on our bodies in a lifetime and the importance of setting realistic goals based on that information.
Today I would like to offer some insight and advice on how to build muscle.
Not weight lifting exercises, but the general knowledge we need to have behind the scenes so we can build the muscle when we get to the exercises. Think of today’s information as what goes on under the hood and under the floor of the car after you turn the car on and put it in gear. The car gets us there, but there is a lot going on behind the key.
If you can understand and put into practice the things I will discuss today, your muscle growth will be more automatic and your body will recover and build muscle quicker.
For some of the topics, I will link you to other articles for the details, but for others, the details will be here.
Let’s get started!
Food and Drink
It goes without saying, that if we want to build muscle and be in the best shape possible, what we eat is important. So important, that this site is called Keto and Exercise, in reference to an eating lifestyle and a fitness lifestyle.
It is impossible to be in the best shape of your life if you just do one or the other. Well, that may not be entirely true. If you eat healthily, you will be more healthy than if you eat poorly. If I had to choose one or the other (healthy eating or exercise), I would choose healthy eating.
You cannot exercise your way out of a bad diet. It has been said that nutrition is 70% and training is 30% when it comes to overall fitness. Pick the percentages you would like, but remember that nutrition is very important.
If you search for “Food” in the search bar of this site, you will find all the articles I have written on the importance of eating.
That being said, let me summarize. You are what you eat and you are what you eat eats. You need to find good quality, organic whole foods and eat them in the correct portions. You should be eating all three macro nutrients (protein, carbohydrates, fat) at every meal, making sure that you eat 1 gram of protein for every pound you weigh throughout the day.
The carbs and fats should round out your meals. Choose the good fats and the carbs that are in whole foods, avoiding complex carbs from sugar and processed foods.
If you are eating a well-balanced whole food diet, you should be getting the vitamins and minerals you need from your food and not need to supplement your vitamin intake.
Drinking is the other part of nutrition. We need to stay hydrated to build muscle, as it is the water in our bodies that transports the nutrients from the good food we are eating to the muscles and the brain to help us grow our muscles.
Added to the water we drink during a workout should be some supplements that assist in muscle growth. BCAA (branched chain amino acids), creatine, and collagen, are great additions and will improve your gains.
At the end of a workout, a good quality whey protein added to water is a great way to jump start the muscle recovery process.
It is important to remember that I am not a professional and I am offering opinions in this article and on this site that I have researched and that have worked for me. Please seek the advice of a doctor or other nutritional expert before embarking on any diet or exercise regime.
Now, on to some other background muscle building tips.
Getting enough rest is so important, that I will be dedicating an entire article to sleep in the near future.
Suffice it to say here that if you are not getting enough rest, you are doing your body a huge disfavor. You will not be able to be as healthy as you would like to be, and muscle growth will be impacted negatively.
Get enough sleep!
It won’t be comfortable.
You will need to make sacrifices. Food and time sacrifices.
And you will be sore. Getting in shape hurts. It gets better, but it hurts.
Being healthy will need to become a habit. You will need to put away the old habits that got you to where your are (unhealthy) and take up the new habits that will lead you to a healthy lifestyle.
My training partner is my wife. I want to train hard so I can look good for her. She appreciates the changes that I have made to my body. I also want to be there for her. I help her train to feel and look better. She likes the changes she sees in her own body.
We made these lifestyle changes together. We decide on nutrition and exercise programs together. Being in this journey is beneficial for both of us, both physically and mentally. We are there to motivate each other when one of us isn’t feeling like exercising. We have the same goal – a long life together – and we encourage each other to do what it takes to get there.
This step is crucial in making progress. If you don’t track the exercises and the weights used, you will never know if you are making gains.
This leads into a free weight vs machine discussion, which I will get into detail in another article. Let me just say that there are benefits to both.
This also leads to a compound exercise vs isolation exercise discussion, which I will also get to in another article. Again, there are benefits to both.
What about lifting heavy weights? Also important to do and keep track of, but not essential for muscle growth. In this article, I discussed the concept of sets and reps and how to keep your muscles guessing to promote growth.
And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention stretching. I believe it is important to stretch and warm up before you work out and again after your workout, but I will discuss this in greater depth in another article.
The most important aspect of tracking your progress is consistency.
Make a chart before you begin and put the dates that you are going to work our on the chart. Don’t leave the date section blank to be filled out when you work out. Put the dates on the chart and in your calendar.
Dwayne Johnson said
“Success isn’t always about greatness it’s about consistency, consistent hard work gains success, greatness will come”.
Consistency will be your greatest indicator of success. If you work out 4 or 5 times a week, consistently, and keep track of your progress, there will only be one result: success!
Choose a program that is suited to your age, current ability level, and outcome.
Choose to change your eating lifestyle to a healthy one.
Choose to be the best that you can be.
So there you have it.
I choose a long healthy life, filled with joy, laughter, love, and fitness!
As always, if you have questions or comments about my opinions, please leave them below.
Also, if you are a father (or mother) (or anyone for that matter) who would like an easy to follow program that includes a menu and work out information, check out this article from a few months ago.
See you in the next post.
Have a great day!