1. Worship the Law Of Progressive Overload
If you have your priorities messed up it’s very easy to get distracted. Too many guys stay stuck lifting the same weights over and over again – for years.
They chop and change their programs and jump from exercise to exercise instead of sticking to the tried-and-tested stuff that actually works. The best way to progress is to constantly and progressively overload your muscles. You can do this by either doing a few more reps or by adding a little more weight to the bar each time you work out, or at least each week.
The bottom line is a little more weight on the bar and eating enough protein and a slight caloric surplus every day. That’s the most important thing to remember if your goal is to build more muscle and get stronger.
2. Learn To Love Compound Exercises
Compound movements are squats, deadlifts, bench and shoulder presses and rows. They are best done using Olympic barbells and heavy weights. As long as you can do them safely and without any physical limitations from your part, you should do them as much and for as long you can. This is because they will train the most amount of muscle at the same time. Build your body as a whole, not as a collection of body parts. You don’t need to do lots of different exercises in any given training program. Master the basics and keep things simple.
3. Train Less, But Harder
Muscles don’t grow during workouts but after. When you’re recovering, when you’re eating all that protein and when you’re sleeping well for 8 hours every night, that’s when muscle growth actually happens. That’s when your body builds all that extra tissue in order to overcompensate for all the stress you’ve been putting it through in the gym. If your workouts are too frequent you’re not allowing your body to recover and overcompensate properly, and that’s when you will stagnate. On the contrary, if your workouts are too spread apart you’re not using optimum momentum to move forward. If in doubt whether you should train more often, or whether you should ramp up the intensity instead, it’s usually better to ‘go harder’ instead of ‘doing more’.
Building new muscle tissue requires a lot of energy. You must give your body a reason to grow. You must put your muscles through some really tough workouts. And when your workouts are truly tough and taxing, you won’t be able to do too many of them in a week.
4. Get A Grip On Your Diet
Hard and correct training is the most important factor for building bigger and stronger muscles. Period. But nutrition is equally important. It’s very important in fact. Because in the gym you give your body a reason to grow. But in the kitchen you give your body the raw materials it will actually be built upon. You already know that it’s all about protein, carbohydrates, fat and micronutrients. Those are the macronutrients (macros). And you know that it’s also about the right quantity of these. And that it’s about eating healthy, high-quality food, not sugars and junk food. But be honest to yourself…
Do you really know how much you have eaten today? Or yesterday? Or how much you will eat tomorrow? Probably not. Very few people actually know this and track this. Most people are ‘just wingin’ it’ in the kitchen – and then wonder why they can’t build more muscle without gaining a lot of fat with.
Or why they can’t get their bodyfat down to the point where their six packs become visible.
The very best way to finally get full control over your diet is to track your macros.
Tracking your macros means writing down how much grams of protein, carbs, and fat you consume every day. By doing that you will also know how much calories you are actually ingesting. This is key to building muscle without too much fat and if your goal is to burn fat and get shredded, then tracking your diet down to the last gram is not even negotiable. It’s mandatory. So get a grip on your diet and know where you stand. Every single day.
5. Stop Fooling Around
Until you knuckle down and get serious, you won’t see any serious results. You’re doing yourself no favor by jumping from program to program and sampling every exercise under the sun just because it’s out there. Understand that there are specialized programs for different results. You can focus on building maximum strength, you can focus on hypertrophy (muscle growth), or you can focus on fat loss, or muscular endurance. But you can’t do all of that at the same time. Know what you want to achieve first. Then pick a good program that has been proven to work and stick to that program for at least a few months to see how it’s working.
6. End Your Supplement Slavery
A few supplements out there can be very valuable. But most are not. Understand that this whole supplement game is a multi-billion dollar industry built upon the very basic human desire of wanting to get something for nothing. We all want instant results without having to put in any serious work. We all want success and we want it now. We all want ‘magic bullets’ that take all the work off of our shoulders and make things quick and easy. We all are searching for this one secret little thing that might make all the difference and finally give us the big breakthrough. This is normal, our brains are hardwired like that and have always been. But this is not how real life works. Don’t fall for all the snake-oil salesmen who want to make a quick buck off you. There really are a few key things that you can do which will make a huge difference. But they are definitely not hidden at the bottom of some expensive supplement can.
7. Stop Doing Long Workouts
Studies have shown that when you do intensive exercise for more than about 60 minutes your body starts releasing a catabolic stress hormone called Cortisol. Catabolic is the opposite of anabolic which means that your body is actually deconstructing muscle tissue when in that state. Apart from that, why would you want to train for more than an hour anyway? You can train hard or you can train long, but you can’t do both at the same time.
Unless you have Arnold’s genes or are on a boatload of steroids then spending hours upon hours in the gym, or even going to the gym every single day, is going to be counterproductive for you. It’s also a huge waste of precious time. Time that you could use for doing a lot of other great things while still getting the same great results with less gym time. Get in the gym, hit the weights hard, and then go home and do something else.
Recover and overcompensate, then rinse and repeat. For 4 more steps check out Team-Wild 4 step plan to looking good fast.