Building muscle and getting stronger is not rocket science. But to maximize your efforts, you must adhere to a few commonsense guidelines. These are my top 6:
Guideline # 1 – Do one more than you did the last work out. Unless you do one of the following, you will not get stronger, period.
1. Do one more repetition than you did the last time.
2. Lift one more pound (or 10) than you did the last time.
You must do one thing better to outdo your last workout – be it rest less, lift heavier, or do more reps. Without progress, your efforts become meaningless.
Guideline # 2 – You must perform each exercise with full range of motion with correct form. Curling 150lb barbell about halfway up and halfway down might be good for your ego but terrible for muscle building. Taking your movements through its full range recruits the maximum number of muscle fibers and that’s what you want. In concert with full range of motion, using correct form not only builds muscle but prevents injury.
Guideline # 3 – Think whole body movements. Compound movements that require multiple joint movements moves heavier weights, recruits more muscle fibers, and builds overall body strength. This is what you want and need.
Guideline # 4 – Focus on good sources of whole food protein like eggs, whole milk, lean beef, chicken, and tuna plus complex carbs and forget about fats. Actually, if you concentrate on the proteins and complex carbs; fats will take care of themselves. Stay away from high fructose corn syrup and simple sugars, but you do need to eat a rainbow of fruits and veggies every day. Eating fibrous foods will keep you regular and you should drink lots of water (at least a half gallon a day).
Guideline # 5 – You must plan your near term and short term recovery. Give your individual muscles time to recovery and grow by resting 2 to 3 (maybe 4) days between workouts; this you know. But give your whole body and mind a break every 2 to 3 months. Every couple of months, cycle your work outs and give your whole system a break.
Guideline # 6 – Have a goal. Your goal can be a written statement or a picture of who you want to look like in 6 months. And that is key; you must have a deadline. All good goals are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. It must be timely. You must have a deadline or it will never be finished.
In line with that, you must keep a journal of sorts to track your progress.
Utilize these 6 guidelines in reaching your fitness goals.
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