Building muscle is desirable for many in today’s age. However, not many are willing to put in the work needed to achieve the results. In this article, I will share with you the steps that need to be taken and ways you can discipline yourself to stay through to those steps.
Many individuals have started going to the gym in hopes of building their dream physique. In the first year of training, they may see significant results which is often referred to as “newbie gains”. As one progresses in their training years, the muscle building potential tapers off year after year as the body is closer to achieving its natural “fullest potential”. Most individuals may start to plateau in the second or third year after their “newbie gains” phase. One of the reasons why is due to them not training hard enough in the gym. For consistent muscle growth, an individual needs to train to at least close to failure. Training closer to failure allows for more stress to be placed on the muscles, providing more muscle stimulation, allowing for greater repair and growth. Especially for intermediate trainers who are already in their second or third year of training, performing exercises well shy of failure could be one of the main reasons why they plateau as the body is already accustomed to the stress being put on it, hence, not requiring further growth.
Overtraining is real. Recovery is where the real magic happens, not during training. For muscles to grow, recovery is extremely important. This includes having enough sleep, consuming enough macronutrients and calories, etc. Here’s an analogy that can help you understand this better. Imagine a car with the best engine in the world with no fuel. Is the car able to operate? HELL NO. Just like in training, with the engine being your training routine, you need to fuel your body properly with adequate sleep and nutrition in order for results to surface.
Write down your fitness goals
As cliché as this may sound, writing down your fitness goals is the ultimate key to ensure you stay throughout your training plan. The psychological difference between writing down a goal and thinking of a goal is huge. Writing down a goal brings clarity and narrows your focus. It also allows you to be more specific and realistic. The difference between top athletes and the people who say, “I want to build muscle starting tomorrow” and end up slacking off their couch with a bag of Lays chips is discipline. Top athletes have clear goals written down and they allow their body to operate based on objectives and not emotions. You think the top athletes feel like training every day? HELL NO! There are days where they absolutely do not feel like waking up at 5am in the morning to train but they still do anyway. The reason they can do this is because their desire to achieve their goals are much stronger than their emotions.
Switch up your accessory exercises
There are two main types of exercises in hypertrophy, compound exercises and isolation exercises. Isolation exercises are also known as accessory exercises which are used to complement the main compound lift. Compound exercises should remain the same which includes the Squat, Bench Press and Deadlift. These exercises allow for an athlete to progressively overload and continue improving their lift as these lifts are more technical since it utilizes more joints and tissues, which therefore requires consistent practice. Accessory exercises can be switched up if it targets the same muscle groups. For example, if the athlete is looking to target their latissimus dorsi muscle, they could switch up between the T-bar row and the cable row. The main reason why this is recommended as it reduces boredom. The FITT principle includes “Type” in the principle, which is used to create individualization, where certain athletes prefer certain exercises. Hence, changing up exercises occasionally can reduce burnout rates which is a very common thing in sports. This allows for long-term commitment and ultimately allows for the athlete to better achieve their goals.
All in all, your ability to build muscle is in your control. I leave you with this final question… How bad do you want it?
There’s no one in this world who knows your body better than you. But if you ever need some guidance, RAW has your back. If you’re ready to revamp your lifestyle to focus on fat loss instead of weight loss, our personal training program can help you build the right workout regimens and nutrition plans.
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