It is clear as day that building muscle mass is a painful process that demands considerable devotion, diligence, time, planning, and physical endurance. Unfortunately, most people will stop pursuing this goal within the first six months of training. This is because reaching such formidable level of fitness and definition can protract, cause impatience, and as well as having improper training, can lead to lousy results and loss of enthusiasm. Still, there should be no room for discouragement; a sound body doesn’t go anywhere without a sound mind. Developing a stable and focused mind set is the first step to succeeding in this endeavor.
So, how do you train adequately? How do you stimulate muscle growth and memory? “When muscles are used they adapt and change. Changes are dependent on the type of activity and muscle fiber types used, the load exerted on the muscle, and the velocity and duration of the contraction.” (Marieb, 2004) The point is to persevere through all the hardships, because muscular growth or hypertrophy can only be accomplished through these adaptations and changes. It takes about 16 workouts to have a noticeable ‘superficial’ effect. There is simply no other recipe to do this in a healthy, orderly, and long-lasting manner.
Without a training stimulus, you won’t get any proper results. This will be the main goal that everyone has to with when having such individually rough training regimes. Otherwise, everything can go down the drain. The highlight should be put on systematically overloading your body in a progressive pace in order to reach a momentary failure with each new set of exercise. This is what develops your base level of strength, and the same thing goes with your aerobic capacity when it comes to cardio. High interval training on a bike, rowing machine, elliptical, or plain sprinting will get your body working. Be consistent when using protocols like Tabata (8 series of 20 seconds of intense work, followed by 10 seconds of rest), or Gibala (30 seconds of same intense work, 4 minutes of recovery done at least 4 times).
“Whether training for sports performance or health enhancement, much of the success of the program will be attributable to the effectiveness of the exercise prescription in manipulating the progression of the resistance stimulus, the variation in the program design and the individualization of the program.” (Kraemer, 1994)
Diet and protein intake
Health comes within the body, and, what we eat influences how the body functions. In this meticulous, physically empowering case, it’s very important to keep track of the required amount of protein needed to maximize the process known as protein synthesis. This is what gets the engines running! It’s up to you to estimate how your body reacts to 1 gram of protein intake per kilo, and slowly progress comparing the effects with the same dose (but only per pound of your bodyweight). On average, it will all boil down to about 20-30 grams of necessary protein intake with each meal or snack. The best way to continue nurturing yourself in this fashion is by drinking whey protein, especially after workout and before going to sleep.
Rest and sleep
Resting is part of a workout, just as silence is a part of music. You have to know when to put your previously strained body at ease in order for it to heal, and reap what it has sowed while pumping iron. Naturally, 7-8 hours of uninterrupted, comfortable sleep each night is crucial. This is important, because it reduces the production of cortisol (the stress hormone) which can otherwise put you in a very disruptive situation should it overrun your system. Still, the primary reason why sleep is so important is pretty simple – health! Only when your body is fully regenerated, stout, and free of fatigue, you can effectively train to the max. On the other hand, once your body is weak and spent, you should aim to pacify such ailments and get back on track as soon as possible, no two ways about it.
Finally, remember to do your research, because any additional information that can help you in this process is always beneficial. Consult yourself with professionals, see what other enthusiasts know, think and feel, check if there are some answers online, and primarily get all of your facts straight. The more you discover, implement, and analyze, the better you are at figuring out what suits your body’s growth and strengthening the best.
Mathews McGarry is passionate about many forms of strength training, and spent years lifting, dragging and flipping all manner of heavy objects. After graduating from the Faculty of Health Sciences, he started writing about his experiences, and sharing tips for better life at highstylife.com and other health blogs. Follow him on Twitter.