We all want to build muscle…or at least we should if we want a lean, low-fat, healthy body. Use these 10 tips to avoid overtraining and maximize your time spent in the gym. Whether you are a man or woman, it makes no difference…muscle builds the same way, albeit a bit slower and less bulky in women. Adding muscle mass increases your metabolism which increases the number of calories burned during rest. Add muscle to lose fat, simple as that!
1. Overtraining will inhibit muscle growth, limit your training sessions to no more than 5 days per week. Mix it up by doing different body parts each day, so you can spend more time lifting weights. Never do a full body routine every day.
2. Aim for 12-15 sets per muscle group. If you are doing 2 or so muscle groups per day, you should be hitting about 16-24 sets total. The reason you are doing slightly less if combining muscles, is because you are most likely doing compound lifts that hit two groups simultaneously.
3. That said, do compound lifts! Deadlifts, military presses, wide-grip pullups, squats, bench press, rows, etc. are all great movements to build your physique. These should be the backbone of your weightlifting routine.
4. Track your progress and lift heavier weights over time. You cannot lift the same weight forever and expect changes, it just doesn’t work that way. You need to continually push yourself to lift heavier weights. A journal well help show you when its time.
5. Train with different techniques. In addition, you need to mix up your workout routine as well to avoid that dreaded plateau. Try doing high sets low reps, high reps low sets, supersets, strip sets, pyramid sets, etc. There are many ways to mix it up.
6. You must change your training routine every 4 works. This is the only way to continually build muscle. Otherwise, you are just wasting your time in the gym burning minimal calories. If you have been training for a while, you may need to change every 2 weeks.
7. Eating is MORE important than lifting. You need calories to build muscle. As we said above, added muscles increases your metabolism which burns more calories. You need to make up for this deficit somehow. Try eating 5-6, 500 calorie meals every day. More or less may be needed depending upon your body size.
8. Sleep is important. Your body goes into muscle building phase when you sleep. Be sure to get at least 8 hours every night.
9. Protein IMMEDIATELY after workouts is vital. Your body is craving protein immediately after the workout. You need to take in a liquid protein (whey protein shakes are great) within 25 minutes of ending your workout. Do this every single time.
10. Find a great partner. This may not apply to everyone, but many people find they can lift more and stay more motivated when working out with a partner. Having someone to push you and be your spotter will allow you to make more progress.