What’s the secret to building muscle and getting that toned body you desire? This is a question that I am asked by clients when they first come to see me. So this month I’m outlining the key principles that I use to get my clients serious muscle building results.
Firstly, it’s important to note that there is no magic bullet here. It takes good nutrition and a complete resistance program and a lot of dedication and focus to build lean muscle.
I base all my programs around the three key power lifting exercises; bench press, squats and deadlifts. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a beginner, advanced, male or female – I always use these exercises because they’re great at building muscle. It’s important to ensure a complete program trains the entire body. This means that, a range of other exercises are incorporated for the abdominals, arms, upper back, shoulders and calves.
A good place to start is 3 sets for each exercise using 8 to 12 repetitions. Over time you can vary the number of reps and sets.
When you first commence training, you can use a rest period of 30 secs to 1 min as a guide. As you progressively increase the weights and intensity of your workouts, you may find that you need to take up to 90 secs to 2 mins between sets to allow your muscles sufficient time to recover.
I suggest beginners start by training 3 days per week, allowing at least one day of rest between workouts to ensure adequate recovery. You can follow the same program for each workout, 3 times per week, while your body gets used to intense workouts and the muscles continue to be stimulated. After about 6 months of consistent training, incorporate a fourth day of training. At this stage you move away from training every muscle 3 times per week to training muscle groups, more intensely, twice per week. This means moving from 3 days to 4 days p/wk. A 4 day training split involves training 2 days on, 1 day off, 2 days on.
I cannot stress more highly the importance of nutrition in reaching your muscle building goals. I estimate that about 70-80% of your muscle growth occurs outside the gym and in your kitchen. If you do intense workouts but don’t back it up with a good nutrition plan, the gains (or fat loss) will not come. You just can’t out-train poor nutrition. Whether it be for weight gain or fat loss, I suggest 6 meals a day comprising breakfast, morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner and an evening snack. These meals should be spaced about 2 to 3 hours apart and include about 20-30g of protein in each meal, plenty of plant based foods and some higher energy carbohydrates from rice, pasta and whole grains. It’s important that you eat clean, fresh food that is cooked with low-fat, salt reduced ingredients.
If you want to have specific training and nutrition program designed by me personally, then please get in touch with us.