How many of you toil endlessly in the gym, session after session, week after week with little result to show for your hard work? How many of you read magazines and articles on the internet and feel overwhelmed by the amount of contradicting information? How do you separate the wheat from the chaff? Let Iron Simba reveal to you the very essence of building muscle mass so you can use it as your guide.
A lifestyle first and foremost
If you are new to weight lifting, you need to question your motivation and commitment. If you have already been training for a few years, you should review your approach to it. Why do you want to lift weights and build muscles? Is it to keep fit, to look better, to be stronger or to join your friends in the gym? Don’t be like those who join the gym in the New Year and then are nowhere to be seen in a few months’ time. Weight lifting is not a fashion fad, it is a lifestyle.
You have to adopt the right attitude mentally and physically to progress. This means eating healthily, training regularly and resting adequately. No boozing and late night parties every weekend, no 2 hours’ training everyday for a week and then slouch in front of the TV the whole winter. By making it your lifestyle, you agree to train regularly, a little at a time for the rest of your life. You agree to make it your priority in life and eat according to your training. Why should you? Because whether you are really into weight training or not, the concomitant lifestyle is a healthy one that is recommended anyway.
Muscles response to stimuli
On to the more hardcore stuff: how do you pack on muscle? By overloading them and pushing them to their limits. This is the very essence of building muscles whether in boldybuilding, powerlifting or just weight training at your local gym. It is the simple secret that many miss:
Push your body beyond its comfort zone and it will grow to adapt.
Muscles respond primarily to new stimulus and are very good at adapting themselves to new environments. This is called survival after all. Weight lifting exploits this ability of muscles to grow by constantly overloading them.
However, because muscles are so good at adapting themselves and becoming efficient in their efforts, the training you started out with no longer stays effective at shocking muscles. The muscles have adapted as they should by growing. So you need to change workouts and exercises. What all these new fads, all these different kinds of training routines have in common is that they will expose your muscles to a new and different overload situation.
Do the same exercises in the same workout over and over again and you will cease to progress.
The trilogy of bodybuilding
Training intelligently in the gym is less than half the equation to grow muscles. Training provides stimulus for growth. Growth takes place during rest and only if the body has enough fuel. These three factors: training, recovery and diet form the trilogy in bodybuilding. One is not possible without the other two. If you spend your time sleeping and eating, you put on the wrong kind of weight. Train and eat but do not rest adequately and you will be overtraining. Train and sleep without eating and you will cannibalise your muscles.
Because growth takes place outside the gym and is what we effectively train for, it is essential that you actively dedicate enough of your time to recover from brutal training and not leave that as an afterthought. Recovery is simple: sleep and rest. Dieting is a huge topic in itself and beyond the focus of this site. Suffice to say that you need plenty proteins to build muscles and enough carbohydrates to power them. This is where the right lifestyle mentioned above becomes relevant and will allow you to meet these goals easily and constantly.
Now you know the simple secret to building muscles. Train intelligently by always making a small change in your workout to shock your muscles and force them to adapt. Change the sets, reps, exercises, order of exercises, the tempo; there are so many variables. After training, ensure you recuperate and give your muscles the right food to grow. Bring all 3 factors together as a lifestyle and all this will then become second nature to you.
Live and let grow.