I don’t know my right from left
Working hard and not gaining muscle? Frustrated? Thinking you’ll never gain anymore muscle? Absolutely it can be frustrating to put everything into your workout but not make any gains. It’s hopeless isn’t it. You’re going to stay at this weight forever. Unless you change what it is you are doing.
Five pounds. Five pounds of muscle in 4 weeks. How would you feel if you added five pounds of muscle onto your body? I’m thinking you’ll feel awesome and you’ll be surprised that you were able to add muscle.
It can be done. It’ll be hard work, dedication, and sticking to a schedule but I know you can do it. And the four weeks will go by so fast it won’t seem like an inconvenience at all.
So what can be done in four weeks? What needs to be done that I haven’t already been doing? Let me lay it out for you and see if you have been doing some of these things that have been negatively impacting your growth.
Reps. How many repetitions are you doing when working out? 10, 15, 20? Are you doing so many reps because you want to work harder? That’s ok, but by doing a high amount of repetitions, your body will not add the muscle you are looking to add. Instead of doing higher reps, lower the amount of reps and increase the amount of sets to add muscle. Stick between 4 to 8 reps and increase the amount of sets to 4 – 8 based on the number of sets you would like to do. Higher reps do work your muscles but it will not facilitate the adding on of muscle.
Failure. Are you stuck in the world of numbers? The program says to do 8 to 12 reps, and you get to 12 and stop. Could you have done more? Yes? Than you need to add weight so when you get to the maximum rep you are fatigued and have to reach in deep to pull off that final rep. Your muscles respond better and will grow when worked to failure.
Progression. Try to add weight every workout. It can be a small amount of weight; 2.5, 5lbs based on the activity you are doing. Let’s look at the bench press. If you are benching 100lbs, 5lbs is 5% of the weight you are currently using. The benefit is it’s a small increase, your body will respond due to working harder to work with this weight and you are making gains! If anything it’s a boost to your self esteem and could help keep you motivated.
Sleep. What is the easiest thing you can do to add muscle? Yeah, sleep. Although it’s easy to do, it may be hard to get it. But let’s try for four weeks. Shoot for 8 hours every night if you can. During sleep your body produces more human growth hormone then during the day when you are awake. This is also when your muscles are repairing from the stress you’ve put them through during your workout.
I know it can be hard to get eight hours of sleep. We have to work, than we have things we need to get done when we come home from work. And what if you can’t get to sleep? Try these things and see if it helps. Leave your electronics out of the bedroom. Just the light off of electronic devices can interfere with sleep. If you tend to snack in the evening, snack on something that is high in protein such as almond butter, peanut butter or have a protein shake. This helps to regulate your blood sugar and could lead to a deep sleep. Breathe in deeply through your nose then release by breathing out of your mouth. This should help in calming the body and mind. But there is one thing you don’t want to do, don’t stress out if you are having troubles sleeping. Stress if not released is not healthy for us as it produces cortisone, the stress hormone. We need this hormone for the fight or flight reaction when the situation calls for it but if we don’t react either way, our body will continue to produce cortisone which is detrimental to our health.
Eating. I’m going to call this the second easiest thing to do. And who doesn’t love to eat. How many calories are you consuming daily? Don’t know? You need to find out, and write it down. Keep track over a couple ‘normal’ days to see what your caloric intake is. Then add 500 calories to your day. Ideally you want to consume these calories by eating protein rich foods. Peas, quinoa, tofu are foods all high in protein. If you think about the process of adding muscle by breaking down the muscle you have, and then the body repairs the muscle adding to it, how would it do this without the adequate amount of protein? Also, if you have been maintaining the same body weight even though you are active, adding 500 calories should result in weight gain regardless. And that’s the whole idea of this post.
What you don’t want to do is snack on processed carbs. Eating processed carbs will increase your blood sugar causing your body to create more insulin to counter the increase in blood sugar which can lead to disease due to inflammation. If your 500 calories are going to be partially comprised by carbs, stick to complex carbs such as sweet potatoes, whole fruits, or whole grains.
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I don’t know what else to say other than that’s it. Low reps, more calories, sleep, overloading.
Four weeks. 28 days. How fast did your last four weeks go by? I’m thinking fast. Look at each day on it’s own. Live only in that day. For four weeks take each day as a separate unit. There is no tomorrow, there is only today. Then deal with tomorrow tomorrow. Then do the same. That’s all you can do. By living in each day you will find that tomorrow doesn’t matter and you will achieve what you wanted for that day. If you look too far ahead it can become overwhelming and you could lose focus.
Tomorrow will always be there.
Yours in health,