So you want to gain muscle but you do not know where to start? Well, if you are looking to put on pounds, meaning weight from muscle mass, then you must focus on two things; lifting weights and eating.
First off, lifting weights to build muscle is different than lifting weights for maximum strength or to lose weight. Contrary to popular thinking, the guy that looks the most ripped is not usually the strongest guy in the gym. I am sure you have seen the strongest man competition where guys are pulling cars and flipping tree trunks. Now, while they are monsters among men, their physiques are not exactly model material. Now I am not saying that lifting weights for an incredible physique won't make you strong, it will indeed, you just won't be strongman material.
Now, how should you work out to get the maximum amount of muscle mass, in order to have a killer physique. A good place to start is a 6 day a week plan, hitting each body part twice a week. This will allow enough time for recovery, but also enough stress on your muscles to stimulate growth. The best rep scheme for optimum muscle growth is between 8-12 reps, and 4 sets of each exercise. And it is important to not overdue it on the amount of exercises you do each day otherwise you run the risk of over training. An optimal range to shoot for is between 5 and 10 exercises per day.
The next key to gaining muscle mass is nutrition. If you want to gain muscle, you have to fuel your body so that it has enough energy to grow. That is why it is incredibly important to work really hard in the gym, not only during your lift, but also while doing cardio. Since you need to eat so much to gain muscle mass, you have to make sure you are burning enough calories per day so your body does not store all that food as fat.
Your food is broken down into carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. I am sure if you are interested in gaining muscle you have heard of protein. But sadly slamming a bunch of protein shakes a day is not going to do the trick. In order to gain muscle while staying lean you need to carefully measure out how much protein, carbs, and fats you take in daily. Here a few equations to help you determine how much of each to eat
This is just a rough estimate, in order to maximize your results you should work with a nutritionist who can help decide exactly how much to eat per day. Nutrition is the most overlooked aspect of building muscle, but if you do not have the proper diet in place you will never reach your full potential in the weight room.
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One question we hear a lot is whether children should participate in resistance training. Many people in the past believed that strength training in children would lead to stunted growth or possible injury. However, after recent studies, it has been found that neither are true. In fact, regular participation in resistance training as a kid can reduce the risk of injuries in sports and other activities, positively affect the growth of the children, and increase their fine motor skills. It can also reduce the risk of childhood obesity and enhance the cardiac function of the children.
Another reason it is important to start strength training at a young age is that due to the rise in sport specialization, many young athletes are developing muscle imbalances. While this may not be noticeable at their young age, muscle imbalances can lead to complications further down the road. This can be avoided, however, by beginning a resistance training program that focuses on developing balance in the muscles and offsetting the effects of sport specialization.
Even though there are many positives to children getting involved in resistance training, risks and concerns are still prevalent. The main concern is the risk of damaging joints at an early age by placing so much pressure on them. However, the force placed on the joints of youth athletes may be greater during sports participation than resistance training. Either way, the risk of injury is always there and a concern one must cope with. The best way to avoid injury, and make sure the children are taking part in safe resistance training, is by having them work with a trusted strength and conditioning professional who can set up a safe workout designed around the child’s physical capabilities.
The reason people exercise, or more specifically weight-lift, is to provide overload on the body which will then lead to physiological adaptations, the results you want. However, an important factor to the process is recovery, the time you are giving your body to regenerate and adapt to the stress you are putting it under. Proper recovery involves an adequate amount of rest and nutrition intake. When these are lacking, but you are partaking in intense training, over-training may occur.
While many people believe more is better, when it comes to training sometimes less is more. When you do not give your body enough time to rest, you are putting yourself at risk of fatigue, illness, and injuries. Also, you will be working and working but the results you wish for will not be there. In fact, the opposite can occur, in which strength and muscle tone decrease due to excessive fatigue.
If you suspect you are over-training yourself then a reevaluation of your workout program needs to take place. Make sure you are allowing your body enough time to rest and supplying it with the proper amounts of nutrition. Patients is key though, because once over-training has occurred it can take several weeks or even months for your body to restore itself.