(Yes, that photo above is me. The skinny fat one when I was 20 on holiday, and the next one, aged 25 all tanned up ready to try and be a fitness model/bodybuilder.)
You have decided to build muscle.
For years I struggled to build the physique and body I wanted.
I could have achieved far more efficient results than I did when I first stepped into a gym aged 17 with all the motivation in the world and zero knowledge.
There are a few basic things I wish I could have focused on more when I was starting out.
These are, in short.
Getting better at Lifting Heavy Objects..
Focusing on a balanced training program
Eating a Diet that Supports Muscle building
Recovery Between Workouts
Let’s discuss these, and why they are important for our results..
Getting Better At Lifting Heavy Objects. What I am getting at here is something called ‘progressive overload’.
This is a principle of muscle and strength development that has been known about for at least a few thousand years…In fact, one of the first known references to progressive overload is the tale of Milos, the boy who carried a young calf up a mountain every day.. Slowly the Calf grew into a cow, Milos grew with it, until he became a big strong man.
This story perfectly explains the training principle of Progressive overload.
Make sure you continue to lift heavier loads to increase your strength, and subsequently your muscle size.
The latest bicep exercise won’t make you bigger and stronger.
Getting stronger at a few basic movements will, however, make you stronger. …And therefore, more muscular.
Focusing on a Balanced Training Program …
The gym is an environment that in my opinion, should attempt somewhat to replicate movements we would perform in the wild as hunter-gatherers.. squatting, lunging, picking things off the floor, pressing things overhead.
Unfortunately, many people have got this terribly wrong.. and want to spend all day everyday training biceps and triceps and working on the chest. Whilst completely neglecting any lower body movements.
While this is all fine and dandy, it’s not actually how the human body is designed to work…
Take Milos for example.
He was using his whole body to carry that cow.
His core, legs, back as well as his arms and shoulders. The whole lot was getting a workout.
The body is a single unit. Yet we love to train it in separate parts.
We train the parts we like and neglect the parts we don’t.
That’s why you always get that guy who has skinny legs and buff arms…
The problem with training this way is that it actually limits our growth potential in the areas we do want to positively impact with more muscle.
Yes, you can build your chest by just focusing on the chest. But it won’t grow nearly as much as if you increase the strength of the whole body.
The stronger each muscle is, the stronger they positively impact your upper body strength potential.
Your body needs coordination and muscular balance in order to grow to its potential.
This is why I strongly advocate emphasizing program design with a balanced amount of legwork, upper body, and core work.
Train your whole body and you will reap the benefits everywhere else, as well as feeling fitter and more athletic as a result…
This is an example of a two-day rotational full body program suitable for beginners that focuses on full body movements.
You would repeat this workout 3x a week like this.
Day One – Monday
Day Two – Wednesday
Repeat Day One – Friday
Then next week, reverse the order.
Yes, you want to get days rest in between each session to facilitate full-recovery.
Had I of done something like this in my first year of training, I would have made crazy gains.
What I did was mostly machine weights and lots of treadmill cardio.
I still managed to get good results with this, but no way as good as it could of been.
However, when I finally switched to a strength focused training programme, the results were astounding..
According to the people I worked with I suddenly ‘grew a chest’ .. This was after I had already been training consistency for at least 3 years… And was because I adopted a training program based on full body movements and focused on progressive overload.
All the right training, however, won’t go far if the diet is not in check…
The Next pillar discusses the all important and much debated. Nutrition.
Eating a Diet that Supports Muscle Building.. (Read this article if your not sure what that is)
But let me summarise here.
Get enough calories.
Don’t be afraid to eat at a slight calorie surplus if you want to build muscle.. You may gain a little fat, but you can always diet it off later. if you want to build muscle then you need to commit to it by giving your body the ingredients it needs.
But how to create an adequate surplus?
Namely, this is… eat enough extra calories (300 – 500 over maintenance to begin with).
The government health guidelines suggest a man needs 2500 calories a day to sustain his weight, although this will vary according to metabolism, activity level, and a few other factors.
Eat Enough Protein – General advice to aim for is to consume 1gram of protein per pound of bodyweight to build muscle.
For a 200lb man that’s 200grams a day..
Now go figure and apply to yourself.
Limit your drinking to Once Per Week – More than starts to really get in the way..
I am a self-confessed party boy and lover of a drink.. but.. sustainability is key. Spending too long recovering from hangovers gets in the way of making gains in the gym.
Recovery Between Workouts –
Train hard then recover.
I would definitely tell this to my younger self.
Training 3x per week, and then resting and eating will produce far better results than going to the gym every day then staying up late working and playing video games then partying all weekend.
Focus on getting stronger at a few key lifts (squat, deadlift, Overhead press, Pull up etc) and then recovering…
If you’re not fully rested you won’t be able to generate the intensity required to lift hard. and subsequently will limit your muscle building potential.
Your muscles need time to repair fully, regardless of how enthusiastic you are to go to the gym.
So there you are guys.. The Four Pillars Of Muscle Building..
Focus on Getting those right and the gains will follow.
Thanks For Reading Guys
If I only focused more on these in my first few years of lifting and training but, don’t worry, we are making up for it now.
If you are serious about getting into shape,
And you want to work with somebody who is employing the best strategies that are proven to get results to help men in London get in the best shape of their life, then please, get in touch…
If you have any questions or want to book a consultation to get in the best shape of your life… fill in a contact form on the contact page.
I guarantee you, it will be a good decision.
I trade on results.
Transforming the bodies of Men in London.
Tim Robinson Coaching