So you’re trying to get bigger muscles and achieve aesthetics?
Do you feel like you constantly work out, hitting the iron consistently, only to feel like you’re not seeing results? Do you ever feel like you’re not even coming close to reaping the benefits from all your hard work?
Welcome to the fitness world, ladies and gents, where perfection is the desired goal and nothing less will ever quite suffice.
I’ve been consistently working out, eating clean and living a healthy lifestyle for roughly about 7 months now, and I’ve noticed a couple of minor things that I tweaked in my own routine that have helped me see some results.
I’m going to go over the 3 things in a second but before I do it is important to realize that muscle gain or fat loss is not a quick process. It takes time, hard work and dedication. There’s going to be times where you want to say “screw it, I’m over this” and want to give up right away. Trust me, I get it.
Whenever that happens just keep reminding yourself that fitness is a process, not an overnight thing. In order to succeed, you must fail multiple times. Get used to it and embrace the challenge that life has presented you. It’s moments like these that define who you are for the rest of your life. Be patient and I promise you shall reap the benefits.
Here are 3 things you need to do to reach your fitness goals:
Get a good night’s rest
Are you getting good quality sleep? I know all of you get some sleep everyday but how much of it is quality sleep? In this fast-paced day and age, many people overlook the importance of sleep. According to Sharon Chamberlin, Personal Trainer and Nutrition Coach, “without an adequate amount on a regular basis, we will not obtain the success we work so hard for in the gym.” Many have this preconceived notion that muscles grow and develop in the gym, but in all actuality, they grow during the body’s REM sleep. During deep levels of sleep, the body experiences an increased rate of anabolism (synthesis of complex molecules) and a decreased rate of catabolism (breakdown of complex molecules). Simply put, the more time that muscles have to recover, the faster they grow. Many studies have shown that sleep deprivation increases cortisol, and lowers testosterone, insulin and Human Growth Hormones (all things you need for muscle growth).
Learn to stimulate “fast” and “slow” muscles
In the gym, there is something called an intensity level scale that ranges from 0-100 percent. In other words, the levels in which you exert your muscles, and how much of your muscle capacity you use. To simplify even further, anything less than 60 percent of total effort activates the slow-twitch muscle fibers. Slow-twitch muscle fibers are the ones tailored for endurance. These are the smaller muscles meant to do all the routine, repetitive tasks like walking or typing at the computer. You can work these muscles for long periods of time. I have been consistently activating my slow twitch muscle fibers for the past 6 months and I have noticed more definition in my muscles than size. Now, on the other end of the spectrum, any weightlifting that exerts over 60 percent of total effort activates the fast-twitch muscle fibers. The fast-twitch fibers are considered your strength and speed muscles. Fast-twitch muscles are the ones your body activates in times where your body needs to be very explosive. Examples include a sprint, or maxing out on a lift. Lifting weights at a high intensity activates the fast-twitch muscle fibers, which leads to muscle growth. Before I began training individuals, I made sure to fully understand and grasp the reason why we have these types of muscle fibers, and how to apply them into a workout regimen. Through evolution, our bodies have adapted and learned to survive from different things. Let’s pretend we are getting chased by a tiger and he’s running towards us at full speed. Our instincts are naturally going to activate our fast-twitch muscle fibers so that we can try to get the heck out of there as soon as possible. These same muscles that you would use in this scary, and highly unlikely scenario (especially in Orange County), are the muscles you need to activate in the weight room if you want to get some size.
For best results, mix it up in the weight room by combining workouts that confuse the muscles and stimulate the fast and slow twitch muscles for growth and definition (I’ll go over some workouts in the future).
Last but not least, the most important of the 3 is your diet. Depending on your goal (muscle gain or fat loss), you need to know what your caloric maintenance level is and what your macros are. Eighty percent of your success in fitness depends on your diet. So it is very important to do your research on nutrition. I’m planning to discuss this topic more in the future, however, for right now just focus on making sure you’re getting the right amount of calories per day.
This part of fitness is going to be the part that can easily discourage you and tick you off from time to time. Mainly because all the diet information that is out there is a good starting point to begin your fitness journey, but it’s not tailored for your own body. Every body is different, and reacts differently to different kinds of nutrients.
Your body is kind of like your own experiment. Treat it like a very important science project that can very well revolutionize your entire life.
It won’t be easy, but by doing these 3 things (Sleep, stimulating fast and slow twitch muscles, and watching your diet), you’ll be well on your way to reaching your fitness goals!
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