Building a great physique usually entails spending quality time in the gymnasium. This means training intensely enough to produce the over compensatory mechanisms required to initiate growth. Quality training means spending an hour or less in the gym. Training for longer is counterproductive.
This will go some way towards attaining the full potential of your muscle growth. However building a great physique also requires the adherence to some other basic principles which need to be followed correctly and consistently.
There are a number of factors which will determine your ability in building a great physique. Additionally whilst good training regimes and sufficient protein intake are prerequisites, too much importance has been placed on both of these aspects. The main reason for this is that commercial interests have dictated the largely incorrect information given to trainees. I have discussed this at length in other articles but suffice it to say there are no special training routines or supplements that will greatly accelerate muscle growth – only anabolic drugs will do this.
That being said you can optimise your muscle building potential by adhering to the following 5 rules:
Employ Compound Exercises
Basic compound (preferably ground based) movements are the primary means by which you will optimise your overall muscular development.
Squats, deadlifts, power cleans, rows and presses should be at the core of your workouts. I would also add pull ups and dips.
These compound movements work the body as a unit under load which is how it is designed to work. The body will also respond most effectively to this systemic training stimulus.
The squat and deadlift particularly will precipitate muscular gains throughout the body. These moves perfomed appropriately will optimise growth hormone output and subsequent muscular hypertrophy. Repetitions in the range of 8 to 12 have generally been found to elicit the best hypertrophy response. In general larger muscle groups respond better to higher repetition’s and work volume than smaller ones.
whilst isolation movements have their place in bodybuilding the body is not designed to function in this way. Machines especially, designed to isolate muscles do not emulate natural movement patterns.
Nutrition requirements will vary between trainees and will also be partially determined by body type. Hard-gaining ectomorphs will need to increase their caloric intake significantly, whilst overweight individuals will require a different approach. For most trainees unless they have high double digit levels of bodyfat a calorie surplus will be required to build muscle.
Adequate Protein Intake
The old school standard for protein intake for natural bodybuilders was 1gm protein per lb of bodyweight . According to modern experts, the metric equivalent is slightly less at between 1.5-2.0 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight.
In recent years the importance of protein intake has been largely exaggerated by supplement manufacturers. As a natural trainee, ingesting additional protein over and above the amounts previously stated will avail nothing in terms of increased muscle development.
Consume high-quality proteins such as lean meats, fish and eggs to maximise your muscle growth potential. I tend to also have a protein shake post workout. Aside from boosting your protein intake, this has been shown to increase muscle assimilation if ingested soon after the workout.
Most trainees afford this little priority but it is arguably the most important factor in bodybuilding success. Our muscles grow when we sleep not when we train. Insufficient recuperation from your workout will certainly curtail your development.
Research indicates that human growth hormone production increases during deep sleep, so I recommend that you get at least eight hours in order to boost recovery and optimise mass gains. Improve the quality of your sleep by retiring to bed at the same time each night. A magnesium supplement will also assist with improving the quality of your sleep.
Fat intake has been incorrectly demonised in recent years. Completely shutting out fats from your diet will negatively impact your muscle growth.
Fat consumption is required for the production of testosterone, without sufficient levels of this anabolic hormone your gains will be zilch. Fat consumption can hugely impact your testosterone levels.
This does not mean increased ingestion of saturated fat but adequate consumption of healthy fats found in foods such as nuts, seeds, olive and flaxseed oil for example.
Adhere to these rules consistently and you will succeed in building a great physique. Your rewards however will largely be commensurate with the effort that is invested. Maintaining the correct mindset needed to suceed is paramount. Remember that training consistency is also key.