Secrets for Muscle Growth

You probably put in all the time and effort day after day at the gym and the results you get are perhaps decent but you are looking for those secrets for muscle growth that you never hear about.  Yes you have heard all the usual tips: lift heavy weights, do the hard work, take weight gainers, protein shakes or any given supplement.  Well believe it or not there are easy ways that hardly anyone talks about.
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Photograph courtesy of Katie Tegtmeyer

Consistency:  there is no way around this one.  You have to put in the time and effort when working out.  I don’t mean killing yourself either but you definitely have to go in week after week.  Devise a plan of going in 4 to 5 days a week and do not waver from this plan.  If you are going to go Monday to Friday, then stick to this plan.  Missing one workout will not set you back but missing days at a time or even weeks will.  You simply can not expect to make progress if you go one day one week then a few the next and take a week or a few off.  This just won’t work.  Put in the time and your body will thank you for it.

Workout for less than but no more than one hour:  yes this is correct.  You do not hear this often especially at any given gym.  The myth is that you have to do marathon workouts of 2 hours to see results.  More is not always good.  In fact, in this case, less is more.  Have your workouts last no more than one hour.  When your body does a work out lasting more than one-hour testosterone levels drop and cortisol levels rise. Cortisol is the stress hormone that eats muscle tissue and increases body-fat storage.

Eat often 5-7 meals:  eating is necessary in muscle building.  You cannot eat two or three meals to see great results.  Eat 5 to 7 healthy meals that are rich in protein.  Lean meats are excellent sources of protein.  The goal is to eat 1 gram per pound of body weight in the course of one day.

Get plenty of rest and naps:  sleeping is essential as this is the time when muscle is repaired after it is torn down from a work out.  Try to get 7 to 8 hours of sleep a day and nap at least one hour in the day.  When we refer to rest we also mean proper rest from working out.  Don’t over do it at the gym with long workouts or lift weights every single day.  Lift 4 to 5 days and rest two days or three.  If your body is too tired to go to the gym feel free to take one day off.

Massages:  yes you heard right.  Massages help in stimulating muscle growth and are part of the rest phase.  Get a massage soon after the workout and on your days off.  Remember that you don’t have to get one from a professional.  You can get one from your loved one or even do one on yourself.

Are Muscle Confusion Workouts Effective?

You have probably seen the infomercials talking about eliminating plateaus and now you are wondering are muscle confusion workouts effective or are they a gimmick?
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Photograph courtesy of Enid Yu

If you have ever opened any given fitness magazine you have probably seen sample workouts to help you build muscle mass.  However, practically every workout is similar if not the same as the one in a previous issue.  Eventually the people at the gym are giving the same advice as what is in the magazines.  The result is seeing everyone at the gym doing the same workout as the next guy.

Unfortunately humans are creatures of habit and we end up doing the same workouts day after day eventually hitting plateaus.  When someone comes along with a new piece of advice it is hard to change our perspective and try something new.  So what are you to do when everyone is doing the same workouts expecting new results?

The best way to see progress in the gym and in your workouts is simply by changing it up and tweaking the exercises.  This in effect is muscle confusion.  It is not a complicated or new concept.  In fact this is what body builders do all the time but is not discussed very much in magazines.

In order for muscle to see gains and make constant and consistent progress you have to shock the muscles.  If you are looking for ways to shock or “confuse” your muscles here are some ways.

  • Add some weight to each exercise with each workout.  I am not saying you have to double the weight but simply adding 5 pounds will work wonders.
  • Use a new piece of equipment:  this is one of the hardest things to change.  Perhaps you have been doing bench presses because you have heard it is the best for chest development.  Simply make an adjustment and use dumbbells instead of a barbell or a machine to confuse your body.
  • Change the order of your exercises:  if you always start with flat bench presses followed by incline and then decline try doing it in reverse order to switch it up.  Do this with all muscle groups once in a while.

Change your workouts every 2-3 weeks by making these small adjustments and your plateaus will disappear.