Tuesday, 26 September 2017

HOW TO BUILD MUSCLE - 5 TOP TIPS

So, in the world of social media, strong seems to be the new skinny, with more and more girls stepping into the weights area of gyms.

Five years ago, when I first had a personal trainer I told him one of my goals was to grow my bum, to which his response was "you're the first girl to ever want that.  Usually girls want to make it smaller", but I've always been a girl all about those curves.  Gone are the days of asking "does my bum look big in this?" because having a big booty is a thing all us girls strive for... we're forever chasing those booty gains, aren't we?!

So if you're new to resistance training and you're not sure where to start or what you're doing, then I think my top 5 tips might help a little, so keep on reading.

1. REDUCE YOUR CARDIO
Yes you heard right!  Doing too much cardiovascular excercise on top/in addition to your weight training will only slow down the muscle building process.  This is because it increases your energy expenditure (burns more calories).  When trying to build muscle you want to be in a calorific surplus (eating more calories than you're burning) and give your body time to recover properly.  Reducing the amount of cardiovascular exercise will help muscles recover and grow quicker in response to your weight training.  So if you're trying to build muscle then step away from the treadmill, unless you're using it to warm up.

2. EAT TO GROW
You probably won't believe me when I tell you this because girls tend to always watch what they eat, but your body needs energy to grow muscle and you're not going to grow any if you're in a calorie deficit (burning more calories than you're consuming).  More food equals more energy and more energy means you're able to train harder, recover faster and grow quicker, so eat up!  If you're looking to add lean muscle and shape increase your calories, however this doesn't mean you can devour a whole tub of Ben & Jerry's ice cream on a Saturday night, instead you want to have a balanced diet of protein, carbs and fat. 

3. PROTEIN INTAKE 
If you hadn't noticed when food shopping that just about every item now has the word "protein" written somewhere on the front of the packaging; obviously for marketing purposes.  Protein is key for muscle growth, with the recommended daily intake being 1.5-2 grams per kg of body weight.  You want to be attempting to hit your protein target each day and ideally you want to be consuming this from natural food sources if you can, for example meat, dairy and eggs, rather than taking it in a supplement form.  By no means is there any harm in drinking protein shakes (I do myself), but if you're consuming them without exercising properly then they won't help you build muscle.  

4. CHALLENGE YOURSELF 
Your muscles will only grow when they're stressed, so if you're lifting weights that are too light then you're unlikely to see much change in your body.  You should be looking to start fatiguing on the last 2-3 reps of each exercise or progressively overload (increasing sets/reps/intensity) in each session.  If you're not then it's time to increase the weights.  You need to challenge and push yourself in each training session for it to be worthwhile, but never compromise your technique over the weight you're lifting. 

5. GET SOME SLEEP
Getting enough sleep each night is just as important as training hard and eating well.  Sleep is so valuable in order to restore your energy levels and help with the receovery process.  You should be aiming to get around 8-9 hours per night.  So, at night time give yourself some time to wind down, relax and step away from your phone. 

If you're looking for more advice on any of the above then drop me a line at the_luminouslife@hotmail.com and I'll be happy to help where I can.  

Happy Lifting!

A.x



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11 comments

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