Here are 17 of the most important muscle building facts I’ve learned over the years.
1. People do not see great results with their muscle building endeavors simply because they are misinformed and misled as to what works and needs to be done. My job as a trainer is to inform and to educate people as to what really works.
2. In order to stay with your fitness routine for the long run, you need to identify the “why” behind what you’re doing. Uncover, specifically, what you want to change and why you want to change. Use this to become your driving force.
3. You absolutely must associate pleasure with your muscle building routine and pain with not committing to your fitness routine. Humans by nature do things that are pleasurable and avoid things that create pain.
4. We are after long-term, permanent results, so there will be no quick fixes and gimmicks. We are going to create a lifestyle change that will be easy to live with. No counting calories or points, just make better choices and healthier, moderate portions.
5. Always think quality over quantity. This means more working out is not better when it comes to building muscle, better is better. Most people I come in contact with work out too much and eat too little.
6. The key to permanent fat-loss is to speed up your metabolism. Once this is done, weight-loss becomes permanent.
7. The whole process of changing your body takes time. Commit yourself to at least three months to literally transform your body. You may see some results before then, but three months is what it takes to see great results.
8. During the first couple weeks of a muscle building program, you’ll notice that your scale weight either doesn’t change or it may go up a bit.
Throw the scale out the window, it doesn’t distinguish between fat and muscle, so when you initially gain a bit of muscle at the start, the scale weight will go up. That’s a good thing. Over time the scale weight WILL go down.
9. You must eat often and in moderate amounts to speed up your metabolism. If you eat often, your body utilizes and breaks down your food often, leading to less stored body fat.
10. Eat 5-6 small meals/snacks throughout the day. The easiest way to do this is to eat a moderate breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and then a small snack between breakfast and lunch, lunch and dinner, and then a small snack at night. You must condition your body to eat every 3 to 3 1/2 hours. You cannot restrict calories too much, this will slow down metabolism and absolutely stop progress dead in its tracks.
11. You must create a synergy between proper nutrition, moderate aerobic exercise, and intense, brief weight-training. The answers to weight-loss lie within each one of these. This is why diets, Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, and other programs are not long-term successful. One or more of these elements is missing.
12. Small, steady steps will lead to progression, which will lead to results, which will increase motivation, which will again increase results, which in turn will lead to long-term change.
13. For best results with building muscle and losing fat, 5 days a week, 30 minutes a day is most beneficial. More than 5 days and you risk overtraining. Less than 5 days and you may not see optimal muscle building results.
14. You must incorporate resistance weight-training into your weight-loss efforts. Fat is metabolized by muscle, muscle literally will burn more calories just to maintain itself. Increased lean muscle tissue helps your body to speed up its metabolism (again, increased metabolism being the key to weight-loss.
15. Too much aerobic activity will be counterproductive to your muscle building efforts. 2-3 days a week, 20-30 minutes each session is optimal. Again, more is not better, better is better.
16. Diets do not work, so never try to diet. Diets are a flawed method which create to much pain (pain/pleasure principle). You can diet for a short time, but the physical and psychological cravings come, leading you to binge and eat more than you would have.
17. Pick one day a week and cheat. Eat anything you want, and I mean anything, but just make it a moderate amount. Then be strict for the other 6 days a week.
These were some of the most important muscle building facts I’ve learned over the past 5 years. Follow as many as you can and you’ll soon see more results from your time spent in the gym.