Entering the world of weight-lifting / fitness can be especially difficult if you come from a more aerobic-related background or are considering entering the gym for the first time.
In this article I will give you six simple but effective tips to help you get started or even improve the way you workout to achieve your goals successfully. Now, some of them may seem cliche to not-so-fitness lovers – but think about applying these factors in practice? Adapt the following tips to your lifestyle to see if your energy is growing, whether it’s getting the best deal for you, or the ultimate if you skip this annoying plateau that blocks your progress in the gym!
1) Sleep more, exercise less
Too many people underestimate the importance of rest and sleep. In the end, the more you workout the stronger you will be, right? Error! Frequent workouts without a sufficient amount of sleep each night can sabotage your success in becoming stronger, more fit, and mentally ready for heavy workouts and will make you feel sick … believe me!
When you workout, you are essentially destroying your muscles and this motivates them to rebuild and return bigger and stronger!
Growth hormones (body maintenance and metabolism) play a key role in this process with the growth hormone secretion occurring during sleep – so it is important to have a good deep sleep! Yes really, your muscles grow as you sleep! Of course you have to train hard and eat well to become strong, but sleep is just as important!
2) Eat, Eat, Eat
Whether you want to create a toned, dry body or put on muscle mass, your muscles need a sufficient amount of energy from the food you put into your body. The hard training to achieve these goals requires you to consume more calories than you burn during the day.
It is important to keep track of your weight and if you find that you are not lifting as many pounds as you would like you should start eating more.
However, if you feel that you are gaining weight fast, reduce your calories a little. It’s all a test case and every body is different so we need to find the right balance of exercise and nutrition that works for us!
✓ Increase in protein : e.g. lean meat, soybeans, green leafy vegetables, protein drinks
✓ Complex carbohydrates for slow energy release, e.g. Sweet potatoes, rice, oats
✓ Healthy fats for hormone balance and satiety eg avocado, salmon, nuts butter
Try to get the least extra calories from simple carbohydrates and foods such as chocolates and sweets and “zero fat” foods, as they often have an extremely high sugar content to compensate for the lack of nutrients – your body as such chemicals’ and not good nutrients to digest as energy.
3) Use appropriate supplements
There are tons of supplements available on the market – and you don’t need to take them all! Some of these may help you achieve your goals.
I would advise you to do some research on which supplements are best depending on what you want to achieve, namely strength, size, lean muscle tissue, etc. However, here are some I use on a regular basis to support my goals when I want to mass…
They are taken immediately before your workout. Things to keep in mind when choosing a pre-workout are:
Κa Caffeine (energy and concentration)
✓ Creatine (strength and intensity)
Κe arginine alpha ketoglutarate (AAKG)
(Improving athletic performance: boosting growth and muscle strength)
A good cocktail that will boost your workout, allowing you to overcome fatigue and work harder and harder.
After all this workout, you need something to help your muscles repair: and this is whey protein . Protein is made up of a long chain of amino acids – Their purpose in your body (to summarize) is to rebuild and build muscle!
I also consume carbohydrates to get those extra calories – for example, maltodextrin is a typical fast-acting carbohydrate that returns the lost nutrients straight back to the muscle after training and helps replenish and restore them.
Try adding this to whey protein after a workout and every time you need a calorie boost all day long!
4) Do complex exercises
A complex exercise involves several muscle groups at a time.
They will help you gain strength quickly – whether you are a boy and want to grow mass or girl and want curved curves! With these exercises you train more than one muscle group at a time and as a result increase your overall training efficiency.
The main ones are:
- Death lifts
- Bench presses
Imagine that your workout involves a few days a week and each day you will target two different muscle groups and each group will do four different isolated exercises. This means eight different set exercises. Now imagine that you can replace two exercises by each group with one complex exercise. With 6 exercises you workout the same as before. This is especially useful if you do not have much free time to go to the gym.