Whether you’ve finally lost all the excess weight and are now moving onto building onto your muscle or simply want to get ripped and bulk up, the foundations of body building will always stay the same. This is why it’s always crucial to go back to basics or really take the time to absorb and learn the basics of body building. But what do we mean when we say basics? Simply put, we’re talking about the fundamental building blocks of fitness success. With so many fitness trends penetrating the market, it’s easy to forget the simplest and elementary rules that, more often than not, are still the most effective.
#1: List Down Your Goals
Maybe you want to go up a few pounds or perhaps you want to achieve more muscle definition. For others, it could be a desire to their mile time by 10 seconds or to set a new personal best for a deadlift. Whatever your goal is, write it down and then map out a plan to achieve it. It’s always great to have two lists: a short-term goal list for the month and a long-term goal list for either half a year or a full year. Not only do these lists help you stay on track and put together a plan of attack, it will also help you stay focused and remind you to stay hungry for success.
#2: Pile On the Protein
It’s no secret that protein is, fundamentally, a hugely important part of the bodybuilding process. While the exact daily requirement will very per individual based on their body’s needs and their personal goals, it’s crucial to be consuming enough protein to maintain and gain lean muscle mass. A good rule of thumb is to eat about a gram of protein per pound of your body weight per day, while the best way to consume this amount is by dividing it between up to 6 meals a day. Not only will this kind of nutritional plan help you build your muscle mass, it will also aid in refueling your body and helping your muscles recover after a workout. Additionally, it will keep you satiated for longer so you don’t give in to cravings and reach for empty calories instead.
#3: Avoid Getting Bored
One of the fastest ways to get stuck in a fitness rut is by taking “stick to a routine” too seriously. While it’s good to have a routine, when you take it to the level of doing the same thing in the gym all the time, chances are you’re going to get bored. Avoid this by finding new ways to challenge yourself. It could be something as simple as choosing barbells or cables over the dumbbells or going for a class instead of flying solo. Remember that if you’re bored with your workouts, then chances are high that your body is, too. This, in turn, almost always means that you’re not working your muscles to an extent that will help them grow stronger.
#4: Don’t Be Afraid to Lift More Weights
This one goes out to all the women out there who believe the lie of “cardio is all I need to get lean”. Listen up ladies, choosing to stick to cardio and avoiding the weights is the fastest way to land yourself in the “skinny fat” category. Sure you’ve got a smaller body than when you started out, but beneath the skin, your body won’t be any tighter. Training with weights and increasing your weights as you go along will help you build definition in your body and tone up in places that would otherwise be left with loose skin. Not only that, but lifting weights will rev up your metabolism, which means more fat loss in the long term. Remember, just because you’re “body building” doesn’t mean that you actually have to put mass on. It also means toning up and getting those muscle cuts you’ve always wanted.
#5: Apply the Overload Principle
For people who are actually trying to put on muscle mass, the overload principle is one of the most basic principles that you need to remember. Simply put, if you don’t give your muscles a reason to grow, then they won’t. Applying the overload principle simply means lifting heavier loads progressively week over week and pushing your muscles to their absolute limit. A good rule of thumb for the overload principle is to remember that each last rep of a set you perform is the last you possibly can do. If you’re able to do 8 more reps, or 15 more reps if you’re working on your legs, per exercise, then you’re most likely at a point where you need to start picking up heavier weights.
#6: Use Both Concentric and Eccentric Muscle Actions
When bodybuilding, one of the most important things to remember is to use both concentric and eccentric actions. Not only does it work more muscle groups, it also maximizes the time you spend at the gym. In order to achieve these muscle actions, it’s best to perform each of your exercises slowly and more deliberately. For example, if you’re performing bicep curls, take your time lifting the dumbbell up and take an equal amount of time to lower it back down. It’s also a good idea to perform both single and multiple-joint exercises to ensure that you’re hitting all of the possible muscle groups you can in a single movement.
#7: Get Enough Rest
Battering your body in the gym may seem like a good idea, but remember this: your muscles grow on your off days. So if you’re looking to put on muscle mass, it’s absolutely essential that you incorporate days of active rest into your weekly routine. Some great active rest programs to add to your week include foam roller exercises and even yoga. The point is to stretch out your muscles and allow them to loosen, relax and get the blood flowing. Adding rest to your routine also means that your body will recover faster so you can hit the weights even stronger the next time around.