Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 1st 2014 Contents A32
body & soul
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Tuesday, July 1, 2014
There s this guy who used to crush it in the gym.
He lifted weights six days per week, always did cardio
and ate only clean protein, low carbs and low fats.
He knew how to gain muscle and was on a quest
to change his body---getting lean, strong and muscular
at the same time. This idea of a physical transformation
consumed his every waking moment.
He figured that with everything he had put his body
through, eventually he would shed all of his excess
fat and build quality muscle. Months went by, and he
realised something as he caught a glimpse of himself
in the mirror. He stared long and hard, and what he
saw was not the "beast" he thought he was in the
gym. He saw a person who looked like he didn t lift
weights at all.
If this story reminds you of yourself or someone
you know, listen up. To build quality mass and get
stronger at the same time, you don t always need to
work harder; you need to work smarter. Here s what
you need to do. If you train too much, you can t
recover. Your body builds muscle outside the gym,
not in the gym. Lifting weights only provides the
stimulus for your body to adapt, and then you must
allow it to adapt through proper rest, sleep and nutri-
tion. Neglecting to do so may cause you to overtrain,
make no gains and possibly even lose your muscle
We all know that proper diet and exercise are crucial,
but a good diet doesn t mean neglecting certain nutri-
ents or macros in favor of trying to be "clean." The
best diet to build muscle requires a calorie surplus of
at least 15 per cent of what you eat to maintain. Your
diet must also be balanced. Protein is not the only
essential thing we need to build muscle and be healthy.
Do not neglect carbohydrates and fats---doing so will
only hinder your gains.
How much and what kind of cardio are you doing?
This is important, because if you perform too much
cardio, your body will not see optimal adaptations to
resistance training. If you re doing steady-state cardio,
you re working a different energy system from the
one engaged in resistance training, and too much of
it actually shrinks your muscles and robs you of size
Doing extra cardio means you could lose calories
that could be put to use building new muscle, which
requires a lot of cellular energy. This energy deficit
cannot be replenished by oxidizing carbohydrates and
fat, so the body resorts to breaking down muscle tissue
for energy. To support your goal to build muscle, it
is recommended no more than three 20-minute cardio
sessions per week.The less cardio you do, the better
your gains may be. However, doing some cardio can
burn extra fat and improve your ability to recover
during weight-training workouts.
How much do you lift? How often? How much
time do you spend in the gym? How many sets and
reps are you doing per body part?
Volume is extremely important, because if you do
too little, your muscles won t grow; but if you do too
much, your muscles will break down. Research found
that hormone concentrations of testosterone and
growth hormone rise during the first 30 minutes of
training. However, after about 45 to 60 minutes, these
levels drop sharply as stress builds up with a corre-
sponding rise in cortisol concentrations. Cortisol breaks
down muscles, making it more difficult to recover and
grow. This leads to overtraining and the inability to
adapt, especially if you are lifting five to six days per
week and your total volume is above 20 to 25 sets.
If you fall in this category, you are overtraining. There
is a fine line here. One hour with the
weights is the absolute max. If you
hit that one-hour mark, drop what
you are doing, go recover with some
protein and carbohydrates. New
trainees need less volume and/or
workouts per week to see results.
Rep ranges and overload
It is universally accepted in the
strength and conditioning community
that to stimulate hypertrophy, the
optimal rep range should be around
ten; and it should be almost impossible
to do another rep. The ten-rep range
places just enough metabolic stress
on the body to increase hormone con-
centrations and mechanically overload
the muscles, calling upon them to
grow. The principle of "overload"
states that the body adapts to the
stress of training, but it works harder
or longer than normal. If overload is
featured gradually and regularly, the
body adapts to tolerate the increased
stress. You must then continue to
overload your system to progress. For
instance, if you can lift a weight for
12 to 13 reps when your goal is ten,
it s time to increase the weight.
I lift weights but can't build muscle, what's wrong?
Build quality mass, workout smarter
YOUR DAILY HEALTH
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