By Joel Sward, Founder of HouseOfMuscle.com
1. LIFT WEIGHTS
I'm a firm believer in weight resistance training. Aerobics are useful (sometimes), but the weight room should be your destination if you want a leaner, more muscular body. When people do decide to lift weights, they get so worried about diet, rest, supplements, and different training techniques (which are all important) that they fail to train hard. Train in a consistent fashion. Make a commitment to yourself to show up at the gym on a regular schedule -- and stick to it! Most importantly, when you are in the weight room, get serious and train with intensity. Have the attitude that "This is war!"
2. DON'T WORKOUT TOO OFTEN
You're probably thinking... what? Didn't you just say, "This is war!"? Yes, it is war, but this war has infrequent battles. I want you to train intensely, not frequently. The number one error people make in their quest for lean, muscular mass is over-training. Your muscles grow outside the gym, while you're resting. The workout just provides the stimulus for future growth, but only if given an adequate amount of rest. If you train a muscle before it has fully recovered, it will not grow -- and you might even reverse growth. Plus, if you work out too often you, will get mentally burned out. The bottom line is, if a muscle (or your mind) is sore, don't work it until it's not sore.
3. EAT FREQUENTLY
Too many people have the attitude that they can't eat if they want to get lean. That's the worst thing you could do! If you don't eat frequently, your metabolism slows down, which makes it harder to burn fat. When you do resume your normal diet the new metabolic rate won't be able to handle all the "new" calories... can we say yo-yo dieting? To get lean, change the foods you eat to nutrient dense varieties and eat small, frequent meals. Even if you are not concerned with body fat, you should still eat frequently, at least 6 small meals a day, to keep yourself in a positive nitrogen balance.
4. HAVE A HIGH PROTEIN DIET
Besides the dieting tips we just discussed, make sure each meal is rich in high quality protein. Whenever I remind someone to up their protein intake they always say, "I eat plenty of protein." When we sit down and actually figure out what they are eating, they are surprised to see how little protein they actually consume. When I'm talking about protein I'm talking about high quality sources, such as eggs (no yolks), tuna (in spring water, not oil), chicken breasts (skinless and boiled), turkey breasts (skinless, boiled and none of that processed crap), and occasionally lean red meat. These sources are complete (or close to complete) proteins. Most other foods are not. Even milk (which I think is crap) is not a very complete protein. The high quality whey contained in our 100% Whey Protein powder is an excellent protein source to supplement your solid food protein meals.
5. SEEK PAIN
This ties into my earlier point about intensity. I can't stress enough how important it is to Train Hard! If you want a muscle to grow, you have to "take it to a place it's never been." Get under the squat bar with weight you've never done -- dig down and do it for ten reps... then do it for ten more! That's what I'm talking about. I know it hurts, but the incredible results are worth it. Not only will you get physically stronger, but your mental strength will increase as well.
6. GORGE YOURSELF AFTER A WORKOUT
Not with pizza and a chocolate shake (bummer), but with a high-glycemic-index (GI) carbohydrate and protein. Carb Revive with our 100% Whey Protein and Recovery Orange is the perfect choice. There is strong scientific evidence that right after an intense workout your body and mind need nutrients. This is the best time to elicit a positive adaptation in muscle tissue. Don't let this "window of opportunity" slip by you.
7. KEEP A POSITIVE MENTAL ATTITUDE
Okay, okay... this isn't going to be one of those self-help seminars, but don't take this for granted. We've all heard that corny saying, "What the mind can dream, the body can achieve." I believe this is very true, but I also believe that if you really don't believe something is possible, at a gut level, it will never happen. Stay focused, stay positive and stay the course!
8. CHANGE YOUR ROUTINE OFTEN
Scientific evidence shows that your body can adapt to a regular stimulus in as little as 6 weeks. Create different phases to your training. Do real slow reps for 6 weeks, then change to faster more explosive lifts the next 6 weeks. Get creative! It makes it more fun. This will keep you more mentally fresh and you won't dread going to the weight room to do the same old routine.
9. DON'T RELY ON LIFTING AIDS
Many of you are going to have a problem with this one. You've been taught that for safety you should always wear a belt, and wrist wraps, and knee wraps... the list goes on and on. Lifting aids are simply not necessary. If you perform your lifts properly, with the correct technique, you don't need any of these aids. When you use these aids you take out a whole host of stabilizer muscles that are essential to overall strength and performance. The only lifting aid I use is dead lift straps for back training. They allow my hands to feel like hooks, so all of the emphasis is on my back and not my arms. Lifting aids can become a mental crutch -- so don't use them! Usually, this means lowering the weight you use, until these stabilizer muscles can catch up (which is a big blow to you show-offs). You know who you are. But really, do you want to look like you're strong, or do you really want to be strong?
10. USE HOUSE OF MUSCLE SUPPLEMENTS
This is the final piece in the puzzle. Once you have committed to a well thought out, intense training routine, your diet is solid and you are mentally focused on your goal, it's time to take the final step. House Of Muscle supplements can take you to the next level.
Stop dreaming about the person you want to be, and start being that person!
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