Everyone wants to get bigger, but not everyone knows exactly what to do so they can properly gain the size they want. Gaining mass requires hard work and dedication. Many people used to think they could “bulk up” by eating whatever they wanted, but they would lose definition and gain fat. Here are some of the biggest mistakes – and how to fix them – if you’re looking to pack on some pounds.
All the wrong moves.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is choosing the wrong exercises. Isolation exercises such as preacher curls and triceps extensions are a few examples of exercises that can supplement, but shouldn’t be utilized in the mass-building process. These isolation movements are more for shaping than building. Instead of these movements, look more towards multi-joint exercises where you will be required to use more muscle groups and can use more resistance. However, don’t use too much weight. The object of hypertrophy and mass-building is to be able to use your muscles in a way that demands them to grow – using momentum and not utilizing full range of motion can inhibit the building process. Drop the weight and focus on the concentric (flex) and eccentric (relax) movement of each rep, each exercise, and each workout. Focus on keeping your rep range between 6 and 12. This is the hypertrophic range and should allow you to maintain control at a decent amount of weight.
After each workout you want to make sure you refuel properly. This refueling process is crucial. After your workout, your muscles are already beginning the healing and growing process, so they need to be fed the proper nutrients! This means restoring your glycogen levels with a high glycemic clean carbohydrate, a clean, easily digestible protein and plenty of water. Without these, your muscles won’t be getting what it needs to pack on the mass.
A second part of the refueling and building process is rest. The “no pain, no gain” theories aren’t always accurate. It is not necessary to push yourself to the limit every day you go to the gym – it’s not even necessary and in most cases plausible – to get to the gym everyday. Take a day off, allow your body to heal and recover. When you don’t allow enough recovery time, you break a body down that isn’t fully healed or rested and it will never have the opportunity to build the mass you’re looking for.
Refueling part II.
While you’re resting be sure to still be taking in enough calories, but let’s not go crazy. Building mass and getting fat are two different roads. Fat in no way will not turn to muscle – it’s a proven fact. The more muscle you put on your body, the more calories you will burn. The more calories you burn, the more you need to take in. One of the best ways to be sure you get enough calories is to find a caloric intake for the weight you want to be at. Then find the caloric intake with your weight now and begin somewhere in the middle, slowly increasing as you gain muscle and add clean mass.
Not finding the balance.
One final mistake that many people make is you will either switch up your workout too much, or won’t switch it up at all. We are creatures of habit and so is our body. You do not want to switch an entire workout all the time, sure your body may never get used to it, but it will also never be able to adapt – not to mention it’s too time consuming. Then there are the times that we find a workout that may have worked, and we always go back to it, week after week thinking that you will continue to see results – wrong.
Your body is an amazing machine and you have to learn to use it. Keeping a workout for a maximum of 2-4 weeks can allow your body to adapt and form a mass-building habit. That doesn’t mean keep everything the same, you could change the weight, change the reps, change the sets, and after those 2-4 weeks go through and switch everything again. Bring in new exercises with the old ones, bring in all new, but similar exercises – it’s up to you.
Building mass and staying in a hypertrophic state is all about learning and listening to your body, not using someone else’s workout.
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