You’ve heard that it’s wise to get a physical before starting any kind of new workout regimen. That’s true, but do you know why? In addition to checking to see if you’re fit enough for a particular program, you can also uncover some hidden health issues. I recently got back into Mixed Martial Arts, and my physical revealed a problem that was easy to fix.
My iron levels were shockingly low. That was hurting my endurance, seriously increasing fatigue and caused issues with building muscle. Of course, upping iron levels is relatively easy with a change in diet and supplements. However, skipping that physical would have caused a lot of frustration and plateaus that were completely unnecessary.
Tackle Your Diet First
Depending on your goals, you’re going to have to change your diet. If you solely want to build bulk, there’s a good chance you’ll need to increase your protein and the number of meals you eat per day. It might sound like eating more protein is easy, but that’s not necessarily true. A rough estimate of how many grams of protein you need is three-quarters of your body weight (or between half and three-quarters for women).
A man who weighs 180 pounds needs about 135 grams of protein a day when on a bodybuilding regimen. Similarly, a 180 pound woman would need at least 90 grams. That’s a lot of protein, and eating it all in meats isn’t necessarily healthy. Always work with a nutritionist if you’re a newbie to eating for bulk. This can drastically reduce risks and help you quickly get on track.
Less is More
If you think you’ll get bigger the more time you’re in the gym, think again. I know exactly how you feel. You might think the whole “working out too much” thing is only an issue for seriously athletes. However, when it comes to building bulk, the majority of your success happens outside the gym when your muscles are repairing.
The Colorado Experiment is proof that you don’t need to work out a lot to gain muscle. While this experiment dealt with a former bodybuilder who was, for lack of a better phrase, a genetic freak, the facts are still there. He only lifted for 30 minutes per day a few days a week and packed on 60 pounds of muscle in one month. If you don’t allow your muscles to repair, they won’t get any bigger.
Your body gets used to routines, so don’t stick with a lifting program for more than three months. You might feel like avoiding cardio all together, but that’s not always smart. At the very least, opt for a 10-minute warm-up before lifting. Diversify these warm-ups with running, walking at an incline, stairs or the elliptical.
Most importantly, make sure you enjoy what you’re doing. If you dread going to the gym, you’re likely going to fail. Whether you’re a Harrisburg wrongful death attorney or a florist, you still have other things going on in your life. A strengthening regimen should fit into your life, not overpower it.