As a guy who loves being in the gym and pushing myself, I take it very seriously when it comes to my health. Yeah, I have fun lifting weights and there are enormous benefits from physical activity but I want to see my hard work pay off and obtain that sense of satisfaction with muscles popping and veins pumping.
So, how do we do it? Of course nutrition is involved. I would venture to say it’s 70% of the work to getting a tight physique but what else outside of lifting and conditioning work can you do to add slabs of muscle and shred the fat?
Feed Your Muscles
When lifting weights, your metabolism goes frantic busying itself to replenish energy and repair broken-down muscle tissue.
That’s the great thing about exercise. In order to have the right resources for recovery, you have to eat more to generate those resources. This is why you should shoot for 300-500 more calories on workout days.
Of course, these aren’t garbage calories, majority of those calories should be protein.
Stiff muscles equal no muscle. Ever see a powerlifter with little range of motion? It’s pathetic. They look like a brick wall and yet are as slow as a turtle.
Lifting weights builds up scar tissue which is a reason why you’re sore after a hard workout. You can help speed up recovery and add a bit of relief to your body by incorporating a few of these options in your routine.
- Foam Roller/Mobility Stick – Mobility tools are a great source to relieve muscle soreness and when used just before you go to bed will help you get to sleep faster and help provide a deeper sleep.It’s a great and cheap way to break up scar tissue and help increase your range of motion. Incorporating this tool will help prevent you from waddling around like a beefed-up duck!
- Massage – A more expensive method than the foam roller but very rewarding. You’ll walk away rejuvenated.
- Chiropractor – I have a standing appointment with my chiropractor every 3 weeks. I initially visited him to help me relieve the tension headaches I would often get while working out in the gym. Now the headaches are gone and I know that a proper alignment every so often does wonders for my muscles and nerves.
Tough workouts don’t have to be so tough afterwards. Cold showers are great after an intense workout. It’s been noted that immersing yourself in cold water after intense exercise can reduce the effect of delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS) by half.
This means a reduced likelihood of missing your next workout and a faster return to peak performance.
Muscle-building doesn’t stop as soon as you drop the bar. It goes much further than that. While your tucked away in the comfort of your own bed, your body is busy repairing the muscle-damage it incurred during the day.
This is why it’s critical to get as much sleep as you can. I’m one of the biggest offenders of this rule but you should try and get 8 hours of sleep whenever possible. I’m usually around 6 hours but the occasions where I do get a bit more sleep, I can tell that my body feels the difference.
Our bodies produce the greatest release of growth hormone while we sleep. Couple this with the fatigue that goes hand-in-hand with lack of sleep and watch your workout performance torpedo with its effect.
So that’s it. Make it your resolution to take care of your body outside of the gym and look forward to the benefits you’ll receive as you break those PR’s inside the gym. Until next time, Stay Jacked, Stay Strong…