If you are an ectomorph by nature and you happen to workout to build muscle, then you won’t need to tell me that you have struggled to build a sufficient amount of muscle on your skinny frame, I already know… I started of that way.
You’ve probably felt very envious against all of those short guys who simply sneeze and put on muscle (Bastards!). And at that point you probably tried to work harder than your short guy mesomorph counterparts. But working harder is not always the best solution. You will probably increase the amount of days that you workout. But doing so may lead to overtraining, which in turn may lead to injury and a decrease in muscle growth, which is what you don’t want.
There are many challenges that us ectomorph body types will face during our weightlifting workouts, but to solve them all in one article would just bore you. So to begin, we’ll focus on how to deal with overtraining.
Don’t follow the leader
This is what I told you a couple of weeks back and the same rule applies here. You will meet many individuals who have built themselves an amazing body… good on them. But they have found a workout routine that works for THEM. You need to find a workout routine that works for YOU and your ectomporph body type. A workout routine that takes advantage of an over trained body or even overcomes those dreaded weightlifting plateaus. (A workout routine I may just plan out for you). So follow your own needs and no one else’s.
Let your muscles recover
It’s very easy to become a gym addict, and it is a very nice to watch your muscles get ‘pumped’ while you workout. But eliminate that short-term vision already. Your muscles will not build while you are ripping them apart, no matter how ‘pumped’ you look at the time. It might seem like a ‘no brainer’, but structure your workout days like,
Mon, Wed, Fri
And not like
Mon, Tues, Thurs
Always leaving a day in-between allowing your muscles to recover and grow properly. Unfortunately, some people still do not follow this simple rule. Don’t let that be you.
Train with less time
It amazes me how many people get this wrong. If you have an ectomorph body type, or are working out to build muscle, then you need to be training with less time in your workouts with an increased intensity. That is:
- Less than 60 minutes
- 45 minutes (35 minutes intense)
If you train for more than 45 minutes, then the response rate of your anabolic hormones will drop. This will cause you to lose energy and you’ll start burning muscle instead of building it, because your body will be looking for those energy stores and there will be nothing there.
Working out with a high intensity and shorter periods will also give you better gains, help your muscles recover much quicker and stop you from over training.
Know when to stop
I’ve faced this scenario many times. It’s actually a lot harder to do when you are ‘in the zone’ as you simply don’t want to stop and are dedicated to building your muscles up. But the fact is, there will be a point when your body will feel knackered, and it won’t be like a weightlifting plateau either. It’s that tiredness you feel when your body is simply telling you to STOP! If you don’t want to listen to the warning signs… that’s fine. Just know that doing so could literally kill you, as at this point, you would have surpassed the point of overtraining.
So do yourself a favour and STOP!
Take a whole week off from training (I’ve done this before). This will allow your body to fully recover and more importantly… allow your muscles to GROW.
- Do sub failure training. What you do here is minus 2-3 repetitions of every exercise that you do. Do this for 2-3 weeks and then go back to normal training.
- As I stated earlier, there are many more answers for how you can overcome the challenges that a hard gainer faces, but stay tuned in and I will try to solve and answer as many as I can.
Are you struggling to build muscle as a hard gainer?
Have you tried any of the above methods?
Let me know in the comments.
I hope you are all enjoying your weekend, but before we start rocking and rolling for the next few weeks of October, I thought I’d update you on the most talked about posts of September. And they are…
You may even have your own favorites. If so check out all of the posts in the archives tab above and feel free to post and tell me about them in the comments. Until next month… Bugs out!
Ok, this isn’t really a ‘best of’ post for October. What this post really is, is a re-post of the Stay-Fit Bug 1 year anniversary post.
Because this week has been an interesting one, with all the attention that Mondays post has received.
Which has of course lead to some new readers here at Stay-Fit Bug. Which means a whole year of content that has been missed. Now If I was a new reader here, I know for sure that I wouldn’t find the time to go through all of those old posts. So to make things a little easier for all those that are new here, I’ve decided to give you the link for the anniversay post, which contains a list of the best posts for each of the past 14 months. So without further a do…
Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.
I decided to jump back on video today after a short Christmas hiatus. Today I talk about two things that you should be avoiding and the two things that you should be doing instead. And then one other thing. Watch below to find out what that other thing is.
See you in the comments.
(Guys that are strong but don’t look it)
aka this quote
”Hold up. Dude… you can lift twice as much as that guy over there. Why is HE bigger than YOU?” OUCH… painful comment! Solution: Eat more food… DUDE!
But lets look a little deeper in to this scenario. A scenario where I have been the victim of that painful comment (It affected me so bad, that I even remember the date. 17th February 2005) :O
Now, the reason why anyone would be a victim of this comment would be because of this point..
”Are you just lifting weights or actually stimulating muscle fibers?”
There is a big difference. Like I’ve said before, there’s more to it than just lugging a few weights around. And it often doesn’t take as much weight as people think to get the desired results.
So, let me start with the most important and relative point, so that you can avoid being picked on for being a scrawny looking guy who is in fact, REALLY strong.
#1 Focus on muscle tension
Now, there could be two reasons that could explain why the other guy is bigger than you.
- Genetics – That guy might have good muscle building genetics. A mesomorph style body type, where one can lose fat and gain muscle mass quite easily.
- He has been focusing on muscle tension. Or what I’ve previously described as shock body exercises.
You see, lifting heavy duty weight might make you look cool in the gym. But in fact, if I saw you lifting a heavy weight week after week, yet with no visible growth. I would have to…
1) Question your technique
2) Question your lifestyle and eating habits
Because there’s no real reason why you should be lifting super duper heavy weights in the gym, unless your goal is to grow muscle mass.
You can move more weight with momentum, sure. But you will not stimulate more muscle growth. For example, Olympic lifters don’t look even half as developed as advanced body builders. This is because the power moves they perform are accomplished by momentum and technique more so than actual muscle strength.
Muscle tension = Growth, not torque.
And in fact, you probably won’t have to lift as heavy as you may think. It’s more about this…
#2 Training insane – (Shock/ Explode muscles)
If you haven’t read my article about training insane, make sure you read it here. I’m confident that it will change your mind set and give you a good kick up the butt.
Any how, following on from my point above. Intensity is what you will want to focus on when you lift weights. Not doing so could be one of the key reasons why you might get the reaction described in the intro, because muscles will only grow when shocked with explosive activity (Have a read of the bugs quick tips)
This is the entire concept of training insane. When you train, you have to GO-AT-IT. Literally.
- Sometimes angry workouts (This music should help)
So quit lugging heavy weights around with technique-less flair. This really is not helping you to grow.
#3 Eat more food 5 times a day to avoid muscle break down
Now, if you are a victim of the ‘I am strong, but don’t look it’ squad, then I’d say at least 80% of the time would be down to an inconsistent diet. If you go through a day without eating for 4 hours or more then you are putting your body into a catabolic state, which is when the muscle tissues you’ve worked so hard to build up, begin to break down.
The best way to avoid this is to eat consistently throughout the entire day. Not just one big fat meal at dinner time (Which is probably most of you).
Think of it this way.
- When you drive a car and give it a full tank of petrol, it performs great… right? Of course it does.
- When you drive that same car on an empty tank it performs badly and the engine starts cutting out.. right? Yes, it does. We’ve all been there before.
That’s a no brainer. The killer point here is that when you run a car this way, you are actually destroying it’s shelf life, because doing so will wear the engine away.
The metaphor here =
Car engine/ Your muscles
Not feeding them is one thing, but to cause longer term damage to your muscle building results puts the nail in the coffin here. Muscle mass… NO MORE!
So do yourself a favor and start eating. Because even a crappy lifter will put on mass with the correct diet structure.
If you want a detailed program of…
- What to eat
- When to eat
- How much to eat
Then read this post
#4 Focus on compound exercises
Now this point I left till last, because it’s not entirely important, but still relevant.
If you aren’t growing, it could be because you are placing to strong of a focus on isolation exercises (exercises that work one muscle group). This isn’t a bad thing, but you should only really focus on performing these exercises when you are trying to bring out the best of a certain muscle group.
Your main focus should be on performing compound exercises (exercises that work all 4 limbs) such as the bench press and dead-lift. By doing so you will definitely notice an improvement of the overall growth of all muscle groups around your body.
The goal of this website is to help everyone build the ultimate physique. That is…
- V-shape body
- Super duper health
- And overall 110% uber awesomeness.
Part of which you can find inside the unique bodyweight exercise ebook v3.0
The goal however, is not to help turn you into the next Mr. Olympia.
So if you don’t want to look like a lean weakling, make sure you follow the above. Once you do, you will be a muscle bound machine that people will inspire to be.
See you in the comments.
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Now, I’m not sure what part of the world you are from, but if I go by this websites statistics and the relationships that I have with many of you, It’s safe to assume that the majority of you who read this will be from the west side of planet earth. Which means you are now living in the brutal winter months. Brrrrr (The chills).
Hopefully,this hasn’t put you off working out and I hope you are still training insane. After all, this is the season where the true gains are made, in order to get you ready for summer.
However, this is also the season that most of us will go wild with Christmas festivities.
Although I encourage both (Seeing as it’s the only time of year where we really get to have a break), we still have to keep it under control. As one string of wild nights really can cause havoc on your muscle building results. And yes, you hardgainer/ ectomorph types need to watch out too. Read this post to find out why.
With that being said, I thought it would be a good idea to remind you of what you should look out for when trying to keep that fat off of your waist, whether it’s Christmas or not. Re-introducing you to 3 of your familiar friends.
- The Tyre (Fatty waist)
- Mr. Insulin
- Mr. ‘I wanna be ripped’
- Mr victim
- Mr control
- Mr ultimate
OK, fat control is the game and Mr. Tyre is the name we will begin with.
Now, if there is one part of the body that everyone seems to struggle with, regardless of sex or body type, it will be the tyre aka that annoying layer of fat that sits around your waist and lower gut. Now, we all know about the rule…
- 30% gym
- 70% diet
Well, that is mostly true. What this means is that you could be working your ass off in the gym, training insane and the like. But all of it will be pointless unless you have a controlled diet. Controlled meaning, eating the right foods at the right time.
Now, they say that carbs are the enemy when it comes to building that ‘ripped‘ physique. And that you should avoid them at all costs (Because carbs in it’s basic form is just sugar).
Which of course is not true.
We need carbs to re-fuel and replenish our muscles. The key is to eating the right type of carbs at the right time of day. e.g fast digesting carbs right after your works to replenish your muscles from the nutrients it would lose from an intense workout.
Two types of carbs
Simple – Fast digesting – Explodes into your blood stream (literally… like fireworks)
Complex – Slow digesting – Moves into your blood stream like a mini earthquake that eternally erupts
Now, when people say carbs are bad, what they really should be saying is that simple carbs are bad. These are the type of carbs that will promote Mr. tyre around your waist.
Why… how, how… why?
Because these are the type of carbs that like to pick a fight with Mr. Insulin who is responsible for controlling the blood sugar levels in your body.
Mr. Tyre vs Mr. Insulin
Earlier I mentioned that simple carbs digest like an explosion into your body. This increases Mr. Insulin’s work load into overdrive, and what happens when you spread yourself to thin with extra tasks? You begin to fail, and that failure is the result of Mr. tyre… extra fat around your waist.
Now, I don’t want to bore you with some biology lesson. Instead, let me give you a real life example of this scenario. One that I know all of you will be familiar with.
This battle is kind of like a large queue to an event such as a concert, football match or even a night club. You have
- The boss and his men (Mr. Insulin)
- The guards (Muscle receptors)
- The people queuing up (The carbs – complex *good* or simple *bad*)
All it takes is for a few bad people to kick up a fuss (simple carbs) for a big fight break out. The boss and his men (Mr insulin) loses control and begins throwing all the bad people into one corner (In this case, into your muscles. Which is actually good). However, what we really want to do is keep the Boss under control and tame his temper. Then we have a good smooth process for the rest of the night. So they begin to only let good people in (complex carbs).
If too many people coming rushing in too fast, The Boss and his men then need to up their game and give the thumbs up to the guards to open up the doors wider (This is where Mr. Insulin spikes and where muscle receptors open up the doors for the carbs to be let in to the muscles more quickly).
Now, if we go back to where the Boss (Mr insulin) throws everyone into a corner. This would usually cause even more of a fight, more people trying to get in, causing even more havoc. The Boss say enough is enough and tells the guards to let no one else in, sending everyone else elsewhere.
(It is at this point where your muscle receptors say enough is enough. These insulin levels are spiking far too often. At which point they begin to shut the doors, letting no more sugar into your muscles. Where do the rest of the excess carbs go? They get stored as fat)
But even worse is that those guards won’t even consider letting those people back in. They beat them up and threw them out, almost for good. And the club stays empty for a while. They will just go for a different crowd. They still have to bring the money in after all.
(So Mr. Insulin switches off the fat burn, stores fat, and leaves nothing behind. That is no more carbs. Once that happens you are even worse off than before you ate, because your blood sugar levels would have dropped even lower. Which means you are still hungry. The body needs to then go somewhere else for energy. It can’t go to the stored fat, because Mr. Insulin has switched that off for the time being. So it goes for the next best thing. The protein in your muscles. But the part you really need to be careful about is the fact that too many high sugar rushes will cause your muscle receptors to stop letting sugar in entirely. Which is not good, and can lead to diabetes).
And that is why there needs to be some control in terms of managing insulin levels.
And this is also why you need carbs in your system. To prevent your body from going into a catabolic state (Muscle break down). But the right type of carbs at the right time.
Such as dextrose, post workout. You will cause an insulin spike yes. However, you will be filling up empty muscles, because you would have used up all of the carb storage that was in your muscles in your workout. Which is the only time of day when it’s a win, win to spike insulin levels high.
Such as pasta, rice, potatoes, and oatmeal. Because they spike moderately throughout the day.
The Mr. Insulin vs Fat storage fight is also the same reason why it’s impossible to build muscle putting on fat. Because you will never be able to maintain perfect insulin levels. Fat will always be stored. How long that fat get’s stored for depends on the level of the insulin spike.It’s all about balance.
So if you want to keep fat at bay, then ease off the candy bars (Unless you’re going for a quick run) and stack your system full of complex carbs. That way you can keep your system running, Mr. Insulin happy, which in turn prevents you from putting on unnecessary fat and burning that precious lean muscle mass.
Enter Mr. ‘I wanna be ripped’
Enter training insane
The best way to make this practice a reality is by creating habits.
- Get rid of all the simple carbs in your house. Buy them and consume them only when you need them. Don’t bring them home.
- Cook pasta, rice and potato meals, but leave some left overs that you can carry and pre-heat with you the next day while at work. That way your hunger strikes can be fed on the go with complex carbs.
- Add creatine to your post workout shake. It will latch on to the carbs you consume at this time, making for an even more effective absorption of creatine into your muscles (Which of course is energy).
- And last but not least. If you want a complete DONE-FOR-YOU no B.S guide on how you should be structuring your diet for maximum gains, then you need to look no further, as I have created a guide that does just that with The Guide to Necessary Supplementation
Any how, that’s how you win the fight between The Tyre (Fatty Waist) vs. Mr Insulin vs. Mr ‘I Wanna Ripped’.
Now get to work already.
Leave your thoughts in the comments below.
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It’s a new week folks. It’s getting colder, darker and Christmas is right around the corner. And… I’ve always got some presents on the way to give to you all. Will you get them early? Well, you’re just going to have to wait and see.
Any how, today marks the release of the first ebook, of a series of ebooks. All of which focus on a specific aspect of the fitness lifestyle.
The Guide To Necessary supplementation
I won’t bore you with any more text blurb. Watch the video instead. British accent and all 🙂
119 Page Cookbook
100’s of recipes to take advantage of
Note: $9.99 for the next 72 hours ONLY!
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I hope all of you muscle heads are staying true to the Stay-Fit Bug mantra and maintaining those muscle building results from your workouts. And if you are, you might just want to take a break from your workouts, and just like in the video above, you will need to ‘TEST YOUR MIGHT’.
Well, for the same reasons people conduct performance reviews in the work place.
Every few months it would be a good idea to test your strength gains to see where you have improved, where you are lacking and how you can fix that. After all… it’s all about progression… right?
There are many tests you can take, and I’ll go over most if not all of them at some point, but to begin with, I’ll start with Just Three.
Lower body, Upper body and Core strength tests
These are 3 key areas of your body that you will need to know for sure if you are improving or failing. Here are the basic tests for each.
- Lower Body – One rep max squat
- Upper body – One rep max bench press
- Core – Sit ups test (Performing the most number of sit-ups you can in 30 seconds straight)
All of these are essential if you intend to build real strength in your workouts, and if you aren’t testing your strength, you could well be training blind. But fear not, I will soon provide you with a detailed post on how to perform these, along with some other vital strength tests. And now to portray my flying strength like Raiden from Mortal Kombat.
See you in the comments
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In The Zone ‘ Training insane’
In The Zone Training Insane = Workouts where you perform at your utmost intensity, explosive exercises, for only 25-35 minutes per workout.
Because that is when your muscles will positively react, talk back to you and REALLY grow.
Why not 1 hour + workouts?
A good muscle building program places a strong focus on the big 4 compound exercises. As it has been proven time and time again that these are the most effective exercises for overall gains in strength and size. Each workout only requires you to perform just 1 core compound exercise per workout plus assistant exercises (usually 2 or 3 extra exercises).
Why extra exercises if compound lifts work so well?
- Strengthen weak areas of the body that compound exercises may miss
- Help increase your performance of the 4 compound lifts e.g Barbell rows to help with bench press performance
- Balance and symmetry
- To build muscle (Dips, lateral raises being my personal favorites)
All of those performed at max ‘In the zone’ intensity will only take you max 40 minutes to perform in one workout. After that, you workout no more.
Because a lot of the growth you achieve with a good program will be a result of what you ‘don’t do in the gym.
This is where you may have previously been going wrong in your works. By doing too much. Causing you to plateau, get frustrated, become demotivated and in turn, quit your workouts. No growth. (boo hoo!).
Now, we do indeed have a ‘core’ program to follow here and as you will notice, there are exercises other than the big 4 that can benefit you. The program isn’t designed so that you train like a robot. No. The program is designed so that you do whats important (the big 4). And then do what is important to YOU. There are no right or wrong exercises.
If you feel and believe that dips is helping you build upper back strength and size, then keep on performing dips.
If you feel that bent over barbell rows are helping you increase your bench press performance, then keep on performing bent over barbell rows.
I personally like to regularly perform dips and lateral raises, because I know that I notice better trap/lats development. Which is of course a vital piece of the bodybuilding puzzle in terms of building that perfect ripped v shape physique with the bulk to match.
So don’t be afraid to experiment with the ‘after core’ exercises. Tweak and repeat.
Choose progression over fast bulk
Now, if you are a newbie weightlifter, it wont be an uncommon thing to pack on a ton of muscle mass within the first few weeks of this program. In fact, I’m 99% certain that you’ll gain 4-5 times more than the monthly goal of 3lbs increase in size per month.
But the common problem that arises is the dreaded plateau. You’ll hit those super gains within the first several weeks, but then it all changes.
The gains stop, you start experiencing jack shit gym days, your motivation levels drop (A natural thing… that this program will help you maintain) life happens. You just simply stop growing, which is of course the ultimate motivation killer. And is the reason why the average gym goer will look the same year in year out.
Now, the goal is of course to build a physique that makes you stand out from the crowd, so that you don’t look like the average gym goer. Shred with bulk! But the goal is also maintenance. But we also want to be progressing all of the time.
The first part of that solution is to focus on steady progression ‘over time’.
Lets start with the goal of shred + bulk when it comes to the goal of building a shredded physique with muscle mass to match. Now, the common way to get big fast would be to follow a bulking and cutting phase. There is nothing wrong with that. But that simply is not an ideal approach when it comes to building the shred + bulk physique, while living the fitness lifestyle. That approach is an end goal approach, which of course rings true for why bodybuilders train that way. Which is of course to prepare for bodybuilding contests. The program is not a contest and it certainly isn’t an end goal. Therefore, bulking and cutting approach is void.
The approach we take in terms of the actual shred with bulk program is to increase your gains steadily over time..
- Avoid facing those dread dreads plateaus.
- Actual progress year after year
Its entirely understandable why one would want overnight success and wanting to increase their bench weight by 30-40 pounds in a matter of a several weeks. But the long term result will be disappointing to say the least.
The gains stop, you start experiencing jack shit gym days, your motivation levels drop (A natural thing… that this program will help you maintain) life happens. You just simply stop growing, which is of curse the ultimate motivation killer. And is the reason why the average gym goer will look the same year in year out.
That is what will happen if you take the bulk approach.
Strength is relative to size
Now, it is because of this why its important to focus on steady progression along with what has been mentioned above. If you grow fast with ‘In The Zone’ nutrition, you’ll bulk up yes, but with the excessive fat, and you’ll look like the average gym goer. Learn to switch your mindset to increasing your weight from 220lbs to 225lbs before you try to lift 275lbs.
1) You’ll actually make real progress over time
2) You won’t plateau
3) You’ll actually get strong this way. Focus on ‘In the zone’ intensity yes, but without sacrificing good form, (Which I know is the no.1 killer of why most people quit working out due to injury).
The second part of that solution is how to stay motivated?
The way to stay motivated is by not treating what we do here as an end goal. But to treat it as a lifestyle. (You’ll learn a lot about how to do that with the habit builder). Motivation itself is driven from an outside inspiration. Something that you have seen or heard has motivated you to walk in to that gym and get the best bang for your buck. However, motivation will eventually die, so what you have to do is focus on the things that matter to you in life, so that you create your own inspiration (Again, much of what you’ll learn about in the habit builder). This is what will separate you from everyone else. Because you will now learn how to adapt the goal of shred with bulk to your everyday life, without it feeling like a means to an end.
– Stop training after 3 months
– Get more sleep and focus less on actual workouts – working out more is actually counter productive in terms of the goal.
Death of the hardgainer
Introducing – The hard struggler
And naturally, you will ask. What is a hard struggler?
A hard stuggler is some one who struggles to build muscle, not because of their genes. Not because they are natural ectomorphs. No.
A hard struggler is someone who struggles to build muscle because they have struggled to stick to a process of building muscle. In most cases, not following a good program.
Seriously, this concept relates to ANYTHING that you decide to put your mind to in order to achieve something greater. It could be anything from building a successful business, relationship.
If you are going around trying to blame your lack of muscle building gains on your genes, think again. Your genes only account for approx 10% of your inability to build superior muscle building gains. The other 90% is down to what you are ‘not’ doing, for reasons why you are still puny and un-shredded.Therefore, I today have eliminated the word hardgainer from the bodybuilding dictionary and re-labeled it with the word
Hardgainers are just individuals that are simply under eating and NOT because of their natural physique or bad genetics.
This is the Fit Bug approach to building muscle. An approach where you actually enjoy the journey. If you want to know more about it, just enter your BEST email below to stay updated about the program and all things muscle building related.
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Before I begin my rant, I just want to get one thing clear.
Bodybuilding is not complicated!
- Train to stimulate muscle growth
- Eat the right foods at the right time to feed that muscle growth
- Supplement when necessary
You do the above and you will achieve. Simple!
But the mistake that many people make (Especially new lifters) is that they become addicted to the 1 hour muscle pump. Which is, that period where your muscles inflate briefly during the period that you workout. What then happens, is that thought then becomes fixated in their minds, that they have to train more to maintain that ‘look’. It’s not a completely silly way of thinking either, because it’s like, what you see is what you get. And looking fantastic for that brief moment in time does feel nice. But it’s a flawed way of thinking that needs to be corrected. Because as most of you may know. The real growth happens in your sleep, and most of you don’t get enough of that as it is.
Now, if you are a mature muscle mass lean machine, you’ve probably trained your body over the years to handle 5 workouts per week. But for those who…
- Are still working to get shred with bulk results.
- Hold down a separate professional career
5 workouts per week will often prove to be too much.
Think about it….
A young professional or higher education student will work say 10-12 hours per day. Add 2 hours of travel back and fourth. Add workout time (2 hours with travel). Add evening leisure time (3-4 hours). And you are left with only 4-5 hours to sleep.
You need at least 8-10 hours of rest if you intend on following a good program such as the upcoming shred with bulk program, if you are serious about seeing some serious results. Especially within the first 4 weeks.
You can get the full scoop on the upcoming Stay-fit Bug strength progression program that’s coming in a few weeks below.
The Stay-Fit Bug 31 Day Shred with Bulk program
You can eat well and train well, but skip that one crucial part of the cycle (sleep) and you will indeed break a very necessary link in the chain in order to build necessary gains. If you feel you have been doing everything right, but sometimes feel you are unusually deflated (Most will feel it in there arms first… this post does a good job of explaining that) it’s probably because you have been depriving your body of the necessary rest that it needs.
How much rest do you need?
Well, first things first. If you train insane the ‘In The Zone’ way, as described in the upcoming shred with bulk program (Enter your details above to learn more) then getting enough sleep will be an after thought. Because the way the program teaches you to train will indeed put you to sleep.
But the amount of sleep you should aim for is about 8 hours, to be realistic in this day and age. Which of course is something that we all struggle with. Some people may need even less. But if you find that your gains are lacking compared to the amount of dedication you are putting towards your nutrition and workouts, then sleep is the link in that chain that you need to fix. Yes, I know you may like those late nights. Sitting up on Facebook, PS3 or whatever. Just save 2 hours out of those few hours of leisure time that you have to get some proper rest. You’ll make your mirror very happy.
5 day workouts vs 3 day workouts
Like I said earlier. 5 workouts per week will often prove too much for a gym goer with a separate career. Yes, it’s fine for those pro bodybuilders who do nothing but lift all the time, or for those who have built stacks of mature muscle over the years. But for Mr. I have a career, Mr. I have a Family, or Mr. ”I have a damn life”. 5 workouts per week will prove to be too much. Your body simply will not get enough rest between the days in order to develop some real muscle growth.
A break down for your perspective.
168 hours in a week
- You work 50-60 hours of those (Young professional or busy Further education student – Masters degree)
- Travel 10 hours back and fourth
- Workout 10 hours of those (Assuming 5 day workouts)
- You need 56 hours of sleep per week
- Leisure time 20 hours per week (On week days)
- Weekend of doing nothing or leisure time of 24 hours
That is your entire week ‘overly’ maxed out. And this is without leaving room for actual ‘life’. Because as most of us know. Most weeks aren’t stream lined and perfect like that. You have things like…
- Spending time with your partner/love interest
- Seeing a friend on the odd day
- Evenings out with colleagues
- And other things
Training 5 days a week for someone with life demands other than bodybuilding is not a lifestyle. You become a prisoner to the gym, when you really don’t have to. Seriously, cut back. Change 5 days a week to 3 days a week.
”Most of what you achieve from going ‘to’ the gym, will be a direct result of what you do ‘outside’ of the gym”
Let that quote sink in. Because it’s the truth in all its simple glory.
Have ‘Jack all’ days. Focus on the other links in the bodybuilding chain other than working out. Live the lifestyle! Once you do, you’ll start getting quotes such as this…
‘Dude, what you been doing. You been juicing haven’t you?’
That is a compliment in all its glory right there. And your response will be something like…
”Dude, I haven’t even been training’
‘Yea… right dude, I really do believe you’ (I’ve experienced this first hand. It was a glorious day to say the least :))
Once that happens, you are succeeding with the formula of obtaining more sleep, a balanced bodybuilding chain, a balanced lifestyle. And a happier fit bugger.
”Less is more”
The only other thing you need to focus on is consistency. Which is in fact, arguably, the most important aspect of this lifestyle. Because if you don’t stick to it, you won’t grow and progress. And even worse, you won’t develop any mature muscle mass. Which is of course muscle mass that sticks. Which allows you to decide if you want to train more or less, without there being much effect on your gains.
So when it comes to getting your optimum hours of sleep per night, whether its 6, 8 or even 10 hours. Stick to it. Try not to miss 1 -2 hours of sleep every other night. That’s 30-60 hours of rest that your body would have missed out on. And you can bet a mighty dollar that the hours missed will have an affect on your shred with bulk results.
Training tired is the same as training drunk
Lack of sleep… worse than training drunk?
I didn’t realize this in my earlier years of training. When I got my first car, I would do crazy things like, drive in a tired state of mind (And body). All I can tell you about that now, is DON’T DO IT! You will crash and die. And for a while I argued that driving tired is actually worse than being drunk, or driving drunk (Which of course is illegal. Again… don’t do it). And it wasn’t until later on that I found out that being awake for 24 hours or more has the same physical affects as being over the legal driving alcohol limit. But again, from experience, I’d say driving tired is worse.
That then means, in regards to your training, that training while you are tired is the same or worse as training as if you were drunk. Obviously something you would never do… right? 😐
Of course not.
Therefore emphasizing the importance of getting enough sleep. Besides, lifting and dropping a 30kg dumbbell on your toe (Or on someone elses) is not a good look.
Don’t workout too late in the day
Working out too late in the evening may also be a factor in keeping you awake. Efficient sleep is directly connected to body temperature. Build up heat, you’ll stay awake. Get cold and you’ll go out for the count. Intense workouts will raise your body temperature high, therefore it’s a good idea to keep your workout periods up until the early evening hours only.
Don’t put sleep on the back burner just because you are ‘busy’. Set goals and structure into your life and getting enough sleep will become an after thought. Besides, what’s the point of being ripped and sexy only to look like a dead zombie half the time 😐
Get those hours in.
See you in the comments.