Motivation

Build Muscle: Top 5 MUSTS!

How is it some build muscle with, seemingly, little to no effort? Putting meat on the bones comes easy for some: they’ll do a couple curls and drink a glass of milk then BAM, they’re swole.  For the rest of us, it can feel like we have to grind and suffer day in and day out for an ounce or two of muscle.  The methods used and the advice given can sometimes become overwhelming.

Do this program... “Take these supplements... Eat 22.75 grams of protein every 76 minutes... Train each bodypart once every ten days.”

Sometimes you’ll hear fitness experts give advice that can be contradictory or confusing, or just plain unreasonable for you and your lifestyle.

Amongst the sea of information on the quest for building muscle out there, here are my top five tips for beefing up.

1. Make Strength a Priority

If your goal is purely to build muscle and you couldn’t care less about your deadlift max, that’s great!  Good for you, and to each their own.  However, understand that as you get stronger you can increase the muscle building stimulus by utilizing greater loads.  We know we need time under tension via resistance training to stimulate growth, but if you continue using the same loading schemes over a period of time your body will eventually adapt and the stimulus dies.

How do we avoid this?  Focus on getting stronger!  Have a handful of “indicator lifts” to use to track progress.  These lifts are ideally big compound lifts that you strive to become stronger in.  Personally I use the the biggie compound exercises: back squat, deadlift, bench press, and overhead press to track my progress in strength.  Other good options to use are any squat exercise variation (front, box, goblet), push-ups, pull-ups, single leg movements, row exercise variations, prowler work, or farmer’s walks.  Heck, if your goal is to grow enormous biceps focus on getting stronger at the curl.

The point is we want to look back at our own records after months and years pass and see that we are capable of throwing more weights around.  If you make awesome improvements in strength over a significant length of time I’d be willing to bet that you’ve made progress in your lean body mass as well.

2. Volume

This is where we see a big difference in the typical comparison of how a bodybuilder trains versus how a powerlifter By joining a RED franchise, you could earn in excess of ?1,300 more per year than at other national truck driving schools – and significantly more than if you choose to operate as an independent instructor. trains.  The bodybuilder, whose primary goal is to build muscle, will utilize a ton of volume into their training.  A bodybuilder"s workout for his (or her) chest may do something along the lines of the following:

Bench Press

4x8

DB Incline Press

3x10

DB Flyes

3x12

Pec Deck

3x15

The powerlifter, on the other hand, may work up to a heavy single on the bench, do a few sets of rows and go home.

Now this is a very simplified comparison of the two training disciplines but you get the message: if mass is your goal, you need more volume in your workouts.

More volume, however, does NOT necessarily mean that you have to be lifting in the 10-20 range for each exercise.  If you did that, you’d be sacrificing too much tension to get those reps in.  Try some different set x rep schemes that will allow for significant volume with moderately heavy weight.  7 sets of 4, 5 sets of 5, and 4 sets of 6 are all good options, especially for your “main movement” of the day.

3. Eat Better

This is a problem for a lot of younger athletes that stay very active year-round.  You need food to live, and you need food for energy, but you need even MORE food to build muscle.

Be honest with yourself!  You want to be bigger and stronger but all you had for breakfast was… nothing?!  Re-think that strategy.

The nutritional side of muscle gain is underestimated too often, and it needs to be a consistent effort everday.  If you eat like an infant all week, but binge at a Chinese buffet on Saturday it doesn’t count.  Eat a lot of good food every single day.

Sometimes it’s not an issue of eating enough food, but eating enough of the right foods.  A diet consistent with cookies and cokes probably won’t be the key to building a big strong body that you work so hard for.

Keep a food log and make sure you’re eating right.  If your still confused and overwhelmed, just have Kelsey analyze your diet and she’ll tell you everything you’re doing wrong.

4. Aim for a Horomonal Response

Your hormones are the key to growth.  Without them we’d be nothing.  No need to go into a complex physiology lesson right now, but here are some quick tips you should keep in mind.

Testosterone: Stimulated by lifting heavy weights.  Hit it hard and heavy, and get adequate rest between sets.

Human Growth Hormone: Stimulated by moderate weights, higher volume and lower rest periods.

Cortisol: Evil. Catabolic stress hormone that doesn’t want you to gain muscle.  Keep it low by getting enough sleep and doing whatever helps you de-stress your life.

5. Be Aggressive!

Building muscle takes hard work and focus.  You can’t just casually hit the gym once every couple of weeks and expect huge gains.  Lift and eat with a purpose, and be stubbornly consistent.  If you hit a plateau, change something up and keep grinding.

Make your goal important, and put in the necessary effort it takes to make it happen!

Give Me Strength!: The Process

It hurts.  The short-term effects from strength training often leads to pushing the body to places the mind may not want to go.  But, if the mind is open and willing, the body can be pushed to places it may not realize are possible.  Strength-training, like any activity, requires a detailed process, which focuses on daily progression.  Below are three tips to help your mind stay right as you get your body tight:

  1. Goal-Setting:  It’s imperative to have daily, weekly, and monthly fitness and strength goals.  These should not just be based on weight loss/gain or amount of weight lifted.  Instead, there should be deliberate practice goals, which focus on progression.  Focus on the process of improvement rather than simply end results. Examples: Daily - Commit to trying one new exercise [pick one to help you put extra emphasis on a weak area or an area you enjoy training] for each daily training session for a month; Weekly - Commit to a weekly schedule of weight training, avoid a haphazard approach... what time does your workout begin? Don't be late!; Monthly - Did you achieve your daily and weekly goals? What does the next month look like, what are you planning to accomplish on a daily level? Is it time to do a quantitative test yet?
  2. Willpower Talk:  Use committed words like “will” over words like “gotta”.  Direct attention to what you will do rather than what you gotta do.  The more you talk about will the more you will get. For example, what is your weakest area that you WILL improve to build muscle and strength? A lower body unilateral exercise, perhaps?
  3. Expectation Scorecard:  Create a scorecard for yourself to grade your mental performance during a strength-workout.  Have categories like attitude, positive self-talk, energy management, etc. so that you will grade your mental-toughness.  This will hold you accountable to maximizing performance.

A couple other things to consider: what is your pre-workout preparation? It probably involves some foam rolling and a warm-up, but are you preparing your mind to take full advantage of the soon to start training session? Are you fully focused when the first set begins?

Like most things in life, success in strength training, fitness, endurance training, fat-loss, etc. is at least 50% mental. The process of engaging in a long term progressive program also teaches excellent (mental) practices that translate into many other areas of life (discipline, goal setting, enjoyment, commitment, etc.).

Accountabili-buddy

Great teams hold each other accountable. They are held accountable not just by the coaches, but by the players as well. It’s the players that don’t allow one player to be bigger than the team. The players ensure each player is doing their job. The players often dictate the culture. The players enforce the standards, expectations, and rules of the team. So, as a player, do you have an accountabili-buddy? The accountabili-buddy is a “buddy” or teammate, who will hold you accountable no matter the situation. It needs to be someone you respect, who won’t be afraid to put you in your place when you are acting against your own standards. Teams that have accountabili-buddies are better able to police themselves and meet their daily expectations.

Who is your accountabili-buddy? Who can you rely on in stressful stituaations? What other systems are in place to ensure accountability exists on your team?

RunFAST - SAPT's Secret Program Development

I’ll be honest, I’ve got a secret... it’s about a new program SAPT is developing. We’ll actually be launching all the info about it next week, but I’ve got to let on about it at least a little! I’m simply way too pumped up and have had a little too much coffee to keep this under my hat any longer.

It’s so exciting and will introduce yet another innovative, high-octane training method to the area via our resident performance coaching geniuses at SAPT.

This is the type of program that is born from those really special places that foster high-levels of both creativity and respect. An incubator for ideas where art and science merge. The type of place that values quality, service, and creativity above all else. That’s where these kinds of innovations come from.

The program is called RunFAST... that’s all I’m going to mention, as I think the name tells enough.

And, I have to also tell you this new innovative approach we’ll launch next week is just the tip of the iceberg. I wish I could let on about all our projects. But, for the moment, I’ll simply leave you with SAPT’s Big 3: Purpose, Vision, and Mission. Read into them as you like...

Our Purpose: Strengthening bodies and minds to support excellence in life.

Our Vision: People of all ages, abilities, and resources will have access to, appreciation for, and engagement in regular physical fitness training that will lead to improvements in all aspects of daily life.

Our Mission: To develop, research, and share our comprehensive approach to physical fitness training that fosters long-term engagement, promotes excellence in life, nurtures human relationships and inspires the lifelong pursuit of health through exercise.

Please stay tuned to next week on the blog... we’ll be devoting the whole week to RunFAST details!

Confrontation Culture

Boston Strong. Oklahoma Resilience. We Are Sandy Hook-We Choose Love. Certainly these tragedies were all horrific, but they also brought out the best in their respective communities. Police and Fireman were heroic, but even ordinary citizens came together to help each other. Typically, in the face of adversity, good rises to the top, and the survivors become stronger than they were before. While sport culture is certainly different than community culture, lessons can be taken from how communities confront difficult situations.

The greatest organizations are not afraid to confront, even if it leads to tension. They embrace those moments as opportunities to improve and get better. Too many sports teams are afraid to confront; Do not upset the superstar. Stay away from giving honest, even if it’s difficult, feedback. Do not question the coach under any circumstance. Confrontation often leads to rocking the boat, and many captains are afraid to ride potentially rocky waves.

The truth is we become our best when confrontation is embraced. The word itself may cause you to think of negative examples, but the definition revolves around face to face clashing of idea. Does that sound so bad? Accusatory, finger pointing is not confrontation. It’s blame. Cultures that embrace confrontation believe that there may be a better, newer, smarter way of doing things. They strive to thrive when the going gets tough. Rather than simply surviving the rocky waves of the past, and storms that may be brewing in their future, they figure out how to keep the ship moving forward in that moment.

Confrontation cultures have open lines of communication, embrace questioning and believe there is no straight path to success. How are you using confrontation to better your culture? What ways can you encourage positive confrontation? Will you run away or run towards the storm?

Learn how to be a positive confronter and you will make a positive impact on your culture.

Want more from Brian? He's hosting upcoming classes at SAPT! Check out the schedule and description.

SAPT's Baseball Summer Training Program

It's that time of year! Time to get stronger, faster, more powerful, and pack some muscle mass onto your frame. Check out our special offer for baseball players this summer:

For the past 6-years, the coaches at SAPT have been helping pitchers and position players alike achieve their potential on the field. Set up a comprehensive evaluation today and start down your path to superhero status!