Christmas is just around the corner and one of the many things that means for us is -meeting our family, friends and heading out to have a good time. When we step out over the festive period, we want to be able to look in the mirror and like what we see. We want to feel good about how we look. If like many, you are not quiet there yet, don’t worry. It’s always a work in progress. With only a few weeks left, I am going to share some secrets to super-charge change and have you looking lean and packing some muscle in 6 easy steps.
- Pump up the Volume
The efforts we put in on a weekly basis usually does not vary that much, but now it’s time to put the foot on the accelerator and pump up the volume in terms of our training. It’s also a traditionally quiet time at the gym, so no excuses! You have to be clever here, our goal is to create increase the amount of sets and reps in our training but keep the weights lighter. We want to create that huge “pump” in the muscle which stretches the fascia tissue of the muscle and this signals for increased growth. In terms of Nutrition, it is a good idea to bring an isotonic fruit juice drink with you and have this in the middle of your workout. Ideally, we would load this drink with a multivitamin as well. When we pump the muscle, we will be delivering nutrients into it while we train which aids recovery and rebuilding.
- Eat Like a Pro
You are going to be training more and so this should be reflected in your Nutrition as well. You will need to eat more than you need to further stimulate growth. Another great tip here is to load up on nutrient dense foods like leafy greens. You can pack a lot of nutrition into smoothies as well. What this does is send a signal to your muscular system that it is time to grow. So, don’t just feast on ice cream and calorie laden processed foods. Eat smart, eat lots and you should see results fast.
I’m going to give you a little cheat here. Creatine will help plump out your tissues. As we essentially store creatine in the muscle, it binds a molecule of water, so you will pounds when you go on a creatine cycle. Your muscles will look and feel bigger. They will be more pumped than normal, and this will last as long as you are taking the creatine. Another class of foods which help keep muscles fuller are those than contain nitrates and vaso-dilators. Any beetroot or rocket leaves will have an amazing effect and help bring blood and nutrients to muscle. A quick smoothie before you head on and you will have a serious pump.
- Hydrate and then Hydrate some More!
Drinking loads of water will help in many ways. If you take creatine, you should be drinking more fluids to help your body. Keeping well hydrated pushes lots of water into the muscle helping keep them firm and plump and working better. Drinks at least 1 litre of after leading up to your workout and continue drinking during and after to levels high. You’ll be amazed at how such a simple thing can have such a powerful impact.
- Sleep like a baby
The old adage of “do the damage in the gym, feed the muscles during the day and rebuild at night” makes perfect sense. The vast majority of tissue repair (up to 80%) and energy recovery occur when we sleep. Our brain produces growth hormone only when we sleep. This powerful hormone is secreted during the deep phase of sleep and many professional athletes are aware of this and sleep up to 9-10 hours to encourage growth and repair. Add to this the fact that glycogen levels will be restored, and you will have muscles popping come morning time. This is so often the forgotten part of the equation when it comes to gains.
Take Home Message
Mix up your training and increase volume and you will help with two of the major triggers for explosive growth -time under tension and fascia stretching.
Make sure you load up on quality Nutrition. This means quantity and quality. The more nutrient dense foods the better. These are powerful signals that it is ok to invest in growth.
Sleep and rest like a professional athlete. So often the most underrated and yet most powerful aspect of growth. This could be your secret weapon when it comes to looking great.
Years of experience have taught us that getting all of these simple elements right has the quickest and most effective impact on triggering growth. For more information, tips and recipes, drop us a line on [email protected]