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Why isn’t your weight training routine producing results? Is it…
- That you’re a hardgainer, and destined to have poor results as long as you train?
- That you don’t have the right supplements?
- That you simply haven’t found the perfect routine yet?
For most trainees, the success or failure of their weightlifting regimen has nothing to do with being a hardgainer, the supplements they take, or the program they are on. But before I give you the two simple ways to turn any weightlifting routine into a success, let’s look at the three issues listed above.
Hardgainer. The term hardgainer is used to describe someone who lifts weights but sees very little, or no, tangible results. Generally, new lifters will classify themselves as hardgainers before they learn the keys to making a lifting program work, and before they understand the proper muscle building diet. Most hardgainers are not hardgainers at all. They are simply under-educated or impatient lifters.
Supplements. Supplements are peddled as the holy grail for natural weight lifters. The mentality that muscle building magazines would like you to buy into is…If you could only find the right combination of supplements, then your gains would skyrocket. This isn’t true. Gains, and program success, have little to do with supplement intake. In fact, most lifters can experience great success with no supplements at all.
The Perfect Routine. The amount of weight lifting routines that can be found on the Internet is staggering. Programs vary according to intensity, style, set quantity, body part configuration, days of rest, etc. The sheer amount of information on the subject tends to leave lifters confused. Because of this confusion, many believe that if they only found the right routine, results would come. This is not true, of course. Results have little to do with a specific routine.
So, then, what can you do to get results? The answer is simple…
- Proper Training Techniques. You need to understand compound exercises, progression, training shy of failure, and de-loading periods.
- Diet. You need to get enough protein, eat enough meals, and consume enough calories to grow.
Training Techniques. Many lifters go into the gym and perform the same workout, with the same weight, over and over again, and wonder why the results never come. Achieving the results you want isn’t difficult. Simply make sure you are using…
- Compound Exercises. Make sure that the majority of exercises in your program are compound exercises. Compound lifts include: squats, deadlifts, overhead press, bench press, pullups, dips, rows, stiff-leg deadlifts, etc. Compound exercises are the key to building strength and muscle. Isolation work, cable work, pec deck flyes, and most machines won’t give you the results you want.
- Progression. Keep a log of your workouts. Every time you hit the gym, try to perform more reps than the last time. And when you hit the “rep ceiling” for that particular exercise (anywhere from 6-20 reps), add more weight the next time you lift. To make strength and muscle gains, you must always be pushing for more reps and more weight. Sticking with the same weight “to tone” your body isn’t doing anything. Your body adapts quickly to current workloads, and you will stop gaining muscle.
- Training Shy of Failure. Do NOT train to failure. Training to failure is unnecessary, and taxes the body. Try to stop one rep short of positive failure. Basically, keep performing reps until you’re not sure you can perform another rep, and then quit. It is not positive failure that makes you bigger or stronger, it is the increased workload that comes from progression.
- De-loading Periods. When your body feels over-trained, run down, very sluggish, and/or you have nagging joint aches and pains from an extended period of training, it is time to de-load. A de-load period can be one or two weeks, and requires you to hit the gym and perform your same routine, but using 30-40% weight, or 30-40% fewer reps. A de-loading period will allow your body to retain its fitness level, while you recover from fatigue.
Diet. You cannot train properly and then eat junk. Your body needs the proper raw materials to grow. To get the most out of your lifting program, make sure you are…
- Protein. Make sure you are eating enough protein. It is best to eat 5-6 smaller meals each day, spaced 2.5-3 hours apart. During each meal, try to eat at least 25-30 grams of quality protein. It is also a good idea to mix up your protein choices. Eggs. Chicken. Seafood. Beef. Diary products. Protein powders and bars.
- Meals. As stated above, to best grow, you need a regular intake of proper fuel and nutrients. Smaller, healthy meals keep a constant stream of muscle building nutrients flowing through your system. Try to eat smaller meals every 2.5-3 hours.
- Calories. To grow, you can’t be under-eating. Estimate your lean body mass (weight without body fat) with a skin-fold caliper, and then multiply that number by 21. This is a good base daily caloric intake to start with. For example, if your lean body mass is 150 pounds, multiply 150 * 21, and you find that you need to eat a minimum of 3,150 calories each day. Of course, every person’s metabolism is different. If you are losing weight, add 200-500 more daily calories and see what happens over the course of the next two months. If you are gaining too much fat, cut back the calories for a couple of months. Always rely on your lean body mass (via a skin-fold caliper) to help you decide your best course of action.
- Zig Zag. It is also a good idea to eat slightly more (200-500 calories) on training days. This zig zag effect assists your body in gaining weight while minimizing, or negating fat gains. Keep your average daily caloric intake for the week the same, according to the rule of 21.
Follow these simple rules, and you will see results. Train hard, train heavy, train with compound movements, and eat right.