Guest post by Gerry Morton of EnergyFirst
If you read all the bodybuilding blogs and think you’re a relative scholar on all things catabolism, anabolism, and achieving muscle gains, I think you’ll agree with me that there are some basic strength building hacks to achieving fast, massive muscle and strength gains that never go out of style because they are scientifically geared to achieve muscle mass and build strength quickly.
These 5 methods below stay pretty constant across the literature. Mentioned strategies will support to build long-lasting muscle as well as strength. Keep them close to you.
You cannot gain muscle without protein, period
And the more you work out the more you’re going to need. If you’re inactive you don’t even need a half gram per pound of body weight but if you’re shredding it at the gym—you need to double that. Strength athletes should aim for .8 grams of protein per pound of body weight. In other words, for a 178-pound man, you need 142.4 grams of protein.
Now, that’s a lot of protein. But you need those amino acids for muscle building. Whey protein shakes are great for getting more protein into your diet and most bodybuilding experts advise a shake one hour before and one immediately after a workout.
Don’t Lift for Over an Hour
If you exercise, whether you’re a resistance addict or cardio bunny, if you train more than 60 minutes, your body begins releasing that hormone that is the enemy of testosterone and muscle building called CORTISOL. That’s why most weight lifters do 50-minute sessions.
So, when it comes to lifting, more is not more. It’s not like marathon running (which also breaks down muscle, by the way).
Cortisol is released by the body in whenever the body feels stressed – physical, mental, or emotional stress. That’s why sessions shorter than 45 – 60 minutes have proven to minimize the cortisol stress response.
Sleep is as Crucial as Resistance Training
We only recover from exercise and release IGF-1 which builds muscle and burns fat during one phase of sleep—slow wave or delta wave sleep. That stage of sleep happens several times a night if we sleep 8 hours or more and it’s the last stage before REM cycles. If you’re lucky and sleep well, you’ll have about 5 of these cycles and that is maximum muscle building night for you. That’s when we burn fat too. For getting ripped, you’ve got to sleep for 8 to 10 hours a night to experience maximum muscle gains and fat loss.
You’ve got to privilege sleep and prioritize it just as much as you do training. I recommend either an organic green drink supplement or using nutritional yeast to get all the vitamins in there before bed to eliminate nighttime cravings and promote sleep and repair. That B-5 and folate in green drinks really helps you sleep deeply and build muscle.
Do Plyometrics before You Lift
Plyometrics (aka jumping high on boxes) is like a workout before you work out that is used by hardcore bodybuilders and big iron lifters. These kinds of exercises gets impulses in the muscle fibers working and helps your body recruit more muscle fibers when you lift as well.
As Craig Stevenson, B.A. in Physical in Education and trainer for 20 years, explains “Doing plyometrics like box jumps before training legs is a great way to force your muscles into recruiting more fibers. Similarly, implementing plyometric pushups before training chest can set the stage for your body to deliver large electrical signals via the nervous system to recruit more and larger muscle fibers during your working sets.”
In short, plyometrics before lifting is one guaranteed way to achieve fast mass muscle gains, no matter what muscles you’re targeting.
Spend some time on your playlist
Whether its Alice in Chains, Metallica, Drake, Bach, techno, or rap, whatever music makes you feel like a badass is what should be playing on your headphones. It will make you train harder, train better, and train happier. I have exponentially better workouts when I play my favorite playlists, so I play them over and over because they work. I have especially designed them, as I’m sure you have, to play the most motivating songs right when I’ll be feeling tired or challenged. If you need to play the Rocky theme before your most challenging set – go for it if it works. Whatever works. Do it.
What are your tips for fast strength gains that will never die?
About The Author
Gerry Morton is the CEO of EnergyFirst, holds an MS in Nutrition and is an experienced athlete who has competed in 30+ marathons and 4 Ironman triathlons. Gerry is an excellent source of information on nutrition, supplementation, and exercise. http://www.energyfirst.com is known for offering the world’s best tasting, highest quality, all-natural, premium nutrition products such as pure whey protein powder, energy bar, green drinks etc. Read his blog at http://blog.energyfirst.com. Twitter: @EnergyFirst