My training is going well. People are noticing that my arms are growing, my shoulders are getting wider, and my back is getting thicker. So why am I frustrated?
Muscle memory is a great thing. Once you have attained a certain amount of muscular development and quit training for a while, it is much easier to regain that development than it was to acquire it in the first place. In another six months to a year, I should be huge and happy. The problem is that I want it now!
I'm eating well, sleeping better, upping the intensity of my workouts every week, but I keep hitting walls, periods of slow or no gains. Sometimes I even go backwards because in my impatience I train harder than my body can super-compensate for. Overtraining is the bane of bodybuilders!
So what can you or I do to maximize gains and avoid all the setbacks on the road to progress? Pay attention! That's right! Be diligently aware of exactly what we're doing and how our bodies are reacting.
In other words, I should follow my own advice and constantly monitor the five important elements for maximum muscular development:
1. Proper Training:
Don't over-train or under-train.
Find that fine line between training so hard that you can't do your next workout and not training to the max. Yes, find that perfect balance where you are training as hard as you can without overtraining to the point that your body can't recuperate properly for the next workout. Remember, you must constantly reevaluate your recuperative ability because it decreases with age.
This is particularly difficult for me because my body is 57 but my mind thinks like a teenager. I'm ready to train 4 hours a day to gain more size but my old body can't take it! I'm constantly pushing it because I know I can increase my recuperative ability as I get into better shape.
Yet I have to face the fact that a 57-year old body will never have the recuperative ability it had at 22. On the other hand, I'm not letting that fact stop me from getting into the best shape this old guy can get! I hope to take a set of photos to share with our readers in March, so I have all the incentive I need to train like a crazy man!
2. Proper Nutrition:
Make sure you are feeding your body enough macro and micro
nutrients to create the perfect growth environment for your training.
I still hear so-called experts argue that there is no need for extra protein beyond the recommended ½ gram per pound of bodyweight. Hogwash! Bodybuilders have known through trial-and-error that that is bunk.
Arnold used to advise taking in a gram per pound of bodyweight plus 10%. Now some solid research has been done that indicates that athletes need much more protein than sedentary office workers, and bodybuilders and other strength athletes need more protein than endurance athletes such as tri-athletes.
Dr. Peter Lemon at Kent State University recommends 1.2 grams per kilogram per day for endurance work and 1.7-1.8 grams per kilogram per day for strength. Many bodybuilding coaches would argue that Lemon is still too low for the competitive bodybuilder attempting to gain obscene mass!
Calculate Your Protein Needs:
Find out what Dr. Peter Lemon thinks, the RDA and the average recommendations.
3. Adequate Sleep:
8-9 hours seems to be needed when doing resistance training for
Don't skip this one or you will be
overtraining. Besides, your body isn't growing while your are tearing it down during training; it grows while you are resting, thus the need for adequate rest.
A major reason for that is that growth hormone levels rise within a half and hour or so after sleep begins. No bodybuilder in his right mind wants to miss this important part of gaining muscle. So make adequate sleep a part of your training regime!
4. Cessation Of Outside Calorie Burning
Playing other sports while you are attempting to gain muscle mass is
To maximize growth, expend your calories in the gym pumping iron. Hey guys, this is a great argument to use on the girls.
| What Does Cessation Mean?
A bringing or coming to an end; a ceasing: a cessation of hostilities.
"Honey, since I'm trying to gain weight, and you are trying to lose weight, I'm going to let you mow the lawn while I watch football and suck down
protein drinks!" Sounds reasonable, doesn't it guys?
(Note from Diane: I keep reminding Richard, "Be good, or be returned!" Nothing gets the color to drain from his face faster, than threatening to send him back to his ex!)
5. Managing Stress:
Stress can ruin your progress when all these other elements are in
Here's another important thing to tell your wife or significant other: "Don't bug me or stress me out. I'm trying to grow!" Warning: you might want to duck a flying object on that one.
(Note from Diane: Stress management is a two way street. "Honey, I'm too stressed out from all this yard work, so make your own dinner!")
So if you are like me and "want it now," follow the preceding five elements to gaining muscle mass, and sooner than you think, you will achieve those results!
Diane Fields, Member. Legendary Fitness, LLC.
Richard Baldwin, Member. Legendary Physique, LLC.
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Copyright 2004. Diane Fields, Member. Legendary Fitness, LLC. All rights reserved.
The advice given in this column should not be viewed as a substitute for professional medical services. Before undertaking any exercise or nutrition program, Legendary Fitness, LLC advises all to undergo a thorough medical examination and get permission from their personal physician.