That's all you need to make a noticeable change in your physique. No, I'm not trying to sell you a gyrating office chair or a handheld device that requires vigorous shaking. Nope. I'm simply going to share some sage advanced training and nutrition protocols to supercharge your existing program and to help you squeeze every ounce of potential from your body. Fast.
The thirtieth day seems far away from the vantage of day one, but so much can be accomplished in that time, especially when it comes to training. That's four solid weeks of aggressively pushing your muscles to new levels of size and shape. Are you ready? Get set, grow!
Add More Volume, Decrease Rest
It seems appropriate that the best way to kick your body into high gear is to make it work harder and more. If you're used to performing a specific number of sets and reps with a lackadaisical attitude, this point would be most applicable to you. Decrease your rest time between sets and add more total training volume. Both objectives can be hit by simply adding something as simple as high-intensity jumping jacks in-between sets.
"This helps to force more blood into the muscles, stretching the fascia to make room for new muscle growth," explains Matt Kroczaleski, bodybuilder and world champion powerlifter.
The combination of more volume and decreased rest isn't something you should strive for every time you work out, since fatigue may gradually accumulate and detract from the quality of your workouts down the line. Shifting into high intensity gear once or twice each week may be just the thing to buck the tedium of your normal routine, as well as confer body composition and cardiac benefits.
Adjust Your Tempo
When Marc Megna wants to pile on muscle, he plays around with the tempo, or pace of each rep, during his sets. "The amount of hypertrophy you experience is directly related to total time under tension," he explains. "When most people simply increase rep range, their total weight lifted tends to go down."
He continues, "Slow eccentric and concentric contractions will increase type I muscle fiber size, whereas slow eccentrics or pauses (isometric holds) with explosive concentric contractions focus on the fast-twitch fibers."
The next time you're working on, say, your biceps, try slowing down the tempo to really feel your muscles work and contract.
Add A Finisher
Riding the coattails of the previous tip, a finisher is designed to further increase the intensity of your workout sessions. A well-designed finisher will leave you crawling out of the gym, but will also make you better, stronger, and more adapted to harder workouts later. "Try a very high-rep set—25 reps or more—at the end of a workout to cause maximum muscle disruption that then requires maximum repair to grow back larger," recommends Marc Megna.
Alternatively, Marc is also a fan of dropsets, which give your muscles a good thrashing. To perform a dropset, reach failure with your chosen weight, immediately drop to a lighter weight, hit failure again, and continue dropping until you're totally fatigued. This will coerce your body to tap deep into already depleted energy stores and make your metabolism roar.
Rework Your Pre- and Post Nutrition Regimen
One thing Matt Kroczaleski emphasizes is nutrition around workouts. The saying, "Abs are made in the kitchen, not in the gym," is true. That means you need to pay close attention to what you're swallowing pre- and post-workout. The reason is that the nutrients you provide your body heavily influence the growth response you promote after the workout.
"Incorporate a moderate amount of clean carbs, lean protein, and a small amount of healthy fat 30-60 minutes before training. Then, sip on a shake comprised of fast-absorbing carbs and easily digestible protein during your training," Kroczaleski advises. "Follow that up with a substantial post- training meal of higher glycemic carbs and lean protein to finish it off."
If you want to ensure your efforts in the gym don't simply go down the tubes, you absolutely want to make sure your body is properly fueled before and after workouts.
Be More Aggressive
With Carb Cycling
"Food is your friend," states MuscleTech athlete Tricia Ashley. "If you want to grow, you have to eat to help build that muscle up."
A popular technique to maximize lean muscle mass is carbohydrate cycling. It follows the idea of eating more carbs on training days and fewer on rest days or non-weight training days. It's believed that this approach would temper fat gain while maximizing lean tissue growth. The idea is sound, and it has gained renown for its positive effects on lean muscle composition.
Within aggressive 30-day goals, however, you'll want to ensure that you really pack in a high intake of carbs on heavy workout days; your body is most anabolic following such efforts. On the other hand, cut your carb intake by 50 percent or so on rest days—with adjustments to individual variation as needed—but keep intake of dietary fats high enough that your total caloric intake for the day doesn't tank.
It's important to mention that, unlike a fat-loss diet in which low-carb days tend to place you at a caloric deficit, a muscle-building approach demands calories to be slightly above maintenance around the clock.
Get Serious About Sleep
Sleep is the most important component of the recovery process. It's really the primary time when your body gets to repair itself and release growth hormone in its highest concentrations. In this 30-day period, make a concerted effort get even more sleep than you normally do.
"The right amount of sleep each night along with sufficient rest days will play a major part in muscle growth and recovery," Tricia explains.
This can be the ultimate secret weapon for females, who may find it more challenging to build much muscle in a truncated time period due to lower natural testosterone levels. Every little bit helps. The sooner you can recover, the sooner you can get back into the gym and hit it hard again.
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Get Supplements On Your Side
While eating whole foods and meals should be your priority, supplements help fill nutrient holes that your standard nutrition fails to cover. Nutrient deficiency can inhibit recovery and normal bodily functions, which can have deleterious effects on overall well-being and, more importantly, building mass. As mentioned before, it doesn't hurt to take advantage of every tool in the shed! Tricia notes, "that means getting the right supplements into the approach."
Smart supplementation is key. Consider supplementing with a high-quality whey protein isolate blend to boost protein intake, branched chain amino acids to spare protein-wasting while working out, a casein protein to promote overnight recovery, and a solid multivitamin to make sure you're getting all the necessary nutrients for your body daily.
Keep Cardio Training Down
Excessive amounts of cardio are counterproductive to muscle gain, especially within a 30-day period. It can interfere with your recovery capacity as well as decrease the total amount of muscle you are able to build. During this period, you can do without hours of cardio and you'll most likely see better results in terms of greater muscle mass.
With the previous tips that encourage high intensity and decreased rest, your workouts should be able to provide enough cardio to maintain heart health. Use your diet to stay lean and then shunt your efforts toward your strength workouts.
Use A Good Rep Range For Mass Gains
When selecting your rep range for mass, Tricia Ashley likes to focus on the 10-12 rep range for most of her sets. "I tend to keep all my movements slower, making sure that I'm keeping the muscle isolated," she explains. The mind-muscle connection is extremely important for optimal muscle growth.
If you dial in on all the things mentioned here, you can make incredible progress within a month. Stay focused and give 100 percent each and every gym session. Remember, if you're trying to build size in 30 days, every missed workout could set you back. Make them count!