Before embarking upon any training regime it’s important to have a clear idea of what you want out of it. A simple and general: “I want to get in shape” won’t cut it. Why? Because, there are special training methods designed to give you the best results in certain ways – and if you aren’t completely clear in what you want, you’ll not pick the right training regime and you won’t get where you want to be.
Most people want the body of a male model – well, males at least! – which involves a slightly to moderate amount of muscle mass more than the average guy, enough to give shape… and a low enough body fat to see the muscles – especially the abs!
I’ll write this article with that as the aim…
As a general overview, to achieve the body of a male model, a regime of heavy weight training to first build the muscles up to the desired level must be done, and then a cutting phase which gets rid of the fat. Both can’t be done at the same time, because muscle building requires calorie excess, and fat loss calorie deficit, so each is done in phases, or periods where one or the other is concentrated on.
As for the workouts themselves, there is no magic bullet. Everything you do in a progressive fashion (as in, heavier and heavier weights) will work. Just be sure to change your workout around regularly so things don’t become stale. Vary exercises by changing them slightly, or swapping them outright for others. Do this once a month.
Also, don’t overdo it. Ideally, each body part will be worked sufficiently (that doesn’t necessarily mean to failure) only once every 72 hours to give it time to rest and repair and grow.
Compound exercises will help to get the job done quicker and allow you to handle heavier weights, as opposed to the more precise isolation exercises. Compound exercises would be squats, dead lifts, bench pressing, military pressing, upright rows, bent over rows, and so forth. An example of isolation exercises would be triceps kickbacks, where only one muscle group is involved in a lift.
For beginners, I really recommend compound exercises to pack on the mass, so most of your program should be made up of them.
Now, diet wise when ‘bulking’ (build muscle) a diet high in complete proteins is needed taken from eggs, beef, chicken, milk, fish, whey, etc. Overall calories must be enough to gain muscle, but, not enough to gain too much fat – or your cutting phase will be long and drawn out.
Also, eat every 3 hours to keep your body fuelled and repairing. Take in most of your carbs pre and post workout to fuel and repair when quick bursts of energy are most needed and less likely to be turned into fat.
I also advise avoiding alcohol or severely curtailing its usage. For one, the effects last days, and training whilst still affected by alcohol is going to lead to a reduced quality session… but also… protein synthesis is inhibited with alcohol consumption. Less protein synthesis means less muscle repair and growth.
An integral part of training which most people either don’t get, or don’t think they need to do. Let me put it like this: if you don’t rest enough you won’t recover, and you won’t grow.
It goes beyond saving calories for energy growth, but, also muscular breakdown. If you keep using muscles you’ve broken down with weights training by doing other sports, what hope is there that they’ll recover? Certainly a greatly reduced one, at the very least.
My advice is to knock other physical activities on the head while you are training for muscle and save them for cutting when you need to be more active. Make sure you get plenty of sleep because you do most of your growing during this time.