As a new year entices us with its many possibilities for greater fitness success, changing circumstances, and a variety of new challenges to be accepted and overcome, one variable remains the same – we will strive to be at our very best physically. Each year we resolve to recharge our training efforts, fine-tune our eating habits, and commit mentally to doing whatever is necessary to build a physique cloaked in grade-A muscle. By the end of each year, many of us find ourselves asking, Where did the time go? The two-steps-forward-one-step-back approach has got to stop! Make 2013 your year for consistent gains! This year, aim to radically transform your physique by following these 10 New Year’s Tips For Success.
1. Change is Good
Working the same training program and protocols each day, even if variables such as intensity are adjusted will, in all likelihood, lead to complacency and stagnation. By changing your workouts regularly – including order of exercises, intensity methods, training days and exercise selection – your muscles are continually confronted with a fresh stimulus to be overcome; in overcoming this new stressor they will be forced to adapt and grow.
But We All Know This!
So, rather than simply acknowledging that regular change equals ongoing results, be strategic and plan for these changes ahead of time and be sure not to become a slave to regularity. One variable that must not be changed is training intensity – unless injured or over-trained, always apply 100% effort and train to failure. Periodization is yet another way to keep the gains coming.
2. Assess Your Weaknesses
Many of us plan our routines to emphasize the equal development of all muscle groups. This is indeed a highly effective way to promote advanced development if we are blessed with perfect symmetry and proportion, but few of us are that lucky. Rather, if you wish to build the best physique of your training life, honestly and objectively assess your current physical development and identify your weak points. Then, while not neglecting your stronger areas, pick a program that will enable you to correct your weaknesses. Arms and chest are two commonly reported areas which often require “bringing up”. Use the following plans to help you further develop yours:
3. Stay motivated
All of the great training advice in the world collected and consolidated into one comprehensive compendium is unlikely to compensate for low motivation. Motivation is what drives us to do more, reach further, and consistently commit to self-improvement. Without it, we reluctantly do our job, but without the passion and desire needed to achieve true greatness. Highly motivated people constantly look for opportunities to improve, are ever-alert to complacency, work harder, and are open to trying new approaches.
If low motivation plagues you, set small, meaningful goals and become obsessed with achieving them.
For example, if your arms are small compared to your back, resolve to increase them by two inches within six months and don’t stop until the task is complete. You’ll find that success drives motivation, not the other way around. Achieve small goals, acquire a taste of success, and low motivation will become a distant memory.
4. Eat More
The few gains we make are to be commended, but to truly pack on the mass (and provided you train hard most of it will be of the lean variety) eat 1 – 1.5 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight each day along with at least 258-374 grams of carbohydrates per 2,300 daily calories consumed.
Most of us do not eat enough to support optimal muscle building.
Don’t be afraid to ramp up the fat, either: red meat, peanut butter, various oils (including olive) and avocados are all excellent muscle building foods which also support hormone production. The “eat big to get big” mantra is to most of us hardly a profound revelation, however, how many of us regularly consume enough quality nutrients to grow? Closely monitor your eating habits and stay consistent with your bodybuilding nutrition.
5. Get Some Rest
Of the “big 3” bodybuilding variables – training, eating and sleeping – it’s the latter that will ensure all the foods we eat and the training we undertake is transformed into head-turning muscle. Without proper rest (too many extracurricular activities, not enough sleep, and excessive stress), bodybuilding results will be severely compromised; a reversal of gains may even occur.
A rested body and mind will result in faster recovery and, in turn, muscle growth.
As with all of the tips featured in this article, be consistent with your resting/sleeping habits: get at least 7 hours’ quality slumber each night (don’t party late 1-2 nights per week as this will set your progress back), and, whenever possible, lay on your back with your feet elevated while emptying your mind of thoughts for 10-20 minutes.
6. Supplement For Success
Quality supplementation for advanced bodybuilding results is a must. As mentioned earlier, to gain muscle weight we must eat enough. This can be very tough to do, especially when our schedules are fuller than our stomachs (and muscles!) should be. As such, we are likely to take nutritional shortcuts. Bad news for muscle maintenance and growth; as soon as we miss a meal we are likely to shift from anabolic to catabolic as effortlessly as a whey-protein shake is prepared, consumed and assimilated.
Through proper supplementation, we can, in a mere 5-10 minutes per day, consume between 60 and 100 grams of the highest biological value protein available.
Proper protein supplementation will also provide you with all of the essential amino acids needed for rapid muscle repair. Supplementing with a wide spectrum of products will ensure your muscles stay anabolic at all times while general health is supported to ensure your metabolic rate is firing on all cylinders to promote fat loss.
7. Take it 1 Day at a Time
To fast-track our 2013 resolutions it’s important to stay cognizant of what it is we must do to most effectively move forward. To avoid complacency, review your goals and the steps outlined in this article each day – by all means, regularly take a step back admire the work you’ve done, but maintain the mental sharpness needed to stay on top of your bodybuilding game. Without having your bodybuilding goals dictate your life, and ensuring all is kept in its proper perspective, keep your eyes focused on your training targets.
Begin each day by repeating, “I will consume all of my meals, and train at the highest intensity today.”
Finish each day with, “I am getting closer to achieving my bodybuilding goals.” This simple act of positive self-affirmation will drive home the importance of your 2013 mission while crystallizing in your mind what you need to do to bring to fruition your daily training objectives.
8. Limit Junk Foods & Eliminate Toxins
Another popular resolution annually made by fitness minded folks is to eat healthier. Limiting junks foods therefore becomes a major priority, one that is for many, very hard to maintain. To maintain a diet comprised only of clean foods may be difficult to sustain over the long term (as we are, to put it simply, biologically driven to crave nutritional variety, and sugary/fatty foods) and may also lack the calories needed to pack on quality mass. It is recommended that a greater range of different food types be consumed to counter the monotony of the usual chicken, egg whites, rice and broccoli diets many bodybuilders subsist on (or perhaps, more accurately, endure).
By cutting back on sugar and saturated fat-heavy snack foods, we provide our body with more of the raw materials it needs to recover from training and ultimately to grow
Aside from the fat storage side effect which is associated with the consumption of junk food, it also clogs up our system, blocking the proper assimilation of more beneficial/essential nutrients.
Besides minimizing the junk, it is essential that we endeavor to eliminate the consumption of toxins such as cigarettes, alcohol and other harmful drugs; these will only serve to compromise your gains by interfering with countless biological processes including fat burning and muscle building. Implementing this step alone can provoke fresh gains.
9. Reevaluate & Make Changes
The purpose of this article is to inspire you to consistently reach higher than ever as you work to build the physique of your dreams in 2013. Thus, a constant reevaluation of your progress must form the basis of your program. Assess your results (via body fat and girth measurement, strength testing and subjectively observing your appearance) at monthly intervals to determine whether you are on track to building a better than ever you. Although changing training variables such as session structure (as advised earlier) will form a part of your training approach, the regular assessment you undertake will govern which changes will need to be made.
The worst thing you can do is to continue along the same path, expecting a different outcome.
For example, if, after one month, your fat levels remain consistent, you may need to adjust your cardio-schedule, perhaps by adopting a different form such as HIIT or by increasing duration. The key here is to monitor the changes you make to establish whether your current regime is effective. If it’s not, make changes until you find the plan that best works for you.
10. Enjoy the Process
Incorporating all of the above into your 2013 bodybuilding lifestyle will create unprecedented positive change; that’s a certainty. However, the process of attaining physical perfection should not be a burden. Instead, it should be savored and enjoyed. Each step of the way your new gains will provide you ample feedback that you’ve not only planned your work, but have worked your plan to perfection.
Stay sharp with your eye on victory, but enjoy your success and celebrate your achievements.
The sense of satisfaction and accomplishment conferred in light of a job well done will further motivate you to continue your efforts well into 2014 and beyond.
Building lean muscle and stripping body fat to minuscule levels is not easy – if it was we’d all be doing it. To experience progress on par with the champions plastered across the pages of popular bodybuilding magazines we must, at the very least, have a solid plan of attack and, above all else, be consistent in our execution of this plan. Read, assimilate, and act upon the tips outlined above and your wish list for December 25, 2013 may include a whole new wardrobe of tightly fit, muscle defining, clothing.