A muscle that’s stressed in small doses adapts by growing bigger, stronger, and faster. “Unless you follow a systematic training plan that includes progression and overload, you’re just going through the motions,” says Boyd Epley, C.S.C.S., founder of the National Strength and Conditioning Association (N.S.C.A.). If you curled 40-pound dumbbells for 10 reps last week, go for 11 or 12 this time, or grab 45s. Experiment with different techniques to increase intensity.
The whole point of working out is to make progress toward a goal. So, if you’re not getting a bigger, stronger, or leaner physique (or the phone number of the girl on the elliptical), chances are you’re just spinning your wheels—or worse, regressing. Fortunately, getting back on the path to results is easy. But, as they say, the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem—and it’s most likely one (or more) of these classic mistakes. Correct your missteps today and start making progress toward the body and life you’ve been training for.7 Fitness Myths Debunked >>>
A muscle that’s stressed in small doses adapts by growing bigger, stronger, and faster. “Unless you follow a systematic training plan that includes progression and overload, you’re just going through the motions,” says Boyd Epley, C.S.C.S., founder of the National Strength and Conditioning Association (N.S.C.A.). If you curled 40-pound dumbbells for 10 reps last week, go for 11 or 12 this time, or grab 45s. Experiment with different techniques to increase intensity.8 Weeks to More Muscle>>>
Tracking your food intake is important. A palm-size portion of lean meat is about 25 grams of protein, a fist’s worth of starchy foods is around 40 grams of carbs, and your thumb equals 15–20 grams of fat. “The easiest way to bump up your calories is to add two to three daily meal-replacement shakes,” says Jared DiCarmine, owner of 3stepmusclebuilding.com. “Mix a double serving of whey protein and two tablespoons of olive oil with almond milk.” That’s 500 calories.Lose Fat--Not Muscle--by Doubling Your Daily Protein>>>
Sleep is the time when muscle-building growth hormone surges in the body. If you have trouble catching enough z’s, consider a 2013 study from the journal Acta Physiologica, which suggests avoiding caffeine and booze for as many as six hours prior to bed to improve sleep quality. Aim for at least eight hours of sleep each night. If you’re tired despite sleeping well, you may have allergies or sleep apnea; see a doctor.4 Ways to Fall Asleep Easier Tonight>>>
Exercise isn't rocket science, but it is based on science, and thinking you know more about training than you do is a conceit that can doom you to years of stagnation—not to mention injuries. You don't need a personal trainer; Men's Fitness and mensfitness.com are full of workouts from the best trainers in the world. Whatever workout you choose, just be sure to stick with it for four weeks.Check out the November issue of Men's Fitness (left) for workouts!
Bouncing between exercises to find which works best for you doesn’t give you enough time to adequately test any of them. Pick from a short menu of lifts that have been proven to work—squats, presses, deadlifts, chinups, and rows. Muscle growth and strength come from creating microscopic tears in muscle cells that force them to grow back stronger, and requires doing exercises that let you use challenging weights.Exercise Face-Off: Front Squat vs. Back Squat>>>
Most guys train the muscles they like, then work the rest of the body if they can find the time or motivation. For the best-looking physique, you need to consistently work the whole body. Neglecting your legs (we’re not pointing any fingers here) means ignoring the biggest and strongest muscles in your body. When you squat or deadlift, you stimulate anabolic hormones that help your whole body gain muscle.3 Ways to Stay Consistent With Your Workouts>>>
“A proper warmup increases body temperature and relaxes tissue, which leads to more flexible muscles, tendons, and ligaments,” says Sharp. Prepare for a workout by foam-rolling your back, glutes, and thighs. Roll slowly until you find a tender spot, then hold direct pressure on it for 30 seconds. We like the RumbleRoller ($70, rumbleroller.com), which has knobby foam fingers designed to work into your muscles like a real massage. Complete your pre-workout routine with dynamic exercises like forward and side leg swings, jumping jacks, and body-weight squats that will prepare you to move the way you will during the workout itself.Train Right with Dynamic Warmups>>>
A sore muscle isn’t necessarily one that hasn’t recovered. In fact, short-burst activity, like metabolic sprints, can ease soreness and build stamina by increasing blood flow and boosting delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the muscles. Do three sets of 10- second sprints on a bike, working at an easy pace for two minutes between sets, recommends Carwyn Sharp, Ph.D., C.S.C.S., education director at the NSCA.5 Cures For Sore Muscles That Really Work>>>
It’s not a real goal unless you have a deadline. “Guys end up on a treadmill of frustration because their program and diet aren’t aligned with what they want to achieve,” says Ballantyne. Saying you want to “get in shape” is fine for getting you in the gym your first week, but you need to refine your plan. Set a target to aim for, like losing 10 pounds or adding an inch to your arms. Then give yourself a reasonable time frame in which to achieve it. Back to Basics: Establishing Your Goals>>>