There’s nothing worse than busting your butt with the weights or on the trail and having very little to show for it, right? If you’ve been working out for a while now and you’re getting mighty tired of seeing gains at a snails pace, or worse yet you’ve run into that inescapable plateau, take a trip back down fundamentals lane for a nice fresh surge of satisfaction……
1. Muscles still follow the stress, rest/recovery cycle; if you are not working your muscles hard enough, or incorporating adequate rest/rebuild time and nourishment you will not see any progress – period. Once you’ve broken those babies down properly you have to remember to invest in the material to overbuild what you had. Forgetting meals or snacks is as bad as forgetting a workout. Its simple math..
2. You should use your creativity when planning your routines. Just as in Tony Horton’s “muscle confusion” idea, you have to find ways to keep your muscles in a stressed state with every workout. The body overcompensates in it’s growth to eliminate the stress in the next session. So this also means that you must continually add to the stress/build cycle so you must revisit those “confused muscles” with some regularity. Use an intelligent split program. Incorporate adequate rest days in between each hard workout to allow for growth and nervous system compensation.
3. Don’t forget supplementation! I don’t know about you, but I find it easier to down a few capsules than to crank out 10 more deadlifts…. Supplementation can give you the edge you need to bust out of a rut. And they provide many other health benefits (such as immunity) to justify their necessity.
Notice the ones in the picture above. They are layed out left to right in order of their best application. Coffee, Beta-alanine, Rhodiola all stimulate greater exertion and workout energy. (Isnt that the name of the game?) These are best taken 30-40 minutes before the session. If you are serious about your fitness you should really invest in a can of whey protein. It is the quickest way to replenish and restock your muscles for growth after exercise. It also strengthens your immunity. Coq10, B vitamins and lipoic acid are all essential to energy generation. They really do make a difference if you use them regularly. Magnesium and the herb Boswellia are very effective in relieving the joint and muscle pain incurred with a hard workout. Well worth the investment.
4. Get that sleep! Sleep is the most important time for muscle growth. Growth hormone is at its highest and the body concentrates on repair and revitalization at this time. See some of my earlier posts on how to get that good nights sleep if you are having trouble doing so. Magnesium and rhodiola can also soothe stress before bedtime to make it easier.
So keep these tips in mind if you are frustrated in your workout program. The chances are you are missing one of the fundamentals if you aren’t progressing steadily. There’s no magic – But if you’re on the right track you can bet there’s gonna be a lot of excitement!