Fitness: Seven tips to gain mass and power

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imageIf you’re already working like a horse but still can’t seem to build the bulk you’re looking for, look at what you’re eating, how you’re resting and exactly how you work out, from variety to consistency and beyond.

Eat Like a Bear
The only way you’re going to move up to the top of the food chain is to eat like the top dog. In other words, to gain muscle, you need to stay in a state of energy excess.

Eat everything that’s not bolted down. Make sure you get at least a gram or two of protein for every pound of bodyweight and at least three to four grams of carbs.

Eat quality fats like those found in flaxseed oil, olive oil, and natural peanut butter. And finally, cut out the off-season cardio, as this will only increase your calorie requirements.

Rely On Basic Movements
They’re considered classics for a reason: they’ve withstood the test of time. Basic movements have cranked out more champions than you can count.

You’ve got the bench, the squat and the dead lift. These should be a part of your arsenal. To these big three, you can add your basic barbell curls, military presses, and the like.

Be Tough As Nails When It Comes To Training
Yeah, yeah, yeah. You’ve got to train heavy to grow. That’s right, but don’t forget to train hard with high intensity.

To make muscles explode, you got to annihilate them in the gym. You can train with poundage heavier than you can handle, but if you ignore proper form, you’re going to miss the target muscles you’re trying to hit.

As a rule of thumb, train at 60-80% of your one rep max. Or, put on enough poundage where you can only crank out 6-10 reps per set at full intensity

Stack More Than Just Plates
Probably the most overlooked aspect of bodybuilding is rest. Training in the gym tears down your muscles. Sleep is that time when your body rebuilds the damaged muscles.

Without enough sleep, you’ll never grow like you want. So make sure you stack enough Z’s at night. You’ll know what your body needs.

As a guide, throw out your alarm clock. When you wake up on your own, you’ve slept enough.

Don’t Over-train
Over-training can set you back months, even years. In terms of body parts, stick to training each body part only once a week.

Like sleep, you need to make sure you give your muscles plenty of rest between each training session. In terms of sets, there’s a baker’s dozen, and then there’s a bodybuilder’s dozen.

For each body part, you should stick to twelve total sets. Again, pick a couple of basic movements, about three or four for each body part, and do three to four sets for each exercise.

You’re probably thinking this is going to be easy, but trust me, if you do the sets right, you’re going to be in for a world of hurt. And if you’re not, you’re not lifting hard enough. Finally, don’t spend more than 90 minutes per training session.

Anything more and you’ll run the risk of over-training.

Rest At Home, Not In the Gym
You should never rest for more than two minutes between sets. In 90-120 seconds, you have just enough time to catch your breath and hit that next set with maximum intensity.

Rest beyond two minutes, and you run the risk of losing your pump. Once you lose the pump, forget about it. Your training is shot.

Consistency & Variation
Consistency means training when you’re supposed to, not making lame excuses to watch TV or head to the bar. More than any other sport, bodybuilding requires a serious level of commitment and dedication.

If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. So when it’s leg day, you do legs. Period. Take your training like a man. While you need to be consistent when it comes to training, you should also consider adding to variety to your routine when it becomes stagnant.

Mix up the order of your exercises. Change the grip here and there. Add a few drop sets for a change. The human body is highly adaptive; keep it guessing.

image Contributing blogger Troy Meyers is a certified personal trainer and sports conditioner with more than 10 years of experience. He owns Atlanta-based JockBoyLocker.com and contributes to the site’s Lockerroom Blog.

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