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5 Ways To Stay Motivated To Lift Weights

hull-gym-weights:

It’s not always easy to stay motivated to go to the gym and that’s especially true when you’re first getting started. Even people that have been doing it for a while can get tired and sometimes may want to skip the gym. There are times when life gets in the way and you have to take care of personal or business responsibilities. It can be hard to keep grinding with all of the other things in life taking up your time and energy. With all of that in mind here are five tips that will help you stay motivated to hit the weights.

1. Don’t really upon others to stay motivated to go to the gym

If you find a gym partner that’s as motivated or more than you it can be extremely beneficial to have them around but that can be rare. A good partner will push you to be better however, often times gym partners can be unreliable. They may not show up. They’ll make excuses, they’ll show up really late. So if you rely on someone else you may never end up getting to work out. If you are self reliant it wont matter because you’ll be there putting in work regardless of whether or not your work out partner is there. You wont have to constantly  over accommodate someone and that gets old real quick. After a while the results of consistency will show. To succeed you need to be internally motivated. End of story.

2. Set achievable, measurable, Time sensitive goals.

Many people that start out have no particular goals in mind. They just dive right in with the goal of “losing weight or “getting in shape”. It’s important to set a specific goal such as I want to lose “30 lbs of body fat in 8 months or I want to gain 5lbs of muscle in a year. Visualize what you want. Push forward towards your goal. One way to do that is to measure your progress in a journal. Write down your measurements every other week. In addition to recording measurements if you want to to get an even better idea take a picture every so often to see the visual progression. This will help you along the way to those short and long term goals. When you see that progress it will inspire you to consistently work out and to keep setting goals. Continuous small goals will add up. Before you know it you may be shocked at the transformation you’ve gone through. By doing your goals in specific amount of time it gives you a more organized framework. You can post your goals on social media and do post updates every week so that you are more accountable to yourself and you may even inspire others to do the same.

3. Find new ways to motivate yourself outside of the gym.

While it’s important to keep work outs interesting it’s equally important to stay motivated outside of the gym. When it comes down to to it do whatever works for you. Make sticky notes with motivational quotes that you like or self affirmation and put them in places you see every day. Watch motivational weight lifting videos or listen to motivational speeches. Look up people who are doing or have done amazing things. It can inspire you to be consistent and become the best version of yourself possible. What do you have to lose? You’ll never know how far you can really take your fitness and life.

4. Make sure your workouts include variety

DON’T do the same type of sets or rests every time you go to the gym. If you do working out will quickly devolve into a mundane and tedious task. You will likely even stagnate in strength and muscle growth. This is a sure fire way to become disheartened and lose motivation. Variety makes work outs more interesting and will keep you looking forward to hitting the gym. It will keep pushing you to get stronger and build more muscle. Your body wont get the chance to adjust because the work outs will continually be creating muscle confusion. When you continually make progression toward goals it’s hard not to stay motivated.

5. Even if you don’t feel like going to the gym on some days go anyway.

There are some days where you might not feel motivated. You might just want hang out if you’re feeling depressed or tired. If you go work out often times you’ll feel much better afterward because of the release of endorphins. Keep that in mind as it can be used as solution in the future to improve your mood. Your past experiences will grant you greater resolve because they will serve as a reminder of your ability to push through tough days. That’s how progress is made. And sometimes the best work outs are on bad days when you didn’t think you could muster the energy. Like most things in life a physique is earned and maintained. It won’t be given to you and the work is never over, so earn it!
Video on this topic coming soon!

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MUSCLE MEMORY: FACT OR FICTION?

Pokazy_kulturystyczne_Golub-Dobrzyń_01.05.2010r.

The human body is an incredible “machine”. It will get rid of anything it doesn’t need in a minuscule amount of time and muscle is no exception. If you don’t work out for a couple of months and happen to lose 6 pounds of muscle, then start training again it will come back in a shorter amount of time than it took when your first started. This theory has been controversial in the past, but we are now starting to discover why this phenomenon occurs.

This function most likely has a significant amount to do with myosin heavy chain (MHC) isoforms which are a type of contractile protein in muscle fiber. They determine whether muscle fibers function as fast or slow twitch. Certain MHCs are known to change in response to resistance training.

There are several types of MHC that we’re concerned with. Fibers that contain MHC IIX are an undetermined type of fiber until they’re used. Once in action they become MHC IIAs. Muscle fibers that contain MHC IIX proteins serve as a source for creating MHC IIA fibers, but can also generate more fibers containing MHC IIX which eases muscle redevelopment.

A study was conducted with adult sedentary men that analyzed distribution of MHC isoforms, fiber type composition, and fiber size of the vastus lateralis (section of the quadricep) before and after three months of training, and again after three months of detraining. After three months of training, their MHC IIX content went from 9% to 2% and a corresponding increase of MHC IIA content from 42% to 49%. After the 3 months of detraining the MHC IIX content reached 17% which is higher than both before and during training. Hypertrophy was observed after the three months after training and remained higher than baseline even after 3 months of detraining.

This would indicate that detraining following heavy load resistance training seems to stimulate an increase in the amount of MHC IIX to values far higher than those observed before resistance training. Based on the evidence that has been observed it would appear that muscle memory is indeed a real phenomenon at least in the short term.

References

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10883005

http://thinkmuscle.com/training/muscle-memory-mystery/

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Expectations for Natural Muscle Gain

NATmusclegain

One of the most common questions I hear is something along the lines of “How long until I start seeing results?”.
The short and simple answer is: it depends… Of course, we can dive a bit deeper into it.

I’m sure that most people have heard exaggerations from other bodybuilders about how they gained 30 pounds of muscle in only three months. Lots of muscle magazines give beginners unrealistic expectations about muscle gain. They show professional bodybuilders claiming that the product they’re endorsing will make you as big as them. In reality, the only way you’ll look as big as this guy is by taking steroids.

Natural muscle gain can be predicted by six primary factors which include how long you’ve been training, your hormone levels, your genetics, previous muscle memory, nutrition, and sleep.

 

Genetics

Testosterone is one of the key hormones in muscle development. Men generally have between 7 and 8 times the amount of testosterone that females have [ref] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14981046 [/ref]. This causes males to typically have a greater rate of muscle gain and higher potential for total muscle mass. Within the sexes, individuals can have vastly different rates of muscle growth and genetic potentials (the maximum amount of muscle an individuals genetics will allow). Those with an average genetic potential will usually have fairly steady growth over time with proper nutrition and training. About two thirds of people will fall into this “average” category of muscle growth, while the other third will fall either above or below it. This means that some people will grow slower and may not be able to put on as much total muscle mass as others with the same nutrition and training. On the flip side of the coin, some people can build muscle fast with very little effort.

An investigation done by the BBC showed that some people simply can’t become overweight, despite a sedentary lifestyle and poor eating habits. The subjects spent a month overeating and exerting themselves as little as possible. Each subject gained weight, but one person’s metabolism actually increased in order to cope with the excess calories and about half of the weight he gained was muscle! It sounds ridiculous, but it is possible, albeit very rare. [ref]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MHQshbJATVQ [/ref]

It doesn’t work for everyone… Sometimes life just isn’t fair.

guyoncouch

 

Amount of time training

Typically if you’ve been working out for years you won’t gain muscle as fast a beginner will. The longer you train, the closer you get to your genetic potential which results in natural growth slowing down and eventually stopping. You individual frame is genetically predetermined to hold a certain amount of muscle weight.

 

Hormones

Your hormone levels can vary if your training regimen does not elicit a large enough testosterone response. This is usually caused by errors such as not lifting enough weight or an insufficient range of motion. The amount of testosterone you produce will also depend greatly on genetics and gender.

 

Previous Muscle Memory

The human body is an incredible machine. It will get rid of anything it doesn’t need in a small amount of time which includes muscle. If you don’t work out for a couple of months and happen to lose 6 pounds of muscle, then start training again it will come back in a shorter amount of time than it took when your first started. This theory has been controversial in the past, but we are now starting to discover why this phenomenon occurs.

This function most likely has a significant amount to do with myosin heavy chain (MHC) isoforms which are a type of contractile protein in muscle fiber. They determine whether muscle fibers function as fast or slow twitch. Certain MHCs are known to change in response to resistance training.

There are several types of MHC that we’re concerned with. Fibers that contain MHC IIX are an undetermined type of fiber until they’re used. Once in action they become MHC IIAs. Muscle fibers that contain MHC IIX proteins serve as a source for creating MHC IIA fibers, but can also generate more fibers containing MHC IIX which eases muscle redevelopment.

A study was conducted with adult sedentary men that analyzed distribution of MHC isoforms, fiber type composition, and fiber size of the vastus lateralis (section of the quadricep) before and after three months of training, and again after three months of detraining. After three months of training, their MHC IIX content went from 9% to 2% and a corresponding increase of MHC IIA content from 42% to 49%. After the 3 months of detraining the MHC IIX content reached 17% which is higher than both before and during training. Hypertrophy was observed after the three months after training and remained higher than baseline even after 3 months of detraining. [ref] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10883005 [/ref]

This means that there are seemingly more fibers available for growth after detraining than before you originally started training. This could explain part of the phenomenon known as muscle memory.

 

Nutrition 

This is one of the most important factors in bodybuilding that you can control. Macro nutrients (carbohydrates, fat and protein) are the primary nutrients your muscles need for growth. Individuals who are active will require the same nutrients, vitamins, and minerals as those that are sedentary, but in greater amounts.

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are the primary fuel source for building muscle. When you eat foods like fruits, vegetables and grain it is broken down in the digestive tract and stored as glycogen in muscles. If carbohydrates aren’t present you will not be able to realize the maximum benefits of training. Failing to consume enough carbohydrates post workout can lead to muscle detraining or loss of muscle strength.

Protein

Muscle tissue is composed of proteins, and protein intake must be adequate for muscles to grow. It’s generally recommended that athletes and bodybuilders consume around 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight daily. However I’ve seen recommendations of as much as 2 grams per pound for endurance athletes. Protein is a must, because it’s one of the major building blocks for muscle gain. It is generally recommended that you consume easily digestible carbs and protein before or during a workout and after a workout as well.

Fats

Fats are just as important as proteins and carbohydrates because they are essential for normal bodily functions. Fat is used to lubricate joints, line the insides of cells, heal scarring inside the body, and regulate hormone levels. Keeping hormone levels stable is an especially important function when trying to put on muscle. Of course, having the rest of the body running optimally will ensure better response to muscle stimulation

Hydration

This one is a given. It’s always important to stay hydrated. Drink water before, during, and after training. Dehydration can compromise muscle growth, strength, stamina, speed, and energy. Most cramps during activity can be avoided with proper hydration. The body in general will not function properly without adequate hydration, making it the most important part of nutrition.

Vitamins and Minerals

It is important to note that the food you eat while trying to gain muscle should be dense in nutrients. A variety of vitamins and nutrients essential to proper bodily functions can be found in fruit, vegetables, legumes, nuts, meats, dairy, eggs, and some grains. Foods eaten in their raw form produce complicated chemical reactions in the body that are extremely beneficial, more so than any stand alone vitamin or supplement in pill form.

 

Sleep

Sleep is one of the easiest ways to ensure maximum muscle growth. During this time your body restores your organs, bones, tissues, replenishes your immune cells, and circulates human growth hormone. Always try to avoid alcohol and sleeping pills as these will disturb your sleep cycle. Proper sleeping conditions are also important and usually consist of a dark quiet place where you can rest comfortably.

 

Conclusion

Assuming your nutrition and training regimen are good, these numbers can give a rough estimate for adults who have stopped growing (growth spurts skew the data).

Men

  • 0-2 years of training: 1.5 lbs of muscle per month
  • 2-4 years of training: 0.5 lbs of muscle per month
  • 4+ years of training: 0.25 lbs of muscle per month

Women

  • 1-6 months of training: 0.75-1 lbs of muscle per month
  • 6-12 months of training:  0.5 lbs of muscle per month
  • 1-2 years of training: 0.3-0.4 lbs of muscle per month
  • 4+ years of training:  0.1- 0.2 lbs of muscle per month