Alright, I know you want to grow as fast as you can. Everyone in the gym wants to build muscle. But because we live in a world where we’re so used to getting everything fast and WHEN we want it, this attitude has spilled over into what it takes to see results in the gym.
And a lot of young guys in my gym, I can tell are getting frustrated because they’ve been training for 4-6 months and are upset because they haven’t packed on 50lbs of muscle yet! So, they turn to IG and TikTok for quick tips and “unique exercises” because they’re convinced the reason they’re not growing fast is because their program is junk and that it has nothing to do with the fact that natural growth takes time and dedication.
But then what happens, is that these guys quickly find themselves going down a rabbit hole of unconventional training and implementing exercises into their routines that are simply a waste of time.
Different doesn’t always = “better”
So today, if anything, my goal is to get the message across that you need to stop “searching for shortcuts” and just keep your head down, put in the work, GRIND and the gains will come.
Also, it’s January, so that means it’s a new year and if you focus HARD now, I know that by the end of the year you’ll find yourself in a totally different place in terms of your fitness journey.
So if you want to see REAL PROGRESS.. Here’s the best advice you’re ever going to hear.
1. Pick a program that fits your schedule. If you can only train 2 – 3 days a week, then start out with a FULL BODY, UPPER / LOWER or a Push-Pul- Legs split because the WORST thing you can do from the start, is commit yourself to a program that you just don’t have time for.
Then, once you have your program picked out, let’s say it takes 90 minutes to complete the workouts, but you only have 60 minutes to train…Just reduce the overall amount sets on some of the exercises to fit your time constraints. It’s really not that big of a deal and is a much better alternative than stressing out about it or skipping key exercises because you ran out of time.
2. Once you have your program picked out, the next step is focus on learning and perfecting your form on EVERY exercise. Now, if you picked one of MY programs to start with you would have already noticed that I ALWAYS focus on the basics for my exercises and by basics I mean traditional bodybuilding movements that’ve been a staple in training for decades; Bench Press, Squat, Row, Deadlift, Pull-up, Dip, Curl, Shoulder press.
Movements that allow you to both train heavy and maximize muscle activation. All of these “specialty” exercises you see really muscular and shredded guys messing with on IG or TikTok, they didn’t get in the kind of shape they’re in now from doing them. It’s all bullshit for views, they just look good demonstrating these “specialty exercises” because they are ALREADY in great shape from sticking to TRADITIONAL TRAINING FOR YEARS. Making sense yet?
3. So, what’s next? You’ve got your program, you’ve mastered proper form for the most part, but you feel like you’ve plateaued and are not getting any stronger or bigger. Well, you have a few options and no, you don’t have to find a “new” program. You can just simply start boosting the overall intensity of your current program and you can do it a few different ways.
- The first way is as easy as adding 1 – 2 more sets to all your exercises and shortening the rest periods. Over the course of 4 – 6 weeks of training I’m sure you’ve noticed that you’re finishing your workouts much faster because your body has adapted to the exercises. So, take advantage of this and begin by adding more sets to your COMPOUND movements first. So, Bench, Squat, Deadlift, Rows, etc.
- Another way to increase the intensity, is to keep the program exactly the same, but add in DROP SETS. This is because a drop-set allows you to add in more overall training volume to every exercise without really extending the workout time that much. All you do is finish your working set of say of 8 reps and then immediately drop the weight and crush another 8 – 10 reps with lighter weight before resting. I guarantee after a week of doing this on every set of every exercise you’ll understand just how powerful a drop-set can be in terms of building muscle and strength. Now, you don’t HAVE to add this to every set of every exercise, but maybe start out by adding drop sets to your compound lifts first.
- One more way to increase the intensity is to focus on heavy negatives either with the help of a spotter or by using a bit of momentum to “cheat” through the concentric phase of your exercises. Guys, if you want to increase the weight on say a “lat pulldown” and you get stuck at 5 reps and you want 8 reps, there’s nothing wrong with cheating a bit to finish the set. Because you already took the time to master proper form on your exercises, you’ll know how to control the weight even if using momentum.
- Now obviously there are more techniques than just these three to increase the intensity of your program, but these techniques are CERTAINLY enough to help you see continued progress for a few years. It’s really not as complicated as people make it out to be. To get big you just need to be consistent, lift heavy and BRING THE INTENSITY.
- Now the fourth and final topic I want to leave you guys with is NUTRITION, which should really be the FIRST thing but let’s face it… nobody wants to hear “EAT MORE” to grow even though it’s the truth.
Unless you are trying to get STAGE READY for a show, you don’t have to be so intense about counting your macros. In fact, you can just do a quick calculation on the meal planner page on my website and then use that as your base. From there, it will be up to you to learn how to listen to your body and here are some quick tips on how to do it.
- If after a few days you find that you are still really hungry even after consuming your meals for the day, first try boosting your water intake because you could be low.
Then if that doesn’t work to stave off your hunger, start boosting your calories by 200 – 250 every few days until you feel satisfied and for most of you, you’ll probably have a macro breakdown close to 40% protein 40% carbs and 20% fat.
- Now, if after a few days you find yourself feeling really FULL or lethargic all the time, chances are you might be eating too much…so reduce calories by 200 – 250 every few days until you feel satisfied, but not bloated.
- Then, once your base meal plan is nailed down, be sure to slightly increase your calories by 200 – 250 every 3 – 4 weeks to keep up with the gains you are making.
- But if after a few months of gradually increasing calories you notice you’re packing on a bit more fat than you hoped to gain, this means your surplus is probably slightly higher than it needs to be, so once again, reduce calories by a couple hundred and see how things play out over the course of the next few days to a week.
You see, it’s all being consistent with your training and “micro adjustments” week to week when it comes to figuring out your meal plan. That’s it! And the majority of the time the macro you’ll be adjusting the most is your carbs.
Also, for those of you who might have a hard time hitting your protein goals, first do your best to get as much protein as you can from your food and then fill in the gaps with a protein shake like BSN SYNTHA-6 EDGE.
I’ve been using it for years because one scoop is a solid 24 grams of protein with only 150 calories and 6grams of carbs. So, it’ll fit perfectly into your meal plan whether you’re trying to lean out or build muscle.