Do I Need To Get Stronger To Build More Muscle Mass?

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question-icon-newI’m on a diet for burning fat and I am doing great. I went from 19.7% fat to 17.5% in 4 weeks. That is 4 pounds of fat lost and 2 inches from my waist! I have not lost any muscle, since all my other measurements are the same. My abs are flat now but not very ripped yet.

My dietitian is trying to make me gain more muscle. I wonder if that is possible despite the fact I am lifting heavy at the gym and I can’t increase the weight too much. I heard that if you do not increase the weight, you will not get bigger. Is that true? Can I still gain weight with a good diet but without lifting much more weight than I do now?

answer-icon-newTo gain more muscle you will need to get stronger. The more weight one lifts in the gym, the more muscular one becomes. Lifting more weight is a sign of increased strength and continued muscle growth. Have you ever seen a huge bodybuilder in the gym who is lifting 10 pound dumbbells? Probably not. The big muscular guys are all lifting super heavy weights because the more weight they can push around, the bigger they will get.

Principles of Bodybuilding
Bodybuilding is a lifelong dream for many; it is not just a sport. Building an awesome physique requires hard work inside and outside of the gym. However, hard work is not all it takes to be successful. One is required to train smart. This involves mastering the paramount principles in bodybuilding. Learning these fundamental principles from the onset is essential rather than fixing incorrect ones. Reasons for bodybuilding vary among individuals. Some do it to make their bodies look good, while others do it for the purpose of improving in a given sport. However, the basic principles of bodybuilding remain the same.

1) Patience – Everyone’s physique is different. The metabolic systems of people all work differently thus some people gain muscle quicker as compared to others. For those who do not gain muscle quickly, patience is necessary. Bodybuilding is an art as much as it is physical labor. One needs to develop every region of the body symmetrically. This in turn results in achieving an impressive physique.

2) Setting realistic goals – Bodybuilding is a tough sport. People who see huge bodybuilders on TV and in the magazines can be mislead to think its easy to get huge. Setting goals for your own body is important. Trying to get to the level of a professional bodybuilder or athlete you see in a magazine can set yourself up for frustration.

3) Take caution when trying new things – It is not advisable to try out new things without experience. Trying a crazy new workout style or routine before analyzing it can potentially cause injuries and set you back for weeks if you jump in without careful consideration of what the routine is all about. For example, if you start using super high intensity training (1-3 reps per set) without priming your body for this type of workout, you could injure yourself.

4) Learning – Paying attention to what other successful people do can be a big advantage. Listening, watching and learning are important in bodybuilding. Keeping an open mind helps the mind grasp new things. Accepting positive criticism and learning from peers can help one build a superb body. Peers can provide you with the psychological support needed during hard training and a keen eye during workouts.

5) Avoid injuries at all costs – Prior to doing any exercise, one needs to be cautious in order to prevent injuries. Injuries cause you to miss training sessions and waste a lot of the hard work you have done previously.

Nutritional Tips for Bodybuilding
Nutrition is one of the key foundations in bodybuilding. It involves eating the right type of foods at the appropriate times. A bodybuilder should have a thorough understanding about the various food groups, their effect on the body and how they interact with one another.

1) Protein Intake – A bodybuilder should consume a sufficient amount of protein at each meal which will help to maximize muscle building. A gram of protein for every pound of body weight is recommended each day. This is equivalent of 200 grams of protein per day for a person weighing 200 pounds. To provide the muscles with a continuous flow of amino acids, one divides the daily recommended protein intake by the number of meals in a day (5 meals per day with 40 grams of protein per meal). Animal sources such as beef, fish, turkey and chicken should be your main sources of quality lean protein. Fish and chicken are the best because of their low fat content.

2) Carbohydrates Intake – Carbohydrates are the main source of energy for the body. However, one should refrain from refined carbohydrates (cakes, chips, candy, cookies, junk food) as they are only good at packing on body fat. Whole grain foods and vegetables are rich in vitamins and fiber and these items are an excellent source of carbohydrates.

3) Fat Intake – Unsaturated fats are recommended for bodybuilders. Avocados, fish, walnuts and almonds are rich in the recommended type of fats. Olive oil, macadamia nut oil and coconut oil are all extremely healthy oils to cook with and also taste delicious.

4) Food Intake – To maintain high levels of energy and an increased metabolic rate, one should spread their meals throughout the day. Eating every 2.5 to 3 hours is ideal to provide nutrients to your body. Focus on eating 5-7 meals throughout the day since this helps to ensure the muscles receive a constant supply of energy and nutrients.

5) Hydration – Drinking a lot of water every day is very important. Hydration ensures that water gets into the muscle cells. More water leads to better functionality, size capacity and strength.

Exercise Advice
Warming up is essential before starting any weight training workout. This enables fresh oxygenated blood to reach the muscles. Getting your heart rate up and increasing your body temperature is important before starting an intense training session. Warm up for 10-12 minutes on a stationary bike or treadmill and make sure you break a slight sweat before starting your workout to ensure you are fully warmed up properly.

Small Weight Increments To Get Stronger
The best thing to do is to slowly increase the weight with 5 pound plates each time you workout. Most people think they need to slap on a 25 pound plate in order to lift more. Always use very low incremental weights when you’re trying to get stronger. Do this slow progression and be patient. Over the course of several months, you will be surprised how much stronger you are. The stronger you become, the more muscle you will be able to pack on to your physique!

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