The complete beginner’s guide to building muscle
A hot and fit body, some want it out of a passion for fitness or bodybuilding, some want it to look good in a bikini and some want it for staying healthy. If our ancestors stayed fit from hunting(must have been exhausting running after deer), building their homes, lifting wood for making fire, fighting, training and joining the army, in this century we have to do it at the gym, practicing some other sports or in your comfortable home doing yoga or Pilates. Technology brought us infinite information, but also, sedentary and laziness. How many of you practice sport once a week instead of being in front of a computer? In this article, we will talk about reducing body fat and replace it with muscle mass and how to keep your health levels to the top using the right methods.
First of all, we must understand how muscles work. Muscles are like the engine to our body. They are helping the whole body with all the processes, like pushing food through intestines, starting the organs, hey carry the blood through all the vessels and they support the breathing. They also help giving birth, because the uterus is made mostly of muscles. Muscles contract when a nervous impulse from our brain is received, so that’s how movement is made, by contraction. There are 3 types of muscles in our body, skeletal muscle( they help to maintain posture and move the organs inside our body), cardiac muscle(found only inside the heart) and smooth muscles(also called “involuntary muscles”, they cannot be acted voluntary, they are the walls of blood vessels and some organs).
The few hours you spent on gym every week must be used efficiently. There are a lot of people using the time at the gym for any other kind of activity, like chatting, in person or on social networks on their phone or too busy changing the song on their iPod or paying attention to the gym’s TV instead of actually working out. Or when they get there, they are tired or hungry or pressed by other thoughts. Make sure to manage your time productively before heading to the gym. Make a daily schedule, don’t skip meals and use the night to sleep, not for other activity. It is recommended to give yourself a couple of minutes before starting the workout to relax and empty your mind in order to concentrate better on the training. Plus, you have to do some warm up before it, otherwise, your muscles might hurt during workout.
For your abs, there are several machines at the gym that helps. Every gym has adjustable sit-up benches. My advice is to put a towel on it before using it to make sure all the toxins from others who used it won’t get in touch with your skin. Also, a gym should have roman chairs, few stability balls, and an ab wheel. Legs can be worked out in curl benches, calf, and leg press machines, squat machine and many others. You may think you have a lot more strength in your legs than any other part of your body, but don’t push them too hard or the next day you might have problems walking caused by the aches. Basically, there are 2 types of workouts, strength, and cardio. My advice is to focus on strength exercises in order to achieve muscular mass. Cardio will help more to lose fat instead of building muscles. There are plenty cardio machines at the gym, like treadmills, steppers, bicycles, but only use them as a warm up. 10 to 15 minutes on a bicycle before the actual training is highly recommended.
Working at work is proven more comfortable than driving to the gym and wasting the time on the way. Also, some person prefers it because they are ashamed of their bodies or simply don’t want to change in the locker room from the gym. Here are some exercises you should try at home to improve different types of muscles and lose fat.
The main exercise for working out the abs are the well known abdominal floor crunches. It is very important to execute them correctly or else you will get neck pains and little results. Lie on the floor, preferably on a floor mat, your back must be flat on the ground, your legs on the floor and an about 15 cm wide between your knees, your hands must be united on the back of your head. The first step would be to contract your abdominal muscles to lift your upper body part towards your knees. Don’t push your head and neck with your hands. The abs have to lift you, not your neck. The second step is after you feel a complete squeeze in the abdominal area, release the muscles and slowly lower the body again on the floor until the back is flat.
For beginners, repeat 20 times, then pause for 1 min. Repeat the process 3 times.
The scissor kicks, one of the exercises that are made in school, help both inferior and superior abs. Lay on your back on the floor and put your hands under your ass, raise your legs then do a scissor movement with your legs. To work your superior abs too, keep your head and your shoulders off the ground. You will have to feel how your abs really burn. Do this exercise for 30 seconds, then repeat 3 times. Another abs exercise is toe touch crunch. It mainly helps the superior abs. Lay on your back and lift both your legs until you get a 90-degree angle with the floor. Now try to touch your toes with your hands. This usually doesn’t happen, maybe if you got really long hands or really short legs, but the objective of this exercise is to reach the highest point with your fingers. Keep your fingers in the air for 1 second , then release. Repeat the movement for 30 seconds, rest for 1 minute , then do it 2 more times.
And extra, a breathing exercise to help your abs. Lay on your back with your knees bent and your feet on the ground. Pull air into your chest, until you fill your lungs and abs filled with air. Then release all the air and keep your breathing for 2 seconds after you have done it. Repeat 20 times.
One step to increase leg muscles is lunges exercises. While you are standing, create a 45-degree angle with your feet and your knees, then split your legs as much as you can and maintain this position for 30 seconds. Repeat 3 times. Another lunges exercise includes holding weights in your hands. The weights depend on how much your training allows you to do. So, while standing with the weights in your hands, take a step forward and bend the knee at 90-degree angle. The leg from the back should bend too until it reaches the ground. Go back to the initial position and do the same for 10 times. Do 3 sets of lunges.
You can also do calf raises with weights in your hands. Use your heels to stand up on the edge of a step, then push yourself up on your toes, all while holding the weights. Do 15 calf raises , repeat the process 3 or 4 times. Leg curls tones the upper leg muscles and the ass as well. While standing to bend your knee and bring your feet up to your butt. At first , it is possible that you cannot touch your butt, but after some time you will be able to. Try to do it until your legs get fatigued. Take a break for a few mins and repeat the whole process 2 more times.
You are improving your arm muscles even when you are carrying the groceries, or trying to support your body when waking up and getting up to bed. The first step in growing your arm muscle mass is for you to buy some dumbbells or a medicine ball. You can start with triceps swings. Lay on your back on a floor or yoga mat with your feet on the floor. Keep a dumbbell in each hand, keep your arms straight, above your head and then bring them to your chest, one by one. Do 15 reps with both your arms. Repeat 3 times. To use the medicine ball you can try split squat rotation. The medicine ball can be replaced with a soccer ball or books. While standing and holding the ball, step forward and bend your right knee. Remember, the left knee should bend too, almost touching the ground in the back. Straighten your body while pushing into your right leg and try to rotate your body to the left while bringing the ball above your head.Return to the previous position. Do it for 30 seconds then switch sides and repeat 2 more times for each side.
Your arm muscles are the easiest the grow because you use them every day, whether you want it or not,even when you lift a cup of water. Though, lifting something that small may not suffice, watering your garden or washing your car might do the job. Lifting the buckets of water to the garden or the car is not as easy as it may seem and it will get you fatigued in no time. There are other groups of muscles that need to be taken care of, but these are the main groups for beginners to built. When you are doing bodybuilding you have to deal with all groups, like neck muscles, shoulders, chest, butt or back ones. There are few methods in which you boost your results and grow the muscles faster. One of them would be the supplements that you can take to improve your condition.
We all heard of them , either from friends or from the gym trainer. All bodybuilders and not only use them. When you go to the gym and you try to work out there is always a person trying to approach you and tell you how much such supplement would ease your work or how much it helped them. We will talk a bit about the most common muscle mass supplements, so you will have an idea of what they mean.
Creatine: it fills the body cells with energy, but mostly the muscles. It works in many ways, one is that gives you strength to keep working out. It also increases the level of insulin from your muscles, causing them to grow faster. Studies have shown that taking creatine helped by adding 10 pounds to the body weight, but not of fat, by increasing muscle size. It is recommended to add 2 to 5 grams of creatine in your drink or protein shake before your workout. In the days you decided to make a pause and not doing your workout, take creatine at breakfast. There are plenty companies that sell creative and should be easily found at your gym too.
Whey protein powder: the most common supplement, which is a milk protein, its advantages are digesting fast, reduces hunger and helps your body building muscle mass faster. It is recommended to take 20 grams of whey protein powder in the 30 minutes before working out and 40 grams after the training. To increase results, take 20 to 40 grams in the morning too. You can found whey protein powder in dozens of websites, manufactured by different companies and sold at different prices. Find what is best for you. The supplement may help you building muscle faster, but it won’t do anything for you if you don’t maintain your workout schedule and keep track of your diet. Schedule your days better, sleep at least 8 hours at night and don’t neglect yourself. You need all the energy necessary for performing the workouts. To reduce the sore from the exercises, take a hot bath and an aspirin. You will be fresh and ready to sleep, without your muscle hurting.
Tips and tricks on how to spend your time better at the gym
We already lose a lot of time on the way to the gym, if we are unfortunate to live far away from it. So, that is why we don’t have to waste any more time inside it. Lots of us seek to kill the boredom in listening to music, so we take a music player or the phone with us with headphones. It’s nothing wrong with that, except that fact that we spend a lot of time changing the songs or the radio post. My advice is to make a personal favorite song list before you go to the gym and listen to it, so you don’t have to pull out your phone or iPod from your pocket to change the song you don’t like. Make a plan from home on the training. If someone else is using one machine that you need, don’t wait for them to finish, do something else instead.
Phones usually keep us distracted from doing any productive activity, so if you think you are one of the persons that check the social networks too often, you better leave the cellphone in the locker room. Or put it on airplane mode. That way you cannot use the internet and you won’t receive any calls or text messages. And the last, seek the trainers help. Those gym trainers are there to help you, not to watch over you. Their advice is made for each individual. Don’t be shy about asking them to help you with whatever you need.