When you’re on your way to building muscle and getting stronger, nothing can be more frustrating than a plateau. The following will explore some expert tips on what to do and what not to do if you want to keep growing.
Do Have Rest Days
Your body needs time to build new muscle and repair any damages that occurred during your last lifting session. Be sure to take days off your workout.
Don’t Do Exclusively Isolating Moves
Yes, exercises that focus on one isolated part of the body are fine to incorporate, but you should be focusing on exercises that work multiple joints and muscles at the same time. If you want to gain muscle more quickly, working multiple muscles at once is a must.
Do Eat Enough Protein
If you’re not getting enough protein, there will come the point when all the working out you do isn’t producing any results. Protein is what your body uses to build new muscle; it’s also what your body uses for a lot of other crucial bodily processes. This means that almost always, your body’s store of protein is being used up, which means you need to be adding as much as you can back into the body.
Typically, a good aim is to manage one gram of protein for every pound of bodyweight you have. This means a 170-pound person should be consuming about 170 grams of protein a day. When you start thinking about how much protein is standard foods, it becomes clear you need to be eating a lot. It’s a pretty hard thing to pull off, which is why people often combine food with a supplement for muscle growth. To give you an idea of protein levels in foods, consider the following:
- 100gm of egg whites = 11gm of protein
- 100gm of chicken = 31 gm of protein
- 100gm of fish = 22gm of protein
- 100gm of almonds = 21gm of protein
- 100gm of lentils = 9gm of protein
Don’t Eat The Wrong Protein
In addition to being sure that you’re getting enough protein, you also want to be sure that you’re getting the right kinds of protein. First and foremost, there are foods that are fine for you in smaller quantities that get sketchy really fast when you’re eating such large amounts of them. Take the fish mentioned above. If it is becoming a part of your regular habits to eat large quantities of fish, you need to start paying attention to mercury levels which can have devastating effects on your body. It’s not recommended to have more than two servings of fish a week for this reason.
Other proteins to look out for in high quantities include chickpeas, tofu and other soy products. The vast majority of the world’s soy is genetically modified. In smaller quantities, most people aren’t bothered by this; in large quantities, it can become a massive problem. Phytoestrogens are present in genetically modified foods, and when consumed, phytoestrogens bind to estrogen receptors in the body resulting in hormonal imbalances. Hormones affect your motivation, mood, weight, appetite, energy levels, and sleep quality. All of these, in turn, impact your ability to work out and, therefore, gain muscle.
Moreover, peanuts and peanut butter are a common favourite and super high in protein, meaning this particular food needs a little more examination. Peanuts inhibit mineral absorption, which is a massive problem if you’re eating a lot of them. Peanuts also have an extremely high risk of mould contamination compared to other foods. Aflatoxins are a family of toxins that the fungi that grow on peanuts produce; basically, they’re a type of mould that covers peanut plants and are carcinogenic (they lead to liver cancer). To make things a bit scarier, they are not killed off when peanuts are processed or roasted (even when peanuts are turned into peanut butter), and they are abundant and thriving all over peanut root systems. When you’re eating peanuts or peanut products, you have a good chance of eating mould at the same time, and when you’re eating a large quantity, this can become a major problem.
Do Train heavy
If you’re looking to gain muscle, train on the heavier side of your comfort level. You want to be working with a weight that you can do around five reps in good form with. If you can do ten to fifteen reps, it’s time to add more weight.
The above information should have hopefully pointed out a few areas where you could improve your workouts and dietary habits with muscle growth in mind. It is crucial that you practise good form when lifting weights as this will prevent injury.