Just a few days ago I was finishing up my last workout of the year 2011. It was a Saturday morning chest workout. Granted, I walked out of the gym feeling good and pumped but I couldn’t help but think ‘If I had 2011 to do all over again what would I change; what would I do differently?’ In fact, my first exercise prompted this thought as I found myself struggling with 315 on incline barbell press, an exercise that my strength has fluctuated on throughout this last year. Would I be stronger had I eaten better? Would I have less body fat had I paid a little more attention to my cardio? Two days later (this morning) I had my first workout of 2012, arm day. It seems I pushed a little harder this morning and moved a little more weight than I normally do on arm day. It’s that time again. Time for new years resolutions as we reflect back on 2011. Time to create a plan to build more muscle in 2012.
One of the most frustrating battles we face when it comes to any type of fitness goal, whether it’s gaining more muscle or dropping some LB’s, is the results never seem to come quick enough. We see advertisements all over the internet with pitches like ‘build muscle fast’ or ‘lose weight fast.’ We live in a fast-paced society where every task is urgent and everything has to be done right now. ‘I don’t have time’ is the number one excuse for people neglecting their health and their physiques. My 2 cents on that is there is no fast way to build muscle, and we simply have time for what we make time for. The quickest muscle gains usually happen when one first starts working out. After that the gains may not come as fast which is why many fall away. After that, it’s trial by fire. Do you want to build muscle bad enough? Do you have that deep desire to build a powerful physique? Is this really part of who you are?
I say all of that to say this…nothing, and I mean nothing is going to overrule consistency when it comes to building muscle. Just because your gains aren’t coming as quickly as you’d like doesn’t mean you’re not gaining new muscle. How many times have you gone to the gym only to be weaker on a particular lift than you were the last time you performed that lift? Did you give up? No. Eventually, you broke through. Why? Because you kept pushing. Because you’re determined. Because this is part of who you are and you wouldn’t know how to quit pushing weights even if you wanted to. You fix your diet, or train harder the next day, or take an extra day to recover and come back stronger; either way, you figure it out and continue on with your journey to building muscle. Consistency and time equates to dense muscle mass. You may make 2 steps forward then 1 step back then another 2 steps forward. By being consistent you will always be progressing. That being said, you have to make realistic goals for yourself; don’t set yourself up for failure.
Each year that passes by I see technology enhance and new ideas flourish. Along with that, more workout programs, new diets, and new supplements are being advertised. I’m not saying this is a bad thing and I personally embrace technological and scientific advancements, which I’m sure 2012 will bring us an array of. What I will say is don’t neglect the basics. Don’t let the foundation and tried-and-true principles for building muscle take a back seat. There’s no secret workout, no trendy diet, and no magic pill that’s going to take the place of training your rear off with compound exercises to build muscle mass and a balanced nutrition plan. If there’s a new supplement on the market that you want to try, by all means try it. I plan on trying my share of new supplements in 2012. But don’t stray from the basics. Here’s some quick notes on my basic plan for 2012 to build more muscle.
> Training each body part every 5-6 days as opposed to every 7
> Training with more intensity
> Sticking with heavy compound exercises in the beginning of my workouts
> Throwing in high rep sets (20 rep sets as well as drop sets) towards the end of my workouts
> Get bigger, stronger and build more dense muscle mass
> Be more consistent with cardio
> Do a better job of planning my meals during the week
> Sticking with basic foods for building muscle (lean meats, eggs, milk, protein powders, rice, fruits, sweet potatoes, oatmeal, whole grains, and healthy fats such as natural peanut butter and nuts)
> Eliminating foods high in sugar (example: I stopped putting sugar in my coffee)
> Enjoy dining out but save it mainly for weekends
> Drink more water
> To spend LESS money on supplements in 2012
> Stick with basic supplements such as multi-vitamins, protein powder, pre and post workout supplements
> May try a new muscle builder or fat burner here and there
Embrace 2012 with the changes that will come in your life and try new things, but don’t let anything take precedence over being consistent with the proven techniques to build muscle. If you want to implement a new workout technique or exercise, do it. But don’t stop performing the exercises that will build dense muscle over time. If you want to change your diet or try a new nutrition plan, try it. But don’t forget that you’re body and your muscles need certain nutrients to grow. If you want to try a new supplement to build muscle or lose body fat, throw it in there. But remember, it’s a supplement and don’t let it replace hard work in the gym and a solid nutrition plan. Welcome 2012, and blessings to you all!
Train with Passion,