Breaking Muscle U.S.A.
Nothing Will Change This Year If You Don’t: A Guide To Building Muscle And Getting Fit
By Mike Zourdos
In the last few years, there’s been a lot of discussion surrounding how to get fit and stay healthy. There are so many different types of fitness programs out there now, it can be hard to keep up with all the new ideas! So I thought I’d write a guide to help you make the best decisions when it comes to your health and fitness goals.
I’m going to start off by saying that if you’re already in shape, then you don’t need my advice. However, if not, here’s what I’ll share with you anyway…
1) Your body needs protein every once in awhile.
Protein is the most important macronutrient for building muscle and keeping it strong. Without enough protein, your muscles won’t grow or they will become weaker than they would be otherwise. Protein helps you build lean mass and keeps your metabolism high which means you burn fewer calories throughout the day.
If you’re trying to lose weight, then increasing your intake of protein is a good idea since it will help you maintain those extra pounds that may have accumulated over time.
How much protein do you need to consume per day?
If you’re trying to lose weight, then try to get at least .4 grams of protein per pound that you weigh (1 gram per kilogram). If you’re trying to maintain weight or build muscle, then you should shoot for around one gram of protein per pound that you weigh (2.2 grams per kilogram). If you’re really trying to maximize muscle growth, then aim for 1.5 grams of protein per pound that you weigh (3.3 grams per kilogram).
Where can you get your protein?
You can get your protein from several different sources, including meat, fish, eggs, and certain types of vegetables. Some of the best protein sources include chicken, tuna, pork, turkey, milk, cottage cheese, lentils, and almonds.
Look at the table below for an idea of just how much protein is in the foods I just mentioned:
Food Serving Size Protein (grams) Tuna 1 can 19 Pork 4 oz 21 Turkey 4 oz 21 Cottage Cheese 1 cup 36 Eggs 2 large 6 Almonds 1 oz 6
2) Counting Calories Is Pointless, But You Should Try.
Counting calories sucks and it’s a pain in the rear. It takes forever and it’s a lot of math. Many people just don’t bother and as a result, they don’t lose as much weight as they could or should.
Counting calories isn’t necessary if you know how many calories you have to eat every day in order to lose weight.
There are many different calculators online that can tell you how many calories you need to consume in order to lose weight. These are based on your age, weight, height, and your daily activity.
If you go to google and type in “calories calculator” you’ll get a few different options. My favorite one is the one that goes through a bunch of questions and then tells you how many calories you should consume. It’s quite accurate.
3) Strength Training Is The Key To Building Muscle.
This is definitely the most important part of building muscle and getting fit. If you don’t lift weights, then you’re not going to see any major changes in your body. The cool thing is, if you’re new to lifting weights, it’s not that hard to get started!
If you want to start strength training, then I’d highly recommend going to google and typing in “free weight training programs” or something similar. There are a bunch of different sites that will give you a free download of a workout routine and diet plan. They’re all different, so just pick one and start it!
They’re all free, so there’s no reason not to try one.
Just a quick note though, the workout routine that you choose should be something that interests you. If you hate it and you don’t think it’s interesting, you probably won’t stick with it. I HIGHLY recommend looking online to see if you can find a gym that offers the kind of program you’re interested in.
If you can afford it, go join that gym! If not, find a free weight at home workout that interests you.
4) Cardio Exercise Is Not Evil
Most guys think that in order to build muscle, all they need to do is weight training. While this is somewhat true, you’re going to have a much easier time building muscle if you also incorporate some aerobics and cardio into your routine.
There are two main reasons for this. The first reason is that cardio exercise will improve your overall health and immune system. Your body will be able to handle the stress of weight training better, you’ll have more overall energy, you’ll sleep better at night, and you’ll just feel better in general.
The second reason has to do with muscle growth. If you’re only weight training, then all of your protein consumption is going towards muscle growth and not overall maintenance of your body. This is fine if you’re trying to gain weight, but it’s not practical if you just want to maintain your weight.
If you don’t provide your body with the energy that it needs in the form of carbohydrates and fats then you won’t be able to build muscle.
So in order to counteract this, you should perform cardio every 2-3 days. If you’re following a full body routine twice a week, then I would do cardio on the off days. However, if you’re following a split routine (upper body one day and lower body the next) then I would perform cardio on the off days for the muscles that haven’t been worked that week.
There is some debate as to what type of cardio is best for weight training. Some people say that you should do longish sessions of moderate intensity (such as walking) others say that short and intense sessions (such as sprinting) are better. I don’t think it matters all that much, but if you’re just starting out, then start with a gentle form of cardio such as walking or jogging for 20-30 minutes, 3-4 times a week.
You can always increase the intensity and duration as you get more fit.
5) Drink Your Milk
Most people won’t admit it, but most people in the weight room need to drink more milk. Not the fat free skim milk that most people drink, I’m talking about whole milk or even 2%. I know plenty of power lifters and weightlifters who really should be drinking more of it.
Well for one thing, it’s cheap protein. You can buy a gallon of milk for about $3 and get almost a half gallon of milk which contains roughly 10-12 grams of protein.
Furthermore, studies have time and time again shown that weightlifters who drink more milk (especially leading up to and after a competition) have less muscle fatigue. This means that you’re able to either lift longer or lift heavier weights. Either way, you’re going to get stronger and bigger if you’re consistently working out.
So drink up! I’m not saying to go out and buy the super expensive fat free milk that has been glorified lately. The extra fat in whole milk will help you feel full longer and thereby reducing your hunger throughout the day.
6) Eat Your Nuts
Along the same lines as drinking milk, eating nuts is also beneficial. Nuts are high in calories and therefore are a great way to boost your calorie intake. They’re also a good source of protein and they’re pretty cheap as well.
You can find them in most gas stations or even in the grocery store and they’re not that expensive.
There is some debate as to whether you should soak your nuts before eating them. Some people say that you should, others say you shouldn’t. Either way, I don’t think it’s going to make that much of a difference in the long run.
Just make sure you’re eating the right kind of nuts and you should be fine.
7) Eat Your Eggs
This one is pretty simple: eat more eggs. Whether it’s the whole egg, the whites, or the yolk, eggs are great for building muscle and getting strong. They’re cheap, readily available, and easy to cook.
What more could you want?
You’ll notice that all of these foods are common and cheap. This is on purpose. I’m not saying to load up on the pricy supplements that promise to bulk you up (though if you want to then go ahead). I’m saying to focus on getting the proper nutrients to build quality mass and strength.
Clearly you could bulk on junk food and get big and strong but you’re going to have health problems in the long run. It’s better to focus on eating healthy for your overall well-being as well as your physique.
8) Rest, Relax, and Recover
This is just as important as eating right and working out. If you’re constantly stressed out or don’t get enough rest, your body doesn’t have the time to repair the micro tears in your muscles that occur when you work out. The stronger you get the more intense these micro-tears become and therefore the more rest and recovery you’ll need.
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