You’re halfway through February, curled up in your bed because it’s cold outside and depressed thinking there’s too much time until the summer beach season. You’re scrolling through Instagram looking at all the beach bodies and images of hot celebrities, daydreaming about a Rachel McAdams or Chris Pratt pouncing on you like a wild mountain lion. If you’re beginning to wonder how much time is left until you have to get your butt to the gym, the answer is now. We only have about three months until our families or friends open up their backyard pools. You can’t start going to the gym a week before you’re invited to that cottage or pool party—it takes patience and commitment to get what you want out of your physical appearance. Even professional athletes look at themselves and hope for a more aesthetic body. What is more painful? The regret you’ll have in June not having worked out earlier, or the pain now of working your way to a pleasurable goal?
For the next six to eight weeks, add the most amount of weight to your workouts and focus on few repetition counts. We’re thinking about gaining mass over this amount of time. Don’t think that you’re going to get washboard abs; remember, it’s a process and we’ll focus on aesthetics right before the semester ends. Ways for you to gain mass is to focus on isolation lifts such as a heavy front squat, deadlift, weighted push-ups, pull-ups, supine row, and lunges. Working the largest muscles in your body will secrete the most amount of testosterone (growth hormone), enabling you to look bigger than you ever have before. When lifting, emphasize the negative—place emphasis on the downward phase of the lift, where the muscle shortens as it contracts. The negative is an easy way to gain an immense amount of mass. Before the negative aspect of the lift, emphasize explosive lifts in the pushing aspect. This will increase muscle fibre recruitment.
Nutrition is always key, but especially when you’re building muscle mass. You may think working out to nutrition ratio is 80/20, but it’s 50/50. If you aren’t fueling your body with the right proteins, fats, and amino acids, you’ll see that muscles won’t have any energy to use to get better. Lean beef should be a staple of your diet, and skinless chicken, cottage cheese, eggs, whey protein, and fish are strongly recommended if you’re able to eat these food products.
To shred fat after building muscle, your body needs fewer calories and more cardiovascular exercise. When you work out to gain muscle, you should only be lifting heavy weights three to four times a week, allowing you to recover. When you’re cutting fat, but working your muscles at the same time, you should work out four to six times a week. A lighter load means less time needed to recover. When you work out, do more body weight lifts or lighten the burden. Instead of isolated squats or deadlifts, try box jumps and lunges—incorporate a more cardiovascular workout program into your routine and that excess fat will melt away.