A New Year A New You: Increase Your Size & Strength

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If you are looking to increase muscle mass and strength, then you have probably spent a few hours looking online for advice on how to get big quickly and been inundated with articles and websites guaranteeing to increase both your muscle mass and strength in a matter of weeks.
Like everything else in life, this is usually too good to be true and you will inevitably be left feeling frustrated and ready to throw in the towel. Let me give you your first piece of advice: building muscle and a great body not only takes time, it also takes immense dedication and motivation.
Seriously, you should be skeptical of anything that promises to help you get big quickly; I have seen articles promising to deliver a stone of muscle in one month, believe me, it is totally unrealistic and you only going to leave yourself dejected and totally lacking in motivation.
You need to accept that this is a long-term process and that there are rarely any shortcuts. We all know that deep down the reason as why we want to build muscle and reduce fat levels is to look our best; there is nothing wrong with this at all but this shouldn’t be the sole reason.
Weightlifting has numerous benefits for your overall health, both physical and mental and for this reason you need to accept that this is going to be a life-long process that you are doing for yourself.
If you are a complete beginner then you probably assume that the most important aspect of weight-training is the routine, basically the time that you spend in the gym; however, there are also two further aspects which require just as much thought and dedication. Your diet and the time that you spend resting are just as important and you need to make an effort to ensure that you adhere to recommended advice.


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The Routine
There are two types of routine that can be employed if you are looking to pack on size and increase strength; an all-body workout and a split routine. Basically, an all-body-workout is, surprise surprise, a workout which works out each muscle group every time you hit the gym.
If you are a beginner, or if you are getting back into training after a long lay-off, then an all over body workout is probably your best bet. There are numerous debates over which type of routine offers the most benefit, but I would suggest ignoring what others tell you to do and find out what works for you, and you only.
If you are more of an experienced gym rat, then chances are that you are already employing a split-routine in order to target each muscle group each time you hit the gym. This is ideal if you already have a decent foundation of muscle and are looking to increase your size.
You also need to make sure that you switch-up and change your workout so that your body doesn’t hit a plateau. The more your body gets used to a particular exercise, the less it will grow.
There are many places that will generate a work-out for you online and are just as good as employing a personal trainer. That is of course, if you aren’t lacking in motivation, if you are then maybe the gym is not for you.
Look, if you are sitting there now and wondering whether or not you should kick-start your exercise regime, then picture yourself in 5 or even 10 years time if you maintain your current diet and lifestyle. Exactly, that should be enough to make you sit up.

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What If I Have A Hard Time Putting On Size?
If you have been lifting for a while now and still aren’t putting on a great deal of size, then you need start doing compound exercises. Unlike split-routines, which target muscles groups in isolation, compound exercises work multiple joints and muscles at the same time.
Compound exercises include: squats, deadlifts and bench presses etc. If you employ half a dozen compound exercises, you are giving your body a full and complete all-body workout. If you are looking to build mass and the overall strength of your body then these are ideal.

Getting Your Diet Right
Ok, I am going to give you a piece of advice that you need to cement in your mind right now. Try to think if your body as a car, you could take your car to the best garage there is but how far would the car get without fuel? Believe it or not, your body is exactly the same and you need to ensure that your body is properly fuelled in order to function, and of course, grow.
If you are pushing yourself to the limits then you need to make sure that you consume enough calories each day to function, and secondly, grow muscle mass. Listen, how can you seriously expect to get bigger if you don’t give your body a chance to grow?
As well as all those phoney promises that you have been told will get you stacked in a week, you have also probably been told that there is one guaranteed way to increase both size and strength- supplements.
Listen, I made this very same mistake when I was just starting out. I wasn’t eating enough real food and was inside guzzling shake after shake and wondering how long it would take to see some real gains.
That is not to say that whey protein is not important because it is, hugely important. Why? I hear you ask, unless you have a wealth of time and money to spend preparing and eating food, then you are going to need a supplement to give you a helping hand. Not only do whey protein shakes offer you the chance to save time and money, they also offer convenience. Whey protein also has the added benefit in that it is absorbed faster than other types of protein.
Basically you need to get protein to your muscles as quickly as possible after a workout, ideally you also need to get a blast of carbs as well. Adding some blended oats to your shake is a great way of achieving this. If you want to indulge yourself, then try add a teaspoon of olive oil as well to get those healthy fats you need.
If this sounds a little impractical to you then there are plenty of protein bars to choose from that offer you convenience when you are on the go. This is an excellent way to refuel yourself with quality protein and carbs.
You may also have heard some people talking about creatine and all the amazing benefits that it has to offer. Listen, if you are just starting out and you aren’t exactly sure what creatine is, what it does or its benefits, then it is simply isn’t for you. Yet. There is still plenty of time for you to get well-acquainted with creatine.

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How Often & What Should I Eat?
Ok, there is no easy way to say this but if you want to get bigger you are going to have to lift weights and eat. A lot.
Then eat again and again and again. Wait, did I mention you need to eat?! I am not giving you permission to stuff your face with burgers, pizzas and whatever unhealthy food takes your fancy.
You need to aim to eat 6 small meals a day composed of:

40% Carbs
40% Protein
20% Healthy Fats

You need to make sure that you cycle your calories as well so that your body doesn’t get used to a certain caloric level. Remember that you can use protein shakes for these meals as well but you should aim to eat 4 meals and 2 protein shakes; any more than that and you are will not see the full benefits of your hard work and dedication.

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Take Proper Care of Yourself
This is one piece of advice then many choose to ignore, or they just don’t seem to understand how important it is. OK, just take a minute and think to yourself, when do you think your muscles grow? In the gym? While you are at work? Hell no. The truth is that your muscles grow when you sleep. That’s right, a combination of lifting weights, eating cleaning and correctly and getting enough sleep is all you need to increase your size and muscles mass.
You should aim to get around 8 hours of good quality sleep every night. That includes the weekends as well, so if you want to be considered a serious gym-goer, then you need to start skipping those after-work drinks and doing something other than drinking at the weekend.
Seriously, you have no idea how many guys have come to me and complain that they just aren’t seeing the results that they should be. Guess what? The majority of these had one thing in common- they all got smashed at the weekend, basically poisoning themselves.
We all know that increased testosterone equals increased muscle growth, but guess? Alcohol releases oestrogen into your body and depletes testosterone levels the next day. What is the point in putting in all those hours and effort in the gym for nothing?
Remember, only you are responsible for achieving what YOU want to achieve, so it’s time to cut out those excuses.

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