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5 Fitness and Nutrition Hacks to Build Muscle Fast

5 Fitness and Nutrition Hacks to Build Muscle Fast


    Building muscle isn’t rocket science. All it takes is repeatedly doing the things that are proven in the lab and gym to work. This article provides the 5 great ways to build muscle fast. None of them require you to spend lots of money on fancy fitness equipment or nutritional supplements either. All you have to be willing to do is make a few adjustments to your diet, workout, and supplement routines. Put forth the effort and you’ll be able to gain 5-10 lbs. of muscle in a month or two.

    1. Eat Enough Protein Every Day

    Contrary to what advertisements for protein powders say, you don’t need to eat and drink hundreds of grams daily to build muscle. The truth is, eating this amount won’t help you build muscle faster. It can actually be stored as fat. All you really need is enough to meet your body’s daily needs and then a little more to stimulate muscle growth. This works out to about .8 grams per pound of body weight. So, if you weigh 150 lbs. you need to eat about 120 grams daily.

    Don’t stress too much over the exactly how many grams of protein are in everything you eat. Use the eyeball method instead. This is done by looking at the protein on your plate and picturing an amount that’s the size of the palm of your hand. This amount contains about 28 grams of protein. Do this every time you eat and you’ll easily be able to make sure you eat enough.

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    You also need to know which foods are protein rich. They include: beef, eggs, poultry, pork, and seafood. Drink a protein shake if you’re having trouble eating enough of these foods. The best type of shake for building muscle is one that uses whey and casein proteins as its primary sources. Research shows these are the best protein powders for building muscle. One study also shows that drinking a shake that contains casein protein before bed can actually turn on the muscle building process.

    2. Do ‘Big’ Lifts

    Forget exercises like curls, shoulder presses, and flyes and training individual body parts (chest, back, biceps, etc.) if building muscle is your goal. You must instead perform exercises that train several muscle groups at once. Scientific studies show that exercises that do this are better for building muscle than the aforementioned isolation movements.

    Exercises you should do lots of include: dips, deadlifts, farmers walks, kettlebell swings, military presses, and pull ups. These are the movements that will really stimulate your body to build muscle fast. This article outlines how to perform my favorite muscle building exercise farmer’s walks.

    3. Train Hard Often

    You don’t have to work out every day for hours at a time to build lots of muscle. What you need to do is train using the exercises I mentioned above often enough to stimulate muscle growth. Lifting weights 3 to 4 days a week is plenty. Give yourself a days rest after every 1-2 workouts.
    Your workouts only need to have 4-6 of these exercises. Choose an exercise for every major muscle group at each workout and you’re set. This includes your legs (squats, deadlifts, lunges), chest/shoulders/triceps (bench press, dips, military press, push ups), and back (bent over rows, pull ups). I like to include a total body exercise every workout too. I find that they are the best exercises for building muscle fast. This includes exercises like kettlebell swings, kettlebell throws, and farmer’s walks.

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    Perform 3-5 sets of each exercise for 6-10 reps. Use a weight that makes it difficult to do the last rep of each set but not so hard that you cannot do it without using good form. Increase the weight you use when you can do every rep of each set.

    4. Rest And Recover Between Your Workouts

    Working out breaks down your muscles and eats into your ability to recover. You build muscle when aren’t exercising. Proper rest and recovery can speed the muscle building process. The best way is to get enough sleep. Getting 7-8 hours of sleep every night will enable you to train harder, longer and build muscle faster. If you can’t get this much sleep daily, take a 45 minute nap during the day to make up the difference.

    Another way to recover faster and speed the rate at which you can build bigger, stronger muscles is to back off a little bit with regard to the number of sets and reps you do at each workout every once in awhile. Studies show that reducing the workout volume (sets and reps) by about 50% every 8-12 weeks can help you make progress significantly faster. This means that instead of doing 12 total sets at a workout you’ll only do 6 using the same weight. Do this for a week. You can then go back to your normal routine.

    Cutting back every once in a while will help you stay mentally fresh too. This in turn gives you more energy to put into your future workouts.

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    5. Take Nutritional Supplements That Are Proven To Work

    Once you have the 4 other tips in place you can consider taking nutritional supplements to help you build more muscle. The key thing is to use products that work. I felt the same way at one time too. What I did about is spend time reviewing scientific studies to see which products are shown to work and then try them on myself. While there are several that I found to work, there are 3 that work best. They are branched chain amino acids, creatine monohydrate, and fish oil.

    The first supplement, branched chain amino acids are shown in several research studies to give you energy during your workout, decrease muscle soreness and ‘turn on’ the muscle building process within your body. I find that they work well for me too, especially at increasing my energy and decreasing post-workout soreness. You should take about .05 grams per pound of body weight before and after working out for best results.

    Next is my favorite, creatine monohydrate. If you’re only going to take one supplement to build muscle this is the one. This is because there are dozens if not hundreds of scientific studies that show it safely helps you build muscle and get stronger and plenty of real world evidence too. Taking it helped me gain about 10 lbs. of extra muscle in a month. I also notice that I recover faster between sets and my strength increases when I use it as well.

    If you decide to give it a try, make sure you buy a product that is tested and guaranteed to nothing but creatine monohydrate to ensure its purity. When you take creatine follow what’s referred to as the loading phase which is taking 10-20 grams a day for 5-7 days for the best results. Research shows this is the best way to get as creatine into your cells as quickly as possible. You can then back off to 5 grams a day to keep getting benefits. You can learn more about the best way to load and take creatine at this article.

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    Last but not least is fish oil. In addition to being good for the health of your brain and heart, it can also help you build muscle. In one study, subjects taking 2 grams of fish oil daily for 6 weeks added a couple pounds of muscle. They lost fat too. All without changing their diet or exercising at all. When shopping for a fish oil supplement, make sure you buy a concentrated source that’s tested to be free of impurities and pesticides.

    Summary

    • Eat about .8 grams of protein per pound of body weight.
    • Do total body workouts using ‘big’ exercises like dips, pull ups, and squats.
    • Workout 3-4 days a week using heavy weights.
    • Make rest and recovery a priority. Sleeping 8 hours a night is key.
    • Take a few supplements that are proven to build muscle like creatine monohydrate.

    Now all that’s left for you to do is to apply this info…and get to work in the gym!

    (Photo credit: Weights and Water via Shutterstock)

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    Last Updated on July 8, 2020

    18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

    18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

    The act of writing in a journal often seems daunting or unnecessary to many people. Even authors who work on novels might shun the idea of daily diaries. What purpose does jotting down words on a regular basis do if not contributing to the next novel, play or song? I know from experience many benefits of journaling that I wish to share.

    1. Understand Yourself Better

    Though many people and even writers avoid keeping journals, I vow to do it more often. Not only do I desire to take up daily journaling but also I plan to do it with pen to paper.

    Some of the benefits I’ve found from my more active days include finding myself in the sense of understanding what matters to me and what I want out of life. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to find a spouse who is my best friend and advocate in raising children. I attribute this and much more to what I learned about myself in keeping journals for years.

    2. Keep Track of Small Changes

    I’ll admit that I never got very far with my guitar lessons, but in writing in a journal, I have seen the ability to track small changes like those that come when you practice anything.

    Those learning a musical instrument often fail to see the small improvements that come with regular practice. Writing won’t help you switch chords any faster, but it will help you to develop a better sense for language and grammar just by doing it.

    3. Become Aware of What Matters

    As you continue to write in a journal, following a stream-of-consciousness feel, you can look back on the topics that you chose to write about. Those issues and emotions that poured out of you will provide insight on to what matters most to you.

    You may not even realize that you’re job is depressing you or that you want to spend more time with your kids until you look over your thoughts that you weren’t really thinking about.

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    4. Boost Creativity

    The idea that the brain and its neural activity across hemispheres encourages learning also shows up in increased creativity. Just like with learning an instrument, your increased activity will inspire your thoughts to connect and reconnect in different ways.

    When I wrote in a journal, I often wrote poetry as well as just my thoughts as they came out. I started to hear poems more in my mind; so much so that I took to scrawling lines on napkins and finding metaphors in mundane activities.

    You really are what you do, so writing helps grow more than being a writer. Writing boosts the way you communicate and structure language, which really is a creative process.

    5. Represents Your Emotions in a Safe Environment

    A journal is as private as it gets. You can lock it in a safe or tuck it under a pillow and no one will accidentally share it on social media or have an opportunity to “leave a comment.”

    Write about your sorrow as much as your happiness and frustration and know that you don’t have to keep your emotions inside your body. You can put them on paper.

    6. Process Life Experiences

    When you take the time to look back over what you’ve written, be it a week or a year later, you will have the distance you need to more objectively interpret your raw feelings.

    Everything from losing a job to losing a loved one can emerge in a new light for a fresh perspective. Figuring out how the benefits of journaling affect your perspective on life will create connection and increase creativity.

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    7. Stress Relief

    In combining the exercise inherent in fine motor coordination that comes from the act of writing with the emotional release of self expression, those who maintain a journal relieve stress.

    Try it out. Go home and write about your day. Write about the traffic. Write about the coffee order the barista got wrong but you didn’t have time to change. See how you can physically purge some of that pent-up stress by putting it on paper.

    8. Provide Direction

    Though journaling is often conducted as an activity without much direction, it often provides direction.

    One of the biggest benefits of journaling is that your chaotic thoughts merge to show a direction in which to head. Asking the right questions is the only way to achieve the best solutions, so look to your journal to find your way toward your next goal.

    9. Solve Problems

    Just as in practicing math problems, we all get better at finding hidden solutions through the act of processing.

    Think of your next goal as X and solve your life problems by reading your journals as word problems. The benefit of journaling here is that you write, explore and process to recognize and then solve problems.

    When life is too in-your-face, you have to step back to see reality. Living in the moment allows us to write in the moment and use that expression to solve problems.

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    10. Find Relief From Fighting

    Solving your problems only comes after time to process, recognize and strategize. Just as in the benefit of journaling where relief comes from the act of writing, relief from fighting comes when you decide to “sit this one out” and communicate one-way.

    Fighting is only productive when the fighters care to communicate and find common ground. When the emotions are as high as the stress levels, writing will function as the best time out.

    11. Find Meaning in Life

    Journaling will show you why you are living, whether you are wallowing in things you wish to change or striving to make the changes. Your life will begin to take on new meaning and your own words will reveal the actions that got you where you are so that you can assess and pave a new path for your future.

    12. Allow Yourself to Focus

    Taking even a small amount of time out of every day will provide you with not only peace of mind but also increased focus. Taking a break to meditate in writing and journaling will sharpen your mental faculties.

    13. Sharpen Your Spirituality

    When we write, we allow all the energy and experiences to flow through us, which often provides further insight into our own spirituality. Even if your parents didn’t raise you to follow a specific religion, your thoughts will start to show you what you believe about the universe and your place in it.

    14. Let the Past Go

    I’ve mentioned a few examples where going back over your writing offers advice and direction, but the simply truth is that writing down our feelings can be the best way to let them go. We can choose to literally throw these pages away when they’re filled with negativity and hate.

    15. Allow Freedom

    Journaling is the perfect way to not only express yourself but to also experience the freedom of being who you are. Your books can stay private or you can publish them. Your freedom stems from your sense of self and your perception of your thoughts.

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    16. Enhance Your Career

    Again, the private act of pen-to-paper processing provides the benefits of journaling mentioned above, but you can also enhance your career when you take similar ideas and categorize, edit and publish them in an online blog.

    Your thoughts will often be personal and express emotions, but another benefit of journaling is uncovering fresh ideas about your work.

    17. Literally Explore Your Dreams

    All the benefits I’ve mentioned explore ideas, thoughts and emotions, which is also what our dreams and nightmares do. Through writing down your dreams from the previous night, you can enhance your creativity as well as connect some of the metaphorical dots from the rest of your journal.

    18. Catalog Your Life for Others

    No one wants to think about dying, but we all die. Leaving a journal will act as a way to reconnect with family and friends left behind. The ideas you wish to keep personal while you process the life you’re living will serve to rekindle and inspire those who loved you through the process.

    We consider our partners our life witnesses, but writing provides a tangible mark on the world.

    Now that you’ve learned all the benefits of journaling, it’s time to start writing a journal:

    Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

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