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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 December 9, 2019

    5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

    5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

    Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

    Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

    Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

    1. Get Rationally Optimistic

    Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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    This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

    In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

    The result: no more mental stress.

    2. Unplug

    Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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    How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

    It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

    Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

    3. Easy on the Caffeine

    Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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    Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

    4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

    That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

    How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

    • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
    • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
    • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

    While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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    5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

    This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

    The result: mental stress will be gone!

    So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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