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7 Tips for Building the Perfect Physique

7 Tips for Building the Perfect Physique

Building the perfect physique requires hard work, dedication and consistency. Therefore, believing in the silver bullet that will change your body overnight is futile. The good news is that there are some training guidelines you can follow to speed up your fitness gains.

Whether you are looking to shed weight, add muscle mass, or both, here are the training guidelines you need to follow for maximum results.

Wake Up

A solid warm-up is the backbone of any workout. A proper warm-up gets your blood flowing and raises your body temperature, and lets you lift more weight later on. To skip the warm-up is to flirt with disaster, as the risks of premature fatigue and injury are high when your body is still cold. Therefore, make sure to start your workouts off with a solid warm-up.

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To warm up properly, start with light cardio for 5 minutes—think jogging, biking, or running in place—then follow it with another 5 minutes of basic bodyweight movements to get your body firing on all cylinders.

Lift Big

When it comes to the right lifting strategies, big compound movements should make up the staple of your program. Moves such as the deadlift, the squat and the bench press lead to surges in growth and testosterone hormone levels, leading to accelerated muscle growth and greater fitness gains.

Not only that, compound movements recruit huge amounts of muscle fibers, leading to greater energy expenditure and fat loss results.

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Good Form

One of the main root causes of injury is bad form. Whether it’s fidgeting, an arched back, or the rest of the bad signs, bad training form can spell disaster for your training resolution. Therefore, make sure to ingrain good form patterns in your training.

Get technical before you start getting big. Ask around for feedback and be open to it. Of course, hiring a personal trainer is the best option to help you develop and keep good form.

Free Your Muscles

According to a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, exercising with free weights instead of fixed machines leads to greater muscle activation, and thereby greater muscle growth. Free weights are also easier to use, convenient, and can help you develop good form patterns, which can help you prevent injury and blast through performance plateaus.

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Therefore, instead of spending time waiting for the smith machine, embrace free weights and do your workouts without much hassle.

Time Under Tension

Muscle growth is dependent, mostly, on the amount of time a muscle performs an exercise. That’s what is known as time under tension, or TUT for short. According to many studies, the ideal time under tension for maximum muscle growth is anywhere between 40 and 60 seconds.

Do too little and you won’t create much tension. Do too much and you risk over-training your muscles. Therefore, make sure to time your sets within that range for maximum growth.

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Sprint A Lot

Long runs have their benefits. They help you develop endurance and burn fat. But they’re boring and can take a toll on your time and muscle mass. Fortunately, interval running can help you achieve those benefits without much of the hassle.

A form of high intensity interval training, this type of running can help you shed weight, boost metabolism, develop killer lower body strength and speed, and will help you get into the best shape of your life. Here is how to proceed with your interval running workouts:

  • Start with a proper warm-up. Run slowly for 5 minutes and breathe deeply.
  • Go for your first sprint at 80 percent of your max for 45 seconds. Jog slowly for another 45 seconds to recover.
  • Repeat the on/off intensity cycle 7 to 10 times.
  • End the workout with a cool down. Jog slowly for 5 minutes and stretch afterwards.

Be Open to Change

Sticking to the same training routine is a recipe for boredom and performance plateaus. If you are looking to achieve progress with your training program, constant change is key. To do that, you need to keep challenging your body by constantly getting out of your comfort zone.

Therefore, make sure to progress with every workout you do. If you do 15 reps one session, increase the load and do 10 or 12 during your next session. On the following session, keep the load but go back to 15 reps, so you are changing only one variable each time.

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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