2011 was a phenomenal year for expanding my muscle building knowledge. The things I’ve learned in 2011 have made me realize that when it comes to fitness, I have only scratched the surface. Just the techniques and knowledge I acquired in the last 4 months are mind blowing and could help ANYONE transform their bodies. The best thing about it all is that I have come to find that I have so much more to learn and so much more to share. So without further adieu, let’s get to the sharing part.
10 Muscle Building Techniques I Learned in 2011
1. Train with intention
This is one technique I learned from IFBB pro and creator of one of the best selling muscle building programs online titled “MI-40”, Benjamin Pakulski. Most people walk in the gym to train “legs” (for example) and don’t stop to think about what part of the leg, what workouts target those areas, and the ROM that is best to get the results they want. Instead, they have an idea of what workouts they feel like doing that day, focus only on training heavier, and put no emphasis on how to actually target that muscle for optimal growth.
2. NEVER have fats post workout
I was never big on fats after my workout, but I never really had a legitimate reason aside from “fats slow down the process of absorption”. If you want to take full advantage of the most important anabolic window of the day, it is crucial that you have the right meal following your workout. Putting fast acting carbohydrates in your body along with enough protein is crucial for increasing insulin when energy is low. However, insulin is a storage hormone and I am assuming you can guess what happens if you throw fats in your post workout shake/meal. Yep! You guessed right! The fat will only slow down the absorption of the protein to the muscle and the insulin will cause you to store the fat.
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3. It is possible to build muscle in a calorie deficit
Although being in a caloric surplus is ideal for building muscle quickly, you can too gain muscle while in a deficit…but…if and only if your diet, training, supplementation, recovery, and execution are 100% on point. Think this is bullshit? Check out Vince Delmonte’s incredible results while preparing for one of his 2011 fitness model shows.
4. Cheat days work best right before training a large muscle group
If you are going to include a “cheat day” into your program, I highly recommend making that day the one right before “leg day”. This is the largest muscle group in the body and if trained correctly, those junk calories will be shuttled to the right places and any excess will be burned for sure.
5. STOP worrying about losing muscle!
Being naturally skinny my whole life, I have always been afraid of dieting too much, cardio, and even missing a meal. There was one reason and one reason only that these things freaked me out…I thought I would lose my muscle and end up back where I started after all of my hard work. If you feel the same as I did, well here is a breath of fresh air. Unless you are 4-6% body fat, you have nothing to worry about. The only time your body will use muscle for energy is when your body is demanding more than it can supply.
6. Train your muscles at their weakest
Most people are training at a ROM where their target muscle is at its strongest. Over time, this will equal less strain and less growth. If you start training your muscles at their weakest point, they will have no choice but to grow in order to become stronger in that ROM. If you want to find out where the weakest point is for each muscle group, check out MI-40 by “The Pacman”.
7. Eating healthy is killing your muscle gains
Now before you go crazy and tell me to f*@& myself, give me a second to explain. I am not saying that you should have 3 fast food meals per day w/ a milk shake and remain in a caloric surplus to watch the muscle pile up. What I mean is simply that in order to build muscle quickly, it’s easiest in at a caloric surplus. For ectomorphs/hardgainers this can become very difficult if we have the “I eat healthy” mind set.
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8. HIIT is the best fat killer…period
Although the standard “steady state” cardio is a good way to burn fat, there are other techniques that can be done in half the time and will have you burning fat around the clock. HIIT is not for everyone but if you have the physical ability to do it, stop spending countless hours on the treadmill. What makes HIIT so effective is it’s “after burn effect”. This is caused by an increased metabolic rate after your training session. So, although you are done training, your body will continue to burn calories.
Simple HIIT for fat burn:
Jog 30 seconds – run 30 seconds – repeat. Do this for 10-25 minutes and focus on pushing yourself further every session.
Sprint “x” yards at 80% intensity – jog or walk back to the beginning point – repeat. Do this 10-15 times.
9. Being in an alkaline state is CRUCIAL
Being in an alkaline state is extremely important because it creates the best environment for burning fat and building muscle. Not to mention, if you are not in an alkaline state, then you are acidic. Being acidic puts your body in a catabolic state. The body is most acidic immediately following a workout so it is crucial that we have some sort of greens product or a high amount of greens following our workout. I recommend a serving of vegetables with every meal to ensure alkaline over acid.
10. Weightlifting and Bodybuilding are two different worlds
Those who train specifically to achieve a certain look are “bodybuilders”. Those who focus on getting in the gym and lifting as much as they can (in hopes to build their body) are just weight lifters. Now, I probably won’t start calling myself a bodybuilder and might refer to myself as a weightlifter from time to time in efforts to avoid sounding like a douche bag, but in my head I can understand the difference.
These are the top 10 things I learned in 2011 and I hope some of the items on my list can become part of your list for 2012. I wish you all a happy New Year and looking forward to seeing you all achieve your fitness, personal, and business goals this year.