If you’ve stalled in your ability to keep making muscle gains, these small adaptations can make big improvements.
Try changing gyms every few months. There’s no harm in playing favorites with your pet sweat box, but hitting the random button on your gym membership forces you into changing up your routines and using new equipment. If you are locked into a contract, try altering the workouts you are using to target muscle groups that you might not be engaging. Ever thought of high functioning scapular movement or hip mobility as goals? When you switch your focus to factor in that there are over 650 skeletal muscles in the human body, you’ll realize this strategy will prevent overuse injuries while reigniting your passion for exercise.
Progressive overloading should be the cornerstone of your workouts, but this does not mean loading the bar with weights so heavy you cannot properly control them. The goal is to always get that burn in the muscle group you are working. Try to avoid counting out your reps and rather push selected sets to failure to trigger new growth. Close your eyes during the set and focus deeply on the feeling each rep applies to the muscle. Aim to create that each week with marginally more discomfort each time.
Sticking to a certain diet is a good practice, but it’s worth stopping your daily carbs and protein totals from playing in the same tired sandboxes. Even if you’re trying to gain muscle, it can be useful to try a keto diet for roughly five weeks to throw off your body and metabolism. When you return to your more established eating patterns you’ll make quicker gains.
For the best results, get yourself a slow digesting protein like casein that is loaded with amino acids which will keep you in a muscle building state all night.
Drink sugar protein
You might only get the chocolate cravings at 10pm, but flip that script. Spiking your insulin levels post-workout can help stimulate the transport of glucose and amino acids into muscle and promotes glycogen storage and protein synthesis. Research at the University of Texas Health Science Center showed the infusion of insulin into healthy volunteers increased the rate of transport of key amino acids into the muscle from 20 percent to 50 percent and this increase was associated with enhanced protein synthesis. Other investigators from Penn State University Medical School showed insulin stimulated the cellular machinery (ribosomes) involved in the manufacture of protein. One of the best ways to release high levels of insulin is to drink a sugar protein drink loaded with amino acids within 30 minutes of completing a solid workout. If you make glucose and amino acids available at this time, insulin will help synthesize muscle protein and muscle glycogen at a very rapid rate, and a very little fat will be synthesized and stored in adipose (fat) tissue. Contrary to popular belief, insulin is the most powerful anabolic hormone in relation to muscle growth.
Get better sleep
Stick to a sleep schedule that involves the same bedtime and wake-up time, even on the weekends. This regulates your body clock and could help you fall asleep and stay asleep for the entire night. It’s also worth practicing a bedtime ritual that involves a relaxing, routine activity right before bedtime. Also, audit your bedroom, it should be cool – between 65 and 73 degrees – and free from any noise or light that can disturb you.
Set a second alarm
There’s an ongoing conversation regarding whether the fasting, which occurs during a night’s sleep, has a detrimental effect on muscle gain. Whether it’s true or not, it could be worth necking a protein shake right before bed or one in the middle of the night, while keeping in mind your sleeping patterns. For the best results, get yourself a slow-digested protein like casein that is loaded with amino acids which will keep you in a muscle-building state all night.
Improper form can murder progress, especially on the milestone lifts like the squat, deadlift and bench press. Often correcting technique is trickier and is almost always due to mobility problems. Lighten the load and work on proper form done slowly because excessive weight can unravel the best intentions and have adverse injury consequences. Video your form, have it critiqued by a friend or exercise professional and take the steps you need to relearn any exercises the right way and earn that muscle the hard way.
Rest your insides
Try a detox liquid flush. Even if you are not trying to lose weight, a detox can help wash away any waste built up in your body in a short period of time in a way that’s similar to fasting. You should lose quite a bit of weight (such as 4-7lb) and expect half of it to come back when you go back to your normal diet. However, that small net loss is still awesome and is sure to motivate you on your fitness path.