Who wants to be skinny?
Of course the answer to this is relative.
One mans skinny is another mans ultimate goal.
That’s the thing with goals, they are completely individual so you have to compare yourself to yourself, no one else.
Having a relative amount of muscle is healthy for your long term health.
You can have too much of a good thing.
Having muscle is great.
It allows you to burn more calories, it builds bone density, you are stronger, and more able and it can help with confidence.
However, the pursuit of muscle can have a negative effect on your health.
Again, this is relative, but being too muscled without any focus on mobility, flexibility, and cardiovascular health usually leaves guys looking like bulked up bodybuilders.
Bodybuilding is amazing when done smartly and with a somewhat sensible approach.
There’s absolutely no need to not be able to run unless you are competing on the world stage and are chasing the levels of enhanced lifters.
Being “too big” is difficult for most people but it can put strain on the heart and effect your long term health. Don’t worry though, most guys wont have this problem.
Having enough is good.
By weight training you can increase levels of good male hormones like testosterone and growth hormone allowing you to fight off depression and body fat, especially the spare tyre look.
It benefits everyone to weight train in some form or another.
You’ll get stronger and if you manage calories, stress and recovery, you’ll look better for it too.
Here’s how to do it.
I could end the blog there but you need a little more detail.
There’s no magic pill or workout.
Many people look for the one thing that will help them pack on pounds of muscle.
Unfortunately, it’s not sexy.
It requires A LOT of hard work, a sensible nutrition approach that focuses on high quality ingredients most of the time and adequate rest and stress management.
That just doesn’t sound as good as “monster mass shake” or the newest workout plan top celebrity trainers are selling.
1. Focus on progressive overload.
Make sure you are progressing.
Even if you just write weights, sets and reps on paper or in your phone, that’s good enough.
Progressive overload means you have to lift more weight over time.
All these numbers give you your total volume lifted.
As long as this number is going up, you will put on muscle (while following the other points).
2. Practice good technique.
It doesn’t matter what’s written on paper. You’re technique will determine where all that hard work is going.
If you’re throwing weights about with no control, say goodbye to any kind of quality muscle.
You’re trying to overload a muscle, not move weight up and down.
Read that again.
Higher isn’t always better and lower isn’t better.
Focus on feeling the target muscle working and getting better at that every workout.
By moving weight too far for your range of motion, you can overload bad technique and cause injuries.
Full range of motion is individual and you need to find yours.
If you struggle then see if there’s any issues stopping you from getting there.
3. Stretch, recover and manage stress.
You’re breaking muscle down in the gym, you won’t grow muscle if you’re tight, stressed and not sleeping well.
Add in inadequate nutrition and you’ll quickly realise that growing muscle isn’t as easy as you thought.
You have to make sacrifices in how you approach your life.
This doesn’t mean you have to live out of Tupperware and avoid social events, just do your best to relax, be mindful, take a yoga class 1-2 times per week and sleep enough.
4. Eat enough.
This is a grey area.
Some people want to stay as lean as possible while putting on muscle. This is their downfall.
You won’t get anywhere by eating like a bird and trying to grow like a lion.
Eat enough calories.
Very rough guidelines are eating 15-17 calories per pound of bodyweight.
I’ll let you do the maths as this isn’t a specific nutrition email, if you want to know more, send me a message.
Protein should be anything between 0.8-1.2 grams per pound of bodyweight, again, you can do the maths here.
Don’t over eat. You need the calories from carbs and fats to fuel performance and recovery.
When in a surplus, you don’t need as much protein as you think unless you are training extremely long and very frequently.
Eat more than you burn.
Train with progressive overload with good technique.
Enjoy the process. It’s not for everyone so you might not like it, find a method you enjoy and you will be happy with your progress.