Golden Rules of Fitness
No matter if you are a beginner or a fitness veteran, fundamental rules of fitness are the same. If you apply these 7 rules of fitness, you will always be in great shape.
Strength Comes First
Before you start thinking about becoming bigger, you need to become stronger. Strength is the foundation of fitness, according to the experts.
The stronger you are, the harder you can train, and that gets you in better shape. By strengthening your muscles, joints and bones, you are protecting yourself from injuries as well as from the effects of aging.
Even those who are in endurance training will feel the benefits in a few weeks of strength training.
To work on your strength, you should focus on big lifts that activate the entire upper body, using more than 80% of your maximum in one lift in three reps.
Once you build strength, you will be able to increase the intensity of what you are doing, for example, increase the number of sets or reps, and that will lead to the increase of your muscle mass.
Of course, you can maintain one level of training if all you want to do is develop strength and not increase the muscle mass.
Big Reps Are Crucial
Maybe you want to work only on the muscles you want to show, but that is wrong. You will get much better results if you do large mixed moves that stimulate the excretion of testosterone and growth hormone that are essential in the increase of muscle mass.
The best of these moves is deadlift that, if done correctly, includes the muscles of the entire body, especially upper body muscles. This exercise should be a part of each training program that includes weights.
However, if you want to focus on building your chest muscles, then you should add overhead press to your basic chest press.
This exercise influences the entire shoulder area as well as the triceps and, if you do it standing up, it also activates stabilizer muscles.
It is also less stressful for shoulder joints than bench press, so if you want your shoulders to be strong and stable for the rest of your life, make sure you do overhead press.
In case everything you do is based on deadlift, shoulder press and squats, you will at the same time build your strength and muscle mass if you add to it pull ups and power clean, you will have one excellent training routine.
Variations Are Necessary
Muscles react when they are forced to adapt to new stress, so in order to notice some sort of progress, it is necessary to change your workout routine constantly.
Basic principle remains the same, and that is full-body workout whether it is with a barbell or increased cardio no matter what you do if you always do the same you will stay the same.
If you are a beginner at the gym best possible strategy is to focus on increasing the weights you are lifting each week.
This is called linear periodization, and it is essential in achieving good fitness in the shortest possible time.
There are a lot of areas in training where you can apply variations. With variations in reps, rest period, angle and range of movements, you give your body additional stimulus to continue to grow in the period of several weeks.
The bigger the movement, the more you can do it and still continue to progress, so squats, pull ups and shoulder press can be done in the longer time period still giving excellent results.
Also, variations in tempo can help you progress when you get into the period of stagnation.
Try to lift the weight explosively and then put it down slowly in the period of 4-5 seconds.
This exposes your muscles to tension longer, making them adapt to new stimulus and its efficient both in weight loss and muscle gain.
Cardio training should also be subjected to variations, so you should replace long runs with short sprints or increase the incline level. This will help you achieve better results much faster.
Diet Is Important
It is said that the real difference between the training for weight loss and training for muscle mass gain is in what you do in the kitchen and not in what you do in the gym.
Actually, it is not that simple. It is undeniably true that if you correct your diet, you will dramatically affect the speeding up of your progress while eating junk food will just slow you down.
People that spend the time at the gym doing the exercises correctly and combine it with a balanced diet will for sure have great and wanted results.
There is one change in the diet that can never fail and its in regard to the men that want to gain muscle mass: eat food rich in protein for breakfast because that is the best way to prepare your brain and your body for a productive day ahead of you.
We are not talking about one legged squats on a moving base we are talking about balance of your body while preforming the exercise that you need in order to prevent muscle dis-balance and diminish the risk of injuries.
That means that you should train upper and lover body equally and that for each movement of push you need to do one movement of pull.
For major lifts, you should use free weights like dumbbells or barbell rather than machines because that is a much better way to stimulate your upper body muscles since the machines isolate muscle groups.
Also, free weights allow you to do both sides of the body equally one at a time, never allowing the stronger side of your body to pull more weight.
Recovery Is The Key
Rest and recovery go hand in hand with physical activity. One of the factor that is very often neglected is a proper recovery of the body.
Straight after training, you can start the process of recovery with one good quality protein shake which should contain 0.4gr of protein per 1kg of body weight as well as 0.8gr of carbs per 1kg of body weight.
What is also important is that you consume a lot of protein from food. You will need at least 2gr per 1kg of body weight each day from sources such as meat, fish, nuts and legumes.
Rest is the key to regeneration, and the best advice is good quality sleep during the night.
Lack of sleep increases insulin resistance and decreases the growth hormone which makes it harder to burn fat and gain muscle mass.
Good advice is also that you are not in front of the computer for at least one hour before sleep, not to eat before going to bed and to sleep in a dark room.
Look at it like this: you spend about 5 hours a week in the gym. What you do for the rest 163 hours will either help you to achieve your goal or distract you from it entirely.
Commitment Beats All
Instead of searching for a training program that does wonders, chose a simple one and work hard on it, this will help you reach your wanted goals much faster.
Great way to stay motivated is to have a goal. How else will you know if you are making any progress?
If you try to progress in the number of lifts (squats, deadlifts and chest press are a great choice), your progress will be inevitable.
If you are trying to lose weight, focus on increasing the number of pull-ups you can do since they are a great way to follow progress in the relation of strength and weight.
Chose a time goal for example for rowing 500m or running 10km and try to achieve it.
Stay consistent and stick to your goals. Body is constantly trying to stay on some middle ground in many of its systems and it can regress as well as it can progress.
This doesn’t mean that you have to spend every free moment of your life at the gym, it only means that you should train hard while you are at it.