So you’re training hard, eating well and struggling to make progress in your lifts or on the scale. We’ve all been there, and even though it may feel like there’s not much more you can do, there definitely are some tips and tricks you can implement to really push that extra mile and make some great progress.
1. Start Training in the Afternoon/Evening Where Possible
There is no doubt that when training to grow muscle or move heavy weight being able to eat 3 or so meals prior to training can help abundantly. It essentially ensures that you will have a large amount of energy from your meals throughout the day in order to train as effectively as possible. When transitioning into evening training it is also important to not train too late as this can disrupt your sleep cycle and therefore impede recovery and muscle growth. The time that best suits you will be individual so you may have to experiment, but for most between 4-7pm seems to be the optimal time to train.
2. Stay Hydrated
Just as important as fueling your body with food prior to training, you must ensure that you stay hydrated by drinking enough water throughout the day to optimise your performance. It is recommended to drink at least 2 liters of water per day to stay hydrated throughout the day, though if you feel you should exceed this recommendation then definitely do so, as sometimes listening to your own thirst can be a good guide. On this topic it is also important to know that the body can confuse dehydration with hunger and therefore staying hydrated in fat-loss phases is extremely important. An easy way to keep on top of your water intake is to carry a refillable bottle around with you, it is surprising how much more you will drink from doing this. Along with sipping water throughout the day, it is extremely important to drink water while training and afterwards, because it is very easy to become dehydrated at these times due to sweating.
3. Use Effective Pre-Workout and Intra-Workout Supplements
Fuelling your sessions with effective supplements can have a great impact on the amount of work you can do in the gym and the intensity you can work at which will therefore increase your muscle growth potential. A solid Pre Workout with ingredients for energy, muscle pumps and endurance can most definitely make you work harder in the gym and provide increased strength gain and muscle growth. Key ingredients to look for include:
- Citrulline (4gram dose)
- Beta-Alanine (3.2gram dose)
- Betaine (2.5gram dose)
- Creatine (5gram dose)
- Caffeine (150-400mg dose)
For your Intra-Workout supplement the best way to think of them is as ingredients which enhance recovery and performance/endurance. The best supplements to implement during training include a high-quality full spectrum EAA powder and along with a Carbohydrate powder to enhance endurance, energy & recovery!
4. Ensure your Macro-nutrient Ratios are Correctly Balanced
We all know diet dictates muscle growth, no matter how hard you train, your diet is what makes you grow. It is important to eat enough but also balance your nutrients correctly. What we mean by this is to not get fixated on protein being all that is important and end up overeating it which will negatively affect your carbohydrate/fat intake. This is important to get right because carbs and fats are massively important for muscle recovery and growth. As a generalised rule, it is said that 1g per pound of body weight is an adequate calculation for protein intake, and the remainder of your calories can be filled with carbohydrates and fats. Though in our opinion if you are a leaner individual, your protein amount may require an increase and somewhere between 1-1.4g per pound of lean body weight may be a better calculation.
5. Increase Training Frequency
Typically your muscles can recover within a 48-hour period and therefore are ready to be trained again every 3 days. This allows for you to train each muscle group twice a week, and the increase in frequency allows for a larger time frame per week of elevated Muscle Protein Synthesis and therefore more opportunity to grow. Ways this can be done are to train 4 times per week hitting 2 muscle groups per session. Or following a split such as Push Pull Legs, repeating this training cycle twice a week and having one rest day.
Implement these 5 ways alongside good training and eating protocols and you can expect some GREAT results to speed up muscle growth!