Tuesday, March 18, 2014

7 ways to build more muscle

I've received a few complaints recently that all I do is talk about fat loss and diet, and that you want more info on how to build lean muscle.
So first, my apologies. Second, let's take a look at 7 of the most common mistakes made by men AND women that want to gain lean, sexy muscle:

Mistake #1) Not setting written, specific, measurable goals.
Bad goal: "I want to gain more muscle."  

Better goal: "I want to gain 9 pounds."

Best goal: "I want to gain 9 pounds of lean muscle by May 31, 2014." 

Mistake #2) Being terrified of "losing your abs".
Listen, you won't gain 20 pounds of fat overnight. If you take a shower every day, and ol' Bally the Dog - and his sniffer - sure hope you do, then you'll know if you are starting to gain fat. But with the right nutrition and workout plan, you'll have no problem keeping your abs while you gain muscle.

Mistake #3) Not getting stronger.
As Alwyn Cosgrove says, "If you focus on performance, your physique will improve". This goes for fat loss (through intervals), and muscle building (through strength).  
Mistake #4) Avoiding carbohydrates.
I know, you don't want to lose your abs, and everyone at the gym and all your favorite magazines are talking about how bad carbs are for you...but as Jason Ferruggia says, "You can't build muscle without carbs." 
Again, you won't lose your abs overnight. Eat the right carbohydrates, such as oats, yams, potatoes (with skin), and fruit, and you'll get the carbs you need without losing the abs you love.

Mistake #5) Skipping meals.
When I was a kid, I read all the bodybuilder magazines, and I remember Jay Cutler, one of the greatest bodybuilders of the modern era, saying, "I'll miss a workout, but I will NEVER miss a meal." 
Your body needs fuel to grow and repair. Take your muscle-building nutrition as seriously as you take your fat loss nutrition.
Mistake #6) Switching programs frequently like a Crossfitter.
That works for getting good at a lot of things, but it's not the best way to build muscle. You need to follow a program that causes muscle growth and adaptation over 4 weeks an then changes. 
As the creator of one of the most effective muscle building programs ever used in a published scientific study*, I know what works, and that is to stick with a program for at least 4 weeks.
*Ref: Tarnopolsky MA, Parise G, Yardley NJ, Ballantyne CS, Olatinji S, Phillips SM. Creatine-dextrose and protein-dextrose induce similar strength gains during training. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 33:2044-52, 2001.
Mistake #7) Trying to do it all ALONE without support.
Listen, just like with fat loss, you need a support community or partner to hold you accountable, keep you focused, and provide immediate answers when you're stuck.
Choose the right people. As personal development legend Jim Rohn said, "You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with."
So if you hang around skinny or overweight folks that are negative, eat poorly, and don't go to the gym, your odds of success are low. Fortunately, you can get support and accountability on the Internet.

If you are ready to stop making one - or more - of these mistakes, and you want to gain muscle while keeping off the fat, watch this video:

How to rapidly gain muscle in the next 28-days!

Thanks to Vince Del Monte, Alwyn Cosgrove, and Jason Ferruggia for their input on these 7 mistakes. These three coaches have over 51 years of experience in helping men AND women build muscle, so when they speak, you and I better listen.
Now go and set your specific goals and take action,
Craig Ballantyne, CTT
Certified Turbulence Trainer
PS - When I was 31...
...I weighed 194 pounds at 9% fat. I had the best training partner in the world (he's now a professional sports team Strength coach). We trained for strength and muscle 4-days per week. 
We got big and strong AND stayed lean.
I can do that again. And that's my plan. So to get started, I'll set a specific goal of gaining 9 pounds of muscle by May 31st...let's me know what you plan to do, too.

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