September 6th, 2022
If you’re reading this, you likely already know that muscle = beneficial. It helps your body absorb shock as you move, which protects your joints and reduces your risk of injury and contributes to improved posture, a stronger core, and better functional strength.
In addition, lean muscle tissue enhances immune system function and is powerfully correlated with longevity. So, if you want to live longer and live a healthy and vibrant life, gaining muscle can help you get there! Here’s how to do it safely:
1. Know It Takes Time
With muscles, it’s all about gentle progressions. Too much too soon, and you might find yourself facing various injuries.
The body also takes time to lay down new tissue. Using periodization protocols as you progress, such as changing up your exercises and increasing your weights or frequency, can ensure you move closer toward your goals over days, weeks, and years.
2. Take Rest Days (And Deload Weeks!)
Taking time off might sound counterintuitive. Yet, when building muscle, the body requires rest periods in between training periods (called deloads) to avoid injury and properly adapt. If you don’t take time off, you might end up hurting yourself rather than getting closer to your goals.
Your bones and joints further need time to adapt. While you might be building muscle, your connective tissue may not adapt as quickly, leaving you, again, prone to injuries.
3. Mix It Up!
Professional weightlifters are constantly changing their training protocol – partly due to changing goals but also to avoid hammering the same joints, and balance out other components. This might mean adding isolation exercises or doing a different form of movement that works the same muscle group.
You further may want to switch to strength training with high loads to low loads, which has shown to improve muscle gains equally. There’s no need to go all out at every training session!
4. Take a Holistic Approach
It’s not just about what you do in the gym that matters. You also want to ensure you’re supporting your training regime with adequate sleep and nutrition. Sleep increases melatonin levels, which is a hormone that can act as an antioxidant. It also stimulates the growth hormone, which can help accelerate your recovery and lead to stronger skin, ligaments, tendons, and more.
Nutrition is also an essential piece when it comes to building muscle. Your diet should include a variety of fruits and vegetables to gain adequate vitamins and minerals, as well as protein and healthy fats to support tissue development and maintenance.
5. Balance Your Training Regime With Your Lifestyle
Your lifestyle should support the results you want. If you have a job where you’re on your feet all day, you may accidentally overwork your body or take longer to recover (which should be taken into account!).
Furthermore, if you are overdoing cardio through your lifestyle, such as biking or walking a lot, this can also take a toll on the body and your recovery. At the same time, complimentary cardio is excellent for recovery, as well as increasing the capillaries in the muscles.
At the end of the day, you want to specialize in one thing and do that one thing well. If you’re unsure how to get started, Nielsen Fitness is here for you.
Whether you require a virtual personal trainer or a personal trainer at home, our team is ready to help you make progress toward your fitness goals, helping you achieve a healthy, happy, and vibrant life.