This is one of our trainers at FF Sean Merz. He dropped from 208 sloppy and a bad diet of crap food to 180 via clean eating and exercise. Over the past several months he went on a hypertrophy (body building style protocol) and has packed on some serious muscle. He now weighs 201 and 11.9% body fat. This process took about 2 years! In this blog I will talk to you as brief as possible about a simple approach to building muscle. Also some factors that go into it.
Genetics: If your parents are shorter and thinner chances are you will be too. If your parents have big arms or legs, chances are you will too. If your parents became obese vs skinny fat chances are you will too (unless you do something about it of course.) The reality is that what works for one person may not work for the next. Each person is different!
The truth is it is often WAY harder to gain 10 pounds of muscle then to lose 10 pounds of fat! Both are difficult but in most cases the body physiologically adapts to dropping some lbs, way faster and easier than what goes into building muscle.
Add some activity level, full body fat loss training, movement, cut the calories, eat cleaner and boom you will be down some weight. Fat loss could take a few weeks, and in some cases depending on the person a few days! To build muscle you need a specific, consistent approach when it comes to training and program design. You also better get ready to eat often and consume way more food! So now you’re going into a caloric surplus vs a caloric deficit! This could take years!
If you want to gain weight you need to eat like the weight you want to be! So if you weigh 150 and want to be 250 you need to eat like it. That could be a HUGE difference in the amount of calories you consume each day. The average 250lb male for instance could consume as much as 3500/4000 calories a day! Too get more calories into you you’re going to have to make big changes! Which will be way harder than you think. Below are some ideas for you……
#1 eat more often maybe every 2/3 hours
#2 Eat foods high in nutrients that are calorically dense. For example a 6oz piece of chicken has about 300 calories and 20/30 grams of protein. If you are someone who only eats 1 piece during your meal, it’s time to start eating 3 pieces. Just like that you can get an additional 600 calories and 40+ grams more of protein in your sitting!
#3 eat larger portions (similar point to above) – use shakes, blenders etc if you can’t chew it
#4 eat before bed
Reps / Sets/ Time Under Tension
Think about using 6 to 10 reps a set and make your sets last 40 to 70 seconds. You can do this by lowering the weights down for 2 seconds and then raising the weights up for 2 seconds. If you are doing 10 reps that’s 40 seconds of tension. If you do 3 seconds down and 3 seconds up that’s 6 seconds a rep and 60 seconds over 10 reps.
There are many sets and rep schemes you can use and play with. That could be a blog on its own. For simple to understand purposes and 2 quick ideas for you to use try Compound Sets & Giant sets!
Compound sets 2 exercises focusing on similar muscle groups. An example of this if the chest was the muscles you were trying to target, could be a bench press to a push up!
A Giant set is similar however a series of 4 exercises focusing on the same muscle groups. This is a tough way to train. However will pump blood into those muscles like you can’t imagine. Lets use a chest work out again, think bench into push up, into DB incline bench, into dips leaning forward!
For the people who are unsure of whether to lift heavy for a few reps or moderate weights for moderate reps or light weights for high reps…….the answer is all of these rep zones help. Don’t forget each person is different! If I were to pick I would go with moderate reps / moderate weights / moderate reps more sets!
For those of you who wonder what each rep zone does for the body here ya go…….
Moderate weights will create tension. Utilize Squeezing the muscles and going through full ranges of motion. Feel the tension so to speak. The constant tension increases the blood into the muscles as mentioned earlier.
Heavier weight or new exercises or working your muscle from a different angle could cause what is called muscular damage. Causing muscle fiber damage and swelling in a good way.
Lighter weights come from Metabolic Stress which is the pump and buildup of lactic acid to your muscles. This is called metabolic stress.
Then only rest 60 to 90 seconds between rest before performing the next set. You want to use volume as your friend! So 4 or 5 sets of 10 reps (40 or 50 reps) would serve you better than 3 sets of 10 (30 reps) in this case.
Hope all of this blog helps! Great job Sean!