Getting stronger is one of the most common goals we hear at RECF. It makes sense why! Being strong makes life more enjoyable. Everyday tasks are easier. Rigorous activities like hiking, biking, and swimming are more fun when you don’t have to stop for a break every 5 minutes. Keeping up with the kids feels more doable. Joints feel better. Chronic pain gets better. The list of benefits to adding muscle mass is practically endless.
If you want to add some strength and muscle to your body, there are three main actions that need to be taken.
Progressive Overload Strength Training
This is just a fancy way of saying you need to work out in a structured way, that ensures you’re slowly increasing the difficulty as you go. For example, if you’re doing squats each week, try to gradually increase the weight you’re lifting each week, even if its just a few pounds. Or, increase the repetitions you’re doing each week. Your body is amazingly adaptable! If we always do the same reps & weights on the same exercises, we’re not going to get stronger. We’re going to stay the same. We need to keep pushing our body out of its comfort zone to continue getting stronger. **We highly recommend finding a qualified coach to help with this part of the strength journey, especially if you’ve never lifted weights before! A good coach will help you learn proper lifting technique to maximize your output and reduce risk of injury, and they can design a lifting program that fits your abilities and time. **
Eating Enough Food, Especially Protein
When we want to add muscle mass & strength, it is absolutely essential that we give our body the raw materials it needs to build this new tissue and give us the energy to perform our best! One of the biggest pitfalls people fall into is trying to go on a calorie-restrictive diet, while also trying to add a rigorous exercise routine. If building strength is a priority, it is vital that your nutritional choices support this goal. Individual needs are wildly different based on dozens of factors, but as a general guideline — if you’re tired and sore all the time, not recovering well between workouts, and not getting the results you’re looking for, try to eat more food! If there’s one thing to focus on in your diet during a strength building phase — eat enough protein.
Protein is the most important macronutrient for building muscle mass. Again, individual needs vary a lot, but a general guideline is to shoot for 0.75 to 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight per day. For some people this might be a HUGE increase in protein, so it might take some time and practice to work towards that. Protein powder supplements can be helpful with this, as you can add a solid 20 grams or more of protein, in an easy to digest, convenient format. **Again this is an area where talking with an expert is a good idea if some of these ideas are new to you! A qualified nutrition coach can help you set reasonable goals, troubleshoot issues as they arise, and help you figure out what your individual body needs are.**
Get Enough Quality Sleep
Sleep is when the magic happens. During sleep your body takes the signals and input it got from your lifting session, and the raw materials from the food you consumed, to actually repair your tissue and build more muscle. You can have the best exercise & diet plan in the world, but you’re not getting the sleep your body needs, your results are going to be drastically impacted. Most people do best with around 8 hours of sleep — which means you might be in bed for closer to 9 hours. Make sure your sleep environment is set up for success — as dark as possible, and relatively cool in the realm of 65-68 degrees. A sound machine or fan can also help drown out noises that might otherwise wake you up. Don’t skip this important step!
When we work out, our body gets the message that we need to adapt to this new stimulus. The food we eat is the raw materials the body uses to build and heal. Sleep is when the building happens. All of these three pieces of the puzzle are essential to success when it comes to getting stronger and adding muscle mass!
Let’s Get You Stronger.
We LOVE helping people get strong at Ripple Effect. Our expertise in fitness AND nutrition & lifestyle gives you everything you need to be successful. If you want to learn more, sign up for a Free Intro Session at www.rippleeffectcf.com/free-intro. You’ll sit down with one of our coaches to talk about your goals & background, to find the perfect plan for you.