This in-depth guide is brought to you in partnership with Puori. Representing athletes such as Ben Smith and Lauren Fisher, they are dedicated to providing the cleanest and most natural supplements available to athletes and individuals that place real value on their health, performance and longevity.
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This extends to providing information for the community, to help athletes like you make the correct choices and changes that will help you reach your goals.
If you want to build muscle, you must eat properly, train correctly and recover effectively.
Failure to fulfil any one of these three criteria will significantly slow your progress. For example, if you are training with discipline and intelligence, recovering properly, yet you are not eating enough protein or calories, then you will fail.
If you are following a carefully planned nutrition plan to the letter and being smart about your recovery, yet you aren’t working hard enough in the gym, then you will fail. You get the idea.
The importance of nutrition cannot be overstated enough! In the same way that you use good form, quality programming and discipline to achieve your training goals, make sure you choose the best protein supplementation you can!
Puori PW1 is an organic, clean whey protein derived from milk from organic cows – and free from GMO, hormone treatment and pesticides. It has a naturally high content of the amino acid leucine that helps your body maintain and build muscle mass after you lift, run or workout.
Consider these three elements as pillars that will build the foundations for your success, and for helping you achieve the goals that you desire.
HYPERTROPHY (MUSCLE GROWTH)
Hypertrophy is a scientific term used to describe the physiological process of developing and growing new muscle tissue. To put it simply, hypertrophy means muscle growth.
Two factors contribute to hypertrophy: sarcoplasmic hypertrophy, which focuses more on increased muscle glycogen storage; and myofibrillar hypertrophy, which focuses more on increased myofibril size (the mass and size of muscles).
When you want to build muscle, quality nutrition is absolutely essential. In the bulking or muscle building stages, you will need to consume the correct amount of protein and operate in a hypercaloric state in order to support this process.
Lauren Fisher uses Puori’s PW1 Pasture Raised Protein Powder Vanilla as part of her daily nutrition.
LF “The product I use the most is the Vanilla Whey Protein. I simply love the taste. It reminds me of drinking a milkshake…Supplementation plays a huge role in my life. I get my blood panels taken regularly so I know what I’m deficient in, and supplements are great way to help me hit all my numbers and give me that extra edge in my performance. Supplements like protein are the easiest and fastest way to help your muscles recover.”
Lauren Fisher: “I eat around 3000 calories a day and I feel HAPPY and HEALTHY in my body.”
Calorie balance is the ratio between calories taken in and calories expended in any one individual at any given time. It is a good idea to measure this out over the course of a week to cancel out most fluctuations, such as drinking more water.
TIP: When measuring fat loss (or muscle gain) over time, weigh yourself first thing in the morning, before you eat or drink anything. Measure your weight 2-3 times per week and record all results. This will give you a clear and consistent record of your progress.
There are 3 states of calorie balance:
- Negative calorie balance (hypocaloric diet)
- Calorie balance (eucaloric diet)
- Positive Calorie balance (hypercaloric diet)
It is impossible to be in more than one of these states at any one time.
A negative calorie balance will always result in weight loss. Even though body water alterations may occasionally mask this loss of tissue, it is always going to occur, with ZERO exceptions so far discovered.
- A eucalorie balance means that the athlete will not gain or lose weight because they expend as many calories as they consume.
- A positive calorie balance means that the individual is consuming more calories than they are using, and will gain weight and size.
In order to maximize your chances for muscle gain or fat loss, you must know when and how to enter a hypo, hyper, or eucaloric state. The hypercaloric state is best for building muscle and the hypocaloric state is most suited for cutting weight.
Puori athlete Lauren Fisher shares her thoughts on the importance of training for performance over looks.
“I don’t have a flat belly because I believe in fueling my body for performance over restricting my calories to look a certain way. Yeah if I starved myself or cut down my fats and still trained as much as I do I might finally get that 8 pack but reality is my body type won’t. I like to eat and I know when I don’t eat enough I just don’t feel good during training. And a lot of it also comes down to genetics. So I’m sorry but I will never be one of the girls with no belly fat at all and I’m okay with it. I’m not an Instagram model, I’m an athlete and what we do is completely different here so if you don’t like the way I look you can unfollow. Thank you!”
TIP: A protein supplement can be a great way to top up your protein intake. Occasionally, life gets in the way of everyone’s carefully disciplined routine, and a handy Puori PW1 is an easy way to provide your body with the healthy protein it needs to maintain your daily macronutrient count.
Use the special BOXROX code: PW1BOX to get 50% off Puori’s PW1 Protein
HOW TO BUILD MUSCLE: TRAINING
Once you have determined a nutritional plan, a tried and tested hypertrophy program is a great way to build muscle. The following method is an excellent way to help you achieve this aim.
THE 5 X 5 PROGRAM
The 5 x 5 program is a common method to help people build strength, muscle and mass. You work your full body every session, with a rep range of 5 x 5 for all compound exercises. This is then followed by accessory exercises to finish each workout.
This program increases testosterone levels and stimulates muscle fibres constantly, leading to solid muscle growth and improvements in strength.
Alternate between workout A and B three times a week with at least one day off between sessions. Add weight in incremental amounts each week, provided that you were able to complete the prescribed sets the previous time you completed that particular workout.
For example, when benching in workout A, only increase the weight if you successfully lifted that weight for 5 sets of 5 reps the last time you completed workout A.
- Rest for 60 – 120 seconds between sets of the 5 x 5 compound lifts.
- Rest for 30 – 45 seconds between sets of the accessory exercises.
Core compound lifts
- Back squat 5 x 5
- Bench press 5 x 5
- Bent over row 5 x 5
- Pull ups 2 x 8
- Side lateral dumbbell raises 2 x 8
- Sit ups 2 x 15
Core compound lifts
- Front squat 5 x 5
- Strict press 5 x 5
- Deadlift 5 x 5
- Barbell curl 2 x 8
- Seated triceps press 2 x 8
The accessory exercises are exactly that, accessory exercises. The most important part is always the 5 x 5 compound lifts. There are many slightly different versions of this program but they all follow the same basic principles of progression and structure.
It is advisable to add recovery and mobility work into your rest days, as this will help to improve your movement when you step back in the box, alongside helping you to recover much more efficiently.
Make sure that you maintain a high protein intake, as this is a demanding and tough program.
Improve your training
The routine above is one variation of the 5 x 5 training method. There are many different versions, but remember that the core barbell exercises, performed in sets of 5 x 5 reps are the heart of this program.
The program is intensive, so don’t go more than 6 weeks without a deload week. This will give you time to recover, and hit the program again with renewed vigour and motivation.
It is good to start lighter and progress upwards. You don’t want to be failing any sets.
As a rough guide think about working up to 5 sets of 5 reps at 80% of your 1rm for the final week before you deload. If you don’t know your 1rm, test it for each exercise before you start the program.
That works out to about 90% of your desired 90% intensity. I have experimented with this myself, and it appears to be accurate. Your first reps will feel easier than they should be, but your last ones will be done at what seems like 100%.
Alternately, start light and jump up proportionately each workout. For example, if you find that you are getting towards failure with the bench press then progress that slowly, but if you are finding the deadlifts very easy then add weight in larger incremental jumps from one workout to the next. Never sacrifice form for weight as this leads to injury.
Recovery is absolutely essential for muscle growth. If you do not feed your body properly, then you will not improve or build muscle, it is as simple as that.
After each workout your body responds to the stress placed upon it by adapting and growing. In the case of hypertrophy, muscles must be repaired before they can grow back bigger and stronger. Without proper nutrition, this process is impossible.
EFFECTIVE NUTRITION FOR RECOVERY – PROTEIN
Protein is one of the major building blocks of the human body. It is absolutely vital in order to help your cells repair and grow back stronger. Make sure you get the correct amount of protein from natural and healthy sources.
Puori PW1 (link) was rated the best protein on the market by The Clean Label Project®, a nonprofit focused on health and transparency in supplements and consumer product labeling. They use unbiased science and data-based decisions to show consumers the exact ingredients across a wide range of supplements.
Upgrade your nutrition
Exercise depletes glycogen reserves that are stored in the muscles. Consuming carbohydrates after a workout will assist recovery by replenishing these reserves.
Glycogen acts as fuel for performance. After a workout has finished, muscles can absorb glucose easily, and this prevents it from being stored as fat.
Rest is essential and often overlooked. When we rest our body is allowed to divert resources and attention to restoration. This is when the real progress is made. During rest our body makes the appropriate adaptations to the effects of training. Without it we will never truly recover physically or mentally.
“Train like a lion, sleep like a baby.” The right amount of sleep varies from one individual to the next. Athletes should maintain a record of sleep. They should manage whatever factors they need to ensure they get adequate sleep. Sleep hygiene is important too.
Having time to clear the mind and simply relax can be a great benefit. Our sensory inputs are reduced and it allows the recovery process to kick in. It can also be a great way to wind down and clear your mind before bed.
BUILDING MUSCLE AND IMPROVING PERFORMANCE
Understanding what you are trying to achieve with recovery can help it to become so much more effective. Focus on the principles and find the right methods that work for you.
Don’t compromise. Select the best nutrition, train hard, and be disciplined.
By understanding what you need to achieve you can be more effective. By employing an effective strategy, you can maximize the training effect and perform consistently at your best. Good luck and remember that consistency is the key when it comes to quality nutrition, effective training and building muscle.
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