Rocky pulling Paulie in Rocky IV – the film was shot in BC (where I live).
If there’s ever a time to pack on a few extra pounds of lean muscle mass, winter is the season to gitterdone.
Don’t waste it! Don’t be one of those guys who starts in May, hoping to add muscle for the summer. Start now and reap the benefits later.
Here are a few tips that’ll help you take full advantage of the ‘muscle-building‘ season:
1. Consume a lean source of protein with every meal
Fish, lean beef, turkey, and chicken are all great sources. Turkey is especially going to come into play over Christmas and so-forth. Of the three ‘fuel sources’ – carbohydrates, fats, and proteins – our bodies use more calories to break down protein and convert it to energy than the other two. Protein also helps repair the muscle tissue you break down during exercise.
This means that it boosts your metabolism, but also helps you build muscle. So even though you’re probably going to be eating a bit more ‘crap’ over the holidays, make sure you’re maintaining a healthy dose of protein.
2. Take advantage of the longer nights
It gets dark earlier over the winter months. Use this to your advantage by getting more rest and longer sleeps. Get at least 8 hours in a night, if you can try and get more. And if you’re feeling drowsy mid-way through the day, have a nap.
Nap’s result in the release of Human Growth Hormone and Testosterone, two very powerful hormones that are going to help you build lean muscle mass.
3. Don’t go cold turkey
Don’t go into the holidays with the mindset that you’re going to eat completely clean, having no treats whatsoever. A lot of the time this leads to a massive binge day, which leads to a massive binge week… And well you get the idea.
By all means have your treats, just don’t let them turn into your go-to snacks. Identify the things you like most, eat them, and enjoy them. After all, a lot of these treats we’re only going to have once a year, just don’t go overboard.
4. Lift hard
Really work hard when you’re in the gym. I talked about it a bit in the last article, but focus on the task at hand when you’re in the gym, and again, work hard. Try and improve on what you’re doing each and every week you’re in the weight room, but also try new things.
Try new rep and set schemes, try different workouts and see how your body reacts to the differing stresses you’re placing on it.
5. Take cold showers
This is one of my least favorite things to do, but taking a cold shower after a workout speeds up the recovery process. Thus repairing your muscle tissue faster, in turn helping you build more muscle. And the water is a lot colder in the winter than it is in the summer, so take advantage of it.
If you’re in a hotter climate, toss some ice into a bath and relax for 10 minutes or so after a workout. The cold water rids your muscles of glycogen, and lactic acid that are built up during exercise and are actually toxic to your muscles. It also diminishes any inflammation experienced during a workout as well, keeping your muscles and joints healthy.
PS. I’m very skeptical of supplement companies and what they actually put in their products, but I have recently stumbled upon a great, reputable company. I’ve tried their products and THEY WORK! They’re really high quality, no bullshit claims, just good, quality supplements that I now use and recommend to everyone.
If you’re looking to grab a new tub of protein, glutamine, multivitamin or whatever, here’s a great resource for you ——> BlueStar Pharmaceuticals
What’s on your Christmas wish-list?