The Key To Building Lean, Athletic Muscle
Ready for this, it’s a big secret that no one in the world knows and I’m about to let you in on. Ok, it’s actually pretty practical but it is something that not a lot of people apply to their workouts. It lacked in my training for years – when I added it to my workouts, along with a complete overhaul in what I was doing, I gained 32 pounds of lean, athletic muscle in only 32 weeks.
Every time I walk into the gym I see more talking than lifting. I see more jaw workouts, eyes glued to the TV, even ears stuck to the phone, than I do sweat, loss of breath, or pain and anguish in the eyes of the guys working out.
The lack of intensity people have in their training is a joke. The weight room – or wherever you workout – should be an escape. It should be the place you go to to get away from the monotony and “civility” of everyday life. It’s your time to be an animal. To let loose, push around some heavy weights, feel some physical pain (in a good way) and truly work your ass off.
Everyday I look forward to my workouts. And because of the fact that I don’t have a whole lot of time, as soon as I walk in there I’m all business. If I have an hour to train, I need to kill that hour. It’s the worst feeling in the world to waste a workout. To walk out of the gym feeling like you’ve accomplished nothing besides watching Sports Center and chatting with a few guys in the gym – or the pretty receptionist.
How will intensity help you build lean, athletic muscle?
It isn’t the first couple of reps that help us build muscle, it’s those last 1 or 2 before failure – including the rep before failure within proper form – that have the biggest benefits. The thing is, not a whole lot of us actually lift to failure. We quick at a rep number and don’t feel the excruciating pain in our muscles that results from real hard work.
Building lean muscle is about breaking down muscle, then repairing it through proper rest and recovery. If you’re walking and watching throughout your workout, you’re not giving your body the opportunity to build muscle.
Here are a few tips that’ll help you add more intensity to your workouts, therefore seeing more results and getting more satisfaction from the time you devote to your training.
1. Challenge Workouts
Here’s a video of a great one I recently did -à Muscle-Building Challenge Workout Video
Challenge workouts need intensity. There aren’t built in rest periods. So if you get into a conversation with someone, there goes your workout. It’s ruined because your time is going to skyrocket.
If you haven’t done a challenge workout, you’re given a list of effective exercises, and told how many reps to do for each. As soon as you start the workout, you start the clock. You have to complete every exercise for the allotted amount of reps. The time it takes you to do so is your score. The lower the score the better.
If you have pride, and the desire to win, or improve, then challenge workouts are the answer to your lack of intensity and results.
2. Wear Headphones
One sure-fire way of avoiding a conversation is wearing headphones. If someone tries to start a conversation, just ignore them and pretend you didn’t hear a word they said. I’m not condoning being rude, but for shit’s sake, it seems like so many people are in the gym to talk and not to work.
A conversation is THE BEST WAY to kill an awesome workout. So pop on your ipod, set it to your favorite album or playlist, and kill your workout!
3. Bring a Water Bottle
An awesome way to get caught in a conversation is to head to the water fountain. That seems to be where ‘the chatters’ congregate. It’s kind of like in the office where everyone hover’s around the water cooler to catch up on last night’s games or current events (or at least this is how I remember it, I haven’t had an office job for a number of years now).
Bringing a water bottle means you don’t have to stray from where you’re training. Most of the exercises in the challenge workout I showed you above can be done at the squat rack. So bring enough water, or Gatorade, or whatever you drink when you’re training, and again, kill your workout!