What does every kid – and deep down every guy – want to be?
We want to be the best. The strongest. The fastest. The richest. The happiest. The kindest. We want to save the day and come to the rescue. We want to be the Alpha Male, the Top Dog; we want to be ‘the man’. We want greatness. We want to be legendary.
We’re not fame-seekers (although some of us are), but we do want to be the best. It’s how we’re wired. We want to lift more weight than our friends. Be in the best shape. Have the hottest, and best girlfriend; make the most money at a job that we absolutely love. I mean, why wouldn’t we? Isn’t that what life’s all about?
Why do something if you’re not going to do the absolute best job you can do?
Some have a greater desire for success than others. It doesn’t make them better people by any means. In a lot of cases they’re probably a little more insecure, but that insecurity can drive them to prove everyone in their life wrong. Michael Jordan was the greatest basketball player on the planet, but he still talked about how he got cut from his high school basketball team.
In his acceptance speech to the basketball hall of fame, he went through an interesting list of people that pushed him to become greater, simply because he wanted to prove them wrong. The list included Bryon Russell, the man who will infamously go down as the guy who Jordan hit his last game-winning jump shot on in game 6 of the ’98 NBA finals (Washington Wizards stint not included).
Call it insecurity, or call it having a chip on his shoulder. But Michael Jordan used whatever that was to become the top dog in the history of the NBA.
So what does building muscle have to do with this?
Judging by the emails I get, and even judging what I want, adding about 10-20 pounds of muscle onto our frame does a guy good. It gives us confidence. Recent studies have shown that skinny guys earn less money. They’re seen as sickly, weak and unconfident.
A bit of muscle can do wonders, not only for your confidence, but for your career as well. And the ripple-effect of being a more confident-looking guy is huge. It can effect every area of your life.
But why are so many of us struggling with gaining even a few pounds of muscle mass?
There’s so much conflicting information out there that the truth get’s lost in the mix. I was there with you for 7 years. I worked my ass off, literally… I had no ass! I was a rake; a toothpick. It wasn’t due to a lack of effort, but rather a lack of guidance. Or a lack of a plan that actually suited my body type and what I needed from a program.
The truth got lost in the fads. The marketers cook up ‘neat’ ways of training that the public eats up like turkey on Thanksgiving Day. But that’s all it is: neat. It looks cool. But the reality is, the truth has been there all along.
The thing is, it’s actually A LOT simpler than you might think. It’s not necessarily easy. But it isn’t rocket science.
Here are 3 things that you NEED to be doing to pack on lean, strong, and powerful muscle.
1. Keep things simple.
Walk into any gym these days and you’ll see people standing on one leg doing a military press. Or standing on a bosu ball doing squats – it’s nuts! It seems like trainers are trying to think of the weirdest thing they could possibly think of rather than doing what has worked for years!
The reality is that you only need about 10-12 exercises in your repertoire to build muscle. Focus on compound exercises and branch out from there. You need to be doing squats, deadlifts, bench presses, military presses, and Yate’s rows.
Yes you need variety in your training, but not necessarily in exercises; rather, more in your reps, sets, tempo, and rest periods. Change those things up weekly or monthly.
2. Lift heavy weights.
Heavy is of course a relative term. Heavy to you might be a lot more than heavy to me. The point is that you should a) be pushing yourself to lift more weight on a weekly basis, and b) lift to failure.
You’ll hear some people disagree with the second point. They’ll saying that lifting to failure on each set is too much for the body to handle. I disagree. I‘ve seen my best gains when I’m pushing my body to the brink, getting my 8 hours of sleep, and effectively recovering through food and some supplementation.
Lifting heavy weights also means having a heavy week at least once a month. Drop your rep count to 6, and up your rest periods to 2-4 minutes. You can even go as low as 2 reps on a couple sets. But you need to be pushing yourself in different ways, and lifting heavy weights will help you get stronger. Getting stronger will help you build bigger, more dense muscle.
3. Eat a lot of food.
One of the biggest misconceptions is understanding just how much we have to eat to build lean muscle mass. We get scared of getting fat, and try to find that balance where we’re gaining, gaining fat.
That’s something that you can’t be doing.
I used to do this too, so you’re not alone with this. And my eventual gains were actually a bit slower than they could have been because I was keeping those gains lean, and I never ‘cut’ or dieted down. I had a six-pack throughout my transformation.
But I was eating a TON of clean and whole foods. I didn’t cut down fat a whole lot, and I focused the majority of my carbohydrates around my workouts. But I kept up my HIIT cardio. Kept my workouts extremely intense, and followed a few more principles that helped me get lean gains, not just mass gains. The thing is, if I started cutting back calories, I wouldn’t have gained a single pound.
Rule #1 for gaining lean muscle mass: eat everything in sight as long as it’s a whole grain, comes from the ground, or if it comes from an animal.
Want to know how I gained 32 pounds of LEAN Muscle in 32 weeks, and how you can do the same?
Watch the video below…