We’re in the dead of winter but that’s no excuse not to pack on the muscle. In these colder months, we generally like to slow down, eat more and train less, but spring and summer are around the corner and now is an awesome time to rip into some muscle building tips and tricks!
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Exercises and exercise choice
Certain exercises will get you pounding on the muscle more than others. We need to think about high intensity, highly explosive movements that hit multiple muscle groups simultaneously. For these movements, it doesn’t matter if you’re limited to bodyweight movements or have an array of exercise machines, the principles are the same and you can put on good size and cut fat all the same.
3 strong exercises to include
Clean and press
A staple in all Olympic lifting, the clean and press incorporates the deadlift, high pull, front squat and press in this massive compound movement. Start with your feet under the bar, shoulder-width apart, and your hands just outside your legs. Holding the bar, drive the bar up with force and power your hips forward. Once the bar nearly hits hip height, begin the pull motion and hoist the bar up to under the chin in a front rack squat position. Complete a full squat and drive the bar up above your head at the top of the motion.
Burpee to pullup
Complete a full burpee underneath a straight pullup bar, as you jump at the top of the burpee motion, grab the bar and pull yourself into it. Control your weight as you lower yourself down and repeat the process.
A hybrid between a deadlift and a bent-over row, this movement is great for an all-body workout. Start in a conventional deadlift position. Complete a full deadlift, only as you reach knee level with the bar on the way down, row it into your body, making sure to squeeze the shoulder blades back to engage your back muscles. Once the row is completed, stand back up and repeat.
Diet and Nutrition
Controlling our nutrition and diet is key to building a strong and well-rounded physique and is integral to muscle growth.
Time your food
Be sure to time when you eat so it correlates well with when you train so we always have a good fuel reserve in our body. Get your protein and amino acids in post resistance training and keep the food up throughout the day.
Aim to jack up your protein intake, ideally roughly reaching anywhere from 1.8g -2.2g protein per KG. This is obviously variable with energy exertion, individual differences and more, but it’s a good starting point.
Vegetables are a must, not only to balance out acid levels in the blood due to high protein intake but also to help nourish us with quality macronutrients to sustain our energy levels over the day.
Not all supplements are created equal and there is a range of supplements targeted to ignorant and enthusiastic fitness junkies. What is well researched on the body is protein, and supplementing with a protein powder can assist in getting the required amount in your body for maximal muscle growth. Also well researched is creatine monohydrate. 5g daily with plenty of water over the day has been shown to increase power, strength and endurance in athletes, as well as increase muscle size!
Create a logical and maintainable training plan. Find what works for your body and hit it hard. If you’re time-poor, find a program that works for you and is most efficient.
Weights and reps
Balance out your rep ranges to focus properly on strength, hypertrophy and endurance to get the most out of every workout. Big compound movements with high metabolic demand, may call for a higher weight, higher energy output and therefore a smaller and more concise rep range of 2-4 or 3-5. Mix it up with higher rep ranges like 8-16 and increased sets of 5-6 in order to boost your testosterone and growth hormones to stimulate muscle growth.
Mix it up
Have fun with your workouts by mixing up different movement patterns to help get the most out of every session. Super setting exercises with minimal rest in between, or creating your own resistance circuit is a great way to get that little bit more out of each workout, as well as potentially training more muscles in the body than previously possible. While it’s great to take the initiative and change your training up, it may be best to consult with a professional to assist you in hitting your goals and to remain injury-free.
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