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Fitness goals

Avoid unhealthy foods for muscle growth?

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When we want to gain muscle, we know that we need to eat more so some of us think about it as a way to fit more unhealthy foods into their diet but is this a good option?

If we think only about calories then we can make those extra calories come from unhealthy foods but from a macronutrient ratio this can change, we know that our body needs nutrients to function properly and to sustain our fitness goals, our body need nutrients to recover and grow, we give our muscle the stimulus to grow in the gym and then we give it the nutrients it needs which are proteins and fats and carbohydrates if we follow a balanced diet.

We all know that we need to avoid unhealthy foods for health reasons so  the best option would be to stick to whole, fresh foods and just eat more of them now, do we need to avoid unhealthy foods for muscle growth? it all depends of you and your body, some of us are able to eat a good amount of processed, junk and fast food while building muscle but most of us will find it difficult and the reason why is this, unhealthy foods are calorically dense and lack nutrition, this means that one single unhealthy food is high in calories and very low in nutrition, from a calories standpoint we´ll need to eat small portions of those foods but we´ll have cravings, we won´t have enough energy for our workouts, we´ll feel tired and our body won´t have nutrients to function, recover and grow.

So even when we can eat more we still need to focus on whole healthy foods, but we can add more “cheat meals” (I don´t like the term cheat meals, I´ll tell you in other post why) when our goal is fat loss we can have one cheat meal every week or maybe one every two weeks, when our goal is muscle growth we can have one cheat a week or some of us can have two, it all depends of our body and how we feel.

Some people consider cheat meals a good way to replenish glycogen, increase calorie intake one day and keep cravings low, even when this works I still recommend to stick to whole, fresh foods there are so many different snacks and foods we can have which are healthy.

There are some special occasions that I would eat unhealthy meals which are birthdays and Holidays, in my case we have 3 birthdays we celebrate per year and 3 Holidays which those Holidays go from December 24 to January 10.

The reason why I don´t recommend following restrictive diets is so that we have the freedom to enjoy so many different meals from any country, the only rule is that those meals are cooked and prepared with whole, fresh ingredients, if we follow this guide we can have dessert once or twice a week without calling it cheat meal. And the reason why I recommend avoiding unhealthy processed foods like sweets, junk and fast foods is because they are high in sugars, unhealthy fats oils and chemicals that our body doesn´t need.

If we follow those rules it´s easier for us to develop the habit of eating healthy which makes it easier for us to achieve any fitness goal because we know that we just eat a little less to lose fat and a little more to gain muscle.

As we´ve mentioned before fitness it´s not only about achieving the physique we want that´s only part of our goal, we use fitness as a tool to maintain optimal health so that we can live the life we deserve by living to our full potential, we can adjust all fitness tools to help us achieve the physique we want while making sure that we´re maintaining optimal health and weight and we also want our physique to be useful not only to look great. This is why I recommend whole fresh foods, we know that highly processed and refined foods are unhealthy, there are some foods that I prefer to avoid as much as possible it doesn´t matter which fitness goal I´m working on.

We all know that food is a big part of our lives but we can make it work for us, food brings people together and traditional meals help us learn from each country, cooking also brings people together and brings joy to our lives. Learning how to cook is an amazing skill that we can all benefit from and we don´t need to be master chefs.

It would mean so much to me if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, together we can help millions live a better life.

Pam

Fitness goals

The truth about muscle growth

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Some of us love to lift weights and getting stronger in the gym while others hate it or are afraid that if they lift weights they will get big, this applies to guys and girls. The reason why we start our fitness journey varies, in some cases we are overweight and we want to lose weight and get in shape while others are skinny and want to gain some muscle, in both cases that core reason why we start exercising is because of insecurities. It doesn´t matter if we´re overweight or skinny people made fun of us so we want to change the way we look and improve our body physically which making this decision is one of the best decisions we can make in our entire life.

If you are one of those guys or girls who hate or are afraid of lifting weights because you think you will get big like a bodybuilder then there are some things you need to know.

The truth about muscle growth is that it takes time to build muscle and we need a really good program that gives us the results. Muscle growth is the result of consistent training, a workout program that consider all variables of training and some advanced training techniques, the nutrition program needs to be on point, enough recover, enough good quality sleep.

I want to be clear here, all those bodybuilders that are huge most of them use drugs and that´s the results of many , many years of consistent hard work and dedication in and outside the gym, they spend hours working out sometimes even twice a day, they are so strict with their nutrition, they prioritize sleep because they know it´s crucial for recovery and grow, their workout programs are designed to work each muscle group as hard as possible and then give it enough time to recover and the right amount of food so that their body is able to grow and they also use supplements and some of them use drugs.

For the rest of us, if we´re not into bodybuilding, we´re not competing and our goal is only to get the best physique possible we don´t need to put that dedication and focus on our fitness program and most of us won´t do it so we just need to use fitness as a tool to help us live our best life possible, a life that we are proud of and this means that we can get in amazing shape and have an amazing physique but we don´t need to spend so much time at the gym and we can have more freedom with our food choices.

We can gain muscle without spending too much time at the gym, without being too strict with our diet and without drugs but we still need to work hard and be consistent, it takes more time to gain lean muscle mass than to lose fat  so be patient.

The best part is that we will only gain as much muscle as we want, if we don´t want to get big we don´t get big we just improve body composition and maintain  a healthy weight with  a good balance between muscle mass and body fat to look lean and toned. If we want to gain more muscle and look as a superhero it´s also possible but it depends of us, of our goals, the type of physique we want.

What I recommend is that no matter how big or lean you want to be we make sure that we improve overall performance, the goal of being in amazing shape is also that we can perform every daily activity with ease. That we can go through our day with high energy  and that we also have some endurance, strength, agility, flexibility to go on vacations and be able to enjoy the trip. We want to build an amazing physique that is useful not only that looks great and we want to make sure that we maintain a healthy weight considering body composition. I don´t think being to big is healthy whether it´s fat or muscle with excess weight our body needs to work a lot harder to keep oxygen and blood circulating though the entire body and there are more negative consequences in the long term.

As for any fitness goal and actually anything in life muscle growth requires hard and smart work and discipline, if you are able to build discipline in the gym to achieve your fitness goal and get the physique you want and then you can take that discipline and apply it to all other areas of your life you will achieve anything you want and live the most incredible life.

It would mean so much to me if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, together we can help millions live a better life.

Pam

Fitness goals

Sleep and muscle growth

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I´ve seen many guys working so hard in the gym with a lot of volume and frequency but not giving the same attention and importance to sleep. Our body recovers while we sleep so if you want to gain muscle you need to have the right amount and quality of sleep every night.

If our goal is to gain lean muscle mass then we need to prioritize sleep and make sure that it´s good quality.

Even if we have are following the best training and nutrition program sleep is still a most, our body and muscles need to recover after we hit the gym and sleep is a crucial part of recovery. Growth hormone is key to build muscle and it´s released while we sleep, the cycles or phases of sleep impacts the release of this hormone, if we have bad sleep or we wake up growth hormone won´t be at its max which minimizes the results.

I´ve seen many people that want to gain lean muscle mass taking a lot of supplements from protein shakes, weight gainers, multivitamin, fish oils and drugs like steroids (you know by now that I don´t recommend any of this) but they don´t consider stress and sleep. We need to give our muscles the right stimulus for them to grow and then we need to give them the right amount of recovery, the best recovery time is sleep.

If we lack sleep our body won´t use the food we consume throughout the day to get daily functions done and assist in muscle recover and growth. It also affects negatively our performance in the gym, we need to give our all on each workout if we want to grow but a lack of energy and not being recover compromise our workouts and overall results.

Lack of good quality sleep can cause muscle loss and weight gain from fat, an easy way to keep things under control is with sleep. We need to eat more to grow but if our body can´t handle the extra food properly we´ll gain fat instead of muscle.

When we get good quality sleep we feel more energized so our workouts are intense and we are able to stay focused so it´s easier to maintain our eyes on the goal.

If our goal is lean muscle mass with the least amount of fat sleep can help us keep fat low while increasing muscle, it is crucial that we have control and our body works in an efficient way. All hormones, neurons, chemicals, neurotransmitters they all get triggered what we need to do is use them to send the right messages and to work to our favor.

Having good quality sleep can be affected by different things including stress and this can cause that we wake up during night. Your sleep has 3 phases and during those phases our body has several functions and things to do, if we wake up we interrupt those functions. If the internal clock of our body and its functions gets out of rhythm our body won´t recover, repair and reenergize for the next day.

What we eat before we go to bed impacts not only the quality of your sleep, also our recovery. Protein is crucial for muscle repair and muscle growth, when we go to sleep our body turns to a catabolic state so if you have a protein before we go to bed we can increase protein synthesis and maintain our body in an anabolic phase for a longer period of time. The benefits of this is that we are giving our body nutrients to recover and build muscle before we sleep so it can get the job done in a more efficient way.

Fat loss and muscle growth are simple but we need discipline, consistency and work on the 5 principles of fitness. The right training combined with proper nutrition, enough quality sleep, low stress and the right mindset is what´s going to give us the best results.

There are some simple things we can do every day to improve the quality of our sleep and also to change and develop good habits that help us achieve our goals in a simple way and live a better life.

It would mean so much to me if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, together we can help millions live a better life.

Pam

Fitness goals

Best diet for muscle growth

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Do you believe that when our goal is muscle growth we can eat everything we want?

Many people in the industry take muscle growth goals as a bulk phase where they eat more than what their body needs and gain some muscle and a lot of fat, they also eat more unhealthy foods because they can eat more so they add more cheat meals to their program.

It doesn´t matter what´s our fitness goal we need to follow a nutrition program that we can stick to as a lifestyle, that keep us healthy, that support a healthy weight and the one that makes us feel great and perform at peak. The only thing we do is change the amount of food we consume according to our current goal.

The best diet is one that focus on all 3 macronutrients and is more balanced between proteins, fats and carbohydrates, we know that protein is crucial for muscle growth and also skin, hair, nails, etc; we also know that healthy fats are highly important for hormones and energy and carbohydrates are a source of fiber and energy.

We need to keep protein high around 1.5 grams per pound of bodyweight, fats around 0.5 grams per pound of bodyweight and for carbohydrates we can go from 1.5 to 2 grams per pound of bodyweight. Take this numbers a guide and adjust as necessary. It´s possible to gain muscle in a ketogenic diet we just need to make sure that we´re getting the right amount of protein.

For muscle growth we need to be in a calorie surplus and we can adjust that calorie surplus each day according to our workout by using a tool called carbohydrate cycling, the days of resistance training we go high in carbohydrates and the extra calories we need will come from carbohydrates, on cardio and rest days we can los carbohydrates and stay at maintenance.

Foods like eggs, meats, poultry, fish, yogurt, nuts and seeds are great options for protein and fats, extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil are great for cooking, vegetables are a great source of fiber which is also important for our gut health, oats, amaranth, quinoa, corn tortilla and brown rice are a good option for carbohydrates, beans and lentils are also good.

We need to listen to our body, even when we´re eating whole, fresh foods there are some of them than can cause problems in our stomach and make us feel bad, we need to find which those foods are and avoid them. We need to make everything easier for our body by finding the foods that work best for us, the ones that are easier to digest, the ones that doesn´t cause any negative impact on our stomach, that give us energy and increase performance and productivity. 

Whole, fresh foods are always the best option for any fitness goal including muscle growth but for some of us it may be difficult to get the right amount of nutrients especially protein this is why some people use supplements like protein powders, or BCAAs.

It would mean so much to me if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, together we can help millions live a better life.

Pam

Fitness goals

Training tools for muscle growth

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Building muscle takes time, we need to be patient but if we want to gain muscle while staying lean we need to pay close attention to our workout program, nutrition and sleep so that everything is working together making sure that we are able to gain muscle without gaining too much fat.

For training there are two training tools that we need to consider which are:

Resistance training

We know that lifting weights is key for any program and for muscle growth we need to focus on both types of hypertrophy (click here if you want to learn about hypertrophy) so we need to work on the 6 to 8 rep range with bodyweight and compound movements and we also need to add isolation exercises to work in the 10 to 12 or even 15 reps.

We also need to consider volume, since we are eating more we can add more volume to our workouts to give our muscles the stimulus they need to grow, if we combine both types of hypertrophy we will be working with enough volume and we also need to consider the frequency which is one of the variables of training, (click here to learn more about this variable) for muscle growth working each muscle 2 times a week gives us the best results.

Cardio training

Some of us hate cardio and as we´ve seen in other posts it´s not the best way to lose fat and of course we can skip completely for muscle growth but we can´t deny that it has amazing benefits for health and it can help us recover from our workouts so if you still want to add cardio to your workouts you can do 20 to 30 minutes of steady state.

Another way we can use cardio is by practicing any sport, from soccer, basketball, boxing, swimming, jump rope. It can also help us burn some calories so it gives us the freedom to eat a little more.

As for any fitness goal we need to make sure that we´re working as hard as possible in the gym, we need to make every rep count and every workout count, the more effort we put in every work the better the results, we need to give our all if we want amazing results. Remember that our results go in direct proportion to our effort, hard work and consistency.

When we combine both types of hypertrophy with moderate volume and frequency we got the right workout program for muscle growth but we can´t forget that our nutrition needs to be in point, we need to give our body enough nutrients to recover and grow. Exercise gives our body and muscle the stimulus to grow and nutrition give our body the nutrients to repair, and grow and sleep is necessary also to recover and grow.

If we don´t get this 3 principles of fitness right we won´t get the results we´re looking for, I know it may be a lot of information but our goal is that you understand how things work so that you can design your own programs for any fitness goal, you can follow our Ultimate Muscle Growth program that we created considering the 5 principles of fitness and applying all the information we share, it´s all laid down there you only need to put the hard word and be consistent.

It would mean so much to me if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, together we can help millions live a better life.

Pam

Fitness goals

Nutrition tools for muscle growth

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For most of us our fitness journey starts from insecurities, whether we are overweight and want to lose weight and get in shape or we are skinny and we want to gain muscle. Whatever the case if we follow the right program we can get obsessed with improving our physique which takes us to a research time to find the best tools to gain lean muscle mass without too much fat.

For some of us trying to gain muscle while staying lean can be hard to do, some prefer to go through a bulking phase where they can gain a lot of weight but if we don´t control the amount of food we eat we can end gaining a lot of fat and not much muscle mass and then we need to go through a cutting phase to lose all that extra fat.

Going through bulking and cutting phases is not the best way to do it for some of us so there´s one tool that can help us gain lean muscle mass without too much fat so that we stay lean and maintain a good physique and this tool is:

Carbohydrate cycling

This tool is great at helping us gain muscle mass while staying lean. Of course this tool apply if we´re following a more balanced diet between protein, fats and carbs.

For this tool we have 3 different days, one high carb day, one moderate carb day and one low carb day. We need to fit each day according to our workout program, on days where we do resistance training we go high carb, on days we do cardio we can go moderate card and on rest days we go low carb.

For high carb days we will be in a calorie surplus meaning that we´re eating more and those extra calories come from carbohydrates, this days the extra calories can go up to 500, on moderate days we also follow a calorie surplus but that extra calories only increase from 250 – 300 calories and on low carb days we eat at maintenance.

The reason why I said that on cardio days we can go moderate carbs is because on those days we can also go low carb or maintenance, it all depends of how our body responds and how we feel.

By increasing calories and carbs on resistance training days we make sure that we give more energy to our body the days it needs them more and on rest days where we don´t use that much energy we keep calories at maintenance so that we don´t lose weight but we don´t gain weight neither. Cardio days are the ones we need to make more trial and error to find out if we need a little calorie surplus or if we can stay at maintenance.

Intermittent fasting

We´ve talked about fasting in other posts and all the health benefits and also how it can help us lose fat but it can also help us gain muscle while staying lean.

The best way to use this tool is by fasting every day following an 8 hour eating window and 16 hours fast, the best option is to fit the 8 hour eating window around hour workout time, this way we make sure that we give nutrients to hour body the time it needs them more for energy for the workout and to recover after the workout.

If we combine this 2 tools we will get great results, but we need to be patient, it takes time to build muscle and if we try to speed up the results we´ll end gaining a lot of fat so slow and steady wins.

It would mean so much to me if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, together we can help millions live a better life.

Pam

Fitness goals

Principles of muscle growth

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Even when muscle growth is more enjoyable than fast loss for the reason that we can eat a little more it still is hard, we need to put in the time, hard work, sacrifice, discipline and patience but it´s not complicated. There´s so many information out there that can be overwhelming so having a guide which we can follow and adjust to fit our needs is very helpful and that´s what we´re going to be talking here.

Before we get to the principles there are 3 points that we need to talk about:

1.- Time

It takes time to build muscle, the more time we´ve been training the more time it will take to gain muscle mass so patience is key. When we´re beginners and we´re starting our fitness journey, it´s easier to gain muscle but as time pass by and we get more trained muscle growth slows down so we need to be really patient and stick to the principles.

2.- Body composition

Our goal is to help get in our best shape possible and sustain it by improving body composition and doing it in a natural way, this means no drugs so we won´t get big. The reason for this is simple, excess weight whether it´s from body fat or muscle mass is dangerous, excess weight leads to health problems because our body needs to work harder.

Now lets go to the principles:

NUTRITION

1. Eat a little more. Our body needs nutrients to recover, grow and build new muscle so we need to make sure that the food we eat is just enough for our body to maintain daily functions plus recover, grow and build that extra muscle but if we eat too much we´ll gain the excess as fat. For some of us 300 calories more is enough, up to 500 calories per day. We can increase carbohydrates to create the calorie surplus and if you want to stay as lean as possible, carbohydrate cycling is the best option. The day of resistance training increase carbohydrates and on rest days or cardio days keep calories at maintenance.

TRAINING

2. Resistance training.- We need to use both types of hypertrophy to get the best results so working on the 6 – 8 rep ranges and also 8 – 12 is the best option. We need enough volume and frequency training for each muscle group so hitting each muscle 2 times per week is the best option, and we need to work to failure or past failure at least in one exercise per muscle group or in the last set of all exercises.

3. Cardio training.- Doing some cardio on rest days is great to help us stay lean.

MINDSET

4. Realize that is takes time to build muscle, do not try to gain too much muscle mass fast because you´ll end gaining a lot of fat, slow and steady wins the race if we want to keep fat as low as possible.

5. Push pass the pain, we need to challenge our body in order for it to change, we need to make sure that we´re making progress every workout this is why progressive overload and periodization are great training tools to make sure that we get the results we want.

SLEEP

6. We need 8 hours of good quality sleep every night, our body and muscles needs to recover after hitting them hard so they can grow, a big part of that recovery and growth gets done while we sleep. Turn off all electric devices 30 minutes before going to bed and use those 30 minutes to do some breathing exercises to calm your mind and relax your body and muscles which improves the quality of sleep.

STRESS

7. Keep stress as low as possible by avoiding negative people and negative situations, if you can´t do that which I know it´s difficult just don´t take things personal, do not worry about what others think and say of you, focus on yourself on being better every day.

This 7 principles are the best strategies for muscle growth with as less fat as possible, I know it seems like a lot but I´m sure you can do it. Remember that the more time you´ve been working out the more time it takes to build muscle so be patient and follow this principles for as long as you need, you can make the adjustments you need to make them fit your lifestyle and your progress.

It would mean so much to me if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, together we can help millions live a better life.

Pam

Fitness goals

Carbohydrate cycling for muscle growth

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Some of us have more ambitious goals related to fitness and wanting to take our physiques to a new level. For some that means gaining more muscle but if we want to maintain a great physique which means gaining muscle mass with the least amount of fat this can get complicated.

Carbohydrate cycling is a tool that can help us gain muscle without too much fat so that we can stay lean and maintain a great physique. Carbohydrate cycling helps us cycle calories, we need to be in a calorie surplus to gain muscle which means that we need to eat more but if we eat too much we will gain fat.

When we want to build muscle, working each muscle group 2 times per week is more effective so we may be doing resistance training 6 days a week and 1 day for cardio or rest day, for nutrition we will have moderate carbohydrate days and high carbohydrate days. We need to schedule our nutrition program according to our workout program, on the more intense workout days we have high carbohydrate days, on moderate training days we have moderate carbohydrate days and you can have one low carbohydrate day if you have a rest day.

For high carbohydrate days you can increase calories around 400 to 500 calories per day, on moderate days you can increase calories around 200 to 300 calories, on low carbohydrate days you can keep calories at maintenance. This numbers are just a guide so we need to measure our progress and results every week to make the adjustments needed. If you want to calculate your macronutrient ratios you can check this post.

What we do with this tool is to give nutrients and energy to our body according to its needs, the day we train harder we give it more nutrients and energy so that it has everything it needs to recover and build muscle, on moderate days we lower it a little just to make sure that it still has everything it needs without being too much and we can use lower carbohydrates day to stay at maintenance on our rest days to make sure that most of the weight we gain is muscle and fat just a minimum.

Building muscle takes time, nutrition is key but if we eat too much and we don´t exercise the right way we will gain too much fat. Muscle growth is the result of the right stimulus to the muscle and enough nutrients. This is a combination of progressive overload, the right volume and frequency plus the right macronutrient ratios that can supply our body with energy for the workouts, our daily activities, recovery and growth.

This strategy is effective because muscle growth takes time and if we stick with the same macronutrient ratios every day for a long period of time our body adapts and we need to keep changing things to keep challenging our body, that´s what makes it change. But, this tool takes more time, effort and time, you need to have a clear idea of how portions look like  to eye ball what you eat, it´s hard in the beginning but with time we get use to it.

It would mean so much to me if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, together we can help millions live a better life.

Pam

Fitness goals

How to use intermittent fasting for muscle growth

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We´ve talked about the benefits of intermittent fasting not only for fat loss and to stay lean but also to improve our relationship with food and spiritual reasons. Here we´re going to see how this tool can help us stay lean while gaining muscle mass.

Many people when they want to gain muscle go through a “bulking phase” and when they want to lose fat they go through a “cutting phase”, I´m sure you´ve heard about this specially if you´ve been in a gym or if you know someone who loves training. Personally I don´t like to follow this scheme, in the bulking phase people tend to gain too much weight and a huge part of it is fat, I prefer to gain muscle mass while staying lean, this means gaining as less body fat as possible. Building as much muscle as possible with the least fat.

Intermittent fasting is a tool that help us gain lean muscle mass with the least amount of fat, staying lean and looking great all year round regardless of our goal is possible. What we need to do is fast for 16 hours and eat in an 8 hour window so we will be having 2 meals per day, and we need to schedule our workouts around our eating window, this can be the hardest part for some of us.

If you have lunch and dinner it will be great if you can workout before dinner, this way we make sure that you are giving your body the nutrients it needs right after the workout so it can recover. It is easier to skip breakfast because our morning are very fast paced so you don´t need to stressed out having a healthy breakfast when you are running late for school or your job and in the mornings there´s always so much to do between meetings, projects, important stuff, appointments so it easier to stay in a fasted state until lunch.

With this option you are giving your body the nutrients it needs when it needs them most and you´re also considering hormones, in the fasting window insulin goes down which improves fat burning and growth hormone is high which helps with muscle building, this works great specially when you fast in the morning by skipping breakfast.

There´s another option you can follow which is to have 3 meals per day, breakfast, lunch and dinner, in this option you won´t be following a fasting schedule, just make sure that you have those 3 meals only, no snacks in between.

For muscle growth we need to be in a calorie surplus, we need to eat a little more but if we eat too much we will gain fat. The calorie surplus needs to be just enough for your body to maintain your actual weight, to recover and to grow. If you want to get your macronutrient ratios check this post.

Intermittent fasting makes it easier to stay lean while gaining muscle mass if your goal is to improve your physique and to look as great as possible, this tools makes everything simple and effortless, there´s no reason to overcomplicate things if you have more ambitious goals and you want to compete in shows or you practice any sports professionally then this tool may not be the best option for muscle growth.

It would mean so much to me if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, together we can help millions live a better life.

Pam

Programs

Ultimate Muscle Building Program

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With Captain Marvel still in theaters and Avengers: Endgame the next month many of us are excited and motivated to get in the best shape of our lives. We can all get in amazing shape and get a superhero physique but we need to train hard and smart, if your goal is to lose fat we´ve created a program inspired on Captain Marvel and Avengers to lose fat which you can see by clicking here

We´ve created this muscle building program inspired by The Avengers and it´s based on the 5 principles of fitness. To be able to sustain any fitness goal we need good habits so by following this program for some time you´ll be able to develop the habits you need to sustain your results and make fitness part of your life.

Muscle gains take time, it is faster to lose fat than to gain muscle and the more experienced or the more time you´ve been training the more time it takes to gain lean muscle mass.

Most programs we can find to gain muscle mass are not focused on building an athletic, superhero looking physique and this is one of the reasons why most of us don´t want to put the work in the gym.  If we want to get the best results possible we need to work on the 5 principles of fitness, work smart and work hard, building a superhero physique is simple, we need to focus on the right exercises, use the best training variables, make sure that our nutrition program is on point to help our body recover and grow and also keep stress low and get good quality sleep.

This sounds like a lot but we share with you the best tools for each principle to make everything simple. If you are new to working out with weights, or you are new to the type of training and variables we use here you can gain muscle faster the first months, as you get to use to it the time at what you gain muscle mass starts to slow down. This is normal, all of us can gain more muscle when we start working out and as time pass by and we get more trained and our body gets use to it, it takes more time to gain muscle.

The goal with this program is to gain as much muscle mass as possible with the least amount of fat, whenever we want to gain muscle we will gain some fat along with that muscle but if we can make that fat gain as small as possible we will be able to stay lean and look amazing.

NUTRITION

Since our goal is to gain as much muscle as possible with the least amount of fat we need to keep our nutrition program as clean as possible so focusing on real fresh food and avoiding all junk, processed and fast food is key.

Calories and macronutrient ratios are important, we need to eat more to build muscle but if we eat too much we will gain fat, this is where things can get tricky. The nutrition program is mostly the same you´re supposed to be following as a lifestyle, meals and dishes cooked and prepared with real fresh ingredients, the only difference is that you can eat a little more.

Focusing on macros over calories is the best option, our body needs nutrients to function, recover and grow so if we set macronutrient ratios we make sure to give our body the nutrients it needs, we share with you some numbers and formulas below you can use to set your macro ratios for this program:

Balance nutrition guide

PROTEINS – 1.5 grams per pound of bodyweight

FATS – 0.5 grams per pound of bodyweight

CARBOHYDRATES – 1.5 grams per pound of bodyweight

Just take your bodyweight in pounds and multiply if by each of the macros, for example for someone who weights 132 pounds (that´s my current weight):

Proteins 132 x 1.5 = 198 grams

Fats 132 x 0.5 = 66 grams

Carbohydrates 132 x 1.5 = 198 grams

If we focus on setting macronutrient ratios the total calories will fall into place, we can take the numbers from the example above to get calories, we just multiply the results by the calories per gram for each macronutrient:

Proteins 198 x 4 = 792

Fats 66 x 9 = 594

Carbohydrates 198 x 4 = 792

            Total calories = 2178 calories per day

There are essential amino acids and essential fatty acids but there are no essential carbohydrates this means that our body only needs carbs for energy so this gives us the opportunity to cycle or manage carbohydrates. Take this numbers as a guide and make the adjustments you need, keeping proteins and fats the same while manipulating carbohydrates is the best way to go, starting with 1.5 grams of carbs per pound of bodyweight is a good starting point but if you feel like you need more energy, or if you want to gain more mass you can go to 2.0 grams per pound of bodyweight if you see that you are gaining weight fast and you want to slow it just reduce carbohydrates.

Ketogenic nutrition guide

Ketogenic diets are an amazing tool to use to stay lean and to improve health, this diets can help you gain muscle mass while staying lean which makes it easier to gain muscle mass without gaining too much fat.

If you are new to this diets and new to training I don´t recommend you try keto while following this program for the first time, the first weeks when you start keto you´ll get “the keto flu” which are different symptoms you get from your body getting read of all carbohydrates and junk which can be though to manage and it the program there will be some stuff going on emotionally so there´s no need to make it harder.

Ketogenic diets are high in fat, moderate in protein and low in carbohydrates, there´s not exact numbers for each macro but considering fats around 70% of your diet, proteins 20% and carbohydrates 10% is a good place to start.

FATS – 70%

PROTEINS – 20%

CARBOHYDRATES – 10%

From there you can make the adjustments you need. It´s necessary that you have an idea  of the amount of food you eat so the first days you´ll need to read the labels and do the math to know how much you are eating, you won´t be doing this for the rest of your life, and don´t get stressed if you can´t be exact and perfect with everything, looking for perfection will only stress you more.

FOOD LIST

Approved foods

We know there are so many foods left so we´ll be adding them every time we find out one missing. To cook you can use herbs, seasoning and condiments.

I´m not all in with cheat meals but in this program if you want to have a cheat meal you can do it once or twice a week, it all depends of your results and how those cheat meals affect you, for some of us after a while of eating clean meals one cheat meals can make us feel bad.

Intermittent fasting is an amazing tool used by ancient civilizations for so many years to treat and prevent diseases and also for spirituality. It´s an awesome tool with a lot of benefits for our health and it also makes it easier for us to stay lean. The nutrition programs we saw before to set macronutrient ratios with a more balanced diet of proteins, fast and carbohydrates or a ketogenis diet higher in fats, moderate protein and low carbohydrates tell us what to eat, intermittent fasting tell us when to eat. Since our goal with this program is gain muscle mass  having 3 meals a day is a great option, if we want to get more benefits from fasting the best option is to keep those 3 meals in an 8 hour period and schedule them around our workouts and fast for 16 hours. If you train in the morning then having breakfast and lunch with a snack in between is the way to go, if you train at night then having lunch and dinner with a snack between is the option. If you can´t make this schedule work for you don´t worry that much find one that works for you, you can stay with breakfast, lunch and dinner and workout at the time you can.

Once you set your macronutrient ratios based on the formulas we saw before you divide your results into 3 meals.

TRAINING

For the training part of the program we´ll use 2 techniques called progressive overload and periodization which will give us the opportunity to get stronger on key movements and be able to track that progress and it also give us the opportunity to work in different rep ranges which is the way in which we can ensure muscle gains with both types of hypertrophy to get the best results.

The program is a 5 day split so you do all 5 days and on day 6 you start again. One cycle is made up of 10 days so you´ll be doing the 5 day split twice to get one cycle, on the first part of the cycle we´ll be working on strength which means heavy weight and low reps, around 5 – 7 reps and on the second part of the cycle  we´ll be working on hypertrophy which means lighter weight and more reps around 8 – 12 reps.

To use periodization, every week the reps will vary for both parts of the cycle and to use progressive overload you need to get stronger you need to lift more weight, since we will be increasing reps it will be harder to increase weight every week which is also a way to use progressive overload but to make it more effective the complete training program last 30 days, you can repeat this program 2 or 3 times and each time you start it you must be able to lift more weight for both parts of the cycle.

Muscle building workout.

If you want to take your training to another level you can do some cardio every day, 20 to 30 minutes of cardio is ok just try to keep it low to moderate intensity, make sure that you really can workout this much and avoid injuries and also consider the amount of food, you need to eat enough to have energy for the workouts, the entire day and to recover and build mass.

SLEEP

Nowadays most of us don´t prioritize sleep but if you want to get the best results you need to give it the importance it deserves. Try to get 8 hours of good quality sleep every night, our body needs to recover after the workouts and most of that recovery is done while we sleep, if we don´t get enough good quality sleep and the body is not recovered from the workouts we won´t be as focused as we need in the gym and we can get injured, we won´t have energy, it´ll be harder to stick with the diet.

Lack of sleep gets out of balance all systems, hormones and functions in our body, the internal clock of our body gets out of rhythm and this impacts negatively not only our results but our health. If you can´t get 8 hours of sleep every night you can get amazing results with 6 hours of sleep every night as long as those 6 hours of good quality and if the other 4 principles of fitness are in place.

What you can do to make sure those 6 hours are as great as possible is to develop a sleeping schedule which means to go to sleep at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every day. 60 minutes before you go to sleep turn off all lights, this include light bulbs, tv, computer, laptop, tablet, ipad, cell phone, etc. If you can´t do it 60 minutes try 30 minutes before going to bed, this will help your body know that is time to sleep and it will start producing melatonin.

When you are in bed, the last 10 to 15 minutes before you fall asleep focus on something you are really grateful for and really feel the emotion of gratitude in your heart, once you feel the emotion think and imagine yourself already having the physique you want while you keep the emotion of gratitude.   

STRESS

Stress is also highly important, stress increase cortisol and it can block your fat loss. Stress keeps our body in the “fight or flight” response, it keep us alert to survive dangerous situations, when we´re in this state our body uses all the energy to keep us awake and survive so there´s no energy and time to recover, grow and heal. We spend most of our day in this state which stops our body from recovering, healing and growing. This makes it harder for our body to build muscle mass and keep body fat low.

We need to keep stress low and we can do that by avoiding negative situations, negative environment and negative people. You may know someone who spend most of the time blaming, complaining and criticizing, if you can avoid those people do it. You have a big goal to focus on which is to get in amazing shape so you can´t be wasting time listening to those comments.

In the next section which is Mindset we´ll talk about breathing techniques which are a great tool to lower stress apart from avoiding and keeping negativity out of your life.

MINDSET

Getting the right mindset is key for your results, realizing and accepting that it takes time to gain muscle and to get the physique you want is the first step. As you keep progressing it will take more time to gain muscle mass but the results you´ll see every week or two are enough to keep you motivated. How you look in the mirror and how you feel are the most important and motivating results.

Since we got inspired by superheroes and our goal is to get an amazing physique, lean, strong and more of a superhero look the program is hard. You need to be really committed and focus.

Things get harder when we´re not living a healthy lifestyle, we need to make some changes in order to develop the right habits and that means that we need to make different choices which takes us out of our comfort zone and this go against what our mind wants. Our mind wants us to stay as comfortable as possible, it likes routines, habits and systems where it doesn´t have to think and work that much to do them, when we want to develop new habits we need to make different choices and this takes effort, time and work so our mind comes with so many different excuses to avoid the work.

Do not pay attention to those excuses, do what you need to do and see what you are capable of, do not let your mind play tricks with you and don´t believe the excuses and reasons why you can´t achieve something.

In the sleep section we talk about turning off light and electronic devices at least 30 minutes before you go to sleep, you can take those 30 minutes to do some breathing exercises that will help you reduce stress, focus on your goal and sleep better.

There are many breathing techniques but to keep it simple just close your eyes and take a deep breath, then slowly release it, breathe in and breathe out slowly, focus on breathing from your diaphragm. When breathing slowly you´ll feel how your heart rate slows, your body and muscles start to relax and your mind starts to calm down. Just breathing deeply and slowly reduces stress and helps you fall asleep faster, once you do this for a couple of minutes think of something you are grateful and feel the emotions of gratitude deeply in your heart, once you feel grateful create an image of yourself already having the physique you want, keep that image in your mind while feeling gratitude at the same time.

Last thing I will say is to stick to the program, we´re all looking for fast results but that´s impossible, it will take some time to achieve our goal, I know that we all want to see some results that keep us motivated and you´ll see those results but not in one day, stick to the program for the 30 days it last and you´ll be amazed, if you keep changing programs every week you´ll never make progress, you´ll never see results and you´ll keep failing time and time again.

Some of the most important keys to achieve anything is patience, discipline and consistency so stay with the program long enough to see results and to get to your goal. In some weeks you´ll be able to feel and see some progress, the best way to measure your progress is by how the clothes fit and the mirror, the scale is not the best option because it only considers total weight and not body composition.

Here you have a complete program to gain muscle mass and get a superhero physique, you can follow this program whenever you want to gain muscle mass or get stronger. We created another program also inspired in Captain Marvel and Avengers Endgame to help you lose fat and stay lean. You can follow the two of them one after another and keep changing them.

Now you need to put in the time and effort, you need to work hard and smart, if you follow the program you´ll be working smart but the hard work depends of you. We are capable of achieving great things but our biggest limit is our mindset, don´t let any limiting belief, fear, doubt or excuse keep you where you are. There´s nothing to fear and nothing to lose, getting in amazing shape is just the beginning.

Follow the program and share your results, if there´s anything else I can do for you, is there something else I can help you or something you want to know leave your comments and questions below, you can also find me on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Pam