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Fitness goals

Training tools for muscle growth

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If your goal is to build lean muscle there are some strategies that will improve your progress and results.

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. When our goal is muscle growth, I don´t recommend HIIT because it can impair recovery.

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 muscles 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.

Since muscle growth takes time we need to focus on progress, we don´t want to gain as much weight as possible because most of that weight may come from fat and we don´t want that, progressive overload (we´re going to talk about this in a post) is a must for resistance training if we want to get the best results possible.

Let us know by leaving a comment on our Facebook and Twitter account if your goal is muscle growth and how does your program look like? Do you follow a bodybuilding type of program?

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

Exercise

What you need to know about muscle hypertrophy

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In the last training post we talked about muscle fibers and how they play an important role for any fitness goal, today we´re going to talk about how those two types of muscle fibers are related to hypertrophy which is something we need to understand for muscle growth if we want to get the best results.

There are 2 types of hypertrophy which are sarcoplasmic and myofibrillar. The 2 of them are related to the muscle fibers because depending of the rep range we are working is how we target each of them.

In sarcoplasmic hypertrophy the muscle increases in size because more fluid gets into the cell, we target slow twitch muscle fibers which are type 1, working around the 12 to 15 reps per set or more. If we want to get “the pump” this is where you need to focus on, this is also the most common rep range and the one we´ll see a lot more on gyms.

Since we are lifting light weights for high reps, we can use the 3 types of exercises; bodyweight, compound and isolation (I´m writing a post for each).

This type of hypertrophy makes us a slave to the gym, we need to be training to keep the muscle otherwise we lose it. Is easier and faster to gain muscle and to look big with this one but if we take some time off the gym, we lose those gains.

In myofibrillar hypertrophy the muscle cell increases in number, we target fast twitch muscle fibers which are type 2, working around the 5 to 8 reps per set. If we want to build lean dense muscle this is where we need to focus on.

Since we are lifting heavy weights for low reps, we can use bodyweight and compound exercises which are the ones we can lift heavy weight, with isolation we can´t lift heavy because we can get injured.

This type of hypertrophy takes more time to build and to get big but it´s there to last, we can take some time off the gym and it will take longer until we lose that muscle. What we need to consider is that here we are working our central nervous system and it takes more time to recover.

If our goal is only to gain strength we need to work on the 5 to 8 rep range which is type 2 or fast twitch muscle fibers if our goal is to get muscle mass faster we need to work on the 12 to 15 rep range which is type 1 or slow twitch muscle fibers. The best option for muscle growth is to work on both creating a program that focuses some days on sarcoplasmic hypertrophy and other days on myofibrillar hypertrophy or creating a program where we can combine both in the same workout.

When we combine both types of hypertrophy we make sure that we build lean dense muscle which takes longer but also last longer and we get “the pump” to look bigger, this also help us design workouts with high volume which is also key for muscle growth, there are many variables that come into play (we´re going to talk about all of them in separated posts for each) and that we need to consider to make sure that we give our muscles the stimulus they need but also enough recovery to grow.

We also need to consider that muscle growth is the results of the right stimulus, recovery and proper nutrition which we´re going to talk about in a separate post.

As I´ve said before, exercise is key to help us lose weight and get lean but we need to understand more complex information like muscle fibers and hypertrophy to be able to build the type of physique we want and get the best results.

Let us know by leaving a comment on our Twitter and Facebook account if you find this information useful and if you’d like us to create programs based on all the information, we´re sharing with you.

It would 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 goalsFood

Nutrition tools for muscle growth

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Let me ask you a question, why did you decided to go to the gym and start working out? Did you wanted to lose weight and get in shape or were you skinny and wanted to gain some muscle and look stronger.

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 by increasing 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.

You need to consider that there´s not a best way to do it, this are just 2 strategies, but you need to try them and find out what works best for you.

I´ll to be honest with you, I don´t like following a certain program for muscle growth or fat loss for long periods of time, for fat loss I´ll lower calories for 5 to 6 weeks most and then do 2 or 3 weeks at maintenance, for muscle growth I´ll go 12 to 14 weeks in a calorie surplus and then reduce calories to maintenance for 3 or 4 weeks.

If you´ve tried to gain lean muscle mass but you gain too much fat a long the way let us know which strategies were you following by leaving a comment on our Facebook and Twitter account so that we can help you improve you food program to achieve the best results.

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

Muscle growth and body composition

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If you want to be able to lose weight, get in shape and sustain your results effortless then improving body composition is key and muscle growth is one of the 2 pieces of this puzzle.

Improving body composition means maintaining a healthy weight with the right percentage of lean muscle mass and body fat.

Maintaining lean muscle mass is important and needs to be one of our priorities, the more muscle we have the faster our metabolism works so it´s easier to lose fat and stay lean but it also help us avoid injuries and stay healthy. There are 2 most common ways we lose muscle; one is related to some diseases and the other is age.

As we get older our body goes through different changes and one of this change is the loss of muscle mass with this come a lot of negative consequences like loss of strength which lead to injuries and other health problems.

Making sure that we get in shape and maintain an optimal weight that considers the right percentage of body fat and muscle mass helps us look lean and toned and as I´ve said before it´s not necessary to get big. Making sure that we maintain muscle mass or build muscle mass to maintain a healthy weight is important to maintain strength so that we reduce the risk of injuries as we grow older. As we grow older we lose muscle mass and strength so by working out focusing on resistance training to maintain strength and give our body the stimulus it needs to maintain that muscle we make sure that we´re not losing it, this also helps us get through daily activities like lifting bags and boxes, pushing and pulling boxes, enjoying time outside in nature with friends and family.

I´ve heard some people say that when you reach a certain age, like 70 or 80 you are not able to gain muscle mass but this is actually not true, we can build lean muscle mass at any age if we do it correctly, we need to give our muscles the right stimulus to grow and we also need to give our body the nutrients it needs to grow muscle and we need to be on a calorie surplus, if we do those three points correctly then we are able to gain muscle at any age.

We want to maintain strength and get stronger, not only to maintain and gain muscle mass and this doesn´t mean that we need to get huge as bodybuilders, we maintain a lean and strong physique. Maintaining strength and muscle is important for maintaining optimal health and maintain optimal performance as you grow older, you want to be able to carry bags and boxes when you go for groceries, you want to have lean and strong legs to walk and move from one place to another.

The best way to maintain strength and get stronger and also to maintain and build muscle mass is with bodyweight and compound exercises, we can add some isolation exercises to work certain weaker muscles and gain more mass faster but the key is to get stronger in bodyweight and compound exercises, for this we need to focus on progressive overload (we´re going to talk about exercises variables and techniques in future posts) working on the 5 to 8 rep ranges with heavy weight. What we want is to lift heavy weight for low reps. 

When we focus on maintaining strength and getting stronger keeping body fat low we´re working on improving body composition, this helps us look great and it´s easier to maintain the results and keep improving. Any excess of weight including excess of muscle mass in unhealthy this is why our goal is to improve body composition and maintain a healthy weight considering muscle mass and body fat. We want to be lean and strong.

Our goal is to improve body composition and maintain a healthy weight that considers body fat and muscle mass percentage, but we not only want to look as great as possible we also want to make sure that our body and physique are useful.

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

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.

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