Even when the most common goal for people to start their weight loss journey is weight loss, muscle growth plays a huge role.
I see a huge mistake with people who aren´t obese or overweight and they want to lose weight, in this case if you want to lose weight it´s because you want to look lean and toned but to achieve this you need to have a base of muscle otherwise if you lose weight you´ll only end up skinny so the first goal must be to gain muscle. You don´t need to get big if you don´t want to just gain strength and muscle mass and then you lose weight so you end up looking great. Or if you´re afraid of gaining fat along the way you can set your goal as improving body composition which means building lean muscle mass and losing fat, this takes more time and you need more strategies for your exercise and diet plan but it works great.
There are some people that want to get into fitness because they´re skinny so instead of losing weight their goal is to gain muscle, to get bigger. How much muscle you want to gain depends of you, you may want to build a lean and athletic physique that looks more like Christiano Ronaldo or you may want to build a superhero physique and look more like Thor or Captain America, or maybe you want to become a bodybuilder.
When your goal is muscle growth then your exercise program changes, for weight loss the goal is actually to lose fat so the workout programs are focused on maintaining strength with lower volume because being on a calorie deficit makes it harder to maintain high volume. For muscle growth the goal is strength with the right amount of volume and frequency, you need to focus on strength, getting stronger on certain movements in the 5 to 8 rep range and 2 – 3 minutes of rest between sets (compound and bodyweight) you need to consider progressive overload by adding more weight or reps each week and make this the base of your program, then add some isolation exercise in the 12 to 15 rep range and 60 to 90 seconds rest between sets to increase volume. Working each muscle group 2 times per week is a good frequency to get the best results. You also need to consider recovery, and sleep plays a really important role here, getting at 6 hours of high quality sleep is crucial but if you can get more do it. When you´re working on strength and progressive overload you won´t be able to work each muscle group on consecutive days because the central nervous system needs more time to recover. Even when some people recommend hitting each muscle 3 days per week in a program where you´re working on strength it won´t be possible.
Each workout should begin with strength exercises, the body weight or compound lifts, the ones you are using to get stronger on the 5 to 8 rep ranges, once you´re done with those you continue with isolation exercises.
When you are working out, it doesn´t matter if you go to a gym or if you exercise at home be really concentrated on what you´re doing, pay attention to the clock and how you feel so that you can get enough recovery on strength sets and you don´t lose momentum on isolation sets. Mind-muscle connection is really important, you may have heard about it, when you´re doing any type of resistance training your mindset need to be of contracting the right muscles, focus on form and make sure that you´re using the right muscles when you´re lifting or moving the weight. If you´re doing bench press or push ups you want your chest to be doing the work not your shoulders. You need to be able to contract the right muscle for each exercise without using any weight.
Creating a muscle growth program is actually simple but you need to start your workout with the right mindset, you need to make sure you´re giving your body enough nutrients so that you can get through your workouts, get stronger and grow and you need to make sure you´re getting enough recovery and sleep because that´s when your body is growing.
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