A Beginner’s Guide on How to Build Muscle

how to build muscle

Even the most muscular person in the world once began as a regular person with regular triceps and invisible ads. We all have our starting place. However, with the plethora of blogs, insta-gurus, and continuous ads featuring nothing but muscles, it can seem a bit intimidating getting started.

Using the following information and advice, any novice can feel comfortable beginning their muscle building journey. Take your time, prepare, and ease your body into your new routine.

Nutrition

Anyone who went from not working out to going to the gym 3-5 days a week can tell you about the obvious need to eat more food. Even people who began exercising to lose weight understand the need to eat more (maybe not more food in general, but more frequently). So when it comes to building muscle, you are going to need a lot more frequent meals. It is a fact that the body requires a surplus of calories (taking in more calories than you’d expend in one day) to build muscles. You need to be eating the right things. However, nutrition entails more than just eating extra.

For building muscles, protein is key to muscle growth and recovery. The general rule of thumb offered for protein consumption is about one ounce of protein per pound of bodyweight. For muscle building, however, that number could be higher. It all depends on your body, your goals, and training intensity and volume.

Tips

Start Simple – Before jumping into a new gym membership, spend a few days or weeks specifying your goals and determining a routine for yourself. Along the way, begin working out at home with squats, lunges, planks, and push-ups. By spending the first few weeks building your core, your targeted exercises later will come at a less painful cost.

Tweak it – As easy as it is to get comfortable in your routine, it is not a good idea. If your mind and body are comfortable with the routine, it probably isn’t doing much for you. After mastering an exercise, you should almost immediately be looking for different variations. Keep your muscle gains from a plateau by remembering to mix things up.

Supplements – If it wasn’t for supplements, would GNC even be a thing? All jokes aside, the right supplements can be beneficial to muscle gains, fat loss, increased performance and increased strength and power. However, there are many different brands and options, so research is a must.

Vitamins and minerals – No, supplements are not the same thing. Yes, you can/should take both supplements and vitamins and minerals. In reality, most people are deficient in a lease some of the vitamins and minerals categories. Used for metabolic processes and other body functions, vitamins and minerals become even more of a necessity when intense exercise is introduced.

Originally published on http://josephbenevento.org

How To Train Like The Military

Physical fitness is an essential and mandatory aspect of military training. Building a strong and functional physique is key in developing an able Soldier, Airman, Sailor or Marine. But if you’re interested in military-style training, as a former Navy SEAL, I can give you a few of the common workouts I encountered during my time on the beaches and asphalt Physical Training areas in Coronado.

So below are some helpful tips on how to train like you’re in the military.

Ditch the Weights

Well, not entirely and not for good. But the first several months of SEAL training don’t involve traditional weight training at all. Aside from Log PT and boat crew workout sessions with a small boat you hold over your head, the majority of training involves body weight exercises. Classic calisthenics like push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups, flutter-kicks laying on your back (and seated), dips and running consist of the majority of the basic exercises I’ve encountered. Doing massive amounts of those exercises will certainly get you lean and you’d be surprised the amount of muscle you build as well.

However, the addition of multi-joint exercises (kettlebell swings, squats, deadlifts, bench and overhead press, etc.) as well as explosive calisthenics are a great way to add additional strength and build a great lean physique. Incorporating these movements into circuits or HIIT workouts are a phenomenal way to burn calories and get your body to a metabolic state.

Don’t Cut Cardio

Cardio is something that many people often neglect. Even people who are actively engaged in weightlifting can often forget the importance of their cardiovascular health. But the truth is, cardio is absolutely crucial to military fitness. In the service, you want to build a physique that allows you to trek long distances while still carrying heavy weight. You want to make sure you can run inclines without collapsing, and climb obstacles like walls and fences while carrying that same weight. But more than that, you want to make sure that your heart is healthy.

The truth is, cardiovascular health is more important than how you look in the outside and hitting the weights while neglecting the sometimes tedious and always exhausting nature if cardio may get you out of the gym early, but it also may get you out of this life early.

Quality over Quantity

It’s really not that impressive to bang out half-squats with heavy weight. I’d rather see folks complete full squats with a manageable and difficult weight for them than watch as they barely lower themselves a few inches before they grunt and groan and count that as a successful rep. This same statement applies to every exercise. Instead of going for an ‘impressive’ number of reps or a certain amount of weight, try to focus on getting the most out of each motion. Having a nice and controlled eccentric and concentric movement will not only help you build muscle more effectively, but it will also help build better form and stronger muscles.

Military-style workouts are a great way to push yourself both physically and mentally. If you employ some of the steps above, you’ll find yourself looking and feeling better.

Joseph Benevento originally published this article on JosephBenevento.org

Meditation in Motion: Exercise and Its Effects On Mental Health

There are plenty of great reasons to exercise; the confidence, mental fortitude, and stress relief it brings is something you can’t find anywhere else. And while the change in physique is often the end goal for many who partake in any rigorous activity, we shouldn’t understate the immense benefits that exercise and working out has on mental health.

So, let’s break it down and look into a few reasons why you shouldn’t merely workout to achieve a six-pack by summer, but do so to incorporate a consistent and healthy lifestyle that fosters mental health, clarity, and strength.

Thinking Fit

Studies suggest the parts of the brain that control memory and thinking have more volume in people who workout than people who don’t. In fact, neurologist, Dr. Scott McGinnis, has concluded that people who maintain an active lifestyle over the course of six months can develop more volume in certain regions of the brain—this is where it gets interesting. A decrease in brain size occurs by about five percent every decade after the age of 40. So, by maintaining an active lifestyle, you can essentially reverse the aging process of the brain.

When you exercise, you produce a chemical called brain-derived neurotrophic factor, which experts now think may help prevent the natural deterioration of the brain. And while the research is not conclusive, this process may help prevent neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Exercise and Stress Relief

Anyone who has endured any intense activity for any amount of time is aware of the incredible anxiety-eliminating benefits it has to offer. When you exercise, your body releases a chemical known as endorphins, which are essentially your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters. Popularly known as a ‘runner’s high,’ this sense of elation is found in any form of exercise that requires a pump up of your brain’s endorphins.

As you exercise, it’s important to focus on each movement and motion. This can help reset your brain and provide clarity and focus throughout the day. Have you ever felt stressed and went for a run, only to come back after with a newfound sense of mental toughness perspective? Think of it as something of a brain reset, and it’s vital an individual’s overall well-being.

Developing and sticking to a healthy lifestyle is not always easy, but it’s certainly worth it. The next time you are anxious or feeling overwhelmed, try going for a jog, lifting some weights, or hiking a trail. It may be the reset you need to keep pushing forward stronger than ever.

Joseph Benevento originally published this article on JosephBenevento.org