Growth Begins When the Workout Ends
I remember when I first started bodybuilding. I made all the typical beginner mistakes. I over trained each body part doing way too many sets and training too frequently because I thought more must be better. I chose a lot of inefficient exercises like machines and cables because I thought you have to isolate each muscle to really work it and I trained too light performing 10 to 12 reps each set because I thought you have to feel the burn and exhaust the muscle for it to grow.
Looking back I am almost surprised I did as well as I did given all the mistakes I made. Even though I approached just about everything less than ideal, I think my biggest mistake was the absence of any type of nutritional plan.
Initially, I never even considered the role of nutrition but the longer I train the more I realize how absolutely crucial it is for maximizing results. I also realize how many people fail to place enough emphasis on this critical factor.
It boils down to the basic principles of stimulus and response. Weight training is the stimulus for muscles to grow. The degree of stimulus depends upon how intelligently you approach your training. Your exercise selection and rep range will dictate how efficiently and effectively you are signaling your muscles to grow. After that, it’s all about response.
The determining factor in response to training is nutrition. Your nutritional intake will directly impact the speed and degree of your results. In fact, I believe that training and nutrition are so interdependent that they cannot be separated.
You can have the best training approach in the world but if you are not supplying yourself with the fuels your body needs you will only experience a small degree of the results that you could.
In order to truly maximize your development you need to be as committed outside the gym as you are inside. Your real growth begins when you set the weights down after your last set and your habits after that will directly impact your results either positively or negatively.
Think of it this way. Your weight training sessions may last 40-45 minutes. There are another 23 + hours outside the gym effecting the success of your workouts. Look at how much more time is actually spent responding to your workouts compared to the workouts themselves.
The key nutrient for responding to the stimulus of heavy training is protein. You should be making an effort to supply yourself with quality protein every 2 to 3 hours. This way you will keep a steady stream available for your body to use all day long. The more consistently you can create an internal environment conducive for optimal muscle growth the better.
I think one of the main contributing factors to my muscle gains has been my consistent eating habits. I make a conscious effort to consume quality protein every 2 hours and more times than not, I do. In fact, it is almost a standing joke that you can set your watch by my “feeding” schedule.
Two things that are absolutely indispensable to me and allow me to adhere to such a regiment are Ny-Tro PRO-40 and VP2 Whey Isolate. Not only are these the highest quality protein sources available, they are so convenient it makes eating on time easy. If I had to follow my eating schedule with “regular” food only, I don’t think I would ever be able to leave the kitchen.
Building muscle is not as complicated as most people make it. Just remember that you are responding to the stimulus of training around the clock, seven days a week. That means each day is filled with numerous opportunities to enhance your recovery process. You can either take advantage of your time or waste it. The choice is yours.