Build a Better Body: Ways to Get Serious About Chiseling Your Physique
Have you spent hours in the gym building your body up but still don’t feel as though you’ve got that chiseled physique? Here are some quick and easy strategies that will enable you to create that ripped body you’ve been dreaming of.
People can go to the gym, lift lots of weights, and drink tons of protein shakes stacking on muscle that wasn’t there before; but this might not bring them that chiseled physique that shows off their abs, delts or biceps. To get really sculpted, it takes dedication, intense training and a body fat percentage that’s incredibly low (make sure you check with your doctor before going on such a plan and especially as a woman, it’s not healthy to have too low of body fat for extended periods of time). So how do you achieve this?
According to Scott Rankin, C.S.C.S., a strength coach based in Toronto, you need to start passing on the mac and cheese! The first step to achieving that lean muscle mass, is to reduce how many carbohydrates you’re eating and up your protein intake. Decreasing your body fat is a must if you already have a high percentage of body fat. But if you’re skinnier, you should still limit your carbohydrates and embark on a program that focuses on bulking you up.
Even though diet is at the heart of achieving an incredible physique, you will need to follow an exercise program that’s super focused, in order to achieve the physique you’re after. Here’s what Rankin suggests:
Begin with a Power-Based Exercise
At the start of your routine you should be beginning with a power-based pull or push exercise such as a weighted underhand pull-up with a narrow grip, a weighted pull-up with a wide grip or a heavy incline bench press. As the weights you’re working with start to increase, you’ll need to decrease your repetitions in order to build mass.
You may want to invest in a pair of weightlifting shoes. Start with 8 to 10 reps to get warmed up. Do these at 50% your one rep maximum (how much weight you can lift for one full repetition). For the second set do 8 to 10 reps at 55% to 65%, the third at 65% to 75% before increasing to 70% to 80% for your fourth set of 6 to 8 reps. Finally, in your fifth set do 3 to 5 reps at 80% to 90% of your one-rep max. Between each set, rest for 2 to 3 minutes.
Exhaust a Muscle Group
Try to push yourself to exhaustion by pushing a certain group of muscles to the limit. You need to do this by carrying out an exercise that you can control even when you’re feeling incredibly fatigued. Something like dumbbell presses or pushups are ideal. Do as many reps as you possibly can, pushing yourself to maximum effort before resting for a minute. Then, go for another round as this will help to break down your muscle, stimulating hypertrophy which helps to improve your definition and build the size of your muscles.
Do Two Supersets
To tear leftover muscle fiber, look at exercises that are aimed at leaning out rather than bulking up. This will force your body to repair these muscles fibers which will, in turn, help to make you stronger. For 3 to 4 rounds, do 12 to 15 reps, having a short period of rest in between each of these sets, alternating between pull and push. For example, in set A you may do 10 to 12 stability ball hamstring curls and glute hamstring raises, while set B will be 12 to 15 step-ups and walking lunges with dumbbells. Finish this set of exercises off with some core work (medicine ball).
While you’re asleep your body will re synthesize muscle, so it’s incredibly important that you’re getting enough rest. Nine hours is the ideal amount of sleep you should get at night; but make sure you’re getting a minimum of seven. And forget going to the gym more than once a day. Your goal to trim your physique means you don’t want to be burning too many calories as you won’t be able to build muscle.
Power Yourself with Protein
Nutrition is key when you’re trying to get below 10% for your lean body fat (for men this is ok, for women don’t go below 18% unless you’re competing and only doing this short term), which means there’s a very fine line between dropping body fat and putting on muscle. You’ll need to determine how many calories you should be having by multiplying your body weight by 16. And don’t make the mistake of restricting your calories as this could stimulate your body into ketosis or fat burning due to starvation. For your calorie intake, make sure 40% of this is protein as this will help to build up the fibers of your muscles. Carbs and fats should be limited to 30% each with 85% of these carbs coming from vegetables and fruits and the remaining 15% from complex carbs.
Tyler Watson is a personal fitness instructor who first became interested in bodybuilding when he was 19. His articles talk about the best ways to get to your fitness goal and mostly appear on men’s lifestyle and health blogs.