Muscle Building

Muscle Building

  • The no BS way to build muscle

    The no BS way to build muscle

    Switch Nutrition, 26 July 2021

    If you are a newbie to the gym, building muscle may seem easy. However, it’s not going to be a linear growth curve throughout your training career. To achieve best results, you will need to learn how to train both smarter and harder - not just one or the other. You will need to understand the need to fuel your body with the right nutrients, at the right time, with structured nutrition and scientific supplementing. But don’t fret, this isn’t as scary as it sounds! There is a difference between strength training and hypertrophy training (training with the intent to increase muscle size); although doing one will generally help achieve the other. In both cases, training should occur 3 – 4 times per week and should last for no more than 1 hour. Exercises should also consist of a combination of compound (multi-joint movements eg: squats) and isolation (single-joint movements eg: leg extensions). 4 key tips to build muscle 1. Train using overloading training principles A good strategy to build muscle is to implement different strategies of progressive overload like the ones below. But remember you should always start lighter and get used to the movements. Train with a partner where possible for motivation and safety, and consult a personal trainer or professional if you have any questions. Drop sets: where you start with a heavy weight and complete reps until failure. Then drop the weight down and do more reps until failure etc. Super sets: where you do one movement heavy until failure and then do a different exercise working the same muscle group lighter with higher reps. Start-stops: where you complete reps to failure. Stop for 5 – 10 seconds and then go again and repeat. Pyramids: where your first set is heavy, but the next working set is heavier and the last working set is the heaviest. Some people like to do this in reverse. This is called reverse pyramid. Forced reps: where you push to failure and have a spotter help you get some forced reps. Negatives: where you do full the range of motion until failure and then get a spotter to help lift the concentric (upward) part of the lift and you lower it on your own slowly then repeat 2-3 more times. Partials: where you do full reps until failure and then attempt partial reps until failure. Tempo: where you vary the tempo up, pause and down. Eg: 3 seconds up, 3 second squeeze and 6 seconds down. This tempo can be changed to put more or less tension and overload on the working muscles. 2. Journal Athletes who keep a training journal are 300% more likely to reach their goals. Writing down how you feel before you start, energy, motivation etc can be helpful. Write down what you ate (if at all) before training and what supplements you took (if any). Write down your reps, sets, weight for each exercise and review your previous workout before you start so you can reassess your lifting goals. #YOUVSYOU 3. Use food as fuel Protein To build muscle you must fuel the machine. Getting adequate protein, but not too much that it slows MPS (Muscle Protein Synthesis), is critical to ensure you get amino acid at the right time to take advantage of anabolic muscle building growth phases. You should aim for 1.8 – 2.2g of protein per kg of lean body weight per day. You should try to get most of your protein from food throughout the day and only use supplements if there isn’t enough protein coming in from your food. Carbohydrates You may need to consider increasing your carbohydrate intake as carbs fuel muscle energy and stimulate insulin, which is a highly anabolic muscle-building hormone. Supplementing with carbs around training for muscle growth is not uncommon. A supplement like Switch Nutrition Essentials Carbs, which is a combination of two fast-acting carbs for rapid recovery and insulin release, may help. Fats Getting adequate fats is important for the production of cholesterol, which is the backbone of anabolic hormones like testosterone. You should focus on a combination of saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Getting sufficient sunlight to activate vitamin D from cholesterol is also critical. Vitamin D has been shown to boost testosterone by 42% in men with low testosterone. 4. Supplement with key supplements Protein As discussed above, trying to get most of your protein from food is ideal. However, getting to the levels needed to support muscle hypertrophy (growth) can be difficult through your diet alone. Using a protein supplement such as Protein Switch™ may be required to help you to reach your daily goals. This is the most effective way to ensure you get a return on your training investment. Amino acids Amino acids are the simplest but most potent form of protein. It’s what you end up with once you digest protein down. Once absorbed amino acids are what make up the building blocks of all human tissue including muscle. Amino Switch™ consists of all 9 Essential Amino Acids (EAA’s) in the perfect muscle tissue ratio. 1 serve of Amino Switch™ is equivalent to 30g of WPI and absorbed 5x faster. It is also 200% better than BCAA’s alone. You can use Amino Switch™ during or after training instead of BCAA’s or WPI. Creatine Still one of the most clinically-proven muscle-building ingredients on the planet, creatine monohydrate has been clinically proven to boost strength, speed, performance and muscle size. We recommend you use 5 – 10g daily. Switch Nutrition Essentials Creatine is the highest quality HPLC tested 200 mesh micronised creatine available. Testosterone boosters There are several well-researched ingredients that have been clinically-shown to boost testosterone. You will find a combination of these vitamins, minerals and herbs in Alpha Switch™ at proven effective levels that will support energy, strength, blood flow and muscle growth along with libido. Beta Alanine Another great ingredient for increasing training load and performance is Beta Alanine. However, Beta Alanine needs to be consumed at 3.2 – 6.4g daily for no less than 21 days straight to see any real benefit in strength and training volume. Results for muscle gain are achieved after 6 – 8 weeks of supplementation so don’t rely on your pre-workout to supply what you need. Use a 100% Pure Beta Alanine like the HPLC tested version from Switch Nutrition. Pre-workout Pre-workouts will ideally have you training harder and lifting heavier with greater pumps! What you should look for is one that has natural, clean stimulants that your body can use effectively, and not build a tolerance to. Always look for an open label so you can see exactly what you are getting. We would recommend one that contains natural caffeine plus EnXtra®. EnXtra® is a patented compound found in Alpina Galanga. This compound can boost focus and alertness while amplifying caffeine by 30 – 50%. Also look for a pre-workout that contains VASO6®. This is an eNOS activator that helps convert citrulline and arginine into nitric oxide. This is the limiting factor and outperforms citrulline or arginine alone. Power Switch™ contains all these ingredients and much more. It’s also one of the more affordable and better tasting pre-workouts. Carbs Although not essential to supplement, carbs can help restore energy rapidly which may reduce muscle breakdown. They also boost insulin which is a powerfully anabolic (muscle building) hormone that can help shuttle amino acids into your cells to build muscle faster. We would recommend using a fast acting carbohydrate powder during or after your training with Amino Switch™. Carbs by Switch Nutrition is a combination of two rapidly absorbed carb sources and has zero fillers, flavours or colours. To summarise... Focus on the low hanging fruit… get into a calorie surplus. To add muscle tissue, you need to feed the body the nutrients to achieve this. Make sure you are looking closely at your macronutrients and micronutrients. Increase your training volume, but get adequate rest between sessions. Rest is how you grow. This means a lot of the growth you experience is immediately after training and during quality sleep. If you aren’t getting deep, REM sleep then consider Adrenal Switch™ before bed to lower cortisol and boost testosterone & growth hormone while getting a deep restorative sleep. Stay hydrated. Muscle cells grow more if there is adequate hydration. A 2% dehydration results in a 20% drop in performance and growth. Change!! Continue to periodically change your training time, structure and volume. This will get your body adapting to the new stimulus in a positive way. Enjoy the journey. If you don’t enjoy the training, the food and the supplements you will have difficulty sustaining and maintaining the results. Disclaimer: The above article is merely a guide and is in no way a recommendation or a treatment protocol for any health conditions or diseases. You should always consult with a qualified health care provider before changing your supplement, training, or nutritional strategy. Formulated Supplementary Sports Foods must not be used by pregnant or breastfeeding women, anyone consuming prescription medication or children under the age of 15 unless advised by a qualified health care provider.

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  • Can You Build Muscle With Plant Protein?

    Can You Build Muscle With Plant Protein?

    Steph Hofer, 24 April 2019

    A common misconception about plant based foods is they lack the protein needed to build muscle and make noticeable gains. But the reality is if you’re trying to lose fat, increase your strength, or build muscle mass - supplementing with plant based protein is NOT going to hinder your progress. In fact, many gym goers and elite athletes have benefited greatly from a plant based diet, or using plant based protein supplements. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the benefits of supplementing with plant protein and how (if used correctly) it can help you build muscle mass and strength. Plant Based Proteins Are Low In Saturated Fat Saturated fats are found in common food items such as meat, dairy and eggs. Increased levels of saturated fats in your blood can raise your cholesterol levels. This means eating high amounts of these products can increase your chances of future heart problems. Unsaturated fats on the other hand, can be found in foods like nuts and seeds - and are great alternatives to help your heart stay healthy. No Growth Hormones Or Antibiotics As you may already be aware, much of the meat you find in supermarkets these days is processed. This production process commonly involves using growth hormones and antibiotics. While there are a plenty of clean meat options out there, with plant based protein you can easily avoid this problem altogether. Alkaline Forming, Not Acid Forming A common diet (including food items like meat and bread) is what you call “acid forming,” which is not ideal for maintaining your body’s natural alkaline PH levels. By eating or supplementing with plant based ingredients, you can experience the benefits of “alkaline forming” foods. Alkaline forming foods have been shown to help reduce stress and inflammation, as well as maintain healthy bones. Easier To Digest Foods in a plant based diet are generally easier for your body to digest - especially raw foods. This is typically due to their fiber content, which is important for efficient digestion. Obviously, if your body’s using less energy to digest certain foods, it’s going to give you more energy to use throughout day. Are Plant Protein Sources “Complete”? Another common misconception about plant proteins is they aren’t “complete” sources of protein. A complete protein contains all of the essential amino acids, acids your body cannot produce on its own. However, your body can still get these amino acids from combining different foods and ingredients. Hemp seeds, quinoa, seaweed, kelp and spirulina are just some examples of complete protein sources which are plant based. Experience The Benefits Of Plant Based Protein Although a lot of people shy away from plant based protein, the truth is many people have experienced great benefits supplementing with plant based products, or eating a plant based diet. Not only this, because plant based proteins are rich in antioxidants, they’re also going to help you recover quicker and feel ready to take on your next workout. Remember it’s best to get your plant protein from whole foods and alkaline forming sources such as nuts, seeds and plant friendly supplements. These all contain “complete protein” which is important for building muscle and strength. Interested in trying plant based protein? Be sure to check out Sportfuel’s range of plant based and dairy-free protein products today.

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  • Muscle Building Mistakes Most People Make

    Muscle Building Mistakes Most People Make

    Steph Hofer, 21 February 2019

    Building muscles takes a whole lot of time and a whole lot of effort. But, that’s not the only problem. You also have to follow a particular system in order to see the gains you want to see. Muscle building isn’t just about hitting the gym and lifting the first set of weights you spot. If you don’t have a system or a fixed approach, you’re going to see extremely poor results. To help you out, we’ve decided to list a few common muscle building mistakes that most beginners make. Hopefully, this will help you get started on the right path. Avoid Sports After a Workout As odd as it might sound, playing sports can actually get in the way of your muscle growth. You see, your muscles need at least about 2 days to recover from the stress placed on them. If you engage in exercise immediately, you are going to end up using all those calories for fuel instead of rebuilding. So, take some time off from cardiovascular activity. If you can’t, limit it to 20 minutes, thrice a week. Now, cardio may not interfere with your strength development. However, it will interfere with the development of muscle mass. In other words, if you want bigger muscles, you need to limit your cardio. Sticking to a Rep Range You’ve probably come across the theory that muscle growth is best achieved with a moderate rep range. This might sound like a “sound” theory, but the evidence is actually inconclusive. What we do know for certain is that a lower rep range (1-5 per set) helps with strength development, which, in turn, allows you to lift heavier weights in a moderate rep range, such as 10-12. This way, you get to create more muscle tension, which leads to better growth. On the other hand, a high rep-range, such as 15-20, can boost your lactate threshold. This can help you minimize fatigue and boost time under tensions. This is also good for growth. To put it simply, muscle growth is optimized when you explore the full set of rep ranges. Not Cutting Down on Sugar Diet plays a huge role in muscle development.  So, if you aren’t eating right, you need to reconsider your priorities. That brings us to the topic of sugar. Sugar is nothing short of poison. Eat enough of it and you’re looking at obesity and poor muscle development. Excessive sugar consumption can cause your cells to become unresponsive to insulin, which is an anabolic hormone. This leads to poor absorption of glucose, which, in turn, leads to high sugar levels and diabetes. At the end, you’ll end up suffering from low energy levels and of course, muscle catabolism. Now, you’re probably thinking “oh, but I stopped eating sweet stuff a long time ago!”. Well, you might have stopped gorging on donuts, cakes, and candies, but there are some foods out there that are deceptive. For instance, did you know that certain kinds of sushi have sugar? If you’re surprised, we don’t blame you. The food industry isn’t exactly transparent and you can’t expect them to be. So, it’s up to you to seek out information and update yourself. Talk to a dietician, if you must. Apart from the above tips, we also suggest you start taking protein supplements to help boost your muscle growth. You can choose from a wide range at https://www.sportsfuel.co.nz/.

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  • Five Tips For Faster Muscle Growth

    Five Tips For Faster Muscle Growth

    Gemma, 28 March 2018

    It takes dedication and regular training for muscle growth to occur but with some subtle changes you can achieve faster muscle growth. Making small changes to your diet, training, and supplement routine can help you reach your goals and hit new personal bests at the gym.

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  • Which is More Effective? Plant vs. Animal Protein to Build Muscle

    Which is More Effective? Plant vs. Animal Protein to Build Muscle

    Gemma, 24 July 2017

    Basic nutrition teaches that you need protein to build muscle. But protein can come from different sources. Find out which source can work best for you.

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  • Build Muscle Over 40

    Build Muscle Over 40

    Gemma, 6 July 2017

    Are you looking to build muscle after 40? Have you got some lifting experience under your belt and need advice on how to adjust your training, or are you brand new to strength training and want an article targeted at YOU not some twenty-something-year old?

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  • 8 Muscle Gaining Tips for Hard Gainers

    8 Muscle Gaining Tips for Hard Gainers

    Sportsfuel, 24 May 2016

    While you'll hear most people today talking about how they want to lose weight, not everyone is working out with a goal of shedding pounds. If you're trying to add lean muscle mass to transform yourself from the skinny one in the room to someone muscular and well defined, the process can be difficult.

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  • Six Tips to Help You Build Muscle

    Six Tips to Help You Build Muscle

    Sportsfuel, 13 February 2014

    Everyone always says that there’s no secret to losing weight, toning your body and building muscle, but surely there’s something more to it than just exercising and eating healthy! It’s true that any kind of results in size gain is going to be from a lot of hard work more than anything else, but there are things that you can do to help build muscle and keep it. Check out these six tips and start incorporating some of them into your regime for better results.1. Eat Enough FoodYou can’t build muscle from nothing! You need the right food to fuel your body and gain mass. Recommendations can be quite varied in terms of how much you need to consume - it really depends on your current body type. A daily intake of around 40 calories per kilogram of body weight is usually considered a pretty good measure to go by.2. Increase Your Protein ConsumptionThe right kind of calories is going to do a whole lot more for you than just eating any greasy or fatty foods. Protein is crucial to burning fat and building muscle at the same time - something that is very difficult to do when you aren’t eating well. Foods like steak and chicken are protein-rich and you can give yourself a boost with a protein supplement.3. Eat With RegularityYou want to be eating more and more regularly to build muscle faster. Providing your body with the energy it needs consistently will keep it in a muscle-building state. Eating a small, energy-packed meal every two to three hours while you’re gaining can lead to incredibly positive results.4. Work Out Every Other DayYour body doesn’t build muscle while you’re working out, but rather while your body is resting. Protein synthesis is increased after working out for up to 48 hours. Maximise your growth by letting your body rest the day after an intense weight session.5. Stay HydratedWe’re 70% water. Every pound of muscle in your body can hold up to three pounds of water, so when we dehydrate they tend to suffer tremendously. Without enough water you aren’t going to be achieving the best results, so make sure you keep a bottle on you at all times.6. Load Up Before Working OutGive your body the fuel it needs by eating a slow-burning meal before you start your session. Clean Carbs like Oats are perfect foods, and, combined with a whey protein shake and a muscle-building supplement like creatine will give you the power your body needs and the nutrients to build muscle fast.

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