6 Hacks to Build Muscle and Get Ripped
Article written by Luke Douglas
Luke is a fitness and health blogger at Ripped.me and a great fan of the gym and a healthy diet. He follows the trends in fitness, gym and healthy life and loves to share his knowledge through useful and informative articles.
You just need to train hard, they say. And eat bucket-loads of protein, they say. Well, several months into the same old routine, and you’ll quickly notice that they might be wrong. Fitness is a fine art, my friend, and for those who have been in the game long enough to see results know that there are things they could have done differently to achieve better results, faster.
Read on and take your pick, because each of these hacks is designed to help you on your mass-gaining journey without stacking on the fat to cover your chiseled six-pack!
1. Load those compound movements
While research suggests that hypertrophy can be achieved with low weight/high rep and heavy weight/low rep, depending mostly on the time it takes to produce the same results – combining both methods will yield the best results, especially if you design your workout to include as many compound movements as possible.
We’re talking squats, benches, deadlifts, overhead presses, lunges, rows, you name them. Keep your entire body engaged throughout the movements, and aim to combine one heavy compound with several lighter exercises. You can pair them up in super sets or giant sets for best fat-burning results.
2. Cardio isn’t your archenemy
More specifically, HIIT is going to be your best gym bud for speeding up your fat loss while maintaining your muscle mass and pushing your metabolism into high speed mode. Pro athletes swear by them, and there are versions you can do at home, at the gym or outdoors, so take your pick.
Use it as your warm-up for your weight training or as a post-lifting session, but you can also start your day with an early morning run on an empty stomach – in order to preserve as much muscle as possible, drink a protein shake but steer clear of carbs before your first cardio session.
3. Lower your bodyfat with nutrition
Burn more calories than you consume every day, and your stored fat will melt away when you train well, which is the essence of gaining a ripped physique. However, keep your caloric deficit in the healthy realm, which means approximately 200 calories less than your maintenance goals if you aim to lose a few pounds. If you only want to cut, then just alter your plate content as opposed to reducing calories themselves.
Focus on what you eat, because in order to build muscle, you need all three macronutrients, but you sure as hell can cut out carbs such as bread, added sugars and processed foods. Replace them with whole foods, and eat fruits and vegetables as your main carb source instead.
4. Stock up on those supplements
If you want to make the most of your nutrition and training plan and help your body stay in the sweet spot for fat burning and muscle building, then there are several essential gym supplements you can include in your diet. Whey protein can help maintain your protein intake on the go and prior to those cardio sessions, while BCAAs are there to protect your muscles during the lifting and HIIT routines.
Keep your macros in check by including a fish oil supplement so that you ensure a proper amount of essential fatty acids in your diet, and in case you’re lacking micronutrients, a multivitamin can help you stay on track. Find your diet weak link and use these handy products to improve your muscle growth and promote fat loss.
5. Active recovery 101
Don’t be a sloth! No matter how much blood, sweat and tears you shed during your workout, if you simply drop those dumbbells, rush home and plant yourself in front of a TV, you’re dead and done. Include some low-intensity work in your rest days and those hours you spend outside of the gym.
Walk home (or at least a segment of the distance), break your sedentary habits with some jump-rope sessions and bodyweight work. Get up in the morning and start your day with some stretches and make friends with those foam rollers before and after your every training, and make peace with a lacrosse ball for those stubborn knots in your hips. Increasing your mobility will ensure safe progress in the gym and help you reach your goals faster and healthier.
6. Rest and repeat
Sleep plenty, meaning eight to nine hours every night, take smart breaks between your sets and exercises, and never skip your workout-free days. Design your recovery and rest as you would your workout – be strategic and plan it well, and you’ll reap the muscle-building rewards.
With enough recuperation time, your body will produce plenty of growth hormones (testosterone), build new muscle fibers faster, prevent injuries and use the nutrients of your daily meals. Remember: muscle building happens after you leave the gym, precisely during the moments of rest, so never underestimate the power of a well-crafted rest day!