Oct 042012
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dumbbellWorking out is THE most crucial part of building muscle apart from the proper diet, nutrition, and rest.For this reason, I bring to you 10 good tips to help you get the most out of your 1-2 hour workout sessions. In no proper order

Getting a training partner / trainer

There is more than 1 good reason to get a training partner/trainer, but the primary thing that this constitutes is safety.

A good training partner will be to keep you safe when lifting heavy weights by spotting, and would also be able to guide/supervise you while you’re doing workouts.

For me, my trainer does not only make sure I get to do the exercises properly, he also motivates and spots me whenever I increase weight or try out new workouts.

As much as I am tempted to work alone, as I am pretty much a loner at heart, I’d still very much recommend getting a training partner/trainer. Not only did I get results faster, I also learn a lot more in the process.

Pre-workout Meals

Nothing bolsters my strength workout sessions like a good pre-workout meal.

Workouts even just for muscle and strength gain burns a substantial amount of calories. While our muscles work to contract and relax, it requires some form of fuel to burn. And that’s where pre-workout meals come in.

Pre-workout meals such as banana and oat meal are really good at keeping fuel level up and are easily digested and metabolized for your muscle’s workout needs.

Program yourself auto-rehydrate

Whenever I see the color of my urine turn even a tad bit yellow, I’m already aware that I need some hydration and fast. I almost never reach this state by programming myself to auto-rehydrate.

Meaning, I drink a glass or 2 glasses of water every time I take a trip to the bathroom.

At the gym or while working out at home, our muscles go into overdrive and it needs even more water than usual. And trust me, muscles need LOTS of water.

Dehydration causes lots of bad things to happen, both long term and short term. But mainly, I find it very helpful to constantly hydrate myself every after exercise change or sometimes after a set or two.


Not all of us are open to supplements. Personally, I did not take them up until I felt that my lifestyle demanded it. If I got to eat healthy quality home cooked meals everyday, and whenever I needed it, I don’t think I would need them.

However, a 50-hour workweek, no time to cook, and poor quality food, makes me feel the demand to take supplements to hasten the recovery of muscles, as well as making sure my body absorbs the stuff I eat efficiently.

Personally, I only take advanced protein and amino acid tables as supplements, and seems to work well for me and my regimen.

Much like everything in life, supplements are optional and are more of a preference than a requirement, however, I’d be lying if I told you I could get to where I am now without the help of these 2 supplements. (especially with the lifestyle I’m living).

Proper Breathing

Muscles need oxygen, so remember to breath in and out every rep of whatever you’re doing.

I sometimes forget to do this at times and find it exponentially harder to pull off a rep than when I’m breathing in and out. My heart rate seems to race up as I forget to breathe as well, making me seem to tire more easily.

I really can’t describe how important proper breathing is for a workout. Just be careful not to hyperventilate.

Locking your shoulders

More of a safety measure than efficiency tip. Lock your shoulders unless you want to get a rotator cuff injury like me in my past exploits.

Getting an injured shoulder will further increase downtime and can be a permanent injury for life if it gets beyond rehabilitation.

Our shoulders are prone to injury because it’s a ball and socket joint that is only held by cartilage and muscle. Technically speaking, our arm is not really attached to our body by any bone in our body, making it very prone point of injury.

Tucking-in your Back

Back injuries are one thing to avoid as well. By tucking in your back, you not only get the full benefit of the workout, but also avoid possible back injuries.

Whether it be lying down and doing bench presses or squatting to do deadlifts, or just sitting on a machine-aided exercise machine, tuck-in your back to avoid injury and to do the exercise properly.

Doing it with full-range motion

I honestly sometimes and guilty of not doing some exercises in full-range motion.

When the going gets tough and the weight seems a bit overwhelming, my body seems to fail to do the rep in full-range motion. Meaning, I don’t get to the starting position again at the start of each rep, or don’t get to the ending position of each rep, or both.

As much as possible, I try to avoid this to get as much as possible for each workout, and all of us should too.

Post-workout meals

Usually, a grueling workout will leave your muscles aching with lactic acid the next day, however, delayed onset muscle pain is attributed to lactic acid formation in the muscles.

Fortunately, after reading Men’s Health Hard Body Plan, and experiencing it for myself, I’ve found out how far a post workout meal can do for us, muscle builders.

One day, after intense back training, I decided to eat a midnight snack (simply half a small burger), just a few minutes after the workout, and my back muscles barely ached the next few days when it should have been aching like heck.

This meant I could work myself out almost free of pain on my next trip to the gym.

Adequate amounts of rest during, before, and after workouts

Building muscle means creating microtears in our muscle tissue by working them out in a certain manner, then recovering them properly.

The hard part is not only the workout, but also the rest. The reason why it’s difficult is we are all in a hurry to grow big.

In order for muscle to grow properly, it needs time to recover. Much like almost anything else in life, we need to exercise patience.

Proper recovery not only promotes good muscle growth but also a better performance at the gym, making each gym session count.

So, rest well before and after workouts and rest at least 1-2 minutes in between reps (we are not here to do circuits, they don’t help as much in growing muscle). Your muscles will thank you for it.

Photo courtesy of http://www.freedigitalphotos.net

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