#23 – Have no plan: Are you someone who plans your workouts down to the T? Are you meticulous about exercises, sets and reps? Or are you a creature of habit and perform the same routines every day? Give your brain a break and go to the gym without a plan. Whatever comes to mind, do it. If it’s 10 sets of bench presses for chest, then so be it. Let your instincts lead you.
#24 – Go full-body: Your body builds muscle better when things are kept simple. You can’t get any simpler than full-body routines. The benefits are two-fold. One; you get a full-body muscle and hormone stimulation every workout and two; it gives you an opportunity to train each muscle three or more times per week.
#25 – Cut back: How much volume are you doing per workout? Does your chest routine comprise of barbell bench work, dumbbell presses and flyes and then some cable crossovers or dips? Cut back a little and simplify your training. Focus on increasing loads and intensity on presses and maybe some dips for a while.
#26 – Get more frequent: Quiz time: Will you grow faster from training everything once or twice per week? Once per week will yield 52 opportunities per year while twice per week gives you 104 opportunities to stimulate muscle growth. Train more frequently and watch your gains double – literally.
#27 – Go plyo: Plyometrics have quickly become a mainstream form of training to add muscle. The ballistic-style muscle-action activates fibers and stimulates growth in very unique ways. Don’t believe the hype? Just look at the legs of sprinters.
#28 – Pre-load: Recent research touts the advantage of pre-loading a muscle. What the heck is it? After a thorough warm-up of squats, for example, load the bar with enough weight for 3 to 5 reps without going to failure. Immediately following decrease the weight to your normal working weight and perform your set. You will notice the set is easier than normal.
#29 – Eat fat: Make sure you are eating healthy fats. Why? These fats help regulate key hormones such as testosterone and growth hormone as well as keep your metabolism in check and provide energy while dieting on low calories. Eat eggs, avocado, nuts, olive oil and nut butters.
#30 – Cut out the processed: Are you eating too much junk? No, I’m not talking about cake, cookies and ice cream, those are no-brainers. I’m talking about too much processed foods such as chips, crackers, pre-made dinners, kid’s cereals and anything else that isn’t natural fruits, vegetables, meats, eggs and other whole foods.
#31 – Whole food protein: Supplements are great, they provide high-quality protein when convenient and quickly shuttle critical amino acids into the muscle. But our reliance on these powders can become a crutch at times. Be sure you are eating a variety of whole-food protein such as eggs, beef, chicken, turkey and fish. Nothing beats real food for building real muscle.