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Building muscle and size - Part 2

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How to Gain Weight and Build Muscle

5. Be at your best with more sleep and less stress.

You may not know it, but stress kills muscle gains dead. Catabolic hormones such as cortisol, which are released during times of stress, can quickly put the brakes on muscle growth. In fact, stress can be the number one progress killer. Arguments at home, long stressful hours at work, missed meals, lack of sleep, and general chaos all contribute to stress and cortisol release. Not good, if you want those all-important gains!

Try and make sure you get at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night.

So, if you want to get results from your nutrition and exercise programme, it's vital that you sort out your stress levels and ensure that you stay as calm as possible. If you aren't sleeping 7-9 hours, try and go to bed earlier or create an effective pre-bed routine. If time permits, try getting a massage or sit in the spa after your workout. Do anything to help you relax. Check this out for more ‘better sleep’ ideas.

6. Be Smart And Choose The Most Effective Muscle Building Exercises

Choosing the right muscle building exercises can make the difference between endless frustration and achieving the physique of your dreams. Build your routine around basic compound exercises such as squats, deadlifts, bench press, lat pull downs (or chins) and shoulder press. Performed correctly, these core exercises will stimulate muscle growth and strength like no others, due to the stress they place on your muscles, and the nervous and hormonal responses they produce.

To maximise strength and mass gains stick to compound exercises.

Avoid endless isolation exercises (such as tricep kickbacks and leg extensions) which are poor muscle and strength builders. For best results combine a sensible and progressive training routine (2-3 times weekly) with the nutritional advice mentioned.

7. Don't Burn Away Your Muscle Gains With Too Much Cardio

Cardio has some great health benefits. However, it can become too much of a good thing if you're looking to gain weight. If you're burning too many calories during your cardio sessions, then you risk doing so at the expense of muscle and strength gains.

Limit your cardio sessions - Cardio exercise actually blunts the natural biochemistry to build muscle.

If you're 100% focused on gaining muscle and size, then consider cutting down your cardio to a couple of light sessions per week. Light aerobic exercise should be carried out regularly to help keep you active and healthy, and also to make sure you don’t end up letting your fitness suffer as you gain weight. In fact, the fitter you are the more productive your workout will be and also you may find your overall recovery is improved as well.

After a cardio workout make sure protein and carbs are consumed soon after.

If you are doing any cardio exercise and are worried about potential muscle loss, just watch the frequency and intensity of your exercise. To help off-set this, ensure you consume some carbohydrates and a fast-absorbing protein such as Promax straight after your cardio session.

8. Take Advantage Of The Vital Post-Workout Muscle-Building Period

Fuelling your body correctly after training is critical in your quest for more muscle - so be sure to consume a suitable recovery drink as soon as possible following your workout. A combination of carbs and fast digesting proteins (such as whey protein) is the ideal post workout nutrition. Providing protein after your exercise session will help to support gains in muscle mass.

Building muscle isn’t easy and needs to be fuelled. Keep your protein level up throughout the day, combined with an excess of carbohydrate and healthy fats. Resistance exercise is the key, but you don’t have to give up cardio completely, especially if you enjoy it. Set some short-term goals and tick them off as you grow!

Maximuscle's Gainer, Progain and Progain Extreme are all suitable to help you take advantage of this post-training period. We would also recommend consuming a meal of complex carbohydrates and protein about 90 minutes post training.

Read How to build muscle and size part 1

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