When you first start working out you believe that simply spending time in the gym will bring the fat loss and muscle growth you desire. There’s so much more to it than that – read on to find the top 5 most underrated factors for building muscle and losing fat.
Number One Underrated Factor: Sleep
This is probably the most underestimated thing for people trying to build muscle: sleep. It’s not just the amount of sleep you get which can be important to muscle growth and recovery but also sleeping at the right time makes a huge difference.
Sleeping is a huge impact in letting your muscles recover; while you sleep your body is recovering everything from bones to muscle tissue, meaning that you can train your muscles on a more regular basis, in comparison to if you do not receive enough sleep. There have been several experiments confirming your body produces the highest amount of natural growth hormone when you are sleeping between 22.00-02.00.
It’s not just the direct muscle building effects we get from sleep – we all know how hard it can be to get our ass to the gym, after a hard day of work. Sleep will help you with this, getting 8-10 hours’ of sleep is essential for muscle growth, and helping you to get that edge in the gym.
Some people may have problems sleeping, which can be caused by a number of factors from stress to what we eat and drink around bedtime. Don’t drink coffee 3-4 hours before bed time, and don’t eat sugar foods 2-3 hours before bed time to help maximize your. Also try and make a sleep schedule, doing the same thing day after day, will help your body figure out the system, and it will be easier for you to fall asleep.
Number Two Underrated Factor: Eat The Green Stuff
So many people neglect how important nutrition and eating vegetables is for your body – eating green will do so many good things for you. Both fruit and vegetables are important when you go to the gym, and pound the weights day after day. They will help fuel your body with minerals and vitamins which are both essential for muscle growth, recovery and overall health.
Vegetables are also a great assistance of losing weight, because they are low in energy density and high in fibre- meaning they contain a low amount of calories whilst be filling.
So how much green should you eat? Some articles say 400, some say 500, some say even up to 750 grams of greens each day. You should aim somewhere between 400-700 gram depending on your bodyweight. An easy way to get greens is to blend them in your shakes. If you have a protein shake, blend some banana in there if you like the flavor, or spinach is a great way to get easy greens without changing the flavor of your shake.
Number Three Underrated Factor: Fight Back With Fiber
Fiber is important for the body for a number of reasons including providing benefits for digestive health as well as helping to keep you fuller for longer and promote weight loss. When building muscle it is important to meet your macros – many people avoid fiber due to its filling properties which can make meeting your macros more difficult. But fiber is an important component of the diet that must not be ignored.
Fiber is very hard for your body to break down, and the good thing about fiber is that it speeds up your metabolism and helps you digest food which is great because you will easier absorb the nutrients in your body, including vitamins and minerals. It also supports your overall health, by lowering blood pressure and can help you lower your cholesterol. As a woman you should get about 20-30 grams of fiber each day, and as a male you should get 40 – 50 grams of fiber each day.
You may wonder where to get fiber – it’s common to find in vegetables, oatmeal, brown rice, and wholegrain products in general.
Underrated Factor Number Four: Keep Track Of Training & Nutrition
This is something done by very few people, but this really helps you identify which exercises you respond well to, and which foods your body digest the best and gets the most benefits from eating.
Yes, it can be pretty boring at times. But if you really want to know your body, this is a step that will take you so far.
Keep track of exercises, reps, sets and weight. This will help you understand if you respond best to high volume but low weight and reps or to high reps, low weight and just few sets and exercises. This can help you grow so much more, if you know what your body reacts to. If your body reacts better to narrow than wide grip in bent over rows, or the opposite. Until you start keeping a record of your workouts, and try out which way you grow the most, you will not know your full potential for sure.
Same thing with nutrition – are you carb sensitive or fat sensitive? Do you need high or low amounts of protein? Try using a free online or mobile app like myfitness pal- that way you’ll know exactly what your consuming. Just writing down how you feel each day, and try and understand your body will make such a huge difference, and help you get a steady forwarding progress with bodybuilding or weightlifting.
Underrated Factor Number Five: Experimentation
So many people just stay in the same pattern over and over for years, thinking that they are using their body to its maximum potential, when they in reality have no idea what their maximum potential is. You may have periods where you will not grow as much as others, but trust me, if you want to do this for a long time, this is the right approach.
Building your body is a marathon and not a sprint, it takes years to get a great body, and in the start you may grow more from your friends’ training split – but in the end it will always benefit you to try out things and find out what works for you.
There will be weeks where you grow a lot, and weeks where you won’t. Write down which ways work for you and how much you improved in the time with the different nutrition and training methods, and after maybe a year, maybe 4 years of experimenting with different macros, fiber, greens and training methods, you will know what works best for you. It’s at this point you can take full advantage of your body.