Monday, October 22, 2012

3 Essential tips for Ectomorph strength, muscle and weight gain

3 essential bits of info for ectomorphs looking to build strength, muscle and ultimately gain weight.

1.Get the calories your body needs to gain weight and build muscle.

This is probably the most important point. I know as I've messed up here before!

High protein & Low GI foods
You should be taking in more calories than you burn off. Check how many calories you're on now per day, and add 200-500. Monitor and repeat until you start gaining weight. This is different for everyone and is reliant on your current activity level, in that the more active your lifestyle the more calories you'll need to gain weight. But not all calories are the same; the best way to get results is to eat clean. Eating clean will keep your hormone levels stable which is what its all about essentially. So your insulin will be stable which in turn will keep your energy levels stable/constant plus limit the amount of fat you'll store. A good diet will help your body produce and maintain good levels of testosterone and human growth hormone which are your muscle building hormones. Eat a high protein, low G.I. diet like the example here - My weight gain diet

2. Rest...

Get some sleep!
Always leave a minimum of 48 hours between workouts to allow adequate recovery and try to get 8 hours sleep a night. I say try because I know this is the variable that is often quite hard to maintain.  Take my situation for example, having young children sometimes doesn't make for calm restful nights, some nights I get 8 hours - some nights I get 4-5 hours. You just have to make the best of the situation and keep going. If you are in a similar situation, you may just notice that it takes you longer to recover or you're less focused during your workout. Try to power through as a bit of cortisol (stress hormone) can sometimes be a good thing! Cortisol is there to give you energy in times of need. For example when I've been feeling my roughest is often the time when I've had the best workouts! Important! On the flip side, long term/high levels of cortisol in your body can be detrimental to your muscle gains (plus your health in general) so you want to limit/reduce the amount of cortisol in your body as far as possible as it is a catabolic hormone. Read here - Naturally reduce cortisol

Adequate rest will also help improve your muscle building hormone levels - HGH and testosterone.

3. Start lifting weights and lift heavy. Compound movements with free weights!

No high reps here, not even for legs. Pick a weight where you can stay within a rep range of 5-10. When you're more experienced then yes high reps with moderate to heavy weight have their place, but for now just go heavy. Going heavy will give you the biggest muscle building hormone response and put more stress on the muscles which makes for bigger strength and muscle gains. Use correct form on your lifts and be safe. Click here for more details on my current weightlifting routine - Workout routine to build muscle. Stick with free weights as the extra stabilization involved means you're recruiting more muscle fibers, strengthening your joints and building more usable, real world strength and muscle.

For more info on why compound movements are the key to building muscle, click here - Compound vs Isolation lifts and The importance of squats

2010@156lbs (70.7kg)
2012@182lbs(82.5kg)
For more info on ectomorph muscle building please click here - Ectomorph muscle building

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