I wanted to do a body building competition a year ago but ended up getting sick — really sick. I was unable to work out for two months + lost a lot of muscle. After the CHAARG Booty Camp this summer I gained a lot of it back, however my determination to run a half marathon [which I did!] caused me to lose muscle mass quickly. I soon realized that logging tons of miles doesn’t mix well with building muscle, so after the race I was on a mission to bulk back up… + decided to register for a bikini competition to hold me accountable. Through my ups + downs ++ trial + error, I’ve learned a thing or two about building muscle. Here’s how I gained 4 pounds of lean muscle in 3 months.
1] LIFT HEAVY WEIGHTS
My first workout with a bodybuilder I learned I was lifting half of what I could. I used to do sumo squats with a 30 lb dumbbell — she told me to try 50 lb for 20 reps. Thinking I wasn’t even going to be able to lift it, I shocked myself + finished the set. That same day I did 70 lb for 12 reps. Take a chance + pick up a heavier set of weights next time you reach for the dumbbells. Try a new machine, increase your reps, ask someone to spot you!
2] SLOW DOWN
Sit down, catch your breath, relax. I used to look at people who sat down at the gym as lazy or just there to hang out, never wanting to be *that girl* I would run around the gym finishing workouts in record speed. I wasn’t giving my body time to recover between sets, making each rep harder than it should be, therefor I lifted less weight than I really could.
3] LEARN TO LOVE INCLINES
Cardio means one thing to a body builder + another thing to everyone else in the world. When I told my coach I was doing my HIIT intervals at 11 + 17 [speed] on the stair master he laughed. My intervals are now 3 + 6, focusing on squeezing + building the muscle + using the slow speed to kick back. I also replaced running with a fast paced walk on a fully inclined treadmill, keeping my heart rate in the fat burning zone, in order to keep from burning up my muscle.
4] EAT EVERY TWO HOURS
You have to feed your muscles in order for them to grow, + you have to feed them the best food. My diet doesn’t include alcohol, processed foods, sugars, dairy, or fruit. It does include oatmeal, sweet potatoes, green vegetables, protein, ++ some more protein. I eat every two hours, 7 smaller meals total a day [two of those are protein shakes]. I take vitamins + apple cider vinegar as well everyday.
5] DRINK UP
You have to drink a lot — a lot of water, a lot of protein, a lot of tea. I try to drink a gallon of water a day, it can be tough some days. I always have my water bottle on hand, during my workouts I drink 28 oz of water mixed with a scoop of BCAA [branched-chain amino acid are helpful in building + maintaining muscle, as well as muscle recover] + 25 grams [half scoop] of Karbolyn [a carbohydrate source that is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream like a simple sugar but without the typical spike or crash caused when your muscles run out of fuel]. ++ I do another scoop BCAA + half scoop of Karbolyn — thats 56 oz of water during + 15 min post workout! I drink 2 protein shakes a day 8 oz mixed with 30 calorie vanilla almond milk + 2 oz of pasturized egg whites [uncooked — you can’t taste them I promise!]. ++ more water! I drink another 16 oz while taking my vitamins + apple cider vinegar. I drink tea before bed to help relax, detox, + promote a faster metabolism!
6] MEAL PREP
You have to meal prep. Let me say it again: you have to meal prep. Take the time to prepare your meals + you will know what you are eating is healthy. You won’t have to scramble in the mornings, end up buying food, or reach for an unhealthy snack. Plan your workouts. I used to go into the gym + do a *total body tone* every day. Now, every day of the week has a muscle group that is focused on + I have a good idea of the kind of workout I want to do before I get to the gym. You have to plan for more time at the gym ++ more sleep. The longer you spend at the gym, the more recovery your muscles need. I used to run on 5 or 6 hours a night, now it is really hard to function with less than 8.
Keep in mind, girls who are new to lifting gain muscle faster than someone who has already built their muscle mass up. You can’t just pick one or two of these areas to get results. Women who do everything to maximize their progress can gain a little more than a pound of muscle a month [naturally]. You will not get *bulky* — you will get toned. It requires massive amounts of food + an extremely focused lifting regimen to get *bulky*.
I hope these tips are helpful for you! Whether you are training for a bikini competition or not: challenge yourself during your lifts, meal prep//drink up, ++ get your rest! These are the keys to success. You got this! Let’s finish these next two weeks of the CHAARG Spring Break FitPlan strong ; )
Cannot believe it’s already WEEK FOUR of the #CHAARGSBFP. By now, you should be seeing some changes within your body. We want to know: what’s been your favorite body part to work this FitPlan? Flex it for us! [we <3 muscles!] Make sure to tag @CHAARG + #CHAARGSBFP in your posts!
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