There's two things I find that are the most common reasons for people failing to find their results.
For anyone who is at the start of their health and fitness journey I can completely understand if you're a little puzzled as to what direction to turn when it comes to building muscle. Just google "how to build muscle" and you'll be bombarded with over 8 million search results! So here's a couple of key things that in hindsight I wish I had got to grips with sooner when I made my start.
1/ CALORIE SURPLUS - Without this you won't build muscle. It's as simple as that. What this means is you need to be eating more calories than you are burning for a sustained period of time. It works a little like this... Imagine a house (your body right now) and it's made of a certain amount of bricks (calories). If you want to build a bigger house, you're going to need more bricks right? Very simplistic analogy but you get the picture.
2/ MUSCULAR DAMAGE - This is something you're looking to create through training. Not in the same way that you would tear a muscle and end up with an injury, we're talking about tiny micro tears within the muscle tissue. Causing these microscopic tears is one of the goals of weight training when trying to build muscle. Again, lets use the above analogy... If you're going to build your bigger house, you're going to need to chip away a few bricks and cement (muscle damage) to be able to add on more bricks (new lean muscle tissue).
3/ PROGRESSIVE OVERLOAD - This is crucial for making progress in whatever the aspect of fitness and building muscle is no exception. The term progressive overload simply means progressing your training over time. This might mean adding extra weight on certain movements or maybe more total reps and sets of specific exercises. The key is to log your training so you know your numbers to then push forward on as the weeks move on.
4/ PROTEIN - Being in a calorie surplus is important but if you don't have an adequate amount of protein in your diet then it's all for a lost cause. Aiming for 2/2.5g protein per kg of bodyweight puts you in a great position. If you don't want to get lost in the maths of it, another good gauge is to include a palm sized protein source in every meal (based on three meals a day) and then supplement with a standard whey protein shake once a day too.
5/ FEEL THE BURN - If it ain't hurting it ain't working. You need to understand that the dull ache you get towards the end of an exercise, that's important! I'm not saying you need to yourself into the ground killing yourself 7 days a week, especially in the early days, but you do need to get your game face on and get comfortable being uncomfortable. It isn't a social event and it will require effort.
6/ IT TAKES TIME - Building muscle is a long steady process. There is absolutely zero chance of you waking up and seeing superman's torso after a week of bench pressing. If only it were that simple! One week you might notice your a couple of pounds up on the scales, the next month you might notice your t-shirt sleeves getting a little snug and next year you might be looking back at holiday pictures and getting some clean cut perspective of the gains you have made over the year.
Building muscle isn't easy, if it was everyone would be walking round looking enviably good! But the benefits of carrying a little extra muscle mass than the average guy or girl definitely make it worthwhile. In fact, they deserve a post all of their own, so i'll leave this one here for now!
With more trainers providing services than ever before it can be a minefield when it comes to sourcing a top quality Trainer that's best suited to your needs as a client.
If you're currently looking for someone to get you on track to turbo charge your health and fitness results, ask yourself these questions:
1/ ARE THEY CERTIFIED (AND INSURED)? - The fitness industry isn't regulated all that well when it comes to this so be vigilant and do your research. You're potentially going to trust this person with large components of your health and if they aren't legitimately qualified to handle this responsibility you could be in for big problems.
2/ DO THEY SPECIALISE? - You wouldn't go to the GP to fix your teeth and it's the same principle with getting the best services for your fitness endeavours. You want to lose fat and gain muscle? You need a body composition expert. You want to build the muscle back up in the leg you broke playing football? You could do with seeing a sports performance and rehab specialist. You want to step on a bodybuilding stage? A prep coach with a track record of successful competitors is going to be your best bet.
3/ HAVE YOU WATCHED THEM OPERATE? - If you're considering starting with a trainer, if its possible to do so, watch them train other clients. Do they look interested? Do their clients look like they're 1. working hard and 2. enjoying what they're doing? OR... Does the trainer lazy appear bored? Easily distracted? On their phone? Generally just uninterested? Finding someone who is present and passionate about what they do should be right near the top of your wish list.
4/ DO THEY WALK THE WALK? - This is a controversial one. I'm not saying they should look like a Men's Health cover 365 days a year BUT they should look healthy, they shouldn't be turning up to Sunday morning sessions hungover. They should enjoy what they do and enjoy living a healthy, balanced lifestyle.
5/ DO THEY TRACK PROGRESS? - Physical results, performance tests, dietary analysis, session briefs, weekly check ins... There's tons of things your trainer should be monitoring. Without doing so you're flitting from one session to another, not really sure of the progress you're making. Having some solid data and numbers will help keep you accountable, motivated and keep track of what does or doesn't work for you in regards to working towards your goals.
6/ ARE THEY CHEAP? - We all love getting value, but when it comes to a personal health related service it's important you value yourself high enough to invest in yourself without necessarily shopping purely on price.
7/ ARE THEY A TEACHER OR DRILL SERGEANT? - A great trainer won't just tell you what to do, they will tell you how and why. Their goal is to give you the tools to at some point down the line walk away from them with the knowledge they need to carry on their progress without you needing to put money in their pocket. As a client you should feel your knowledge is always growing and not just your biceps.
I'm probably one of the least technology savvy guys you'll meet but after a little time and perseverance the Brisbournefit App is now available! Just the idea of coaching my guys online was once a scary thought, but now it's a system which allows me to get great results with my guys without them necessarily needing to be in close proximity to the Brentwood, Essex or London, Blackfriars facilities I operate from.
If there's something you're not a natural at, something you've been putting off finally getting to work on, there's a good chance there could be some great reward for you in getting it addressed and mastered. I challenge you to confront it and work on it today.
*The Brisbournefit app is available exclusively to my online clients to access their customised workouts/nutritional info*
**To enquire about your eligibility to enroll in your own online program, contact me via the application page or for specific enquires firstname.lastname@example.org**