By Shaun Vincent on 2 April, 2017
Most guys in the gym want to achieve one of two goals:
1. Put on size and get bigger
2. Lose fat and look leaner
Throughout my 12 years as a personal trainer, I have seen trends come and go. Bootcamps, Zumba, HIIT, selfies and Instagram fitspo. The list goes on. If you want to get results and put on muscle in the gym, these 5 rules for getting BIG relate to you - whether you are skinny, fat, athletic or muscular.
If you don’t have a good diet, you can train all you like, but you won’t put on muscle. Your diet should consist of good quality food. Lean meats, lots and lots of veggies, complex carbohydrates and LOTS of water. Try to eat every 2 – 3 hours. You should give your body the fuel to build muscle!!! Stay away from highly processed foods and junk foods. You can take all the supplements you like, but if your diet is crap, you’re just flushing your money down the toilet.
I see a lot of people on their phone in the gym. WHY? To ‘check in’ with a selfie as proof you made it to the gym? Your mobile phone is a distraction and prevents you from reaching your goals in the gym. I have seen guys playing on their phones and complete 4 sets of light bench press in the time I have completed a whole workout! If you are serious about training, the only time your phone should come out of your pocket during a workout is to change songs.
We all know the guy who only does arms and lifts huge weights by swinging them…
Don’t do it!!!
You are better off reducing the weight and lifting with strict form. This way momentum isn’t doing the lifting for you and there is less chance you will injure yourself by swinging those 30kg dumbbells on curls!
Try to use compound movements during your sessions. Compound movements are those that use more than one joint when completing them. Some great compound exercises to build bulk are parallel bar dips, squats, deadlifts, power cleans, bench press and single arm dumbbell rows.
When I first started training “hard” in the gym, my mates and I would do 1.5 – 2.5 hour sessions. This would consist of a chat, 4 – 5 minute rests between sets, checking out girls, talking some more shit then going home. Over the years, I have found that if you get in the gym, get your workout done with minimal rest and distraction and then get out, you get better results.
My tip is to head into the gym, do a quick warm up of 5 – 10 mins, then hit it…. hard. Be aggressive and violent in your training, put on some music that motivates you and plan your session in your head before commencing. Limit yourself to 45 second rest between each set and lift heavy. If you train with a buddy, make sure you both have headphones and keep the chit chat to a minimum. If you’re looking for a social outing, that’s fine, but talking in the gym doesn’t build muscle.
I find 45mins to 1 hour is the best length for a session. This allows me to keep the intensity up and retain mental focus. Any longer and I start getting lethargic and mentally switch off. The shorter, more intense sessions also allow you to spend more time with your family and friends!
Mobility is really important. I know it’s the last thing you feel like doing at the end of a session, but trust me, it comes back to haunt you if you don’t.
When I was in my late teens and early twenties, I would lift BIG weights and rarely stretched. I would do a hamstring stretch for 1 min after a leg session and say, “stuff it” and leave. By my early thirties, I was getting joint soreness and tight muscles on a consistent basis. In fact, there was a point for a few years where I couldn’t remember a day where my body felt ‘good and pain free’. If you are not sure where to start I’d suggest taking a stretching class, or at the very least YouTube some mobility ideas. It will make a big difference in your training and in your well-being down the track.
The more flexible you are, the less chance you will get injured, you will have better mobility as you get older, and it will increase your range of movement when weight training, which in turn allows you to build more muscle and get stronger.
About the Expert
Shaun Vincent, owner of Pound 4 Pound Personal Training has over 12 years experience in the fitness industry. Shaun is a previous winner of the 2008 and 2009 Australian Personal Training Business of the year and the 2009 ACT Telstra Micro business award winner. Shaun has extensive experience in boxing training, bootcamp training, personal training and strength and conditioning.