Sometimes, in our efforts to push the envelope in our training and nutrition, we tend to get away from the most basic and fundamental things. By avoiding the basics, we are neglecting the tried and true, well researched aspects of fitness and wellness, and very likely, the Holy Grail of our training.
I’m guilty of this too. I’ve been incorporating a lot of “progressive” training modalities lately, but I realized when my wife told me that her friends think I’m getting too “skinny” (they mean lean and thin, of course), that I’ve strayed from what I started lifting weights for in the first place, which is to put on serious muscle size. Since then, I’ve begun incorporating low volume, heavy lifting using basic multijoint movements back into my program on a regular basis.
That’s right. I walk around at about 135 lbs these days, a far cry from the muscular 158 I used to be. I carry under 8% bodyfat, rather than the 9-10% I once did. That said, I feel great. My nutrition is different too. Instead of eating every 3-4 hours with 3 meals and 2 snacks, I generally only eat 2-3 times a day. I use intermittent fasting protocols, and rely on real food (almost all the time) to provide the calories and nutrition I need to support my high volume of training.
It’s possible to have the best of both worlds. You can still use the “new” nutrition practices, such as IF, while putting on lean muscle mass. How? It’s all about the basics, baby!
1-2 Days per week, focus on heavy, multi-joint lifts that use the basics. Rest 90 seconds between supersets, and maintain excellent technique. Aim for 72 hours between heavy lifting days. Follow the programming schedule here:
A1. Posterior Chain Lift 5×3-5
A2. Anterior Leg/Hip Lift 5×3-5
B1. Horizontal Push Lift 4×3-5
B2. Horizontal Pull Lift 4×3-5
C1. Vertical Push Lift 3×4-6
C2. Vertical Pull Lift 3×4-6
D1. Elbow Extension Lift 2×5-7
D2. Elbow Flexion Lift 2×5-7
To give you an example, today I performed Dumbbell Step Ups, Barbell Good Mornings, Dumbbell Bench Press, Bent Over 1 Arm Dumbbell Rows, Rear Delt Dumbbell Raises, Monster Band Pulldowns, Triceps Pusdowns, and Barbell Curls.
Here’s a link to an article on Bodybuilding.com about the “Big 3” lifts. https://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/teen-derek2.htm
Eat a variety of whole, unprocessed foods. Consume a ton of vegetables, some fruit, nuts and seeds. Cycle your starches by consuming more starchy carbs on days where you perform metabolic (cardio) training. On heavy strength days, focus on protein, good fats/oils, and those fruits and veggies.
Since you are focused on putting on muscle mass, you’ll need to make sure you’re getting plenty of calories each day. Do this by alternating fasting days (16/8 fasting protocols) with non-fasting days. Fast on strength days, feast on metabolic days. On fasting days, have 2 large meals plus one post-workout or supplemental meal of fats and proteins, with some carbs from berries and dark leafy greens. On other days, consume 3 large meals and one supplemental post-workout or extra meal.
Getting back to the basics will help you stay on track! Just because something’s new, doesn’t mean that the tried and true methods don’t work!