The science behind fitness and health can be confusing—and it's certainly ever-changing. One minute, a study supports a particular food/exercise/claim, then the next, a newer study reports that eating, doing or trying that thing is the worst thing you could possibly do to yourself.
We read a lot of studies here at MensFitness.com—so we know how frustrating all of that apparent flip-flopping can be. In order to help make sense of all the breaking and headline news, we've aligned ourselves with some of the industry's top experts—clued-in doctors, trainers, dietitians and researchers who can help us separate fact from headline-grabbing fiction and give us the real-deal advice on how to live a healthier, fitter lifestyle...every day.
We checked in with Toronto-based strength coach Scott Rankin, C.S.C.S. for his muscle-building tips.
Q: What's the best way to build muscle definiton versus just getting bigger?
A: Pass on the mac and cheese. The key to putting on lean muscle mass is to reduce your intake of simple carbohydrates and up the protein. If you already have size, decrease your body fat. On the skinny side? Start with a bulk-training style program with limited carbohydrates.
Bulk tends to come at a high energy cost to it—the more muscle on your body, the more calories you’re burning, and the harder it is to do simple tasks. Definition, on the other hand, leaves you stronger for daily activities. While you are what you eat, exercise helps. Follow a 6-day cycle of heavy upper, heavy lower, day off, high repetition upper, high repetition lower, day off.
Start With A Power-Based Exercise: Start with a power-based push or pull exercise like a heavy bench, incline bench press, a weighed wide-grip pullup, or a weighted narrow-grip underhand pullup. As you increase the weight, decrease your reps to build mass. For your first set, warmup with 8-10 reps at 50% of your one-rep max—the amount of weight you can lift for one proper repetition. For the second set, use 55%-65% of your one-rep max for 8-10 reps. For your third set use 65%-75% of your one-rep max, increasing that to 70%-80% for your fourth rep for 6-8 repetitions. Finish off with a fifth set of 3-5 reps using 80%-90% of your total max. Rest for 2-3 minutes between rounds.
Push To Exhaustion: Exhaust the muscle group by pushing to the max with an exercise you can control even when you’re at the point of fatigue. Consider pushups or a dumbbell press. Go to max effort, doing as many reps as you can, then rest for a minute. Go for one more round to break down the muscle as much as possible.
Complete Two Supersets: Move away from the principles of bulking up and towards those of leaning by using exhaustive supersets to tear leftover muscle fiber, forcing your body to repair it and make you stronger. Complete 12-15 repetitions for 3-4 rounds with a short rest period between sets, alternating between the push and pull. Superset A, for example, might include glute ham raises (10-12) and stability ball hamstring curls while Superset B includes walking lunges with dumbbells (12-15 per side) and step ups. Finish off with a supplementary medicine ball based core work.
Sleep And Recover: Go on, hit snooze. The only time your body can resynthesize is while you sleep. Make sure to rest for a minimum of seven hours a night (with nine being ideal). Lose the idea of two-a-days. While your goal is to get lean, you don’t want to hit the gym twice and burn so many calories that you can’t build muscle.
Drink During A Workout: Recovery drinks aren’t just a post-workout treat. Drinking a carbohydrate, protein complex while working out replenishes sugars you’re depleting and keeps the nitrogen pool filled to arm you with the building blocks for protein synthesis.
Power Up With Protein: Achieving lean body fat below 10% is almost fully nutrition based. To walk the fine line between putting on muscle and dropping body fat, determine your daily caloric intake by multiplying you body weight by the factor 16. Don’t make the common mistake of calorie restricting— you’ll risk your body going into ketosis, or muscle wasting. Instead, make protein 40% of your caloric intake. The increased protein will aid the building of muscle fiber. Keep fats and carbs to 30% each, with 85% of your daily carbohydrates coming from fruits and vegetables and the rest from complex carbs.
Human Growth Hormone or HGH, is a naturally produced hormone in the body with a variety of benefits including; increased lean muscle mass, a boosted metabolism, faster recovery time, more strength and improved endurance.cityview apartments davenport the hub cityview cityview loft broadway plaza at cityview courtyard marriott fort worth cityview cityview estates cityview condos for sale cityview condominium philadelphia 5900 cityview blvd, fort worth tx 76132 coventry at cityview fort worth augusta at cityview apartments houston tx cityview apts encompass health cityview cityview des moines cityview hop on hop off boston quest diagnostics cityview cityview church york, pa cityview church fort worth cityview hop on hop off trolley cityview church york pa cityview worship church of oxnard biscayne at cityview apartment houston tx 77060 autumn leaves cityview smart barre cityview cityview post office cityview apartments des moines cityview tacos cityview classic cars marriott courtyard cityview fort worth cityview condo philadelphia cook children's cityview cityview nursing home cleveland ohio cityview senior tower main event cityview cityview san francisco amherst at cityview houston tx cityview elementary amarillo tx la cityview 35 cityview tennis club cityview terrace apartments cityview worship – church of oxnard cityview church indianapolis cityview isd cityview florist and gifts cityview church phoenix cityview atlanta cityview surgery center cityview school worcester ma biscayne at cityview apartments cityview band cityview round rock cityview garfield heights autumn leaves of cityview cityview hotel holland mi cityview development cityview at riverwalk knoxville amherst at cityview apartments la quinta cityview fort worth cityview construction enclave at cityview fort worth cityview family physicians cityview grill the cityview hotel hong kong brookdale cityview cityview hospital chicago cityview care center nursing home cityview at soco holiday inn express cityview coventry at cityview apartment cityview terrace cityview minneapolis cityview trolley tours boston stops cityview condominium cityview apartments north kansas city cityview at southside 643 cityview ridge drive cityview estate cityview lanes fort worth cityview lic cityview calendar cityview soco cityview senior living cityview fayetteville nc 1701 cityview coventry at cityview fort worth tx cityview church minneapolis rosemont cityview marietta ga biscayne cityview apartment houston tx cityview condo chicago cityview hop on hop-off boston trolley map cityview rental cityview at soco austin cityview magazine des moines