Every man wants the body of a Greek God. But getting there is no walk in the park. That’s why some guys can spend hours at the gym every day and see no results, while others workout three times a week and have bodies most men can only dream of achieving.
The right technique, form and discipline can mean the difference between reaching your goals and falling a mile short.
Here are eight tips to keep in mind while you’re building the body of your dreams.
Tip #8 – Always Pull More than You Push
Guys like to push. Bench presses, squats, leg presses and pushups are what most people focus on when they make their routines.
But pulling exercises are just as important – if not more important. There needs to be a balance between the two, or you’ll wind up with some postural distortions – which can lead to injury.
My advice: A 1:2 or 1:3 pushing to pulling ratio can help you achieve the gains you want while protecting your body from injury.
Tip #7 – Focus on Barbell Exercises & Workouts with Your Own Weight
The machines at the gym are convenient and user-friendly. But they’re not nearly as effective as barbells and even your own body weight. No machine can begin to compare to the results you’ll get with barbell presses, squats and deadlifts!
They allow you to work your entire body, and you can make gradual increases to always challenge your muscles (i.e. see consistent gains). And because you get a full range of motion, you gain some flexibility, too.
Pay attention: Bodyweight exercises can be great, too. Pull-ups, push-ups, planks, bench dips, squats and mountain climbers can be just as challenging (especially when you’re just getting started) as strength training exercises.
Tip #6 – Always Focus on the Right Form of Exercise to Avoid Injury
A form is just as important as the exercise itself. Proper form will help you see the results you want. Improper form can lead to injury and hinder your progress.
If you’re unsure of how to do an exercise properly, especially if you’re working with barbells or free weights, work with a personal trainer. He or she will instruct you on how to perform the exercise, and make any corrections on your form that may cause an injury.
Pay attention: In the very least, watch a few videos on the form to make sure that you’re doing it right.
Tip #5 – Do Only Short-Term Intense Cardio Bursts to Avoid Muscle Loss
Short-term, intense cardio bursts can help you burn more calories and fat without compromising your muscle gains. Long bouts of intense exercise can lead to muscle loss, a common problem with marathon runners.
Forget spending an hour on the treadmill running at a moderate pace. HIIT, high-intensity interval training, is the better option and involves cycling between short bouts of intense cardio and short rest periods.
Tip #4 – Add Weights & Increase Difficulty of Exercises Gradually
Gaining strength and muscle is a gradual process. You won’t see results overnight, and your body can only handle so much at one time. Remember, after an intense workout, your body needs to repair itself.
That’s why it’s so important to take a gradual approach when increasing difficulty. Adding more weight or taking on a more challenging exercise should be a slow and continuous process.
Keep in mind: If you can only bench 160 today, you can’t expect to boost your weight to 280 next week. Increase the weight slowly, even if that only means adding 2.5 or 5 pounds.
Tip #3 – Balance Your Training to Avoid Muscle Imbalances
Every day shouldn’t be legs day – or arms day, or any day for that matter. You need to balance your training to avoid developing muscle imbalances. Imbalances can lead to injury because other muscles simply cannot take the same amount of strain as overgrown muscle.
You should always work out these muscles together:
- Biceps + Triceps
- Shoulders + Trapezius
- Chest + Back
- Abs + Lower Back
- Quadriceps + Hamstrings
- Tibialis Anterior (Shin) + Calf Muscles
Keep in mind: Implement exercises that strengthen opposing muscle groups – for example, seated rows and bench presses, which work your chest and your back.
Tip #2 – Be Consistent & Maintain a Journal
If you want to build the body of your dreams, you have to be consistent. You can’t expect results if your workouts are spot on one week, and then you fall off the bandwagon next week.
Just create a workout schedule, and stick to it. Track your progress to stay motivated, and keep a journal to keep a close eye on areas you need to improve.
Pay attention: Reaching small goals will help you stay motivated and on the right track, so log you progress and goals along the way.
Tip #1 – Work Out with Your Buddy
Working out with friends is a great way to stay motivated. A workout partner will hold you accountable, so if you don’t show up, your buddy will ask where you were and why you didn’t get off the couch to better your health.
They’ll also act as a spotter and motivator to help you push out every last bit of effort with each exercise.
Keep in mind: Find someone you enjoy spending time with and try to align your gym schedules to get in your workouts together.