Ultimate Starter’s guide to Muscle and Strength

10 of the most important questions answered for you.

Introduction:

At Maverick we help people become stronger everyday- it’s what we love to do. From our experience and observation it is not very common to come across individuals who are gaining muscle and becoming stronger at the most efficient rate.

So, we’ve taken some of the most common questions from our experience in dealing with all of our clients, and put them all together for you in this useful 2 part blog.

Here are the 5 strength FAQ’s we will cover in Pt. 1 of this 2 part blog:

  1. How long will it take to put on a significant amount of muscle?
  2. Can I lose fat AND gain muscle at the same time?
  3. Can I lose fat while maintaining muscle that I’ve built?
  4. How much muscle can I expect to gain?
  5. What is the best program for gaining muscle?

Question 1: How long will it take to put on a significant amount of  muscle?

When you start lifting weights, what you will see first is an increase in strength and coordination. Typically significant increases in muscle mass take 6-8 weeks to appear.(1)

It does, however, take years of discipline and commitment to put on the type of mass that you would see with someone on the cover of a body building magazine, but that doesn’t mean you can’t look great trying to get there!

Yes, there are some people who can just walk into a gym and gain muscle like it’s nothing . For others, putting on muscle is a lifelong process. Enjoy the journey and appreciate the subtleties that go along with working out, training hard, and continually improving your fitness! That’s not to say you shouldn’t expect to see appreciable results under proper guidance and with the appropriate levels of self discipline.

It’s about setting realistic expectations for yourself. It doesn’t matter what the body building industry has programed you to believe. There is no magic pill or special 12 week program that will make you look like a fitness model. Real results take real time and effort.

Months worth at least!

Question 2: Can I lose fat and gain muscle at the same time?

Yes for beginners… No for advanced trainees.

If you are new to training, your body’s initial response to training stimulus will be very high. The newer to training you are, or  more deconditioned and in active that you have become over the years , the better the results will be at first. It is very likely that you will become leaner and build some muscle at the same time, but not for long.

After you graduate from the ranks of a “beginner” which may take anywhere from 3-6 months, It will be more unlikely that you can gain muscle and lose weight at the same time. You will need to choose one or the other as your body becomes more accustomed to training causing you to start seeing diminishing returns.

When gaining muscle, it is very hard to do so without gaining some fat at the same time. This is because your body requires a caloric surplus to help it’s state of growth. If you don’t eat more while trying to gain muscle, you will likely feel the effects of overtraining which include being hungry, weak and tired, as well as not gaining muscle at the desired rate.

Question 3: Once I’ve built muscle, can I keep it while losing fat?

Yes, absolutely.  It is, entirely possible to spare muscle in a fat loss phase of your training. The best way to do this is by maintaining adequate levels of protein in your diet and by slowly reducing daily calories (2). The best way to burn fat is through heavy strength training contrary to popular belief which is thought to be by burning calories with endurance exercise and aerobic based activities. (2). Burning calories through endurance  training can lead to muscle and strength loss. Also, if one reduces calories too steeply initially, expect strength to decline. A gradual reduction will allow you to maintain and potentially increase strength! (2)

Question 4: How much muscle can I gain in a year?

Long term muscle building is very much based on nutrition, training frequency/quality, GENETICS and your ability to recover which is often determined by your lifestyle and stress levels (1). On a typical 3 month muscle building program you should gain 6-10lb of muscle, safely. Lifetime gains for natural gym goers can range from 30-55lb depending once again on genetics. (1)

Question 5: What is the best program for gaining Muscle?

There is no “best” program for gaining muscle and strength. That being said there are certain  principles to adhere to when it comes to eliciting a hypertrophic effect -(technical term for building muscle). Any strength and muscle building program should follow a periodized program – meaning the program is divided into periods that all serve individual purposes and work to stimulate your muscles and nervous system differently each time than the last period or cycle of training.This will help vastly to continue overall progress. That said, your sets, reps, and loads should be changing every 3-6 weeks. If you continue on with the same workout over and over for too long, the rate of progress will become so insignificant that it is often futile to even continue program.

It’s best to alternate accumulation phases of training (high-rep moderate weights) with intensification phases (low-rep heavy weight) to continually stimulate the nervous system and musculature of the body, thus avoiding plateaus and diminishing returns.

How do you know when it’s time to change the program?  It’s time for a new program when you’ve reached a plateau in your workout progress and performance. This should be easy to see. Listen to your intuition and pay attention to important signs such as: lack of motivation, becoming bored and uninspired to train, no longer achieving the same “pump” or afterburn effect that some exercises had previously, feeling like the program and training has lost its overall effectiveness.

In summary, the best program is one that is designed for you by a coach who takes into account your unique and individual considerations and needs. From there, they continue to monitor and keep tabs on your progress, advancing or regressing the exercises and routine when needed, to keep your mind and body in a continual state of growth.

Ready to commit to your improving your strength and fitness? Book your free consultation and 1 on 1 training session by emailing us today!

References:

  1. The Complete Guide To Getting Shredded
  2. Lose Fat Without Losing Muscle

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