The Bodybuilding Pyramid of Success
Take a deeper look at the three vital elements of muscle growth: proper training, nutrition, and rest.
Remember to consult your doctor before starting any diet and exercise plan.
Success in bodybuilding has little to do with crazy, unorthodox training methods or some state-of-the-art, fully-equipped gym. Success in bodybuilding begins with getting to the gym consistently, getting good foods down the hatch, and getting adequate rest. This is what is called the "pyramid of success." If you neglect any one of these three necessities, you simply will not grow. These are bodybuilding staples, the vital elements that lead to larger muscle, and all must be in harmony to ensure your body grows and remains in an anabolic musclebuilding state.
Let's take a deeper look at the three vital elements of muscle growth so you can get a better understanding of each.
Obviously, to grow, you have to get your butt into that gym and lift hard and heavy. But training also promotes greater blood flow to the working muscle, which is referred to as the pump. And when this happens, three to four times more blood is being pushed through your muscle, leading to better nutrient delivery and increased protein synthesis. And it's all the better if you've been eating well and taking in sufficient amounts of protein.
The only drawback when it comes to working out is something called overtraining. This is one reason people striving to build granite-like muscle fail to do so. You should always schedule at least one or two days off from the gym each week, and only in rare circumstances should you train for more than 90 minutes per session. Keeping a workout to 45 to 60 minutes in duration is even better. But overtraining can also result from undereating and under-resting - something we will get to later. Allowing yourself a day or two days off will result in glycogen restoration and increased anabolism, and will allow hormones such as testosterone and cortisol to return to optimal levels.
“The only drawback when it comes to working out is something called overtraining.”
The second key element of the bodybuilding pyramid to success is nutrition. Eating the proper foods in adequate amounts is like ensuring a Formula One race car stays fine-tuned and fueled up. Your muscles simply will not perform in the gym and grow without protein, carbs, and fat.
First and foremost, protein is the most important nutrient for packing on muscle. Protein is made up of amino acids, which are the building blocks of muscle tissue. Getting in about one and a half grams per pound of bodyweight is ideal, and it's a rule someone in search of muscle should try to live by. Sources include eggs, chicken, tuna, beef, and whey.
Second comes carbohydrate intake. Carbs are the fuel that drives your workout, and without adequate amounts, your body will begin to steal from your protein stores in your muscles to burn for energy. This leads to your body being put into a catabolic muscle-wasting state, and that's not good. Carb intake varies from person to person, depending on carb sensitivity and metabolism. Generally speaking, consuming 1.5 grams of carbs per pound of bodyweight should be an ideal amount to target to ensure muscle growth.
The most popular sources include oatmeal, sweet potatoes, rice, and potatoes. These are complex carbohydrates and are broken down into glucose more slowly than simple carbs and provide a steady flow of energy throughout the day. Finally, there's fat intake. The only extra fat you should add to your diet outside of the fat already found in the foods you will eat are essential fatty acids - fat that your body cannot produce. Fish oils and flaxseed are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids and are important building blocks of our cell membranes, signaling pathways, and neurological systems. They play a vital role in several functions within the body and are essential for good health.
Following this outline, you should be eating every two to three hours. Remember, as with training, consistency is key. Don't miss meals! They're vital to anabolism and muscle growth and keeping you from overtraining.
The final element to bodybuilding success is rest. Getting in approximately eight hours of sleep each night is vital to getting your body into an anabolic state and growing. Sleep helps increase growth hormone and allows the body to re-energize for the next day. Also if you can, find time for a 30-minute "catnap" throughout your day. Catnaps will revitalize your mind and body. Remember, in the gym, we're breaking those muscle fibers down, but outside of the gym is where the real growth occurs!
The Bodybuilding Pyramid of Success