Start changing your physique can be difficult, overwhelming and stressful. A lot of uncertainties and mistakes that slow and disturb the process... but we have the solution
With a bit of help and assistance, you can start changing your physique now. Minimize the mistakes and optimize the process to get there faster, and with better results.
In this post, we talk about how to start changing your physique. Are you ready?
Basic Principles of Muscle Building
Muscle Building refers to Muscle Hypertrophy, the increase of the volume of our muscle fibres. The mechanisms behind muscle hypertrophy are mechanical tension, metabolic stress, and muscle damage. By understanding how each of these work, you'll be able to optimize your training and start changing your physique.
Mechanical tension is the main and most important mechanism of muscle hypertrophy. It's defined as force created when a muscle contracts isotonically against a load.
The force-velocity relation is what determines mechanical tension (study). The lower the velocity of the lifting, the higher the mechanical tension. However, that velocity has to be caused by the load (you can't fake it).
To optimize mechanical tension, focus on working with heavy loads, low reps and the proper techniques to align your muscles an make the lifting more efficient.
Metabolic Stress, on the other hand, is the accumulation of metabolites in the muscle cell, caused by the low energy status produced during intense training.
The accumualted metabolites will enhance production of ROS, hormones and cytokines. This will induce an acute oxidative stress, and our body will recieve that as a signal to create more muscle mass.
To optimize metabolic stress, focus on working with light loads, high reps and taking the set close to or to muscle failure. Other strategies to enhance metabolic stress include blood flow restriction, or advanced training techniques.
What Do You Need to Start Changing your Physique?
Changing your physique is a tough and long mental process. But, with the appropiate apptitudes and attitudes, you'll be able to start changing your physique anytime.
Muscle growth doesn't happen overnight. Muscle hypertrophy is one of the most expensive physiological processes in terms of metabolic energy (study). To add only 1 amino acid (Aa) to a new protein already needs of 4 ATP!!
Don't pretend to build muscle in one day, one week, or two weeks. It'll take longer than that. But it's the long term mentality what will take you there. Discipline, constancy and perseverence. Three apptitudes to achieve the perfect attitude to start changing your physique
Again, don't pretend to build muscle in one or two days. That's simply not gonna happen. Changes in muscle hypertrophy start to be noticeable after 4-6 weeks of constant training.
But that doesn't mean there'll be no progress during these first weeks of your program. You'll create new neural adaptations, being more efficient to lift weights. Thus, your overall strength will increase like crazy during the first weeks of training.
Train with a Plan
Don't start triaining without a plan. You'll feel lost, you won't like it, and 'bye bye' gym. It doesn't necessarily have to happen, but it will msot likely do.
Instead, biuld a consistent training program and stick to the pan. If you do, you'll be mroe than ready to start changing your physique. The training sessions will get better and better, you'll start progressing more, and you'll love it more and more as the weeks move on.
Periodized trainings are simply the best way to start changing your physique (study)
How to Plan a Training Program
Once you have the apptitudes and attitudes established, you are ready to start planning your program. This will take a bit of time, and it can get tiring. But remember. All effort you put now beforehand, will come as reward later.
The three main training variables are: intensity, volume and frenquency.
- Intensity: how close to muscle failure am I taking each set?
- Volume: how many sets per day/week for each muscle am I doing?
- Frequency: how many days per week do I train each muscle?
To start changing your physique, you should have clear how to modulate these three to get the best outcome possible.
Intensity is the main factor of our trainings. Using the RIR/RPE scale, you can estimate how intense your set has been. For hypertrophy purposes, always stay within RIR 4-0. Start from 4 during the first weeks, and go up to 0 as the time moves on
Volume refers to the amount of work we are giving to each muscle for a certain amount of time. For the ease of understanding, we'll stick to the weekly volume.
To estimate how many sets per week you should be doing for each muscle, we have the "Volume Landmarks", by RP. Using that as a template, it can serve you as a pretty good estimation of your volume for each muscle.
From there, "trial and error". The Volume Landmarks are just a pretty good estimation, but everyone has their own world and work under different laws.
Last (and probably least), we have the frequency. Rather than an independent training variable, it largely depends on the volume training. The higher the volume, the more recommended it is to follow higher frequencies.
If you want to start changing your physique, I'd recommend you taking higher frequencies (2-3). This is why:
- You want to learn the technique as soon as possible. Doing each exercise more often will help you improving your motor memory
- When you start, you don't tolerate much volume per session. If you put a lot of work in one day, you won't be fully recovered for the next session. Instead, do less on each training, but put more trainings on the week.
Now it comes the famous question: how do I know which exercises to include in my routine?
That differs from person to person, but there are some laws that usually apply to everyone. These are:
- Use the whole spectrum of exercises. Vary between free-weight, assisted, simple, compound,...
- Listen to your body. If you feel the muscle and the pump is good, your muscle is training properly
- Be comfortable. The exercise should be comfortable for you. You'll be doing it for the next few months, so careful on this one.
- Adherence. This is the maximum of our routine. If we don't enjoy the exercise, it won't be long until we are tired of it. So choose the ones you enjoy the most, and stick to them
The only and main goal of changing three variables is one: Progressive Overload.
Our body is a dynamic soul. It adapts to the external conditions to find the 'sweet spot' and achive the so wanted homeostasis. As time moves on, our body adapts to the stimulus we are giving to build muscle, and it'll stop creating muscle adaptations.
Instead, if we increase that stimulus, we can force the machinery to disrupt the homeostasis to keep building muscle. Changing the three variables mentioned above, we can increase the difficulty of our trainings, and induce the progressive overload
There are many ways to induce progressive load to keep building adaptations. And yes, you can also add more weight... but it won't not always be the best option. Other ways to induce progressive overload are:
- Add more reps with the same weight
- Add more sets with the same weight
- Lower resting times between sets
- Better technique
- Take the set closer to muscle failure
- Put the same exercise later in the routine (you'll be more fatigued)
- Add an advanced training technique
- Slower eccentric phase of the exercise
Now it's your choice to decide which ones to use. I recommend you sticking to 2-3 and be consistent with these. And of course you can still add weight as the time moves on. But if you want to start changing your physique, you should also consider these.
How to Start Changing your Physique
Start changing your physique can be tough. But you have taken the hardest step of all... decide to do it. From there and with our help, changing your physique will be a piece of cake
We all make mistakes at the beginning. Some more stupids than others, but still mistakes. But what if we could minimize them? What if we could avoid those mistakes?
The process would go smooth, and you'll enjoy it more than ever.
During the seven modules of this course, we take you through all you need to know to start changing your physique. After you finish the course, you'll be able to make your training program, make your own diet adjusted to your goals, and more importantly... create and maintain a healthier and sustainable lifestyle.
Online Course: How to Start Changing your Physique
Start Changing your Physique can be hard and frustrating. In this post, we have seen the principles of hypertrophy training and what you need to do to start your own training program.
Keep educating yourself with our course and learn all you need to know to Start Changing your Physique. It will be easier than ever!