There is a very simple and direct path to getting stronger and bigger.
Here is a way to dramatically improve your overall health and I recommend that everyone try this at least once in their life (for at least one 3-month period) because added size and strength will give you strength for life.
Your body is the vessel in which you manifest the obsession in your heart. It is the ultimate tool which you use to take what you want from life.
A Strong Body will find a way to get what it wants while a weak one will succumb to frailty and excuses every time.
For all those in fear of getting “too huge,” just relax. The change in your physique comes on slowly, giving you plenty of time to change your fitness goals if you don’t like what you see. The only people that should fear getting “too huge” are those on supra physiological doses of steroids.
If I were to sum up everything you need to know to get big and strong in only a few words, I would put it just like this:
Lift Heavy, Eat Healthy, Sleep Well, and Keep Record.
So if you’re pressed for time and you don’t really want to get into the specifics of dramatically increasing your size and strength then you can simply follow that advice and you will see results.
Create a mnemonic if you need help remembering. Use this one: L.E.S.R. It sounds just like the word “lesser” and that’s appropriate for my style of approach when it comes to gaining strength.
L=Lift, E=Eat, S=Sleep, R=Record
L.E.S.R. Less bullshit. Less thought. More Action. Go LESR!
For further explanation, read on and I will explain in the simplest way possible.
1. Lifting Heavy Weights
Resistance training has been shown to be an excellent way to increase strength and this is achieved by lifting Heavy.
When I say Heavy I mean Heavy Weights, not greater training frequency. You’ll never grow stronger if you work out too often and never give your body a chance to recover. In fact, it is the recovery time that sparks the growth.
Exercises like the Deadlift and Squat are preferred because they work a great portion of your body all at the same time. These exercises promote core strength while triggering an anabolic response in your body that few other exercises can achieve.
I recommend you try to always include exercises like Squats and Deadlifts. You can be creative as long as you seek the exercises that engage large portions of the body rather than isolating single areas.
This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t do bicep curls if you want big guns. It just means that compound exercises tear the body up and prime it for muscle growth while isolation exercises only hit one specific area.
Remember to lift Heavy. As Heavy as possible. There’s a reason that Heavy is capitalized intentionally throughout this post.
Shoot for no greater than 5 reps most of the time.
This is general advice that many people will give when you’re looking to train for strength but there are other methods that are effective. For example, doing only 1 set (after warming up) of 20 reps of weighted squats (around 60-70% of your max) is the closest thing to natural steroids that I can think of.
Check out the famous 20 rep squat workout for more on that. You won’t regret it!
Its the intensity, you see, that really makes those microscopic tears in your muscle fibers so that they may grow and adapt, getting stronger over time.
You can pump out 10-12 reps for your first set to send blood to the area and warm it up for the onslaught it’s about to receive. After that stick to the 1-5 rep range because you’ll be lifting about as much as you can handle (within reason and safety, of course).
Example Training Diary Entry:
Sunday January 14, 2017
Deadlift (say, for example, my 1 rep max is about 255)
135 lbs. x 12, 185 lbs. x 5, 225 x 4, 250 x 1
Important Note: It is worth mentioning that you know what good form is when performing these exercises. Avoid injury, protect yourself by learning proper form.
2. Eat Healthy
The type of food you eat during training has a profound effect on your training progress, how you feel, and how you recover from a demanding workout. Diet affects all.
If you eat candy and processed crap all the time, you won’t grow strong.
Eat vegetables, lean meats, nuts, beans, and copious amounts of water.
Vegetables are highly encouraged because they are nutrient dense and they promote healthy overall digestion with the large amount of fiber that they provide. In other words veggies are good for you and they make you shit.
Pay close attention to the information that your body is telling you. LISTEN to it.
Healthy fats like nuts, avocados, and coconut oil/butter are excellent too. Those who preach the ketogenic diet believe that you can train your body to burn fats as the body’s main energy source instead of carbs and you do this by slowly cycling out the carbs in your diet for larger and larger amounts of healthy fats.
Some feeling amazing on this diet but you should experiment and see what works for you.
My personal preference is to eat a balanced diet with low to moderate carbs like rice or potatoes, moderate amounts of lean protein like beef, fish, or eggs, moderate amounts of healthy fats like avocados, and large amounts of vegetables.
The overall point is to put real, whole, nutritious food into your body most of the time. Maybe you can do the 7th day of the week as your cheat day for McDonald’s and ice cream. It won’t hurt you if it’s only once in a while.
Last but not least on the eating: Drink water. Drinking an entire gallon a day like many people recommend is a bit arbitrary because when you drink plenty of water already, you get a feel for when you need it and when you’ve already had enough.
What is important is that you stick strictly to water most of the time.
Water is the giver of life. Not gatorade, not sporty energy drinks. Just pure, clean water, my friends.
3. Sleep Well
When I say sleep well, most people think that what I really mean is sleep more but this is not the case.
Sleeping more than 7-8 hours can actually have some surprising negative effects.
You can actually sleep 6 hours and in some cases even less and still feel fine and optimistic. But! This highly depends on you as everyone is little bit different.
While 5-6 hours works for me you may be just fine with only 3-4! My belief is that it really has a lot to do with your personal psychology and how you view the world day to day.
If you wake up feeling eager to get to work on an awesome project that you are really involved in, then a slight “lack” of sleep may not even feel “lacking” at all to you.
However, on the flip side if you wake up feeling sad about the things that you have to go about doing in your day then you will probably just feel tired and unenthusiastic most of the time. That’s why you have be the captain of your own ship, take control of your life, and get strong as fuck in the process!
The real important thing when it comes to sleep is the quality of your sleep.
The fact that you are working out to get stronger is going to have positive effects on your sleep. There are other things that you can do to help your sleep quality, like avoiding electronics two hours before bed.
Come to think of it. Great, quality sleep is such a massive and important topic that I’m gonna have to add this to a list of additional topics for me write about in the future.
So remember, Sleep well means Sleep better, not longer.
4. Keep Record
This one is really important and I’m excited to tell you why.
Keeping record guarantees growth.
Keeping record of your work outs and all your progress as you move through this type of training is incredibly valuable because it provides a tried and true way of making 100% sure that you are continually moving forward, making progress, and GETTING STRONGER.
How? Very simple.
If I keep accurate records of all the exercises that I did on one day, then I can make sure to do one thing more/extra/better than I did last time.
So say last Monday I did 4 sets of pull-ups. On my first set I did 12, second set I did 11, third set I did 9, and fourth set I did 5.
So now its Friday and I feel that I am ready to hit the pull-ups again. By keeping record of what I did last time, I can make sure to do a little more this time and I can do that by either adding weight (weighted pull-ups with a belt) or I can try to do more reps than last time (13 reps, assuming I maxed out at 12 last time).
Just do something more every time you come in there. It’s easy!
The body has no choice but to grow and advance as greater demands are placed upon it.
That’s the way you gradually increase the workload over time as you get stronger and stronger. Some people call this the principle of progressive overload.
If you keep a training diary, then you are keeping record and you can continue to demand more of your body by knowing where you came from and where you want to go.
Using this principle, you can literally go from lifting 100 pounds off the floor (deadlift) to lifting several hundred more pounds off the floor (500 lbs. and up!) and getting ridiculously strong in the process.