Every beginner in the gym knows the feeling, months of hard work ‘destroying the weights’ and taking all the protein shakes you can consume, with nothing to show for it. Don’t worry though as we’ve all been there as a beginner, and in this post we will break down exactly what you need to do today to start seeing results.
We will start with training, as everyone knows that you can’t sit and play video games all day and expect to transform your physique. Well that’s not entirely true if roids come into the picture, but that’s another conversation for another day. So when it comes to training, what are the common pitfalls we see? Well, the two main problems we have identified are not training each bodypart often enough, and not focusing consistently on the basics. When it comes to how often you should train a muscle group, we recommend twice a week. This is as it takes roughly 48 hours for your muscles to fully recover as a beginner, so if you’re only training a muscle once a week like most beginners, you’re leaving a lot of progress left on the table. What we also see, are many beginners doing far too many exercises for each muscle group, without trying to make slight improvements each week. We have a few recommendations to help resolve this issue. Number 1, base your routine around the squat, bench press and deadlift, which you will perform twice a week. Number 2, look to focus on only 1 or 2 exercises per muscle group. Finally number 3, try to slowly increase the weight you use on these exercises from week to week, as progression is key to muscle gain.
Next we have nutrition, the largest stumbling block of all beginners. The reason most beginners don’t see results, is as they are too focused on training, and don’t pay anywhere near as much attention as they should to nutrition. If you fail to provide your body with the fuel it needs to grow, don’t be shocked when progress is lagging. Luckily, we here at SparkedFit have some guidelines which you can follow to help maximise your results. As a beginner looking to build muscle, you need to make sure you are eating enough calories to grow. We recommend aiming for a calorie surplus of 200, so you can maximise muscle gain whilst limiting fat gain. You will also need to consume enough protein in order to build muscle. A good place to start is 1.6g/kg of bodyweight consumed of protein every day, so an 80kg man would need 128g of protein every day. Also, remember not to neglect the importance of fruit and veg, and getting a healthy balanced diet.
Sleep is another crucial factor which is holding many people back. Its benefits are often overlooked, as we don’t appreciate how important rest is for building new muscle. The most crucial part of recovery is sleep, as that’s where the body produces the most growth hormone and the highest protein synthesis takes place. Sleeping less than 8 hours, or a disturbed sleeping pattern, can both contribute to a lack of recovery and meaningful results. If you want to optimize your sleep to get the best recovery possible, look to get 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep per night.
The last part of this equation is repeat, which refers to how consistent you are overtime. To really change your physique from zero to hero will take years of dedicated hardwork, involving following all the principles above every week. It is also important to accept that for the first few months of training most of the adaptations your body will make to weight training will be neurological and not physical. Don’t be shocked after the first few month if your strength is increasing, whilst you are gaining very little size. Stay patient beyond those first few months, and you will really see some fantastic results in the following months. If you have any further comments or questions, please leave them below.