How To Gain Size and Strength

I’ve always been the skinny type. Despite being a martial artist for years and loving sports. I guess like many guys I’m just a hard gainer. Before I started to get serious about working out I could not get myself to weigh more than 145 Lbs.

Half of my problem was my diet. I rarely ate more than maintenance. And I still don’t alway. I don’t get all that hungry during the day, and only start to really want to eat once it’s around 11:30. And even when I do get hungry it’s hard to get the calories I need down.

The other half of my problem was how I exercised. I have always been more of an endurance athlete. I ran the 3200m during track along with the 800m. Conditions that don’t lead well to muscle gaining. And I had the same mistaken broscience brainwashed ideas about working out that everyone else does. If you didn’t sweat it wasn’t a good workout (no correlation), no pain no gain ( a slight burn is ok, but any other type of strain or pain can put you out for weeks), and Arnold Schwarzenegger was natural ( not even sort of). As a result, I didn’t gain much size or weight my first times around, and even less weigh. It wasn’t until I made myself a student of the science and art of building muscle did I start progressing. And these are the steps to get on track so you don’t waste precious time in the beginning making the same mistakes.

Step 1: Determine your goals.

I have always loved being physical. But I have never really been a fan of the idea of lifting weights. Not to mention when I started I didn’t have the money to buy weights. So I decided to go the bodyweight route. I started out with the basics things and gradually progressed. But then I discovered street workout/freestyle calisthenics and it changed the way I worked out. Now I didn’t just want to be big. I wanted to be able to do all the cool explosive and static moves. Size was no longer my main goal, explosive strength was.

My goals are to reach 165 Lbs (to be more competitive during the summer sevens rugby series), and achieve the tiger bend push-up, front lever, muscle up, and flat backed planche.

But your goals may be different. But like I said in my first post, they must be specific. Saying lose or gain weight isn’t enough. You have to think of how much you want to lose/gain. Saying you want to be bigger isn’t enough, you have to say how much you want to grow and where you want to gain it.

Step 2: Figure out what your goal is and what your caloric intake should be.

While there seems to be this whole idea that some calories somehow give you superpower while others will kill your hopes of what you consider a perfect body image indefinitely, the truth is a calorie is a calorie. It’s what’s attached to them that makes the food item special. You could lose weight with a McDonald’s only diet. But, you will be losing much in the way of micronutrients and you would be screwing yourself over in the long run.

I’m also not a big fan of “diets”, I’m a fan on nutrition. Meaning finding out what it is your body needs to grow and fight. Eating to meet your goals in a sensible fashion. That’s not to say I don’t like the idea of ones like the Paleo diet, as long as you understand why it works and why it’s sustainable.

I follow IIFYM, I eat just about anything but I try to balance out my Macronutrients (Carbs, protein, and fat), while making sure I eat enough in the way of leafy greens and fruit. And I used this ( http://iifym.com/iifym-calculator/ ) site to figure out that balance based on my goals, and Myfitnesspal to track what I eat. This arrangement works well for me because when I can see the numbers I can easily adjust and make rational decisions.

But like I mentioned earlier I have a hard time getting the calories down sometimes. But after I found this video it made it so much easier.

Basically, what I do now is I make more smoothies to get more calories in. I find that soups can have the same effect. I also try to eat after I workout because i’m hungrier. And I workout at night to increase that effect knowing that my appetite will kick in as the night progresses.

Step 3: Plan your workouts

There are so many different workouts and workout variations available it’s hard to pick out one that works. You get caught up in trying to find out what will work for you and separating the broscience from the real science. I was the same way, but i combed my way through the articles, and through the scientific papers to try to figure out what was the right way. Only to find out there was a guy who made a video that summed it up in under 8 minutes.

This is the same workout structure that I use now and I have been making steady gains in both my size and my skills. I work on my skill strength first, then size training on the main worked muscle group. Monday/Thursday is push work, Tuesday/Friday is pull work, and Wednesday/Saturday is leg work. For legs I do agility, plyometric, and sprint training.

Step 4: Adjust over time

Your workout is not a static thing. It won’t remain the same always, not even from month to month. And as important as it is to stay consistent and stick to your workout, sometimes you will hit plateaus, and you will gain strength and need to progress to harder exercises or more weight.

The best way to keep on track is to keep a workout journal either on paper or on evernote. A workout journal is more than just notes on what you did. It’s also a way of recording how you felt that day, how you feel you did, and how you believe your life is effecting your workouts. Here is a good article on the subject, http://acrobolix.com/training-journals/ .

As a side note to that it helps to take photos every month. There is no motivation like seeing how you have changed over time, and it’s also a good way of seeing where you might be lagging.

Conclusion: Once you have your workout plan and nutrition figured out all you need is to stay determined to achieving your goals. Just remember you have all the hard things figured out already. Now you just have to execute and remember where it is you want to be. And if ever you feel unmotivated take a look at how far you have come in photos and in your journal.

Losing and gaining weight can be hard. But I hope this article made it a bit easier. Below are some of the websites I frequent for motivation and new information on how I can improve my workout.

http://roughstrength.com/

http://skinnyfattransformation.com/

http://thebodyweightfiles.blogspot.com/

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1CVzH-XVr3E-kTT6D8hhfg

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZIIRX8rkNjVpP-oLMHpeDw

Not to mention the other links I provided.

Advertisements

How to choose goals and stick to your new years resolutions.

Often throughout life we see something we like or imagine the person that we want to be, getting ourselves worked up and over excited. Thinking of how awesome it would be to finally be there. To be able to look back and see how far we can from where we were. Especially around this time of year.

We wish for it intensely. We write out a plan and we execute it perfectly. But then we start to fall of. At first it’s no big deal. You’ll pick it back up in awhile right? All you have to do is double up on your next session. But then one day you realized you stopped all together and lost motivation. You still want to get there but now it just feels like a hopeless chore.

Well here’s your first lesson: Motivation is cool, but unreliable. And a wish is just a goal without a plan. All those other wishes you had in life failed for one of two reasons. Failure to plan, or failure to execute. So how do we carry all the way through this time. How can we be sure that we will actually succeed this year instead of ending up like every other year.

This year I have a few wishes of my own.

First, I would like to speak turkish. I have always love the way that Istanbul looked and I have always wanted to travel there. It’s a beautiful place and I like that it sits and is influenced by both the West and the East. I know that a lot of people there speak english but I feel like to truly understand a set of people that you have to speak their language. So I want to be able to speak functional turkish, enough to convey my thoughts, buy from the bazaar, read books in the language, and converse with the locals outside of the main metropolitan areas. And I believe if I know the 3,000 most common words in the language and am able to utilize and parse them correctly I will be able to accomplish this.

Second I would like to gain 15 Lbs of muscle, work towards a muscle up, flat back tucked planche, tiger bend push-up, and front planche. I have always loved the calisthenics/street workout movement since I accidentally came across it. But, I also need to gain 15 Lbs so that I can be more competitive for when I try out for The summer seven league in my city.

Lastly, I want to increase profits within my business. I do small business B2B customer acquisition, which basically means that I do a lot of cold-calling and email marketing in order to gain customers for my clients and get contracts signed. But I have been lazy with growth and only average $100/ month because of it. But I want to be making $2,500 a month by the end of next year.

But it’s one thing to have goals. A whole other to see them through. These are the steps I’m going to use to see them through Generally. But each one of these 2 points will get it’s own more in detail post later in the week.

These are the steps I use to find and set goals.

Step 1: Pick SMART goals.

A SMART goal is one that is,
Specific– Many goals fail because they are too general. “I want to be more successful”, “I want to lose weight”, “I want to get bigger and more muscular”. The reason these fail is because they are vague and don’t have an accomplishment point. Better goals would be, “I want to raise my income from X to Y”, “I want to get down to 12% body fat”, “I want to gain 3 inches in my arms and lose 6 in my waist”.
Measurable– You know a goal is specific when it has built in milestones. You can track each of these goals objectively instead of subjectively. In order to keep determinism up you have to break your long term goal up into short term goals.
Attainable-To say I want to go from not being able to lift half my own bodyweight to a 1000 Lbs deadlift in 1 year is just crazy. But saying you want to go from 80 to 150 pounds is very much more likely, but still high enough to be worth the effort.
Relevant– Your goal has to tie into your wish. To use someone else’s example if you want to learn something new everyday you could read a new word in the dictionary everyday. But it would be more relevant to watch a documentary or research novel ideas.
Timely– You have to have a deadline in order to be able to keep a timetable and measure progression. Along with your milestones, you need to have an idea of when you want to reach them, or be able to adjust to making progress faster that though in case you need to up the ante on your goal.

Step 2: Write it down

Writing down your goals makes it more likely that you will carry through with it, because now you have made a visible commitment to the plan. And it will also be a nice reminder later on keep going.

Step 3: Keep track

Many people fail at this point because they forget to keep track of their goals and metrics. I don’t think many people actually give up, they just gradually fall of because they aren’t keeping track of it. When you keep track of your goals you can see clearly where you are vs where you want to be. It’s much easier that way to see when you start to fall off, and when you are working hard enough.

Step 4: Find motivation outside yourself

Self-motivation is fickle and tends to come in waves. But if you have people to help support and motivate you it can help your determinism. Finding friends to go through it with you, or a mentor who has already done it can help you tremendously in achieving your goals. But it can also help to find people to look up through to go through it with you. Even if they aren’t directly mentoring you, it can help to have someone to look-up and aspire to.

Resources
http://www.highexistence.com/ultimate-goal-hacking-guide-5-scientifically-proven-methods/
http://www.highexistence.com/how-to-achieve-everygoal-you-set/
http://www.highexistence.com/4-big-tips-for-annihilating-your-goals-this-year/

What is Path to Polymath about?

Path to polymath is my one year project to move forwards in my goal to become a polymath. The blog will be a chronicle of my thoughts on things but will focus mainly on what goals I am trying to reach and how I plan on reaching them. It’s a way for me to share resources that I find along the way, and tips and tricks that I discover throughout my adventures.

Every Thursday I will provide a weekly update on how my goals are going using a type of progress report based on different metrics.