I’m not 18 anymore and neither are you. When I was 18 years old I used to squat until I was sick to my stomach. The intensity of my workouts where insane.
Not so much anymore.
Don’t get me wrong, I still need to push hard. But as I get older there’s no need to push myself to an unreasonable level. It’s advice I give my clients that are in there forties and fifties. If you want to build muscle, be lean and healthy you don’t need to torture yourself in the gym to get there.
If you can’t function the rest of the day following your workout, you’re overdoing it. When you work out, always be aware of the risk of injury. It’s easy to get caught up in the marketing that has convinced us that we need to be extreme in order to get results.
One of the biggest mistakes I see even advanced people make is using too much weight for their exercises. Ask yourself if it’s worth squatting 400lbs over the possibility of damaging your knees or hurting your lower back for the rest of your life. What’s the point? It’s like trying to get into your house by the top floor window when the front door is unlocked. It doesn’t need to be that hard.
Here are 5 ways to build muscle, get lean and be healthy the smart way:
1. Be consistent
Building muscle takes a lot of time. Start by adopting exercise as a lifestyle and not just making it a fad. Figure out the right time to workout in your day and stick to it. Remember “The best way to get in shape is to stay in shape”
2. Change your nutrition habits
Jack Lalanne in the picture above once said: “Exercise is king. Nutrition is queen. Put them together and you’ve got a kingdom.” Many people think they can just workout and eat whatever they want. Apart from a few annoyingly gifted people this doesn’t work.
3. The most important part of your workout is the first 20 minutes
There’s a Chinese proverb that says: “Once the nail has been hammered into the wall, all you’re doing is damaging the wall.” In other words, once you’ve exhausted a muscle, you’re done. Go home. No matter how fit you think you are, any muscle group can be worked in 20 minutes.
4. Proper form and full range of motion
Use moderate to heavy weight but don’t sacrifice form over the weight being lifted. Work the muscle with full range of motion. It will improve your flexibility at the same time and avoid injury.
5. Think about recovery
Exercise and recovery have a yin/yang type of relationship. If you’re a stress case that doesn’t sleep and uses their mouth like a trash can, you’re not going to recover very well. Allow for enough rest between workouts for each muscle. Consume protein foods and make sure you get a good nights sleep.
Exercise smart and you will be able to exercise for life. The benefits will far outweigh any extreme route you may be persuaded to take.