So, what’s the secret to getting a muscular body? Consistency.
And what is consistency? This means doing something over and over again until you get results. Without consistency, you’ll get nowhere in life.
And really, the secret to building muscles is that simple. Just be consistent in what you’re doing.
This means that if you’re regularly lifting heavy weights, then continue to lift heavy weights. Or, if you’re lifting lighter weights, then continue to lift light — as long as you’re lifting until you can’t lift anymore. Otherwise, your muscles won’t benefit.
This means that if you’re taking a weight-base exercise class such as Les Mills BodyPump, or any free-style sculpting class, then you need to continue doing so and continually challenge yourself.
This means that if you’re doing boot camp, then continue doing boot camp.
This means that if you’re doing only body-weight exercises, then continue to do so.
It’s all about consistency! When people say that they’ve done everything to gain muscle with no signs of improvement, I’d guarantee you that they aren’t consistent. Why? Well, just think of the typical person who wants results fast and can’t wait for anything. They try something for a while, see little results, and quit. Of course they would be complaining that they haven’t seen results!
Think about this. I grew up in the ghetto. You have guys who can’t afford a gym membership fee, but they are walking the streets looking like hulks! I’m pretty sure they don’t have a specialized diet. The guys in prison don’t have any specialize programs. They just lift! And you probably know a few people who have no knowledge of building muscles besides the fact that they have to lift weights. And they are walking around more buff than you!
What is their secret to getting muscles? They just kept doing what they did until they saw results!
But with consistency lies another secret: progression.
This means not only doing the same thing until you get results, but also to continue to challenge your body as you keep doing the same thing.
This means that if you are able to do 10 push-ups without breaking a sweat, then you need to do 15 push-ups. When that becomes easy, then do 20. And so on. Or, instead of doing 20 fast push-ups, try doing 10 slow push-ups. When that becomes easy, do more slow push-ups. Or, do a different set of push-ups such as tricep push-ups and diamond push-ups. Heck, go for doing one-arm push-ups!
What’s going on with this progression thing? When the body senses that it’s going to be challenged, it would make adaptations by activating more nerves for muscle contractions and forming more muscle fibers. As long as you keep progressing to newer, more challenging exercises, the muscles will continue to adapt until you’re the one walking around showing off the guns!
Don’t believe me? Then use yourself as an experiment. If you’re super skinny and can’t do one pull-up, then watch what would happen when you’re able to do 20 pull-ups. There is no way that your body won’t get more muscular. Or, if you’re only able to bench-press 60 lbs, there is no way your body could remain the same if you’ve progressed to benching 300 lbs.
Now, not everybody is going to look exactly the same. The skinny guy won’t look as hulky as someone who naturally has a wider frame or more muscle mass. However, BOTH will see major muscular growth as long as they are consistent with their program and frequently progress by challenging themselves.
When you challenge yourself, you give your muscles reasons to grow. When you’re consistent, you’d be sure that you WILL see results within a relatively short time. Those who aren’t consistent would take months, even years, to see growth. Those who are consistent are the ones seeing results within a matter of weeks if not months!
I take myself as an example. Back in college, I was able to lift 70 lbs. Fast forward that 10 years later. I still found myself ONLY lifting 70 lbs. Needless to say, I was only SLIGHTLY more toned than I was back in my college days! What’s up with that??? I’ll tell you: inconsistency. No progression was involved because I wasn’t even being consistent. In order for progression to work, you need to be consistent. How could I move on to lifting 80 lbs if I was only able to lift 70 lbs? How could I do one-arm push-ups if I could barely do regular push-ups? If you aren’t consistent, you can’t progress, and no progression means no results.
So, don’t look for the fastest, easiest way to gain muscles. There are no secrets to building muscle. Just be consistent and progress. You WILL see results guaranteed!
Aiyo A. Jones, M.S.
NCSF-Certified Fitness Trainer