Getting jacked isn’t complicated…
So you don’t have to overthink it, here’s a list of simple things you can do right now to get or stay jacked!
Workout More Often
Most bodybuilding and fitness plans will tell you to work out each muscle group once a week.
For example, everyone knows that Monday is International Chest Day. “Blast your chest and forget the rest!”
Then they’ll tell you to follow up by working legs on Tuesday, rest on Wednesday, back on Thursday, and arms on Friday.
Look, it takes roughly 48 hours for your muscles to recover from a workout, sometimes even less. So if you only workout each muscle group once per week, you’re not taking full advantage of your muscular potential.
Work each muscle group every 2-3 days!
It might seem hard, but studies show that spreading out your workout volume throughout the entire week is much more effective than just completing all the volume and annihilating a muscle group once per week.
The best way to do this is by incorporating a push-pull workout plan.
Dedicate one day to completing “pull” exercises such as:
- Pull Ups
- A Few Isolation Exercises (Bicep Curls, Shrugs)
Then dedicate the other day to “push” exercises such as:
- Military Press
- A Few Isolation Exercises (Tricep Extensions, Calf Raises)
You might think this is a lot of work! But it’s not as crazy as you think. As long as you don’t spend too much time or sets on each exercise. Try and do no more than 5 sets per exercise if your goal is hypertrophy and no more than 3 sets if your goal is to gain strength.
After you’ve created your daily workout plan, now it’s time to create your weekly schedule.
Day 1: Pull Strength
Day 2: Push Strength
Day 3: Rest
Day 4: Pull Hypertrophy
Day 5: Push Hypertrophy
Day 6: Rest
Day 7: Repeat From Day 1…
This training push-pull training schedule allows you to work your muscle groups 2-3 times a week while still acquiring adequate rest for your muscles to grow!
Avoid Long Distance Cardio
Cardio isn’t a bad thing. It’s actually really good for your heart and it helps improve your cardiovascular system which lowers your risk of heart disease, heart attack, and a whole host of other problems.
This issue is that long periods of cardio are catabolic.
What’s a catabolic state you might ask?
A catabolic state is one that breaks down the molecules into smaller ones, or in the case of bodybuilding and fitness, the breaking down of muscle tissue.
For any weightlifter or bodybuilder, this is the last thing anyone would want.
Best bet is to avoid any form of long distance running, swimming, biking, treadmills, elliptical machines, etc.
I still highly recommend incorporating cardio into your daily routine. But instead of doing long distance, try HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training).
HIIT focuses on all out cardio like sprinting, boxing, or fast movement for 30 seconds to a minute, then followed by around 30 seconds of rest.
Complete a round of 10 minutes and not only will you feel exhausted, but you’ll also have gotten some solid cardiovascular work in.
The best part is, it won’t hurt your muscle gains!
Try these different HIIT workouts:
- Battle Ropes
- Jump Rope
- Jumping Jacks
- Mountain Climbers
Stop Training To Failure Every Day
Stimulate… not annihilate.
There are so many instances in the gym where I see individuals pushing each and every set to absolute failure.
That guy who jumps on the bench press and cranks outs 8 reps, but on the 9th and 10th rep, you’re not sure he can even push the bar back up and lockout.
It’s dangerous and potential for an injury!
Many people think that the harder and farther you push your limits the more progress you’ll make. And while this may be true for many aspects of life, it’s not 100% correct for weightlifting.
Turns out that pushing yourself to absolute failure puts a heavy toll on your central nervous system.
This means it’ll take a hell of a lot longer to recover.
It’s also shown in studies that training to failure doesn’t really add any benefit in increasing strength or muscle size.
So what should you do instead of training to failure?
Leave around 2-3 reps left in the tank. You should be fatigued around these reps, but you know you still have a little more left in you. The difference is these last 2-3 reps you don’t complete would most likely be done with poor form anyways.
That being said, it is good to push your limitations once in a while so you can evaluate how truly strong you are.
If you do train to failure, do so only once in a while, and make sure you don’t get injured.
Stress does no good for your mind… and your muscles.
Like cardio, stress puts your body into a catabolic state, which breaks down muscle tissue.
You want to be in an anabolic state, which promotes muscle growth.
Avoiding and preventing stress is essential for you to hit your fitness goals.
But stress can hit us at any time, sometimes the worst time.
Someone at work pissed you off…
You got hit by a distracted driver and now your car is damaged…
You have a ton of school work and no time to balance…
But stress is a part of life, it’s not about what happened, but how we react to what happened.
Remember, being happy is a mindset.
Like many things in life, happiness is a choice. You can choose to be happy and not stress right now with a simple change in your mindset.
Even if you’re sad, simply by saying out loud “I am happy, life is a blessing and I’m so grateful” followed by thinking happy thoughts and memories, will guarantee to improve your mindset.
Another way to relieve stress is by completing 10 minutes of daily meditation.
I highly recommend downloading the Headspace app. You’ll receive a certain amount of guided meditations that are totally free of cost. And for a $12.99 a month you’ll get unlimited access to the entire app.
Benefits of meditation are more than just relieving stress.
- Relieve Anxiety
- Improve Focus
- Promotes Gratitude
- Improve Memory
- Slows Aging
- Increase Bodily Control (Mind-Body Connection)
- And Much More!
Mass Gainer Shakes
We all know that you need to eat big to get big.
For people like myself who often have trouble finding a super high-calorie protein-rich meal, nothing beats drinking a mass gainer shake.
Mass gainer shakes have been a staple of many bodybuilding professionals.
Simply take some of your favorite ingredients, throw them in a blender, and blend it up into an easy liquid form smoothie.
Shakes like these are awesome for a variety of reasons.
First, they are super convenient. You can blend them up, store it in a bottle or shaker cup, and then take it to work, school, in your car, and drink it at any time. There is no preparation for cooking, cleaning, or even eating! Just simply drink your shake!
Second, these shakes pack a punch! Depending on what you throw into your mass gainer shake, you’ll have a lot of calories, carbs, and proteins to satisfy your muscles into proper recovery.
Here’s a list of the foods I throw into my mass gainer shake:
- 2 Cups of Soy Milk
- 2 Scoops of Orgain Plant-Based Protein Powder
- 2 Tablespoons of Peanut Butter
- 1 Banana
- ½ Cup of Trader Joe’s Rolled Oats
- 3 Tablespoons of Hemp Seeds
Total Macronutrients =
Calories – 985
Carbohydrates – 112 grams
Protein – 58 grams
Fat – 45 grams
Mass gainer shakes are also perfect for meal replacement! If you are too busy to cook something up, just quickly throw the ingredients above in a blender and you got yourself a great meal replacement that will bring you closer to your daily macros!
Stay Lightly Active
To continue to get the proper nutrients to your muscles and accelerate recovery, it’s important to stay lightly active, even on your days off.
Staying in bed all day stiffening up your muscles won’t accelerate recovery, so I recommend doing one of three things.
- Light Cardio
Light cardio will help get some blood flowing throughout your body. It’ll also help loosen up stiff joints and muscles that may be sore from your workout.
Remember the best way to fix DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) is by moving or massaging the muscles that are sore.
This brings me to my next tip, get a massage. Now I don’t mean going to a massage parlor and blowing $100 for a 60-minute massage. Those feel great, and if you want to get one, by all means, do it.
But massaging yourself is easy, practical, and a great way to help your muscles recover. Buy or grab a foam roller and start rolling out your back, quads, hamstrings, calves, and arms. If you have a really stubborn or sore muscle, try lying on the floor and using a lacrosse or tennis ball. The smaller surface area of the ball will put a lot of good pressure on those muscles.
And lastly, sign up for a yoga class. Yoga is the best rehabilitation practice for whatever you need. Physical or mental, yoga is the cure. A mixture of breathing and muscle stretches, yoga will free your mind from depression, anxiety, and stress, while at the same time repair your muscles, joints, and low back pain.
Find Some Rays
Nothing like getting healed by good old mother nature.
If you don’t already know, the sun is the best source for you to get a daily dose of Vitamin D.
Most people are cooped up inside all day and not getting the fresh air and sun the body’s need.
The benefits of Vitamin D include:
- Maintains healthy bones and teeth
- Supports immune system, brain, and nervous system
- Regulates insulin levels
- Protects against diabetes
- Supports lung function and cardiovascular health
- May help fight cancer
But isn’t widely known and one of the greatest benefits of Vitamin D is its ability to boost testosterone. Testosterone is the hormone responsible for building muscle! Yes, you heard that right!
So, if you know for a fact you are low on testosterone, or just wish to improve your gains, get at least 30-45 minutes of direct sunlight every day.
Sleep Like It’s Your Last Night
Sleep is for the weak… or so they say.
Not even close, in fact, sleep is for the strong. Nothing helps recover your muscles and helps you get stronger like a good night’s sleep.
Remember, lifting weights is only a fraction of the process. Rest and recovery is the rest.
So get a minimum of 7 hours of sleep a night if you wish to get jacked. I shoot for around 8-9 hours a night.
But just “sleeping” isn’t enough, you need high-quality sleep!
And how do you get the best quality sleep possible?
- Avoid blue light 2-3 hours before bed
- Avoid alcohol
- Meditate and stretch before bed
- Avoid caffeine after 4pm
- Don’t work yourself up before sleep
- Don’t nap more than 45 minutes during the day
- Don’t exercise or eat right before bed