Hitting the gym is a fantastic way to release stress, better you, and develop a physical hobby outside of sports. While some stick to workout classes and running on the treadmill, others prefer to lift weights for some serious muscle gains. Bodybuilding used to be male-dominated, but now, people of all ages, shapes, genders, and sizes have found solace in personal heavyweight progress.
As with any physical activity, it is inevitable for you to reach a plateau at one point in your lifting journey. Your barbell weights may suddenly stop increasing, your body might not look ripped enough despite working out five days a week, and you may even lose the energy to do meaningful workouts. This problem is not uncommon and is solvable by making a few changes in your routine, such as adding an intra workout or counting your macros. Here is a breakdown of things that can help you.
Stop Counting Calories
A big mistake that plenty of beginners make is relying too much on calories. The obsession with calorie counting began when the concept of the caloric expenditure versus gains became widely-understood. Essentially, it means that if you consume fewer calories than you spend, the difference will contribute to weight loss. However, what many people forget to account for is the amount of energy required to complete an extreme workout.
The amount of calories you burn per workout depends on the metabolic equivalent of task (MET). But generally, a 150-pound person will burn about 200-400 calories per hour when they workout at a rate of 3-6 METs. In that case, if your ideal caloric intake is 2,000kcal per day and consume 1,800 as a deficit, then you need to make up for the 200-400 that you burn.
But ensuring that you are consuming enough calories is not as effective as intaking enough macros. The term describes the individual nutrients, such as fat and protein, which you need to maintain a balanced body. It is essential to count your macros as some food may be high in calories but low in nutrients. For instance, 1 ½ tablespoon of M&Ms has a caloric equivalent to a cup of fresh grapes, but the latter contains less sugar and more favourable nutrients to energize your body. Necessarily, sparking a change in your diet will do wonders in the effectiveness of your workouts, body image, and overall health.
Take an Intra Workout
Many people shy away from taking an intra workout because they want to exercise as cleanly as possible. However, there now exists intra-workouts with clean ingredients that are loaded with nutrients to help with energy, muscle recovery, and preserving lean muscles. Not everyone has the same genetic makeup, which means that some people do not have the metabolic capacity to build muscle quickly or withstand long and strenuous workouts without feeling drained.
Having to deal with natural weaknesses in your body can significantly stunt your progress. An intra workout is essentially a supplement that you can add to water to give you the much-needed boost to complete exercises and feel good about yourself. The best part? They come in fun, fruity flavours to make your water taste a lot less bland. However, be careful when picking out an intra workout, as some are not compliant with anti-doping regulations. Look for HASTA certifications, which ensure that sports supplements are not against the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) regulations.
One of the best ways to ensure a successful workout session is to hit the gym fully prepared. There is nothing wrong with being conscious about your nutrient intake, as it will significantly improve your energy and ability to withstand tough workouts, which may be the push you need to meet your body goals. Before long, you will notice a positive change in the effectiveness of your workouts.