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Build Muscle and Reach Your Fitness Goals

I'm in my early forties now and recovery from working out is much different that then it was 25 years ago. In my youth, I was able to lift weights to build muscle five to six days a week with limited wear and tear and great recovery. But as I have gotten older I now have a healthier perspective of weightlifting and a new found respect for those who have mastered the art of bodybuilding.

For years, my routine was 100% focused on strength exercises to build muscle with little variation to my routine. I would routinely focus on the core exercises to build a strong chest, upper body, legs and back. My primary routine was to pyramid bench, squats and dead lifts. The weekly routine I would follow would consist of 3-4 exercises. For each exercise, I would do 4 sets of 10, 8, 6, and 4 reps. The breakdown per body part I would follow would be a combination of muscle groups that best responded to a push-pull focus. For example, when you work your chest, you are primarily doing exercises that require you to push the weights away from your body. Conversely, when you work your back you are required to pull in order to properly work the muscle.

Following was the split that I used in my early years of weightlifting:

Day 1: Chest & Back
Day 2: Legs & Triceps
Day 3: Shoulders & Abs
Day 4: Off
Day 5: Off
Day 6: Repeat Day 1*
Day 7: Repeat Day 2*

*Note - The weekly rotation would force me to hit 4 muscle groups twice in the same week. The muscle groups hit twice in a week would rotate based on the schedule.

And for the better part of my life, I never really paid much attention to my nutrition intake. With that said, I knew enough that protein was an essential element when it comes to building muscle, but over the years I have never been satisfied with my overall physical appearance. So since I have become older and somewhat wiser, I have taken the time to educate myself.

I now understand that the body needs proper rest in order to build muscle. And the body needs to right level of protein, good carbs and fat. I also understand that the body will respond much better if you change your routine every three months.

I still find myself combining the same muscle groups for a workout, but I have seen significant changes in my body by simply focusing on more reps per set and only resting a maximum of 45 to 60 seconds between each set. But most importantly, I have learned that nutrition and the right balance of supplements play a big role in achieving your fitness goals in terms of building muscle.

After doing my research, I now pay close attention to my protein and carb intake. And I have now moved away from strength exercises and I have adopted a routine that has allowed me to burn fat while continuously building lean muscle. The weekly routine I now like to follow consists of 4 exercises per body part with each set ranging from 8-10 reps with a maximum of 45 seconds of rest between each set. I no longer take 2 -3 hours to complete a work out. I'm now able to get in and out of the gym within 60 minutes. And when time is tight, I will even superset different exercises with a maximum rest period between each set of 30 seconds!

My split routine and weekly schedule now looks as follows:

Day 1: Chest & Biceps
Day 2: Off
Day 3: Back & Abs
Day 4: Shoulders & Triceps
Day 5: Off
Day 6: Legs & Abs
Day 7: Repeat Day 1*

*Note - The weekly rotation forces me to hit 2 muscle groups twice in the same week. The muscle groups hit twice in a week should rotate based on the schedule.

Simply put, if you have not been able to achieve your fitness goals, take the time to educate yourself. If what you're doing doesn't seem to be working, it's time to do something different! Do your research and always contact your physician if necessary before starting a new regime.

For me, I have discovered that changing my routine every 3-4 months, getting plenty of rest and making sure I'm getting the right balance of supplements has allowed me to move one step closer to my fitness goals. Whatever you do, don't be discouraged. They say variety is the spice of life and the same hold true to bodybuilding. Make sure you eat right and take the right supplements to ensure proper recovery and growth. But most importantly, take the time to continuously educate yourself and best of luck with reaching your fitness goals!


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