BUILD MUSCLE WHILE YOU SLEEP!
YOUR DAILY SCHEDULE TO SHED FAT, SCULPT MUSCLE, ACCELERATE RECOVERY AND BUILD STRENGTH BEYOND THE GYM.
ure, you want a broader chest and abs that whistle in the wind. Biceps that bulge through your shirtsleeves would be nice, too. But these aren’t the only reasons you hit the gym. You also work out to burn off that nasi lemak you had for breakfast (and to guard against tomorrow’s buffet). You might even believe that an hour of pushing weights makes up for eight spent sitting at a desk. And as long as you don’t miss that hour each day, you’ll build a body that makes the comely waitress at the cafe take notice.
The reality: The rest of your day is just as important for building muscle. “The point of working out is to force your body to adapt,” says strength and conditioning expert Joe Dowdell. “But those adaptations don’t occur at the gym. They occur during all the hours you’re not there.”
Build muscle 24-7 with these 18 tips.
7AM: WAKE UP WITH WATER
When you roll out of bed in the morning, chug half a litre of chilled H2O and you can raise your metabolism by 30 per cent, says a study by scientists in Germany and Canada. The fat-burning benefits don’t stop there: That same paper found that the metabolic boost lasted for up to 90 minutes after people took their last sips.
7.30AM: RETHINK YOUR CEREAL
In a recent study in Nutrition Today, only 55 per cent of the tested cereals billed as “wholegrain” were a “good source” of bellyfilling fibre. “And most are high in sugar and low in musclebuilding protein,” says nutritionist Dr Mike Roussell. Try this instead: Mix half a cup of wholegrain cereal, a cup of low-fat Greek yogurt and half a cup of berries. “You’ll get about 25g of protein and 16g of fibre,” says Dr Roussell. You’ll also feel full for hours despite having eaten only about 260 calories.
8AM: BEAT THE TRAFFIC
If you commute less than 8km to work, leave your car at home and bike or walk. Live too far away? Hop off the train or bus a stop early, or park far from your building’s entrance. “You could burn as many as 200 extra calories a day,” says personal trainer Nick Tumminello. “It may not sound like much, but the calories add up quickly.” Or rather, they subtract quickly – about ½kg of fat a month.
9AM: ORDER A GRANDE BLACK
Adding cream, caramel, sugar or other high-calorie condiments to your coffee is like chasing a salad with deep-fried Mars bars. “Most fancy coffee drinks fall into the same category as soft drinks,” says Dr Roussell, “and some pack more than 600 calories.” So take yours black. You’ll not only save yourself a caloric nightmare but also earn extra man points. Drink a cup now, and have another before you work out. (More on that later.)
10AM: MOBILISE YOUR SHOULDERS
Bending over a keyboard can turn you into a hunchback. “Your muscles and tissues adapt to that position, reducing mobility and increasing your injury risk,” says strength and conditioning specialist Eric Cressey. Your fix: Standing Ys. Face a wall and place your forearms against it, elbows tucked by your ribs. Slide your forearms up until they form a Y, and then pull them backwards, off the wall. Reverse to the starting position. That’s 1 rep. Do 10.
11AM: SCHEDULE YOUR WORKOUTS
Programme your daily sweat sessions into your calendar and set an alert. In a study from the US, people who received workout reminders spent more time exercising each week than those who didn’t get the alerts. Plus, according to new research from Tunisia, working out at the same time each day triggers hormonal adaptations that make you strongest at that point.
12PM: LOAD UP ON PROTEIN
To build muscle, you need protein – ideally, 1g per ½kg of your target body weight per day. So make it the star of your lunch, says Dr Roussell. Two good options: a grilled chicken breast (27g) or a 113g steak (35g). Skip appetizers and extra sides, recommends a study in the journal Health Affairs. You’ll cut calories, not satisfaction.
1PM: DIAL BACK THE AIR- CON
Office temperatures below 22 dec C are productivity killers, say researchers at Cornell University. If you’re able to access the thermostat, keep it at 22 deg C. If not, throw on a light sweater. By staying comfortable, you’ll accomplish more work in less time – and be that much less likely to skip your workout later in the afternoon.
2PM: TAKE A NAP
“Napping reduces the stress hormone cortisol and promotes muscle-building growth hormones,” says sleep expert Dr W. Christopher Winter. “Taking a nap, even for just 15 minutes, creates an environment in your body that builds muscle and burns fat.” Maximise your time with apps like Sleep Pillow (iOS) or Relax and Sleep (Android). They play ambient sounds to drown out noise and help you drift off faster.
3PM: MOBILISE YOUR LEGS
“If you don’t take the time to work your hips, ankles and glutes throughout the day, you’ll be too tight to lift properly when you eventually hit the gym,” says Nick. To loosen up, squat until your glutes nearly touch your heels – grab the edge of your desk for balance if you need to. Hold that position for 45 seconds, and then stand back up. Repeat 3 times.
4PM: GRAB ANOTHER COFFEE
Drinking two cups about an hour before you work out can help you lift more weight, found a study in
The Journal Of Strength And Conditioning Research. The reason: Caffeine blocks the signals of pain and fatigue that your muscles send to your brain, boosting your performance as a result.
5PM: SKIP THE PAINKILLER
It’s time to work out. But don’t pop an ibuprofen to alleviate lingering soreness from yesterday’s workout. You’ll not only stall muscle growth by disrupting collagen production but also leave yourself vulnerable to gastrointestinal irritation, including cramps, diarrhoea,
intestinal bleeding and nausea. The better remedy: a postworkout massage.