There are three core things that you need to religiously check in order to build your summer body (whether it is to build muscles, get lean or whatever it is you want to achieve bodybuilding-wise), and together, I call them the ‘TRIANGLE’ of bodybuilding: EXERCISE, NUTRITION and adequate REST. Sleeping on any of these three important aspects of bodybuilding reduces your chances of having your dream body… or at least having it in time… for summer!
Before, you go on reading, I’ve got some summer advice for you: Give yourself a head start and start working on your body now!!! The best time to build your summer body is winter!
Now that’s out of the way, I’ll make you understand why these three components of the triangle are key in order to achieve your summer or what should ideally be a year-long goal.
Exercising is what helps you build muscle strength, endurance, balance and flexibility. It also helps to stimulate muscle growth. It delivers oxygen and nutrients to your tissues and helps to make a more efficient use of the oxygen taken in thereby lowering your heart rate consequently. Exercises basically help use the things taken into the body efficiently. Aside helping to build your summer body, exercising has health benefits you would want to avail yourself to.
Nutrition and Rest
Nutrition which also forms a part of the triangle is a critical component. While exercise is an important aspect of building your summer body; nutrition is even more important. If exercise is the driver, then nutrition is the vehicle.
Most people place more emphasis on the actual workout sessions while they pay less attention to nutrition and rest. This is counterproductive and I’m guessing you don’t want to be bursting your ass off in the gym for little or no gains.
Nutrition and rest have big parts to play in the bodybuilding process. Simply put, they are what make your time in the gym not go to waste.
When people ask why I do not look like the typical bodybuilder, I defend myself with the ‘unfavorable Genetics’ excuse and the fact that not everyone into bodybuilding is into it in order to look like a Lou Ferrigno.
However, two factors within my control which have still set me back a bit at different times are nutrition and rest. It is impossible to overemphasize the importance of these two factors.
Have you ever wondered why in the gym you couldn’t lift as much as you did just a couple of days before? This can only be due to a lack of proper rest to allow the body to heal from the previous workout, a lack of adequate nutrition to supply the lost nutrient after your workout or both.
The right nutrition should provide the energy to do your workouts with the required intensity. The right nutrition also supplies the required nutrients needed to replenish your energy (carbs and fat) and serve as a building block (protein)after your workout sessions. Carbs should be of about 45-60% of the total calories taken in. Protein of 20-35% is okay, while fat would take the percentage of the calories that’s left. To determine the exact required percentage of these macro-nutrients, you would need to establish what exactly it is you’re trying to achieve. For weight loss and lean muscle, opt for less carbs (low end of the % range) and more protein (the high end of the % range). Calculate you daily calorie intake.
If you don’t have the time to weigh your foods and keep track of your calories- which I believe is the case for most people (including me), then you just have to pay attention to how your body reacts to the quantity of food you eat daily. When you take note of this, you then try to roughly estimate the percentage of this quantity that each of the macro-nutrients (carbs, protein and fat) you eat daily is and make sure it’s in line with what your body goals require.
As I’ve previously noted, if weight loss or lean muscle is your goal, you would aim at fitting in more protein in your diet and reducing the amount of carbs that you eat. You however cannot completely cut off carbohydrate. In fact, it’ll still constitute the largest portion of what you eat as reflected in the above range of 45-60% of your required daily intake of calories. You would just have to make sure it’s not as much as you normally consume and it’s in the lower end of the range.
You need adequate rest to allow your body to recover from soreness as a result of your workouts. This is the reason it is recommended to have at least a full day’s rest in between your workout sessions. Together with good nutrient, it helps repair destroyed cells resulting from your workouts and makes them bigger than they were so that they can more easily withstand any stress or resistance of the same magnitude it is being put through in the future. This is actually what results in muscle growth (muscle hypertrophy) and the reason why progressive overload (progressively increasing the stress you put your muscle through) is very critical to muscle growth.
I’ll do a quick rundown of the importance of this triangle and show how the three pillars help in your quest to achieve your summer body goals: Training stresses your body and makes it sore. Good nutrition then helps replenish the lost nutrients and Adequate rest helps heal from the soreness. The muscles you train eventually adapt to the stresses they undergo and they prompt themselves to get bigger so they are able to withstand that level of resistance in the future. The next time you go to the gym, you’d need to put your muscle through a greater resistance so the muscles can demand more of themselves again. The cycle continues.
The next time you intend to go hard in the gym without having plans to rest or eat appropriately, you should remember it’s the reason your progress might be delayed.
Also, after all this reading to get yourself summer-ready, it’s only fair you reward yourself by keeping that body (once you get it) all year long and not just for the summer.