By Lorin Alukonis
With all of the extra time off due to the Coronavirus pandemic, many students have begun to improve themselves by exercising at the gym, eating a balanced diet, and getting proper sleep. Due to these factors, muscle growth has become apparent and a difference has been made to their bodies. The following tips and tricks can create a foundation or alter one’s journey to becoming ripped.
First off, the most basic step one must do in order to start seeing improvement is to create a diet that fits one’s body size goal and follow it strictly with very few cheat days. For example, the ideal diet for a woman who wants to become toned is astronomically different from that of a man who wants to gain muscle. When striving to bulk up muscle, one must fill their diet with proteins like eggs, beef and more in order to achieve the 3,500 bulk calorie goal. A common misconception for bulking is that fats are only needed and that one food group will get one by. However, this is not the case. Yes, building body mass is required, the growth of muscles is as well and nutrient-filled food is required to achieve the “dream body.” 60% of the diet should be made of carbs, 35% of protein, and around 20% from fat. Remember when creating specific meal plans, avoid any alcohol, added sugars, and deep-fried food. It’s hard to avoid all processed foods in this society, but trying your best is important. Also, before each workout, avoid any high-fat and high-fiber foods along with carbonated drinks as they would hinder the maximum amount of growth.
The actual weight-lifting and cardio done at the gym is not as complex as it seems. The best place to start is working on the legs, backs, and chest twice a week with rest periods for about a minute between each set. You want around 4 sets with 6-8 reps; keeping to this system will help grow your muscles without overworking them. The specific types of exercises are up to you, but use the ones fit for the body type you are trying to achieve. Researching online and planning out the gym day before going can make the biggest difference and make it easier with little frustration. Additionally, ample rest after workouts are needed for your body. Even if you think you can keep going, stop when you know you need to stop.
“Back when I used to go to the gym, I did a different group of muscles each day,” senior Jonathan Pantales-Hemmers said. “You want to focus on those groups specifically so you see improvement instead of doing all your muscles in the same day.”
One very overlooked step is the amount of sleep one must have. Sometimes, gym rats believe that sleep has no effect on their muscle growth, and pulling all-nighters or sleeping for under 6 hours will be “good enough”. Well, the inadequate rest time puts a significant hold on the desired body one wants to achieve. In fact, the whole process will be compromised if said needs are not met. 7-9 hours of sleep is the ideal time you want to look for. Also, a great tip is to avoid eating before going to sleep since the process of burning unnecessary calories leads to unwanted weight gain.
“To be honest I never really saw any improvement when working out, and I couldn’t figure out why,” senior Jules Lurato said. “Turns out all those nights staying up until three really got to me.”
By following these tips step by step, one will be able to see progress in their body in little time. Not only will these improve the quality of one’s muscles, but also improve their health altogether. Eating healthy food and getting sufficient sleep can also help one’s immune system, internal organs, mental health, and more. All together, taking these recommendations into consideration can seriously improve more than just one’s physique.
“After applying tips I learned online, I actually feel significantly more confident than I did before,” senior Sasha Gilson said. “Not just my body, but myself as a whole is much better than where I started.”