It demands sweat, time, and discipline. Make no mistake about it, building muscle requires serious effort in the weight room. However, this is only a portion of what is required.
No matter how hard you hit the weights, if there are missing elements in your overall program, your efforts will all be in vain. If your goal is to build hard, lean muscle mass, you may want to avoid the following mistakes and take heed of the suggestions.
• Don’t forget the weekends!
For a lot of us, the weekend is our time. It’s a time to relax, let loose and do whatever feels good. We may go out with our buddies, hit up the local pub, drink pints of ice cold lager, pig out on steak sandwiches and gorge ourselves on a mountain of wings.
The weekend is our time to escape the confines of our week day schedule.
However, this can be a perilous time for your workout program. For a lot of us, the weekend is an escape from our week day grind which often includes our jobs, school and weight training program (including diet). When it comes to weekends, we tend to forget about the hard work we’ve put into our bodies and throw it all out the door.
This is a huge mistake!!
I’ll tell you straight off, the weekends are where you can potentially make your biggest gains.
Here are a few reasons why:
• We tend to be a lot less stressed on the weekends. We don’t have to worry about work, school or other of our week day problems
• We tend to have more time on the weekends (We don’t have to rush to the gym, rush through our workouts and rush back home)
• We tend to be more rested (don’t have to get up a 6:00 am for work). We also have more freedom to get additional rest (naps)
• We have more time and energy to prepare full meals
For most of us, our weight training programs are structured around a 3 or 4 day workout (weekday) schedule. This allows for weekend free workouts.
However, this should be a time to really concentrate on your physique and push even harder. You have more time and energy to expend on the weekends so why not use that time to blast through your physical barriers? Ideally, the weekends should be a time to concentrate on those weak areas of your body.
If you can be just as serious about your weekends as you are with your weekdays (even more so) I can almost guarantee you’ll boost your gains.
Let me give you an example. Back in high school, my gym buddies and I would hang out at my pad on Friday nights. We would have a huge meal consisting of whole chickens, mountains of potatoes, pounds of mixed veggies, tonnes of bread and gallons of whole milk (we used to call these our “get big” days). We would simply gorge ourselves to the point of not moving.
I’d venture to guess each of us took in about 6,000 to 7,000 calories in that one meal – No Joke. We would than watch an Arnold movie like pumping iron and everyone would clear out at about 10 PM. I’d sleep for about 10 hours, get up and have a huge pancake breakfast including two cups of high powered tea. About 2 hours later we would all meet up at the gym for our Saturday leg workout. This was no ordinary leg workout. We would each do 10 sets of heavy squats, 50 reps leg presses, hack squats, and crazy ass lunges. After which, I’d go home and have another huge meal of steak, potatoes, veggies and a gallon of whole milk.
Those were some of the most brutal workouts I’ve ever had and just thinking about it gives me the shivers. There is no way in hell none of us could have made it through those workouts without powering up on a huge amount of calories the night before.
I will say this. I’ve never made those kinds of gains like I did with those weekend workouts – Ever. In a matter of a few months, my legs went from average to full fledge tree trunks – No joke.
Ever since then, I’ve targeted a lot of my effort for the weekend. I’m more rested, energized and motivated on the weekends to really take my body to a new level. I’ll hit the weights super hard but I’ll also stick to my diet and on most Sundays, I’ll make something special like a huge roast or steak and potato barbeque.
Here’s my suggestion. Follow your normal week day routine as you normally would. However, plan the weekend to tackle your problem areas. If you have a weak chest, have a special workout day for your chest (try this workout) or if you have weak and skinny legs, try dedicating a whole workout specifically for that muscle group (try this workout).
A few points to remember:
• Cut down on the booze. You can’t expect to have great workouts hung over. In fact, you may do more damage when your body is a weakened state. I’m not saying you can’t have a few beers, but to get the most from your weekend workouts, stay away from binge drinking. Don’t close the bar down.
• Follow your normal sleep schedule. There’s nothing wrong with sleeping in on the weekends but if you’re forcing yourself to sleep past noon, it may completely throw off your sleep patterns.
• Don’t use the weekends as an excuse to go gorge yourself at Micky D’s. Try and actually eat more nutritious foods on the weekend.
Make the weekends your focal point of your workouts and you’ll be well rewarded!
Blake has been weight lifting for about 28 years now. He's 45 years of age and started seriously training when he was 18 years old.
Blake is the founder of Building-Muscle101.com, a successful fitness website that has been around for more than 15 years.