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Power & Strength

Resistance exercise or weight training as it is more commonly called, plays a huge part in most fitness regimes. From using light weights for toning and firming muscles, to lifting much heavier weights for power and strength training, most gymnasiums are now full of people wanting to change their physique.

Power and strength training requires the use of heavier weights and usually a lower amount of sets and reps. Gradually increasing the amount of weight used is of utmost importance to build both muscle mass and strength.

With regard to nutrition, because the primary purpose of this kind of training involves building larger, stronger muscles, nutrition aimed at feeding the muscles and supporting recovery, is of the utmost importance.

You may want to build muscle because you consider yourself underweight, to add extra muscle to an already athletic physique, or you're involved in sports that rely on strength.

Whichever it is, building lean muscle requires more than just lifting a few weights and increasing your calories. To add new muscle without pounds of fat, you need a well thought out diet plan, along with a strict, heavy workout routine.

You must perform the correct exercises paying strict attention to form, in order to force your body into muscular growth, while feeding and fuelling that growth with optimum nutrition.

When eating for power and strength, sufficient high quality protein is essential, along with complex-carbs and EFA's (fats) for fuel and energy.

You need to be eating 5 to 6 meals a day, with nutritious snacks in between, to pack on ne muscle. A protein shake is the perfect way to add the extra 2 or 3 'meals' you need for growth.

Protein is incredibly important for muscle growth, as it's actually made up of Amino Acids which are the building blocks of muscle, so without them no growth is possible. Of course, you consume protein with most meals, in the form of meat, fish, eggs, cheese and milk, but to drastically increase muscle and therefore strength, you need much more protein than you would for normal day to day activity.

The amount of protein you need varies from person to person, but a good ‘ball park’ figure is 1.5 gram of protein for each pound of body weight per day. So if you weigh 150 pounds, you should aim to consume 225 grams of protein a day. This will ensure your body has a large reserve of protein to call on for both day to day activities, along with fueling the growth of muscle mass.

To gain one pound of muscle, you need an increase of around 3,500 calories. So if you are aiming to gain ½ pound per week, you'll need an additional 1,750 calories per week, or 250 calories per day. That's not counting the additional calories you need to complete your workouts.

It's important to note that when you don't consume enough protein, especially when engaged in a heavy exercise regime, the body makes up for the protein deficiency by taking amino acids (the building blocks of proteins) from muscle tissue. This is called catabolism and obviously leads to muscle loss and weakness.

Protein will also make you feel fuller for longer, as it takes more time to digest. More calories are burnt due to this and your core body temperature and metabolic rate is raised, which helps to increase fat burning and prevent fat storage.

You also need complex carbohydrates, as they burn slowly keeping your blood sugar levels constant, reducing both fat storage and fatigue, while supplying quality fuel for your muscles. The 'good' fats such as Omega 3 EFAs are essential as they help to trigger the genes responsible for fat burning.

Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day, as it's very important to keep your body hydrated at all times if you you want to pack on the muscle. Not only that but if you are dehydrated your workouts will suffer. You'll also need more water for your liver and kidneys to process the extra protein you'll be consuming.

To build large amounts of new muscle, your body needs large amounts of extra amino acids (protein), which are the actual building blocks of muscle. No extra protein = no extra muscle.

This is why we suggest a quality whey protein supplement to ensure your body has a good sized reserve of protein to call on for growth. Without this it can be difficult consuming all the protein you need in your usual meals. It's far easier to drink extra protein, than eat it.

Creatine monohydrate comes in powder and is taken with liquid and is another great supplement when you are aiming for power and strength gains. It provides energy to your muscles, enhances protein synthesis and increases cell volume.

Below we've listed various other supplements to help your goal of building lean muscle.

To begin with it may be a good idea to build up gently and workout twice per week, for the first few weeks, building up to 3 times per week. Always have at least one day between workouts to ensure your muscles and nervous system recuperates.

You need to build up your weights until you

Always warm-up before you begin your actual workout. Warm-ups should be just enough to get the blood flowing through your muscles. Don't over do it or you'll lose the energy needed to complete your workout. Only lift weights that match your current level of fitness, but build up progressively and use a heavy enough weight so the last repetition causes fatigue.

Research has shown that taking protein and carbohydrates after a workout, will increase protein synthesis and reduce protein breakdown thus increasing the potential for gaining muscle mass.

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