How Long Does it Take to Build Muscle?

Once you decide to build lean muscle, you want to start to see results immediately!  Many of us may have even started looking for results the day after a tough workout. When you hope for immediate results that don’t come, it’s easy to lose patience and fall off your exercise routine. Increased strength and lean muscle mass will come with patience, diligence, and consistency.  But how long do you really have to wait for results?Caucasian woman flexing her muscles in gym

To build muscle, you must incorporate strength training into your workout.  Through that strength training, you inflict trauma on the muscles you work.  That trauma creates micro-tears in the muscle, causing your muscles repair and grow stronger.  In order to stress your muscles enough that rebuilding can begin, you need to incorporate strength training for twenty to thirty minutes two to three times each week.  It’s best to strength train on nonconsecutive days so your body has time to allow for the repairing process.  Once your strength training routine is in place, being mindful of what you eat will impact when you begin to see results.  Foods high in protein like lean meat, fish, and dairy products will help your muscles repair and grow stronger more quickly.

How long it takes to build muscle depends on a variety of factors including your gender, age, and the amount of muscle you already have.  Men, for example, tend to build muscle more quickly than women due to testosterone.  Those that already have significant muscle might see changes more quickly than someone just beginning.  Overall, experts indicate that it takes six to eight weeks of consistent strength training and a healthy diet to build lean muscle mass and see real progress.

Six to eight weeks may seem like a long time to wait for results, but while you’re waiting for more defined muscles, you may begin to experience different benefits.  You may find that your day to day activities outside of FitClub feel easier, that you have more energy, and the quality of your sleep improves.  The additional lean muscle will also allow your body to burn more calories while you’re at rest, so your clothes may begin to fit looser, and you may see a decrease on the scale.  Seeing results is the eventual payoff for building a more consistently healthy lifestyle.

If you’re new to strength training and hope to build lean muscle, it’s a good idea to start with a visit to FitClub’s InBody body composition analyzer.  The InBody system can tell you how much muscle mass you already have, as well as other key factors about your physiological makeup. After six weeks of consistent work, try it again and see if your numbers have improved.  You should also consider talking to a personal trainer at FitClub that can get you started with a sustainable strength training routine and ensure that you’re using proper form to avoid injury and maximize results.

Already experienced in strength training?  What advice would you give to someone just starting out?

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Are You Busy? What Being Busy Might Mean For Your Health

How many times this week have you said you’re busy?  It might happen more than you realize.  In this fast-paced, instantly connected world, people often consider being busy to be a badge of honor.  The reality is, though, that being busy may be detrimental to your mental and physical health.  If you think you’ve been busy all summer, FitClub has a reality check for you and can help you break the cycle of feeling too busy. blog-post-image-5

Asking the small questions can have big results. What kind of busy are you? Are you busy with activities that you or your family find pleasurable?  Is your busy schedule within your control?  If your schedule is within your control and you’re busy with activities that you enjoy, simply reframing your perspective might reduce your stress.  For example, if your weekends are loaded with barbecues, birthday parties, family gatherings, in addition to the housework, workout, and leisure time you need, then maybe a shift in perspective can help you reduce the stress you feel when you think about your schedule and how you’ll pack it all in.  If the busy schedule is outside your control and not something you find pleasurable, i.e. working overtime, a dreaded social obligation, or increasing household demands, you may be suffering from stress that can be detrimental to your health.

How being busy impacts your health.  A constant feeling of being too busy, particularly when your schedule is largely outside your control, can produce chronic stress.  The American Psychological Association conducted an analysis of “Stress in America” and published its results in 2010.  The APA found that busy people often reported that they didn’t have time to prepare healthy meals and workout, contributing to a decrease in physical activity. Stress also often leads people to overeat, contributes to a lack of sleep, and decreases energy levels.  The combination of stress-related behaviors contributes to unwanted weight gain.  Perhaps even more terrifying is that stress appears to be contagious. The children surveyed for purposes of this study reported being stressed because their parents were experiencing stress.

Ready to be less busy?  Reading the APA’s report may be stressful enough, but the good news is that there are ways to start reducing your busy schedule and alleviating your stress right now.  According to Mayo Clinic, some stress is completely natural and your body’s way of alerting you when it perceives a threat.  Implementing even basic stress management tools can help you relax.  According to Mayo Clinic, it’s that healthy lifestyle that you might often put on hold during busy times that actually reduces your stress.  Making time for a workout at FitClub, enjoying a healthy meal, meditating and getting proper sleep can reset your stress level almost immediately.  Cutting back on screen time at home also frees up more time to conquer your to do list and can reduce your stress.

Do You Need to “Carb Up” For Your Workout? FitClub’s Advice on the When, How, and Why to Increase Your Carb Intake

Often, we hear athletes and those in difficult training periods talking about the need to “carb up” before a workout or endurance event.  On the other hand, there are a lot of low-carb diets guaranteeing fast weight loss. How do you know when, how, and why to increase your carb intake as you pursue your fitness goals?  Let FitClub walk you through the basics and help you decide the best way to fuel your workouts.spaghetti-on-plate-and-fork-1296x728

Carbohydrates are stored in the body’s liver and muscles as glycogen.  Glycogen is what gives your body energy to perform the demands placed upon it.  “Carb loading” is the process of eating more carbohydrates than normal for several days to increase your glycogen stores for endurance or improving your performance. Without enough glycogen, your body may fatigue before you have completed your workout.

When do you need to carb load?  Consuming more carbohydrates is not necessary if your workout will be ninety minutes or less.  If your workout is less than ninety minutes, you can maintain a normal diet without loading up on carbohydrates.  Carbohydrate loading is also unnecessary for strength training workouts, but essential for cardiovascular endurance training.  Marathon training, for example, requires carbohydrate loading, whereas even an intense strength training session probably won’t benefit from adding more carbs to your diet.

Carb loading is not an excuse to overindulge. Yes, chocolate, thick pasta sauces, and pizza have a high amount of carbohydrates.  No, these foods will not properly fuel your endurance workout.  Not only will these foods lead to unwanted weight gain during your training cycle, but they also contain a high fat content that may leave you feeling more sluggish than a diet without carbs.  If your workout requires increasing your carbohydrates, be sure to choose foods that are low in fat and high-quality carbohydrates like bread with jelly instead of butter, applesauce, bananas, and rice. If your goal is weight loss, staying tuned into the nutrition label will also help you properly track calories in and out during the course of your training.

When to start carb loading.  If your workout requires more carbohydrates than normal, you can’t get by with just a bowl of spaghetti the night before.  According to Mayo Clinic, to ensure that you have enough carbohydrate stores available during your training, you need to start one to three days before your big workout.  This timeframe gives your body enough time to convert the carbohydrates to the glycogen that your body can use as fuel during your workout.  Temporarily reducing your fat and fiber intake and increasing your sleep and hydration levels will also help your body push through a more difficult workout.

Carb loading isn’t for everyone, but it can be necessary if you’re pushing yourself to complete an endurance workout or training for an endurance event like a marathon or a triathlon.  Have you carb loaded before an important training workout or event?  What worked (or didn’t) for you?

How to Find Balance and Avoid Burnout

overcoming-workout-burnout-fbWhen you’ve committed to living a healthier lifestyle, it may be difficult to find balance.  Eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly often conflicts with social obligations, work deadlines, and family matters.  How do you make time for yourself, meet your obligations, and stay sane all at the same time?  You might find yourself falling into bed later than intended, exhausted, your mind racing, trying to figure out how you’ll get everything done again in the morning.  If this is happening to you, it may be time to add balance to your life to even everything out and make your healthy lifestyle feel easier.

  • Balance is a practice. You already know that exercise is not a short-term solution for a healthier lifestyle, but rather an ongoing progression that you will need to maintain for a longer, healthier life.  Balance is the same way.  If you commit to finding balance, you’ll need to recommit day after day in order to maintain some equilibrium between the different aspects of your life.  Some days that balance may tip in favor of staying late at work, other days downtime with family and friends may take over. Just by keeping the idea of balance in your mind, you might find that like any practice, it gets easier over time.
  • Delegate more. Could you free up an hour for exercise if you were able to delegate work obligations or household chores?  Delegating is an art, but when you are able to do it consistently you’ll find that with fewer responsibilities you can do each one better.  Even small tasks take time away from your other priorities and often there’s help available that can give you even just ten or twenty minutes that can be better spent on a priority task.
  • Be specific when you state your goals. “I want to work out more,” is a laudable goal, but what does that mean when you look at your calendar each day?  “I want to work out thirty minutes each day,” is a far more specific goal and may help you find thirty minutes in your busy schedule.  The more specifically you can state your goals, the more likely you are to find the time to work towards progress.
  • Give yourself a break. If you’re consistently eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly, enjoying a piece of birthday cake won’t derail your plans.  Instead, it might be the break you need to enjoy the balance of your life. Too much rigidity might hold you back from feeling like you are fully enjoying life’s small celebrations. Balance doesn’t mean your diet and exercise is perfect every day, but rather that you allow room for celebrations and treats.  If you listen to your body, you’ll instinctively find that it wants balance, i.e. more sleep some days than others, a more challenging workout when you hit a plateau, and sometimes a slice of birthday cake instead of more rules.

Learning From Your Disappointments Can Move You Forward

At FitClub we talk a lot about setting goals and achieving those goals through dedication, accountability to yourself, and consistency.  But what happens when you don’t meet your goals?  What happens when things don’t go as planned and you find yourself disappointed either in your efforts or lack thereof?  Can experiencing disappointment be a teachable moment that can move you forward? fitness_disappointment940

  1. What went wrong? If you fall short of your goal you immediately have two choices.  You can assume that you’re never going to find success and achieve your goal or you can ask yourself what went wrong.  By simply asking yourself to honesty evaluate why you failed to meet your goal, you can begin to reassess and prepare to begin again.  We all have set backs and disappointments from time to time, but if we don’t stop to evaluate why we didn’t succeed we may not experience the joy of finding success.  Did you miss too many workouts?  Were you eating properly to fuel your goal and your workout?  You might find there are several simple course corrections you can take to reframe your goal and improve your odds of crushing it.
  2. Is this what you want? Sometimes we fail to achieve our goals because it’s not really what we want.  Maybe we agreed to share a goal with a friend, but we didn’t feel any personal investment or motivation.  Maybe the goal was too small and we didn’t feel that sense of inspiration that we need to stay dedicated for the long term.  Whatever it is, you don’t have to stay bound to a goal that no longer speaks to you.  Instead, take advantage of the wide array of FitClub’s healthy options and experiment with other forms of physical activity and healthy living that might work better for you.  You’re not going to love your workout every single day, but don’t stay stuck in a rut chasing a goal that doesn’t make you happy.
  3. Do you know how to achieve your goal? Healthy lifestyle changes can be very difficult and if you’re not completely sure how to reach your goal, it may be a good idea to work with a personal trainer.  If your goal is to lose weight and build lean muscle, for example, a personal trainer can teach you how to safely use the equipment and do the moves that will get you there.  Maybe you need some help sorting through your diet and learning how to properly fuel yourself for better results, or maybe you need to step on FitClub’s In-Body Assessment to discover what goals would work best for your body.  We’re not all experts on physical fitness, but we all do have access to experts at FitClub.  Take advantage of the experts available to you and eliminate the guesswork. Just knowing what to do to reach your goals can be the biggest step in the right direction.

Have you ever failed at a goal?  What worked for you when you needed to reassess and begin again?

 

Bertha Eaves is Proof a Healthy Lifestyle Works!

FitClub is honored to feature a story this week about member, Bertha Eaves. Bertha has been a member of FitClub since 1985 and has recently celebrated her 97thbirthday! Courtesy of her daughter, Sandy, who relayed stories about Bertha’s healthy lifestyle to FitClub, we can all learn a few things about healthy living.  Making it look easy, Bertha may have figured out the three keys to a long, healthy and happy life.

Bertha
Bertha Eaves at the Beach Bar.

If you struggle with consistency, Bertha should be your new role model. Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday unless the roads are slick, you can find Bertha at FitClub in the early morning hours. She puts herself through her circuit training and then catches up with her social circle over a glass of orange juice. Talking to Sandy, you get the feeling that this is not an obligation for Bertha, just a part of her routine that she enjoys and that makes her feel good.  This is just who Bertha is, she has always been a woman that enjoyed physical activity. Whether it was long walks and bike rides on vacation or roller skating at the Moonlight Gardens when she was a young woman, you can tell that Bertha is not a woman that looks for excuses to avoid physical activity.  She was an accomplished skater in the years before organized sports were available to girls and young women.  It was even at the roller skating rink where Bertha met the man that would be her husband.

Her social circle gives her the accountability that we all need to hit our goals.  Bertha knows that if she misses a morning workout, her group of friends will call to check in on her.  It seems that what may have started as accountability has now become dependability. The people Bertha shares her mornings with know that they can find her at FitClub three mornings each week, enjoying her active workout and a glass of orange juice.  A social circle of healthy, like-minded people is priceless when you’re building a workout routine and it seems to have worked beautifully for this group of active people.

There’s no doubt that Bertha has been dedicated to her physical fitness and Sandy reports that for Bertha it’s never been about weight loss.  Bertha has always been petite and fit and she just enjoys the feeling that comes from being active.  For Bertha it’s definitely paying off.  She’s able to stay injury free and as physically active as she’d like, even comfortably sitting on the floor to play cards with her family.

Bertha also reportedly has mastered the art of a balanced lifestyle, which for some of us can be the hardest act to master. Bertha has a lifelong sweet tooth and enjoys sugar so much that when she adopted her beloved cat, she kept the name the shelter had given it.  Sugar!

FitClub is honored to celebrate Bertha’s birthday month this July and wishes her many more birthdays celebrated with a glass of orange juice, many friends, a loving family, and yes, many more workouts, too!

Thank you for inspiring all of us, Bertha, and happiest of birthdays!

How to Find Balance and Avoid Burnout

When you’ve committed to living a healthier lifestyle, it may be difficult to find balance.  Eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly often conflicts with social obligations, work deadlines, and family matters.  How do you make time for yourself, meet your obligations, and stay sane all at the same time?  You might find yourself falling into bed later than intended, exhausted, your mind racing, trying to figure out how you’ll get everything done again in the morning.  If this is happening to you, it may be time to add balance to your life to even everything out and make your healthy lifestyle feel easier.yoga-for-relaxation-153467855-5be1ea5bc9e77c0026cfd8d1

  • Balance is a practice. You already know that exercise is not a short-term solution for a healthier lifestyle, but rather an ongoing progression that you will need to maintain for a longer, healthier life.  Balance is the same way.  If you commit to finding balance, you’ll need to recommit day after day in order to maintain some equilibrium between the different aspects of your life.  Some days that balance may tip in favor of staying late at work, other days downtime with family and friends may take over. Just by keeping the idea of balance in your mind, you might find that like any practice, it gets easier over time.
  • Delegate more. Could you free up an hour for exercise if you were able to delegate work obligations or household chores?  Delegating is an art, but when you are able to do it consistently you’ll find that with fewer responsibilities you can do each one better.  Even small tasks take time away from your other priorities and often there’s help available that can give you even just ten or twenty minutes that can be better spent on a priority task.
  • Be specific when you state your goals. “I want to work out more,” is a laudable goal, but what does that mean when you look at your calendar each day?  “I want to work out thirty minutes each day,” is a far more specific goal and may help you find thirty minutes in your busy schedule.  The more specifically you can state your goals, the more likely you are to find the time to work towards progress.
  • Give yourself a break. If you’re consistently eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly, enjoying a piece of birthday cake won’t derail your plans.  Instead, it might be the break you need to enjoy the balance of your life. Too much rigidity might hold you back from feeling like you are fully enjoying life’s small celebrations. Balance doesn’t mean your diet and exercise is perfect every day, but rather that you allow room for celebrations and treats.  If you listen to your body, you’ll instinctively find that it wants balance, i.e. more sleep some days than others, a more challenging workout when you hit a plateau, and sometimes a slice of birthday cake instead of more rules.

Keep practicing finding balance in your life and share your successes with your FitClub members!