Dakota MeadowsPersonal Financial Coach

Founder of Meadows Financial Consulting. Investing, budgeting, and overall money nerd. Passionate about helping others realize their financial freedom.

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It depends on what your goals are for body building. Are you looking to compete or are you wanting to look better for yourself?

Regardless, most advice can be summarized into four categories:

1) Eat right – this encapsulates a lot. First off, you need to adjust your diet to ensure it lines with your goals. Up your protein intake. It depends on which stage of the cycle you are looking at (cutting vs. bulking), but a good rule of thumb is 0.8 – 1.2 grams of protein per pound of lean body weight, which is your overall body weight minus body fat. However, this is just a guideline and you can adjust as needed. Increase the amount of vegetables you consume. They provide an abundance of micronutrients, plus they fill you up without adding a lot of calories. Drink plenty of water. You can strategize water intake around a competition, but for regular training be sure you are adequately hydrated. Since most people are not, you need to drink more than you think.

2) Lift heavy – this one is straightforward. You need to work the muscles hard for them to grow. Heavy, compound exercises like the squat, deadlift, and bench are the main exercises. Remember that the best workout plan is one you can stick with, so set it up in a way that you do not dread going to the gym.

3) Run fast – High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) such as sprints or plyometrics should be your cardio workout. Stop steady state cardio such as jogging. The reason for this is HIIT works the muscles like lifting does: short bouts of high intensity contractions. Think of the body composition of a sprinter vs. a marathon runner, and which one you want to look like.

4) Sleep Well – 8 hours of sleep. What most people do not realize is this is the most important category, for both building muscle and overall health. Sleep is when your body recovers and rebuilds. We still do not fully understand the mechanics and reasons for sleep, but every new study always has the same conclusion: get enough sleep.

There is a lot more than can be put down in a quick answer here, so let me know if you want to discuss in more detail.

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