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TRAINING ARTICLES

SUSTAINABLE WEIGHT LOSS

There are many different ideas on how to lose weight so it’s hard to know where to start. Typically, most tend to suggest excessive cardio or starving yourself. But this is old school mentality and truth is, it doesn’t really work.

Calories in, calories out has long been the rule for fat loss but now the focus is more on the quality of the calories rather than the quantity of calories. In recent years, there has been a massive shift away from the traditional ‘diet’ and the expectation of being constantly hungry and instead we’ve seen a much more positive focus on feeding the body nourishing whole foods that complement your training, make you feel good and help you achieve your goals.

Setting realistic goals for your own body is ultimately how you will achieve success. Everyone’s weight loss journey is different, and genetics play a big part in your body shape, how quickly you lose weight and how you gain muscle. Age, height, starting weight plus what your desired outcome is, all need to be factored in as well.

These points aside, if you want to lose weight and keep it off, you can still make incredible progress with a little planning and focus on these three areas: nutrition, working out and motivation.

NB: If you’re training for a Figure/Bodybuilding comp, this is a bit of a different ball game – a lot goes into this which we won’t go into here, but some of the same principles apply, with a bit more short-term discipline. See a 1-day sample eating plan for fat loss here.

 

NUTRITION.
Dieting for weight loss has traditionally been pretty miserable. Eating food that tastes like cardboard and constantly feeling hungry is nobody’s idea of fun. If you want long-term results, we believe in a far more healthy approach that involves eating smaller meals more often from mostly whole food sources.

Protein is generally associated with muscle gain but it is also really important for weight loss. Including some protein at every meal significantly reduces the hunger hormone ghrelin and boosts the satiety hormone, leptin. Protein also has a much higher thermic effect than carbs meaning that your body burns more energy when digesting it. Protein is also harder to convert into fat, so rather, it boosts your metabolism.

Managing calories is necessary, but cutting too much out can slow your metabolism right down and you’ll struggle to keep the weight off. Stay motivated by focusing on what you can eat – not what you can’t. There are so many colourful whole food recipes around that you’ll never find healthy food boring again. These whole foods are rich in nutrients and will fill you up without weighing you down.

Carbohydrates that are low GI and high in fibre are usually lower in calories, so they can be a good option. Low GI carbs also help manage blood sugar levels, which will in turn help with cravings, and keep you feeling fuller for longer.

Don’t be afraid of fat!  Fat will not make you fat, just be sure to incorporate the right fats into your diet. Sources of good fats include nuts, seeds, plant oils, and cold water fish.  Add some good fats to your meals. The essential fatty acids will keep you full and burn more energy. Omega-3 and various other good fats have been shown to help the breakdown of body fat and encourage the body to use fat as a primary energy source.

Try to eat every 3 hours and make sure you are getting enough macronutrients. This is where a good quality protein shake comes in handy. It’s convenient, easily absorbed and low in cost when compared to other types of protein plus many are boosted with vitamins and minerals to ensure your micronutrient levels are good.

Horleys Ripped Factors and Sculpt for women are formulated with high protein plus additional ingredients to assist with fat metabolism and maximise your results. Other handy options are Horleys Carb Less protein bars and Protein Hit Low Carb Drink.

Dehydration will slow your metabolism rate so stay hydrated and limit your alcohol consumption.

When you’re tired you eat more, so monitoring your sleep is good idea. Aim for at least 7 but preferably 8 hours quality sleep a night and take note of your energy levels throughout the day. You might find that going to bed an hour earlier makes a world of difference to how you feel the next day.

 

WORKOUT.
If you’re new to exercise, try walking, running or a sport that you enjoy. Anything that keeps your heart rate up for 60 minutes, 3-4 times a week is an achievable goal to work towards. Once you’ve mastered that, add some resistance and high intensity interval training into your programme.

Resistance training is far more effective for fat loss than cardio. Muscle burns more energy than non-muscle tissue, and adds tone and definition to your body.  Aim for high reps with a medium weight and shorten your rest time in between sets. This will keep your heart rate in the fat burning zone.

High intensity interval training (HIIT) is also great for weight loss and it can be done anywhere with little or no equipment. HIIT works best if you can do it for about 20 minutes with a warm up and stretching afterwards. If you’ve got your nutrition down pat, try doing 3 sessions of HIIT per week. If HIIT seems a bit daunting, just remind yourself, it’s intense, but it’s over fast, so you spend less time exercising.

To help you a long the way, you can try supplements like Ripped Black capsules or Bioburn fat loss powder for a pre workout boost, and snacks like Carb Less protein bars or Protein Hit Low Carb drinks which provide a quick pick-me-up that won’t derail your weight loss progress.

 

MOTIVATION.
Get yourself into a good routine and stay focused by planning each week out including your meals and snack preparation so you’re never stuck without a healthy option or tempted to go for takeaways. Stay active at a level that suits you – whether it’s a 20-minute walk every second day or 3-4 sessions at the gym each week, do what you can.

Keep a ready-made back up meal or protein snack for when you don’t have time to prepare something. Remind yourself why you are doing this and stay focused on your goals. Take note of your progress and pay attention to how your clothes fit, not what the scales say.

 

KEY POINTS TO REMEMBER.
Your weight loss journey can be an enjoyable experience so long as you focus on the positive and celebrate your achievements along the way. Look at it as a complete lifestyle change rather than something you’re denying yourself. Keep on top of these key points and you’ll achieve your goals:

  • Manage your calories but focus on the quality rather than the quantity
  • Follow a whole food nutritional plan
  • Eat frequent small meals – a low carb protein powder, Horleys Carb Less Protein bars and Protein Hit Low Carb Drink are all convenient options
  • Build up to exercise for 45-60 minutes, 3-4 times a week (include resistance training)
  • Get a minimum 7 hours sleep per night
     

You’ll no doubt encounter the odd ‘bad day’ but just move on and try not to worry about it too much. The best change you’ll notice when you start losing weight is your new happy and vibrant mindset. Maintaining a positive outlook will get you the results you want.

 

 

 

MANAGE WEIGHT BY EATING AT THE RIGHT TIME

Circadian rhythms are physical, mental and behavioural changes that follow a roughly 24-hour cycle, responding primarily to light and darkness in a person’s environment.

As researched by Dr Freuman and reported by CNN, these circadian rhythms initiate variations in certain hormone levels, enzyme levels and glucose transporters at different parts of the day, which differentially affect how calories, carbohydrates and fat are metabolised.

During the day after eating, your body is primed for digestion and food is readily metabolised.  The same meal eaten out of sync with your circadian rhythm results in delayed insulin response & disturbed metabolism.  Because your body is not expecting to metabolise food it is stored and is likely to result in weight gain.

Here are some tips for eating in sync with your circadian rhythm as recommended by Horleys nutrition expert:

Front load your calories and carbs

Eat more at the start of the day.

 

Eat a robust breakfast

Include high fibre carbohydrates, such as oats or quinoa, which are more slowly digested than refined carbs; some protein to help keep hunger in check and maintain stable blood sugar levels; some fat to keep you full, e.g. avocado, nuts and seeds, full fat milk or yoghurt.

Examples:

  • Cook whole grain oats in milk of choice (cow, coconut, soy, almond, macadamia, etc.), stir in a scoop of SCULPT protein powder and sprinkle with chopped nuts
  • Smoothie made with SCULPT, milk of choice, a tablesppon of nut butter, a tablespoon of oats or half a banana

 

Eat a full lunch
Include non-starchy vegetables (think green vegetables), protein and slowly digested carbohydrates, such as beans or legumes.Top with some good fats, e.g. an olive oil dressing or half an avocado.

If in a hurry try this SCULPT SUPER SHAKER as an on-the-go option:

  • Mix Sculpt Vanilla Dream with your choice of milk, coconut water, or plain water
  • add 1 cup of either pineapple/mango/kiwifruit (or a mix if you prefer)
  • ½ avocado + 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • add 1 -2 good handfuls of spinach
  • Blend until smooth.

 

Pack a snack
If you are exercising after work, or if there is a big gap between lunch and dinner you will need a snack.  Choose something high in protein, your blood sugar levels will stay stable and you'll be satisfied for longer.  Youll also have the fuel you need for your workout.  A Sculpt protein shake is the perfect option here; low in calories, low in sugar, high in protein.  Plus, if you choose Milk Chocolate or Salted Caramel flavour, you can satisfy that sweet tooth!


Light dinner
Go lighter on heavy carbs at dinner and instead load your plate with non-starchy vegetables, protein and good fat.

Example:
Chicken stir-fried in olive oil with mixed vegetables of choice, e.g. broccoli, beans, cabbage, mushrooms, etc.  Season with soy sauce and squeeze of lime, sprinkle with a tablespoon of toasted cashews

 

 

 

MUSCLE RECOVERY

Whatever your reason for training, rest and recovery will play a crucial role when it comes to achieving your goals. Muscles don’t grow at the gym – they grow after your training session when your body begins to repair. If you want to get the most out of your workouts, you will need to add recovery into your plan but first, let’s touch on overtraining:

The importance of recovery is often undervalued with many not making it a priority and essentially, overtraining. Overtraining can make it harder for you to reach your goals and can also lead to injury, performance decline and health issues.

Systematic overtraining affects the entire body and can cause irritability, mood swings, insomnia, depression, loss of motivation, chronic soreness in joints and an elevated heart rate. Localised overtraining is when the same muscle group is trained day after day with little or no recovery. While there are 2 types of overtraining, both occur as a result of too much exercise and not enough recovery.

Your workouts should push past your comfort zone but not so much that you hurt for days. If you stimulate your muscles just enough for growth, incorporating a solid rest day into your training programme will be sufficient enough for you to come back even stronger.

There are 4 key elements to speedy muscle recovery: Active Recovery, Sleep, Hydration and Nutrition.

 

ACTIVE RECOVERY.
Active recovery means neither complete rest, nor hardcore training, but do keep moving with some low impact exercise. The idea of active recovery is to stimulate blood flow, and flush out, lubricate and hydrate the joints.

Here are 5 active recovery ideas for your days off:

  1. Swimming
  2. Walking
  3. Yoga
  4. Pilates
  5. Jobs around the house or garden
     

Your stretching routine is just as important on your rest days as it is right after your workout. Put aside at least 20 minutes for stretching and take the time to roll out on a foam roller or a massage ball. Rest days are also the perfect time to book in that sports massage. Consider low impact activities like yoga or Pilates on your days off and use the time to test out your compression gear.

 

SLEEP.
Getting enough sleep is extremely important not only for rest, but also for your stress levels, muscle recovery and mood. Your body releases growth hormones during sleep so therefore it is essential you get enough. Aim for at least 7 hours a night but listen to your body. You may need more or less than this. Protein synthesis occurs during sleep so it’s a great idea to have a protein snack or shake before bed and in the morning to help the process along.

 

HYDRATION.
Dehydration reduces the body’s ability to repair itself and can cause damage to your muscles. It can also lead to headaches, fatigue, muscle cramps and a decline in your performance so keep hydrated and flush out any toxins by drinking plenty of fluids during your recovery time. And no matter how much of a spin you put on it, alcohol does not count. It may be a liquid, but even 1 or 2 drinks can reduce the body’s ability to recover.

In most cases, water will provide all the hydration you need. Sip regularly throughout the day to maintain optimal hydration and to help support your body’s systems and processes for muscle recovery. Remember that your water intake is also boosted by the foods you eat, and drinks such as tea and coffee do count.

If you aren’t a fan of plain water, then Horleys Lean Water is a great option if you prefer a bit of flavour. Lean Water is designed to boost your metabolism as it hydrates, with ingredients such as green coffee, green tea, and carnitine.

 

NUTRITION.
A balanced nutritional plan from whole food sources is the best way to keep your body replenished during both training and recovery. You have a post workout window of 45 minutes, which is one of the most important times to consider your nutrition for effective recovery.

A small meal containing fast acting carbs and protein will put you on the right track. Consumed straight after your training session, the carbohydrates will replace energy and help recovery, while the protein will help your muscle tissue recover, rebuild and grow. If you need to supplement your diet with a quick and convenient source, a quality protein powder combined with a carbohydrate source will restore the nutrients you need to recover. Choose a protein powder that is formulated for your goals – whether that’s muscle gain, fat loss or general nutrition. For general muscle recovery support after intense training, try a pure, fast-absorbing protein powder like Horleys ICE Whey (mixed with a fast carb source like Horleys Replace). Combining your post workout protein with a fast carb source promotes quick uptake of nutrients to where they’re needed for muscle recovery. Replace also contains electrolytes, helping to replenish those you may have lost through sweat during prolonged exercise.

Stacking protein with additional supplements like Creatine Xtreme will help you recover faster, beat fatigue and maximise your strength. A BCAA supplement like Horleys AminoXL before or during the first 20 minutes of your workout will get amino acids into working muscle so you can get a headstart on recovery. Research shows BCAAs can reduce muscle aches and pains after intense training sessions.

Rest days aren’t a time for slacking off on your nutrition. Try and avoid the old ‘I’ve trained hard, so therefore I deserve it’ excuse – you don’t want to undo all your good work with a binge on junk food. Keep your diet and eating times close to what you would do on a normal training day. You want your nutrition to work for you even when you’re in recovery mode.

 

KEY POINTS TO REMEMBER.
Recovery plays a vital part of any fitness goal. Whether you want to gain or lose weight, or get stronger or faster, adding these elements into your recovery programme will help get you the results you want:

  • Some low intensity exercise
  • A good 20 minutes to stretch it out
  • At least 7 hours sleep a night
  • Plenty of fluids
  • Remember the post workout window. Get a small meal of carbs and protein into your system 30-60 minutes of exercise (depending on your goal)
     

You work hard at the gym but it’s what you do outside your training time that will actively support your efforts. Your recovery time has a lot to do with how much energy you can put into your next workout. Rest assured, ‘rest time’ is not wasted. Use it to your advantage.

 

 

 

SUCCESSFUL WEIGHT GAIN

Gaining weight can be just as hard for some as it is to lose for others. While the weight loss crew might be jealous of your fast metabolism or slim build, you’re still all out to achieve the same goal – a healthy weight.

 

Whether you’re looking to add weight for a weight graded sport, wanting a broader physique, or just for general good health, it is possible to achieve – even if you’re a hard gainer who has struggled to get results in the past.

Healthy weight gain is a process. Put yours in place, be consistent and persistent, and you’ll achieve your goals. To break it down, if you want to add healthy weight to your frame, you’ll need to eat a whole food diet with enough protein, train smart and incorporate rest and recovery time into your plan.

Why? Because your diet is important as it provides the fuel to create more lean muscle. Your workout and how much you train (it might be less than you think) needs to stimulate growth, and giving yourself enough recovery time will mean your muscles will grow back stronger. All of which adds up to weight gain.

Read these articles instead if you are looking for focused muscle mass gains or to build lean muscle.

Achieving weight gain takes patience – it can be a slow but steady process. 0.5 to 1kg per month is a realistic goal to set but keep in mind every body is different and genetics do play a role in easy vs. hard weight gains.

Here’s how to plan well and make your diet, training and recovery work for you:

 

DIET.
This is the most important of the 3 key areas so it’s worth investing the time to get it right. Weight gain means you need to ensure your calorie intake is consistently higher than the energy you use.  If you are maintaining your weight with your current diet, add an additional 500 calories per day and monitor your progress for a few weeks.  If you’re gaining weight, then keep going but if not, add another 250-500 calories a day. You want slow and steady weight gain, rather than fast weight gain that won’t be healthy or sustainable.

The key to weight gain is to eat small frequent meals, choosing foods that are nutrient-dense, to supply all that your body needs to function well. Eating every 2 to 3 hours will ensure that your system is constantly drip-fed nutrients for maximum efficiency while preventing the fullness and discomfort associated with large meals. Keep junk food to a minimum, and most importantly, don’t skip meals as that will undo all your good work.

 

Make sure your meals and snacks contain all three macronutrients:

 

Protein is essential to virtually every function your body performs to stay alive. So, while it is important, don’t go overboard and increase your intake too much, as it will fill you up, preventing you from taking in more calories. Aim for no more than 2g per kilogram of body weight per day. This will be enough to provide the building blocks for body functions as well as muscle repair and recovery, and to support any type of training. Ensure your protein comes from a range of sources, including meat, poultry, fish, and eggs as well as vegetarian sources such as beans, legumes, and tofu.

 

Carbohydrates play a big role in weight gain. Carbohydrates are the primary energy source for the body. You might be getting enough protein but without enough carbs, protein is not able to do its job (which include building muscle tissue to create weight gain). Also, while carbs have the same calories per gram than protein, they are not as filling so you can consume more of them (thus increasing your calorie intake). Choose carbs with a low fibre content so you don't fill up as quickly. Noodles, white rice, white or wholemeal bread and fruit are all good examples.

Note: This differs to your usual whole food dietary advice, but that’s because they’re generally speaking to people who want to either maintain or lose weight – the opposite of what you’re trying to do.

 

Fat contains just over twice as many calories per gram as protein or carbs so is an important weapon for your weight gaining goal. Fat also has a lower thermic effect when compared to carbs or protein. What this means is that your body burns anywhere from 5 to 30% fewer calories when digesting fats.

An easy way to increase your diet's fat content is to cook your meat and vegetables in olive, avocado or coconut oil.  Try adding a touch of flaxseed oil or half an avocado to your protein shake. Choose meat cuts with a higher percentage of fat – no need to worry about the leanest cuts for you! Choose prime minced beef (rather than the lower fat premium version), chicken thighs over chicken breasts, and steak with plenty of marbling.  Add flavour and fat to your meals with some cheese – feta to salads, blue cheese on top of steak and extra parmesan to pasta meals. The great thing about packing on the weight is how good it tastes. Indulgent foods like ice cream are not off the list. Lucky you.

Check out our sample Mass Gains eating plan here for some inspiration on what your daily diet could look like. But remember, if your goal is more weight gain and less specifically on lean muscle mass, you may want to relax the regime a bit and just include extra fats and carbs as noted above.

A balanced diet from whole food sources is the best way to get your macronutrients but because of the sheer volume, it can be hard to eat all the calories you need. Eating six small meals instead of three larger ones helps. And a supplement powder is a convenient and condensed way to increase your calorie intake if you’re struggling to eat enough to grow or to find time to add more small meals to your diet throughout the day.

Protein powders like Horleys HUGE or Lean Gain are higher in carbohydrates with absorbable levels of protein so you are not wasting your hard earned cash getting nutrients you don’t need. Huge and Lean Gain are specifically formulated to enhance the calorie density of your diet, helping you successfully achieve your weight gain goals.

Awesome Mass, ICE Whey and Crossfire are all good options too. Check out our guide for what supplements to choose, depending on your body type and goal.

 

WORKOUT.
A good training programme will ensure you gain healthy weight that feels and looks good on your frame, rather than fat. When you exercise, stress creates muscle damage, causing microtears in your muscle fibres. Your muscles grow back bigger and stronger as these heal, as long as you’re feeding your body enough to fuel the recovery process.

To maximise your weight and muscle gains, any type of resistance training will help especially when supported with a nutrient rich diet. Use a moderate weight (approximately 70-80% of your 1 rep max). This type of training is called hypertrophy and stimulates growth hormones.

Aim for no more than 8 reps per set and take longer rest periods of 2-3 minutes between sets to keep your heart rate down, and to allow adequate recovery time between sets. This will help protect you from burning all those extra calories you’re eating. Be consistent – don’t skip workouts, and aim to work each muscle group 1-2 times a week. If possible, avoid endurance training.

Follow a smart training plan so that you don’t fall into the trap of overtraining. Some people will train to the point where they end up getting weaker, instead of stronger, and their weight gain stalls. Overtraining occurs when the volume and intensity exceeds your recovery capacity. You can cease making progress and even start to go backwards.

When it comes to the time of day, many people swear by late afternoon workouts. But if you can’t get to the gym then, don’t sweat it. Consistency forms good habits and just getting there when you can is the main thing.

As well as supplements that supply protein, carbs and fats, there are other products to help you get the most out of your workout and see faster muscle (and weight) gain results. Pre-workouts like Horleys Havoc and Creatine Xtreme with additional performance and energy-boosting nutrients will help you push yourself harder.  Make sure you add these to a nutrient-dense, baseline diet for best results.

Click through to read our more about pre-workout routines.

 

RECOVERY.
It’s after exercise, during recovery, when your muscle tissues heal and rebuild, growing back bigger and stronger. So getting enough rest is crucial for muscle growth and healthy weight gain.

Make sure you rest well, sleep well, eat enough to replenish your reserves after your training sessions and again, don’t overwork each muscle group (remember, large muscle groups should only be worked a maximum of twice a week). You can incorporate some active recovery into your days off, too. Stretching or low impact exercise, like yoga, is great for mobility, injury prevention and overall wellbeing.

During sleep, your body releases growth hormones. Therefore it is crucial that you get enough. We recommend a minimum of 7 hours uninterrupted sleep each night.

Your diet during your recovery time needs to be well-planned and sufficient enough to refuel your reserves for your next work out. Make sure you increase your protein during this time and replace your fluids. For additional support, try Horleys Replace for hydration, and Horleys AminoXL to boost your recovery phase.

Click through to learn more about post-workout recovery and hydration.

 

KEY POINTS TO REMEMBER.
When you’re training for weight gain, it’s important to set realistic goals. Your body has control mechanisms for fuel storage, energy consumption and protein turnover, which means a healthy rate of weight gain will happen slowly but surely. So remember:

  • Consume frequent small meals and a high carb protein powder
  • Slowly increase your weights
  • Stick to 1 hour training sessions
  • Don’t skimp on a recovery plan
     

Take the time evaluate your progress and if there’s something you’re not enjoying, change it up a bit. Training programmes should be fun. Enjoy the process and celebrate your achievements. With a good mindset, they’ll come at you thick and heavy.

 

 

 

ACHIEVING LEAN MUSCLE
If you’re after lean, toned muscles without the bulk, the key elements to your success include an emphasis on cardio and active recovery, and a focus on careful balancing of your nutrient intake. You might be glad to know, strictly eliminating carbs is not the answer.
 
Of course, all muscle is lean muscle, whether you’re gaining for size or a lean, toned look. But the difference is that if you’re focusing on lean, not on muscle mass, you’re probably looking to lose fat (or at least not gain any) at the same time as building muscle.
 
We’ll be straight with you, it’s tricky to build muscle and lose fat at the same time – especially if you’re already close to your goal weight and don’t have much fat to lose. Because you’re looking to fuel muscle growth, simply upping your protein and eliminating carbs isn’t likely to get you the results you want. It requires a precise ratio of macros (i.e. the key macronutrients: protein, carbs and fat), particularly if you have an intensive training programme to support.
 
But don’t worry, while every body is different, and it may take some persistence to find exactly what works for you, it is still possible to gain muscle while mitigating fat gain by changing your workout programme and tweaking your diet in line with a few simple tips.
 
So if your goal is to gain lean muscle, read on below for some tips in three key areas: nutrition, workout and recovery.
 
 
NUTRITION.
You may have the tendency to eat less so as not to gain body fat, but if you are not supplying your body with the right amount of nutrients, you might neglect important nutrients your body needs to stay healthy, plus you won’t have the energy for your workouts or to fuel muscle repair and growth; and ultimately you’ll slow your transformation.
 
The key is in balancing your macros. This means enough protein to feed muscle tissue growth and repair and prevent catabolism, enough carb to fuel processes like muscle growth and provide energy for your workouts, (but without consuming excess that will be stored as fat), and enough dietary fat to support healthy cellular processes like building cell membranes, carrying fat soluble vitamins etc.
 
Here is a simple range guide on getting the balance right:
 
Macronutrient RDI per kg of Body Weight
Protein 1.4g - 1.8g
Carbohydrate 9G - 5G
Fat 1G (up to 80g max per da
 
Keep your metabolism high by eating smaller meals more often. Change how you eat rather than eating less. Feeding your body regularly maintains stable blood sugar, energy and hydration levels, and boosts your metabolism.
It is crucial to get your nutrition and timings right if you want to achieve your goals. Avoid rewarding yourself after training by thinking you can eat anything. Stick to a healthy whole food diet of protein, fat and carbs (the key macronutrients), and try to avoid excess sugar and salt, which tend to result in fat gain and water retention.
 
Breakfast is a great time to eat carbs as during this time, your body doesn’t need to create a lot of insulin to get nutrients to where they are needed. The nutrients you consume first thing in the morning get absorbed efficiently rather than being stored as fat. Even at the time of your second meal (mid to late morning), carbs work well as your insulin sensitivity is still relatively high. Aim to consume low GI carbs that are slowly released to the blood stream, for example wholegrain oats rather than white bread and pasta.
 
Post-workout is another time of the day when it’s a great idea to refuel with some simple carbs and protein. It’s important to take in some carbs with your post-workout protein. Carbs provide the energy to build new tissue from the building blocks of protein. Without enough carbs, that protein you’ve consumed is going to waste. In addition, when you work out you use stored carbohydrate called glycogen. Carbs post-workout help to replenish glycogen, speeding up your recovery.
 
Many athletes and bodybuilders like to use a quality protein powder during the day as it is a fast and easy way of ensuring you get enough protein. Horleys ICE Whey is ideal for lean muscle building as it contains 90% pure protein from high quality cation-exchange whey and is ultra low in carbs and fat. If you are using it first thing in the morning or straight after a workout, you could add some fast carbs to your protein shake like a ripe banana or some berries.
 
Your last meal of the day should be high in protein, with some essential fatty acids to slow down the absorption of protein. This will help sustain you overnight.
 
Hydrated muscles perform better so keep your fluids up before, during and after exercise. Aim for a minimum of 2-3 litres of fluids a day, water is best but water from tea, coffee, and foods also count. You may need more than this depending on your training, fitness level and environment.
 
 
 
WORKOUT.
Aim to train 4-5 times a week and follow a programme with a mix of high intensity interval training (HIIT), strength (with high reps), and cardio workouts. For your strength training, start with single sets of 12 reps and work your way up to 3 sets of 12 reps. Increase your weights whenever you no longer feel challenged.
 
Be consistent and avoid missing any sessions by creating a schedule that works for you. Alternate your strength training with your HIIT and cardio to give your main muscle groups adequate rest. The rest period is when your muscles will grow back stronger.
 
If you find yourself needing an energy boost for your workout, you could try Havoc, which is a true pre-workout with ingredients to boost mental focus and help you workout harder. Havoc is designed to combat fatigue and help you push yourself harder for better results (and it tastes good while being ultra low in sugar with zero fat, meaning no unexpected extras that could derail your eating plan).
 
 
 
RECOVERY.
During your days off, we recommend active recovery for lean muscle gains. Active recovery means neither complete rest, or serious training. What is it does mean, is keep moving. Generally speaking, an active recovery workout is less intense than one of your normal workouts, yet it still works enough to stimulate blood flow, and flush out, lubricate and hydrate the joints.
 
Here are 5 active recovery ideas for your days off:
  1. Swimming
  2. Walking
  3. Yoga
  4. Pilates
  5. Jobs around the house or garden
Put aside 20 minutes of your recovery day to stretch out. This will help with your mobility. Rolling out on a foam roller or lacrosse ball will also help avoid that stiffness that comes with resistance training. On your day off, aim to roll out for 30 seconds on each of your large muscle groups with a bit of extra time focusing on any problem areas.
 
Sleep is crucial to recovery especially if your goal is to gain lean muscle. During sleep, your body releases growth hormones, which are essential for lean muscle. Aim for at least 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep per night.
 
Keep your fluids up during your recovery time. Water is always best for days off but if you prefer a bit of flavour, Horleys Lean Water is a great option that doesn’t add excess calories. Lean Water is designed to boost your metabolism at the same time it hydrates.
 
 
POINTS TO REMEMBER.
Now that you have some pointers to help you start gaining that lean muscle, you’ll be raring to go. With a bit of determination and grit, you’ll be looking cut before you know it. Just remember:
 
  • Eat your protein, carbs and fat at the right times
  • Eat small, regular whole food meals
  • Use a quality protein powder with limited carbs and fat
  • Train 4-5 times a week with a mix of HIIT, strength and cardio
  • Aim for high reps with your resistance training
  • Focus on active recovery on your days off
  • Get at least 7 hours sleep a night

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