Building Muscle During Quarantine: The Truth
Here are 5 steps to Maintain & Build Muscle During Quarantine
Many gym goers are afraid of losing your muscle mass and depending on how long this whole thing lasts, I’d say it’s a fair concern to have.
Keep in mind, I took 12 weeks off from training earlier this year due to open emergency surgery (4 of those weeks barely moving at all where most of my muscle was lost!)
Please also realise too that any muscle you do lose will be regained rather quickly once you begin lifting again. Muscle memory is real. Especially if you’re still walking and moving normally.
That said, today I want to share a few quick tips for maintaining your muscle mass while your gym is closed.
1. Eat in a slight surplus or maintenance
If your goal is to retain muscle mass, you should be eating at maintenance or at a slight (5-15%) surplus. Of course that surplus without training as much could lead to some fat gain however it will also help hold onto muscle – your shout. This could be a great time for a fat loss phase if you aren’t so concerned about muscle loss.
2. Eat Enough Protein
If you decide you want to continue losing fat or you choose to take the safer route for maintaining muscle and eat at maintenance, then your protein intake will be vital. Aim to get 1g per pound of bodyweight in protein MINIMUM.
3. Stimulate the Muscles, engage them with intent on every single rep.
Work on your mind muscle connection and control on exercise. I’ve touched on building muscle with your bodyweight at the bottom of this article, so scroll down to read the realities of this.
Just because you can’t press those 40kg dumbbells anymore doesn’t mean you can’t engage your chest muscles well.
Although it may be more ‘optimal’ to engage your muscles with heavier loads, there’s no reason why you can’t do the same with press up variations and other bits with the limited kit you have.
The fact is your muscles don’t know wether you’re lifting 10kgs or 2kgs, it only feels tension – learn ways to increase tension in your muscle and when you’re back gyming with ultimate kit again your results will skyrocket I’m telling you that now.
This will also massively help prevent muscle loss.
Think of the lighter loads being a ‘forced’ de-load and a time to get good at stimulating your muscles in other ways. An amazing time to gain control over your bodyweight with new exercises. Read point 5.
You see supplements are not needed, I don’t take them myself. However they are something you can take advantage of.
Use protein powder to help reach your protein needs and creatine to help push you push a bit harder during these home workouts.
5. Bodyweight training for muscle GAIN:
Look, getting yourself motivated to train without the gym is HARD.
Especially when it takes more reps and effort to get the same feeling you would with dumbbells and machines. Here’s the thing though, the benefits of bodyweight training done right are actually HUGE.
First things first, the main goal of working out is progressive overload – to increase your strength, decrease rest times, increase reps, gain better technique, improve mind muscle connection (countless ways to progressive overload)
You can progressive overload with dumbbells, barbells, cables, slam balls, kettlebells, weight plates, machines, and yes – even your own bodyweight.
Some people are under the misconception that you can’t build a lot of muscle with bodyweight training.
And to some degree they are right if they are already an avid gym goer, it’s NOT ‘optimal’ for building muscle compared to doing specific exercises and good machines built for bodybuilders.
But unless you are a competitive bodybuilder, you can make some BIG progress towards both fat loss goals and muscle gain with your bodyweight in the coming months in isolation
Here’s the thing too, some of the best physiques I’ve seen in my life were built primarily from bodyweight training
With bodyweight training, you have no option but to develop great core strength and coordination as you’re constantly having no choice but to engage your core and focus hard on the exercise you’re performing.
Sure, you’re not going to get huge doing press ups, but they are a damn effective movement for the arms, chest and core done right.
In terms of building muscle from bodyweight training, it totally depends on your starting point.
If you’re already a bodybuilder with a LOT of muscle already, and you are in the gym everyday, you’re not going to build muscle. However it will sure help you maintain it over this period.
If you’re new to the gym (or in your first 3-5 years of training still) then yes, you definitely can make some muscle gains without any equipment. Your body will likely enjoy the change of stimulus and be ready to make even better gains when you’re back in the gym when all this is over.
If you haven’t kept consistent with training than my goodness, a new body is on the cards with just your own bodyweight!
Think of it this way.
I made muscle gains just WALKING after I didn’t move for a few weeks before/after my surgery as it was a different stimulus to my legs.
So in terms of building muscle, it just depends on your starting point. You just need to apply tension, enough of it to challenge your body.
And you can build muscle with 5-30 reps. Just keep focus on the muscles you’re trying to engage
If you want a customised plan to help your specific situation to make your training & diet EFFECTIVE over this time, get in touch.
Gaining energy, confidence and a body you love and can be proud to show off when all this is over is more than attainable.
The right level of support can go a long way over a strange time like this.