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Build Muscle At Home: A How-To Guide

7 Minute Read

We know that not everyone has access to, or wants to go to a traditional gym or fitness facility...especially during our current times.

In those cases, many are under the impression that you cannot build lean muscle with at-home workouts.

However, that's just not true! You can absolutely build lean muscle with the proper home workout plan.

In this article, we will explain some tips to put yourself in the best position to build muscle while working out at home.

So, let’s get after it! 

WHAT IS YOUR FITNESS LEVEL?

We know that we are not all starting from the same spot. Some of us are just starting our fitness journey while others have been on it for years.

No matter where you're at in your journey, we applaud you for starting and/or sticking with it.

If you are just starting out, you are actually at an advantage.

In short, your muscles have not worked like this before, so they are starting fresh. This means they have more room to grow compared to someone who has worked out for years.

See, each time you work out, you will break down the muscle ... and with proper recovery, they will grow back bigger and stronger.  You see, the body treats muscle breakdown as a threat and is naturally inclined to regenerate bigger and stronger in order to "protect" itself from future muscle breakdown.  This is why doing the same exact thing at the same pace will eventually stop producing results.  Simply put, if you stop pushing your muscles, they won't feel the need to keep growing!

If you are advanced, it may take a little more effort, or your changes may not be as noticeable.

Regardless, no matter what fitness program you are on, beginners have the ability to see changes faster.

But something that is often overlooked is that ... no matter what your experience is, you can optimize results of at-home workouts.

WHAT TYPE OF EQUIPMENT DO YOU HAVE?

While some may have a full gym in their house(very few), there are those of us who have very little(if any) equipment at all.

If you have a full gym, just keep improving on what you're doing and use this article as a resource to add something new to your routine.

Now ... if you’re like most people, then you don’t have much at home in terms of fitness equipment.
Some people have the basics, like resistance bands, a couple dumbbells and maybe even a stationary bike.

 

The good news is, even if you have nothing at all to start with, bands are relatively cheap online or at local sporting goods stores. Adding dumbbells and/or kettlebells are great additions and will certainly add to the variety of possibilities for your at-home workouts.

Don’t be afraid to get creative! ANYTHING that can add resistance to your muscles is fair game.  Do pushups with books on your back or fill up an empty milk jug with water or sand and use it as a makeshift dumbbell. 

We've even seen someone turn their kid's backyard jungle gym into a home-gym!  There are no limits on what you can do with a little creative thinking.

Now as for what workouts to follow, there are great FREE resources all over the internet and social media.

The important thing is finding what suits your situation and goals and staying consistent.

MAXIMIZE RESULTS WITH THE RIGHT TRAINING METHOD...FOR YOU.

 

Let’s assume you aren't working with a full gym at home and have minimal equipment.

According to experts, there are several things you can do to optimize results without lifting heavy weight.

You see, in order to break down the muscle, we must push it to the point of exhaustion.  This can be done in several ways, all leading to the same end result...building muscle.  Your muscles only know the trauma put on them, how that exercise induced trauma occurs doesn't matter to your muscles.  You may achieve the same muscle breakdown from high repetitions using very little weight as you can lifting heavy weight for lower reps...in the end, your body doesn't know the difference. It only knows that is must repair the muscle(and grow).

This brings us to a very popular at-home training method...Reps to Failure.

What does that mean? That means that you are performing a resistance exercise until you cannot do another rep. You are pushing your muscles to full exhaustion leading them to break down...which as we know, forces your body to repair them bigger and stronger than before.

This method is great for building muscle at home because you can achieve the same muscle breakdown performing push-ups in your living room as you can lifting heavy weight on a bench press!

The catch is...it typically requires A LOT of volume(high repetitions). This is especially true if you are an experienced lifter.

Don't feel like trying a lot of new movements?  For beginners, results can often times be achieved by only relying on a few movements. It takes time for the body to adapt so if you are just starting out, your body has some time before it adapts completely.

So what if my body has adapted and/or I am experienced?  Great question!  You can still achieve fresh results without having to find a new exercise(s). 
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How?  Change up the tempo!  Say your current routine has you doing push-ups at a 1:1:1:1 tempo...this means 1 second up, 1 second pause at the top, 1 second down and 1 second pause at the bottom position.  Each rep has your muscles under tension for four seconds using this tempo.
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So what would happen if each rep put your muscles under tension for 6, 8 maybe even 10 seconds?  For starters, you wouldn't initially be doing as many reps until failure...secondly, you're going to feel the burn A LOT quicker.  See, the idea is to confuse your muscles.  When they adapt to the same movement at the same tempo over and over again, your body finds a way to make it as efficient as possible(which we don't want)...we want to make it work harder!
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By adjusting the tempo, we are keeping the body guessing.  A push-up at a 2:1:3:1 tempo vs a 1:1:1:1 tempo is as confusing to the body as trying an entirely new movement!  The beauty of this is that you will never run out of ways to push yourself and see results...even if you're only performing a single exercise.

WHAT ELSE CAN I DO TO SEE RESULTS?

RECOVER!

See, the exercise itself is the catalyst that sets off the muscle building process but, the reality is, exercise alone will not get you the results you want.  In truth, the real muscle building process takes place AFTER your workout.  Remember when we discussed muscle breakdown and the repairing process?  The latter is what happens following the breakdown(workout).

It is essential to provide your body with a good habitat to facilitate the repair and recovery of damaged muscle fibers.

A great way to "jump start" the recovery process is with a Post-Workout Recovery Drink. These drinks provide immediate fuel to your muscles by introducing the "building blocks of muscle", protein.  They are easy to make and can be on-hand immediately following a workout.  All you need is a high quality protein or meal replacement supplement, some water(to mix in) and of course, a high quality shaker bottle.

We hope this article is helpful and gives you a few ideas on how to build muscle at home.  Try these methods out and see how a living room, backyard or garage can make it look like you live at a gym...after all, with some creative thinking...you do!
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Disclaimer: Always consult with a licensed physician prior to starting a fitness routine. This blog is for educational and informational purposes only, and is made available to you as a self-help tool for your own use. While we draw on our prior professional expertise and background in many areas, you acknowledge that we are supporting you in our roles exclusively as an educational resource only. 

What Does Rob Gronkowski Put In His Smoothie?

Remember when Rob Gronkowski announced that he was coming out of retirement? One of the biggest "buzz" questions that people were asking was "How is he going to get back to his playing weight?"  See, when Gronk retired, he focused more on his flexibility, pliability and healing his body through low impact exercise.  In the process, he shed A LOT of muscle(which isn't a bad thing) but, it doesn't exactly lend itself to being an effective Tight End in the NFL.  When Rob decided to get back on the field, he needed to pack on muscle...FAST. But, he wanted to do it in the healthiest way possible.  In order to do this, he created a "Super" smoothie packed with an abundance of natural superfoods that helped him get back into playing shape and ultimately win ANOTHER Super Bowl!  He famously said when asked about his weight going into training camp "I am about four protein shakes away from my playing weight!"  Well, these are the protein shakes he was talking about...

For reference, here is a before and after picture of Rob in retirement vs playing shape:

Please note: We are NOT saying that there is anything wrong with how Rob looked in retirement.  We are simply pointing out how this smoothie can help build muscle if that is your goal.
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So, let's break down what goes into Rob Gronkowski's "Gameday Ice Shaker Smoothie"!

Almond Milk-1 Cup

Unsweetened almond milk is a dairy-free, low carb way to add flavor and texture to your smoothie without the added calories and sugar of traditional cow's milk. It is also high in healthy fats and protein relative to its carb content and is a great source of Vitamin E.

Blueberries-1/2 Cup

Rich in antioxidants and a great source of Vitamin C and Vitamin K, blueberries are an awesome addition to any smoothie.  Studies have shown that blueberries can help strengthen bones, lower blood pressure, improve digestion and even improve mental health. They truly are a "superfood"!

Oatmeal-1/2 Cup

Oatmeal has MANY health benefits.  For starters, it is high in fiber which helps improve your gut health and will make you feel fuller for longer.  It also contains magnesium, zinc and iron which help increase energy and reduce inflamation.

Avocado-1 Half

Avocados are INCREDIBLY nutritious.  They contain high levels of potassium which can aid in recovery and they are LOADED with heart-healthy, monounsaturated fatty acids.

Electrolytes

Muscle building is all about recovery.  In order for the body to recovery properly, it needs to be hydrated!  Adding a serving of electrolyte powder/liquid to your smoothie is a great way to stay hydrated and keep your body performing at the optimal level.

Water-1 Cup

A smoothie has to have a smooth, drinkable consistency right?!  Rob adds a cup of water to achieve maximum drinkability without adding any additional calories or sugars.

Dates-1/2 Cup

Another antioxidant rich food that will act as a healthy, natural sweetener.  Gronk swears by dates and claims that they are "his second favorite ingredient" in his smoothie.  High in fiber, heart healthy and TASTY...it's easy to see why.

Moringa-2 Tsp

Ever heard of this one?  If not, you're in for a treat.  Moringa powder comes from the Moringa oleifera plant and has been used for centuries in other countries for it's antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties.  It is also said to help keep bones healthy, reduce high blood pressure, improve eye health and even help wounds to heal faster with reduced scarring.

Maca Root Powder-1.5 Grams

Also known as Peruvian Ginseng, Maca root can be found high in the Andes mountains of Peru.  It is high in essential vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin C, copper and zinc.  Supplementing with Maca root has been claimed to help users gain muscle, increase strength, boost energy and improve exercise performance.

Almond Butter-2 Tbsp

 Gronk uses these smoothies to keep his weight up.  But, like we discussed in the introduction, he was looking for the healthiest possible way to do it.  Almond butter is a great way to add good calories to your smoothie.  It is also high in monounsaturated fats which help lower LDL "bad" cholesterol and raise HDL "good" cholesterol.

Finally...

Plant Based Protein Powder-2 Scoops

We'll bet you were wondering when we were actually going to get to the primary source of protein for this muscle building super smoothie!  It's no secret that protein is essential to building quality muscle.  Rob prefers a plant based protein powder because it offers more than just protein alone.  Plant based protein powders naturally contain antioxidants and minerals that you simply won't find in animal protein alone.  Additionally, plant protein can help our bodies naturally balance our pH levels with it's alkalizing properties which combat acidity in our bodies.  Finally, you can rest assured that there will not be any antibiotics or growth hormones added like you may find in some animal based proteins.

 

There you have it! Gronks Gameday Smoothie.  So, if you're looking to put on lean muscle, following a four time super bowl champ's blueprint is not a bad way to start!

Disclaimer: Always consult with a licensed physician prior to taking any supplements. This blog is for educational and informational purposes only, and is made available to you as a self-help tool for your own use. While we draw on our prior professional expertise and background in many areas, you acknowledge that we are supporting you in our roles exclusively as an educational resource only. 

 

 

 

5 Fitness Myths...DEBUNKED

Maybe you have heard some of these and maybe you have even believed some of them.  Here are 5 of the top fitness myths and misconceptions out there.  We're here to set the record straight and help you optimize your fitness routine to achieve your goals and not worry about "what so and so told you at the gym".

Myth 1.  Lifting heavy weights makes you bulky.

This is a common misconception, especially among females looking to trim down.  Lifting heavier weights for lower reps(8-10) can in fact burn more calories and trim you down more effectively than lifting lighter weights for higher reps(15-20) according to a study published by Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise

Myth 2.  Always stretch before you exercise.

While a proper warm up is indeed beneficial to maximize workout performance, static-stretching should not be a part of it.  Stretching loosens tendons and destabilizes muscles which in turn can weaken muscles, reduce power output and open the door to injury.   We recommend performing a dynamic warm up that focuses on getting your heart rate elevated and blood flowing to warm up your muscles for intense exercise.  Once your workout is complete and your muscles are warm and fatigued, we recommend some light stretching to help loosen up tight muscles.

Myth 3. You can target where you want to burn fat.

Physiologically speaking, this is simply impossible.  Unlike exercising where you can target specific muscles by isolation and stimulation, our bodies fat stores do not work in the same manner.  Exercise can absolutely help you decrease unwanted body fat but, you cannot control where that fat comes from.  

Myth 4. The best time to work out is first thing in the morning.

It may be, or it may not be.  There is no single "best time" to work out.  The optimal time for people to work out is when they can do it consistently.  Everybody has different schedules so naturally, everybody will have their own "best time" to work out.  The important thing is to get enough sleep so that your body can recover and keep you primed for your next workout.

Myth 5.  Sports drinks are the best method to re-hydrate.

Experts recommend, get this...regular ole water!  Sports drinks are often times laced with very high amounts of sugar which of course, can hinder your progress.  Water helps to keep fluid moving throughout your body, flush out waste and fight inflammation.  It is also recommended to get protein with 1 hour of exercise to start the repair process for your muscles.  We recommend an all natural whey protein shake that does not contain any artificial sweeteners, dyes, or fillers to keep you on top of your game. Make hydration and supplementation simple keep your protein shakes smooth and water ice cold by using an Ice Shaker insulated bottle. 

 

 

Disclaimer: Always consult with a licensed physician prior to starting a fitness routine. This blog is for educational and informational purposes only, and is made available to you as a self-help tool for your own use. While we draw on our prior professional expertise and background in many areas, you acknowledge that we are supporting you in our roles exclusively as an educational resource only. 

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