Reblogged from Nate Green’s blog here: http://www.scrawnytobrawny.com/bigger
“Give me a one-page bullet-list of exactly what I should do. That’s worth more to me than a stack of books that I have to dig through to get to the good stuff. I may give you 50 bucks for the books. But I’ll pay you $5,000 for the one page.”
That’s a quote from Alwyn Cosgrove, a world-famous strength coach and entrepreneur. When he told me this a couple years ago, I remember thinking he was crazy. More money for less stuff? That’s stupid.
But now I see just how smart his statement is: Information is only as good as the action you take after reading it.
If you want to get something done, it’s usually more effective to skim the book (or article or blog post), write down what you need to do, and start. In most cases, the one-page cheat sheet is more valuable than the book.
So that’s what we’re gonna do here. Consider this post your “how to build muscle and have more energy” cheat sheet. It’s simple, quick, and incredibly effective.
We know it’s effective because twice a year we open our S2B Coaching Program, and help hundreds of guys build muscular, athletic bodies. Over the course of the year-long program, their day ends up looking something like what we have here.
What to do in the Morning
Get your ass out of bed
Hitting the snooze alarm is a sign you aren’t getting enough sleep. But we’ll take care of that problem in a bit.
Right now, get out of bed when your alarm goes off. A new day is here. Do something with it before it dies.
Drink 20oz of water
Your muscles need water to grow. Your body needs water to live. Right now, you’re dehydrated. Before you get in the shower or do anything else, drink 20 oz of cold water.
You’ll have more energy immediately.
Drink a Super Shake
If you’re a skinny guy who wants to put on weight, you need food and you need it fast. If you know you’re not gonna cook breakfast, you need to make a protein-rich Super Shake instead.
Got a blender and 3 minutes? Good. Here’s your recipe:
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1 frozen banana (peel it the night before and stick it in the freezer)
- 1 handful fresh baby spinach (get the pre-washed stuff at the grocery store)
- 2 scoops chocolate protein powder
- 1 huge spoonful of almond or peanut butter
Blend on high. Drink.
Take your vitamins and fish oil
Even if you’re eating healthy whole foods, you can still have small deficiencies of certain vitamins and minerals, deficiencies that can slow your metabolism and impair your ability to build muscle. A multivitamin can help fix that.
Also, take 5 grams (1 teaspoon) of liquid fish oil. It’s full of omega-3′s which help improve mood and motivation. (We prefer liquid, but you can also use fish-oil caps.)
Have a little caffeine
A cup or two of black coffee or green tea can help increase athletic and mental performance.
Don’t like caffeine? No problem. Skip this step and make yourself some herbal tea or have another glass of water.
What to do at work/school
Drink 20oz of water
Get used to it right now, because drinking water is gonna be a recurring theme throughout your day. Invest in a slick reusable water bottle and keep it wherever you spend the most time throughout your day. (But please don’t carry around a two-gallon milk jug of water. That’s just looks ridiculous.)
Have a Muscle Snack
The rules: protein, fat, veggies.
Food ideas: hardboiled eggs, salami, beef jerky, tuna salad, mixed nuts, peanut butter, protein powder, baby carrots, sliced bell pepper, grape tomatoes, celery, berries, apple.
No bullshit energy bars or any kind of granola, as they’re usually loaded with sugar and unpronounceable ingredients
What to do at lunch
Eat a Muscle Lunch
Your normal sandwich and chips isn’t gonna cut it.
In S2B we hate measuring food and counting calories. Instead, we like to use hand measurements to determine how much food to eat. (Why? Well, you may not have a food scale, but you probably have a hand. We hope.)
So take a look the palm of your hand. Act like you’re cupping some water that you don’t want to run through your fingers. To build muscle, you need at least 2 palms of protein (chicken, fish, beef, etc).
Now make a fist. You need 2 fists of vegetables and 1 fist of starchy carbohydrates like sweet potato, qunioa, or pasta.
Still a little confused? Check out the photo below for one of our recent Muscle Lunch meals. Make your meal look like that. Then eat it.
(Lunch tip from Nate: I almost never make my own lunch. I’ve tried before, but it’s just too time-consuming in the middle of the day. That’s why I usually have a few pre-made meals from Whole Foods ready to go.)
Yeah, this doesn’t really have anything to do with building muscle, but if you’re eating by yourself, you gotta have some reading material. And if you’re eating lunch with friends, put down your phone (or book) and have a conversation. No texting or Facebook stalking. Enjoy your meal.
Drink 20oz of water
What to do in the afternoon
Have another muscle snack
Stick with the above rules or try our Easy Protein Pudding.
- 1 and 1/2 cups of Greek yogurt
- 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
- 1 handful of raw mixed nuts
- 2 squares of 70% or higher dark chocolate
Stir the hell out of it with a spoon and eat.
Drink 20oz of water
You knew it was coming.
Plan your next day
This is another thing that doesn’t really have anything to do with building muscle. But it will help you be more productive and successful.
- Write down all the important stuff you need to do tomorrow. Work stuff, personal stuff, everything.
- Set a specific time to actually do it.
It may seem like a small, inconsequential step, but it’s incredibly powerful. Now that all your tasks and plans are out of your head and on paper with a corresponding time, you no longer have to stress out about them. It’s taken care of. Move on with your day.
What do to in the Evening
De-stress for 20 minutes
Most guys know how to go full-steam but have no idea how to chill out and calm down. Their bodies are in a constant “fight or flight” mode, their nervous system working on overdrive.
In S2B, we have our clients pick one calming task — meditate, nap, read, go for a walk, stretch, listen to relaxing music, sit in a room and do nothing — and do it every day for at least 20 minutes.
This gives their sympathetic (fight or flight) nervous system a break and allows their parasympathetic (rest and digest) nervous system to take over.
The rules: no phones, computers, or outside distractions for at least 20 minutes.
Eat a Muscle Dinner
Same rules as the Muscle Lunch.
- 2 palms of protein
- 2 fists of vegetables
- 1 fist of starchy carbohydrates
Pick different foods and maybe throw in some fruit on the side.
Drink 20oz of water
You know the drill.
Surround yourself with cool, positive people. Remember: You’re the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with. So don’t hang out with assholes.
I mean, why not?
Follow your sleep ritual
You have a sleep ritual, right? No? Here, follow ours:
- No caffeine after 2PM.
- Turn off your TV and computer an hour before bed.
- Make yourself some decaf tea, listen to soft music, and read something light.
- Turn off all phones and gadgets and put them in another room.
- Set your bedroom temperature to 67-70F [19-21C.] (Ever try to sleep while sweaty? It sucks.)
- Take an Epsom salts bath before bed. (The magnesium will help you sleep.)
- Have a small pre-bed meal. (Try cottage cheese mixed with chopped apple, and a spoonful of peanut butter.)
Sleep for 7 hours
Getting at least 7 hours of sleep will help your body recover from your workouts, rejuvenate your brain, and improve your life.
Getting less than 7 hours can slow muscle growth and reduce brain power.
Repeat every day
Because this stuff won’t work if you just do it every now and then.
What about the workout program?
We left out exercise on purpose. Why?
When you’re trying to build muscle, working out isn’t as important as you may have been led to believe.
I mean, yeah, you have to do something in the gym a few days per week. You have to stimulate your muscle fibers and give them a reason to grow and get stronger.
But if you’re more focused on what to do for the one hour you’re in the gym instead of what to do for the other 23 hours of the day, you’re simply not going to build the kind of body you want. Trust us, we’ve been there.
In the S2B Coaching Program, our guys follow our progressive workout program designed specifically for building muscle fast. But the workout program is only a small part of how we help them build a badass body.
Remember: It’s what you do outside of the gym that matters.
Of course, we can’t leave you hanging. So as long as you’re following the below rules when you work out, you’ll be good to go:
- Train 3-4 times per week.
- Use compound exercises.
- Go as heavy as you can with good form.
- Drink a post-workout shake of fast-acting carbohydrates and protein.