Not everyone’s goal is to slim down and shed some pounds. Some of us want to beef up and build some muscle, like Fitmark Ambassador Mikhail Gittens, for instance. After a visit to the doctor revealed he was underweight, Mikhail set his sights on getting bigger and stronger for the sake of his health.
Fitmark Ambassador: Mikhail Gittens
Lifestyle: Fitness, Nutrition & Wellness Coach, Sponsored Athlete, Fitness Model
Fitmark Meal Bags: the Shield LG
I first got into fitness 4 years ago, when I was told by my doctor that I was underweight, which could become a health risk if I didn’t make a change. At the time I was 6’ 4” and weighing in at around 160lbs. After that discussion with my doctor, I decided it was time for me to make an improvement, and the following week I signed up for my first gym membership.
Stepping into a gym for the first time is intimidating for anybody, even men. To help make the whole experience easier, it’s a good idea to book an appointment with one of the gym’s professionals to show you around, get you used to the weights and machines, and set you up with a proper workout program. Mikhail told us:
After a few months in the gym and improving my nutrition, I started to see the numbers increase on the scale. Not only was I seeing improvement in numbers, but also in other areas such as my mood, mindset and confidence. These overlooked “gains” started doing a lot more for me in the gym and also in my day-to-day life.
Nutrition Is Essential for Building Muscle
Nutrition is another key area where you need to get serious if you’re going to see muscle gains. Again, enlisting a professional is the best way to go about it, but some people opt for doing their own research and see great success from that too. Whichever way works for you, it’s important to be flexible and make adjustments to your diet as you need to. Mikhail told us:
Diet is the most important piece to achieving any fitness goal. I strongly believe that results will not come just from the gym, but your nutrition has to be just as on point as your workouts.
To get your diet on point, you need to introduce yourself to meal prep and make sure you have a muscle-building menu plan for your week ahead. Here are a few tips from Mikhail:
Meal Prep Tips for Building Muscle
1. Create a list. Before doing your shopping, create a list of items in advance, so you go into the store focused and “sticking to the script.” Not only will this eliminate picking up things that might be hurtful to your goals, but it will also help you get in and out without wasting time.
2. Prepare ahead. Do your meal preparation before the week kicks off. The biggest excuse for failed meal prepping is lack of time. Avoid meal prep during the week, especially if you work long days. I prefer meal prepping on Sundays where I have the most free time.
3. Shake It Up. Invest in protein shakes. Not only are shakes useful for muscle recovery, but they also make great meal replacements and can help with hunger cravings if you’re struggling to make it to your next solid meal. Most shakes have little to zero sugar and carbs, which make them a great addition to your menu plan.
4. Grab meal prep accessories. Let’s be real. How can you meal prep without the proper tools? Make sure you have containers, Ziplock bags, plastic utensils, insulated lunch boxes/bags, etc. Having these items readily available will make your meal prepping life much easier and manageable. I know an awesome company where you can obtain many of these items
Building Muscle and Bulking
Building muscle happens during your bulking phase, when your workload and calorie intake is at its highest. Having a solid workout plan that keeps progressing from week to week will push you towards your goal, provided you back it up with enough fuel – protein, carbs and fats – every day. Pay special attention to pre-workout and post-recovery nutrition, as these are two key times where you need to feed the muscle. Mikhail told us:
During my bulking phase, I make a big increase in my nutrition intake, consuming around 350g of carbs, 250g of protein and 120g of healthy fats. I usually weigh in about 220lbs on my bulk. I prefer bulking with complex carbs and try to minimize simple carbs, as well as unhealthy fats to ensure I am picking up as much good clean size as I can.
Top 3 Fit Tips for Building Muscle
1. Count macros. Part of gaining weight is controlling not only what you put into your body, but also how much you work your body. For anyone trying to gain muscle, you have to make sure your output doesn’t outweigh your input of calories. To make sure that happens, you have to track your food.
Here’s a good rule to follow and keep track:
- 1-1.5g protein x body weight
- 0.5-1g carbs x body weight
- 0.2-0.4g healthy fats x body weight
2. Grab a partner. Not everyone is capable of taking themselves to the gym and being able to focus on their own. Sometimes a workout buddy can motivate you in ways you wouldn’t imagine. Workout partners can also make fitness a lot more comfortable and fun, especially if you’re one to feel intimidated or nervous when stepping into the gym.
3. Have a planned routine. If you’re new to the gym or unfamiliar with exercises, the worst thing you can do is start without a plan. Having a set workout routine ensures that you’re having effective workouts that are going to help you achieve your goal, and also make sure you aren’t wasting unnecessary time in the gym by wondering what you’ll be doing next. If you struggle with a plan, I’d recommend getting a trainer or an online coach that can design one for you.
You know, staying organized and on track means being prepared, and there’s no better way than to have a bag or two packed and ready to go in the morning. It’s an important step to make sure you stay true to your fitness goals. Mikhail told us:
My Fitmark Bag plays a huge role in my daily routine. I’ve been an advocate of meal prepping for a while, but this definitely takes my prep game to a whole new level. I no longer have to worry about how I’ll be able to keep my meals preserved for long days, but I’m also able to prep my days from breakfast, all the way up until my post-workout nutrition all in one place. Organization is better than ever! Thanks Fitmark!
Building muscle takes time and persistence, but with the right training program and a solid nutrition plan to back it up, you’ll start to see progress in no time.
You can follow Fitmark Ambassador Mikhail Gittens on Instagram @inkedape
Sport Your Lifestyle
The Fitmark Team