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Building muscle: 1 year back

Posted May 25 2012 12:00am
I confess, I thought gaining muscle would be easier!
And actually, I thought that I had a nice start for gaining when I was through marathoning in 2011. I was running long and short distances consistently through 2010 and 2011 ending the year with TC marathon in October 2011. I thought I had a nice amount of muscle when really I had a LONG road ahead. It's not that running and gaining muscle are entirely opposing, but longer distances leave your body pulling needed nutrients from your muscles. Shorter distances do not... for muscle gain, there is a happy medium.

Marathon muscle:

December 2010, one day before Honolulu Marathon (no heavy lifting, lots of running, not lean check the belly out--NOT eating clean 20% BF roughly here but at goal weight..hmmm )
October 2011, Twin Cities Marathon (Lifting heavy & eating clean since May 2011, tighter, a little more mass, still working against the long running)
March 10th, 2012 LHGFX photoshoot (No depletion yet, just lean and strong 14% BF eating clean lifting heavy since May 2011 little running since Oct 2011)

I can see a difference now,but it's a slow road... a little bigger, a little more definition in my upper body. The tummy is all diet. In the first picture, I was eating pretty much what I wanted, yes EVEN as a trainer and EVEN as a "success" story. I used my running as an excuse to eat what I wanted, I was trapped in that mindset that I could run off what I ate. I assumed my body was happy at it's weight. Once I introduced Clean eating- my body let go of 10 pounds, tightened up and metabolism took off. So... gaining muscle has as MUCH to do with eating, if not more, than it does with lifting.
Eat More. Period. Eat more than you are now. Eat often. When you aim to gain muscle mass it means you'll be working harder than you are now. Proper fuel is really important. You can lift and work and will only get so far if you aren't fueled and don't properly replenish those stores in your muscles. Eating often will take your metabolism higher and you will burn fat more effeciently, revealing those great muscles underneath.
Eat whole foods! Your body runs on food, not plastic, not food broken down with additives and put back together in a different form. Whole food, real food. When we put premium gas in your car the whole thing runs better, we spend less time fixing it when we properly fuel it! Your body will burn more fat and calories breaking down and using real, whole foods than otherwise. 
Train your legs. I learned from the people at Metabolic Effect  that when we spend time at the beginning of a workout training our legs with the big heavy lifts like Squats and Lunges that our body will release a little more human Growth Hormone and Testosterone into our blood stream. There for after we lift heavy with our legs, the muscles we work next will get that little extra help in the growth department. For a woman especially, every little bit helps! 
Be consistent. Keep going, a week, 6 weeks, 6 months down the line, you may feel like you haven't changed, but you HAVE!! I know I have... I can see small changes and small gains with every workout, every good meal, every day I do well with water, everyday I am "on track" to my goal. Changes are being made with every successful day you check off. 
PROOF: One year ago nearly exactly... I am down the 10 # from eating clean, but I have more lean muscle mass and they are more defined. #WIN.  Why? That's another blog post!
May 2011 running no "heavy" lifting yet, no clean eating and (right) May 2012 ONE month post competition, lifting heavy eating clean
Also remember that food is your friend, REST is your friend, Water, protein and recovery, all part of the process, all on your side for you to use. You can't work hard and ignore your body's needs for recovery and still gain! It's a natural process to follow, but be patient!  Find what works good for you, what foods help you feel good and stay lean, what works well to recover and keep that pump going...experiment with different foods! 
It's easiest to gain muscle as you are losing body fat, but eating clean and staying at a lean healthy place while you gain is great--don't bulk up on junk to gain muscle. Going about it clean is a slower road, but you will get there!! 
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