Health & fitness: Bulking up

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Photography by Ana Lui

Next in our series of blogs designed to help improve your lifestyle by James Davis, co-owner of Ibiza gym, health club and spa M Wellness plus an all-round guru when it comes to health,  fitness and wellbeing!

I’m aware that a lot of blogs over the summer have been focused on losing weight, slimming, reducing body fat – generally all those great things we love to do for the beach so we can dodge the muffin top look! However the sharp-eyed boys and girls amongst you (boys, come on, own up) have probably noticed that there are also a lot of very buff people stalking the beaches. I use the word ‘people’ but to be honest they are mainly guys. You might have noticed them in parades for nights like Matinee, guarding the door at many nightclubs or just generally having to go sideways through doorways…

I’m sure a few of the guys out there will have thought ‘next summer’ when they’ve spotted them, but how do you pile on muscle mass? Well, as ever, the principles are easy, the arguments about the best way to do it are complex, and what it comes down to is simple: hard work. If you have to distill it even further, lift heavy and often.

While that guy on Celebrity Big Brother may have opted for some intensive lipo-type treatment that gave him the rippling belly of a bodybuilder, I personally wouldn’t recommend it. You get better results through hard work in the gym, a good diet and have a lot of health upsides, along with as developing your whole body.

Ok, so where to start? If lifting weights is new to you, first get an induction at your gym so you know how everything works and the correct way to lift – the last thing you want is to injure yourself. Once you’ve done that, design your program: focus on compound movements where you’re hitting more than one muscle group, exercises like the squat, bench press and row. Make sure you’ve got an exercise for each muscle group, then aim for three to four sets of 10-12 repetitions per set, at a weight where you’re failing on the final reps of the final set. It’s going to come down to the individual, but to start a full body workout twice a week should be enough, three at most.

Once you’ve gotten started, you can then start to experiment with all the wonderful variations in sets, techniques and reps that exist in strength and bodybuilding training.

Finally, eat like a horse! Plenty of protein (at least 1g per pound of bodyweight) lots of simple carbs like brown rice, sweet potato and so on, lots of lean meats and fish and of course fresh fruit and vegetables. You need to eat to grow.

So, train hard, eat lots, grow big. As simple or as complex as you’d like to make it. And as always, for any advice drop in and see us at M Wellness. Happy training.