Tapping Your Way to Building Muscle

Tapping is a method used by many people to help them focus on working the correct muscles. To use it, you will need either a free hand or a partner. I’ll use dumbell bicep curls as the example.

 

Hold the dumbell in your right hand. As you lift the weight, use your left hand to tap your right bicep gently. Really focus on where you are tapping and contract that muscle as hard as you can. I find this easier to do when I’m using heavier weights. You’ll be surprised at how much stronger a contraction you can get using this method.

You can use this for all of your exercises, but it’s a little difficult to tap when you’re doing your bench, squat, deadlift and row, so get your training partner to tap the right area for you. If you don’t have a training partner, you can still benefit by tapping the area just before you pick up the weight. If you aren’t distracted, you should be able to keep that muscle in your mind’s eye while you stagger under the crushing weight :)

This works by helping you feel the exact fibers that you are trying to activate and helping you focus your muscle contractions on the exact muscle you are trying to exercise. Using heavy weights causes you to build more muscle because it forces a stronger muscle contraction. Tapping used correctly also forces a stronger muscle contraction, leading to the same result. The main thing is not to be distracted by the hot chick or buff guy working out next to you.

Keep a Food Diary to Build Muscle

If you’re working out “balls to the walls” regularly, getting plenty of rest and eating right, you should be building more muscle. If you aren’t, the first thing most people look at is their workout. But the most likely problem is your eating. You probably just aren’t getting enough quality nutrition.

The first step to figure this out is to keep a food diary. Yeah I know it’s a pain in the @$$, but if you’re serious about getting those massive guns, you just have to quit making excuses and do it. You’re in for a huge surprise if you haven’t kept a food diary before.

Get an old exercise book and just record for every meal:

  1. Meal time
  2. Food eaten
  3. Size of each portion
  4. Calories consumed
  5. Approximate Protein/Carb/Fat portions

Think that’s easy? Think again. But you only need to keep this up for a week. By then you should see a trend in your eating patterns.

 

You should be getting in 5 or 6 meals a day. Forget the old nonsense we’ve been ingrained of the “three square meals”. Our bodies aren’t designed to take such a food hit. Go for more, smaller meals.

Look at how many calories you’re consuming a day. Are you not growing fast enough (half a kilo of muscle a week is probably the absolute max you could achieve)? Add more food. Are you growing fast, but most of it is fat (some fat gain is unavoidable)? Cut down the calories from carbs/fat. If you’re still not happy with the results, change the balance to more protein, less carbs/fat.

The ideal ratio of calories from protein/carbs/fat when trying to build muscle will be around 40% protein, 50% carbs, 10% fat. But only use that as a starting point. If your body responds better to a different combination (some people are carb sensitive), then definitely go with that. After all, this muscle building gig isn’t about following a set formula, it’s about building muscle. That’s the only goal we care about here.

How Your Body Type Affects Your Training

Body types have been categorized into three main groups called “somatotypes“. These essentially are:

  • Ectomorph = “skinny”
  • Endomorph = “round”
  • Mesomorph = “athletic”

This test will give you an idea what your body type is. Bear in mind that no-one is 100% in any category. I am a mesomorph with some ectomorph characteristics. It is really worth actually doing the measurements and working out what category you are in. For a long time, I thought I was an ectomorph because I was always so skinny. After doing the measurements, I realized I was actually a starved mesomorph and have made significant gains in muscle since then.

So What Does That Mean For You?

Believe it or not, if you want the best results, you have to work around your body type. For example, ectomorphs typically have a higher amount of slow-twitch muscle fibers, which are usually associated with endurance sports. Mesomorphs typically have high amounts of fast-twitch muscle fibers, which are more power & strength. Endomorphs generally have a lot of fast-twitch muscle fibers, but they also typically have a difficult time shedding fat.

Exercise Program Bias

To build muscle and be able to show off your fantastic buff and ripped body, you should consider tailoring your program like this, depending on your body type:

Ectomorph - really cut down on the cardio. Right down to 30 minutes 2 or 3 times per week. Make sure you eat lots of good food regularly (6 times per day). When I say lots, I mean huge amounts. If you’re not hating the sight of food already, you’re gonna… Then you’re gonna love it because of how great you start to look. Don’t get into junk food (even though you probably are already). Eat clean, weight train heavy 3 days per week. Do cardio if you have to, then rest up and watch your body grow.

Endomorph - do the exact opposite of the ectomorph. You should be trying to do cardio 5 days per week. Believe it or not, it is often as hard for an endomorph to do enough cardio as it is for an ectomorph to eat enough food. Don’t get jealous. Work with what you’ve got. When that spare tyre is off, you’ll have much more muscle and strength than the ectomorph could ever hope to get. You should also be weight training heavy 2-3 times per week, because muscle burns fat, so the more muscle you have, the less you’ll have to work at burning off the calories. Eat 6 times per day, but be stricter on your portion sizes and stay away from sugar like it’s a bad eighties hairdo :)

Mesomorph - you have it both the easiest and the hardest. It is hardest for you to build a truly awesome body BECAUSE it is easiest for you. Mesomorphs burn fat like it’s a heretical book in the Spanish Inquisition and build muscle almost by looking at a loaded barbell. You will benefit most from a balanced plan. Workout heavy a few days per week, do cardio on the other days and eat clean 6 times per day. Your main challenge is to write a plan (I recommend 12 weeks at a time) and then stick to it. You think you look good now, but how much better would you look if you actually took advantage of your excellent body type? Go on, get off your butt and build your dream body.

No matter what body type you are blessed with, there is a bright side. Learn to get past the weaknesses that come with your body and let’s all look fantastic together.