Charles Poliquin's fitness tips

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I’m a hard gainer and struggle to put on muscle. What can I do?
You can man up for starters. There’s no such thing as a hard gainer, but it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you’re not concentrating on the moves, you won’t make gains, so go back to basics. Your workout should last no longer than an hour – any longer and you’re building friendships, not muscle. And avoid all distractions. I see people all the time chatting, or on their phones or reading a paper. You’re there to train. There’s a gym in Sydney, Australia, where the only talking allowed is to call the reps when spotting. That’s a nice place to work out.
What is the most overlooked part of most men’s workouts?
Recovery. Training is yang, recovery is yin. And I mean proper recovery, not surfing online for the latest news and sample workouts, which will send your cortisol levels soaring because you become convinced you’re missing out on something. When planning a programme, factor in fun activities and remember there is more to life than training. Massage is one of my favourite growth accelerators. As with training, variety is important with massage. Experiment with different types and therapists. Not convinced? Doesn’t matter – try it anyway. You’ll thank me in the end.

I’m busy at work so mealtimes can be all over the place. What can I do to assist muscle maintenance?
Keep a secret jar of high-calorie snacks. I have a jar full of nuts and dried fruits at the office. If my feeding times get delayed, I take two handfuls from the premixed jar to keep my blood sugar constant. It contains apricots, blueberries, raisins, figs, cherries, mango, pistachios, cashews, walnuts, dates, pecans, brazil nuts, hazelnuts, macadamias, and pumpkin and sesame seeds. Besides a load of quality calories, I’m also getting valuable nutrients, such as selenium from the brazil nuts, magnesium from the cashews and antioxidants from the dried fruits.

Charles Poliquin has a column in every issue of Men's Fitness so for more Poliquinisms, subcribe to the magazine. We'll give you five issues for £5.

Joe Warner
Former editor of Men’s Fitness UK

Joe Warner is a highly experienced journalist and editor who began working in fitness media in 2008. He has featured on the cover of Men’s Fitness UK twice and has co-authored Amazon best-sellers including 12-Week Body Plan. He was the editor of Men’s Fitness UK magazine between 2016 and 2019, when that title shared a website with Coach.