We sat down with Laird to get the real deal info on how he (and we) should approach gaining muscle. Here are Laird’s candid thoughts.
Editor: You’re a bit of a poster boy for lean muscle. What can you share with us about your muscle building strategies?
Laird: I actually have a hard time building muscle because I’m not so great at recovery. One of the keys for muscle building is to tear down the muscle and then rest.
The real secret is training until failure so you get full breakdown of the muscle but then taking the time off (2-3 days between tear downs) to let muscles recover and build. I’m not that great at getting in that recovery time.
Editor: What about nutrition? What do you think people need to keep in mind in that regard?
Laird: Add protein powder. Consuming high-quality protein powder is key and will help wonders with recovery.
Editor: Are there common mistakes or misconceptions you see with the way people train?
Laird: Most of the muscle building routines are lower rep, higher weight. One of the more effective ways I’ve found to bulk up is to implement a certain amount of stretching between exercises to tear the muscle as well. The more you “go to failure” the better.
Whenever building muscle it’s really important to retain range of motion. It’s the hardest thing to do and the most common mistake. You can become a lot of stiffer and lose a lot of your cardiovascular capacity. You can put a lot more work on the heart and become more restricted in this way.
Editor: Any other insights you want to share with our readers?
Laird: It’s important to be aware specifically of what you’re trying to accomplish in your routine. Ask yourself: what’s my overall objective?
Diversity is key here again. Diversity (and keeping your fitness routine diverse) will allow you to workout harder, not smarter. You’ll become a more functional organism. Diversity makes it more interesting and more mentally challenging. Diversity is the spice of life… and the key to success for me whether it pertains to building muscle, eating well or improving endurance.