What’s going on, guys?
Sean Nalewanyj on www.SeanNal.com.
And in this video here I want to answer a
pretty common question I get asked, which
is how to combine bodybuilding with playing
So can you still get good gains if you are
regularly playing sports throughout the week
and how should you go ahead and structure
your program in order to maximize your results.
So, combining bodybuilding and playing sports
I would say that in the majority of cases
as long as you lay things out properly during
the week and you make the right adjustments
then, yeah, you definitely can still make
great progress in the gym even if you are
playing sports regularly.
But it’s also important to keep in mind that
the impact it’s going to have, if anything,
is obviously going to depend on what type
of sport you’re playing and how strenuous
it is as well as how many total hours per
week you’re dedicating to it.
So if you’re playing something like baseball,
let’s say, twice a week then that’s not going
to have any impact at all realistically.
Whereas something more strenuous like, let’s
say, soccer or basketball, for example, where
you’re doing a lot of running that could potentially
have a minor impact depending on how often
you’re doing it and if you were doing something
that’s going to stress both your cardiovascular
system and that also puts you under a lot
of overall physical stress as well, and it’s
going to create more muscle damage something
like, let’s say, MMA.
And you were doing that three or four times
a week or more.
Or you were playing like rugby or football
multiple days a week then, yeah, that could
affect your results to some degree.
But in any case, unless you are on the extreme
end of the spectrum there or you’re playing
physically demanding sports in combination
with also having a physically strenuous job,
again, with the right adjustments you will
still be able to make consistent gains.
In my case, I started lifting in my teens
and I was pretty athletic back then and the
different points I was playing baseball, basketball,
running track and field, playing rugby, and
I was doing that in combination with gym classes
at school five days a week and I was still
able to make perfectly good muscle building
progress all the way through.
And most people should be able to do the same
as long as they structure things properly.
So if you are wanting to combine bodybuilding
and sports or bodybuilding and MMA, for example,
that’s one of the more common questions people
ask me, I’m going to give you six tips that
you can use here to strike a good balance
between the two and to help you get the best
muscle building results you can while still
playing the sports that you enjoy.
So tip number one is the most obvious and
the most basic one and that is that you need
to make sure you’re getting in enough total
If your goal is to maximize muscle size and
strength gains then you’ll want to be eating
in a small calorie surplus and playing strenuous
sports throughout the week is going to burn
additional calories and it’s going to use
up a certain amount of nutritional resources
that your body needs to recover and grow in
between weight training sessions.
So make sure to monitor your overall body
weight on the scale, your measurements, your
strength numbers in the gym and if you find
that they’re remaining stagnant from week
to week then that’s going to be a good sign
that your current calorie intake is too low
and that it needs to be increased.
And obviously the more intense your particular
sport is and the more hours you’re devoting
to it the more heavily you’re going to need
to adjust your calories in order to compensate
As a rough estimate, a beginning lifter who
is building muscle at an optimal rate without
gaining excessive bodyfat, they should be
expecting an overall weight gain per month
of around two pounds, three pounds at the
very most, and that should decrease by about
fifty percent for every year of proper training
Those figures are just approximate numbers
but the bottom line is that if the scale isn’t
going up then that means that your calorie
intake currently is equal to your calorie
expenditure, in which case it’s going to need
to be bumped up if you want to build muscle
as effectively as possible.
Tip number two is to try to space your weight
training sessions out away from the days where
you’re playing sports by as much as you reasonably
can, because that’s going to help you maximize
And also make sure to take into account the
major muscle groups that your particular sport
uses when you are laying out your weekly gym
For example, you ideally wouldn’t want to
go rock climbing or do an intense rowing session
right before or after a back workout since
both involve a lot of pulling movements.
Or something that involves a lot of running
like soccer or rugby, let’s say, you’d probably
want to try and schedule your leg workouts
further away from those.
Or something like boxing which involves a
lot of upper body pushing, try to space that
away from your chest workouts.
So just do the best you can with this to try
to separate them throughout the week so that
there is as a little overlap between the two
as possible and so that the muscles that are
being worked are given as much recovery time
as you can give them.
Tip number three is to reduce or eliminate
any separate traditional gym cardio that you’re
So if you’re playing a decently strenuous
sport three times a week or more then there’s
really no reason for you to be performing
extra cardio, let’s say on the treadmill or
the stationary bike assuming that you’re trying
to build muscle and you’re trying to gain
strength at the fastest rate that you can.
Because all that’s really going to do is burn
up additional calories and also eat further
into your recovery time.
So in this case what you want to do is just
treat your sports as your cardio.
Do your weight training and don’t worry about
including extra gym cardio in the mix because
it won’t be necessary and it’s probably just
going to end up being counterproductive, if
Tip number four, if you’re devoting a lot
of time and effort to your particular sport,
so let’s say four or five days a week plus,
and you’ll probably be best off to cut back
a bit on your overall weight training volume
and frequency just to make sure that you don’t
over train yourself.
So if you’re trying to do, let’s say MMA,
four days a week and you’re also doing four
or five weight training sessions a week, you’re
likely going to end up pushing yourself beyond
your ability to fully recover.
And there’s a pretty good chance in that case
that your gains are going to be negatively
impacted by that.
Remember that muscle growth happens while
you’re out of the gym resting and that the
process of recovery is what actually produces
the muscle gains you’re after.
So if you can’t adequately recover then you
So if you’re playing a lot of sports then
you’ll probably want to cut back to four weight
training sessions per week at the maximum
and three will probably be even better for
And in some more extreme cases you can even
reduce that down to as little as two weight
training workouts per week.
And if going to the gym say, or if you are
going to the gym, let’s say, three days a
week but you’re still having issues with recovery
then you can also cut back on the actual volume
per session by performing fewer total sets
or you could also reduce the frequency in
terms of how often you train each individual
So instead of directly training each muscle,
say, twice a week, start hitting it once every
four to five days or even just once a week.
As long as you train hard and you focus on
progressive overload you can still make great
gains by hitting each muscle only once a week.
It’s not going to be fully optimal most likely
and it will take a bit longer to get the same
amount of growth, but if the option is between
performing so much volume and frequency that
you can’t properly recover versus performing
an amount that isn’t optimal but that still
produces ongoing gains then obviously the
latter is still going to be the better choice.
Tip number five, the other option instead
of reducing your weight training workload,
if the sports you’re playing or just for casual
fun and it’s not a huge deal to you or something
that you take too seriously but bodybuilding
is really important to you then just play
those sports a little bit less often.
This really just comes down to the person
in terms of what they value and what’s most
important to them.
I definitely wouldn’t recommend completely
ditching a hobby that you enjoy purely for
the sake of bodybuilding but if it is noticeably
impacting your progress in a negative way
then you could cut back a bit just to balance
things out a bit more.
So instead of playing sports say four days
a week maybe you could cut it down to three
or if you’re already doing it three times
a week but it’s for three hours a session
then maybe cut that back to two hours or one
And tip number six, a really quick one, but
make sure that your sleep is on point.
This is important enough as is but if you’re
trying to juggle bodybuilding and sports and
your job and everything else you’re doing,
getting a proper sleep becomes even more important
because it’s a really important time for recovery.
And being chronically under slept during periods
of high activity is probably eventually going
to burn you out.
And I’ll link a post I did in a description
box a while back that outlines seven sleep
tips you can follow to make sure that that
area is taken care of.
So if you want to combine bodybuilding and
sports it’s definitely doable in the vast
majority of cases and you can still build
muscle and gain strength effectively as long
as you follow those steps that I just outlined.
It’s possible that your gain still might be
slightly affected even if you do follow all
of that but it shouldn’t be too significant
in most cases, and for those who aren’t necessarily
training to be as big and as strong as humanly
possible but just want to build a good solid
all-around physique, in that case it’s probably
a non-issue altogether.
Adjust your calorie intake to compensate,
space your sports and weight training apart
as much as you can, reduce or completely eliminate
additional gym cardio, if necessary you can
cut back on your weight training volume and
frequency, the other option is to cut back
on the volume and frequency of the sports
that you’re playing, and lastly is to make
sure that you’re getting a proper sleep each
So I hope this was helpful, guys.
Thanks for watching.
My recommended training splits that can be
used on their own or adapted to a schedule
that involves sports during the week, those
are all outlined in my step-by-step Body Transformation
Blueprint, along with nutrition and supplementation
plans as well.
You can click here or visit www.BTBluePrint.com
using the link in the description box to check
The official website is over at www.SeanNal.com.
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Thanks for watching, guys.
And I’ll see in the next video.