Building muscle is one of the main reasons we constantly return to the gym, and while you might be putting a ton of effort in, sometimes it comes to no avail. So it beckons the question, how do you build muscle effectively? And this is a question that stumps many gym-goers, the truth is, there isn’t one singular answer we can give you that will guarantee muscle gain. Because to build muscle, you have to change multiple variables in your training and nutrition routines to accommodate for muscle growth.
If you want to give yourself more of a chance of building some real muscle, we highly suggest creating a plan for your nutrition and training habits. No, this won’t suck all the fun out of it, and it will certainly put you in a better position to achieve your goals and without it you simply won’t attain the same results you could have with it. Follow these 5 tips below that will help you to strategically approach your goals and get better results in the process.
First things first when looking to build more muscle, is to eat more food/protein. This may sound like a simple instruction, but it’s not as easy as it sounds. Make sure you’re getting enough protein intake day to day, the more protein your body stores the more muscle you can build. Sounds easy right? Wrong! Your body is constantly breaking down it’s protein stores to repair cells, make hormones and all kinds of other things. So to counteract this you should be aiming for around 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight. So if you weigh 175 pounds, you should be aiming for 175 grams of protein, then splitting the rest of your daily calories between carbs and fats.
When it comes to calories, you want to aim for 250-500 calories extra per day as a starting point, this is can be easily achieved by adding some extra meal times, try 4-6 smaller meals per day. If you’re a hard gainer, this is extra important so you must be strict with it. As long as you keep good quality fuel entering your body, especially through carbs and protein you’ll have all the ammunition you need to build muscle and what’s more you’ll give yourself a metabolism boost in the process.
Lift Heavy & Work Big
Well, this one is probably didn’t take you by surprise. However a key factor when lifting this way is concentrating on the whole range of motion, concentrically and eccentrically. This means that the downward motion (e.g. the lowering part of a bicep curl) should be more controlled, this will seriously ramp up the intensity of your workout and when paired with the concentric movement increases muscle tear and repair. This is not to say that higher rep sets are banned from your routines, they still offer a lot of value, the key is getting the right split between the two.
Work big… what do we mean by this? We’re talking compound movements, exercises that target multiple muscle groups and joints all at once. These types of moves are a great addition to any workout, they allow for more growth and create a more “real life” challenge for your body. Make the most of them by including squats, pull ups, deadlifts, and the bench press in your workouts where applicable.
Limit Your Cardio
Ahh, three words almost every gym goer wants to hear. Cardio is great for you, don’t get us wrong, but when it comes to building muscle too much can be a big no, no. Limit the amount of time you spend on the treadmill, two 30 minute light jogs a week would suffice, but if you want to do one better try interval training 2-3 times a week, these will allow you to burn fat while sparing your hard earned muscle.
Change Up Your Routine
There are a number of reasons as to why you should change up your workouts every so often. When your body repeats the same exercises over and over again it can lead to overuse, which leads to injury, to combat this give your body adequate rest between sessions and change up your routine every 4-6 weeks. To make it easier for yourself, you can create a workout journal to keep track of what exercises you’re performing and when, the reps, sets, and other training variables. Try to mix these around as you see fit.
Surround your workouts with good nutrition and your body will thank you for it, you can have a high protein and carb meal around an hour before you workout and sip a shake throughout, or you can drink your shake before hand and have a high carb meal afterwards. These are just two recommended options though, there are a number of ways you can work this and because everybody is different in how they react to nutrition the best way to find what works best for you is to experiment with it. It can be helpful to keep in mind however, that a meal takes longer to digest than a shake, so if you’re in need of a quick fix, go with the shake.
Rest & Recovery
This is something you’ve probably seen discussed multiple times on TRAIN, this is because the recovery stages are mega important. The ideal amount of sleep required per night is 7-8 hours, this gives your body the best chance to repair the microscopic tears caused by training, and the more chance you give the body to recover the better the rate of muscle growth and improved strength.