Building more muscle is the dream of many who step into gyms all around the world. Unfortunately, being able to do this can prove to be a daunting challenge and over time, many may become frustrated and just give up. Regardless of what you may have read in the fitness magazines, building muscle really isn’t that complicated. Building muscle doesn’t have to be so hard if you just know some facts on the matter. Once you know the facts, you can begin to see results in the gym in as little as a few weeks. Follow these 5 tips and you will be well on your way to building muscle and being flocked with questions from your peers about how you did it.
1) Stick To A Plan
This one is up first because it’s the culprit to many people’s muscle building goals. You have to give a program some time to see results. Therefore ditching your training program after a few weeks because you don’t think it’s working is cutting off your gains before they can even start.
A few weeks on a training program is not enough time to garner results or gauge if a program is effective. You need to give a training program at least 8-12 weeks to analyze if program has worked for you. If you don’t, you will just be jumping from program to program. If you do get any results, you simply won’t know exactly what it was that you were doing to get those results.
Take some measurements before you start a program, test your strength in various exercises, test body fat, weight and take measurements on body parts you’re looking to improve on. Then after 8-12 weeks, test these all again and see how you have progressed. Then you can truly know if a program is working for you or not.
2) Nutrition Is Key
No matter what training program you use, it is vital to keep your diet in check. If your nutrition is not good, then your results will be underwhelming to say the least. In fact, it’s been stated that any results you get in the gym are 80% attributed to your nutrition during that time.
You want to consume protein because this is the nutrient that ignites protein synthesis, which is the process that actually builds muscle. But you don’t have to get crazy with the amount of protein you consume like some fitness gurus and magazines will suggest. All you need is 1-1.3 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight that you weigh. Spread this out over 4-5 meals and you will be fine.
You’ll also want to consume enough carbs to fuel your workouts, and this amount is dependent on each individual’s needs. Start with 1.5 grams per pound of bodyweight and see how that treats you. If you feel lagging in your workouts, then up that amount a bit. If you start gaining some unwanted fat, then cut this amount back a bit.
Fats are also important, especially for men as this is related to testosterone and other hormone production. Be sure to get in at least 40 grams, but for many it can be up to 60-70 grams. Remember that consuming fat does not lead to fat gain. Eating too many calories in general does this. Fats are more calorie dense so cutting back on a little fat can go a long ways.
3) Supplements Do Help
When your training is solid along with your nutrition, then supplements will help greatly with building more muscle. They are not magic pills like many ads and magazines will lead you to believe though. Supplements can help you lift more weight in the gym and recover quicker from your workouts. If you’re lifting more weight and recovering quicker between workouts, then your muscle gains will increase more rapidly.
The best supplement to help you in the gym is creatine, more specifically creatine monohydrate. This is the most studied and proven effective supplement out there. Creatine helps you to lift more weight during your workouts by giving your muscles more energy to use. This means you move more weight and build more muscle. But not all supplements are created equal. You will want the best creatine monohydrate that you can find. Look for creatine supplements that are pure and do not have a lot of fillers.
Along with creatine, you will want to take branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) as this will help you to recover from your workouts. BCAAs are the building blocks of protein and the more of these you consume, the quicker your muscles will recover between workouts, allowing you to work that muscle again sooner. Just like creatine though, you will want to find the best bcaa supplement you can. You want a bcaa that is high in leucine content, as this is the main amino acid that aids in muscle recovery and growth.
Men out there may also be interested in something to help boost testosterone levels as this will lend to increased recovery as well. Just be careful when selecting and looking for the best testosterone boosters out there that it’s something you are comfortable with taking as some of these can be quite extreme. Also remember that they are not necessary to build muscle, just something that could possibly help.
4) Vary Your Rep Ranges
Many people will begin to see results in the gym, but then their results will begin to lag because of one simple reason: Your body will adjust to what you’re doing to it. If you are always doing the same workout with the same rep ranges, then your body will adjust and become accustomed to it. For many, this is lifting in the hallowed 8-12 rep range. But don’t be afraid to increase reps to 15, 20 and even up to 30 reps.
The most effective way to do this would be to lift in the 8-12 rep range for 4 weeks, and then increase the reps to 15 reps for the next 4 weeks. Then the next 4 weeks, vary your reps on things anywhere from 8-25. This will keep your body guessing and your gains coming along.
5) Don’t Give Up
Building muscle is a journey and it’s not always a linear process. There can be many reasons why muscle growth may stall, but don’t give up. Being a student of your own body is something that can lend to your success along the way. You may notice certain exercises don’t work for you like they do other people, and if that’s the case, stick to the exercises that work for you. Every body is different so things that work for some may not work for you.
Keeping a journal is a great tool to keep track things that work and things that don’t. Come back to your journal when you’re designing a new training program and update it regularly. It may seem tedious, but it will help you immensely over time.
This is just a starting off point for those that are looking to get into the gym and build that body that you have always wanted. Keep gaining more knowledge and learn your body as you go along this journey. Just remember no matter what level of success you attain, there is always more to learn and more muscle to build.