If you want to build muscle then you have no doubt done a lot of research into the various techniques and theories and how to best achieve your goal.
Unfortunately all this often conflicting information has confused you. Sometimes it is a better idea just to stick to the basic muscle building facts.
To build muscle, what you do in the gym is important, but it may surprise you to learn that there are other aspects that play a key role too. Read on to discover how you can start to build muscle.
#1: You need protein
If you want to build muscle then you need to consume protein.
This is because it can help to repair and maintain muscle tissue, which can become damaged when you lift those weights.
I suggest that you aim to consume at least 1 pound of protein for every pound you weigh each day.
You should eat protein with every meal, spreading your consumption out over 5-6 meals to make life a little easier.
#2: You also need carbs
If your diet is lacking in carbs then your body will start to use the protein for energy instead, or in the worst case scenario will start to break down muscle too.
Your body needs carbs for energy, and for various other important bodily functions.
Unless you want to ‘bulk dirty’, then stick to those carbs that have been minimally processed, such as vegetables, oats and quinoa.
#3: Eat regularly and often
To ensure your body does not start to metabolise your muscles then you need to eat throughout the day.
A lack of food stored will mean that your body will instead turn to your muscles for energy, rather than its fat reserves.
#4: You need sleep
Hormones such as testosterone are released when you sleep, which will help your body to recover and grow after training.
Aim to get a minimum of 7 hours sleep per night, although more is preferable.
A lack of sleep can sabotage your muscle building efforts.
#5: Work the core
The stabiliser muscles around your shoulders, hips and midsection will provide a good foundation for bigger lifts so make sure you work these as well.
Work on your stability and mobility of these key muscles by using medicine balls and mini bands.
#6: Mix up your workout
After a while your muscles will adapt to the workout and your results will start to plateau.
To avoid this then you should mix up your routine every now and then. Add a few different movements, and always push yourself each workout.
#7: Build those glutes
Much of the nation now lead sedentary lives, where we spend the majority of our days hunched over a screen.
This can lead to bad backs and tight hips that can affect your ability to build muscle.
By working on your glutes (butt) then you will learn how to effectively move through your hips, which will reduce your risk of injury.
#8: Women do not have to fear becoming ‘too bulky’
If you are a woman who has been put off lifting weights on the assumption that doing so will cause you to look overly bulky or masculine then let me tell you that this is not the case.
The fact is that women do not have enough natural testosterone to gain huge amounts of muscle.
Unless you are taking a steroid or similar supplement then you will only build lean muscle, that looks infinitely better than fat.
#9: Get those nutrients at the right time
If you want to see those muscles grow then you will need to feed them to aid the recovery.
Therefore it makes sense to consume your post-workout shake immediately after the workout.
#10: Get plenty of water
Water is essential for muscle growth, but many of us do not consume enough of it on a daily basis.
You should be drinking 1/2 an ounce to an ounce of water for every pound you weigh to ensure you are hydrated.
#11: Use everyday movements too
Lifting weights obviously will help your muscle building, but everyday movements can also help too.
Carrying logs, flipping tires or using the monkey bars are good for building muscle, plus can add a little fun into your workouts.
#12: Use more muscles
Instead of focussing your attention on isolation exercises try to focus more time on compound movements that incorporate more muscles.
Doing so will help you make the most of your time, plus will help release those all important growth hormones that your body needs for muscle growth.
#13: You need intensity
If you are just going through the motions and not really putting much effort in then your results will show this, or rather the lack of results will show.
To build muscle you need to work intensely.
A simple trick to get good results is to try working the opposing muscles while the others rest.
#14: You need rest
Your body will need rest occasionally in order to recover and grow, otherwise you may find that overtraining could become an issue, which can affect your growth.
While complete rest is sometimes a good idea, you could also use a little active rest too.
During active rest you could use a foam roller to massage your muscles. This can help relax and loosen them, while getting the blood flowing to the muscles, which will help your body to recover quicker.
#15: You are not too old
While we may start to lose muscle as we age, due to a drop in testosterone. This is not to say that you cannot gain muscle was you get older.
If your nutrition is good and you are still working out intensely then you can keep hold of that muscle and even gain too.