Do you want to gain both muscle and strength but seem to have hit a plateau? If you have then you will need to mix things up a little.
Here are 10 simple changes that you can make that can result in those massive gains that you are looking for.
#1: Set some strength goals
Rather than focus on muscle or weight gain, maybe you would see better results if your aim was to gain strength instead.
When you achieve these strength gains, a by-product should be an increase in muscle mass too.
#2: Keep a food journal
How can you keep track of what you are eating if you are not writing it down?
Your nutrition is important and essential for progress.
Of course your training is important, but if you are not eating enough calories or your macros then it will not translate into muscle and strength gains.
By keeping a food journal you will be able to look over it and make adjustments if you need to.
#3: Focus on compound exercises
Compound exercises such as the deadlift, squats, press and row are work more than one muscle at a time so help to release a large amount of testosterone and other hormones into your body.
These hormones enable you to increase the size and strength of your muscles.
Of course some isolation exercises are ok too.
#4: Get a good nights sleep
If your body is not recovering fully then how are you going to experience those muscle and strength gains?
You should aim to get a minimum of 8 hours sleep every night to recuperate. So you should turn off those distractions (your phone, laptop etc) to ensure there is nothing to interrupt your slumber.
#5: Drink a shake while you train
You probably already know the importance of your pre and post-workout shakes, but you could also start drinking a shake while you train too.
Doing so will help your intake of calories without having an extra meal, while the quick boost of carbs will give you the energy to enable you to give 100% during the workout.
One thing I would advise would be to not overdo the amount you consume. You don't want to go making a mess of the gym.
#6: Work each muscle 2-3x a week
If you do tend to do isolation exercise rather than compound exercises then you need to work them more often than once a week.
Of course you will need to rest them but 24-48 hours should suffice before you train them again.
Those who struggle for time should consider switching to a full-body workout with compound exercises.
#7: Don't skip your legs
This may sound silly and you have no doubt seen those memes online with statements like “don't skip leg day”, but there is truth in the statements.
Even if your goal is only to build up your chest and arms you will still need to work those legs.
When you work your legs you are recruiting lots of muscles so you will be putting a lot of effort in and releasing those all important hormones.
#8: Eat more on ‘rest’ days
Your ‘rest’ days are used to help with your recovery, which is when your muscles heal and become stronger and bigger, so it makes sense that you eat more on these days than you would on your training days.
While you wont need the carb content as you wont need the energy boost as much you should try and consume plenty of protein.
#9: Don't be afraid of those carbs
If you want to build muscle then you need to be eating carbs, and plenty of them.
While you may gain a bit of fat your body requires calories to grow, and carbs can provide them.
Carbs also provide you with much need energy to complete your workout, which is why you should consume them both pre and post-workout.
#10: Weigh yourself
Probably the only time you will hear anyone talk about weighing scales is when they are trying to lose weight. But does it not make sense to also use it when you want to gain muscle?
If you can remember to weigh yourself once a week (preferable in the morning before you have eaten) you will be able to tell if what you are doing is causing an increase in muscle mass.
You should aim for around 1/2 a pound gain per week, but make sure to use a mirror too as you do not want to gain too much fat.
If you are failing to gain weight then look at what you are doing, make some changes and try again.