We all started with our first workout. Big dreams and any newbie gains come quickly. However, you have to start pushing yourself harder in the gym and outside after a while.
It is easy to blame your genetics or metabolism for your lack of muscle building. Fortunately, regardless of your goals, you can do a few things to help improve your athletic abilities, improve your appearance, and lead a healthier lifestyle.
Following a few fundamental principles can help get you started on building precious muscle.
Our best selling proteins
#1 - Protein
Why is protein number one? Ask any meathead in the gym; protein is king. While they might give some outdated protein information, the base of protein being king for fueling our muscle’s needs to repair and grow is true.
Protein is also used for more than just our muscles. Our body uses protein to produce hormones. Having audacity amounts of protein in our diets is essential for overall health, not just muscle building.
The old gold standard of how much protein you’ll need per day is one gram per pound of body weight. While this is half true, you can go as low as 0.7g per pound of body weight and 1.2g on a high end. However, 1g is perfect for most people’s upper daily protein needs. This does not mean if you eat over 1g of protein per body weight in pounds a day, you’ll magically stop absorbing the protein. On the contrary, you’ll keep absorbing it, but more protein does not mean better muscle protein synthesis. You need to store new proteins by eating faster than your body breaks down old proteins from working out and normal body functions to build muscle.
Go look at meat prices compared to rice. If you want to waste your money, overeat protein.
#2 - You Need To Eat
Remember, it is called bodybuilding for a reason. If you want to grow, you need to eat. If your goal is to build muscle and lose fat simultaneously, depending on each person, this might not be the best option if your main goal is building muscle. Building muscle while in a calorie deficit is not optimal. You could find yourself a few months in with little or no results.
A calorie deficit with a maintenance phase is an excellent option if you are overweight and want to lose some fat.
If you are ready to build muscle and are a little skinny, it is okay to lose your 6-pack for the short term. If your goal is to stay skinny and have abs, that is fine. However, maintaining a 6-pack while trying to gain muscle is not always the best option for muscle growth. Just remember, building muscle takes time. You need to dedicate a reasonable amount of time to eating to see results.
#3 - Compound Lifts
If you want to build muscle, doing compound lifts is a must. When you are a beginner, doing just an amount of any workout will give you results. Spend a few years, and you start to see that the new version of biceps curls you saw on Instagram does not give that unreal one-week result like advertised.
Once you have been in the gym long enough, you’ll pull on muscle faster if you focus on heavy compound movements like squats, bench press, deadlifts, pull-ups, bent-over rows, dips, and military presses. Of course, each exercise has many different variations to keep your workouts fresh, but don’t forget about the basics. They work.
How heavy could you go with a good form if you do dumbbell flies? Use a bench press or a chest press machine to add a significant weight compared to the dumbbell fly. Yes, the pump is a different topic, but that takes years of understanding your muscles to truly master. Heavy compound lifts help elicit a growth response in our bodies.
Instead of spending an hour doing isolation exercises, a few heavy exercises for a muscle group with compound lifts will bring outstanding results and help strengthen the muscles.
#4 - Have A Pre-Workout Plan
Having a plan for a pre-workout meal is another way to help get the most out of your workout. You might have a bad time in the gym if you go out and have a fast-foot-style burger before leg day. Having a small meal with a light amount of protein and quick digesting carbs an hour before your workout can help boost your energy.
Another suggestion you might hear from looking at social media or forum websites is drinking a shake of amino acids and carbs before your workout. This is a great way to get more out of your heavier workout days. This is can make a significant difference in your training, as it has the supplements tend to have a unique ability to enter your system quickly, with no bloating, and without causing insulin spikes.
#5 - Carbs After Your Workout
As you train, your primary fuel source is muscle glycogen. Your body uses glycogen stores as fuel during exercise, and consuming carbs after your workout helps replenish them. Glycogen is the storage form of glucose, which is what carbs break down to when eating them. Consuming high-glycemic (fast-digesting) carbs immediately following workouts is the best way to help refuel muscle glycogen stores.
#6 - Sleep
It can be hard to get 7-9 hours of sleep in our modern hustle and grinding lifestyles. However, if we manage our stress and work towards getting a full night’s rest each night, gains become easier. Remember, your body repairs and grows when you are resting, not working out. If you are forcing yourself to wake up to do fasted cardio in the morning over sleeping, you are bending over to pick up a penny while dropping a dollar.
#7 - Try Frequent Eating
Eating the recommended three meals a day can make it challenging to get enough protein through our diets for most lifters. Try having more frequent smaller, still protein pack meals throughout the day. An old-school way of looking at it was eating every 3-4 hours. That gives around 5-6 meals a day. Splitting your macros over more meals might help you achieve your daily intake when eating cleaner.
#8 - Eat Before Bed
As mentioned above, smaller meals mean eating more often. A pre-bed meal is a great way to sneak more protein and carbs into the diet. Saving your last small meal will help reduce protein breakdown in your muscles if you have a hard time eating enough protein during the day.
Another old-school trick is a cup of cottage cheese and a small bowl of fruit before bed. Cottage cheese is a slower digesting protein. If you want to use supplements, casein protein is an excellent alternative.
Wrapping It Up
Building muscle is more than the before and after photos, you see on social media. It takes time and work. It can look easy at first, but once you start becoming more serious, you’ll notice you need to eat nutritious foods and plenty of protein, lift heavy weights and get a good night’s rest.
Our daily lives are busy, and it is hard to be consistent while pushing yourself in the gym. Takes these tips and try them. At one each week, and watch your gains come.