Whether you’re skinny and looking to bulk up or you’re looking to replace fat with muscle, the biggest challenge is finding the right way to make it happen. That does not in any way mean it is overly complicated or impossible. If you have the right attitude it can fun and for many it is the highlight of their day. With the right training, nutrition and lifestyle you can transform yourself so that when you look in the mirror, you see the healthy muscular person you’ve always wanted to be. With that in mind let’s examine ten ways to build muscle.
1. Start with your Refrigerator
You can hire the most expensive personal trainer in the world and workout harder than a professional bodybuilder and you will accomplish exactly nothing if you don’t eat right. Throw out the processed foods, junk foods, sodas, candy etc. Start eating whole natural foods like chicken breast, steak, fish, fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Pay attention to your food labels and as you get used to your new diet, add up your total calorie intake for the day. Take that number and add 500 more calories per day of the same healthy foods. Also be sure there is plenty of protein in your daily meals. For each pound you weigh, you should be taking in a gram of protein. So a 200-pound person should be taking in 200 grams of protein. In addition to the protein shakes you see in stores, some good sources of protein are eggs, tuna and peanut butter. Remember this is the most important part of muscle building. If you aren’t eating right, all the hard work in the world will not get you the body you want. Also mix in carbohydrates as you want to burn them as fuel for your workout rather than burning the protein which is meant for building muscle.
2. Limited Cardio
This applies whether or not you are trying to lose a lot of fat while building muscle. It takes a lot of calories to build muscle as we said above. Thirty minutes of light jogging on a treadmill is great but it’s even better if you can do some power sprinting by going as fast as you can for one minute and back off to a light jog for two minutes until you reach your thirty minute total. Do this for no more than three times a week as this will burn fat without burning all of the calories away that you need to build muscle.
3. Lower your Reps and Time your Sets
Ideally you want your entire workout to be no longer than 45 minutes. For each muscle group do limit yourself to 20 sets; 12 would be even better. Each set should last between 40 and 70 seconds consisting of 12 reps. The idea is to use heavier weights instead of more reps. Anything less than 40 seconds per rep will not tense your muscles enough to shock them into growth.
4. Don’t Isolate
Choose between training either the whole body in a single workout or focus only on the upper body in one session and the lower body in the next for the best results. Don’t isolate one muscle group per workout as you will see some people doing. Focus on lifting that involves several muscles at once. Deadlifts, presses, squats, rows, and pullups are all great examples.
5. Stretch, Stretch, Stretch
Stretch before workouts, and in between workouts. Do it every day and mix in massages occasionally as this will prevent injury and promote faster muscle recovery between workouts.
6. Rest and Relaxation
Limit your workouts to four times a week and try to get seven to eight hours of sleep per night. Of course life is hectic and there are going to be times you just can’t sleep that long so when you don’t. just try and make up for it as soon as you can. Avoid excess stress and nervousness as this releases cortisol into your body, a hormone which stores fat and burns muscle.
7. Build on a Good Foundation
Olympic lifts may get a lot of attention but some of the more subtle muscle groups will be the ones that get you noticed. Challenge your core with medicine balls, mini-bands, and rotational movements. This will give you the shape you want as you will be working on the mobility on your shoulders, hips and abs.
8. Change up your Routine
While sticking to the general plan we’ve discussed throughout this post, mix in new movements occasionally to keep your muscles guessing. While you don’t want to stray from the whole body or split workout, what you can do is challenge your personal best. You will be getting stronger so try beating your old record for weight every once in awhile. Do this in small increments as trying to lift too much more than you have been too quickly can lead to injury.
9. Drink Plenty of Water
Workouts will drain you and your muscles of water so drink water as often as you can. A gallon per day is a perfect amount to keep your body hydrated.
10. Consult a Professional
If you are reading this post it is because you have been searching the internet to find out how to build muscle. In other words you don’t know and while this is a good start, professionals such as the trainers at LetsGetUFit do this for a living. Changing your body and building muscle is a commitment so invest in it. Trainers can provide exact dietary advice, moral support, technique and most importantly, accountability.