Contrary to popular belief, building muscle is an easy process. It takes a lot of determination, drive, and perseverance, but at the heart of it, there’s nothing complicated. Eat more and work out better. If you’ve been around the internet where you were bombarded with information, diets, and insane workout plans that turned you off from the whole thing, you’re not alone.
We’ve seen what you’ve seen, and to spare you any more complications, we’ve come up with the basics of muscle building, all condensed in these four tips.
- Eat Right
If you’ve ever heard someone talk about bulking up, chances are, you were listening to one of two stereotypes. Either someone talking about how they get to eat what they want and when they want to, or a detailed, concrete regimen that leaves no room for improvising. That being said, if you want to gain muscle mass, the way to do it isn’t by following one of the two extremes. Simply, it’s about finding out your goals and your nutritional needs, then creating a regimen that fits you while keeping in mind certain fundamentals.
Muscle building cannot occur without protein. Because the body has many uses for protein, it will only build muscle after having fulfilled its other protein-based needs. A good ratio is 1 gram of protein to every pound of body weight or 40% of your daily intake. The rest of your caloric intake should come from carbs and fats. Whether your aim is to lose weight or not, carbs and fats are an important part of any diet. Without energy, the body can’t build muscles, but this doesn’t mean you eat garbage. There’s nothing wrong with treating yourself, but limit your intake when it comes to added sugars and fried foods.
- Update Your Workout Routine
If you’ve been doing the same routine for a while now, there’s no doubt you’re not noticing any gains. The solution, however, isn’t to shift to a brand-new routine and work yourself to the bone. It’s not just about exercising hard. Purposefulness and accuracy are the keys to successful muscle building. Pause to take a look at your existing routine. Are you effectively targeting the muscle groups you want to build? Are you tiring your muscles? Is your focus more on reps or weight?
Scientific research on the matter has shown that lifting heavy weights for lower reps is more effective when it comes to muscle building than increasing reps which only improves a muscle’s endurance. If you’re a beginner, bodyweight exercises are the best option for you. It’s hard figuring out where to start routine-wise, but this Play Store link confirms that you don’t need equipment to gain muscle. Regardless of your workout style, make sure you tire your muscles out. Don’t forget to note your progress and increase the intensity accordingly.
- Rest Plenty
Rest is for the weak, but it’s also for the strong. You can work out every day for a month, and you will see gains, but it won’t last for long. Working out daily may seem like a good idea or a life-changing new year’s resolution, but it has a lot of negative effects, physical and mental. Having a hyper-intense workout schedule won’t just exhaust your body, but it will also deplete your motivation. We all have bad days and sometimes a break is necessary. If you can get sick of your favorite song if you listen to it every day, imagine how you would feel about a workout routine.
The alternative isn’t to quit on the process, obviously, but you need to incorporate one day of rest in your schedule, at the least. Research has proven that such rest is highly beneficial because it gives your body the chance to replenish its reserves and repair damaged muscle tissue. Those repairs are what make your muscles larger and stronger, and preventing the body from repairing the damage is what leads to injuries.
- Be Supplement Smart
Not every fancy label with the picture of a shredded model is a good supplement. When choosing a supplement, natural is your best bet. If you need an extra dose of protein, vitamins, or minerals, natural supplements are the best and safest way to go. Creatine supplements have also been proven effective when it comes to improving muscle gain, and so have other amino acids. However, before you purchase, make sure you do your research on the product and its ingredients and consult with your doctor.
Finding the perfect plan to suit your muscle gain goals is simple. It’s a process of trial and error, and once you’re past the error part, it’s nothing but smooth sailing. However, to get to the other side, you need to draw solid boundaries. If your schedule is getting in the way of your social life or your overall happiness, don’t push yourself to work through it. Find ways to cut down, compensate, and compromise. It’s your plan, not anyone else’s.