Getting started with fitness can be difficult.
If you’re interested in putting on muscle mass, you can find hundreds, if not thousands of articles and videos, each with its unique perspective on how things should be done. Furthermore the choice of supplements can be overwhelming. With everything from protein to pre-workout, theres often too much to pick from.
There are many different opinions on the best way to build muscle. But, if you want to achieve the majority of your results, you should check out the below four rules:
1. Focus On Proper Nutrition
For many, the training aspect of building muscle isn’t that big of an issue. It’s the other twenty-three hours of the day where they need to pay attention to their food choices. When building muscle it’s important to eat in a calorie surplus. This enables your muscles access to the required energy to repair and grow bigger. Protein is also key. High protein foods such as chicken and whey protein shakes make a great choice after a workout.
The fact is, proper nutrition is of utmost importance for muscle growth, and there are two primary things you need to cover:
a) Adequate protein intake.
Granted, you can find dozens of recommendations for the optimal protein intake, ranging from as little as 0.4 grams to as much as three grams per pound of bodyweight.
But, research is mostly in agreement that we don’t need more than 0.8 to 1 gram per pound of body weight. If you weigh 170 pounds, aim for about 170 grams of protein per day. Simple.
b) A small caloric surplus.
Aside from adequate protein intake, you also need to get enough calories, so your body has enough energy to sustain itself, function well, and still have resources available to build new tissue.
As a rule, you should eat about 100 to 300 calories over your maintenance level.
2. Do Moderate Volume And See How It Affects You
It can be tempting to do lots of workouts, sets, and exercises to spark more growth. If you push yourself right from the start and can barely recover as is, where would you go once progress stalls?
Thus, a better approach is to start small and slowly build up over time.
The goal of your training shouldn’t be to test your limits all the time; it should be to do as little as possible while making progress.
Pacing yourself like that will give you room to introduce more training volume in the future once your progress slows down.
I like to use my phone as a diary to keep a record of my lifts each workout. That way I can focus on slowly incrementing the weight up and making progress.
3. Start Your Workouts With Compound Exercises
One of the best and most efficient ways to get the most of each workout and spark the most growth is to focus on compound exercises first, and only do some isolation work to put the finishing touches.
This means that each of your workouts should start with movements like squats, deadlifts, bench press, rows, overhead presses, and pull-ups. Doing so allows you to take full advantage of these exercises while you’re still fresh. Meaning, you can progress quickly and spark more growth.
It can be tempting to go straight to the isolation machines in the gym. Instead, hit them last, after your big lifts.
Sleep certainly isn’t something most people think of when the topic of muscle growth comes around. But, it’s every bit as important as what you do in the gym, and how good of a diet you follow.
The fact is, sleep impacts every system and process within the body. Getting enough of it leads to:
- Increased energy and cognitive function;
- More testosterone and less cortisol;
- Decreased stress levels and anxiety;
- Increased strength, explosiveness, endurance, accuracy, and overall athleticism;
- More muscle growth and better fat loss when in a caloric deficit;
- Improved recovery and less soreness following strenuous workouts;
The benefits of sleep are many, and to reap them, you need to get at least seven hours per night.
For added benefit when focusing on muscle growth, a casein shake before bed is a great idea. Unlike whey, casein is a slow release protein. Therefore providing your muscles with protein and BCAAs for hours whilst you sleep. This can help improve muscle repair.
We hope you enjoyed our top four tips for building muscle in 2020. Let us know yours in the comments!