10 Things You Need To Know About Building Muscle

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In this article you are going to learn a thing or two about how to eat, train and properly address your muscle building goals. Whether you want to gain 5 pounds or 20 pounds of muscle you will find this information useful to you and your situation. Once applied, the information will begin to produce results for you AND this information is applicable to males and females.

We all want to be fit, healthy and lean. Many of us want to be lean and muscular also. Gaining quality muscle, without getting fat in the process, can be difficult for some. Yes, there are some true hard gainers out there, but most people who consider themselves hard gainers are simply training wrong and not eating properly to gain the muscle mass gains they seek.

Maybe you are someone who wants to pack on a few pounds of quality muscle while staying lean. You’re someone who doesn’t want to follow the typically excepted bulking and cutting cycles, where you bulk first and then cut up. Maybe, just maybe, you want to look good all year round and not for just a couple of weeks. I’m with you here on this one. I want to add more muscle myself, but not at the expense of looking like crap for most of the year.

The good news is you don’t have to follow the typical bulk and cut approach to gain muscle. If you know what to do and how to approach muscle gain you can add quality muscle while maintaining, and sometimes even lowering, your body fat levels. The key is to add quality lean muscle without getting fat in the process.

Whatever your muscle building related goals are, these 10 simple tips will become very useful to you as you start to address your muscle building goals. Just remember these tips only do you any good if you start to implement them and implement them consistently!

1: YOU MUST LIFT HEAVY
multi-joint-exercises-liftingIn order for your body to grow you have to MAKE IT! You have to give your body a reason to grow. Your body does not know you are ‘doing weights’ it thinks there is a big weight trying to crush you and it has to get it off. If the weight you’re using is submaximal your progress will submaximal.

The majority of your lifting, heavy lifting, should be performed using the BIG compound lifts, such as the bench press, the squat, the deadlift, clean and jerk and other major push and pull lifts.

2: YOU NEED VOLUME
Along with lifting heavy you must incorporate a certain amount of volume into your training. In order for your muscle to want to grow it has to be stressed A LOT and REGULARLY!

Although I am encouraging you to lift heavy loads, I am not encouraging you to enter the gym and perform low rep sets. The load must be heavy and the repetition range per set should be between 4 and 12 repetitions. The rep range used will depend on the exercise being performed.

For your bigger lifts such as bench, squat and deadlifts you should use repetitions that cover the entire 4-12 repetition range, with most work being performed in the 4-8 repetition range. For smaller lifts, usually isolation based work, you should perform most of your work on these exercises within the 8-12 repetition range.

As a general rule of thumb, the number of sets used will be higher when the repetition number is lower per set. When the repetitions are higher per set, the overall number of sets will be lower.

3: YOU MUST LIFT FAST
Again fast moves come out on top. High threshold motor units (HTMU’s or fast twitch fibers) are responsible for lifting heavy, producing power and speed. They are also the fibers responsible for the growth of the muscle! In order to train these units you must LIFT FAST. SPEED IS KING. If you don’t and you lift slow you risk training your slow oxidative (slow twitch) fibers These fibers have minimal potential for growth. You are wasting your time. LIFT FAST

4: YOU NEED PROGRESS
Your muscles will adapt to a training stimulus very quickly! Never repeat the same session twice, change something. When it comes to modes of progression choose one of the following: Reduce rest periods, increase number of reps, increase number of sets, use different grip widths/ hand positions, elevate your feet, time the workout and compete against yourself. NEVER REPEAT THE EXACT SAME SESSION TWICE. Something has to change in order for your body to keep changing and growing!

5: YOU MUST ‘BREAK’ THE ‘FAST’
You must eat a BIG breakfast! Sleeping has a reputation of being the most beneficial time for building muscle. Not necessarily! You sleep 8 hours and your breakfast isn’t optimal then, I hate to break it to you but you are probably burning muscle right now! EAT YOUR BREAKFAST AND EAT IT BIG!

6: YOU MUST EAT EXTRA PROTEIN
macronutrients-guide-3You need extra protein in your diet. Not just extra calories! Ingesting AT LEAST 1 gram/lb of lean body weight and I recommend 1.2-1.5g/lb of lean body weight If you don’t take in this amount of protein too much can go wrong and you are leaving it up to chance. TAKE IN MORE PROTEIN.

7: YOU NEED EXTRA CALORIES
You need extra calories! In order to try to spare the extra protein you are ingesting so that it can do its job and build some quality lean muscle, you have to keep your body from burning it! Provide it with EXTRA calories to consume so it leaves the protein alone! Careful now, since it only takes a little extra! This is not a “Bulking Phase” which a lot of people use as an excuse to get fat! As a general guide, start at 1 calorie per pound of lean body weight extra per day and work from there.

Again, you need to make sure these extra calories are coming from nutrient rich food sources. Adding extra calories from cheat, nutrient poor foods is pointless and will have you gain weight, not muscle. Be smart and eat smart!

8: YOU MUST EAT BEFORE BED
‘What? Are you crazy?’ – NO. The theory is similar to number 5. If the last meal you ate was at 9pm and you went to bed at 11pm and then slept until 8am. That’s 11 hours of fasting and 11 hours of burning precious muscle! Have a small protein based meal before bed and you will halt this process!

9: YOU MUST RECOVER
In order for muscle to grow it must have periods of rest or active recovery. Constantly attacking you body and never giving it a break will eventually bring your progress to a grinding halt and cause you to become over trained. Recovery is not only abstaining from the gym. It includes everything from pre and post workout nutrition, sleep, stress levels and massage. Basically if you don’t recover you don’t build muscle!

10: DON’T EXPECT TOO MUCH TOO SOON
It is often disheartening for some trainees (especially beginners) that have really given 100% for weeks on end and see no real gains. BE PATIENT. It will NOT happen overnight, you must persevere! Do this and you will achieve the lean muscular body you desire.

I hope you found this information useful to you and your situation. I now strongly urge you to take action, apply the information and take control of your muscle building goals. Ultimately, taking control of the results you will achieve, allowing you to become and feel more energetic and much more confident so you can focus on the things in life that are most important to you.

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Ian Graham

My training philosophy is to always train individuals like they are athletes. Even if they are not competing in any sport, they can gain from this athletic approach. We are all designed to perform like athletes. The athletic approach can help anyone achieve their health and fitness, fat loss and muscle building goals! See my profile page for more information!

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