6 Most Important Tips for Building Muscle


Whether your goal is to get bigger and stronger or improve power and explosiveness for sports, you want to see progress — and pronto.

But building muscle efficiently requires more than just putting in time at the weight rack. Along with your strength training regimen, diet and lifestyle choices all play important roles.


But before you even start thinking about how to build muscle, it’s instructive to know the primary factors that determine just how much of it you can gain.


3 Factors Affecting Muscle Growth


These are the main criteria dictating increases in muscle size, or hypertrophy — and two of them are outside your control.


Sex


we’re talking gender. The male persuasion unsurprisingly has a decided advantage when it comes to building muscle. That’s due in large part to far greater levels of testosterone and a higher red blood cell count among men than women, who typically have to go to more extraordinary lengths to gain size.


Genetics


Similar to the way it governs how much hair you get to keep, heredity determines how much muscle you can develop. Thanks to genetics, a segment of the populace is born with a higher number of type II, or fast-twitch, muscle fibers, which have the greatest potential for growth.


Training Specificity


The factor you can change is the overall approach you take to your workouts. There are different protocols that distinguish lifting for mass from lifting for strength.

Generally speaking, lifting very heavy weights in low volume is how to gain strength, and lifting moderately heavy weights in higher volume is how to gain muscle.


How to Build Muscle: The 6 Most Important Things You Can Do


For those seeking tips on how to gain muscle, here are some strategies to get you started.


1. Perform multi-joint exercises


Resistance training is the most efficient way to build lean mass — especially if you pack your workouts with big, compound (multi-joint) moves like the squat, bench press, lunge, and pull-ups.

You can certainly build muscle with all types of moves, but a strong base in multi-joint efforts, at least some of the time, is a good idea.


2. Eat more protein


Now that you’re lifting weights, you need to consume more protein for muscle repair, recovery, and growth since amino acids (the building blocks of protein) are necessary to build muscle tissue.

When you’re planning your high-protein meals, 20 grams of protein is the optimal amount generally accepted for muscle growth. Research has that the body doesn’t use much more than 20 grams for muscle building at any one sitting. Around 80 grams of protein per day (or four meals containing 20 grams of protein each) is about right for most people.


3. Don’t just lift heavy


When you lift heavy weights or do explosive exercises like sprinting, you target the type II muscle fibers we discussed earlier. But studies show that type I fibers (aka slow-twitch — the kind used in endurance activities) also have growth potential, so don’t ignore them.

Once every week or two, target those type I fibers with low-weight, high-rep work (e.g., 3–4 sets of 15 or more reps per exercise).


4. Get plenty of sleep


Shoot for a minimum of 7 hours a night. Getting less than that on a regular basis can cause you to rack up sleep debt, which can put the brakes on protein synthesis (aka muscle growth). Plus, you won’t reap the full benefits of the human growth hormone, the levels of which spike while you’re in dreamland.


5. Increase weight responsibly


You need to challenge your muscles to trigger growth, but you also need to be smart about how you go about it. If you increase the amount of weight you’re lifting too quickly, you’ll increase your risk of injury. But if you do it too slowly, you’ll shortchange your results or hit a plateau.

So how do you strike a balance? Pay attention to the effort your exerting, If you’re lifting with perfect form, and your last few reps of an exercise feel similar to your first few, you know it’s time to use a heavier weight.


6. Allow time for recovery


Muscles grow between workouts, not during them, so make recovery a priority. In practice, that means eating healthier, consuming more protein, and not overtraining. Take at least 1 day off per week to allow your muscles to fully recover.

Training too often or at too high an intensity too frequently — without rest and recovery — can actually hurt your muscle-building efforts.


If you are patient, focused, and consistent with your workouts and recovery, you will see results.

In addition to consuming more protein, there are a number of nutritional steps you can take to bulk up responsibly.


1. Increase calories


No one can be in a significant calorie deficit and gain muscle.

For help on figuring out how much you should be eating, and calculating your macros for your goals send me a message karen@fenderfitnessandwellness.com


2. Strike the right mix of macros


Whether your calories come from carbs, fat, or protein goes a long way in determining whether your weight gain comes from muscle or from fat.

An easy and relatively fast way to gain muscle is bulking up first, then leaning out. Using this method, you only have to focus on one thing at a time — building, then getting lean, versus trying to increase mass while simultaneously limiting fat gain

.

3. Focus on post-workout nutrition


Generally, you should consume about 20 grams of protein with some carbs shortly after a workout. I use a post workout supplement, which combines time-released proteins and phytonutrients to aid recovery and reduce muscle breakdown.

During the post-workout anabolic window, you’ll also want to limit fats, which can slow the absorption of protein.

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