Building muscle may seem like it should be as simple as ‘go to the gym and lift weights’, but if you want to pack on some serious gains then it becomes a more thorough process than that. You need to start thinking about your diet, what and when you’re eating, and to seriously plan your training schedule so that you’re working the right muscles and doing the correct exercises to enhance growth. If you’re serious about building muscle then read on for some of our best tips so you can start seeing results sooner rather than later.
1. Lose fat first
Some people may disagree, but I feel like if you want to build muscle then you should first lose any excess body fat. Men should have around 10% body fat and women up to 19%. The reason I’m saying fat should be lost before the muscle building programme starts is that in order to build muscle, we have to consume more calories than we’re burning, meaning you’ll have to work a lot harder to get rid of this fat in the future. Furthermore, with less fat your hormonal system is more finely tuned to building muscle as your testosterone levels will naturally be higher.
2. Lift heavy
A lot of people who want to gain muscle don’t lift the right amount of weight to do so. You should perform between 8-12 reps per set, and 3-5 sets per exercise. If you can do 3-5 sets of 12 reps at a weight without any problem, then increase the weight. Another effect method is to do 5 reps and 5 sets at a very heavy weight. It only takes looking at a bodybuilder’s training to see why lifting heavy works. Bodybuilder’s always train with a partner because having a spotter there for the last few reps will help you push through with the heavier weight, rather than having to give up. These last few reps are so important for getting the most out of your muscles.
3. Avoid Cardio
I wouldn’t recommend avoiding cardio for an extended period of time, as this is not beneficial for your body’s overall health. But if you’re on a 8/12 week muscle building programme then it’s best to lay off the football, tennis and running. Your body needs excess calories to build muscle, and doing a significant amount of cardio makes it hard to burn less than you consume. Do cardio as a 10-minute warm up before you begin training, then focus on the weights.
You have to eat a lot to build muscle. If you’re a naturally thinner person with a rapid metabolism then you basically have to spend your whole day eating. In order to increase your muscle mass by 2 kilos a week, you’d have to consume over 2,500 extra calories. Protein is an important muscle builder, but don’t overlook the rest of the food chain and stock up purely on chicken and fish. Continue to eat carbohydrates, and make sure you’re still getting enough fruit and vegetables as these are essential for your energy levels more than any calorific benefit.