7 Tips for Serious Muscle Building
What is the best way to build muscles? If you have been wanting to see progress but have been mostly disappointed, then there’s must be something that you need to do right this time. Whatever your fitness goals may be – get bigger, stronger, or more powerful, muscle building has to be done efficiently. Typically, this takes more than just spending time lifting weights. There are must-do resistance training strategies to include in your overall muscle-building program.
1. Introduce variance into your program
Because you desire visible muscle growth right away, you may initially think that lifting heavy weights is the only way to go. Explosive exercises such as sprints and heavy weight-lifting can indeed give you the most, in terms of growth potential, as it targets Type II muscle fibers. Studies suggest, however, that your Type I muscle fibers do have growth potential as well. Better known as the slow twitch, Type I fibers are those often utilized during endurance activities and are not to be ignored. Thus, it would be great to work them out once a week or every 2 weeks via high repetitions and low weight. For instance, you can do 15 reps (or more) with 3-4 sets per exercise. You can also choose among the Beachbody programs that adopts this kind of variation such as the 22-Minute Hard Corps, Master’s Hammer and Chisel, P90X, 21-Day fix, or the Body Beast.
2. Achieve that balance in your lift
You have to mind the way you lift weights and be able to lift responsibly. Yes, your muscles do need to be challenged to activate growth, but there is a smart way of triggering the same. Sometimes, you may tend to shift to heavier weights too quickly that you also increase the chances of injury. However, doing it too slowly can result to a growth plateau or you, shortchanging your growth potential. The key then is to strike that balance by paying close attention to the efforts that you exert. Once you are able to lift in perfect form and you feel that the last few reps seem similar to the first ones you did, then you know that it is time to shift to a heavier weight.
3. Gorge on more protein
Protein is essential to muscle growth, repair, and recovery. Amino acids, or the protein building blocks, are what’s needed to build muscle tissue. You have to eat more protein to make all these happen as you lift weights. For a protein-rich meal, the optimal amount is 20 grams of protein as an American Journal of Clinical Nutrition study has shown that the body only uses up 20 grams of protein to build muscles in one sitting.
For the whole day, about 80 grams – equivalent to 4 meals with 20-grams of protein contained in each meal – is just right for an average individual. To compute the amount of optimal protein that’s suited for you and your fitness goals, it is recommended by the American College of Sports Medicine that the ideal consumption range should be between 0.5-0.9 grams per pound of your body weight per day. For instance, if you weigh 150 pounds, you should consume about 75-135 grams of protein in one day.
In this case, you can split the 80-gram allowance for protein each day by having 3 meals with 20-gram protein content and a post-workout drink which contains the last 20 grams of protein you need, like the Beachbody Performance Recover that provides you with that exact amount per serving conveniently. Meanwhile, if you are the ambitious type and want to build more muscles than that, much like those who are into Beachbody’s Body Beast program, then aim higher and go for the highest grams in the 75-135 range, then add 1-2 additional 20-gram protein snacks to your day. Just make sure you don’t go overboard and go beyond the 135-gram cap. The more you exercise though, the more protein your body will need to consume for muscle building and maintenance.
4. Cover multi-joint exercises
Florida State University Interim Director, Dr. Michael Ormsbee, from the Institute of Sports Science & Medicine, recommends that while all kinds of moves can help build muscles, spending some time doing multi-joint exercises provides for a strong base. When you load your workouts with multi-joint or compound exercises like bench press, squat, pull-up, and lunge, you are tapping the most efficient way in resistance training to build lean mass. Science purports that compound moves trigger the highest increase in testosterone levels which plays a major role as the hormone responsible for muscle building.
5.Sleep some more
When you sleep for less than 7 hours each night, you build up a sleep debt that eventually halts muscle growth or protein synthesis. A study conducted by Brazilian researchers show that sleeping for less than 7 hours on a regular basis increases protein degradation equivalent to muscle degradation. As such, it is best to get 7 hours every night or even sleep some more so that you can activate that muscle growth that you desire. Besides, adequate sleep also gives you other equally-important benefits as the human growth hormone levels are at its peak when you are sound asleep.
6. Minimize cardio exercises
Calories are needed to build muscle and when you burn most of your calories doing cardio exercises, such as biking or running, then your body might have nothing much left for muscle building. To build muscles more quickly, minimize your cardio or use it only for short warm-ups of up to 2 to 5 minutes, and then spend your calories more on the weight training.
7. Give it time to recover
Recovery is crucial in muscle-building because it is actually when muscles grow and not during your workouts. Recovery includes eating healthy with more protein and taking time to rest instead of over training. Over training your muscles at very high intensities too frequently may hurt, cause injury, and put your efforts to waste. On the other hand, rest and recovery days that you spend in between at 1-2 days per week, allows your muscles to recover fully and grow. To maximize your rest days and downtime, you can do light cross training such as cycling, hiking, or yoga. Patience, focus, consistency, and recovery are what you need to achieve your desired results.