All it takes is one internet search to be inundated with muscle growth tip guides, overnight weight loss tricks, and countless fad diets and fitness trends.
If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed by all the conflicting information out there, you’re not alone. It’s a common struggle people face when they’re taking their first steps on their fitness journey, regardless of the end goal.
But why is there so much conflicting information? Is it really that difficult to reach your body goals? Well, the truth is that the fitness industry is worth almost 100 billion dollars for a reason.
Unfortunately, our desire for instant gratification has opened the door for endless quick-fix solutions that, more often than not, will actually hurt your efforts more than help them.
Are you ready to break through all the nonsense and start building your dream body? You’ve come to the right place.
Outlined below is a guide to building muscle strength and size that will put you on the road to reaching your goals. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know.
Take the Time to Set Goals
The first step in any fitness journey is to set goals. Without strong, well-planned goals, you’ll find it much harder to stay motivated and might even find yourself feeling a bit lost along the way.
The key to creating a goal you’ll actually reach is to ensure that it’s a SMART goal. This means it’s specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-sensitive.
It’s not enough to say “I want to get stronger” or “I want to get bigger”. Because while these are excellent jumping-off points, they aren’t good goals.
Instead of “I want to get stronger,” your goal should be something like “I want to gain 20 pounds by January 1st. I will do this by eating 3000 calories per day and going to the gym 3 times per week.”
Now, it’s okay to have multiple goals at once. For example, your goals might be to gain ten pounds and be able to bench press 200 pounds by x date in the future. Just be sure not to overwhelm yourself by trying to fulfill too many goals at once.
Remember, your goal (or goals) should be attainable. If trying to tackle two or three at once makes them unattainable, this isn’t the right route to take.
Increase Your Caloric Intake
Though making an exercise plan and lifting heavy are essential elements when you’re looking for the answer to how to grow muscle, many people don’t realize that your diet is 90% of the battle. If your diet isn’t right, your exercise regimen could be perfect and you’ll still never reach your goals.
In order to build muscle, you’ll need to gain weight. This means your body needs to be in a positive energy balance. In other words, you need to consume more calories than you burn.
Sure, there are small details and factors that can affect the type of weight on our bodies, but at the end of the day, weight loss and weight gain truly are that simple. If you eat more calories than you burn, you’ll gain weight. Burn more calories than you consume, and you’ll lose weight.
You might be tempted to try to increase your caloric intake by thousands in one day, but this is a mistake. As with anything health and fitness-related, changing the number of calories you consume in a day should be gradual.
Let’s say you currently eat around 2000 calories a day without gaining or losing weight. Increase your calorie consumption to 2500, then wait two weeks. If, at the end of this period of time, the number on the scale hasn’t changed, go up another 500 calories.
Eat the Right Kinds of Calories
As we mentioned above, there are small adjustments that you can make to change the type of weight on your body. For example, you discover that eating an additional 1000 calories is where you need to be to gain weight. The easiest solution is to eat a carton of ice cream or a box of cookies, right?
Well, yes, this is the easiest route to take, but that doesn’t mean it’s the best one. If you increase your intake of empty calories and sugar-laden foods to this degree, you’re going to find that you put on more fat than you were hoping for.
To put on clean weight (i.e. more muscle than fat), you need to be conscious of the type of calories that you’re eating. For optimal results, the bulk of your diet should consist of whole, nutrient-dense foods. This means options with little to no ingredients such as fruits, vegetables, healthy carbs and fats, and lean proteins.
There’s nothing wrong with enjoying a bowl of ice cream after an intense lifting session. In fact, ice cream is a great snack after strength training. But sugary treats should be kept to a minimum.
Put Extra Focus on Protein
Continuing on with the topic of calories, let’s talk about protein. Your muscles are made up of 20% protein, making it the most important macronutrient you can consume if your goal is to increase muscle strength.
In order to pack on muscle, you need to eat around two grams of protein per kilogram of your body weight every day at the start of your journey. So if you weigh 160 pounds or 72 kilograms, you should eat around 144 grams of protein per day.
After you’ve made it through the first three months or so of your new routine, you can scale your protein intake back to 1-1.5 grams per kilogram of body weight.
Consider Adding Supplements to Your Routine
Eating as much protein as necessary to build muscle can be tough, especially for those with busy schedules and not a lot of time to cook. Because of this, one of the best strength training tools available is the protein shake.
A good protein shake will include 25-30 grams of protein per scoop of protein powder, and many brands recommend two scoops per shake. That’s 50-60 grams of protein in one snack or meal!
You could also consider doing research into sarms for sale to take your muscle-building capability to the next level. The only caveat here is that you should always consult your physician before adding a new supplement to your routine. Though they’re safe to use for most people, they can react negatively with certain prescription medications and underlying conditions.
Create a Training Schedule
Now that we’ve gone over everything you need to know about diet, it’s time to get into the exercise aspect of the recipe for muscle strength.
As we discussed, part of making good goals is to make them as specific as possible. You shouldn’t walk into the gym for the first time without a plan. When you’re crafting your training schedule, much of it will be specific to you, your other obligations, and your goals. However, there are a few general rules to follow.
The first is that you should never train the same muscle on consecutive days. So if your plan involves full-body workouts, you’ll need to skip a day between sessions. If you’re going to focus on a specific muscle in each workout, be sure to switch muscles every time.
You also shouldn’t lift every day. Start by lifting just two days a week, then build up from there, but don’t exceed four days a week.
Perfect Your Form First
It’s very important that when you approach weightlifting, you put proper form first at all times. Lifting with improper form will not only make it more difficult to reach your goals but can also lead to serious injury, delaying your progress even more.
If you know what proper form looks like, start by lifting light weights in front of a mirror to ensure you’re doing the movements correctly. If you’re unsure, it’s never a bad idea to reach out to a professional for help. A certified personal trainer can put you on the right track in terms of the specific exercises you complete and your form while doing them.
Compound Lifts are Essential
There’s a time and place for isolation lifts, but it isn’t when your goal is to build muscle. To get the most out of your efforts, you need to focus on compound lifts only. These are exercises that involve multiple joint movements and target multiple major muscle groups.
Specifically, you should focus on the big five of weightlifting. These are squats, bench press, deadlifts, overhead barbell press, and barbell row. With these lifts, you’ll work every major muscle group in your body and see results faster as a result.
Know Your Limits
Any weightlifting enthusiast will tell you that, in order to build muscle size and strength, you have to push yourself. Lifting the exact same amount of weight every time you go into the gym won’t get you anywhere. That said, everyone has limits, and you need to know yours.
Trying to lift too heavy too quickly will result in energy and force you to take time off from your workouts. Certain weightlifting plans will tell you to lift to complete failure, but this isn’t the best route to take. This is because, as we’ve already discussed, lifting with proper form is key.
If you can squat 100 pounds eight times, but on the eighth time you’re struggling so much you lift with bad form, you’re going too hard. Instead of lifting to complete failure, lift to failure of form. If you know you can’t do another rep with good form, stop where you are.
Get Plenty of Rest
Last but not least, getting the appropriate amount of rest is essential to building muscle. When you lift heavy weights, your muscles are strained to the point of being ripped apart. Later, while you’re sleeping, your body goes to work repairing the damaged muscles, rebuilding them bigger and stronger than they were before.
If you aren’t getting your 7-9 hours of high-quality sleep per night, you’re robbing your body of the ability to do this job effectively.
Regular exercise can help to improve your quality and length of sleep, but if you find that you still have a hard time falling or staying asleep, there are a few things you can do. First, ensure that you aren’t drinking caffeine in the afternoon or evening hours. Next, try putting your phone and other electronics away an hour before bed and participate in a relaxing activity instead.
Track Your Progress
Throughout your fitness journey, there are going to be times where you feel discouraged. You’ll feel that, despite your best efforts, you aren’t getting where you want to be fast enough and maybe you’ll never get there.
This is an incredibly toxic way of thinking and should be avoided whenever possible, but sometimes you simply can’t help it. When this happens, it’s helpful to have a record of the progress you’ve made thus far.
That way, you’ll be able to look back and see, in your own writing, that you have in fact made progress. And though you might not be getting where you want to be as quickly as you’d like, you’re much closer to your goals than you were when you started.
This record can be kept in your phone or in a notebook or planner, as long as it’s kept in something that can be carried with you.
In it, write down everything. Write down how many calories you eat each day, how long you worked out, and how much you were able to lift in each exercise.
Twice a month, take your measurements and write those down as well. Do not do this every day, as it’s a great way to increase feelings of discouragement. Be kind to yourself! You wouldn’t expect a loved one to change their body overnight and you shouldn’t expect it of yourself either.
Build Your Dream Body With This Muscle Growth Tip Guide
The fitness industry can make you believe that there’s a secret recipe to any goal you might have, whether that’s a slim, toned physique or a strong, muscular body.
But as you can see with this muscle growth tip guide, there’s no secret. There’s no overnight solution. Achieving your dream body takes dedication, hard work, and putting your health first always. Do these things and, over time, you’ll see the results that you’re looking for.
Looking for more tips to improve your appearance through prioritizing health and fitness? Be sure to check out our blog!