Build Muscle Mass Faster with These 5 Fitness Tips
There are some people who naturally develop large, prominent muscles with little effort. Other people, however, spend countless hours hitting the weights and chugging down protein shakes with little effect on their muscle mass. Most people fall into the middle ground: they are capable of sculpting the muscular body they are after with time, effort, and nutrition.
The fact is that each and every person has a unique body chemistry. What works for great for one person may not work as well for the next. Rather than raising the white flag and calling it quits, you should follow the top five muscle building tips listed below to achieve more muscle mass.
Tip #1 – Lift Heavy…Sometimes
The single most important tip to remember when building muscle mass is to structure your workouts around heavy lifting. Pushing your body to its physical limit will stimulate growth by developing microscopic tears in the muscle fibers.
Don’t allow yourself to grow complacent with a particular set of weights. Instead, increase the amount you are lifting on a regular basis.
You also need to know that lifting heavy for week after week is not the best approach to muscle gain and overall fitness. Your body needs different types of stimulation to continue changing. If you always do the same things using the same weights for the same amount of reps, your body will get “lazy” and stop adding muscle.
Your body is conservative in that it will only add the amount of muscle it needs to perform the tasks you are putting it through. To avoid a muscle-building plateau, focus on different PHASES of training.
One very simple way to mix up your training phases is to spend 4-6 weeks lifting “light” weights for 15-20 reps, then spend the next 4-6 weeks lifting “heavy” weights for 8-12 reps. Cycle back and forth in this way to keep your muscles stimulated so they don’t grow complacent and enter a plateau.
Tip #2 – Give Your Body Time To Recover
Recovery is just as important as your actual workout sessions. A good rule of thumb is to rest for at least 48 hours between strength training exercises for the same muscle groups.
For example, if you worked your legs on Saturday morning, for instance, you should wait until Monday morning to work your legs again. As long as you avoid any heavy lifting on Sunday, your muscles should recuperate during this period.
It’s important to note, however, that you can still perform some light cardio training on your ‘off’ days. Going for a jog, walk , or bike ride around the neighborhood won’t hinder your recovery time since it’s a low-intensity workout. However, avoid extended endurance-style cardio training when you are focusing on building muscle mass.
Tip #3 – Focus on Muscle Groups
If you’re trying to build muscle mass, it’s smart to construct a split routine rather than doing full-body workouts every single time you work out. This ties into the concept of adequate muscle rest we discussed above.
A split routine allows you to work certain muscle groups on certain days while the others rest. That way, you can get enough training volume to stimulate the desired muscle groups to grow without overworking them.
Construct your workout plan focused around particular muscle groups. One super-easy way to start working on a split program is to do upper body three days a week and lower body the other three days, allowing one day for complete rest. For example, you could do upper body on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and lower body on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.
Another popular split is working legs, back, and biceps together and chest, shoulders, and triceps on in-between days. Depending on what body parts you are trying to build, you can adjust your training program accordingly. Before getting too creative with your muscle group pairings, be sure you study which muscle groups work together and which ones oppose one another so you can avoid overworking yourself.
Tip #4 – Minimize Your Cardio
One of the biggest mistakes people make when trying to gain muscle mass is performing excessive amounts of cardiovascular exercise. While cardio exercise is certainly effective for losing weight and toning your abs, too much cardio can actually have a negative effect on your muscle mass.
Small bouts of cardio are perfectly fine, but performing too much can literally burn off your muscle mass. Everyone needs some cardio to stay healthy, but don’t overdo it when you’re focusing on bulking up your muscles. Instead of doing long periods of steady endurance-style cardio such as extended jogging, running, or biking, stick with high-intensity interval training (HIIT) exercises.
The body is very specific in the way it will adapt to exercise. If you are training it to run, it will avoid packing on bulky muscle since that interferes with your body’s efficiency during extended running. You must train for the adaptations you want to achieve.
If you want to bulk your muscles, lift weights and perform minimal extended cardio. If you want to run long distances, that is totally up to you, but training in such a way generally interferes with muscle bulking.
Tip #5 – Consume Enough Protein
Arguably, the single most important nutrient for building more muscle mass is protein. This key nutrient plays a direct role in both the growth and recovery of muscle tissue; therefore, common sense should tell you to include more of it in your diet.
The perfect amount of protein varies depending on a your age, gender, weight, activity levels, metabolism and body chemistry. With that said, however, a gram of protein per pound of lean body mass is good starting point for most people. For example, someone who is 180 pounds with 160 pounds of lean mass and 20 pounds of body fat will want to consume 160g of protein daily.
Consuming this amount from food sources alone may prove difficult, but you can compliment your diet with a whey and/or casein protein shake for an additional kick of this key nutrient.
The Bottom Line
There is no “magic bullet” when it comes to building bigger muscles. But there certainly is a right way and a wrong way to go about it. With time, effort, and the five muscle building tips we went over in this article, you will be on the right path to more massive muscles.
Did we forget any of your favorite muscle mass tips? Let us know in the comments below!