10 Principles For Fast Muscle Gains
What most people don’t know is that building a muscular physique is a two part process. First you need to build mass, lots of mass and with that comes muscle. The second part is the cutting phase where you shed body fat, while preserving as much muscle tissue as possible. Bodybuilders have been doing this for decades, because it works. But the average Joe at your local gym has no idea of this concept.
How many times have you had the goal of putting on muscle size and how many times have you failed? This guide will show you 10 sure fire ways to put on size, guaranteed. During this phase you will focus on building mass.
#1 Increase Your Calories
Count your calories to measure success.
Calories are the most important thing to consider when building mass. How many times have you seen the same guys in the gym year after year who gain nothing? If their goal is to build muscle, clearly they are failing to consume enough calories for their body to build mass. It’s easy to tell someone to eat more food, but our bodies fight the urge to consume more than we are used to.
On the flip side, suddenly spiking your calories to meet your new goal is a bad idea because it can cause intestinal turmoil. If you are normally eating 2,000 a day and your new goal is 4,000 that’s the difference of 2,000 calories a day. To reach your new target calorie count, spike your calories up 500-700 calories a week until you reach your goal. The important thing is consistency, you have to consume your target calorie count every day, if you can’t, don’t expect great results.
Use the calculator below to determine your optimal daily calorie needs for mass building.
#2 Drink More Water
So how much water does your body actually need? The optimal amount depends on your body weight. A simple rule of thumb, take your body weight in lbs. and divide that by 2. That's how many ounces you need to drink everyday. So if you weigh 200 lbs. you need to drink 100 oz. of water a everyday. Of course you can drink up to double that, but keep in mind too much of a good thing is bad. It is possible to die from drinking too much water. Never drink more than 1 oz. per lb. of body weight.
#3 Increase Your Protein
Protein, protein, protein...
Protein is the most important macro nutrient for building muscle fiber. When you lift weights you are causing micro tears in your muscles, by consuming high levels of protein, those muscle fibers will have the building blocks needed to repair thicker, thus giving you larger muscles.
So how much protein do you need? Well the average person only needs about a half a gram per pound of body weight a day. But those training with weights and athletes need to consumer higher levels. Your new minimum daily goal is 1 gram per pound of body weight. So if you weigh 200 lbs. You need to consume 200 grams of protein everyday.
The following foods are great sources for protein: eggs, beef, chicken, turkey, fish, milk, nuts,
When consuming a high protein diet, you should also consume food that's high in fiber. Fiber helps slow down the digestion of protein, which helps your body adsorb larger quantities of what you consumed.
#4 Lift Heavier Weights
Another huge mistake beginners make in the gym is not challenging themselves with enough resistance. It's a fact, heavy weights build stronger more dense muscle tissue. Focus on your target reps, if you are aiming for 10 reps but you feel you could do more, you need to increase your weights. You should be struggling to hit your target rep range on every set.
When lifting it's important to breath properly, this will prevent hernias. When contracting a muscle, always exhale, on the negative inhale. So for example, if you are doing the bench press you would exhale while you press the weight off your chest and you would inhale while the bar is coming back down to your chest. Make sense? Good, do it and make it a habit.
Another important tip you need to follow is to invest in a weight belt. Any movement that puts stress on your spine, you should be wearing a weight belt.
#5 Get More Rest
Beginners tend to think their muscles are growing in the gym. This sensation is not muscle growth, it's blood entering the muscle and pumping it up. Understanding the difference is important. When you workout you are actually tearing your muscles down. In fact, if you didn't consume proper nutrition and over trained your muscles, you would actually decrease their size.
Your muscles grow when you sleep. If you had a great workout, make sure you also get a great night sleep to make sure you get the most from your effort.
#6 Limit Workouts to 60 Minutes
It makes sense that the more you workout the faster the results come right? Actually, wrong. Building muscle is a destroy and recover process. If you spend more time destroying your tissue fibers and not enough time resting and recovering, you will get less than optimal results. You should be able to go to your gym and assault your targeted muscle group to exhaustion within 60 minutes. If you can't, you failed.
Don't waste your time talking to people in the gym, wear headphones and get in the zone. its not gossip hour, its training. Keep your eye on the clock, don't let yourself train longer than 60 minutes.
#7 Use Proper Sets and Reps
Your sets and rep range will depend on your goal. If your goal is to lean up and get cut you would focus on higher reps. If you want to grow your muscles and increase strength you need to use a lower rep range around 6-8. Using a medium rep range will give you a taste of both worlds but not as extreme. Most of the year I use a 8-12 rep range depending on how strong I'm feeling.
For your training cycle, you will be focusing on 5 sets of 6-8 reps. If you reach 8 reps and feel you could have done more, increase the weights. Rest 2-2.5 minutes max between sets.
Do three exercises per body part. For larger body parts like your legs and back, do four. Rest 2-3 minutes between each set.
#8 Use Supplements
Supplements should never replace food, they are called supplements for a reason.
Supplements can help you gain the edge you need to have great workouts and achieve faster results. But any nutritionist with half a brain would also tell you that supplements should never replace food. Food holds a higher biological value and there is no better source for micro and macro nutrients than whole foods.
Supplements help you achieve your daily goals. The best time to take supplements are before and after your workouts. That being said, there are many options as your disposal. Most of the supplements you see are a complete waste of money. You will literally piss your money away if you don't understand what your putting in your body.
For now, stick to protein powders, creatine and BCAA (Branched Chains Amino Acids) drinks. If money is tight, protein powders are the necessity and are the single most important supplement you can take for building muscle mass.
Take your protein shake and creatine immediately after your workout. It's also beneficial to consume some basic sugars after your workout as well. BCAA drinks should be consumed during your workout. BCAA drinks are essentially just per-digested proteins which absorb quickly in your body.
#9 Favor Free Weights Over Machines
Machines are great, but they have their time and place and it's not for bulking.
Favor free weights over machine is a general principle you need to follow when bulking up. During your cutting phase it's okay to add some machine movements, but nothing packs on muscle tissue as effective as free weights (dumbbell and barbell movements).
#10 Do Compount Exercises
Compound exercises are movements that recruit multiple muscle groups. The three compound movements that you should be doing are bench presses, dead lifts and squats.
Like most things in life, if you want results you have to have a plan. The strategy of your plan and your dedication and commitment to that plan will determine the level of success you achieve. If you're serious about packing on muscle, this plan will work for you. Ultimately, your results it will depend on your commitment and how strict you follow this plan.