Gaining more muscle isn’t just about looking your best. It’s about putting your health in the best state it may not have been in for so long. It also goes beyond lifting weights and all the other gym techniques you’re probably familiar with, although doing those would be a good start. Rather, it’s a combination of improving your diet and changing your lifestyle.
Feeling more confident about your physique is only the beginning of the many benefits you’ll reap once you’ve built muscle. These benefits include developing more strength, flexibility, and stamina and managing blood sugar. Having muscular strength even helps you improve your posture, control body fat, and increase bone density.
If gaining muscle is one of your top goals for this year, get the facts right here with these eight surefire ways:
- Commit To Strength Training
One of the common misconceptions about building muscle is that you’ll have to spend long hours at the gym every single day. This isn’t actually true. Half an hour to an hour of exercise is already sufficient as long as you’re doing it right and following the right routine.
Strength training, for instance, is an effective method to develop muscle. The key to getting it right, however, is to be sure that the amount of weight you use or the resistance levels and the number of repetitions you perform are high enough to put the muscle in a state of fatigue. If this isn’t the case, unfortunately, you’re simply hindering the growth of your muscles.
Some of the best strength training exercises you can try include:
- Lifting weights
- Doing heavy gardening like shoveling
- Walking uphill
These physical activities are ideal for beginners as well.
- Pack Your Meals With Protein
A diet focused on protein-rich sources is another secret to building muscle effectively. Some of the best food sources of protein include:
- Meat, like steak and pork
- Vegan protein sources (if you’re vegan)
- Fowl, such as chicken and duck
- Legumes, including chickpeas
To be sure of how much protein you should have in a day, it’s still best to consult with your nutritionist. However, you can do a sample computation: Target at least a gram of protein for every pound of bodyweight you’re currently at. This is only a general equation.
Consulting your doctor or nutritionist will still be better to do before you plan your diet, especially if you’re suffering from any medical condition that may be directly impacted by your protein intake.
- Pump It Up
The phrase ‘pump it up’ means doing a high-intensity workout, which can promote lactic acid production. This is crucial to promoting and enhancing muscle growth too.
Yes, it can be challenging to do hardcore exercises every day. But the good news is that with high-intensity workouts, the duration is often quicker than any other workout. Others can be as quick as 10 minutes and as long as half an hour, depending on your program for the day.
Consider doing some of these high-intensity workouts:
- Speed walking
- Jump roping
- Tabata training (a 4-minute workout that includes a 20-second high-intensity training and a 10-second rest)
While exhausting, this strategy of pumping it up is important to bring in muscle fatigue for better gains.
- Alternate Different Muscle Groups
Alternating different muscle groups is one of the best ways to have positive results. It’s not ideal to focus too much on one muscle group because that can lead to long-term harm or injuries. Your muscles need to be given time to repair.
Moreover, alternating between different muscle groups helps reduce the strain on one muscle since you’re effectively distributing the effort across the muscle groups. This will enable you to sustain your workout better.
Here’s a sample schedule guide you might want to follow:
- Day One: shoulders, triceps, and chest
- Day Two: lower body, like quads, calves, and hamstrings
- Day Three: abs, back, and biceps
- Consume Healthy Carbs
Like protein, an important component of a healthy diet is healthy carbs. Consuming healthy carbs will provide you with enough strength to maintain strength training and high-intensity workout sessions.
The following are some healthy carbohydrates you can include in your diet:
- Whole grain bread
- Whole grain pasta
- Regular potatoes
- Sleep It Off
If you haven’t been sleeping well and long enough lately, then you won’t be able to accomplish your goal to gain more muscle. In fact, you’re not doing your body any good.
Sleep is vital for good health. So, when it comes to building muscle, sleep is crucial for top athletic performance and recovery:
- It gives your muscles a chance to relax and recover and be ready for another workout the next day.
- It enables your body to release muscle-building hormones, which only happen during sleep.
- Drink Plenty Of Water
Before and after every workout session, it’s a must to drink a lot of water. Hydration is key to keeping up with the exercise you’ll be performing. On top of the daily recommendation of at least 8 to 10 glasses of water daily, aim to have an additional 12 to 16 ounces of water before working out. It is recommended that you always bring your reusable glass water bottles during work out sessions in order to still drink the recommended amount of water your body needs.
Sports drinks are fine, but they’re only recommended if you’re going to exercise for more than an hour. Water remains the best and most healthy option to take.
- Don’t Be Afraid Of Healthy Fats
Fats aren’t good, yes, but only if you’re taking it from unhealthy sources. Like carbohydrates, there’s also such a thing known as good fats. This macronutrient is needed by the body to help you reach your calorie goals and store energy. Furthermore, it’s essential for absorbing some nutrients, such as vitamins A and D, providing your cells with structure, and supporting brain and heart functions.
If you’re trying to put on weight on top of increasing muscle mass, indulging in healthy fats will be helpful.
Here are some examples of healthy fats:
- Peanut butter
- Almond butter
- Olive oil
Building muscle entails proper training and discipline and takes time. It’s going to be challenging, but by following all these tips, you’ll be able to gain muscle successfully. Just remember the most important thing: You need to maintain a healthy regimen. With the help of your gym instructor, a health coach, or even a nutritionist, you’ll become the best version of yourself.