I don’t want to sound like a preacher here but there are a few rules you are going to have to follow if you want to gain any appreciable amount of muscle.
Muscle Building Rule Number 1:
You must lift heavy! In order for your body to grow you have to force it to. Your body does not know you are ‘doing weights’ it thinks there is a big ass weight trying to crush you and it has to get it off. If the weight you’re using is submaximal your progress will be very submaximal.
Muscle Building Rule Number 2:
You have to train with some volume. Along with lifting heavy you must incorporate a certain amount of volume into your training. In order for your muscle to grow it has to be stressed a lot, and often.
Muscle Building Rule Number 3:
You must lift fast. Moving fast moves come out on top. High threshold motor units (HTMU’s or fast twitch fibres) are responsible for lifting heavy, producing power and speed. They are also the fibres responsible for the growth of the muscle. In order to train these units you must lift fast (or at least with the intention of moving it fast). If you don’t and you only lift slow for high reps you risk getting slow results.
Muscle Building Rule Number 4:
You need to progress. Your muscles will adapt to a training stimulus very quickly. Never repeat the same session twice, change something. Choose one of the following: Reduce rest periods, increase number of reps, increase number of sets,use different grip widths/ hand positions, time the workout and compete against yourself. Never repeat the same session twice.
Muscle Building Rule Number 5:
You Must Eat Extra Protein. You need extra protein in your diet. Not just extra calories. Ingesting AT LEAST 1gram/lb of lean body weight and I recommend 1.2-1.5g/lb of lean body weight. If you don’t take in this amount of protein too much can go wrong and you are leaving it up to chance. Bottom line? Take in more and you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
Muscle Building Rule Number 6:
Extra calories. In order to try spare the extra protein you are ingesting so that it can do its job and build some muscle you have to keep your body from burning it. Provide it with extra calories to consume so it leaves the protein alone. Careful now, only a little extra. This is not an excuse to get fat. As a guide start on 1kcal/lb of lean bodyweight extra per day for protein sparing.
Muscle Building Rule Number 7:
Break the fast. You must eat a decent breakfast or whatever meal you eat first in the day. Sleeping has a reputation of being the most beneficial time for building muscle. Not necessarily. If you sleep 8 hours and the first meal you eat is a bagel at lunchtime you pretty screwed. I hate to break it to you but you are probably burning muscle right now. You have probably hear of intermittent fasting or something along those lines. If you want to try get the 1000’s of calories you need in from just 2 meals in the evening – be my guest. As for fasting being anabolic? Eating less builds muscle? Cool story.
Muscle Building Rule Number 8:
Eat something decent before bed. The theory is similar to number 6. If the last meal you ate was at 9pm and you went to bed at 11pm and then slept until 8am. get up and have a bagel for lunch. That’s 16 hours of fasting, which is fine under certain fat loss circumstances, not for you. Make sure your last meal before bed is a decent protein and fat based meal.
Muscle Building Rule Number 9:
Don’t expect too much too soon. It is often disheartening for some trainees (especially beginners) that have really given 110% for weeks on end and seen no real gains. Be patient, it will not happen overnight, you must persevere. Do this and you will achieve the lean muscular body you desire.
Muscle Building Rule Number 10:
You must rest and recover. Arguably the most important rule for building muscle nad gaining lean weight. In order for muscle to grow it must have periods of rest or active recovery. Constantly attacking your body and never giving it a break will eventually bring your progress to a grinding halt and cause you to become over trained. Recovery is not only abstaining from the gym. It includes everything from pre and post workout nutrition, sleep, stress levels and massage. Basically if you don’t recover, you don’t build muscle!
I hope you found this informative.
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Bryan Kavanagh BSc CSCS