17 Effective Muscle Building Tips You Need to Know
Category: Healthy Living
Posted on February 20, 2021
Vanessa is a health writer and blogging expert. Her specialities are medicine, health and wellness. She is proud to call Vancouver, BC her home where she enjoys the ocean and mountains with her dog Mr. ChowChow.
Is working out and growing your muscles a part of your 2021 new year’s resolution?
During the lockdowns, a lot of people gained weight and struggled with #quarantineweightgain. You may be a part of this demographic and are only now feeling the side effects of this weight gain. Your gym routine may have gotten interrupted by the pandemic.
However, the pandemic also led to the trend of working out from home. Many people turned to online fitness YouTubers to get in their daily grind.
No matter what you faced in the past year, it’s a good thing that you’re taking steps to improve yourself now. We’re here to help you learn the fastest way to build muscle through small and big changes. Keep reading to learn our muscle building tips.
1. Muscle Building Tips: Eat More Protein to Build Muscles
Building muscle is not only a workout goal but a lifestyle change, meaning you have to change your diet. Whether you want to lose weight and build muscles or only gain muscles, you need protein. Your body relies on protein to build muscle.
If you do not see any results from resistance training, protein can give you a boost. If you're trying to lose weight, protein can reduce your hunger and cravings. Aim to eat more protein-rich foods or a protein bar when you feel like snacking.
Your body also uses its protein reserves for other functions, like making hormones. Thus, you’ll need to ensure that your body is storing more proteins than it is breaking down. When you create your diet plan, aim for around 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight.
2. Consume Your Carbs Post-Workout
Let’s continue with another solid diet tip but on carbohydrates this time. After you hit the gym, make it a habit to eat carbs afterward. Doing this will increase your insulin levels and slow the rate of protein breakdown.
It’s easy to change your eating schedule if you often do your workout in the morning. If you do your workout at other times of the day, try to schedule it close to another mealtime. You can even hit your daily carb limit with a carb-loaded snack if you can’t schedule it like this.
3. Have Some Ice Cream 2 Hours After Your Workout
This is good news for ice cream lovers who also want to build muscle! You can get a bowl of ice cream of any flavor two hours after you work out.
Ice cream triggers a surge of insulin better than other types of foods. Like your post-workout carb meal, it’ll slow down your protein breakdown. You want this happening within your body if you don’t want to lose the lean body mass you’re working on.
4. Get Plenty of Sleep and Rest
Sleep and rest are necessary for building muscle fast because sleep adds muscle. Like your brain and other parts of your body, your muscles recover and repair during rest. You want to get the recommended hours of sleep, which is 7-9 hours for adults.
Getting enough muscle recovery is crucial if you want to build muscle. Otherwise, you may experience overfatigued muscles, muscle injury, or illness. Always treat your muscles well if you want them to grow fast.
5. Eat Something Every Three Hours
Eating at the right time is another vital part of boosting muscle mass. This is a great way to keep your cravings away and trim the fat. Plus, you’ll always have something in your stomach, which will keep you from feeling hungry.
You don’t need to change anything with your usual meal schedule. Eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner as you often do. All you need to do is to add meals post-workout, pre-bedtime, and two more snacks between those meals.
Always make sure you eat the right foods. Keep to a whole, natural, and protein-focused diet and avoid GMOs. You can learn more about GMO health risks here.
6. Vary Your Daily Workout Routine
If you’re plotting your weekly muscle-building routine, make sure you have variety. Vary the rep count for each day, so you have a heavy day, light day, and medium day. For your heavy day, you’d want to increase the weights you’re lifting and do low reps.
A light day is the opposite, with more reps and lighter weights. The medium day sits in a happy middle between the two. It’s a great way to keep your body adapting and to target all your muscle fibers.
If you don’t have this variation in your workout routine, you can get bored fast. It’s one of the signs you need a new workout routine. If you feel that your routine is getting boring, add challenge and variety.
7. Stick to Compound Exercises
If you’re new to the gym and bodybuilding, you may feel clueless about the exercises you need to do. You may end up copying the bodybuilding routines of pros and long-time gym-goers. This can lead to injury and get you to lift weights or do exercises that are too advanced for you.
Rather than open yourself to the risk of injury, start with compound exercises. Better yet, make them the foundation of your workouts. If you want to do the most work and hit the widest range of muscles, compound exercises are the secret.
Examples of compound exercises include the:
- Bench press
- Overhead press
These exercises hit a wide range of muscles, which is more time-efficient. Only do isolation exercises when necessary. Some examples are when your triceps aren’t developing as fast or when one side is smaller than the other.
8. For Strength Training, Train Heavy
If you want to learn how to build muscle mass, you need to learn how to train heavy. Lifting heavier weights will fatigue your muscles faster than using light weights. Take a hint from our previous tip and focus on doing heavy compound exercises.
Most people underestimate their strengths and lift weights that are lighter than necessary. When you’re at the gym, try out each barbell or dumbbell for a few reps. It will give you an idea of whether you picked out a weight that is challenging enough for you.
However, note also what we said earlier. Try to fit your heavy days into a schedule. This way, you’re not always working your muscles to the point of fatigue. Later on, we’ll discuss this more on the topic of muscle recovery.
9. Watch Your Rest Times Between Sets
There’s no reason for you to rush your sets. Take the time you need to rest between each set, especially if you’re doing heavy training. The average rest time between heavy sets is 2-3 minutes.
If you’re training light, you can cut that rest time down to 30-90 seconds. This short resting time is the ideal rest period for pure muscle gains. Keep the timer on your fitness watch or phone open and ready to count down the seconds when you finish a set.
10. Give Your Muscles a Few Days of Recovery
If it’s your first time to work out, you can take a few days of rest in between heavy lifting sessions. The ideal recovery time for your muscles after a heavy workout is 48 hours. Thus, as a beginner, it’s okay to schedule your strength twice a week.
Heavy training is a great muscle booster. However, you want to avoid overdoing it. As you become more advanced, you want to increase your strength sessions 3 or 4 times a week.
11. Drink Before and After You Exercise
For this muscle building tip, we’re not talking about water. We’ll discuss the importance of water when working out below. For now, we’re on the topic of post- and pre-workout drinks.
If you go to the gym often or you’ve already done your research, you may have come across these drinks. These pre-workout drinks are shakes that contain carbohydrates and proteins. They affect protein synthesis in the body, which aids the muscle-building process.
The other ingredients in pre-workout drinks include:
- Amino acids
Post-workout drinks contain more or less the same ingredients.
If you don’t have the means to buy pre and post-workout supplements, you can make them by yourself. There are tons of great recipes for these drinks and shakes online.
12. Add Healthy Fats to Your Diet
Going on a healthy diet doesn’t mean you won’t be consuming fats anymore. Like protein and carbs, your body needs healthy fats to function. However, note that the keyword there is healthy.
Foods that have high-fat content but are healthy include:
- Fatty fish (salmon, trout, mackerel, and herring)
- Chia seeds
- Coconut oil and coconuts
- Full-fat yogurt
These foods have good monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. They work to balance the number of calories you eat from the calories you burn. Add them to your diet to stay healthy.
13. Eat Your Protein in Smaller Sizes
As we mentioned, protein is essential to a healthy muscle-building diet, and it shows if you follow your diet. However, you don’t always need to eat your protein in one big meal. You can also divvy up your protein throughout the day if you want to avoid cravings.
This is helpful for those who are on a calorie deficit. Having a bit of grilled chicken every few hours can keep you away from hunger cravings. It’s also beneficial for muscles to spread your protein throughout the day.
14. Consider Supplements
You can’t always get everything you need from your food. Sometimes, you may not even have access to healthy foods. They may be too expensive for your budget or unavailable in your area.
This is where supplements come in. It’s better to take supplements than to lack essential nutrients and vitamins. Before you buy supplements, check out this guide to buying medication online.
15. Drink Water
Whenever you’re training or working out, you sweat and use up your body’s water reserves. If you don’t rehydrate during the day, your water loss can impair muscle recovery. Drink water to prevent dehydration and to keep you from feeling hungry.
16. Learn the Proper Technique and Form of Your Exercises
If muscle building is your goal, make sure you know the right way to do the exercises. You can’t build your chest muscles if your shoulder muscles are taking over the bench press. Using improper forms can even lead to muscle injury.
Before you try a new exercise with a machine, body weight, or weight, learn the proper form. You can find tons of online videos and tutorials that explain the correct forms. If you want a more hands-on approach, get a trainer to check your form when you’re doing the exercise.
17. Be Patient and Set Realistic Goals Under Doable Timelines
Don't expect to grow muscles after only a day or a week of training. You won’t see any visible results if you're not consistent. Patience and consistency are key to building your ideal body type.
In line with this, you want to make sure that you can reach your goals in the time you set. Fooling yourself with unrealistic goals can only cause frustration and discourage you.
Stay Healthy and Build Your Muscles With These Tips
That ends our list of the 17 effective muscle building tips everyone needs to know. We hope this guide helped you learn something new about living a healthy and fit life. Remember, if you want to get your ideal body, you need to adopt a healthy lifestyle.
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