Building muscle is a common goal for a lot of gym-goers; it's a big reason why most of us return to the gym. The question is - how do we build muscle effectively?
Building muscle requires more than just attending the gym, or consuming vast amounts of protein. You must push your muscles to the limit, but it's also important to allow time to recover. It is also important to ensure you're diet is filled with protein, carbohydrates and fruit and vegetables to assist muscle growth.
Here, we explore core principles of building muscle.
Workout regimes should rely on compound and isolation movement with weights. This may require adjusting specific exercises, sets and repetitions to ensure long-term gains and consistency in muscle growth.
Make sure you're choosing your exercises well and smartly.
In most cases, you should be performing an optimal 8-10 reps when using weights. Make sure that the weight you choose to use should leave at or near failure on your specified number of repetitions.
You should choose your exercises well, as muscle building is specific to the muscle being worked.
For example, if you want to build bigger biceps, you should choose exercises that cater to and benefit bicep growth.
It's also important to perform 'progressive overload' when building muscle mass. Progressive overload requires you to overload the muscle you're working on, an example of these is increasing your total reps that week.
Make sure your workouts are structured well, so you're not overdoing it.
A rule of thumb: Perform 3 sets of 3-5 compound movements, followed by 3 sets of 1-2 isolation movements per workout.
Remember to log your weights so you can also identify progression.
Make sure you're leaving one days rest between training the same muscle groups - this allows the muscle to repair and ultimately rebuild and grow stronger between workouts.
A good nights sleep is absolutely necessary when attempting to gain muscle mass - ensure you're getting an optimal 8 hours sleep per day.
Eating breakfast gives you an immediate burst of energy and helps you to stay full until your next meal. Eating breakfast everyday helps you stick to a routine and will enable you to keep in this habit moving forward. The best breakfast to try when building muscle mass are:
What you have for breakfast can be pretty flexible, as long as you're getting carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats in your meal.
In order to build muscle mass, you need to ensure you're consuming a lot of protein in your diet. You should consume 1g of protein per KG of body weight. Proteins that you should try and incorporate into your meals include:
Protein is important, but it's equally as important to get your veggies in. Most fruit and veg are low calorie, so you'll be able to consume larger amounts without gaining fat or weight. Fruit and vegetables are full of fibre, vitamins and minerals which helps with digestion.
Carbohydrates are your number 1 energy source, so it's super important your diet consists of at least 60% carbs when building muscle mass.
Water loss is caused though strength training, so you must replenish the lost fluid after your workout to prevent muscle recovery impairment and avoid dehydration.
Drinking lots of water will also help you keep hydrated before, during and after intense workouts.
For your pre-workout meal, it is advised to consume 50g of carbs 30-60 minutes prior to your workout. Alternatively, you can purchase pre-workout supplements and powders.
For post-workout, ensure you're consuming carbs and proteins within your post-workouts meals to stimulate protein synthesis.
Here, we have listed 5 delicious recipes that are not only delicious, heart (and tummy) warming - but also low calorie *mind-blown*