Have you been trying to build muscle for some time, but you just can’t see the results? If that’s the case, you’re probably doing one of the two essential things wrong. Either you’re doing the wrong type of exercises or you’re adhering to a wrong diet. Building lean muscle is manageable, but only if you are ready to dedicate yourself to a strict workout regimen and change your eating habits.
Begin with strength exercises
Basic, multi-joint strength training should be the first thing on your list. Start building your muscles by doing squats to build leg muscles, barbell rows for back muscles, overhead presses for deltoids and bench presses for chest. By doing these exercises, you’ll quickly be able to lift more weight, and you’ll still have enough stamina to stimulate muscle growth.
Include high-intensity training
If you are only doing light workouts, you won’t achieve your goal, no matter how long the workout lasts. Therefore, do a 45-minute session three or four times a week, and make it as intense as possible. Don’t be afraid to test your limits and lift as much weight as you can by doing reps with different weights. If you can’t do 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps without putting down the weights, make sure you lower the weight a little. To stimulate growth, try to do 6-12 reps because if you do less you’ll improve your strength without building enough muscle. Do a full-body workout every other day to increase the protein synthesis. On your rest days, your muscles will grow, so it’s essential that you don’t pump up the iron every day.
Alternate muscle groups
Doing the same muscle group all the time can only damage your muscles, so it’s essential that you include different muscle groups into your every workout. For example, during your first workout of the week, you can focus on your upper body, and tone your abs, back, shoulders and chest. The next day, focus on biceps, triceps and legs, and go back to the chest and abs on the third day.
Eat enough proteins and carbohydrates
Nutritious whole foods should be your main source of calories. Calorie-dense foods, which mostly consists of sugars, bleached white flour, trans fat and additives would only build fat. So, instead of eating such meals, make sure you go for the whole foods from various food groups. Pork, roasted chicken, roast beef, steak, salmon and eggs are calorie-rich protein dishes that will provide you with enough calories to help you build muscle fast. To add some more proteins to your body, use supplements, and look for the best protein powder if you want to bulk up. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables to give your body enough fibres. Eat whole grains, such as quinoa, buckwheat, whole wheat, and oatmeal instead of waffles, pancakes, muffins and white bread. Legumes and nuts are also good food choices, so eat plenty of lima beans, pinto beans, black beans, almonds, peanuts, walnuts and pecans.
Furthermore, it’s vital that you eat regularly, and don’t skip meals. Don’t wait until you’re hungry to have your next meal but refuel your body constantly. Eat something every three hours in order to keep the rate at which your body builds new muscle. Having a bowl of ice cream, a peanut butter sandwich, a banana or any meal rich in carbs two hours after the workout will trigger a surge of insulin and prevent a post-workout protein breakdown.
Make time for rest
Rest is essential for your health, but for muscle building as well. Therefore, try to sleep between seven and eight hours a night to stimulate muscle growth. Plan for your rest days as well, and have at least one day of rest between the workout days. Avoid stressing out too much! Excessive amounts of stress elevate cortisol, a hormone that helps the body burn muscle and store fat.
Don’t overlook the importance of water intake during your workout. Water makes up to 70% of your body and if you keep it dehydrated, your muscles will suffer. Therefore, avoid sugary and carbonated drinks, but stick to the good old water. It’s crucial that you avoid any alcohol as well because it contributes to dehydration just as sugars do.
Have a snack before going to bed
Eating a combination of carbohydrates and protein half an hour before bed will reduce protein breakdown in your muscles. Mix a cup of raisin bran and a cup of milk or cottage cheese, and a small bowl of fruit. Have the same treat first thing in the morning, and you’ll get much better results.
Building muscle isn’t as difficult as it may seem at first. You need to be on a strict diet and work out regularly if you want a six-pack and strong arms! Also, it’s vital that you stay hydrated, make time for rest and you’ll build muscle before you know it.