Tips For Building Muscle
- Use compound exercises that recruit maximal muscle fibers. Save the isolation exercises for when you have a solid foundation. Read here to see why compound exercises are the key to building muscle.
- Focus on getting stronger.
- Eat a carbohydrate and protein dense meal post-workout.
- Allow at least 48 hours between intense workouts for recovery. Here are 10 muscle recovery tips for improved performance.
- Use free weights. Machines are fine, but free weights are where the gold is.
- Drink enough water. Stay fully hydrated. Read why drinking water is the secret to fat loss.
- Eat. If you’re not at least eating maintenance calories, it’s going to be hard to put on muscle.
- Focus on quality nutrition, and not just calories and macronutrients. Nutrient density is key. Here are 100 healthy foods you can eat.
- Sleep at least 8 hours a night.
- Train your legs. Don’t be a beach bodybuilder (ie only train chest and arms).
- Get under the bar and squat. Read here for instruction on doing the perfect squat.
- Eat the majority of your calories around your workout.
- Eat shortly after your workout to maximize muscle glycogen storage.
- Eat enough protein. Aim for at least .6-.8 grams/lb of lean body mass to maintain protein synthesis.
- Periodize your workouts. Create structure out of variation to continue getting stronger. Read more about incorporating periodization.
- Eat your essential fatty acids (EFAs). Fish oil is your friend. Read 33 health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids.
- Be consistent with your exercise and nutrition. Don’t skip days.
- Make sure you’re getting stronger from workout to workout. Add weight, reps, or reduce rest periods.
- Lift with intensity. Read these 9 reasons you should increase your exercise intensity.
- Get under the bar and squat. Did I already say that?
- Lift heavy.
- Be patient. If you put on .5lbs of muscle a week, you’re doing amazing.
- Keep a training journal. You need to know the weight and reps you’re trying to beat.
- Don’t just wing your workouts. Have a plan before you get to the gym.
- Keep a food journal.
- Utilize active recovery. Read more about improving performance by incorporating active recovery.
- Be realistic. We all have our genetic limits. However, chances are, your limits are further away than you think!
- Supplements are not necessary, but fish oil, protein powders, and vitamins won’t hurt.
- Train to failure. This is debatable, but used sparingly, the results don’t lie.
- There’s no need for gender specific workouts. Muscle is muscle.
- Get under the bar and squat 😛
- Take body fat measurements so you can track your lean body mass gains. Here are 10 great ways to track your progress.
- Take before and after progress pictures so you can see if your training program is on the right track.
- Limit cardio. If you want some cardiovascular training, up the intensity of your workouts. Read more about how much cardio you should do to lose weight.
- Implement dynamic stretching to improve performance.
- Give your body a reason to grow. Don’t let it adapt.
- Use exercises like the bench press, squat, deadlift, rows, and variations thereof.
- Give your central nervous system a break too. Several back to back days of intense lifting can burn you out.
- Take a week off every few months for complete recovery of your muscle, tendons, joints, and mind.
- Get a workout partner if you need a little extra push.
- Optimize your natural hormones (testosterone, growth hormone, IGF-1) with short but intense workouts. Read more about how to boost growth hormone for better muscle gains and fat loss.
- Eat solid food. Protein shakes are fine, but they aren’t replacements for real food.
- Time your carbs or implement carbohydrate cycling to keep fat gain minimal. Read more about how to implement nutrient timing.
- Educate yourself. If you’re reading this, you’re on the right path. Read everything you can about fitness.
- Have fun with your workouts. If you don’t enjoy them, you won’t stick with them.
- Make pre-workout nutrition just as much of a priority as your post-workout nutrition. Fuel your workouts.
- As a beginner, use 2-3 full body workouts a week. Turn that into a split with more recovery as your experience level advances.
- Don’t be afraid to eat at night. Weight gain occurs as a result of excess calories, not from eating after 7pm.
- Use proper form. Exercise your muscles and not your ego.
- Last but not least, get under the bar and squat!
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