Most people who exercise do so for two main reasons – to lose weight or to build muscle. Sometimes these can be done concurrently. In order to lose weight people do cardio exercises which help in shedding the fat. They also focus on burning more calories than they are consuming. Building muscle is a bit more complicated because it requires eating and exercising in the right way. A lot of lean men and women fail to build muscle because they think it is as simple as lifting some weights and waiting for the results. Building muscle takes hard work, consistency, and most of all knowledge on how exactly you can pack on the muscles.
So here are 8 tips to get you started on your bulking journey.
1. Eat Enough
As you work on increasing the size of your muscles you must provide your body with enough food to support this growth. It is important to consume enough calories to ensure that you are taking in more calories than you are burning. A calorie deficiency leads to weight loss so aim for the opposite. Taking in more calories leads to weight gain and when coupled with weight-training this will result in muscle growth.
2. Eat Right
Eating enough is, well not enough! You have to also consume the right foods. Work on eliminating non-nutritious and high-calorie foods such as processed sugars, processed grains, and junk food. Replace them with nutritious foods such as fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, healthy fats, and carbohydrates. For best results aim to always eat whole foods which are unprocessed and unrefined. Refined and processed foods often have the vitamins and minerals taken out and replaced with sugars, fats, and chemicals. Also, remember to stay hydrated at all times to counter the water loss you will experience while sweating.
3. Eat Frequently
Apart from eating right, it is also important to eat many meals in a day to ensure that your calorific expenditure is met. Do not skip the three main meals during the day, particularly breakfast. A morning meal is important as it gives you a burst of energy to help you get through the day. It will also keep you from reaching out for unhealthier foods in the course of the day. Apart from the usual breakfast, lunch, and dinner, be sure to snack between meals. Eating every three hours will keep you full and reduce cravings. Eating small meals more frequently as opposed to larger meals will also help reduce the size of your stomach and help you keep your core and waist trim.
4. Eat Protein
Always keep in mind that the body requires protein to build muscle. The process of storing protein – protein synthesis – is what results in muscle growth. So the more protein your body has to store the more protein is available for muscle building. Try to consume foods rich in protein on a daily basis. Meat is a great source of protein, but vegan options like tofu and lentils are also useful. Other great sources of protein include eggs, dairy products, and nuts. Eat protein with each and every meal. But be careful not to overdo it with the protein because any protein not used in muscle building will be stored as fat. A rule of thumb to remember is you need approximately one gram of protein for every pound of body weight. So if you weigh 150 pounds you should aim to consume 150 grams of protein a day.
5. Fitness Blogs
Fitness and health blogs are great resources for valuable information to help you in your journey. Blogs such as MyMusclePal.com provide plenty of tips for muscle building, cutting, and bulking. They provide information on new products and techniques in the fitness world to help you build muscle fast in a safe way. They also review things in the market such as supplements and steroids so you never waste your money on products that do not work. You can also find lots of inspiration from fitness enthusiasts and experts on Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, and other social media platforms. The internet is full of information so make the most of it.
6. Rest Your Muscles
A common mistake people make is overworking their muscles by exercising too often. Your muscles do not grow in the gym, they grow at home in between workouts. The body needs time to rest, recover, and replenish itself. Overworking your muscles can have the opposite effect of what you are trying to achieve and can actually bring harm to them. Allow your body at least 2 days in the week to rest.
7. Full Body Training
Another common mistake people make when trying to build muscle is to solely focus on the areas they want to grow. This is a mistake because weight-training your entire body helps to build muscle faster by rousing up growth hormones in the body. Compound exercises like squats, deadlifts, and lunges result in an increase in testosterone, which is necessary for muscle growth. So instead of sport training only the areas you want to grow, work on performing full body multi-joint exercises.
8. Be Realistic
Lastly, and most importantly, you have to be realistic about your progress and goals. Setting unrealistic goals will cause you to become unmotivated and frustrated. Muscle building takes time and hard work so do not be disappointed if you do not see results as soon as you expected. And as much as you may derive motivation from others, you have to remember that everyone’s fitness journey is unique. Just because a weightlifter reached their body goals in 6 months does not mean you will be able to in the same period of time. So be easy on yourself and remain motivated.
Although muscle growth is affected by many factors, including age, gender, and genetics, there are a number of strategies you can apply to help accelerate the process. Building muscle requires eating and exercising correctly. You must consume the right foods that will support muscle growth while avoiding those that are unhealthy. It is also important to eat often so your body has never experienced a calorie deficiency. Build muscle through exercises that stimulate the production of growth hormones and remember to give your body enough time to rest and recover. Stay motivated and inspired through fitness blogs and sites and always ensure you set realistic goals.