An Introduction to Building Muscle
Building muscle mass can be a simple process, although what most people tend to forget is the time it takes to be successful. Just like trying to lose weight or increasing your strength, it’s not going to happen overnight or even over a few weeks. You need patience, you need to be consistent and you need to remember that everyone responds differently to exercise and nutrition, so there could be some trial and error involved.
With that being said, here are a few key points that you can incorporate into your training to help increase your muscle mass.
Get a Program
Following a program is the first step in the right direction when it comes to building muscle. Having a program will bring direction and structure into your training. It will also allow you to keep track of the exercises you do, along with the total training volume which is vital for managing progressions.
What you eat is going to impact your results no matter what your goal is. To keep this as simple as possible, there are two things you need to consider in the beginning. One is that you achieve an energy surplus (total intake of calories for the day) and secondly you have an adequate protein intake (at least 1-1.5g per kilogram of bodyweight). There will be a lot more that you’ll need to take into account eventually when narrowing in on your nutrition but if you can at least start by making sure you are doing these two things then you’re off to a good start.
Progressive overload is one the most important steps that you will need to utilise to ensure you are continually stimulating muscle growth. Progressive overload is the use of sets, reps and loads to increase the total stress and volume that is placed on the body over time. This gradual increase in stress is what forces the body to continually adapt and grow. Without it your results will plateau, leaving you frustrated and annoyed. So when it comes to your training, make sure that over time you are increasing the total volume of your training. (Total Volume = Sets x Reps x Load)
Rest & Recovery
It is important that your body gets adequate rest and is given the ability to recover and adapt. Sleep, nutrition, hydration and stress all play a part in your recovery. Rest can be between sets, between workouts and between periods of time. If you are going to follow a weights program or introduce progressive overload to your training than I would recommend having a ‘light’ or rest week every 6 or 8 weeks. On the other end of the spectrum, it’s important not to have too much rest. If you leave the time between your sets and between your workouts too long, then you’re not going to see results. Your aim should be to train each body part 2-3 times a week, which means you shouldn’t have more than 2 days off. Don’t get distracted during your workout either, make sure your rest between sets doesn’t exceed 2 minutes.
Key Points to Remember:
- Follow a program
- Eat more calories than you burn
- Consume at least 1-1.5g of protein per kilogram of bodyweight
- Overtime increase either your sets, reps or loads (total volume)
- Have a light week every 6 or 8 weeks
- Don’t go any longer than 2 days between workouts
Yours in fitness,
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