You do not have to be muscular to be in good health or look great, but it is certainly a plus if you want to turn heads at the gym or feel confident at the beach. If you are struggling to build muscle mass, you may be missing out on some key tips that could help you get bigger muscles and more definition. While training can seem like a purely physical affair, you need solid science to maximize your gains. Here are some tips that can help you bulk up and develop your dream physique.
Supplements are a thing
There are some substances you can take that can support your fitness goals and help you get the most out of your workouts. They can help you improve performance, support muscle growth, and help you to recover from your workouts faster. No, we are not talking about stodgy protein shakes or steroids here. We are talking about supplements like creatine and BCAAs.
Creatine is a natural compound that helps deliver more oxygen to your working muscles during exercise and helps enhance strength and power. It can also help increase protein synthesis and increase muscle growth. You can get creatine supplements in powder form or as delicious creatine gummies, and it is completely safe to take in moderation without any side effects.
BCAAs are branched-chain amino acids—leucine, isoleucine, and valine. These essential amino acids are thought to play an important role in building muscle and preventing muscle breakdown by providing an immediate source of key amino acids. This prevents your body from using muscle protein for energy. You can take BCAA supplements before a workout to help fuel your muscles.
You need to eat and drink
Everyone knows that you need protein to build muscle, even if you are trying to lose fat. But just how much protein is optimal? In general, experts say that you need about 0.8 to 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight each day. For example, a 180-pound adult should eat about 180 grams of protein per day. Good dietary sources of protein include lean meats, eggs, dairy products, beans, and nuts.
Aside from protein, you need to consume adequate amounts of calories from healthy sources like fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats. Carbohydrate cycling is an emerging concept in the fitness world that has had some exciting results. The general idea is to cycle carbs around your training days by consuming a higher-carb diet on your training days and a lower-carb diet on your rest days.
Drinking plenty of water is a great way to support hydration and promote muscle growth. Being dehydrated may make your muscles look more defined but it does not help you build more mass. In fact, it can lead to several negative effects including dizziness, headache, and fatigue that can put a damper on your workout. You can also maximize your workout by drinking a protein shake before and after you train.
When we refer to muscle growth, we are talking about the development of muscle mass—also called hypertrophy. In simple terms, hypertrophy is the enlargement or thickening of muscle cells. You can stimulate this by performing resistance exercises such as weightlifting and bodyweight workouts. These exercises cause mechanical tension in your muscles and force them to grow bigger and stronger.
Any type of strength training can build muscle. However, some types of exercise are more effective than others. The best strength-training programs are those that are varied and challenging enough to prevent your body from becoming accustomed to the movements being performed. You should also work both your small and large muscle groups to build overall strength and avoid imbalances that can lead to injury.
At the same time, the weight and reps you train with make a huge difference in your muscle gains. Ideally, you need to start your workout with heavy weights, high intensity, and short reps. Then move on to lighter weight but longer reps to increase the time your muscles are under tension. By switching up your routine in this way, you can constantly challenge your muscles in new ways and prevent plateaus.
Rest for the wicked
Even Iron Man needs to have a day off once in a while. When it comes to strength training, recovery is just as important as working out. If you are constantly ripping into your muscles, they do not have the time to grow back stronger between sessions. Schedule days off where you massage your muscles and perform active recovery techniques such as walking, stretching, or swimming.
Adequate sleep is a severely unrated factor in building muscle. A lack of sleep can impair your ability to gain muscle size and lower your level of performance in the gym. It can also increase your risk of injury or illness. Furthermore, your body needs quality rest to get on to the job of building your muscles. Make sure you get at least eight hours of sleep every night to allow your body to work at its best.
Getting swole takes more than just hitting the gym and throwing heavy weights around. You also need to eat a well-balanced diet and have plenty of rest. Take the right supplements and exercise smart to get the most out of your efforts. Follow these steps and you will reach your goal of building massive muscles.