If you don’t have a well-established program and if you lack motivation, then you won’t get the body you want. Many of those who frequent gyms fail to achieve their goal, that of increasing muscle mass.
The cause is a lack of information. Here are 9 important steps that must be included in your muscle mass–building program.
Step 1 Feed your body with a surplus of calories if you want to increase muscle mass.
To build muscle mass, you need to consume more calories than you burn. This is one of the most important rules, and if you don’t consume an adequate number of calories per day, then you will fail to build muscle mass.
The work done at the gym is only a little help in increasing muscle mass. The real miracle happens outside the gym when you eat and when you rest.
Then your body uses the nutrients you consume to repair the damaged muscles, to increase their strength and size, and to prepare them for the next visit to the gym.
If you do not feed your body enough to facilitate muscle growth, then this process will not take place. To provide your body with the necessary calories for muscle growth, you must consume a surplus of calories every day (between 250-500), of course, depending on certain factors.
There are many calculation formulas for finding out the BMI (Body Mass Index), but the most accurate of them is the Mifflin-St. Jeor, which was discovered in 1990, and continues to be the most accurate.
Here is this formula:
BMI = 10 x Weight (kg) + 6.25 x Height (cm) – 5 x Age (years) + 5
BMi = 10 x Weight (kg) + 6.25 x Height (cm) – 5 x Age (years) – 161
BMI – Body Mass Index
You must adjust this number to:
1. Your metabolic rate – Are you naturally thin and do you have problems gaining weight? Or do you feel like you’re gaining weight just by looking at food? Depending on your body, you can increase or decrease the number of calories.
2. Activity level – Do you play a sport or have a physically demanding job? If so, then you need to consume more calories to compensate.
If you lead a sedentary life and are not physically active (except for the hours spent at the gym) then you do not need as many calories as those who have an active life.
3. Goal – Do you want to gain as much muscle mass as possible? Then you will want to consume as many calories as possible. Do you just want to get a well-worked body? Then you only need a small increase in the number of calories consumed.
Most trainers are so focused on physical training that they “forget” the importance of nutrition. Nutrition is more important than training in the gym (this goes both for weight loss and muscle gain).
The more intense or longer you move your body, the more calories you will consume.
The standard factors used to estimate the caloric cost of the activities are as follows:
1.2 – Sedentary work and a few other activities
1,375 – Standing work or light exercises 1-3 days a week
1.55 – Moderate daily activities or exercises 5-6 days a week
1,725 – Intense exercises every day or intense physical work plus exercises 1-3 days a week
1.9 – Very tiring and long exercises, such as marathon training 2 or more times a week or intense physical work plus exercises more than 3 times a week
To calculate how many calories, you need to consider the cost of daily activities, simply multiply the previous number by one of the factors above.
E.g.: If your BMI comes out to 2000 Calories, you work at the office and do exercises following an intelligent training program 3 days a week, you will multiply 2000 by 1,375 and you get 2750 Calories.
Step 2 Eat the right calories from the right foods if you want to increase your muscle mass.
Here are 4 main food groups you should focus on:
1. Foods rich in quality proteins
Protein is an essential macronutrient when the goal is to build muscle mass, and the optimal recommended amount is 1.6 grams/kg body weight/day and 0.4g/kg body weight at each meal.
Protein has the biggest satiety effect so if you don’t manage to consume all the calories you need at the end of the day, make sure you don’t exceed the 1.6g/kg body/day protein limit and add significant amounts of carbohydrates and healthy fats to your plan your diet to get all the nutrients you need.
The protein intake can represent 20-25% of the total calories/day.
Examples of foods rich in quality proteins:
- white fish
- pork chop
- cottage cheese
- pulses (beans, peas, lentils)
- egg white.
2. Foods rich in low glycemic carbohydrates
When you want to gain muscle mass, you tend to avoid carbohydrates to maintain well-defined muscles, but your body needs carbohydrates for energy. You just must pay attention to when you consume them.
To build a defined and strong muscular system, complex carbohydrates are recommended after the completion of physical training.
Sources of complex carbohydrates:
- sweet potatoes
- wholemeal pasta
- brown rice.
Also, avoid refined carbohydrates such as white bread or popular commercial pasta as much as possible. Make sure these nutrients come from minimally processed grains, such as brown rice, whole grains, quinoa, and potatoes.
3. Foods rich in healthy, unsaturated fats
A diet rich in healthy fats is recommended to ensure that caloric intake is optimal. There is evidence that has shown that sources of healthy fats, such as omega 3, can improve the process of protein synthesis – the process of muscle development.
Sources of healthy fats:
Healthy oils – olive oil, sesame oil, avocado oil
Nuts – Brazil nuts, pecans, cashews, almonds, walnuts.
Seeds – sunflower, pumpkin, hemp, chia
Fatty fish – salmon.
4. Don’t forget the fibers!
Fiber is often left out of typical bodybuilding diets. It is important not to neglect this very important nutrient.
Dietary fiber has a whole host of benefits such as lowering the risk of heart disease and diabetes, lowering cholesterol levels, and maintaining regular bowel movements.
All fruits and vegetables.
Step 3 Increase water consumption if you want to increase muscle mass.
Water is very important in building muscle mass and for health. It is known that water should be consumed as much as possible throughout the day, but how many of us do this? If you were to pay attention to the amount of water you consume daily, you would be surprised.
Why is water so important for our bodies? 80% of our body is made up of water, the brain contains 85% water, and lean muscle tissue 70%. Studies have shown that dehydration, even very little, can significantly decrease strength and physical performance.
Not only does water increase your strength, but it also helps you prevent accidents during training. Intensive training over a long period can affect the joints and connective tissues, and water helps to lubricate the joints and form a “cushion” around them. Water is also important in the digestive process.
How much water is enough?
To find out how much water is enough daily, multiply your body weight by 0.6. To make it easier for you, keep a bottle of water always at hand.
Step 4 Make a detailed note of each exercise you do.
Regarding the type of approach, you use in the gym, an important factor in achieving success is progress. Our body develops muscle mass as an adaptation response to the environment.
To gain strength and muscle mass continuously, you need to focus on progress in the gym or at home every week.
Progress can take 2 main forms:
1. Increasing the weight lifted during a certain type of exercise.
2. Increasing the number of rounds for certain types of exercises.
If you manage to improve at least one of the above factors every week, your body will grow bigger and stronger continuously.
Your goal is to get stronger and stronger, from week to week.
Step 5 Get ready to push your body to the limit if you want to increase muscle mass.
If you think that building muscle mass is as easy as walking in the park and that you can go to the gym, do your exercises, and go home, then you are wrong. The reality is that if you want to have a considerable increase in muscle mass and strength, you must be prepared to train hard.
This distinguishes those who achieve modest results from those who achieve fabulous results. Most do not train enough. When an exercise becomes difficult, the trainer jumps in to help or lower the weights together.
Intense weight training is perceived by the body as a threat, and the body responds by increasing the size and strength of the muscles. So, to get more strength, you must work your body as much as it allows.
Step 6 Avoid over-training if you want to increase muscle mass.
Overtraining occurs when the body’s ability to recover after physical exertion is exceeded. This happens most of the time because not enough time is spent on recovery. Overtraining affects not only the body but also the mind.
To fix overtraining, it all starts with diet. First, a diet with few carbohydrates and a lot of natural fats, lots of vegetables and fruits is needed. then, any physical activity must be stopped.
Aerobic training is then started to restore the aerobic system and the body to function normally. It is also mandatory to stop using stimulants, such as caffeine. This irritates the adrenal glands.
7. Don’t forget to rest when you want muscle growth
Rest is an integral part of building muscle. If you don’t allow each muscle group to rest, you reduce your ability to repair. Insufficient rest also slows physical progress and increases the risk of injury.
You should avoid doing strength training on the same muscle group for 2 days in a row. Sufficient sleep is also extremely important for the muscle growth process. A 2011 study shows that insufficient sleep decreases protein synthesis, contributes to the loss of muscle mass, and inhibits recovery.
Step 8 Don’t rely on muscle mass supplements.
They are just meant to fill the gaps in your diet and supply you with nutrients. If you want a new physique, all you have to do is train correctly and follow a proper diet.
But if you want to accelerate the process, here are some recommendations for supplements:
1. Protein supplements
5. Essential fatty acids.
Step 9 Consistency means everything.
We can use the most effective training program, the best diet, and the best information about muscle groups, but without consistency and perseverance, we won’t succeed.
Knowing is not enough. You must implement it. Those who record the best results are those who continuously and systematically apply the appropriate techniques.
Building muscle mass is the result of an action consisting of small steps.
In the pursuit of a stronger and more muscular physique, it’s crucial to adopt an approach that prioritizes your overall health and well-being.
By embracing these 9 steps, you’re embarking on a journey that respects your body’s natural processes. Avoid the allure of shortcuts or unsustainable practices; instead, focus on the long-term benefits of a healthier and more muscular you.
Your dedication will be rewarded with improved strength, increased muscle mass, and an enhanced sense of well-being. Remember, it’s not just about the destination; it’s about enjoying every step of the transformative process.
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