If you’re a beginner you need to know these 7 rules to learn how to build muscle. We will cover which exercises do you need to do, what supplements should you be taking and how long does building muscle take?
Beginners in the gym don’t usually know how to build muscle or what exactly needs to be done. They are often sidetracked from simple and proven methods. Instead, beginners tend to focus on less effective alternatives.
In this article we will summarize 7 simple, yet proven and effective rules for how to build muscle. If you are new to working out these tips will teach you how to build muscle much quicker to achieve an athletic physique. With enough dedication and hard work anyone can do it.
1. Fuel Your Body Properly
If you are naturally skinny you are most likely an ectomorph. Ectomorph’s, also known as ‘hardgainers’ struggle to gain weight and build muscle because of the body’s inability to store enough energy reserves. Without these energy stores building a lot of muscle or strength is impossible.
In the case where you find yourself eating often, but still not gaining weight you may wish to supplement your diet with a Weight Gainer shake. These type of supplements are usually just a mix of protein and simple carbohydrates (sugars). They can often be pretty unhealthy so you may want to just make your own. It’s pretty simple, just add 1 or more scoops of oats to your protein shake. Have a shake immediately after your training session followed by a proper meal within 1-2 hours.
You may also want to include Creatine in your supplement stack. It is an organic compound that is found in red meat. In supplement form, Creatine has been shown to increase muscle endurance, recovery and strength.
2. Stick To The Basics
When you haven’t been seriously working out for that long (less than 6 months) your body hasn’t had the time to properly adapt to strength training. In this case you should not overload your training program with unnecessary exercises. Your overall workout shouldn’t exceed 15 sets. That’s around 5 exercises per workout. If you are training properly, 3 x 45-60 minute workouts per week would be enough to make your body grow and get used to it’s new strength demands.
Your main focus should be on compound exercises, such as deadlift, squat, bench press, bent over row and military press. Compound exercises activate multiple muscle groups at once, which include some of the biggest muscles in your body.
3. Keep Your Reps Low
How to build muscle comes down to lifting a lot of weights, right? Sort of. Building muscle and strength comes down to lifting WEIGHT. You have to push your body to its physical boundaries during each workout. You will be amazed at how good the human body is at adapting to new physical demands.
In strength training your last repetition in each set should always feel difficult, almost leaving you with no strength for another one. The optimal weight and rep range for strength training is 80%+ of your 1RM and 3-8 reps. Take 2-4 minutes of rest in-between sets.
Because you will eventually be working with heavy weights make sure that your technique is on point before you add weight.
4. Increase Your Calorie Intake
The more you train the more energy your body needs. You have to fuel your body with real, nutritious food, ESPECIALLY if you’re an ectomorph.
To start gaining muscle weight you have to increase your daily calorie intake by about 15-25%. The diet should be balanced with plenty of protein (about 1.5-2.5g per kilo of body weight) and healthy fats from animal and plant sources (oily fish, nuts, avocado). Include complex carbohydrates (oats, quinoa, rice, couscous) for energy and vegetables for fibre and vitamins (leafy greens, tomato, carrot, beetroot).
5. Take Supplements
There are literally thousands of different supplements out there. Choosing the right supplements can prove to be very confusing, but luckily science allows us to narrow the list down drastically. There is plenty of research available that shows the effectiveness of certain supplements, mostly Whey Protein and Creatine. Do your research on the best brands out there and don’t exceed 5g of Creatine per day and 25g of Protein per meal.
Some other things that you can take to help your performance in the gym are Pre-Workout supplements. Look for one that contains a healthy dose of caffeine, arginine and beta-alanine. A good Pre-Workout supplement can help you to train more efficiently by providing enhanced blood flow to the muscles. This, in turn will help your body to deliver well needed nutrients to the working muscles.
6. Track Your Progress
You should develop a habit of tracking changes in your body and training. Keep a weekly training diary in which you note down your exercises and what weight you are doing, your body weight and calorie intake. To keep progressing you will constantly have to adapt your training and diet. For example, to keep getting stronger you will have to slightly increase the weight that you are lifting every 2-3 weeks. As your body weight changes you will also have to make adjustments to your diet with the amount of calories that you are consuming.
It may seem unnecessary at first, but without properly tracking your progress you will struggle to know whether your training and diet is actually working.
7. Set Realistic Goals
When it comes to how to build muscle, the biggest mistake that you can make is not learning about the actual capabilities of the human body. Don’t compare your progress with the progress of fitness models on Instagram or professional athletes. They are likely winners of the genetic lottery and their bodies are predisposed to building muscle. These athletes that inspire you have been training for many, many years and have a clear understanding of the rules of how to build muscle, strength and endurance.
Well, at least their professional coaches do.
The truth is, in your first year of proper training you are not likely to gain more than 6-8 kg of muscle. This is still a very, very good result, but don’t expect to look like Arnold Schwarzenegger in three months. On average, a male athlete can build about 0.5-1 kg of muscle per month until their natural limit is reached. However, this is still being debated.
This article first appeared on GYMNASIUMPOST.com on 18th June, 2020.