How To Build Muscle
When trying to gain muscle mass or simply trying to increase strength properly, learning how to build muscle is an important task. Building muscle in a safe manner cannot occur over night, but the rewards of gaining strength and improving health can be achieved with persistence and healthy habits. Following a regimen and keeping some simple tips in mind makes the development of a stronger body that much easier to attain.
- Make a plan. Everyone has seen the guy at the gym who randomly bounces around from machine to machine without any rhyme or reason. Worse is the person on a machine who maxes out and is unable to continue their workout. Making a plan as to when you hit the gym or exercise by yourself is crucial. Creating a chart with a workout schedule or using a calendar with workout dates marked can help. Along with marking the dates of a workout, it is also important to note how many repetitions and which weights are used during a workout. Logging and assessing this information can help you gradually build muscle in a predicable and noticeable manner.
- Eat a proper diet. Before you even think about touching a weight, a meal plan should be developed and followed that facilities muscle growth. Building muscle requires excess protein and calories. Understanding diet is an important part of learning about how to build muscle. Research shows to gain half a pound a week, 200-500 extra calories must be consumed everyday. Whether that extra weight translates into fat or muscle depends on your exercise habits. The timing of diet habits is also crucial. Replenishing the body's carbohydrates (consumed through foods like pasta) and protein must happen within 30 minutes of a workout for to maximize muscle growth.
- Use three sets of eight to twelve repetitions. To build new and stronger muscle you must create stress and tear apart current muscle mass. Research shows that muscle growth is best accomplished after completion of three sets of up to twelve repetitions on the strongest form of resistance you can handle for those three sets.
- Use proper form. This step is important not only for safety but also for effectively building muscle. Ask a fitness trainer or professional how to use free weights or certain machines if at a gym. Improper use of weights and machines stress muscles in an unnatural and possibly dangerous way. Improper form also decreases the amount of required stress that muscles need to break down. In other words, maximum gain cannot be achieved even if maximum effort is put in.
- Allow for recovery. Recovery can be thought of in two ways. Getting adequate rest is crucial to allow the body to rebuild muscle, while eight hours of sleep will help in muscle recovery. Not getting enough rest interferes with the body's natural rebuilding process. Allowing for 48 to 72 hours of rest before working a muscle group again after an initial workout is also important. Putting muscles under stress before recovery has occurred will set back goals for muscle growth and can also be dangerous in some cases. Always allow for recovery time.
- Stay away from illegal steroids. Steroids are typically prescribed by a doctor for those with illnesses due to hormone deficiencies. A healthy person will not remain as such after taking illegal steroids. Though popularised by star athletes and body builders, these substances have dramatic short and long term effects to what is visible on the body and what is not. While taking steroids may have the intended short term effect of increased muscle mass, long term problems with the heart, kidneys, and liver are all too often an ignored, but just as powerful, side effect.
- Be consistent. Those who follow a plan and track progress have truly learned how to build muscle. Remaining consistent to following the proper form and the proper diet is just as important as the actual workout. Depending on genetics, some may see results faster than others.