Tuesday, July 22, 2014

6 Keys to Building Muscle Mass

Other than improving overall health, people who are building muscle mass are usually doing it to make noticeable changes to their bodies.  Obviously, lifting weights is a key component to this, but it is only one piece of a larger set of things that can be performed to increase muscle size.

Below are six tips to building muscle mass that you can use to help you reach your goals.

1.  Proper Nutrition 

Doing all the weightlifting in the world will not help your muscles grow if your body does not have the proper fuel.  There are certain foods your body needs, especially when weight training.

These foods include:

English: The lasagna is made with spinach (as ...
Lasagna made with spinach and whole wheat pasta and veggies. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
1. Protein – Consume at least a half gram per pound of body weight per day to maintain muscle, and up to one gram per pound of body weight to build muscle.

2. Carbohydrates – Consume complex carbohydrates such as oatmeal, brown rice, and fresh fruits and vegetables for energy sources that last longer.

3. Good Fats – Fats high in omega 3's are found in coldwater fish, some nuts, and eggs.

4. Plenty of Water – Muscles retain a lot of water, so when building muscle mass, consume one cup of water for every twenty-five pounds of body weight.

2.  Rest

Muscles need intense training to grow.  The weight training breaks down muscular tissue, and as a result, muscles need recovery time.  It is during the recovery and repair that muscles get bigger and stronger.  Allow at least one day off, but ideally take two to three days off before training the same body part again.

3.  Consistency

Maintain a regular workout schedule.  This does not mean sticking to the same program day in and day out, but rather keeping the frequency of your visits to the gym consistent from week to week.

Your progress will be slow or non-existent if you work out for two weeks, and then decide to take two weeks off.

Standing Barbell Curl exercise for Biceps-->bi...
Standing Barbell Curl exercise for Biceps. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
4.  The Right Routine

When working out, the key to building muscle mass is to lift safely the most weight that you can.  You should feel as though you are pushing yourself, and not just breezing through a set.

You should aim to do three to four sets per body part, with six to ten repetitions (reps) per set (if you can do 20-25 reps at a time, your weights are much too light).  It should be difficult enough that you may not be able to complete the last couple of reps on the last set or two.

5.  Variety

Once you feel comfortable with the exercises in your program, consider switching the order of your exercises.  This may help to prevent a plateau that sometimes occurs with your body becoming used to a particular routine.

Later on, you will always want to look at switching over your program altogether, as new exercises will target slightly different muscle groups.

6.  Whole Body Workout

Your body operates as a single unit with many muscle groups.  Neglecting or completely ignoring one body part will have limitations on how much your other body parts can develop.  For example, strengthening your abdominals without developing your back muscles could create problems down the road.

Make sure your workouts include exercising multiple muscle groups at once.

In summary, when it comes to building muscle mass, these six items are key.  By implementing all six of them, you will be able to reach your muscle-building goals.

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