Tuesday, October 14, 2014

5 Easy Tips for Gaining Healthy Muscle Mass

Anyone who has ever stepped into a gym with a goal of gaining muscle mass soon realizes one important fact:  it takes time.

To build muscle mass, it takes a two-pronged approach:

1. An effective workout routine with good technique
2. Proper nutrition

When considering a meal plan to help you gain more muscle, you must realize that, in general, the more you eat, the more weight you will gain.  However, if the weight you gain is not muscle, but instead is fat, you will not reach your desired goals.  Therefore, gaining muscle mass is very much dependent on what and when you eat, not simply how much.

The following are a few simple, but crucial tips to help build the muscle that you desire:

1. Drink plenty of water

This is at the top of the list, not because it's a new idea, but because we've all heard this before.  However, most people have an attitude of, "Oh and by the way, try to drink more water if you can."  However, they often do not take this point seriously.

Adequate water intake is probably the most important thing anyone can do to lead a healthier lifestyle.  Keeping your body hydrated can help prevent colds and flu, which can take a toll on your workouts.  In addition, drinking water will reduce your cravings for those sugar-filled juices and drinks that so many of us consume.  The amount of water you need depends on your body mass, as well as external factors such as temperature, etc.  A good rule of thumb is one cup of water per twenty-five pounds of body weight per day.

2. Eat more frequently

Gone are the days of three square meals per day.  To build muscle mass, your body needs a constant supply of energy.  Supply this energy by consuming five to seven smaller meals throughout the day, and try to avoid having that hungry feeling.  Going hungry for too long means your body will start to take calories that would have otherwise gone to muscle building and repair.

3. Eat protein and complex carbohydrates

Building muscle requires a balance of protein and carbohydrates.  Protein content is highest in lean beef, chicken, and fish.  If prepared and sourced properly (i.e. organic, grass-fed, not breaded or fried, etc.), these present good sources of healthy protein.

Cooked legumes such as kidney beans and lentils are another good source of protein.

When taking in carbohydrates, make sure they are not the simple carbohydrates that break down quickly.  Choose complex, high-quality carbohydrates that will release energy over a longer time, such as unprocessed oatmeal and wild rice. Avoid sugar, corn, and white, processed flour and grains.

4. Add power to your workout

There is nothing worse than being halfway through a workout, and finding you no longer have the energy to complete it.  Avoid this by eating a high-quality protein or carbohydrate thirty minutes to an hour before a workout.  This will give you energy that will last throughout your workout routine.

5. Reward yourself with a protein shake

After a vigorous workout, your muscles will be begging for nutrition to help repair themselves.  Do not ignore this request.  Give your body a high-quality protein shake that has at least forty grams of protein per serving, and do this within sixty minutes of completing your workout. (Again, avoid sugar and artificial additives and fillers.) Your body will thank you.

In summary, gaining muscle mass is not only for the elite bodybuilders.  Anyone can do it provided he is committed to following an effective workout routine, coupled with sensible nutrition and perseverance.

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