Tips to Gain Muscle Like A Pro
When it comes to physique improvements, muscle building is often a top priority.
Muscle growth does take time, persistence, and a long-term commitment to the process.
That’s why you're hitting the gym, lifting more, and packing every meal with protein. But building muscle, although simple in theory, requires you to follow these following key 'rules'.
1. Eat more calories than you burn.
In addition to adequate protein, you need more calories to help build muscle. Use the following formula to calculate the number you need to take in daily to gain one pound a week (give yourself two weeks for results to show up on the bathroom scale. If you haven’t gained by then, increase your calories by 500 a day.)
- A. Your weight in pounds: _____
- B. Multiply A by 12 to get your basic calorie needs: _____
- C. Multiply B by 1.6 to estimate your resting metabolic rate (calorie burn without factoring in exercise): _____
- D. Strength training: Multiply the number of minutes you lift weights per week by 5: _____
- E. Aerobic training: Multiply the number of minutes per week that you run, cycle, and play sports by 8: _____
- F. Add D and E, and divide by 7: _____
- G. Add C and F to get your daily calorie needs: _____
- H. Add 500 to G: _____.
2. Make sure you're eating enough protein.
Protein is essential for muscle growth.
In order to grow muscles, you need to maintain a positive protein balance The International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN) says you need at least 0.6 to 0.9 grams of protein per pound of body weight to maintain a positive protein balance and you may need as much as 1.3 grams of protein per pound to gain muscle (1).
3. Carbs and fat are also needed to gain muscle.
In terms of your carb and fat intakes, the recommendations are more varied. Your optimal fat and carb split will be largely reliant upon your genetics. However, you will always need some carbs and fats for different reasons. You need dietary fat to ensure optimal hormone functioning, among other things.
4. Choose the right amount of weight.
Doing sets of 8-12 reps with a weight that's challenging for you will help build muscle mass.
The weight you choose to use should leave you at or near failure on your specified number of repetitions.
For example, if you’re performing a set of 10 repetitions, by the tenth repetition, you should be unable or nearly unable to perform another repetition. You should rarely have more than “two reps in the tank” by the end of a set if your goal is building muscle.
5. Get ample rest and recovery.
Your muscles need time to repair and grow after lifting weights, so make sure you're getting enough sleep and taking days off from the gym when needed.
A research review (2) found that sleep is vital for athletic performance and recovery. A crucial muscle-building hormone is released during deep sleep, in addition to also giving your muscles a chance to relax.
So, how fast can you gain muscle?
Building muscle takes time and patience, so don't expect results overnight. Stick to your workout routine and give it time to work its magic!
Overall, with good nutrition and consistent training, research has found that 0.5–2 pounds (0.25–0.9 kg) of muscle growth per month is a good benchmark for maximal potential muscle growth (3).
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