There is no trick when your goal is to build muscle. Although websites try to tell us there is and are devoted to selling miraculous products that supposedly speed the process, fitness experts will tell you: hard work is the key to bodybuilding. The men who stand on stage and flex their muscles in front of judges and training magazines worked hard to get where they are today.
The following article discusses ways to make your workout effective as a means to gain muscles, not necessarily as a path to weight loss. A guy who’s obese and pursues this course will lose weight, but someone with a skinny physique will gain weight when he starts bodybuilding. Here’s how.
Muscle Mass and Weight Gain/Loss
As our muscle mass increases so does metabolism. Even at rest, we burn more calories than people with less muscle. This is one reason why a training regimen dedicated to weight loss should include some way to gain muscle. Another is that strength helps prevent injury when we age. Everyone should work on developing a strong core to protect back muscles.
Muscle weighs more than fat: you probably heard that before, but let it sink in. Your weight is only one determinate of general fitness and health. If your waist shrinks while arm and leg sizes increase, that is a good sign.
It is never good to deprive your body of essential nutrients. If you do this, the first place your body will look for energy is your muscles. Working out effectively requires a commitment to positive lifestyle choices which include establishing a balanced diet. But for someone who is trying to gain muscle weight, the balance will favor protein.
Protein provides the essential building blocks for the creation of muscle. The best forms of protein are lean but fully packed which is why protein shakes are so popular. They are easily digested and converted to muscle (avoid sugary ones). Whey is ideal so long as an individual tolerates milk products.
But if not whey, there are numerous substitutes including brown rice, hemp, and quinoa. You don’t even need to use a powder: just cook your grains and throw them in a shake with greens, fruits, and/or vegetables plus a sweetener high in antioxidants like maple syrup or local. Chicken and fish are excellent too.
Consume healthy fats which also contribute to muscle growth such as avocado and nuts. Don’t forget water either: muscles require hydration to recover from fatigue, more than you would consume if you were not working out. If the average person drinks 8 glasses daily, consume at least 12. But don’t go too far or you won’t have enough electrolytes to support proper circulation and heart function.
Warm up your muscles before getting started. This isn’t an old-wives tale: injury is more likely in cold muscles. I think of how a car sounds when I try to go fast from a cold start: it makes bad noises and I could cause damage that isn’t apparent at the time. The same goes for your body. Go for a walk, a light jog, or use an elliptical trainer for twenty minutes until you feel warm.
Trainers often tell you that muscles grow when you strain them to the point where you can’t do another repetition without pain. The muscle burns. Make sure you are lifting weights that challenge you. Light weights can also pose a challenge depending on the position you are in. For instance, lateral raises with arms out straight and a light weight in your hands become torture if done correctly. Repeat, rest, repeat, and keep going like that, but you should probably go through a series of moves for just a few minutes at a time. If three minutes of bicep curls isn’t hurting, you need heavier weights.
After a workout, you must stretch: don’t wait. Your muscles are warm now. Stretch every muscle group you used to the point where you can feel it but there isn’t actual pain. Hold the stretch rather than bouncing in and out of it. Tighten calf and thigh muscles remembering feet as well. Stretch shoulders, neck, and back muscles slowly. Yoga moves are ideal: relaxing, focused, and effective whole-body recovery poses. Work out daily, but not the same muscle group on consecutive days.