Basic steps for gaining muscle
Increasing your muscle mass can be frustrating when you don’t immediately see the results you want, but the most common reasons for slow or inadequate muscle gain are easy to overcome if you know what to look for and how to avoid the pitfalls.
Improve your workouts and diet, and get an adequate amount of rest, to get the optimum results you want.
Work out techniques
To increase the mass of small muscle groups, you need to use proper body position, form, and technique each time you work out. A lot of people make the mistake of using momentum to lift weights. While this may make your workout easier, it also prevents your muscles from doing the work. Try working out in front of a mirror at first to make sure your body position is correct. Use your muscles to control your movements.
Expect small setbacks during your journey to increased muscle mass. For one thing, your muscles will begin to expect regular workouts so you must change the types of exercise you do. For example, once your are able to do more than 12 repetitions, you should add more weight to bring your repetitions back down to 6.
Target the specific muscle groups you want to build. While generic cardiovascular workouts and weight training exercises are great, you obviously need to focus on the muscle group you are targetting for a significant increase in mass. Keep your workouts short and focus on one specific muscle group each time you train.
Rest and recovery
Although you are trying to push your muscles to their limits, you don’ot want to push them past their limits. Ensuring adequate time for rest and recovery between workouts can be just as important for gaining muscle mass as time spent in the gym. It is during this downtime that muscle tissue is formed.
And of course, you want to avoid injury. Torn muscles and strained ligaments are painful and may take a long time to heal. Adding weight slowly will keep you from doing serious damage.
Muscle soreness is simply a normal build-up of lactic acid, a byproduct of muscle metabolism. Although soreness can be difficult to handle some days, look at it as proof that your workouts are making your muscles work hard!
As your muscles develop during the periods of rest between workouts, it follows that they need adequate rest in order to achieve maximum development. For this reason, you should only target specific muscles groups once or twice each week and the workouts should be well-spaced. Get an adequate amount of sleep each night because your cells regenerate and repair themselves while you are asleep.
Muscle mass diet
Getting your diet right goes hand-in-hand with perfecting your training programme, for optimum muscle gain results. If you are not taking in the right “fuel” to build muscle, you can work out every day of the week and you will still see only a small increase in mass. Even worse, you may even start to lose mass due to the increased calorie burn. It is essential to challenge your body through a combination of physical activity and proper nutritional support, otherwise your progress will inevitably stall.
If you’re looking to build lean muscle, your focus should be on:
1. Quality, lean high-protein foods (essential for gaining muscle); and
2. Complex carbohydrates and healthy fats (as necessary sources of energy).
If your goal is to gain lean muscle, you should focus on exercising regularly and eating more calories each day from muscle-building foods. Some of the top muscle-building foods include:
- chicken breast
- greek yoghurt
- cottage cheese
- turkey breast
- brown rice.
Keep it clean to get lean!
Protein is necessary to help your muscles repair and rebuild the tissues and cells that are torn, exhausted and injured during workouts. Besides protein, your diet should also include an adequate supply of other essential nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, omega oils etc. Ideally sourced from nutritious fruits, vegetables, whole grains and other natural plant-based foods. And of course, water is key. Becoming dehydrated while working out can be dangerous, and hydration is important for all processes within the body (including digestion).
Supplements for muscle gain
In an ideal world, a balanced diet would be able to provide your body with all it needs to build muscle and realise your full muscle gain potential. However, this is very rarely (if ever) the case. Your nutrient requirements are likely to be so high, that it makes it very difficult to meet these through meals alone. What’s more, the right supplements can help you to achieve your goals in a shorter time. As such, it is essential to identify an additional source of quality nutrients from trusted sources.
Protein powders and meal shakes are the most obvious supplements for muscle mass gain. Organic plant-based protein powders can be an excellent source of complete, lean protein, not least because they also tend to provide valuable phyto-nutrients, vitamins, minerals, fats, antioxidants etc at the same time – ideal for all-round nutrition, giving your body what it needs to operate at its best. They add to your calories in a healthy way and support other aspects of your health (such as healthy digestion, immunity etc) that can impact muscle gain. Whey protein is also very popular, but make sure that you know the source of the milk to avoid unwanted contaminants.
The bottom line
A wide range of foods and food supplements can help you to gain lean muscle. Many of them are protein-packed and allow your muscles to recover and grow after you have been active. Others support your stamina, general health and well-being.
To reach your goal of gaining lean muscle, focus on exercising regularly, getting adequate rest and eating more calories each day from nutritious foods like the ones listed in this post.
And when attempting to build muscle mass, do not expect quick results – it takes time. Consider tracking your progress in a workout journal. Use a tape measure to keep track of the diameter of specific areas of the body, such as the upper arms. You should also keep track of your weight and body mass index.
Combine proper weight lifting techniques with a nutritious, high-protein diet for optimum results.
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