Is can be very difficult and confusing when you first start building muscle to find the information you need because there is so much conflicting and misleading advice available on-line. Here are 8 guidelines to help you, if you’re a beginner, to start off on the right path in the gym.
1) Start with Compound, Free Weight Exercises.
To get the most out of your muscle building workouts and see solid muscle gains, you must use free weights and focus on basic, compound exercises. When you are doing a lift that stimulates more than one muscle group at a time, you are performing a compound exercise. Some common types of compound exercises are bench press, overhead press, chin up, dip, dead lift, lunge, squat and barbell row. Compound exercises will stimulate the greatest amount of total muscle fibers by allowing you to lift the greatest amount of weight you can.
2) Be Prepared To Train Hard.
The level of people’s intensity is often one of the biggest factors that separate people who make serious muscle gains from those who only experience modest gains or none at all. You must be willing to perform every set you perform to the point of muscular failure in order to stimulate your muscle fibers to their utmost potential.
Muscle failure is the point where you can no longer complete any further repetitions using proper form.
As with anything in life, you will get out of your workout exactly what you put into it.
3) It’s Very Important to Track Your Progress on a Weekly Basis
Muscle is built as our bodies adapt to their environment. Training with weights will, over time, break down your muscle fibers. Your body will rebuild your the damaged fibers stronger and larger than before as a response to what it perceives to be a threat to its survival, similar to the way it produces anti-bodies in response to an infection, making more able to resist the same infection in the future. To force your body to continually increase your muscles, you must focus on increasing the intensity of workouts every week. You could accomplish this by adding more weights to the bar or add a rep or two to your workout every week. As you strength increases over time, you should keep a detailed training log to maintain a record of your progress.
4) Avoid Over-training.
When it comes to bulking up on size and strength, over-training can be your number one enemy. Many people who begin workouts think that doing more is better. They spend more time in the gym thinking that they will achieve better results. Nothing could be farther from the truth when it comes to muscle building! Spending too much time in the gym will take you even farther away from the goals you have set rather than closer to them. Keep in mind that your muscles grow while you are resting and eating, not while you are inside the gym. Recovery time is very important in growing muscles. If your body is not given enough time to recover in between workouts, your muscles will never get the chance to grow.
5) Eat Many Times a Day.
The main area where most people fail miserably on their muscle-building mission is on the all-too important task of proper nutrition. Training with weights is only half of the equation! You break down your muscle fibers in the gym, but if you don’t provide your body with the proper nutrients at the proper times, the muscle growth process will be next to impossible. You should be eating anywhere from 5-7 meals per day, spaced every 2-3 hours in order to keep your body in an anabolic, muscle-building state at all times. Each meal should consist of high quality protein and complex carbohydrates.
6) Boost Your Protein Intake.
Carbohydrates and fats aside, protein is the most important among the three nutrients when it comes to muscle gain. Each of the 30 trillion cells inside your body contains protein that helps build and repair body tissues. It is physically impossible for the body to synthesize a significant amount of lean muscle without sufficient protein intake. If your body were a house, protein are the bricks that hold it together. You should consume 1 to 1.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight daily; protein-rich foods include eggs, milk, fish, beef, poultry, peanut butter and cottage cheese.
7) Drink More Water.
The easiest way to maximize your muscle gain is to drink more water. Water plays a very important role in the body and its significance cannot be downplayed. Did you know that your muscles are made up of 70 percent water? Drinking more water will boost your strength as well as make your muscles appear fuller and more vascular. Studies have shown that a slight drop (around 3-4 percent) in your body water level can affect muscle contractions by 10 to 20 percent! For optimal gain, drink 0.6 ounces of water daily for every pound of body weight.
8) Always Be Consistent!
Consistency is the most important. To achieve optimal gains in muscle strength and size, make sure you implement the proper techniques on a highly consistent basis. Simply knowing is not enough; application is more important!
Building muscle is a result of the cumulative effect of small steps. Sure, performing 1 extra rep on your bench press will not make a huge difference to your overall results, and neither will consuming a single meal. However, over the long haul, all of those extra reps you perform and all of those small meals you consume will decide your overall success. If you work hard and complete all of your muscle-building tasks in a consistent fashion, all of those individual steps will equate to massive gains in overall size and strength.