So, you want to build muscle?

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The human body is just naturally lazy and will only develop enough muscle to deal with the loads placed upon it. So, if you want to develop more muscle, then you better get ready to do some hard work and prepare for slow gains, for the body will only respond to a combination of resistance training, diet and rest. After you workout, your body repairs or replaces damaged muscle fibers through a cellular process where it fuses muscle fibers together to form new muscle protein strands.

Getting stronger isn’t just about what takes place in the gym, though that’s a key component. How you tackle the rest of your day and night, including sleep, goes a long way to determining how or if you build muscle.

Here are the key components that need to be in place for building muscle


It Takes Protein


It is vital to have protein with every meal because it builds and maintains muscles. Aim for one gram of protein per pound of body weight every day — less active people need less — and that should be spread out over five or six small meals.


It Also Takes Carbs


Protein will only be used to build muscle if you consume enough carbohydrate calories to provide your body with energy. Otherwise, your body will tap into the protein for that fuel. Carbs provide energy for muscle function and act as the fuel for the brain. Go with minimally processed carbs such as veggies, steel-cut oats, and quinoa.


It Requires Frequent Eating


Eating five or six small meals a day keeps your body’s metabolism firing. If you don’t eat often, the most readily available substance for the body to consume is muscle—not fat. The body is resistant to fat loss and will turn to attacking lean muscle first. Keep plenty of fuel in the tank so muscle is not consumed.


Sleep Is Key


It’s difficult to build muscle without adequate sleep — seven hours a night, preferably eight. Sleep is when most of your hormones, such as growth hormone and testosterone are released, allowing your body to recover and grow. Without adequate sleep, you’re sabotaging your efforts to build muscle.


It Takes Intensity


Smart phones produce dumb workouts. Don’t be the person in the gym playing with the phone for two minutes between sets. You’ll lose the focus and intensity required to build muscle. Better yet, don’t rest between sets. Superset with a pushing exercise, like a set of push ups followed immediately with a pulling exercise like a dumbbell row. You’ll produce better performance since the non-working muscles recover faster while their opposing muscles work.


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