"There's just no question that simply exercising correctly, along with adequate nutrition and rest, done consistently, will result in you gaining muscle. But, did you know that adding in certain supplements can significantly speed up and improve your results? It's absolutely true."
► Overview/Background - Muscle Building:
We consistently receive questions from customers and visitors to our website asking how they can gain more muscle. So, we decided to prepare an article on this topic to help answer those questions.
In short, to gain muscle or build muscle mass you need to:
It's probably also fair to add a fourth item - do the above three things with consistency!
- Adequately stimulate (exercise) your muscles to create a need for your body to build more muscle;
- Provide your body with adequate nutrition (the raw materials) so new muscle can be built;
- Provide your body with adequate rest to allow for growth and repair.
Sounds pretty simple and straight forward right? Well, there are some details we'll need to discuss of course, but for the most part it is pretty simple!
► Exercise for Muscle Growth:
As you probably know there are literally thousands of books on the topics of exercise and weight training. So, we're only going to discuss the highlights and key conceptual aspects in this article as related to building muscle. When it comes to exercise the key point to remember is that you need to adequately stress your muscles in order to stimulate muscle growth. Remember, your body is designed to be incredibly efficient. Unless you really give it a reason to grow more muscle, it's just not going to happen.
For most individuals weight training three times per week with a split such that each major muscle group is trained once per week, will work great. For instance, you might work chest, biceps and triceps on Monday. Then on Wednesday train back, shoulders and traps. Finally on Friday you'd exercise your legs – quads, hams and calves. Of course, the possible variations on how you split up training muscle groups and what exercises you choose are nearly infinite.
That said, we will offer a couple more pointers on the topic of exercise. Most individuals will see better muscle gains if they limit their training to three exercises per muscle group, with three working sets (sets completed after warming up) per exercise. That's right, a total of 9 sets per muscle group. The other key tip to remember is that sticking with weights which allow for no more than six to eight repetitions is also best.
If you're not currently seeing results from your training and think the above is “way too little” to produce muscle growth, then chances are good you're actually overdoing it – overtraining. Consider switching to the above approach for at least three weeks and see what happens – you'll be glad you did.
► Diet and Nutrition needed to Build Muscle:
As with the topic of exercise to achieve muscle growth there are literally thousands of books on the topics of diet and nutrition to support building muscle mass. So, here again, we're not going to cover every little detail but rather focus on the most salient points for gaining muscle. First, keep in mind that building muscle is something that requires energy and nutrients above and beyond simply maintaining your body. This means that your overall caloric intake must exceed what you're burning in order for you to gain muscle. You must consume enough calories to have an energy surplus.
While caloric needs vary significantly from individual to individual, we recommend targeting an intake of about 18-20 calories per pound of bodyweight per day. If you weigh 150 lbs this means you should be eating around 2,700 to 3,000 calories per day. It's best if you space these calories out during the day – ideally into about 5 meals. You can adjust these figures up or down depending on your results, but allow at least 2 weeks on a calorie plan before making changes.
Calories of course are not the only consideration when it comes to nutrition for building muscle mass. Remember that muscles are mostly comprised of protein/amino acids and water. You need to be sure that you're taking in an adequate amount of protein in your diet, not simply focusing on total calories. That said, we recommend targeting 1 to 1.5 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight per day. For the 150 lb individual this means between 150 grams and 225 grams of protein – spread out over, ideally, 5 meals per day, with no more than 50 grams consumed in a single meal (your body can only absorb so much protein at one time).
► Recovery and Consistency:
This is going to be a short section because the topic is fairly self explanatory. You need to give your body adequate time to recover and grow to build more muscle mass. You also need to exercise, eat and allow your body time to recovery consistently to see results. Building muscle takes time.
That said the process can be sped up significantly. How? With certain supplements (read on...).
► Our Top Recommended Supplements:
There's just no question that simply exercising correctly, along with adequate nutrition and rest, done consistently, will result in you gaining muscle. But, did you know that adding in certain supplements can significantly speed up and improve your results? It's absolutely true.
Of course, some supplements work better than others and unfortunately, some don't work at all! But…good news! We're a supplement super-store with thousands of products made by hundreds of different manufacturers. So, unlike an individual manufacturer, we can take an objective view and select the best products - we don't care who made it, just that it's the best product out there!
Alright, there are a TON of supplements on the market which can help with muscle building in a variety of ways…so, like the diet and exercise topics, we're not going to cover everything, rather, we'll hit on the key areas and most effective “basic” products.
In short, the list of products that can help you build muscle more quickly includes protein powders, creatine and, if you're at least 18 years of age, prohormones:
- Protein Powder – When you're trying gain muscle you need to keep your protein intake up – this can of course be done with “real food” but it can be difficult and costly (time to prepare and cost of food) to go this route. So, protein powders are a cost-effective and efficient alternative option to supplement your "real food" protein intake. You can view our top recommendations for protein powders here.
- Creatine – There's just no question that creatine works when it comes to building muscle. You can find out more about creatine by reading our article all about creatine, here. Also, you can view our top recommendations for creatine products here.
We hope this article has helped answer some of your questions about muscle building and muscle growth and that with this information you'll be able to reach your goals! If you have any further questions, feel free to contact us here!