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How to Gain Muscle (Your Guide on Diet, Workout & Tips)

How to Gain Muscle (Your Guide on Diet, Workout & Tips)

Does building muscles require a great deal of time and commitment? Both yes and no. I know it isn’t what you wanted to hear, but let’s dive deeper. The biggest concerns I’ve encountered when training clients (especially women) are time and the fear of being bulky.

I understand that time is the biggest obstacle. It seems like a luxury, rather than a necessity, to take time out for yourself. In order to feel and move better, we need to take care of ourselves. And the great news is that you don’t need to spend all day at the gym to reap the rewards.

If you are worried that building muscle will make your look bulky let’s clear up the confusion and examine the differences between muscle hypertrophy, strength, and hormones.

Muscle Hypertrophy

Muscles which grow larger based on certain variables. For example, training at lower intensity with higher volume. Hypertrophy training is often performed in “splits” or upper and lower body alternating routines, for example.[1]

Strength Training

Increased functional ability in muscles. Strength training is more intense and has a smaller training volume (2-5 minutes, longer rest periods). Lifting heavier weights in fewer repetitions and sets is the goal. Strength training includes complex multi-joint movement, such as the squat and bench press. Then, you can add single-joint workouts, like the biceps curl or shoulder press.

The upper body could be trained using a single strength training technique that would allow different movement groups to be included in the workout, rather than performing daily exercises for specific body parts.

  • Push – Chest, shoulders, and the triceps
  • Pull- Back and bicep sequence

It is a hormone produced by the body during puberty. It serves many purposes, but it is essential for the development and strength of lean muscles and bone. When we compare testosterone levels in males and women at the age of 19, they are markedly different. Males have a staggering 265–923 nanograms per deciliter of testosterone in their blood, vs. women with 5-17 nanograms.[2] With such low testosterone levels, it’s more difficult for women to gain muscle mass.

We begin to lose muscle as we age, and most adults over the age of 30 live a sedentary life. Even more so, it is important to include strength training in your routine.

Sarcopenia is an age-related loss of muscle. Brian Clarke Ph.D. is a Research Biologist and has studied skeletal muscle for more than 25 years.

“Muscle mass peaks in your 30’s, then starting in your 40’s, there is a gradual decline in mass and strength. The cause of sarcopenia isn’t completely understood but is believed to be multifactorial. Changes in hormones, reduced activity, dietary changes, inflammation, and neurodegeneration will likely contribute.”

You can start building muscle at any time, no matter your age or previous experience.

If you aim to create a strong future self with more muscles, less fat, better sleep, and performing day-to-day activities with vigor, then you must assess where you are now and change it up if you don’t like how you feel and what you see.

You can change your body and improve its health by doing the following: Include more resistance training and movement in your routine.

You don’t need to spend hours at the gym daily to reap the benefits. You can build muscle and get fit without going to the gym. You can gain muscle by following a plan of exercise that suits your busy schedule and eating a diet rich in nutrients that allows you to do the things that you love.

Everybody has their own idea of what it means to live a healthy lifestyle. You can build strength by doing anything you like, whether it’s running, cycling or swimming, dancing, boxing or pilates. You will need to lift heavy weights if you want an efficient and effective method for building muscle.

Why Building Muscle is Beneficial?

Strength training and moving more will improve your mood, and increase heart endurance and muscle mass.

Supports for the Joints

A common misconception is the idea that weight lifting is hard on joints. Lifting weights can cause delayed onset pain due to microscopic tears in the joints caused by increased weight. Your joints will hurt if you are lifting heavier than you should or if you are using poor form. According to Dr. Muffadal Gombera of the Houston Orthopedic Sports Medicine Clinic,[3] Numerous studies have shown how weightlifting, strength training and stretching joints can help to improve their condition over time.

Strength training can also help prevent pain. Because it strengthens the muscles and joints, it allows them to remain more flexible and maintain a wider range of motion, which helps reduce the likelihood that you’ll experience joint pain later, says Dr Gombera.

Supports body Composition

Exercises that are cardiovascular were once thought to be the only way to exercise. Weight lifting is a better way to alter your body composition than cardio. Cardio helps build endurance and endorphins. Muscle and fat are the same weight pound for pound. The difference in weight is due to density. The muscle takes up less body space than fat because it is dense.[4]

Improve your mental health

Exercise, and especially weight lifting, is known to improve mental health. But how?

Some experts believe that regular exercise simulates anxiety and helps you deal with different situations more calmly.[5]

A sense of achievement is very rewarding when you are able to get up and leave the house at 6 am in order to catch an early morning train. Success early on can be the catalyst to creating healthy habits in later life, such as eating better, exercising during lunchtime, or going to sleep earlier.

It Makes Everything Easy

Looking lean is a great motivator to get you started, but if you aren’t strong enough to move through your day easily, it won’t be enough to keep you going.

With more muscle mass, you will feel more confident in your daily tasks. It’s no longer necessary to ask for help lifting your luggage from the overhead compartment, or worry about a broken hip when you fall and lose your balance in your living area. If that isn’t enough motivation to keep you pumping iron, I don’t know what is.

How to build muscle

Now that you know why building muscle is important, let’s talk about how we get started and keep it going over time.

Muscle growth largely depends on a person’s DNA and sex but can be changed by following a few fundamental principles used as a foundation for further gains. Here are 5 tips to get you going:

1. Fuel Smart with Protein

Protein is the most important macronutrient in a balanced diet. The body breaks protein down into amino acids in order to build muscle.[6]

It is important to consume enough protein in the form of food or supplements so that it is not stored as fat and sugar. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends consuming between 1.2 and 1.7 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight each day to increase muscle mass when combined with regular exercise. For a 130-lb woman looking to gain muscle mass and strength, that’s 71-100 g, and for a 150-lb man, that’s 82-116g.[7]

Here are some great sources of proteins to add to you diet:

  1. Beans/legumes
  2. Tofu
  3. Chicken
  4. Lean meat
  5. Yogurt
  6. Fish
  7. Nuts/seeds

2. Know Your Protein Sources

Amino acids are the main macronutrients that help build, repair, and maintain muscle. It is an excellent source of fuel and helps control hunger.[8] Most people don’t get enough protein from food alone, so including a quality supplement is needed.

Not all sources of protein are the same. My experience has shown that many powders advertise as a high quality protein source but the body only uses 20% of it. The protein in the product that I use is 99% absorbed by the body. Body Health Perfect Aminos. I get what I need for my diet by consuming only two calories, and utilizing almost 100 percent of the protein.

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Discuss your diet with your doctor.

3. Lift Heavy

Progressive overload is the name of a training style that gradually increases intensity and duration over time. By challenging the body on a regular basis, you can maximize muscle growth.

It is important to consult a personal trainer if you are a beginner to this type of strength training. This will ensure that the form is correct and to avoid injury or burnout by increasing intensity too quickly.

4. Perform Multi-joint exercises

Exercises that work multiple muscle groups simultaneously, such as a squat, which works the glutes and upper leg muscles, or a Lat Pull-Down (which works the Lats and Rhomboids and the Rear Delts and Biceps), allow you to lift heavier weights to accelerate muscle growth. Single-joint movements like a bicep curl which mainly target the biceps, have their place but shouldn’t be the only exercises you choose.

5. Rest Days/Sleep Days

Rest days are just as important as strength days. Your muscles will normally tear microscopic fibers when you lift heavy weights. During the resting phase, the muscles repair themselves and gain strength. Rest is essential to avoid injury.

Never do two strength sessions back-to-back. Do not jump back into a workout immediately after a strength session. You should allow 24-48 hours to pass (or even more depending on your intensity) unless you have a split workout where one day is for the upper body and the next the lower body.

Build Strength with a 4-Week Beginner Workout

Here’s a 4-week beginner’s workout that will help you gain strength.

Week 1 & 2: Two sets

Week 1: 8 repetitions, week 2: 10-12 repetitions.

Choose a weight that will allow you to maintain good form, but also feel challenging during the last three repetitions.

You can increase your weight by 2.5lbs if you can easily complete all repetitions.

Body Weight Squats

Chest Press

Single Arm Row

Lunge With Lateral Raise

High to Low Plank

Week 3 & 4: Three sets

Week 3: 8 repetitions, week 4: 10-12 repetitions.

  • Body Weight Squats
  • Chest Press
  • Single Arm Row
  • Lunge With Lateral Raise
  • High to Low Plank

Bottom Line

Any exercise program should include strength training. Weights are essential for maintaining and building muscle mass as you age, whether you’re just starting out or returning to the gym after a long break.

With the right plan and nutrition, as well as a consistent effort to build strength, you can maintain a healthy life for years.

You can also refer to this page

[1] Foundation of Fitness Programming – NSCA
[2] PLoS One.: Blood metal levels and serum testosterone concentrations in male and female children and adolescents: NHANES 2011–2012
[3] Houston Orthopedic Sports Medicine Clinic, Dr. Muffadal Gomber
[4] Health Harvard: Preserve your muscle mass
[5] American Psychological Association: Exercise boosts brain health
[6] Translation of Science into Application and Health Benefit: Nutrients, Dietary Protein, and Muscle Mass
[7] Mdlinx – How much protein am I really consuming?
[8] Am J Clin Nutr.The role of proteins in weight loss and maintenance

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