Updated: May 4
Today we are going to talk about a few very simple steps you need to understand and implement in order to build muscle. No complicated scientific terminology, this is straight up what you need to do in order to build lean and quality tissue.
FIND YOUR WHY
Why do you want to gain muscle? Why do you want to transform your body?
Whatever your reason might be, just make sure that you understand why you’re doing this. Dig deep.
Peel back the onion layers and reveal the root because of why you’re putting in all this hard work. And every time you feel like quitting, remind yourself of why you’re doing this.
SET REALISTIC GOALS
You see, ridiculous, “too good to be true” claims are usually just that, too good to be true.
They sound sexy, and prey on the minds of the uneducated and the sad thing is that it works. People believe in these shady marketing tactics and wonder why they aren’t seeing results after dropping $100 on that new “revolutionary” supplement.
If you want to have success with building muscle, you need to reprogram your mindset.
Building muscle is a damn long process… but is also worth it. You need to understand that building a good amount of muscle mass is going to take you literally years of hard work, and if just the thought of you having to put in the work for years in order to achieve this goal is making you think it twice, you are not ready for it. Sorry.
Stick with the basics – train hard, eat well, and get enough rest, limit the amount of stress in your life and it’s pretty much impossible to fail.
Never try to cheat the system, because it NEVER works.
SET YOUR CALORIC AND MACRONUTRIENT NEEDS
It’s all about food. If you want to build muscle, you need to create the best environment for it to happen, and that is on a caloric surplus.
Find your maintenance caloric levels. You can use many different formulas on the internet to do so. The Harris Benedict formula is one of the most famous ones. Google it.
Once you have it, increase it by ~ 15% and that’s your caloric target.
Now it is time to distribute your macronutrients. If you don’t know how to do it, my general recommendation would be:
- 25% fats
- 30 % protein
- 45 % Carbs
That’s it. Now just make sure you consume plenty of nutrient dense and high quality foods.
OPTIMIZE YOUR TRAINING FOR MUSCLE GROWTH
Workout needs to be optimized to build muscle tissue. Not just to get a pump, not to follow a bro split, not to do as much as you can till you end up laying on the floor completely exhausted.
There needs to be the right amount of stimulus and intensity.
Here are some tips:
- Focus on the compound movements, for these will be the ones that will help you the most to gain overall mass and strength
- Apply the proper weekly volume to each muscle group: big groups (back, chest quads, hamstrings, glutes) around 20 – 30 sets per week; small muscle group (biceps, triceps, shoulders, calves) around 15 sets per week. This will vary depending on your level, training experience, etc. But it’s a good starting point.
- Keep your rep range at the ideal hypertrophy rep range of 8 to 15 reps, but play around with lower rep ranges (moving heavier loads) on the compound movements to get the most out of your training.
- About the split, once again, it depends on your level, experience, etc. Start with at least 3 – 4 training days per week with an Upper/Lower split, PPL, or full body workouts and then adapt according to your needs and progress.
REST AND RECOVERY ARE KEY (SLEEP)
Remember, when you rest and when you sleep that is when you grow.
Don’t be like most guys who try to squeeze in an extra gym session because you think it’ll help. Trying to do more will just impact recovery, making your next gym session feel like shit. The time you rest is the time you grow.
Doing more simply because you “feel” like you need more is almost never the answer.
If you’re training with the right amount of intensity and enough weekly volume, then you are good.
Structure your rest days so you’re not doing anything that’s terribly high intensity. You can do some light walking, foam rolling, mobility work, stretching, etc… just don’t overdo it.
Rest, sleep and recovery are key. Don’t underrate them.
BE PATIENT AND ENJOY THE PROCESS
As I said before, building muscle is a damn long journey. If you are in this because you want to magically gain 10 kg of muscle mass overnight and look good for the girls/boys at the beach during summer, this is not for you. This is a lifestyle, and this takes a lot of time.
So make sure you fall in love with the process of becoming your best self and enjoy the ride :)