3 Fundamental Tips to Build MUSCLE

Probably all of us, especially the bros, want more muscle. Women also, unknowingly, want more muscle since they want to be toned. Since being toned, in essence, just means cutting out the fat while putting more muscle in its place.

Unfortunately, navigating the internet for this can be quite grueling. Every muscle-building EXPERT has their own unique spin. If you dove enough through the wringer, you might have run into interesting ideas like blood restriction training, protein timing, high meal frequencies, time under tension, and so and so on.

These strategies might have some benefit, but the overemphasis on them has us, especially beginners, lose sight of more important matters. Or… the fundamentals. The proverbial cake that shouldn’t be ignored for the fancy bro-science cherry. Here are three fundamental muscle building tips that I believe you should first focus on before anything else.

Number 1, volume in the name of the game Your reps times your sets times intensity, or the weight you’re lifting. This is the formula to training volume. Time and time again, we have seen research showing the very close relationship between greater muscle growth with greater training volume. Simply put, if you want to build muscle, consistently increasing volume, whether session by session, week by week, or even month to month, is the goal.

There is a deal of nuance to consider. More specifically, what is the best combination of reps, sets, and weight. You wouldn’t want to do hundreds of reps of a very light weight. It not only takes a long time, but supporting research show very light weights might not create enough of a stimulus, especially in its initial reps. That’s not always true, as we have seen studies showing as much as 100 reps creating similar muscle gains as lower rep ranges.

However, the other catch is that lighter weights aren’t shown to build much strength. Being stronger is important for muscle growth, as it will allow you to lift heavier, thus increase the intensity factor of volume. The most common volume strategy is aiming for roughly 3 to 5 sets of a weight that you can do for 8 to 12 reps. It’s kind of the hypertrophy “sweet spot” that many bodybuilders use, accumulating high volume with moderate strength gains.

Number 2, Protein is your main squeeze If you’re a regular in this channel, you’ve heard me heed the advice of… get your protein. Protein is the primary resource for muscle growth. Getting all the training volume you can doesn’t mean much if you’re not getting enough protein. The current literature is a bit mixed as far as what constitutes as a sufficient amount of protein. Currently, it can be anywhere between 0.8 grams to 2.3 grams per kilogram of your bodyweight, depending on who you ask. Anything over 3 grams haven’t shown much additional effects outside of maybe elite and endurance athletes.

For us normal folks, I personally think that 1.6 grams is a good place to start for anyone, with 1 gram per kilogram of bodyweight being the bare minimum. For some, slightly more than 2 grams can be effective, especially if additional fat loss is a side goal.

And number 3, track that progression. We know we have to do it, but too often we do not. Your progression is the best tell-tale sign of an effective program, thus muscle growth. Certainly, aesthetic goals are a much more visual affair. The mirror, to many, is the ultimate deciding factor as to whether you’re satisfied with how your progression is going. But it just doesn’t give all the details. Notably, the details on whether you’re actually maintaining a high level of improvement based on your volume progression. Tracking will illuminate us on not only the efficacy of our workouts, but also gives us a leg up on planning ahead. If you track and see that volume is indeed increasing gradually throughout your program, then you know you’re probably doing something right.

If the numbers start curtailing or plateauing, then changes are in order. However, just looking at our volume progression also doesn’t tell the full story. It might be that you’re not getting the right nutrition. And that’s when tracking your protein, carbs, fats, fiber, calories, and micronutrients, will give us a better picture of what we might have to change nutritionally.

It might be that for a few weeks you’ve have not enough food overall and thus your performance has been suffering. Or it can be a matter of lacking sleep, where sleep tracking is also important to see whether you’re in a sleep deficit which causes a lack of energy. It might seem overwhelming, initially, to track so many things, and it definitely can be.

So best take it one step at a time. Start with the basics, track your volume while maintaining an intuitively decent diet until you’re comfortable with tracking nutrition as well. Sleep is pretty basic to track and maybe some sleep tracking apps can help. In any case, the more you can understand your body, your habits, your tendencies, the better you can improve the factors that would best benefit your overall gainz. And that’s the three fundamentals I believe EVERYONE should have down before considering anything else. Of course, understanding the fundamentals is different from application, and sometimes you will need a little more guidance to really set yourself on the right muscle building track.

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