Keys to Building Muscle


There’s more to muscle building than just getting to the gym and lifting weights.  Your body can only respond to the intense pressure you’re putting on your muscles if you treat it right, which means doing a lot of things right outside of the gym.  Follow these tips and watch your muscle building efforts finally achieve the results youve been looking for.

Eat Protein… Lots of Protein

This one is obvious but still worth mentioning.  To gain serious muscle mass, you should be eating as many grams of protein daily as your target body weight in pounds, so someone looking to weigh 150 pounds should be eating 150 grams of protein and don’t forget about other sport supplements from  Make sure to vary your protein sources to achieve optimal results.

Eat Protein before Bed

A lot of the biological processes that contribute to muscle gain occur while you’re asleep.  Therefore, it is absolutely vital that your body has some protein to work with throughout the night.  A casein protein supplement works well because this high quality protein can stay in your bloodstream for up to 8 hours (learn more about protein supplements).  Drinking a glass of milk is also a good option because 80% of milk protein is casein.  Personally, I opt for a low fat cheese stick right before bed, which packs about 7 grams of casein protein.

When I first started lifting weights, I would hit the gym 7 days a week.  Little did I know, this was actually sabotaging my muscle building efforts.  When you lift weights, the stress you put on your muscles creates extremely small micro-tears that your body needs to repair through a process called protein synthesis.  If you work those muscles again before your body has had the chance to completely repair them, you’re ultimately causing your muscles more damage instead of allowing them to build and get stronger.  Have at least one full rest day a week – I actually recommend two.  No cardio, no weight lifting, no crazy yoga, no abs, nothing.  Just rest.

Get Back to Basics

Sometimes weight lifters get so caught up in doing exercises that only work one specific muscle group at a time that they forget what got them there.  Fundamental exercises like push-ups, chin-ups, and squats work a lot of muscles at the same time and shouldnt be abandoned.  They’re great exercises to warm up  with (use low weights for squats) and should continue to be a staple for your muscle building routine.

It’s important to challenge your muscles in new ways, even if you’re doing it with the same exercises.  One week, decrease your weight and increase your reps; another week increase your weight and decrease your reps.  Implement a different challenge at least one week a month so your muscles don’t get stuck in the same old routine.  For your cardio work, mix it up with interval training.

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