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Monday, 21 March 2011

How To Successfully Build Muscle

I thought that I would write a bit about a topic that I find very interesting and have read lots about over the years. I am a keen weightlifter and over the past few years have successfully built up muscle using very simple rules and guidelines, a few of which I am going to share with you in this article. Now if you are a seasoned weightlifter then it is likely that most of what will be written about you will already know. Luckily I am going to follow this up with a more advanced look at how to build muscle but this is aimed at people who want to start out. From the outset you should have the mind set that building muscle isn’t a one-month job. Building muscle is something that takes years of work and dedication, although you can see some results within months.


Kitchen is your new home



Okay the first thing I would like to start with is that muscle is built outside of the gym! This might come as a shock to you but it is very true. When you are in the gym you are breaking down your muscles and giving them reasons to grow, but they are not growing whilst you are there. Whilst working out they might look bigger but this is what we call the ‘pump, this is when blood is pumping through your muscle causing it to look fuller and pumped up. As far as I’m concerned muscle is built in the kitchen, which means that it comes down to what you eat and how much you eat.

Diet


Dieting is the biggest and most important factor for building muscle. Don’t believe the hype and pressure you will get from adverts telling you that you can gain 30lbs of lean muscle 4 weeks. THIS IS A LIE. Realistically you could gain 4-5lbs of muscle in a VERY VERY good month. This is done through hard dieting.
You should be aiming to eat +300-500 calories above what your BMR is.  Now to calculate your BMR you can use the following link BMR Calculator. Eating surplus calories is what is known as ‘Bulking’ and it is through bulking that you will gain your muscle (as well as a bit of fat). Your main source of calories should come from carbohydrates (50%) and proteins (30%) whilst fats should be the remaining 20%. It doesn’t matter too much where the calories come from but preferably you should be eating nice whole foods as appose to fatty takeaways.
Gaining anywhere up to 2lbs a week is acceptable but around 1lb a week should be your aim idealistically. Anything more than this and you will just be gaining too much excess fat and you won’t be happy with your results.

Gym Routine


Your gym routine, at least at this early stage, isn’t the most important factor of you building muscle. At this level merely lifting weights in a structured manner is enough to get you going. I would suggest doing Ripptoes Starting Strength as a beginner, as it allows you to learn the compound lifts well and also maximizing your early potential. You should be pushing yourself HARD in the gym if you want to gain that muscle. Have a look at the Starting Strength link for lots more information on how the workout is conducted.

Supplements


Now supplements are something that most people think are magic potions, but in reality what they are is stated in their name. SUPPLEMENTS! Drinking protein shakes should not be the way you get your protein for the day but should instead be supplementing your diet if you are lacking the required protein for the day. I would also suggest getting yourself a decent multi-vitamin and cod liver oil tablets as these will help to keep you healthy in general as well as aid your muscle building. Creatine is helpful but totally optional. If you live in the United Kingdom i found that myprotein.com was one of the top companies for sports supplements and offer 5% off your first buy. 


Another great place to get yourself some muscle check out: BUILD MUSCLE

Remember that this is not a race and you probably won’t see much of a difference for the first couple of months but if you stick with it then you will be huge! I’ll following this post up with another in a few days that will go into more details on the dieting aspects of building muscle.


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