Building muscle is a great goal to have. Not only does it improve your physique, but it increases your fitness, improves your health, promotes longevity, strengthens your muscles and bones, and empowers the mind, among other things.
However, building muscle isn’t as simple as walking into a gym and picking up some weights. Quite the contrary, in fact. The process of building muscle is largely a science. It requires following a calculated diet, a strict and well-thought-out training program, a recovery, and injury prevention protocol, and of course, a proper mindset.
While the first step of any health and fitness goal is getting started, along the way you’ll learn some steps that are beneficial and some steps that are not. In this article, however, we share some of the most important strategies that are helpful and some that may not be, so you don’t have to learn them through your own mistakes!
In what follows, we’ll discuss the top helpful strategies of muscle building and the top ideas that are not. Let’s get right into it!
The Strategies for Building Muscle
Making the right decisions that align properly with your fitness goals, muscle building or otherwise, may seem like common sense.
Moreover, while some tips that are shared throughout this article may seem counterintuitive, you can rest assured that it will help you achieve your muscle building goals in an optimal fashion.
Below are the top ideas for muscle building!
Follow a Steady Routine
Consistency and commitment are key factors to achieving any goal or objective – muscle building included. You may have the best strength training program in the world; however, without executing it in a consistent fashion, results will likely plateau.
Any goal worth chasing is worth chasing with 110% of your effort and energy. So before embarking on your muscle building journey, ensure that you’re prepared to give it your all each and every day. Consistency, consistency, consistency!
Follow a Resistance Training Program
Following a personalized strength training program is key to getting the results you desire. It’s great if you’re walking through the gym doors on a daily basis, however, if you’re just going through the motions with no clear goal or intention, results will likely be subpar.
Instead, follow a strict schedule, have a clear goal, workout with intention, and train in accordance with the program (i.e., sets, reps, weights, exercises, etc.). Strength training is the optimal approach to building muscle via hypertrophy.
Train with intensity, consistency, and intention, and you’ll begin to see progress in no time.
Post-Workout Nutrition and Recovery
Following a muscle builders’ diet is crucial to getting the results you desire. As the saying goes, abs are made in the kitchen. Moreover, while the gym is important, nutrition is 80% of the equation.
The following are a few key tips when it comes to diet, post-workout nutrition, and recovery: Prioritize protein intake, don’t avoid healthy fats and carbs, drink enough water, and time your meals accordingly.
Take Rest Days
While it may seem counterproductive to rest, especially when you’re motivated to reach your muscle building goals, rest is arguably the best thing you could do to build muscle. Not only does it promote muscle recovery and repair, but it also provides your body and mind the rest it needs.
Without rest, your workouts will be subpar, your muscle growth will be limited, your risk of injury will drastically increase, and you’ll likely burn out somewhere along the journey.
While listening to your body is an important strategy for implementing rest days, it’s also a good idea to follow a regimented training program. Remember work but keep in mind the important need to rest.
The Strategies That Don’t Necessarily Work for Muscle Building
Similarly, making the right decisions that align with your fitness goals and objectives is important. Try to avoid making the wrong ones.
Here are the top strategies to avoid muscle building:
The number one cause for injury when it comes to weight training is doing too much too soon, without prioritizing rest and recovery. While it can be exciting to work towards your goal, and sometimes even becoming addicting, trying to build muscle too fast via overtraining can and will result in injury and lack of progress.
In fact, overtraining, though counterintuitive, will result in the loss of muscle, not the building of it. So, train hard, train with intensity and intention, however, prioritize rest, follow your training program’s schedule, and listen to your body.
Insufficient Water Consumption
Drinking water isn’t only crucial for human life but it also happens to be essential for muscle growth. Water plays a large role in temperature regulation, nutrient transportation, and bodily waste elimination, among other key functions.
Consuming enough water throughout the day, including before, during, and after a workout will ultimately set you up for success. On the contrary, consuming an insufficient amount of water will lead to fatigue, muscle depletion, and poor health.
Lack of Sleep
It’s understandable that life gets busy, obligations arise, and sleep tends to get put on the back burner. However, prioritizing sleep is imperative not only for building muscle but for your overall health and well-being.
Not getting adequate rest on a consistent basis is detrimental to your health and progress in the gym. When possible, ensure that you’re getting 7-9 hours of sleep on a nightly basis, and incorporate rest days weekly for adequate recovery and repair.
Poor Eating Habits
While muscle growth requires one to consume a substantial and sufficient amount of food in direct relation to the size of the individual (i.e., a 120 lb. woman shouldn’t need to eat as much as a 200 lb. man with the same goals), it involves a nuanced approach; it’s not as simple as eating what you want as much as you want…
First, it’s imperative that you consume an optimal amount of protein, carbs, and fat. Moreover, based on your current weight and your future goals, it’s necessary to eat in a caloric surplus for your muscles to grow.
Second, while it’s important to eat enough, you don’t want to eat too much. Moreover, timing is everything when it comes to dieting. For best results, consider eating lightly right before your workout, and consume in abundance post-workout to optimize muscle repair and recovery.