You are probably reading this post because you want to add some quality size. Whether you are looking to improve at your sport, improve your body composition, or just feel better about yourself, muscle mass gain is a great goal to have. It’s important to note that the goal should be to gain muscle, and not necessarily weight. Too many people go on a “bulking diet” and just end up with excess fat and little muscle growth to show for it. You want to be able to get bigger without significantly increasing fat. Some extra fat may come with it, but you should try to keep it to a minimum.
Gaining muscle mass can be hard, but it doesn’t have to be all that complicated. Here are ten key concepts that will speed up the muscle-building process.
- Commit to growth – This sounds obvious, but it shouldn’t be overlooked. If you want to gain quality muscle, you have to actually commit to it. If you aren’t willing to do what is necessary, you won’t reach your goals.
- Fuel yourself – It’s important to get quality nutrition and you need to get enough food to grow. Some people recommend eating as much as you want when bulking, but that could lead to excess fat. Focus on getting plenty of protein with healthy fats and the necessary carbs.
- Focus on 8-12 reps – This has long been the recommended rep range for muscle growth. You can stray from this rep set on occasion, but perform the majority of your work here.
- Overload the muscles – You need to increase the resistance in the weight room when you can. You need increasingly heavier weights to stimulate growth.
- Vary your program – If you perform the same exercises, in the same order, with everything else the same, your progress will stall.
- Keep rest periods short to moderate – Longer rest periods are great for strength gains. Shorter rest periods are better for muscle gains, because this will overwork the used muscle groups. If the muscle is fatigued, it has to work harder to perform and adapt.
- Keep sessions under an hour – More isn’t always better. This is helpful for hormonal benefits. The longer you exercise for, the more likely you are to have a big cortisol response, which can be muscle-wasting.
- Limit cardio – You can perform some cardio for health and athletic benefits. However, the more you do, the more challenging it is on your body to grow.
- Recover – This includes days off, sleep, and proper nutrition. You’ve probably heard the saying that you don’t get better when you are in the weight room, but when you are resting. This is true. Don’t overdo it and make sure to get plenty of sleep.
- Be patient- Building muscle takes time. It can take over a month before noticeable results are visible. When you hear stories of great short-term gains, such as several pounds in a week or two, that might just be water or fat. Long-term gains are slower but can give you longer-lasting quality muscle gains.