It’s a low blow to open this type of article with a personal question, but it’s pertinent to the topic – have you been bullied? Have you listened to buff types cat-calling your date, but couldn’t do jack-squat about it? Maybe you’ve been called skinny too many times? If the answer is yes, then you should give this a read. If no, read it anyway, you might find out something useful anyway.
Eat, eat, eat. In all seriousness, eating is a big part of muscle-building, and more than half of the tips and tricks for quick growth listed here can be summed up in that one irregular verb. The other half is working out regularly, working out regularly, and working out… you guessed it – regularly. You have to keep in mind, however, that even though these pieces of advice can help you reach the goal you have in your mind, they are not miraculous. What you’ll need above all are determination and hard work. So, before you begin exercising, ask yourself – how set my mind is?
10 ways to build muscles
- First and foremost, start with consuming more proteins. Ok, this one’s obvious, and you must’ve heard it a hundred times by now. However, it’s essential for your muscle growth, as they are made of protein, and protein in turn is made of amino acids. Let your goal be around a gram of protein per pound of body weight. The most efficient way to go about this is to divide it into several small meals throughout the day, and make it varied – beef, chicken, cheese, fish, eggs, whey, the works.
- Down more calories. You can worry about the proteins all you like, but it’s useless if you don’t start taking in more calories. In plain English – eat more! The rule of thumb says to take your bodyweight and multiply it by 10, and then add 1000 to 1500 calories per day. Basically, let your intake always be bigger than what you burn.
- Don’t stop with increased protein intake, gobble down more carbs. What happens when you don’t put gas in your car? Exactly. Carbohydrates are to your body what gas is to cars. They fuel it during workout, so that your muscles don’t start eating themselves to keep working. In a nutshell, the body expends glycogen (the storage form of carbs), until there’s no more, and then dips into the protein reserves. Eventually, the body starts eating itself.
- Consume more good fats. Most people overlook this part of their diet, thinking all fat is bad. However, fat is essential to proper body functions because it’s the most economical way to store energy. Remember the story about carbs? Moreover, fats are also needed for proper function of nerves and brain, healthy skin, and much more. There are many sources of these so-called “good fats” (kind of self-explanatory), such as avocados, cheese, dark chocolate, whole eggs, fatty fish (salmon, carp, mackerel, catfish), nuts, chia seeds, extra-virgin olive oil, coconut and full-fat yoghurt, to name just a few.
- Make a habit of drinking a protein shake before workout and eating a hearty meal full of carbs after workout. There’s actually a reason to the rhyme here – the exercise increases blood flow, allowing better absorption of nutritious matter into the working tissues. This means that a shake, packed with amino-acids and carbs, will be used to the max. Similarly, downing carbs after a workout will increase your insulin levels, which will in turn slow the breakdown of protein. It doesn’t even have to be unpleasant – eat a banana or a peanut-butter sandwich.
- The idea is not to just eat more, but also eat more often. A meal every three hours should do the trick, You should also make a habit of drinking milk before bedtime – a cup of milk with cookies or cupcakes is not only delicious, but it also provides you with a good, well-balanced serving of amino-acids, fats, and carbs.
- Help your body to synthesize proteins by working the biggest muscles. This ties in perfectly to the previous section, and segues to the following. In essence, it’s not enough to eat more protein – you have to maximise protein synthesis (the process of storing protein in your body). The more protein, the bigger the muscles. To stimulate protein synthesis, for beginners, doing any workout will just about do it, but for the more experienced, it would be a good idea to exercise the biggest muscles and muscle groups – chest, back, and legs. Anything will do – squats, pull-ups, deadlift, bench presses, military presses in two-three sets of about twelve repetitions.
- Make sure you drink plenty of water. Many people overlook hydration, which is a terrible mistake. Seriously, your body is over 70% water, and you forget about it? Although it’s a rough approximation, for every pound of pure muscle there are about three pounds of water, and any loss in water results in feebler muscles.
- Try using supplements if you want your results extra quick. This is a slippery slide, but using supplements actually works. If you have the money, go for it, but keep to the basic stuff – protein powders, creatine, glutamine, joint formula and multi-vitamins. However, these won’t do a damn thing unless you do.
- Work out every other day, Give your muscles the time to recover and grow. If you work them out constantly, they’ll wear out constantly, and that’ll leave you with a wiry body. The idea is that the workout provides an intense stimulus for your muscles to grow, which invariably leaves the body (the muscles, in particular) broken down. This should be followed by a quiet period to allow it to recuperate and “re-build” itself. If you keep laying it hard every day, you’ll still be strong, but lean. Although there’s nothing wrong with lean, as it is healthy, you wouldn’t be reading this if you wanted to be like that, now, would you?