How many times have you been to the gym and seen those people in there with the really big muscles using the free weights or on the lifting machines? Chances are, you’re going to at least see a few of these beefed up fitness enthusiasts at any gym you go to. Why? Because they’re trying to build muscle. You’ll rarely see them doing any type of cardio because lifting weights will elevate their heart rate just as much, if not more, than a treadmill or elliptical machine could.
Whether they’re lifting for bodybuilding competitions or to look good in a swimsuit, building muscle goes way beyond completing sets and reps in the gym. It’s not an easy journey but it is one that requires immense discipline. So if you’re ready to go on the journey of building muscle, here’s what you need to do.
Set Expectations That You Can Realistically Achieve
Just like with any other goal you’re trying to achieve, you’ll desperately fail at it if you don’t set realistic goals for yourself. Building muscle to get “jacked” doesn’t just happen overnight… it takes years of hard work, consistency, sacrifice, and dedication. So if you look in the mirror and don’t yourself taking anyone to the “gun show,” don’t get discouraged or quit… just keep pushing.
You can’t expect to look like The Hulk in 90 days. To build muscle and muscle mass, it takes patience and persistence. Realistically, you can pack on 10-15 pounds of muscle over the course of 6-12 months. If you’re new to building muscle, you can start to see noticeable changes to your body within eight weeks. If you’re a little more seasoned in building muscle, you can expect to see changes within three to four weeks.
Keep Track of What and How Much You Eat
In order to build muscle, that means you’re going to need to gain weight. Most people would simply think, just eat a lot… well, that sounds simple enough but it’s not that simple. You might feel like you’re eating a lot but you’re actually not. The amount of food you eat might seem like a lot but it depends on what you’re eating… the foods you’ve been eating might not contain enough calories it takes to build muscle.
You, of course, want to maintain a well-balanced diet, whether it be a hearty stuffed bell pepper recipe or a lean chicken meal, you just need to make sure you’re incorporating protein in your meals. It’s recommended that in order to gain weight and build muscle, you need to consume one gram of protein per pound of body weight.
In addition to protein, you also want to make sure you’re consuming enough carbs as well. Eating carbs almost sounds counterproductive to building muscle but eating carbs is just as important as making sure you consume enough protein. It’s recommended to eat carbs before your workouts so that they can be broken down and used as fuel for your workout.
To make sure you’re consuming the proper amount of carbs and protein, some people like to keep food journals to help them keep track of their fuel intake. This will help you establish a routine fuel intake routine.
Make Sleep a Priority in Your Daily Routine
Did you know that you can do all this hard work and eat all the right foods and not see a single result from it if you don’t get enough sleep? Sleep is detrimental to muscle recovery and growth. Yes, we all lead very busy lives and we oftentimes sacrifice our sleep for other things we need to do but in doing so, it makes the gains we achieve break down. So if you have a choice, always choose sleep, and make sure you’re getting at least seven to eight hours of sleep too.
Take Supplements the Right Way
According to bodybuilding.com, if you’re going to build muscle, there are three specific categories your supplements need to fall into:
Whichever supplements you choose to go with, you need to make sure you take them as directed and not go overboard… you first need to do your research on the various types of supplements and learn the science behind them. There are so many out there that seem to do the same thing as others or be better than others, so learn the science behind supplements before consuming them.
Make Sure Your Workouts Aim to Build Muscle
If you want to build muscle, you have to work out like you want to build muscle. If you don’t have a personal trainer to guide you in your workouts, it’s typically best to have your workouts pre-planned… this will prevent you from walking around the gym aimlessly from machine to machine trying to figure out if you should do this machine or that machine.
With your workouts, you ideally want to do fur to five exercises per muscle. Exceeding that would overtrain your muscles and can cause you to strain or hurt yourself, so it’s all about finding that balance that your body can tolerate at a certain weight. As you feel your body getting stronger, you can then safely increase to a heavier weight.
Stay Consistent With Everything
You’ve heard people say that “consistency is key,” well, that statement is very true with lots of things, especially with building muscle. You can’t realistically expect to eat right and exercise for one session, or over the course of a week, and expect to see building muscles… but you can expect to see it over the course of 6-8 weeks. But in order to see those results, you have to stick with it. Yes, it’s going to be hard but it will be well worth it when you start to see yourself getting “jacked up.” So, just keep at it and remember, consistency is key.