Taking the time focus on building muscle during your gym routine is something everyone can benefit from. This is because by building muscle you will be burning additional calories and enhancing your overall definition and body composition.
Seeing improvements when you look in the mirror is ONE motivating aspect, but check out ALL of the benefits that come with building muscle.
Look your best – Let’s be honest, even if looks aren’t your primary ambition, everyone wants to look their very best. Building muscle through exercise will undoubtedly help you achieve that.
Burn extra calories – Great news! Adding muscle to your physique will increase the amount of calories your body burns throughout the day, which in turn will help lower your body fat percentage! How’s that for a two-for-one deal?[i]
Improve posture – Stabilize your body. By actively practicing a well-rounded muscle building routine, with proper form, you can help reinforce the weaker areas of your body. The result is better overall posture.
Develop strength– While there are slight variations between a muscle building routine and a strength development program, for most people building muscle and strength go hand-in-hand.
Prevent muscle loss – As you age your muscle mass declines. People who are physically inactive can lose as much as 3% to 5% of their muscle mass per decade after age 30[ii] Implementing a muscle building routine is one of the best ways to counter the loss of muscle mass that is associated with aging. You can continue to build muscle as you age; it just requires a proactive muscle building routine.[iii]
The Game Plan – How to build muscle
Now that we’ve covered the benefits let’s jump into how we’re going to achieve them. If you want to efficiently build muscle you have to implement certain guidelines into your fitness game plan. Follow these simple guidelines for the ultimate muscle building benefits:
Increase the resistance and lower the reps – If you want to put on muscle you should be weight training with heavier loads. Lifting heavier weight creates greater tension in your muscles, spurring better growth. You should be performing between 3-6 sets of 6-12 repetitions for each exercise.[iv]
Eat enough calories – Calories are not the enemy when it comes to building muscle; eating enough (not too many) calories is essential. You will need to eat more calories than you expend as energy each day if you want to gain mass.
Plenty of Protein – Protein is the building block that your body uses to repair and develop muscle tissue. Consuming the correct amount of protein is integral to building muscle. But how much should you be consuming?
“You need to increase your protein intake from 0.8 to 1.2 grams of protein (before training to increase muscle mass) to 1.2 grams of protein (when training to increase muscle mass) per kilogram of your body weight ,” said Registered Dietitian, Debbie J.
This means you should be consuming about 1.2 grams of protein for every 2.2 pounds.
You may have noticed the recommended protein consumption for building muscle goes up by about 5-6 grams for every 10 pounds of additional body weight; take this into consideration when calculating protein consumption for your specific weight.
Get Sufficient Sleep – Practicing healthy sleeping habits will help you reap the full benefits from your muscle building workouts. After all, when you work out you are breaking down muscle and when you sleep you are building it. Sleep also helps increase the release of hormones that help build muscle, like testosterone.[v]
Additionally, consuming protein before sleep has also shown to increase the growth of muscle post exercise.[vi]
Alternate Exercises – Performing the same exercises over-and-over again can lead to your muscles adapting to the same movements. Adaptation is the primary culprit of muscle building plateaus. Switch up the exercises you use for each muscle group every two to three weeks in order to avoid plateaus.
Begin implementing these simple guidelines into your routine and you’ll be on your way to building a muscular physique and redeeming all of the benefits that come with it! Also, if you want helpful exercises to go along with these guidelines just consult our Top Tips section and you’ll find a wide variety of exercises and instructions on how to perform them correctly.