It might not seem easy to build strength and muscle mass when you have been stuck at the same weight forever, but the truth is that the biological process of muscle growth is pretty straightforward.
Where most people run into problems is that they lack the drive to succeed.If you can consistently motivate yourself to stay on an exercise regimen then you will see results.
From there you just need to focus on working out smarter and avoiding common mistakes. Here are some basics of muscle building to keep in mind when you are just getting started.
Your muscles consist of two main types of fibers: slow twitch and fast twitch. The slow twitch fibers are used for endurance activities like running and cardio exercises. These fibers do not add mass to your frame but they are still important for overall fitness.
The fast twitch fibers are the ones that increase bulk as they are used for short bursts of extreme strength. If you are trying to build strength and bulk then these are the fibers you want to target.
The best way to target your fast twitch fibers is by performing short sets of exercises with a high amount of weight. As a general rule, performing sets in the range of 1 to 5 reps targets the fast twitch fibers, while endurance reps of 6 to 15 will enhance the slow twitch fibers.
One of the hardest things to avoid in a workout regimen is “hitting the wall”. This occurs when you workout too often with the same exercises which ultimately prevents your muscles from growing. Rest is integral part of achieving your goals. When you successfully challenge your muscles you actually cause tiny tears in their fibers.
During your rest period, the body repairs these tears by growing the muscle bigger and stronger. This process is called hypertrophy and it is the key to muscle growth.
You can keep your hypertrophy cycles continuing by giving your body proper rest between workouts. Typically this means at least one day in between sessions and no more than four sessions per week. It is also important to randomize your exercises.
This can be done by having a rotation of exercises that targets each specific muscle group (i.e. shoulders, arms, chest). If you can’t stay way from the gym for a day, then try rotating upper and lower body workouts to give each group enough recovery time.
Strengthen Your Diet
Even the best workout routine won’t produce results if you don’t properly fuel your muscles. Your diet should change in correlation with your goals. If you are working out more than you also need to eat more.
Of course eating more isn’t just about calories – it involves providing the right nutrition for enhanced muscle growth. Half of your diet should include lean protein sources and the other half should be comprised of carbohydrates and fat. Obviously you should focus on healthy sources for these nutrients.
Avoid junk food and empty calories at all cost. There are thousands of sources of good calories, and many of them can be found quite cheap at your local grocery store.
Maintain and Adjust
If you are just starting out with muscle building then you will likely see significant progress in your first month. The hard part comes in the next 60 days where you will have to work much harder to challenge your body. This is where many people fail and it is because they either get lazy or stuck in the same routine.
Stay motivated and keep making adjustments to account for your new strength. Without these two factors you will quickly fall behind.