Physical involvement is paramount to one’s overall health, and its importance to every individual can’t be overstated. Depending on your health needs, lifestyle, and preferences, you can engage in different fitness programs that target your specific requirements. If you’re looking into enhancing your overall health while getting in shape, muscle building is an excellent fitness path for you.
Building your muscles present numerous benefits that go further than physical appearance. Many people engage in muscle building only because it helps them look better, but they’re missing the point of this fitness program.
If you’re gearing up to build your muscle mass, it’s essential to educate yourself first on what muscle building is all about. Also, take note of these points on accomplishing your muscle-building safely and effectively:
Take Supplements Into Consideration and Moderation
The basics of muscle building include consuming high amounts of protein, managing carbohydrate intake, and working out your muscle groups. Before going into these principles, discussing muscle building supplements first is noteworthy to one’s fitness program, especially for beginners.
Adding specific supplements into your muscle-building routine can be beneficial, as they aid in gaining muscle mass, reducing fat, boosting muscle recovery, and improving general performance. Some of the best muscle-building supplements include creatine, beta-alanine, and beta-hydroxy beta-methyl butyrate (HMB).
You can also try out performance-enhancing drugs for more hardcore bodybuilding, but you should utilize them in moderation. You can choose between SARMs vs. prohormones, but keep in mind that you can only use these together given advanced knowledge and experience in using each, preferably along with professional guidance.
Increase Your Protein Intake
Your body has to experience overload to gain more muscles. There are two ways of building muscles through overload: mechanical and metabolic overload. Mechanical overload directly involves protein, while metabolic overload is associated with carbohydrates. Let’s start with mechanical overload.
During a strenuous movement, structural damage occurs on the smallest components of your muscle fibers, and this damage stimulates repair. To carry out muscle repair and regrowth processes, hormones and protein will work hand-in-hand to synthesize new cells and repair damaged tissues. ‘
You can increase your protein intake by taking protein supplements or incorporating protein-rich foods in your diet, including:
- Chicken breast
- Greek yogurt
- Oats and quinoa
- Cottage cheese
Consume Carbohydrates Abundantly
Carbohydrates are another essential macronutrient with significant importance to your muscle building, but they don’t get enough credit compared to protein. In metabolic overload mentioned briefly earlier, your body relies on its energy supply in the form of glycogen generated from carbohydrates.
As your muscles continuously experience fatigue from working out, they adapt to increase glycogen storage. Since glycogen can attach water to itself, carrying more glycogen in your muscles will make it bigger due to glycogen and water content.
Consuming complex carbs in whole grains, fiber-rich fruits and vegetables, and beans is much better than taking simple carbs. Although simple carbs provide an immediate energy kick, complex carbs offer a more sustainable, efficient, and healthier energy.
Focus On Muscle Building and Training
After looking into your diet and nutritional intake, it’s time for lots of real action! Since your goal is to build your muscle mass, your workout routines should primarily consist of exercises for muscle groups. While squats and curls may already be challenging for beginners, these exercises are unideal to build muscle mass.
A consistent routine consisting of multi-joint movements is the best backbone of muscle training. Therefore, it’s crucial to work big and train heavily to encourage more utilization of energy. Some examples of muscle training exercises and corresponding muscle groups that they work out are:
- Deadlift: Forearms, upper traps, hamstrings, glutes, hips, quads, and lower back
- Bench press: Lower back, glutes, hips, hamstrings, and quads
- Leg press: Glutes, hips, hamstrings, and quads
- Dip: Anterior deltoids, triceps, and pectorals
- Pullup: Forearms, brachialis, biceps, rear delts, mid-traps, rhomboids, and lats
- Barbell pullover: Triceps, teres major, lats, and upper pectorals
Focus on Eccentric Training
Strength training consists of two phases: concentric and eccentric. The former is more challenging to accomplish as it encourages the muscle to shorten during contraction, while the latter allows the muscles to lengthen. Take weightlifting as an example. Upon lifting the weights, your muscles engage in the concentric phase. Once you lower down the weights, an eccentric phase occurs.
Athletes take advantage of the concentric and eccentric phases of training to meet their particular needs. You can formulate a training routine composed of concentric-only exercises like bicep curls, engage in eccentric-only exercises such as calf raise, or have a combination of both.
In bodybuilding, eccentric exercises are more beneficial as they trigger hypertrophy better than concentric ones. Hence, you can incorporate eccentric-only activities and use a rowing machine to induce hypertrophy. If you’re performing both concentric and eccentric movements in one exercise, slow down and emphasize the eccentric phase of the training.
Don’t Be Too Hard On Yourself
A muscle training routine will only work effectively if your muscles can recover appropriately from fatigue. While it’s important to train your muscles hard with rigorous exercises, you shouldn’t push yourself to exhaustion as it’ll only do more harm than good to your health.
For instance, your weight training should only consist of 12 to 16 workout sets and not more than that. Training three times a week is enough. Also, avoid back-to-back, high-intensity exercises because your body requires 24 hours to recover.
Lastly, sleep is the best time for your body to recover and regenerate. During sleep, your body releases the human growth hormone (HGH) vital to repairing muscle tissues and speeding up muscle healing and recovery. Your optimal hours of sleep should fall between seven to nine hours as sleeping less has various health repercussions, like inhibiting muscle-building testosterone production in your body.
The essence of muscle-building doesn’t lie behind your destination but in your entire fitness journey. Building your muscle mass doesn’t happen overnight. Even the best bodybuilders will tell you that patience and consistency are the keys to achieving your desired results.
After all, performing your weight training too much, too fast, and too soon can only cause several health consequences, including fractures, stress reactions, bursitis, and tendonitis, to name a few.