If you are having trouble gaining muscle, then your weight-gain scheme just isn’t working right. Think you are a “hard gainer”? The truth is, unless blessed with exceptional genes, our bodies all need a great amount work to make any strides in gaining some extra mass. And if you don’t consider yourself a quitter, here’s how to gain muscle the right way.
1. Strength training
There’s no shortcut to gaining weight without properly working out, especially in the strength department. You need to get stronger by lifting heavy weights. And to achieve progress, keep pushing your body to its limits by adding a little more weight each day. Strength training is the exact kind of strenous activity that your body needs to trigger the development of new muscle tissue.
Two kinds of exercises are crucial here: weight lifting and compound exercises. Barbell rows, benchpresses, dips, pull-ups, squats and millitary presses. Work them all out. These exercises work all your muscles and are the most effective for optimizing the muscle building process.
2. Do not overtrain
When starting out, you should begin with a lighter program that you can build upon as you progress. So instead of rushing to work out 6 times a week (and not allowing the muscles enough time for repair and recovery), begin with, ideally, a three-days-a-week training schedule. Then slowly add to that as you get stronger. You’re a “hard gainer”, remember, so stay away from those very demanding workout routines that fitness magazines publish for established athletes to follow.
3. Eat enough food
Eat like a horse, almost. No matter how effectively planned-out your workout routine is, you’re never going to add an ounce of extra mass if you keeping eating less than your body deserves. The number of calories you need per day should exceed those that your body burns daily. Roughly, 20 x your weight. If you weigh 140 pounds, then you need at least (20 x 140) 2,800 calories a day.
So you have to consume all those calories in a day, and intend to do so in 3 meals? No way. Spreading the food over 6 meals is the solution, as there’ll be a steady intake of protein, which in turn boosts metabolism and muscle recovery.
4. Eat right
Eat plenty of protein — about 40%, with carbs at 40% to and fats 20%. About 1 gram of protein is needed per pound of body weight, so a 140 pound guy needs 140g of protein per day. Eat any of the tuna, lean meat, eggs, whey protein, chicken, beans and cottage cheese you can lay your hands on to achieve this target.
For carbs, insist on wholegrains like brown rice, whole wheat bread and oats to minimize fat intake. For fats, take fish oil, flax seeds, peanut butter and olive oil. Eat calorie-dense foods, such as brown rice, oats, pasta and nuts. Don’t forget vitamin and fish-oil supplements too.
5. Sleep like a baby
For all your squating, eating, and weight-lifting efforts to pay off, you need sufficient sleep. Sleep time is when everything slips in; when growth hormones are activated to repair/build muscle. That’s 8 hours a day. If your lifestyle allows, take post-workout naps too.
So that’s how to build muscle properly without going to (unnecessary) extra lengths. Remember, eat enough, wholesome foods every three hours, train consistently harder and stick to the enough-sleep/rest/recovery plan. You’ll notice results.