For most of us, spending plenty of time in the gym sounds like a surefire route to muscle building success. This is definitely an important part of it since you need to lift weights to build muscle in general. However, it is only one piece to the puzzle.
When it comes to building muscle mass, there are several other factors that come into play. Unfortunately, these other factors are often overlooked and underestimated, since going to the gym to lift heavy weights sounds and often feels glorious in comparison to the rest.
However, if you ever want to build true muscle mass and keep it, it’s absolutely critical that you take a well-rounded approach to the whole muscle building thing. Let’s take a look at the five golden rules for building muscle mass, as defined by all bodybuilders who’ve had success.
#1: Go hard or go home.
This should be a given, but you have to put in the work if you want to build some muscle. No, this doesn’t mean going to the gym and grabbing those comfy ten-pound dumbbells. Rather, it means lifting the absolute heaviest weight you can lift safely and working your way up from there over time. Your muscles grow in response to added stress (good stress), which means more weight is almost always better, as long as you can lift it safely and about 90% effort.
#2: Recovery is where muscles grow.
This is where many overly-eager folks fail. You may think that spending more time in the gym equates to more muscle built, but this is simply not true.
Muscle mass grows in the recovery phase. If you never allow your muscles time to recover, they’ll never completely perform and grow as they otherwise would. So take a day or two each week for rest. If you really feel the need to work out on rest days, try low-intensity cardio or stretching to satisfy your gym cravings.
#3: Nutrition is paramount.
Even if you’re training well and often, you’ll have a difficult time reaching your goals if you don’t eat properly. After all, you are what you eat. There are many popular diets out there, so just choose one that works best for you and stick with it. While some diets may be better than others, having a diet at all is better than eating mindlessly.
Just make sure to always eat enough greens in your diet. If you find that difficult, try supplementing in your diet. Nutrii’s Organic Super Greens provides a complete daily serving of greens, including superfoods like turmeric.
#4: Drink plenty of water.
Your muscles will have a hard time recovering if you’re dehydrated. You’re also more likely to have cramps, which is no fun at all. To keep your body hydrated and primed for recovery, sip on water throughout your workout and throughout the day. Aim to drink at least eight 8-ounce cups of water a day.
#5: Eat in a slight caloric surplus.
This is where many people tend to overdo it. Yes, you want to eat in caloric surplus, but this doesn’t mean scarfing down a cheeseburger for your mid-day snack. By overeating, you’ll also gain fat in the process of building muscle. As a general rule, aim to get about 40-80 grams of carbs and 40-60 grams of protein in each meal. Fats can hover around 10 grams per meal.