How to get more muscle – overload. I’m not here to feed you a bunch of re-hashed fitness magazine B.S on how to gain weight. The fact is, muscle magazines are selling bodybuilding. From supplements to clothes, pills to equipment. B.S. Building muscle is not about bodybuilding. They can be the same, but they inherently aren’t the same.
They are pimping articles with headlines like “Workout routines to build muscle”, “How to get more muscle quickly”, or “How to build muscles fast”. Then they go on to explain that all you need to do is hit the Hammer Strength chest machine for 3 intense sets of 12 about 60 minutes after you take you preworkout NOSBlaster with creatine because that’s what Ronnie Coleman does. Followed by an Incline dumbbells / Pec Dec superset with forced reps and 90 seconds rest in between. Easy peasy.
How’s that been working for you so far? If you are like any of the clients I’ve had over the years, not very well. The obvious solution is to get a personal trainer, right? Unfortunately, the majority of personal trainers think the same way, because they read the same stuff, or worse, they train you the way they train themselves.
Why should you listen to me? I’ve been a professional trainer since 1992 full time. I currently own and operate my own 15,000 sf gym, and have stacks of testimonials from satisfied clients that say that I know what I’m talking about. I’m not here to argue with anybody about what you think you know. I know what I know, and I’m willing to share it with you if you are willing to listen.
For anyone that wants to know how to build muscle, the first thing you have to get is that it’s more than working out. There are essentially three key elements that you have to get right. Failure in any of these three areas will mean partial or total failure depending on the degree of non-compliance to the plan.
Once you understand the raw ingredients to build muscle, it’s easier to filter out marketing messages with agendas to sell unnecessary products to people that are “desperate” to learn how to build muscle without the willingness to work for it. Conversely, eagerness to work hard without proper direction will result the same way or worse, with injury. I have worked with both.
Let’s start with why so many people have the wrong idea about building muscle. It’s all about marketing and money. I’m not against making money, at all. I’m against being dishonest to get it. If you want to be a bodybuilder, following advice in muscle magazines is not the way to do it. Why? Because unless you are taking steroids, like all the pro bodybuilders are, you are not going to get those results.
That’s right, I said it. Who cares what routine the current Mr. Olympia uses to get that extra sweep on the bottom of his quad. That’s not you, and unless you can squat 315 lbs below parallel, you don’t need to worry about it. You are wasting your time trying to glean results from the routines of men that already have a solid foundation. You doing those movements is not the same as them doing those movements.
Taking the supplements they take will not help you look like them either, unless you also have a supply of 3cc syringes with 20ga 3.5″ needles loaded with the right stuff. I’m not saying how I feel about the steroid issue, what I am saying is that you should know those physiques are not built without them.
If you just want to gain 20-40 lbs of natural muscle, you can totally do that drug free, in a relatively short period of time using the correct application of the three factors above.
You have to get “isolation” out of your head.
Get More Muscle Fast
Overload. Muscle responds to stimulus. How it responds depends on the type of stimulus you apply. If you want to build muscle, you are going to have to make it adapt to new stimulus. The stimulus has to tell the body that the current amount of muscle is insufficient. The only way to do that is overload.
It has to be obvious. The muscle will respond to damage with hypertrophy.
The wiki article sounds very similar to many articles in the latest muscle and fitness magazine, and is just about as useful, without proper context. The simpler way to put it would be, “The more weight you expose the muscle to, the bigger the response will be.” So the context is to say that if you don’t have ability to handle heavy weight, your results will be limited.
Once you are able to handle and control large weights, your results will explode. If you try to go about building your muscles in isolation the way bodybuilders do it, without drugs, you will never achieve true growth.
“But Tom, I can’t handle big weights now because I’m just not that strong. That’s what I’m trying to change.”
And I’m telling you the first thing you have to do is get strong. It doesn’t take as long as you think, you just have to get it straight in your head what your going for so you don’t get distracted by all the propaganda out there.
Strength comes very fast, especially at first. This is mostly because your coordination improves, and along with it your ability to control and handle bigger loads. As your ability to handle bigger loads improves, your muscles will start to respond in a big way. So the best way to build muscle is with compound movements.
Doing compound exercises will allow you to handle much bigger weights, this stimulating a much bigger response from your muscles. That’s what you want right? To learn how to build muscle? That’s how.
The compound movements I recommend for build muscle fast are:
- Squats (the king)
- Bent Rows
- Standing Overhead Press
- Power Clean
- Bench Press
- Pull Ups
Squats can be done up to 3 days per week, but deadlifts not more than 1.
Build Muscle Key Element 2
Nutrition / nutrient support. I didn’t say supplements because supplements are not required by those who need to build muscle. They do however make it a lot more practical if you have a normal life and a job. Supplements aren’t what you need, what you need is not to ever miss meals. If you can carry that much food around with you, then you are good without supplements.
You should be eating every three hours. You should eat protein at each of those meals. Start with at least 20 grams per meal, for 5 meals a day. Build up from there until you are at 1 gram per pound of bodyweight per day in protein. Once your per meal protein dose get to be more than 40 grams, you need to go to six meals per day, so you can take in the protein in smaller doses.
Your body will only be able to absorb so much at one time, the rest will be wasted. And you shouldn’t just jump up to your recommended number, because you probably can’t absorb that much right now either. You body has to be used to taking in that much protein. It has to get better at it, and it will. But you have to gradually go up so it can adapt accordingly.
If you are a hardgainer (ectomorph) then you will want to add carbs to most of those meals, but especially first thing in the morning and post workout. If you easily store fat, you need to go heavy on complex carbs for the first two meals, and only have veggies with all others accept post workout. The quality of protein matters, as does the variety.
You can’t live on protein shakes. It’s a mistake many make, and it costs them results. Especially if you store fat easily. You have to eat food. It raises your metabolism far more than a pre-digested protein shake, and that’s exactly what you need to keep your bodyfat down. You can’t out work a bad diet.
Just the act of eating 5 to 6 solid food meals per day will in itself cause you to burn a lot of fat, and feed the new muscle you are trying so hard to build. You should also be taking a multivitamin to make sure that you are always getting the whole sepctrum of nutrients that you need.
Building muscle does not happen by accident.
Build Muscle Key Element 3
Recovery. You need at least 8 hours of sleep per day, maybe more. Skipping over this or dismissing it because you do not believe in it’s importance will cost you. Sleep replenishes the body in a way that only sleep can do. There is no pill, supplement or drug you can take that will make up for it. If you do not give this to your body, your body will not create the new muscle that you are asking for it to do.
I have found a huge difference in my clients that get a full night’s sleep and those that don’t. It’s the difference between 2 lbs per week and 6 pounds per week. Especially among those clients that want to lose fat while building new muscle. So much so that I find out in my screening process for new client intake the exact sleeping habits of each person.
This is so I can tell them what they can expect to gain or lose during their training. Many times they will report 4-6 hours per night. Right then I tell them that this will severely hinder their progress and that they should expect a much slower or longer time frame for their goals, if their goals are even still attainable at all.
Think about it. You are asking your body to create new tissue out of nothing but what you put into your mouth. When is it supposed to do that exactly? You can’t build muscle, or build muscle and lose fat at the same time if you are not giving your body what it needs to do it. Now you know how to get more muscle that will last, be functional and strong.