Bulking up can be frustrating, but it really isn’t that difficult if you know what to do. You just need to make sure you are gaining muscle in ways that are healthy, not to mention, ways that work for you. We have some tips that can help you get strong, that are coming straight from the doctors’ mouths.
We are always on your side when it comes to your health, so we are presenting this advice in simple parts, just for you. Don’t forget to check out our bonus where we also break things down for you step-by-step!
When trying to gain muscle, start in the kitchen. What and how much you eat can help make or break the difference when trying to bulk up:
- The word “diet” might make you think you need to cut back on eating to get in shape, but when gaining muscle, you might need to increase your intake. If you normally consume around 2,000 calories a day, try adding around 500. In addition to that, growing muscles will help boost your metabolism, requiring you to eat more.
- That said, you should eat protein to support muscle gain, around 2 to 4 grams per kilograms of your own body weight. Try foods that are high in protein, like eggs, lentils, oats, or Greek yogurt. Alternatively, you can also try protein drinks.
- Instead of having 2 or 3 full meals per day, try eating small meals around 5 to 6 times a day, especially pre-workout meals.
- Consume unsaturated fats, like those found in avocados, almonds, cashews, or peanuts, as they help distribute vitamins throughout your body. Limit saturated fats, like fatty cuts of meat or high-fat dairy foods.
- Ask your doctor about vitamin and mineral supplements that can also help your diet.
2. General exercise
Exercise is important, but you need to make sure to focus on both general exercise and exercises concentrated on working your muscles.
- Start with basic exercises and warm-ups, like short runs or lifting small weights. Not only does this prepare your body, it also puts you in the right mental state for exercise.
- As the word “general” suggests, make sure you are performing exercises that work your whole body, which can include pull-ups, push-ups, rowing, and lifting.
- Limit cardiovascular exercises, like running, swimming, jogging in place, jumping jacks, and jumping rope, as this is used more to burn fat than to develop muscles.
- Don’t be in a hurry. Anything worth doing is going to take time.
3. Specific muscle conditioning
As mentioned, you need to perform exercises that focus on specific muscle areas:
- Divide your daily workout routine into different exercises, making sure to focus on specific muscle regions either per day or per week. Ultimately, by the end of the week or even day, you will have given all of your muscles attention, just at different times. If you worked your upper body, make sure to work your lower body soon afterward. In other words, don’t forget “leg day.”
- Learn which exercises help which muscles. Chest exercises, like the bench press, can help build up pectorals. Work your triceps with arm exercises, like dips and dumbbell stretches. Perform squats to work your quadriceps.
4. Additional tips
- Don’t get into a rut. Once you master an exercise, gradually increase weights or the work you perform to see improvement.
- Keep to a schedule when it comes to timing. If you normally perform one exercise for 10 minutes, always keep it at around 10 minutes.
- Understand that genetics can make or break you when it comes to developing muscles. Because of this, you might need to try different exercises and even diets to see what works for you. Likewise, don’t let other people having better success with their exercise plan intimidate you.
- Rest is important, too. You need around 7 to 8 hours of sleep per day to help you repair and rebuild your muscles.
- It is entirely possible to overdo training, especially when it comes to muscle growth. Over-training can stop your muscles from getting the needed nourishment from oxygen. If you feel insomnia, depression, chronic pain, chronic fatigue, loss of strength, or no appetite, it’s time to take a break.
Bonus: Here’s a workout plan for you!
Here’s a sample schedule you can use to balance out your workout in just 5 days.
- Monday: Work your chest and biceps.
- Tuesday: Work your legs and triceps.
- Wednesday: Work your back.
- Thursday: Work your abdominals/core.
- Friday: Work your torso area.
- Saturday: Rest. Like we said above, overdoing can hurt you in the long run and what better time to rest than the weekend.
- Sunday: Rest. After all, it’s still the weekend.
Keep in mind, the days of the week are just a suggestion. You can rearrange the schedule to make it fit better with your lifestyle. If you normally have a lot of free time on Saturday, but not on Wednesday, use Wednesday instead of Saturday as one of your rest days.
Likewise, for days when you do more than one exercise, you can arrange it your way. Some people might combine chest with quads; others might combine chest with back exercises.
What are some other tips you have when it comes to gaining muscle? Let us know!