There is a significant difference between building muscle mass and just toning up. Building muscle mass takes just as much determination, effort and focus as losing weight does. A lot of people erroneously assume that it’s all a matter of performing repetitive exercises, but it goes further than that. It involves specific strategies that can be incorporated into your workout regimen to help you build muscle mass and bulk until you reach your goal. This could range from just filling out your frame a little to bulking up to a more imposing figure.
Add Calories That Turn Into Muscle
The reason most people exercise is to lose weight because so many people are overweight these days. However, on the other end of the spectrum, there are some people who would like to add a few pounds. So, you can see how they would benefit from adding some muscle mass.
The best and most effective way of doing this is to increase the number of calories you intake. As you exercise, your body burns these excess calories and turn them into muscle mass.
When you feel sore after a workout, your body takes that as a signal that your muscles need bulking-up a little, so it uses the nutrition from those excess calories to add more muscles. But, adding the right kind of calories is just as important as the number of calories you add. Getting calories from the wrong type of food source can defeat the purpose.
So, for the purpose of putting on muscle mass, protein is unquestionably the best food source for those calories. Proteins are the foundation of your body’s muscle mass, so you’ll need lots of them if you want to build up your muscles. And the number one source for proteins is meats.
A lot of weightlifters prefer poultry as the stape of their diets because poultry is high in protein, but low in fats and carbs. And for an extra shot of protein throughout the day, try drinking a high-powered protein shake between meals.
In fact, protein shakes are an excellent way to get that protein boost after a hard workout. Most of them are easy to make and only require mixing a pre-packaged powder with water or milk.
You can also buy high-calorie supplements, like mass gainers, to help increase muscle mass. Mass gainers are similar to high-protein shakes, except that they are laded with additional nutrients and calories to help you put on more pounds.
These supplements can be helpful for people who just don’t, or can’t, eat large meals. So what the mass gainers do is condense all the calories you would have taken in from eating massive amounts of food into an easy-to-consume shake.
Maximizing your lifts
When you decide to adopt a weightlifting regimen, you should first lay out the routine you intend to follow. For example, how much weight and how many reps you intend to do each day.
Instead of choosing one or the other, it is essential that you find a balance between the two so that the results will be evenly displayed.
A high number of reps will acclimatize your muscles to high levels of stress and increase your endurance, while heavier weights will build more muscle mass.
You may not be able to do as many reps with the heavier weight, but, if you persist, you will realize better results than you would have with the lower weight.
When you lift weights you are essentially creating microscopic tears in your muscle’s fibers, but not so much as to cause injury. That is why your muscles feel sore after a workout. When you consume high-protein foods, your body uses that protein to repair the microscopic tears in your muscles. And that is the chemistry behind how you build muscle mass and get stronger.
That is why bodybuilders lift heavier and heavier weights – to increase their muscle mass, while shedding excess fat, resulting in those huge, bulging muscles.
But, be careful about trying to lift too much weight too soon. Be patient, but consistent and you’ll see those muscles developing and feel yourself getting stronger over time.
Ideally, you would want to set your start-off goal at 5 reps per set. If the weight is too heavy and you have to use a jerking motion to lift it, then it could result in a serious injury, like a torn ligament or tendon.
You don’t need as much cardio to build muscle mass
Those who are unfamiliar with weightlifting will sometimes add a lot of exercises to their workouts. But exercises, or cardio, has a different purpose than weightlifting.
So, if your aim is to put on weight and build muscle mass, then you really don’t need all that cardio.
Cardio causes your body to lose energy too quickly, by the time you’re ready to lift weights, you’re strength is already sapped.
If you’re thin and don’t have much body-fat, your body will begin to burn muscle mass. So, if you really want to build muscle mass, stick with weight lifting.
Some athletes, like runners, won’t have much mass, even though they might have a lot of definition on certain parts of their bodies. Wrestlers, on the other hand, will have a greater fat-to-muscle ratio.
Most ordinary people prefer a slightly muscular physique, and not so much body fat. However, they don’t necessarily want to look as beefy as those professional bodybuilders.
If you already have a slim body, you probably don’t have to worry about your body’s fat-to-muscle ratio.
It might not seem like it, but you can get in great shape through weightlifting alone. Besides, adding cardio to your routine might only complicate matters. But, if you have some spare time for cardio, then go for it.
However, it is recommended that you perform high-energy cardio, like sprints and circuits, rather than long runs. This will prevent you from burning too much energy, which might cause your body to begin burning muscle mass.
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Take supplements that help build muscle mass
Your regular diet might not be sufficient to sustain the amount of muscle mass you want to pile on. You’re going to need a ton of calories and nutrients, especially if you have a high metabolism, to maintain it. But, overeating can be detrimental to your health in other ways. Not to mention the cost. So, in order to save money and time, try adding high-protein supplements to your diet.
A lot of these supplements come in liquid form, so they’re easy to prepare and ingest. That is why a lot of professional weightlifters have turned to high-protein energy shakes to supplement their diets.
The most popular of these is the mass gainers. They are less filling than eating a heavy meal and are loaded with nutrients. One scoop contains as many calories as a regular, full meal and contains all you need to gain muscle mass. In fact, some people choose to replace one of their meals with a mass gainer shake.
You can also combine it with your regular protein shakes, which has fewer calories, for a real, fortified energy boost. This combination is perfect after a hard workout and will ensure you won’t lose anything you’ve gained during your workout.
If you like to use a blender, you can simply add the mass gainer to your regular recipes. It is a way of fortifying your regular shakes and juices.
If you’re at an advanced level in your development, you could try supplements like creatine or pre-workouts to boost your muscle mass development. But, be aware, these supplements can present a health risk to some people, so be sure to read the warning label carefully.
Build muscle mass while you’re sleeping
Building muscle mass doesn’t necessarily mean working out all the time. As stated earlier, this process involves microscopically tearing the muscles and making sure your body has enough protein to repair them. But what you might not have known is that one of the most important steps in this process making sure your body gets enough rest to effect the repairs. So, while you’re sleeping soundly at night, your body is busy repairing the microscopic damage you did to it during the day. Moreover, your blood flow increases dramatically while you sleep, so there is a surge in the number of nutrients your body needs to make those repairs.
It is during sleep that the protein drinks you drank, and the food you ate, get put to the most use. Plus, it is during this time that your body produces natural HGH (Human Growth Hormones). That is why getting the proper amount of sleep is so important.
It is recommended that you get at least eight hours of sleep each night to give your body enough time to make the necessary repairs, or you’ll wake up feeling just as sore as you did when you retired.
So, always try to find a way to get a good night’s sleep, or you might begin to lose muscle mass and your strength may become sapped.
Plus, if you don’t get proper rest, you’re workouts will become lackluster, and you won’t be able to lift that extra weight you need to pile on that muscle mass.
When you embark on this mission, it is a good idea to chart your progress and expand on them as your strength increases. Increasing caloric intake is essential to your success. If you persevere, you will realize success. Just don’t give up!