Step 1. Perform specific exercises on a regular basis.
Step 2. Eat balanced nutrition including adequate amounts of protein and micronutrients.
Step 3. Schedule some rest days to allow for adaptations to occur.
Your muscle-building plan must include the following:
- Hard work: Stimulate muscle tissue by training hard. Use your body weight as resistance, or lift weights on a regular basis, 3-4 times per week.
- Balance: Do exercises for the upper and lower body to ensure you maintain a good muscular balance in your body.
- Patience: Allow time for the results to appear. It takes time to see muscle growth and gain strength.
- Rest days: Don’t over-train because your recovery ability will be compromised. Plan to take at least 1 or 2 rest days per week.
- Motivation: Understand that you need to motivate yourself to make it happen.
Best Way to Train for Muscle-Building
Progressive training is important if you want your muscle-building routine to be productive. You must be dedicated to training in a way that helps you to improve over time. If you lift the same amount of resistance for the same number of repetitions (reps) during each workout session, you’ll stay the same. At some point, you must attempt to either perform more reps, or use more resistance.
Following a reps and weight increase schedule will allow you to easily measure if you’re improving from workout to workout. Rep ranges is a simple concept to understand and apply to your training.
I like to recommend a rep range of 10-14 for strength training in the initial stages, especially when someone is just getting started. High reps will force you to choose a moderate weight. This way you’ll become proficient with exercise form (important for safety) as the weight increases. As your workouts transition more into the power range, increase weight and decrease reps.
Beginning a Muscle-Building Plan
The goal in your next workout would be to achieve more reps with the same weight until you can perform 14 full reps. Achieving the set reps should prompt you to increase resistance in your following session, because the top end of the rep range was achieved.
The resistance for that set should be increased between 5-10% with the goal of achieving at least 10 reps in the 10-14 rep range.
Your on-going goal should be to increase the number of reps within the rep range and then increase the amount of resistance when the top end of the range is reached. This method of training is slow, but it’s a fool proof way to increase your overall strength and muscle mass.
You’ll need to ensure that you’re getting enough fuel for your workouts and recovery. You should aim to have a good breakfast, a mid-morning snack, a sensible lunch, a mid-afternoon snack and then an appropriate dinner in the evening.
You’re attempting to build muscle and you need fuel to accomplish that. You can’t restrict your calories too much, but don’t get confused by that. You should always restrict your consumption of unhealthy calories. Choose nutrient-dense foods that are high in protein and get your carbohydrates from whole grains and fruits. Many people who are trying to gain weight or muscle will make the mistake of thinking they can eat a lot of unhealthy food. This will make you gain weight, but weight gain with unhealthy foods is detrimental to your overall health. Be sensible with your choices.
Written by Samantha Clayton, AFAA, ISSA. Samantha is Director of Fitness Education at Herbalife.