Forget complicated diets and three-hour gym sessions. Score the sculpted body and toned physique you’ve always wanted by following these better, smarter rules to building lean muscle.
#1 Eat, Eat, Eat
Working a muscle tears the tissue, it then repairs and grows. Muscles need to be fed in order to allow them to grow. Basically you need to eat big to get big. A good balanced lean muscle building diet will allow you to grow without adding fat at the same time.
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#2 Increase the Amount of Protein in Your Diet
Muscle = protein. In order for muscle tissue to repair itself after your weight-training sessions it needs an abundance of protein. Some beginners don’t take enough protein and some more experienced guys take ridiculously extreme amounts of protein. So how much protein is enough to supply those hungry muscles? Another good rule of thumb is to take 1 gram of protein for every pound of total body weight. So a 160 lb man would take around 160 grams of protein per day. My favorite sources of protein include:
*Chicken *Steak *Seafood (tilapia, tuna, prawns, salmon) *Eggs *Buffalo *Whey Protein Powder Shakes
#3 Go Heavy
Most people who are trying to build muscle do not use an adequately heavy weight. You should be lifting in the range of 8-12 repetitions per set, performing 3-6 sets per exercise, and using a weight that leads to muscle failure by the end of each set. You should be lifting a weight so heavy that you can’t get more than 12 reps but light enough to allow you to get at least 8 reps. One of the reasons that people exercise with a partner is so that someone is there to help them when the weight gets too heavy to lift with good form. If you don’t have a workout partner, you can simply stop when you get too tired to lift with good form, rest a few seconds, then keep lifting to complete the set. This is a better way to build muscle than using a weight that allows you to comfortably complete a set without reaching muscle failure.
#4 Avoid Too Much Cardio
Cardiovascular work will rob you of muscle gains. Yes if your goal is to lose fat you should do cardio but make sure it is: (a) performed immediately after your weight training (b) a low intensity form of cardio for a maximum of 30 minutes. The reason that too much cardio isn’t desirable when your goal is to build muscle is that too much cardio releases catabolic hormones in the body, breaking down your muscle tissue; obviously this is counter-productive.
Eat as soon as you can after working out. An intense workout breaks down muscle tissue and depletes stores of muscle glycogen. These need to be replenished rapidly to enhance your recovery and muscle growth. An ideal post-workout meal should include quickly digested carbohydrates and protein. Try blending a banana, whey protein and honey into a shake. The banana and honey provide quick carbs to replenish glycogen, and the protein will accelerate muscle repair. And use skimmed milk, rice milk or water for your shake.
If you work a muscle too hard, too many days in a row, the muscle fibers will become too damaged to properly repair and grow. To build muscle quickly, you must completely fatigue a muscle group, but then give it time to rest. Typically, a muscle needs at least 72 hours to properly repair from a muscle-building, weight training session. A good rule to follow is to allow for complete absence of soreness in a muscle before working that muscle again. For example, do a shoulder and chest workout on Monday and Thursday, a leg workout on Tuesday and Friday, and a back, arms and abs workout on Wednesday and Saturday.
While you are resting, be sure to give your body what it needs to properly recover and put the muscles into a state of optimal growth. Activities that can enhance recovery include ice baths or cold showers, compression clothing, massage therapy or foam rolling, stretching, breathing exercises, and adequate sleep.
#8 Drink Plenty of Water
Getting enough water is crucial for peak strength and energy levels; shoot for a gallon of water per day. (Remember you can include your protein shakes towards your daily water intake.) According to research from the September 2008 issue of the “Journal of Applied Physiology,” a powerful testosterone-enhancing supplement is water. The researchers found that inadequate hydration resulted in reduced testosterone response to exercise and increased amounts of cortisol. Cortisol interferes with muscle gain, so limiting cortisol and enhancing testosterone release by drinking water may significantly improve your rate of muscle gain.
Incorporating the right supplements into your fitness program is the best way to burn fat and increase lean muscle tissue. There are many different supplements that promote muscle growth and repair, energy and burning fat, which are key characteristics in effectively increasing and maintaining lean muscle. Some of the most effective supplements to increase lean muscle mass include; whey protein, amino acids, creatine, nitric oxide, beta-alanine and for males Gamma-O natural Testosterone Booster.
High levels of stress can quickly drain testosterone, an anabolic, muscle-building hormone, and increase levels of cortisol, a catabolic, muscle-damaging hormone. If you find yourself at work or school with a constantly high heart rate, moody personality, shallow breaths or high body temperature, it’s likely that you’re too stressed for optimal muscle growth. Teach yourself to relax, breathe deeply and plan out your day to give yourself more time and less stress.
Keep it positive and stay motivated!