The Secret to Building Muscle
Alright, you clicked the link!
Are you ready to learn how to build muscle, the exact method that us professionals keep secret from the general public?
Are you sure you’re ready for this?
Well, here it is…
… There is no secret.
Shocking, isn't it?
If you can understand the science of "HOW" to build muscle, then you'll be able to apply it to any muscle on your body, yes even those stubborn calves. The science and principles of building muscle applies to ALL muscles, whether you want to build or improve your chest, back, legs, arms, shoulders, traps, forearms, calves, traps, abs, etc. It doesn’t matter, the process remains the same.
There's no specific way to improve your chest in comparison to your back or your arms. ALL your muscles respond in a similar fashion. It must first be stated though, building muscle is a very slow process. A process that requires patience and hard work.
The first thing to do is to make sure you’re consuming adequate protein (roughly 0.8-1.2g per pound of body weight) so that when you're causing muscle trauma by lifting weights, you have adequate supply for growth and repair. If you're carrying more muscle or are leaner than most, consider being on the upper end of that spectrum.
Next, make sure you're eating a surplus of calories. As in, more calories than you need to maintain your body weight. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT because if you’re not consuming what your body requires as supply to build muscle mass (key word being mass), how will it build?
A perfect analogy for this is to imagine your body as a house that’s being built and calories are the building material. If you’re supply starts running out and you only have one bedroom built, how is the rest of the house going to be built?
Think about it, it can't be.
You also need to be in a position where you're gaining weight, SLOWLY. You don't need to gain a lot of body fat, but you do need to ensure you aren't losing weight at a very minimum. Keep in mind, if you're actively trying to lose fat and eating at a deficit it is HIGHLY unlikely you'll be able to build muscle without the use of exogenous hormones.
Think of the analogy I just mentioned.
You just have to accept that if you want to grow or build muscle, you aren't going to be able to get leaner at the same time. It sucks, I know, and I deal with this dilemma myself on a regular basis. This is why you must align your expectations, it's so you aren't consistently trying to achieve the impossible.
After you have your food sorted and know what you have to do, the next step is to start increasing your overall training volume which is called progressive overload. You need to force your body to become better, stronger, faster, or bigger and this is done by consistently increasing the demand your body faces from day to day. This is documented as the principle of adaptation and the equation for figuring out volume is shown below:
Sets x Reps x Weights Lifted = Volume
3 sets x 10 reps x 135lbs = 4,050lbs Total Volume
Over time, the numbers in this equation NEED to increase consistently if you want to grow. That doesn't necessarily mean from session to session but every week you should aim to improve. This will also help you get stronger/bigger over time. You could add more sets, more reps, lift more weight or train a muscle group more often/frequently in order to add more volume.
This is where patience plays a role. This is a marathon and not a sprint.
Building muscle naturally is a HARD, it doesn’t happen overnight. Chances are, you aren't going to see visual improvements form day to day or sometimes, week to week. Set yourself goals outside of the ones related to the scales. Focus on getting stronger, on improving your lifts, and on learning technique.
If for whatever reason, you stop gaining weight yourself, do one of two things.
First, make sure you’re constantly adding weight to the bar, even if it’s only a couple pounds. If you keep the weight the same, your body stays the same.
Second, try adding calories to your diet. You've probably already got your protein figured and those needs don't change until your bodyweight does, which means more carbs and fats are the golden ticket. You would already know that though if you read my other article, “Nutrition 101.” If not, do yourself a solid and find it here. In the article I’ve added a calorie cheat sheet and meal tracker as well. These should give you a good jump on what you need to start hitting those numbers so your goals won’t seem so far away.