So here’s the thing:
This article thoroughly demonstrates my personal 14 techniques on how to naturally improve fast muscle growth.
The main purpose here is to provide online readers with adequate and accessible information that I have worked hard on for a couple of years now.
Best part is: You do not have to necessarily follow all of the 14 tips from the article, as long as you implement one or two of them you will see changes and improvements to your natural muscle growth.
What I would recommend is just skimming through the whole article and reading through all of the different bits and then choose one or two of them which you would like to implement.
Then, come back afterwards and pick another two or more that you would ike to apply.
Another important note that needs to be made before you jump into the article is that my tips for building muscle will definitely help you achieve good results.
However, do not expect huge jumps or impressive, super-human massive muscle growth.
And also something to consider is that all of the tips are not listed hierarchically meaning that there is no progression from one to other and they are not in order of importance.
1) Have Realistic Goals
This will not have a direct effect on muscle growth but it’s something that I believe is really important to begin with.
It is always important to understand how the human body works and asking the vital question how much muscle can you gain?
Keep in mind we are talking about muscle gain not weight gain those are completely different things and should never be mistaken to be the same.
Dr. Michael Colgan PH.D., a leading sport nutritionist who runs The Colgan Institute of Nutritional Science, located in San Diego, explains that in his experience the most muscle gain he or any of his colleagues have recorded over a year was 18 1/4 lbs, or roughly 8.2 kilograms.
Dr. Colgan also states that “because of the limiting rate of turnover in the muscle cells it is impossible to grow more than an ounce (28.3 grams) of new muscle each day”. Keep in mind that athletes are usually the subject of these studies!
Muscle hypotrophy has been shown to be controlled by the so-called protein turnover – the breakdown of muscle proteins and the creation of newer stronger ones.
This process, of course, takes time.
In our enzymes, protein turnover rate happens every 7-10 minutes, in the liver and plasma it’s every 10 days, and in the hemoglobin it’s every 120 days.
And finally, in the muscle, protein turnover occurs every 180 days, approximately every 6 months or twice a year.
All of those articles written by people on topics such as “How to grow muscles fast” who claim that by consuming another 3,500 calories a week, are nothing more but misguiding, confusing and quite frankly just plain lies.
Well, if you are looking for ways to gain weight and by weight I mean one pound of fat every week, then yes go ahead and follow those guides.
When it comes down to training it is always important to remember that consistency is key – staying focused and being realistic by training hard, eating proper food, and to recuperate properly.
It is scientifically proven that it is physiologically impossible to gain more than one pound (0.45 kg) of lean muscle every week, naturally that is!
Stuart Phillips, PH.D., who has conducted many studies about maximum muscle growth in the human body at the McMaster University in Ontario, says that he expects the average person to gain 4 to 7 lbs every three months.
No matter how good the program or supplements are, Dr. Phillips never sees average muscle gains exceeding about a half-pound (0.22kg) a week – or roughly 24 pounds a year. Some phen24 user reviews have mentioned slightly greater results. Of course this depends on a lot of factors.
It is important for me to mention that genetics is the most important tool that will control the amount of muscle you gain.
Dr. Phillips also claims that he has seen subjects individuals gaining approximately 15 pounds of muscle, that is almost twice of what the average athlete is capable of achieving.
Another study by Lye McDonald claims that with every year the amount of muscle that we are capable of gaining every year gradually drops.
This is understandable as our bodies get accustomed to training and even the best muscle building workout plan cannot aid us.
Our bodies will try their best to gain as much fat as possible and as little muscle due to sheer survival evolutionary impulses.
In conclusion, natural muscle growth takes a lot of time and the only important tool that you can have in your arsenal that will help you is patience and consistency!
2) Proper Diet
You have probably heard the whole saying “Nutrition is 70% and training is 30%”, even though I do not completely agree with this statement and trust that it should be something of the likes of 50% nutrition and 50% training, they are both interchangeable and you cannot properly stimulate natural muscle growth if you lack in just one aspect.
However, I do agree that nutrition is of extreme importance when it comes to muscle building.I am not going to explain to you what exactly makes a good diet but rather what is a proper muscle growth diet that will help you unlock your body’s full potential.
There are a couple of aspects that define a diet as a good one for proper muscle anabolism:
1) Your Macronutrients in Your Diet: that would include all of your carbohydrates, fats and protein.
A calorie calculator is definitely not a must, per se, but it definitely helps you visualise your goals better. You can use our calorie calculator/bmr calculator that will also give you a realistic goal date for your muscle building progress. That being said, keep in mind that the time given and the calories calculated are an estimate. It’s a good place to start but you will still need to do some tinkering with your daily calorie consumption that will better suit your body.
I would recommend keeping a specific amount of protein (1 gram per 1 pound of your body weight, so if you weigh 160 pounds then that means that you need to consume 160 grams of protein).
The amount of carbohydrates and fats I consume is based on personal evaluation:
If I wasn’t moving in weight the first month, then that means that I need to increase my overall carb and lipid consumption; if I am gaining too much body weight and there are too fast increases in stored body fat, then that means that I need to lower them.
2) Your Micronutrients in Your Diet: This would include all of the vitamins and minerals that come along with your food.
Not a lot of people seem to pay enough attention on this aspect of their diet.
They primarily focus on their macros and completely neglect their micros. Your resting, training and hormone balance is strongly affected by micronutrients.
If I go into too much detail explaining what are the most important micronutrients that will help you improve muscle growth then I would probably have to write 30-40 pages worth of content.
But I will briefly mention a handful:
Vitamin C: when you exercise you damage your muscle tissue creating free radicals, these free radicals are very harmful compounds that we must aim at removing. Antioxidants help cleanup and destroys free radicals, which benefits your energy release and enhances overall recovery;
READ MORE: WHAT ARE THE BEST EXERCISES FOR EVERY MUSCLE GROUP
Vitamin E: helps prevent the oxidation of LDL and is beneficial for recovery and performance;
Magnesium: an essential mineral that plays an important part in maintaining healthy bones and a healthy heart;
Biotin: helps convert carbs and fats into energy (boosts metabolism);
Iron: essential for maintaining high energy levels; and many, many more (Selenium, Omega-3/6, Vitamin D, Vitamin B12, Copper, etc.
It’s always important to consider micronutrients when constructing your diet.
3) Meal Timing: I wrote an article quite recently explaining how important it is to time your meals.
In summary, by successfully timing your meals will lead to benefits such as increasing anabolism and decreasing catabolism.
Helps you maintain a healthy flow of hormones in your body which will help you achieve your body’s potential for massive muscle growth.
Take a look at the article I have linked, there I explain everything in more detail.
4) Diet Split: When dividing your diet into meals you need to make sure that you are consuming a relatively equal amount of everything, every single meal.
What I mean by this is that you need to supply your body with a steady flow of nutrients, without any strong fluctuations because this will greatly hinder your muscle growth and make you gain fat, even if you are maintaining a specific daily macronutrient consumption.
The reason behind this is quite logical – if you have to consume 6 grams of protein (I am just using this number for the sake of this example) and you want to spread it across 6 meals then what you need to do is eat 1 gram per meal, simple.
If you consume 0.3 grams one meal and then 2 grams to compensate you are not providing your muscle with enough protein and energy to properly function, perform and reconstruct, and in the other you are overindulging on protein which will result in increased fat storage because your body will be incapable of using all of the protein.
READ MORE: WHAT TO EAT BEFORE YOUR WORKOUT TO BOOST MUSCLE GROWTH
Same goes for carbohydrates and fats (except for night time when you are suppose to limit your carb consumption in order to achieve proper HGH levels).
3) Proper Supplementation
You do not need stacks and stacks of supplements in order to grow a sufficient amount of muscle.
I have also written an article where I explain everything in more detail.
What I will do here, however, is examine what I consider to be the four must-have supplements if you are planning on gaining muscle mass:
1) BCAA – Branched Chain Amino Acids are extremely beneficial.
This supplement doesn’t only benefit you to improve muscle growth but it will also help you maintain muscle mass during a low caloric diet.
This is really good to know because if you are trying to lower your body fat percentage to a single digit you will have to lower your carbohydrate and fat consumption and this can lead to muscle loss, BCAA will prevent that from happening or at least minimize it.
READ MORE: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO CREATINE FOR INSANE MUSCLE GROWTH
Furthermore, branched chain amino acids, in particular leucine, stimulate protein synthesis.
BCAAs also benefit synthesis of the cellular machinery responsible for carrying out the process of protein synthesis, or in other words BCAAs not only increase the rate of protein synthesis, but also increase the cell’s capacity for protein synthesis!
And unless you are unaware muscle mass growth is defined as: Muscle Mass= rate of protein synthesis – rate protein breakdown.
BCAAs lower rate of protein synthesis and increase the rate and intensity of protein synthesis, which only means that it helps you unlock your body’s capability for massive muscle growth and maintenance of muscle mass.
BCAAs also help with workout intensity by lowering the amount of tryptophan that enters the brain and thus reducing serotonin production. This might allow you to work harder and longer.
2) Whey protein – Whey protein is the quintessence of supplementation, when I say the word supplement the first thing that comes to mind is protein powder.
And the reason why I have placed in the list is because it really helps promote anabolism and assist with overall stimulation of muscle growth.
Not to mention that it is also packed with glutamine and BCAAs and an incredible taste.
Not a lot of people really pay attention to it and take it for granted but the sweet taste of protein has a really powerful effect on your cognitive function of the brain.
Your brain associates the sweet taste of protein as a form of a prize for completing something, this is caused due to the release of endorphins (the hormone that is responsible for making you feel good).
This will alter your overall perspective of working out as something that you must achieve in order to receive your protein powder, it has a powerful sub-contious effect over your performance in the gym, believe it or not.
READ MORE: MACHINES VS FREE WEIGHTS – WHAT IS THE BEST FORM OF EXERCISE
3) Creatine – Creatine will help you push more, last longer, and look more swollen overall. It helps replenish adenosine triphosphate and this in return will allow your muscle to be able to lift heavier for a longer period and help you increase your overall strength.
Creatine also retains liquids, mainly water, in the muscles making them increase in diameter.
If you want to read more about creatine check out this in-depth guide – everything is explained in full detail!
4) Fish oil – fish oil is rich of Omega-3 which is not naturally released by the body, which means that we need external sources of it.
It assists maintain an overall healthy heart and improves blood flow and helps increase the metabolic rate of the body and also improves insulin sensitivity – facilitating fat loss as insulin is used more effectively by the body.
Another option worth exploring are weight gainers. They are packed with protein, BCAAs, vitamins and minerals, and are an easy source of calories. Approach weight gainers with caution as some of them can have as much as 1,250 calories per scoop and 252g of carbs. Here is an in-depth guide listing all of the best weight gainers to build muscle.
4) Free Weights vs Machinery
This is a debate that has been going on for a couple of years now.
In my opinion both methods are equally beneficial and good for proper muscle development.
But there are aspects that need to be examine for both of those styles of training:
Free weights – the primary benefit here is that you are using more than just one muscle group when you are training.
This may seem a little odd, but by using more than just one muscle group you are working on developing your overall frame of the body.
Everything is being developed in conjunction to the other muscles and respectively to the other muscles.
This in return also allows you to increase your metabolism during your workout – this is understandable the more muscle groups that are being worked the more calories your body is going to require and the higher your heart rate is going to go, leading to a more powerful workout and to a more increase metabolic rate.
This will also lead to heightened insulin levels (more carbohydrates are going to be necessary for your workout to be effective and will also lead to higher levels of testosterone during the resting period.
In other words free weights will greatly affect your overall strength, proper development of your muscle frame and increase anabolism.
Machinery – I personally believe that machines are a really good to isolate the muscle and make sure that you are not using other muscle groups to help you cheat your sets.
I would usually not go crazy on using too many machines, but I would prefer having one or two exercises in my daily routine where there is a machine involved.
And most of the times I would use them when training muscle groups such as biceps, triceps, shoulders, legs.
Machines are also a good way to train if you are not with another person who can spot you to make sure that you are not going to injure yourself, this allows you to push more weight when alone.
It also overall lowers the risk of injury because it fixates the position that is necessary for the proper completion of the exercise.
I personally believe that to achieve good natural muscle growth you need to combine both free weights and machinery in your workout regime.
I review the differences between machines and free weights in more detail in this article!
5) Lifting Heavy
Another big debate that has been raging around for as long as I can remember is the whether lifting heavy is actually going to benefit you with muscle growth.
The idea is that since muscle growth is associated with protein turnover, as we discussed above, then that means that if you lift heavy you are not going to give your muscles an opportunity to get acquainted with your regime and thus you will never hit a plateau because you are constantly increasing the weight.
There is some truth wrapper around that load of nonsense, but there is more to it than just increasing the weight every week.
It is true, you need to make sure that your body does not get used to your workout program and increasing weight is one way of ensuring that doesn’t happen, however there are a lot of different things that can be done before you go ahead and you increase the weight drastically.
Increase Range of Motion – this will ultimately add more time under tension;
Altered Tempo – pause reps, 4 second negatives and any alterations that you can apply that will affect the tempo of your reps will benefit stimulation of the muscle;
Burnout sets: drop the weight to about 60% of what you were lifting and then try to complete another 15-20 reps with that weight this will not only serve as a good finished but also burnout sets are a really good way to boost lactate levels to stimulate the pituitary gland to release more HGH.
Extended Set Methods: rest/pause method, ladder sets, clustering methods, and 1.5 reps are a few good ways to make progression without increase lifting weight.
Higher Volume Week: if you are planning on constantly keeping the same range of reps for your sets you are not going to see great results. What you can do is every other week you can increase the rep range to 10-15 . You can give German Volume Training 10×10 method a try or the Gironda 8×8 approach.
After you have implemented all of these or at least most of these techniques then you can start thinking about increasing the weights.
If you do it prematurely you are going to get stuck on what I like to call the “macho latter” where you’ve climbed too far and there is no getting down from there.
Your form is going to be terrible and you will have really bad muscle-mind connection going on which will hinder your muscle growth instead of improving it.
Not to mention that if you do something as careless as this you increase your chances of harming yourself and experiencing an injury.
Something also important to remember is that you need to stop watching at what everyone else is doing in the gym and especially stop watching the numbers on their dumbbells or plates.
When you get in the gym there is no competition involved, the only person with whom you are competing is yourself and you need to remember that!
I was one of those people who completely neglected stretching.
Thinking that it’s just a waste of time and bunch of baloney.
Of course Murphy’s law happened and I ended up injuring myself during a pretty intense shoulder workout.
Let me tell you something, your shoulder is the one muscle you DO NOT want to harm.
After I had to get kicked in nuts before I realize the importance of stretching I decide that it would be a good idea to dig into the whole notion of stretching how else will it benefit me towards achieving my goals.
What I later learned made me change my perspective towards stretching completely and I have incorporated it into training.
Your muscles are trapped in a tough interconnected network of fibrous tissue which can extremely limit your ability to increase muscle mass and strength. In other words stretching can be considered as a tool that if used will unlock your body’s capacity to grow.
This, by the way, is the main reason why there are people there who inject Synthol into their bodies.
Syntol is a very old supplement, that I really recommend you DO NOT use as it can lead to some serious problems, where you inject an oil-like substance into your muscles and this causes the fascia tissue to stretch giving more room for your muscles to grow.
For those who do not want to completely ruin their body it would be a good idea to stick with good ol’ fashioned stretching.
Stretching also really increases blood flow towards the muscles and it helps them recover faster between sets.
This is extremely important as usually you would notice how your strength gradually deteriorates as you progress through sets, this is because your muscles are losing power and they are getting more and more tired with every repetition that you complete.
Stretching is really beneficial here as it allows you to regain your strength faster and to able to push more weight after each set.
By replenishing your strength faster you are also going to able to keep a better form and ensure that you will have a proper muscle-mind connection during the workout.
And to a specific extent stretching can trigger hypertrophy, especially under resistance.
Stretching before your workout is also advantageous as it reduces your risk of injury greatly by warming up your muscles and joints.
And stretching after your workout maintains a healthy blood flow to your exercised muscle supplying it with more nutrients (this can be especially helpful after you have consumed your whey protein or BCAAs to make sure that it travels to the muscle faster reducing time spent under catabolism), it also reduces tension in the muscle caused by the workout and enables the muscle to enter the resting phase quicker.
7) Tracking Progress
Keeping a fitness log where you can track your progress will benefit you a lot.
The more you write down the better.
This way if you are not noticing any results or if you are storing too much body fat you can consult yourself with your written down notes and evaluate what needs to be changed.
In other words your fitness log is going to act as a benchmark against which you can assess your performance and progress.
Your fitness log will also help you out with your workout.
Writing down your sets, reps and exercises will help you come up with alternative exercises and change up your workout plan.
Increase your sets or reps or increase your weight, if you are ready to do so, add negative sets or drop sets, any variation within your plan will help you promote muscle growth and prevent you from hitting a brick wall – a plateau.
You can be more competitive this way as well. Saying “Ok, last week I managed to do 8 reps with 38.5 lbs biceps curls, this week I will do my best to cover 10 reps and after my last working set I am going to do a burnout set with 23 lbs (60% of the initial weight) and do about 15”.
8) Compound Exercises
Compound exercises are regarded as the best way to promote massive muscle growth, improve strength development and assist with shedding body fat storage.
“For 90 percent of people, 90 percent of the time, total-body training is the way to go,” says Tony Gentilcore, strength coach and co-founder of Cressey Sports Performance.
As I briefly mentioned above, by activating more muscle groups at once you are increasing your metabolic rate and your heart rate.
This is understandable as the more muscle you active with one exercise the more energy your body is going to need to perform and the more energy your body needs the more blood needs to be pumped to the muscles – this is why your heart races so fast after a good squatting session.
Major muscle groups working in conjunction to perform one exercise (squats, lunges, deadlifts) will leave you exhausted.
Compound multi-joint movements are also notorious for helping promote an increase release of the so-called father of muscle growth – testosterone.
Testosterone enhances muscle synthesis and will result in faster and more powerful muscle growth.
And what is furthermore, the more demanding the compound exercise the better it is for your T levels. Exercises such as deadlifts or Squats are a really good example.
Compound exercises are also perfect for people who do not have a lot of time on their hands to waste sitting around in the gym.
You are able to hit more muscles at once, increase your metabolism to heights you cannot even dream about with simple cardio activity, and you are able to boos your hormonal production of insulin, testosterone and HGH.
All of this in a matter of minutes, to be more exactly about 20-30 minutes.
And as I mentioned previously compound movements will assist in developing a more well-structured body where everything is proportionate to everything else.
Something that training with isolation will not help you with.
9) Isolation Exercises
I know this may strike you as odd, mentioning the importance of isolation right after I spoke about how important compound exercises are for muscle growth stimulation.
Isolation exercises are single-joint exercises where the movement of weight, be it a pushing or puling movement is activated through the movement of only one joint. The reason they are called isolation exercises is because they literally isolate the muscle that you are training. In other words there are no other muscles there to assist you during the exercise.
These types of exercises are extremely beneficial as they help correct “hypertrophic imbalance” (greater growth in some muscles compared to others) by selectively targeting smaller and weaker muscles to improve muscle symmetry.
Another benefit is that you can train the muscle by using full range of motion to a maximum degree. They also help develop a better muscle-mind connection, better focus and visualization of the muscle working leading to better work efficiency as you are maintaining proper form, good contraction and pauses, and keeping a slow and controlled tempo of contraction and relaxation of the muscle group.
Usually isolation workouts are considered to be a complementary tool to compound exercises.
A proper combination between the both can maximize muscle development and assist in sculpting the body to look aesthetically more pleasing.
There are various ways that this can be done – there are pre-exhaust workouts where you first do the isolation exercises and then move to compound this way you are completely tiring up the muscle that you are working and trying to target because the other muscle groups that will be worked during the compound movement will be fresh;
You can use the classic compound first and isolation later where you use isolation to tire off the targeted muscle group; or you can alternate – one exercise compound and the next one isolation, etc.
10) Workout Partner
I like to refer to workout partners as guardian angels. With another person along your side there are a lot of psychological benefits. Keep in mind, you can have more than one fitness buddy with whom you spend your free time at the gym.
It’s always nice to have somebody to compete against. Being competitive is really going to benefit you when it comes down to increase muscle mass development. And please note, that when I say competitive, I do not refer to competing who lifts the heaviest, but rather visual looks and performance in the gym – long-term competition. “He just did 10 reps with 190 lbs and I did 8 with 160 lbs, I am going to push myself so that one day I can surpass him” sort of behaviour. Your workout buddy can be your biggest motivation to push towards muscle growth.
Two heads think better than one.
There are different exercises that one is aware of and can teach the other and vice versa.
You help each other out by teaching yourselves new methods, new information in general and sharing tips and tricks that you’ve learned or have read about and are interested whether the other person is aware of.
In this situation the more friends you make in the gym the more you are going to benefit. And it doesn’t necessarily have to be workout orientated it can be anything from supplementation to nutrition to workout equipment. It’s always nice having another source of information.
The sheer sub-contious feeling that you are in “safe hands” allows you to have an overall better performance when at the gym. You can push heavier sets, go for negative sets, have more intense burnout sets, and have a more intense workout in general.
11) Liquid Consumption
By liquid consumption I’m not necessarily talking about increasing your water consumption, even though that is a pretty good tip, but rather I am referring to the whole notion of consuming liquid calories.
This idea was popularized by many famous bodybuilders and fitness models but the one I first heard it from was Greg Plitt under the title “Greg Plitt’s 12 laws of lean”. Most people don’t really understand this “law” that Plitt stands by and as a matter of fact is quite controversial.
The whole idea behind this interesting methodology of food consumption is that your body spends a lot of energy a day breaking down the food, especially if you are living on a high in fiber diet.
This leaves you with less energy to be used for rebuild broken down muscle tissue and less energy to perform during a workout. By giving your body that is already half way digested by the blender allowing your body to have more energy for growing and recovering. Mr. Plitt, may he rest in peace, advises us that if we are not already on a liquid diet we should ease our way into it.
There is also a solid meal involved that is consumed in the middle of the day.
This methodology is also considered to be beneficial if you are struggling with food cravings or you are just in the mood too cook food, or too full to eat anything solid.
There is quite a lot of logic behind this, isn’t there. I would also like to add on that by consuming liquid foods, not the ones that Greg advocates, such as soup is a good way to keep yourself hydrated.
Water is considered as the most important nutrient!
The human body is composed of 95% water; blood is 82% water; lungs are about 90% water. It’s the most critical nutrient for growth, development and health. As well as all that water is essential to the balance of all the body’s systems such as the brain, heart, lungs, kidneys and you guessed it muscles.
An interesting fact is that with just 2% of drop in body water can cause a small but noticeable shrinkage of the brain, which can affect neuromuscular coordination, slow thinking, and decrease concentration.
Dehydration can hinder endurance, cause cramping, decrease strength, and slow muscular response.
Mild dehydration is an extremely common cause of daytime fatigue. Estimates are that 75% of US citizens have mild, chronic dehydration.
This a bad sign considering that hydration is required for maintaining a healthy blood flow, proper kidney function, proper potassium/sodium/electrolyte balance and proper digestive functions
Furthermore, water and proper hydration are responsible for healthier teeth and bones as well as joints. Synovial fluid contains water, if you become dehydrated, less synovial fluid is available to protect the joints.
This especially is dangerous when training because you sweat and thus you lose a large portion of the liquids and this in turn puts great stress on the joints through intensive workouts.
Water also reduces fatigue! Water doesn’t provide energy directly but it plays an important role in energy transformation. Water is technically the medium in which all energy reactions take place. If you become dehydrated you become lethargic, endurance and strength performance will suffer, and you may experience cramping.
Water also assists in the battle against fats as it promotes healthy fat loss. It enhances the body’s ability to metabolize stored fat. Studies have shown that decreased levels of water in the body can cause fat deposits to increase while an increase in water can reduce fat deposits.
This occurs because a reduction in water decreases the efficiency of the kidneys, this causes some of the kidney functions to be delivered by the liver. Since one of the liver’s primary functions is to metabolize stored fat into usable energy, it metabolizes less while performing functions that were normally completed by the kidneys.
This will have an effect on the stored fat burned and an overall reduction of fat loss.
Most importantly we are interested in the water’s benefit to muscle growth. Water is needed to transport nutrients to your cells and to transport waste (toxins) out of the body. It also helps form the structures of protein and glycogen.
Furthermore, in order for you to be able to flex and move your muscles, you need water. Dehydration can cause cramping and depriving muscles of electrolytes. Muscles are controlled by nerves, without proper water and electrolyte balance, muscle strength control is impaired.
It is essential to stay hydrated in order to have optimum performance during workouts which will enable you to target the muscles more intensely and benefit from a better protein turnover.
13) Get Enough Rest
Recuperation, or rest, is your body’s time to recover after a powerful and intense workout at the gym. Jay Cutler says “I need to make sure I get enough sleep,” he says. “That’s the most important thing.” and he is totally correct.
But why is rest so important ? It allows the nervous system to recuperate (neurological). The body first lifts weights by using the nervous system, secondly with the mind, and lastly with its muscles. This is why it is important to have adequate rest and ensure that you, psychologically and neurologically are prepared for the workout.
Rest assists to regenerate the whole body – mentally, physically and psychologically.
If rest of the whole body is not taken into consideration too much stress can build up and lead the body into an overtrained state (overtraining signs can be anything from feeling of fatigue, mental weariness, plateau, etc) due to the accumulation of the stress hormone known as cortisol.
This will have a further effect on your body as cortisol is also responsible for decreasing the body’s natural metabolic rate, increasing and and instigating an increased production of toxins as well as increasing fat storage and decreasing muscle mass, as well as hindering muscle growth. In other words if you want to excel and properly stimulate natural muscle growth you need to get some rest!
If you are following a high intensity training regime, volume (how long you train) and frequency (how often you train) must be reduced. Rest time is all about intensity – how much you can push yourself to your body’s limits and allow enough time for the muscle to recover in order to get bigger. In other words, the more intense you are, the more rest you will need.
Keeping in mind that sleep and in-between sets are the not the only forms of rest that we are talking about. Any form of rest where you take away stress away is considered as resting: napping, sleeping, days off, pleasure activity, anything that is not stressful and greatly enjoyable for the individual
As we grow older the amount of rest that is necessary in order our cells to repair themselves decreases as it can be seen in the figure below.
But the amount of sleep necessary for us to achieve proper recovery for the muscles varies and is based on a couple of factors:
- How FAST your body recovers (recuperation)
- How HARD you exercise (intensity)
- How OFTEN you exercise per week (frequency)
- How OFTEN, MUCH, WHAT and WHEN you eat (nutrition)
- How LONG you exercise (duration)
- How MUCH stress you have or are able to manage in your daily life (stress).
All of these factors will determine the necessary amount of rest your body is in need of if you expect to see good results.
14) Consistency Is Key
As Bruce Lee once said “I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks, but the man who has practiced 1 kick 10,000 times”, words of wisdom right there. Just like everything else in the world bodybuilding, and especially muscle growth, requires consistency and patience. Without those two attributes you are not going to see great results and will not live the day to look at yourself in the mirror and be proud of what you have achieved.
The reason why I put Dwayne The Rock Johnson for the 14th and last tip is because he is one of the biggest advocates of consistency saying “Success isn’t always about greatness it’s about consistency, consistent hard work gains success, greatness will come”.
In other words if you train properly and eat properly and recuperate properly all you need to need in order to achieve impressive and massive muscle growth will be patience and consistency.
As a matter of fact consistency and patience is so powerful that if you put side by side two different individuals one lacks knowledge and experience about muscle hypotrophy, muscle development or fat loss but has the motivation and willingness to continue training for 10+ years;
And another one who has impressive insight in the field of fitness and health, impressive understanding and proper information about different techniques and aspects of muscle growth but lacks the necessary consistency and is only willing to work for 1-2 years; the former one (the consistent one) is the one who is going to achieve greater results and will manage to achieve impressive results in body transformation when it comes to natural muscle growth and the latter (the knowledgeable one who lacks consistency) will not.
The first tip that I gave you and the last one, as you can probably tell, are interconnected.
They work together. If you have set unrealistic goals for yourself and you notice, in time, that the completion of those goals are impossible, you will lose motivation and will ultimately quit. But by setting realistic and feasible goals you are aware of the time that it takes and the amount of hard work necessary to achieve those result.
I understand that consistency is very hard to maintain, especially as you progress and have years of experience behind your back. The longer you train the harder it gets and keeping up with consistency can truly be one of the hardest challenges in bodybuilding.
This is where your perspective, the way that you think of training and nutrition and bodybuilding in general, is important. If you have a short-term perspective,”I want to develop a body for summer time”, you are going to lack the necessary consistency and motivation to stick with training and nutrition. In other words you need to focus on a long-term perspective.
For example, I consider training and nutrition a viable and important aspect of my lifestyle because I am able to live a healthier more prosperous life, I am able to develop a stronger psychological and neurological stance (it takes a lot of mental power to go through years worth of training and quality nutrition). I live a life where I don’t have to worry about struggling with any internal or external physiological problems that may hinder the quality of my life.
I am able to develop a stronger body that may assists me in certain situations (as funny as this may sound, it’s true, I like to think that if I were stuck in a serious and life-threatening situation my strength gathered from training will assists me during the situation), deadlights help for lifting heavy objects off the ground, squats as well, pull-ups help you pull yourself up, any close bench presses or dips, or any other form of exercise that involves pushing will help you push objects, etc.
I am able to try out different healthy foods that taste amazing. There are millions of combinations of different foods that make cooking a whole lot fun. I guess this does have to do with the fact that I really enjoy cooking.
And, the best part is, that I get a good looking healthy body.
Thank you for reading my article! You can now pat yourself on the back as you have read a 6,500 word blog post!
This is a great article! I hope this will help me on building muscle.
Great information. thanks for sharing muscle growth tips with us. I’ll follow this.
Excellent article…. Thank you!
Perfectly said, nice, and thanks…… # 14 is key and is always important.
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Doing lighter weights say 20 reps but struggling to finish the set will this build muscle?
Sadly, probably no. You will need to lower the volume at which you’re training so that you’re doing, say, 8-10 repetitions per set where you are close to failure at your first sets and you reach failure at your last sets – reaching for 3-4 sets. Hope that helps, Luke!
Thank you, for your point of view it really helped me out. Again thank you!
After reading your piece I realized I must be doing correctly. Question: When I left heavy and some days I would left ten pounds lighter would that stimulate muscle growth?
I am glad that the piece made you consider your own methodology, Joe.
However, I must point out that it’s pretty complicated for me to understand what is it exactly that you’re trying to ask me. If you lower the weight by ten points for the next week you’re not really pushing for muscle growth. If you’re increasing the weight with ten pounds – then you could potentially be overdoing it and can thus hinder your range of motion and your form which are far more important than the weight that you’re lifting. Make sure that your form and ROM are close to perfect. Once you start noticing that you can do more repetitions easily with the same weight then that mean s that its time to increase your weight. If you’ve been using the same weight for a couple of weeks and are not seeing any improvements then that could mean that you’re nutrition might be a bit off.
I hope that helps, Joe! Thanks for your interest.
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Awesome read and great advice.