How to Build Muscle Mass – 5 Essential Steps
While working out and getting bigger seems like a great idea too many, it can be hard to know where to start and how to build muscle mass. Everyone seems to have their own set of rules as to what works and what doesn’t. Be that as it may, there are a few basic ideas which have become excepted in the world of bodybuilding. The five steps below on how to build muscles mass should provide just the information you need top get started down that path.
Step 1 – Maintaining a Caloric Surplus
Your body needs energy to produce a significant amount of muscle after a workout. That energy comes from calories. Unfortunately, there’s no way around that. To maximize your body’s ability to build muscle, you should be taking in more calories than your body is able to expend on a daily basis. This doesn’t mean you should eat as much as you can; a 500 calorie surplus is no more effective than a 100 calorie surplus. There are many calorie calculators available online, such as the ones at CalorieKing.com and Calculator.net. One should aim for 100 to 200 calories higher than their body needs (even after factoring in the calories burned while working out) to make sure their body has what it needs to build muscle.
Step 2 – Getting all the Macronutrients
While our bodies need calories to build muscle, that doesn’t mean it is advisable to get those calories through any means possible. Most of those calories should be coming from protein, carbohydrates and fat. These are referred to as macronutrients. Without them, your body won’t be able to keep up with your workout routine. The amount of each varies per person, but as far as protein goes, everyone should be eating at least 1.5 grams per pound of body weight.
Step 3 – Never Go Into a Catabolic State
A catabolic state is when your body has no fuel (food) in it’s system and begins to feed on it’s fat and muscle. This is how weight loss works. But we don’t want to lose weight, we want to gain it. Protein shakes are especially effective when it comes to preventing catabolic states. Gulping down a whey protein shake first thing in the morning is a great way to instantly put fuel in your body until breakfast time. Also, it is advisable to fill up on protein-rich foods before bed so as not to let your body starve in the middle of the night. Things like chicken and cottage cheese are perfect for this.
Step 4 – Workout to Build Muscle, Not Strength
Powerlifting and bodybuilding are two very different things. A quick Google-search of the world’s strongest men might astound you. Professional powerlifters workout for the sole purpose of gaining strength as opposed to muscle mass and their bodies show it. Whether you gain mass or muscle depends on your workout regime. The basic idea is that more reps equals more mass. If you can bench press 150 pounds for only 3 reps, then maybe you should lift something a little lighter. Your muscles shouldn’t fail until 8 to 12 reps in. And as far as sets go, 2 to 3 sets of each workout has shown to be the most beneficial for gaining mass.
Step 5 – Don’t Overtrain
When first starting out, the rush and excitement from lifting can make it difficult to stay away from the gym. However, it is important to give each muscle group at least one day’s rest between workouts. Failing to do so won’t only hinder your progress, but you can actually lose muscle from working out to much. Many bodybuilders find it beneficial to workout a different muscle group each session. This way they can still go to the gym every day without overtraining.
As said earlier, everyone has their own ideas as to what works best for gaining muscle mass. However, the above steps are fairly accepted and universal throughout the world of body building. It can be hard learning how to build muscle mass, but these steps are the first, and probably most important, ones to take. Happy lifting. By Michael J