On a mission to build more mass? If you’re trying to gain lean muscle, there’s a smart and a not-so-smart way to go about it.
Sure, you could simply go to the gym, lift heavy, and eat as much food as your stomach can handle, but that will likely lead to some unwanted gains in the form of body fat. If you want to put on lean tissue while seeing impressive strength gains while you’re at it, you’ll want to follow a more precise and calculated approach.
Here are five smart tips to help you build muscle faster.
1. Periodize Your Program
Perhaps one of the smartest things that you can do to improve your rate of muscle growth is to use a periodized program. What does this mean?
It essentially means that you’ll be alternating through different training focuses over the course of the program.
For example, during the first 3 months, you may focus exclusively on hypertrophy training. Then for the next 2-3 months, you might focus on metabolic training instead, taking your rep ranges higher than they had been during your hypertrophy phase. Finally, for the last phase of your training, you may increase the weight and perform lower reps, with strength progression as your goal.
By altering your program like this, you help prevent boredom with both your body and your mind, ensuring that you’re always fresh for your training protocol.
This approach is imperative because over time, the body becomes adapted to the stimulus you put it under. As such, the results you’re looking for will evade you. By changing things around, you kick-start those results again and by the time you get to the next round of a similar goal, your body will be more responsive again.
2. Take A Deload Week Every 4-6 Weeks
One big mistake that many people make when looking to grow muscle is not resting enough. It might seem counterintuitive to take time away from the gym when you want to build more muscle, but that is precisely what you must do.
Once the stimulus has been applied and your body has been stressed through training, taking time off will allow you to grow stronger and come back better than you were before.
After every 4-6 weeks of intense heavy training, consider backing off for a week and cutting the volume in half. You may also want to reduce the weight by about 30-50% during this deload week.
This lowered intensity week of training will still allow you to get to the gym, but will help your body recover from the beating it took in the weeks prior. This can help reignite the growth process. Plus, it will help restore energy levels and allow any aches and pains to get some relief.
3. Keep Yourself Hydrated
Hydration is a key component to any muscle-building program and another factor that you must focus on at all times. It’s not enough to just be hydrated during your workouts, you want to ensure maximum hydration throughout the whole day.
Without adequate hydration, your body won’t be able to repair its muscle tissue like it should, generate new muscle mass, or process the nutrients you eat.
Drinking 8-12 glasses of water each day is a must. If you can, take it one step further and pick up some KAGED MUSCLE Hydra-Charge. This product helps boost hydration levels with the use of electrolytes, and also provides a powerful dose of antioxidants at the same time.
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Best of all, it is caffeine free so you can drink it at any time during the day without worry.
4. Vary Your Exercises – But Not Too Much
Another important thing that you need to do if you’re going to succeed with your goal of building muscle, is to vary your exercises. When you hit the gym and do the same thing day after day after day, it won’t be long before your body completely adapts and you stop making progress.
Fortunately, a little change is usually all that’s needed to kick-start the results cycle once again. Try doing a new exercise in place of one you’ve been performing for a long time. Rather than back squatting, switch to a front squat. Rather than doing a wide grip lat pull-down, do a narrow grip lat pull-down.
Small changes will provide a different stimulus to the muscles and can help prompt further progress.
This said, avoid varying your exercises too often. You want to train with one given exercise long enough that you make progress with that exercise before switching to something new. Too much change can be just as detrimental as not enough change. Leave one exercise in your program for 3-4 weeks before changing over to something else.
5. Consume Quality Protein Post-Workout
Finally, the last must-do if you want to gain muscle at an impressive rate is ensure that you are consuming quality protein after your training1. At this point your insulin sensitivity is at its highest and providing the nutrients your body needs such as protein and carbohydrates will be most beneficial. Your body is going to absorb those nutrients and push them right where they’re needed – to the muscle cells.
This is the one time of day where an insulin spike is actually beneficial, especially if you eat the right things. If you consume protein with carbs, the protein will get to the muscles faster than it would without, and can spark muscle protein synthesis to begin.
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These are five main tips to help you grow more muscle. You aren’t going to gain pounds and pounds of muscle overnight, but with a little patience and the right training techniques, you can definitely see the progress you’re hoping for.