When people first start weight training in the gym with the intention of building muscle they usually do so with some success. This is known as the ‘newbie gains’ phase where you’ll build some decent amount of muscle and strength, providing that your training regularly and getting enough calories and sleep. This phase will not last forever though, and before long you will need to follow a structured plan with progressive overload to continue seeing improvements.


Although muscle building does require a lot of hard work and dedication, the things you need to do to achieve it are actually very simple. I will go over the 3 things I see as essential when trying to build muscle to give you a general idea of how to go about it.


Of course, you need to be training to build muscle, but there efficient ways to go about it to speed up your results. Firstly, you should be aiming to increase your workout volume on a regular basis. This means having some kind of overload to challenge your muscles more than before. There are various ways to go about this. You could add weight to the bar, add in reps and sets, decrease your rest periods or increase your time under tension. Just make sure you log down exactly what you do each time you workout so you know how to build upon it.


Secondly, you also need to look at how often you’re training each muscle group. For example, let’s say you train your chest on a Monday, from this you will stimulate muscle protein synthesis (MPS) for up to 72 hours. This means for the next 48-72 hours your chest muscles will be repairing, ready to come back bigger and stronger than before. After 48-72 hours all adaptations stop, so if you’re only training chest on a Monday you’ll be missing out on 4 days worth of potential muscle growth. This is why training frequency is important and should take precedence over increasing workout volume when trying to build new muscle.

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Building muscle will also require you to eat right based on your starting point. For example, if you’re already very lean and want to start adding muscle to your frame you will need to make sure you’re in a calorie surplus. This means you will need to make sure you’re eating more calories than what it takes to maintain your current weight. This can be determined by constantly tracking your caloric intake and weighing yourself. Once you have worked out your maintenance calories, aim to consume 500 calories above this each day and you’ll gain roughly a pound a week.


Within your total calories, you need to make sure you’re getting enough protein. You should aim to get around 0.8 grams of protein for each pound you weigh, so if you weigh 175lbs you will need to aim for 140 grams of protein per day. Some of the weight you gain will be fat rather than muscle, but if done correctly a sufficient amount will be muscle mass.


If you are trying to lose weight, try cutting 500 calories from your diet each day. This will cause you to lose roughly a pound a week. And if you have just started working out, you can likely lose weight while gaining muscle and increasing your strength.


You only grow when you sleep, so sleep is something you need to start giving some importance to when trying to build muscle. Good sleep will also improve your performance in the gym. Try and aim for around 7-8 hours.


Here is a link to a great article on SimplyShredded.com that looks at what research says in regards to sleep and exercise.

The Science of Sleep

Please remember that I am only covering the basics here, and to build significant muscle long term will require a structured program.


If you would like me to construct you a personalized routine based on your individual goals, schedule, and body type then start select one of my online training packages and we can get started.


I am only covering the basics here, and to build significant muscle long term will require a structured training and nutrition plan.


I offer online coaching to cover all aspect of your training and nutrition, if you are interested in recieving some personalised guidance towards your fitness goals simply select your duration of coaching and we can get started.

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