People spend time at the gym for many different reasons, but their goals are usually fitness oriented – to lose weight or to build muscle. No matter the goal, the end result always requires strong commitment and a good deal of hard work. If you are looking into how to build muscle naturally – here are some tried and true tips to help you get started.
Set Realistic Goals
Instead of focusing on gaining a specific amount of weight in muscle, be realistic about how strong you want to get. Increasing your strength will help to improve your body’s overall ability to gain muscle fibers, which is what makes the biggest difference in how your body will look. When you set realistic goals and train to gain strength your goals will be more tangible, you’ll meet them quick and it’ll keep you motivated to keep working hard. Focus on three different exercises at a time that you want to improve upon – like a bench press, deadlift and a chin-up – then hit the gym and work hard!
Keep a Food Journal
The same way that you need to be diligent with your fitness goals, you should monitor your nutrition and keep tabs of your food and calorie intake. Different diets and meal plans serve different purposes – a low carb diet won’t be effective if you are trying to build muscle naturally. In order to train hard and build new muscle you need to consume enough calories and maintaining a food journal will give you an easy way to measure and keep track of your eating habits. If you notice that you are either not making progress or gaining too much weight, then you can go back to your journal and make changes based on your eating trends.
Incorporate Compound Exercises
A compound exercise is when you work a muscle at more than one joint – examples include squats, deadlifts, rowing and pullups. Compound exercises need lots of muscle mass, which makes them a very efficient way of training that promotes muscle growth. Compound exercises should be the main part of your workout and once you complete them you can work in some additional reps of other exercises.
Most bodybuilding programs are also designed to hit each individual body part once a week, but you will be able to build muscle faster if you try to work each muscle at least two to three times per week. Try to do some full-body workouts where you work out every muscle group in each session and then also do your regular routine throughout the week – this way you’ll hit each muscle three times per week. If you train four days per week, you can split your sessions into upper body and lower body where you hit each muscle twice a week. As you get stronger you can increase the frequency with which you work on each muscle and you’ll be able to achieve strength and natural muscle quickly.
Your pre- and post-workout nutrition is very important, and if you are looking to build muscle naturally then you should be drinking a shake with protein and carbs so you can sneak in some extra calories without consuming a full meal. This will help give you a boost of energy so you can train harder and you’ll feel satisfied without getting bloated.
Eat More on Off Days
Did you know that on the days you take off from training you experience the greatest amount of muscle growth? This is known as the recovery phase, so make sure to eat well and keep plenty of nutrients available for your body to absorb. You can decrease your intake of carbohydrates on non-training days since you don’t need extra energy, but make sure to eat plenty of protein and that your overall calorie intake doesn’t drop by more than 500 calories. Speaking of carbs – low carb diets may be very popular with individuals who are looking to shed body fat, but that is the opposite of what you need in order to build muscle naturally. To get big you can’t be afraid to gain fat – just make sure that you are eating clean and that you are consuming enough calories to grow. The little bit of fat that you do gain you can turn into muscle by staying consistent with your work outs.
The best way to achieve your fitness goals is to combine healthy nutrition with consistent training. To learn more about our weight loss programs and tips on living a healthy lifestyle, visit our blog and check in often for new articles.