From personal experience, I know how frustrating it can be when you work your ass off in the gym, you eat the right foods and you seem to be doing everything else right too, but somehow, you’re still not able to gain the muscle mass you want to. The cold truth is that you’re not doing everything right, at least not for you. You might try things that have worked for other people in the past, but always remember that their body is very different from yours. Besides that, gaining muscle mass isn’t necessarily about doing the big things right, sometimes we overlook the small things that will make all the difference.
I have been struggling with this ever since I got into fitness, so I know how frustrating it can be. By now, I have accepted the fact that I will never be the biggest guy in the room, but that doesn’t mean I have given up on gaining more muscle mass. So, let’s dive into this. Today I will share my top 5 tips on how to grow lean muscle mass.
You have to eat more protein!
Don’t underestimate this one, don’t even think that you have this one covered until you’re absolutely sure. Are you 100% sure you’re getting more than 2 grams of protein per kg of bodyweight (1,5-1,8 for girls) ? If not, you have to dial this in. Your muscles are feeding off of protein to get bigger and stronger. During your recovery process, protein is used to build your muscles back up. Protein is the only building block your body uses to build itself back up. Track your protein to make sure you get the right amount in.
Take more rest days
How often are you working out? How often are you working out HARD? 6-7 days a week? You might be in need of more rest or an active recovery day. In order for your muscles to grow they need time, the time to heal, recovery and grow. During your rest period your body feeds on protein to get all of this done. I would advise to workout hard 4-5 times a week, 1 active recovery day and 1 full rest day.
Simply eat more. Of course, you want to gain lean muscle mass but why does that mean you can’t eat more food? The right food. Obviously, if you just add more cookies and brownies to your daily nutrition, we just keep adding fat rather than lean muscle mass. Always, always focus on eating more whole foods. If you can get 90-95% of your food from whole foods you’re doing really good.
A simple calculation to use: bodyweight in lbs. x 15 = calorie intake.
This is a very generic calculation you can use if you’re looking to add more muscle mass.
Lift freaking heavy
I know, you think you have been doing this all along, but have you really? Have you ever tested your 1 rep max bench press for example and used the percentages of that number to calculate the weights you should be using? That is a great starting point if you haven’t. If you know your 1RM numbers already, use it for every single set you do in the gym.
How often do you go to failure? Do you go to failure every single set, never at all or somewhere in-between? And when you do go to failure, when do you reach that point? If you reach failure at rep 25, I can tell you that you’re not lifting heavy enough, which brings us back to the point of knowing your 1 rep max numbers.
Vary your workouts more often
How long have you been following the same program for? Have you been doing the same movements, reps, sets and weights for more than a week (2 at most)? Change things up! You don’t have to make significant changes every single week, but small changes will do the trick sometimes. Think about things like: adding more weight and lowering the reps, add different rep schemes to you workout, add different angles of the same movement (bench press –> incline bench press), add different resistance (like a resistant band connected to a dumbbell).
Your body is programmed to adapt to every single thing it goes through. Like when your body is heating up and you start to sweat in order to cool down, or when you start getting sick your body heats up to make your body a less comfortable host for the virus you’re carrying. It’s the same thing with your training stimulus. Your body adjusts very quickly, so keep your body guessing and your efforts in the gym won’t be for nothing.
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