Saturday, January 7, 2012

How to Gain Muscle

For those of you who want to build muscle but aren't sure what to do. Here are some tips for you!

1. Get Stronger. More strength is more muscle. Get into strength training. I recommend weight training because it allows you to start light and add weight endlessly. Body-weight exercises work too. Programs like P90X, P90X2, and Les Mills Pump are great weight training programs you can do at home. Insanity and Insanity Asylum are great body-weight programs you can also do at home, no equipment needed. Learn proper technique. Add weight each workout to keep pushing your body out of comfort zone.

2. Use Free Weights.
You can lift the heaviest weights using barbells. More weight is more stress, thus more muscle. Dumbbells are great for assistance exercises, but not for your main lifts. Stay away from machines.
  • Safe. Machines force you into fixed, unnatural movement patterns which can cause injuries. Free weights replicate natural motions.
  • Efficient. Free weights force you to control and balance the weight. This builds more muscle than machines, which balance the weight for you.
  • Functional. Strength built on machines doesn't transfer to free weights or real life. No machine balances the weight for you in real life.
  • Versatile. You can do hundreds of exercises with just 1 barbell. Saves a lot of money and space, especially if you want to build a home gym.

3. Do Compound Exercises. Isolation exercises are ok once you've built base strength & muscle mass. But if you're starting to build muscle, exercises that hit several muscles at the same time are better. Here are some examples: Pull-ups, Chin-ups, Barbell Rows, Bench Press, Overhead Press, Dips, Squats & Deadlifts.

4. Get Recovery.
  • Rest. Muscles grow when you rest, not when you workout.
  • Sleep. Growth hormone releases when you sleep, building muscle. Aim for 8 hours sleep. Nap post workout if your lifestyle allows.
  • Drink Water. Avoids dehydration and helps muscle recovery. Drink 2 cups water with each meal, and sip water during your workout.
  • Eat. Your training is useless if you don't eat enough calories for recovery.

5. Nutrition is Key.
  • Proteins. Lean meat such as chicken & fish, eggs, almond milk, etc
  • Carbs. Brown rice, oats, whole grain pasta, quinoa, etc
  • Veggies. Spinach, broccoli, tomato, salad, sweet pototo, etc
  • Fruits. Banana, orange, apple, grapes, strawberries, etc
  • Fats. Olive oil, fish oil, nuts, flax seeds, etc
You'll achieve a lower body fat, so the muscles you've built show better. And the vitamin & mineral content helps recovery. Stop eating food coming from a box. Eat whole foods 90% of the time. Each Beachbody program comes with a nutrition guide and recipes, so the guess work is taken out for you!

6. Eat More. Most people don't eat enough, you got to eat more to build muscle.
  • Eat Breakfast. Most important meal of the day! On the go and don't have time? Great meal on the go is Shakeology. You can add banana and peanut butter for added calories and protein.
  • Eat Post Workout. Get proteins and carbs post workout to help muscle recovery and replenish your energy stores. The P90X Results & Recovery drink is perfect for post workout!
  • Eat Every 3 Hours. This gives your muscles a steady intake of protein, speeds up muscle repair & recovery, and also boosts your metabolism.
7. Persist. Get stronger, track progress and persist until you've built the muscles you want.