Building muscle can be quite a challenging feat, especially if you aren’t following some of the essential needs to see results. It can take a lot of hard work and consistency to build just a couple pounds of muscle.
Most would agree that if you worked hard to get it, you’d more than likely want to maintain it.
These tips will help you to not only build muscle but also maintain it longer by doing the proper routines to build high quality muscle.
Evaluate Where You Are Right Now Physiologically
This is something that does not get said enough around the internet. Everyone should be aware of where the current state of their body is.
Both men and women should see where their hormones are at, more specifically testosterone, insulin, and estrogen. These hormones play an EXTREMELY important role in many bodily functions, especially for muscle building.
Hormones, especially insulin and testosterone, have important roles as regulators of muscle protein synthesis and muscle hypertrophy.
It can be almost relatively impossible to build muscle if your hormones are not in an optimal state for your body so before we dive deeper into these tips it’s very important to make note of this.
Other lab work that should be done should include blood pressure, blood sugar levels, vitamin panel, and overall metabolic panel.
Nutrition Is More Important Than Your Actual Workouts!
Nutrition plays the most vital role in muscle building that can be maintained for a longer duration of time.
Once exercise occurs that breaks down the muscle fibers, muscle growth can only occur if muscle protein synthesis exceeds muscle protein breakdown.
Strength training improves the balance of muscle protein. With that said if there is an absence of food intake; the state of balance will no longer be even which will prevent muscle growth.
The following list is some of the key foods that not only have I personally used to build muscle as well as some of the top fitness influencers and bodybuilders of this era.
Muscle building Paradise:
- Sweet potatoes
- Greek yogurt
- Brown rice
- Ground Turkey
Give your muscles a reason to stay!
The fitness industry is quite controversial when it comes to strength training and building muscle.
The large majority would say that to maximize hypertrophy (Muscle growth) one would need to have a rep range of 8-12 reps for about 3-4 sets.
While I do agree with this for the most part, I also preach that one must lift heavy to give the muscle a reason to stay.
Here are a few reasons why I promote lifting heavy weights to build muscle:
High repetition (15 or more) causes an up-regulation of stressful hormones like cortisol. Cortisol has an array of negative effects on the body if more is stimulated and released in the body, some of the effects include:
- Impaired cognitive function
- Suppressed thyroid function
- Blood sugar imbalances
Strength training helps you maintain muscle while in a caloric deprived state.
Heavy lifting with adequate recovery creates a hormonal change that helps speed up fat loss and promotes muscle growth. Hormones is very important as mentioned earlier.
Heavy compound lifts also increases testosterone which will help with muscle growth.
High reps are also very important for muscle growth
Even though it was previously stated how important it is to lift heavy, high repetitions with a challenging level of weight is also equally important for maximum muscle gain.
The PUMP is the key to hypertrophy. Rep ranges of 8-12 reps will give you the best potential to send blood to the muscle.
Sets of anything above 12 reps will increase chances of cortisol hormonal release as stated before.
Nitric oxide is produced which breaks down the muscle fibers at work and this in turn lets the body know what needs to be repaired.
This is important because it signals the body to send any nutrients available directly to that muscle group.
I believe balance is the key to a happy and fulfilling life and fitness is no exception.
Starting a hypertrophy workout by committing to two sets of 3-4 reps with heavyweight followed by three sets of 8-12 reps is efficient with the combination of strength and volume, getting you the best of both worlds.
Recovery is extremely important to see consistent muscle gain.
Optimal testosterone levels are essential for muscle growth. It aids in muscle recovery as well as bone density, energy, and body fat.
When you are getting optimal sleep with an average of 7-8 hours you lower cortisol levels at night. Cortisol is a stress hormone that is catabolic (promotes the breakdown of muscle).
It also promotes fat storage, lack of focus, and a slowed metabolism.
Poor sleep can also influence insulin sensitivity, which is very important for muscle growth. Insulin sensitivity helps make sure your muscles are getting the carbohydrates and protein they need to both fuel workouts and repair tissue.
Studies indicate that poor sleep can contribute to insulin resistance and thereby weaken protein syntheses, reduce lean muscle mass, and contribute to fat gain.