If you’re looking to transform your body, one goal that you might have set is to learn how to gain muscle. Adding some lean muscle mass is one of the best ways to make some improvements to your physique as it will help add more definition and muscle tone, while also assisting with the fat burning process.
The more lean muscle mass you have on your frame, the higher your resting metabolic rate will be, so this can help ensure that you burn off excess body fat all day long.
So how does one go about the process to gain muscle? If you have a good plan in place, you can definitely make some significant changes in a relatively short period of time, so let’s outline the 5 main things that you need to note.
1) Provide An Overloading Stimulus
The very first thing that you must do if you’re going to be successful with your attempt to gain muscle is to make sure that you have an overloading stimulus in place. In order to get the body to build more muscle, you must provide it a reason to do so and that is precisely what this stimulus will do.
You’ll want to go into the gym and do something different with your workouts that shocks the muscle tissues and provides them with a challenge that they have never experienced before. As you do this, you’ll create small muscle tears in the fibers, which then will be rebuilt back up stronger and larger again.
This added challenge can come from more weight lifted, a higher number of sets performed, less rest period taken between your sets, or through a different exercise selection.
Without the overloading stimulus present, you can maintain your current fitness level with your workout sessions, but it’s unlikely that you’ll actually build more muscle.
2) Back Off And Rest
Once that stimulus has been placed, then the next step to see success with the goal to gain muscle will be to back off and rest.
Rest is absolutely critical to the muscle building process because this is when the body is going to build back those muscle fibers stronger and larger than they were before.
Most people think that they’re getting results each and every time they hit the gym, but if the truth is told the results actually come when they’re outside of the gym, not in it.
When they’re outside of the gym, this is when they will be growing stronger again – when they’re inside, they’re actually getting weaker.
How much rest time you need is quite individual as recovery is based on a number of individual factors as well as how much added activity you’re doing.
If you sit at a desk all day in the office you will have some high quality recovery time then, but if you’re up on your feet moving around all day, recovery will be sacrificed.
The more total recovery time you get each day, the more frequently you can do your workouts.
If you ever find yourself going back into the gym feeling weaker than you were before, that’s a clear indication that you aren’t recovering and need more total time off to rest.
3) Feed Your Body Well
The next step in the equation to gain muscle is to make sure that you feed your body well. While rest is absolutely imperative to making results, if you’re resting but not feeding yourself, you aren’t providing the raw materials the body needs to grow itself this new muscle tissue.
Furthermore, you need to provide a surplus of these raw materials so that you can actually build new muscle fibers – not just repair what you already had.
One big mistake that many people who want to gain muscle make is training hard in the gym, but then not eating enough calories. Calories are what will supply the fuel to generate more lean muscle mass out of, so what must come up in your diet plan if you hope to see results.
A combination of lean proteins, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats will all do the trick to help boost your success. Aim to consume somewhere around 200-500 calories over and above your maintenance requirements for optimal results.
4) Reduce Your Stress
Moving along, another key factor in seeing the best results possible is limiting the amount of stress that you deal with on a day to day basis.
Stress is particular harmful for your progress because it will cause you to secrete a hormone in the body known as cortisol, which can cause the muscle tissues to begin to break down. This is going to work in direct opposition of the goals that you have set right now, so as you can imagine, is not quite what you want to be experiencing.
A low stress lifestyle will be far more conducive to building up lean muscle mass, so taking whatever measures are necessary to reduce your stress will definitely help you out.
5) Get Sufficient Sleep
Finally, the last quick tip to help you succeed with your ability to gain muscle is to make sure that you are getting enough sleep at night.
Sleep is the primary time when the body is going to go into deep repair mode and is when you will be building up that new muscle tissue.
Those who don’t get at least eight hours of sleep each night will definitely be sacrificing the recovery that they get and will more than likely find themselves dragging and tired in the gym as well.
Start making sleep a priority and you will definitely see improvements in the results that you achieve.
So there you have the 5 top tips in regarding how to gain muscle. It is a very scientific process and if you follow all the steps outlined in this article, you will see success.
Be sure to factor in not only your workouts however and also take a good look at your diet and lifestyle as well. All of these work together in the process to achieve best results.[stextbox id=”grey” caption=”About the Author”]Shannon Clark holds a degree in Exercise Science from the University of Alberta, where she specialized in Sports Performance and Psychology. In addition to her degree, she is an AFLCA certified personal trainer and has been working in the field for over 8 years now.[/stextbox]