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Get Big! Get Muscles!

Updated on June 2, 2012


Want to get bigger?
Most people can gain weight easily enough, but gaining muscle is an entirely different game and depends heavily on your genetics as to how you go about it. If you put on weight easily, a steady eating plan is recommended, whilst the hardgainers (naturally skinny people) out there can struggle and it can be a frustrating venture. As with most physical changes, a nutrition and exercise routine built specifically for the task, tailored to your body type, is the key.

Exercise
Two words:Weight lifting. The best and most proven formula for gaining muscle mass is good old fashioned weight lifting, with a mixed routine designed to shock the muscle into growth. Take a look at the bodybuilding ideals, low body fat and a high percentage of muscle mass. In order to gain muscle efficiently we must take a look at the bodybuilder approach, increasing our caloric intake and hitting the weights.

Get Massive!

What type of weight lifting?
There's no precisely correct answer here but if I had to choose anything in particular I'd say compound movements. Compound movements are exercises that involve many muscle groups, and don't focus too much on one particular muscle group. Bench press, squats, pull-ups and rows - these are all good for building quality mass. Using a weight around 80% of your one rep maximum (highest weight you can lift once with proper form - for example, if you can squat 100kg once, then try performing 8 reps of 80kg), is a good start, but always remember to mix things up, trying different methods and variations of an exercise to get the best results.


Hardgainers:
If possible, keep aerobic activity minimal. Try to get plenty of sleep, 8 to 10 hours a night is best for a full recovery. Also try to avoid a common mistake - skipping leg workouts. It is statistically proven that working the legs produces more growth hormone and aids in muscle growth for the entire body.

Nutrition
When trying to gain muscle mass, a surplus caloric intake is required. This is where the big difference in body types dictates food intake. For those who gain weight easily a controlled intake of healthy foods (approximately 500 calories above your caloric expenditure is a good guide) is required to assure the muscle grows, but doesn't bring too much excess body fat with it. Hardgainers need to be a bit more aggressive, some even having to constantly eat large meals just to see the results. There are some definite guidelines to follow when considering an eating plan:

Get Plenty of Protein
The one thing your muscles need in order to grow is protein. Protein is the foundation on which all muscle is built. While there are plenty of excellent Protein Powder Supplments out there, don't forget to get plenty of meat. To put it simply - meat is muscle, and eating muscle will help you grow muscle. An intake of 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight is the standard for muscle growth.

Timing protein intake is also very important for gaining mass, 30g - 50g of protein directly after a workout helps improve recovery tremendously since the body absorbs protein many times faster after a heavy weight lifting workout. A steady intake of protein is recommended with each meal, every 3-4 hours, with some bodybuilders getting up in the middle of the night to have a protein shake!

Hardgainers: Although the focus is on protein, make sure you get plenty of carbohydrates to fill those muscles up with glycogen, especially straight after a workout. Cutting the carbs is good for keeping fat levels low, but will limit your muscle growth.

In Conclusion
Basically what we need to is train with heavy weights in order to shock the muscle into growth, then eat plenty of healthy food filled with protein and carbohydrates to fuel that growth. This is very simple and we've only skimmed the surface of an endless world of strategies and fine tuning of one's lifestyle when considering muscle growth. All the facts and strategies you can find out there sit under the umbrella of that basic plan. So keep training, eating well, and researching to constantly grow your knowledge aswell as your muscles.

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