Building muscle isn’t just about crushing that #LiftLife. Toning and gaining muscle mass also involves your diet and day-to-day lifestyle. But don’t worry. We’ve got your back (and your back muscles) covered.
How to gain muscle
Here are the top 11 tips for how to gain muscle at any fitness level.
- Aim for muscle fatigue with each workout.
- Eat plenty of calories to keep up with your calories burned.
- Get enough protein (especially 1 to 2 hours before exercising).
- Don’t forget to get plenty of carbs in your diet.
- Prioritize your sleep.
- Add a creatine supplement, if it’s right for you.
- Use a fitness app for tracking your workouts.
- Stay hydrated.
- Mix in plenty of isolation exercises to your routine.
- Give yourself plenty of recovery time.
- Get into a good schedule for your workouts.
Why it works
Doing a high intensity workout can promote lactic acid production. This plays a major role in muscle growth.
You burn energy when you work out. So, it’s important to bump up your calorie intake when you’re pushing it in the gym.
Protein gets all the street cred, but carbs also help your bod build muscle. One 2010 research review suggested that eating carbs after a workout is the most important way to get build your glycogen stores back up. (Your glycogen stores are like an energy storage system for your bod.)
Some folks swear by supplementing with creatine. It’s a natural substance that’s found in your muscle cells. A research review showed that taking about 5 grams per day can help you train longer and harder.
How creatine works
Pro tip: Look out for apps that can connect you to 1-to-1 training sessions. They’re fab if you’re new to fitness.
Stay hella hydrated before, after, and during your workouts. A 2003 research review showed that dehydration can slow down protein production. It can also speed up protein breakdown and increase your risk of injury.
What about compound exercises?
Compound exercises work multiple muscles at once. This can help you get a full-body workout in less time. Just keep in mind that they might not be as effective as isolation exercises for building muscle mass.
You should always give your bod time to bounce back after every workout. The exact recovery time depends on how long and intensely you worked out for.
Getting started can be the hardest part of any lifestyle change. By creating muscle-building habits (like the ones above) you can set yourself up for success.
There’s no magic muscle formula that can get you instant gains. But if you set realistic goals and stick to them, the results will come.
Remember, your diet is a key component in gaining muscle mass. Try to focus on lean proteins and complex carbs to optimize your results.
Def check out a fitness app or make an appointment with a personal trainer if you’re new to #FitFam. This can help you learn the basics.
Want to learn more about muscles? Here’s more Grade-A Greatist content to help you HIIT your goals:
- Cardio vs. Weights: Which Is Better?
- How Long Does It Take for Muscles to Heal?
- How Long Does It Actually Take to Get Out of Shape?
- Gym Rat No More: 18 At-Home Exercises to Build Muscle
- Complete Proteins: 10 Sources for Vegans and Vegetarians
- The Truth About Carbs (and Why You Should Be Eating Them)
- The Minimum Amount You Can Strength Train and Still See Results
- How to Lose Body Fat: 16 Scientifically Proven Ways to Burn Fat Fast