As the weather starts to warm up and spring is in the air, many families are looking forward to fun plans and vacations coming up this summer. It can be exciting to think about days at the pool and outdoor adventures. If you are a little worried about being swimsuit ready, then right now is the time to get started with these muscle-building tips so you feel comfortable and confident in your body.
Diet and exercise can be a powerful combination to change your overall appearance and health. With the right routine, you can not only lose those excess pounds – but also improve muscle definition and tone.
Here are some muscle-building tips to help you achieve the best results possible:
Choose Your Workout Routine in Advance
Showing up to the gym for a workout session is a great habit to maintain. But do you have a plan to implement when you get there?
If you don’t have a predetermined plan, then you aren’t going to make the most of your workout routine. The best solution is to outline your workout session in advance so you know exactly what to do during each session.
You can find workout routines online and follow those recommendations. Or, the most effective solution is to schedule a few sessions with a personal trainer. These one-on-one sessions are helpful because the trainer can evaluate your fitness levels and provide personalized recommendations to match your goals.
Use the Right Amount of Weight
If the weights you are using are too light, then your muscle building efforts will slow down. For best results, it’s important to consider how many reps you will be able to perform before burnout.
The weight you are using should bring you close to the point of failure when you reach your pre-determined number of reps. For example, if you are planning to do 15 repetitions, then the weight should be heavy enough that you can’t perform another repetition by the time you reach the end of the set.
Focus on Areas of the Body
Don’t try to do a whole-body workout every time you are lifting weights. Your muscles need time for recovery, so one of the best muscle-building tips is to pick a focus area for each weight lifting session.
Choose these days in advance, and make sure to include time for cardio as well. For example, Mondays might be leg day, Wednesdays are abs/core, and Fridays are arm day. Then, Tuesday/Thursday are set aside for cardio days.
Make sure you are starting the day right with a good breakfast in the mornings. You’ll need energy to start the day and get through your workout, and breakfast kickstarts your metabolism for the rest of the day.
Plus, many people find that a healthy breakfast sets the tone for the day. If you start with a healthy breakfast, then it’s easier to maintain the momentum so you stay on track with the other meals and snacks as well.
Then, make sure you are eating at the right time: every three hours. If you are focused on building muscle, then you need more than just breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It’s also smart to add smaller meals post workout, as well as snacks between meals. When there are long periods of not eating often causes you to overeat at the next meal, so smaller frequent meals can help you avoid these issues.
Keeping your food intake up helps you avoid the hunger. Plus, your body will have the fuel it needs to build muscle. And staying fed turns off the fat-storage cues because the body has enough nutrition to stay out of “starvation” mode.
Increase Protein Consumption
Not only should you be eating regularly, but make sure you are eating the right types of food. You need plenty of protein to build muscle and maintain the mass.
Ask a nutritionist or trainer for the best muscle-building tips and they will always talk about protein. A general daily recommendation is to eat 1 gram of protein for every pound of body weight. So, if you weigh 175 pounds, then you should be eating 175 grams of protein daily.
Focus on whole protein sources and eat a variety of ingredients as part of your meal planning. Examples include:
- Poultry: Turkey and chicken
- Red Met: Beef, lamb, and pork.
- Eggs: Whole eggs or egg whites.
- Fish: Salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines, etc.
- Powder: A whey protein powder can be a great supplement for in-between meals.
- Dairy: Cottage cheese, milk, yogurt, cheese, etc.
- Vegetarian Options: If you don’t eat meat, then consider nuts, legumes, seeds, and tofu.
Understand the Difference: Bulking vs Cutting
There are big differences in diet and exercise recommendations depending on your current goals. For example, if you are cutting to trim down fat, then caloric intake will be a little lower and you’ll change the intensity and frequency of your workouts.
On the other hand, the goal in a bulking phase is to build muscle, which means you are going to need more calories and higher protein consumption. The goal is to find the “sweet spot” where you can build muscle without consuming so many calories that you start to put on fat at the same time. For most people a surplus of 300 – 500 calories is the perfect balance to build muscle without gaining fat.
Be Patient – It Takes Time
Remember that these changes don’t happen overnight. It will take weeks of consistency before you start noticing changes in your body, and a month or two (or more) before other people start noticing these changes.
Steady weight loss is the healthiest solution, instead of a crash diet that isn’t sustainable. So, instead of feeling discouraged because it seems like the results aren’t coming fast enough, focus on the daily and weekly habits that lead to the results you want to achieve. Consistency with these seemingly small steps add up to the results you want in the long run.
If you want to gain serious muscle, then it can take months and years of proper eating and weight training to reach your desired results. But it’s worth the effort because of the way you will look and feel.
Local Fitness Support and Facilities
Finding the right fitness center will set you up for success with your fitness goals. If you are looking for a gym to call home, join Fitness Nation. We are here to help!