So you’re starting your exercise routine and this time you don’t want to fail. Maybe you are like many others who have started their routine only to burn out in a few weeks. Possibly it’s been years and you haven’t seen much progress and feel frustrated. This time you’re determined to do it, this time you want to start putting on some muscle.
As I explained in another of my articles, to succeed in your plan, it is important to focus on the benefits of your hard work. Another great motivator is progress. When you start working out and quickly can see the results, it makes you feel good and gives you more strength to carry on as the going get’s tougher. So my friend, here are a few tips that you should be sure to follow as you start your workout program. These will help you jumpstart your progress.
1. Before you start a muscle building routine, it helps to have a low body fat percentage. If you start your routine while still having a spare tire or two around the mid-section, more of the weight you gain will be fat and less of it muscle. Try to have a body fat percentage below 15%. If you don’t have a set of fat calipers you can refer to another of my articles that has an easy way to calculate your body fat percentage using just a bathroom scale and a tape measure. It may not be as accurate, but it should give you a pretty good idea. If your body fat percentage is below 15% when you start your routine to gain muscle, your body will be better primed to gain muscle weight and not fat. So, if you have that spare tire, it helps to go on a little diet before you start your muscle building program.
2. Be sure to have a workout program centering around multi-joint exercises. Multi-joint exercises involve more muscles in each movement and thus provide greater stimulation in less time. Here are some effective multi-joint movements.
When using these multi-joint exercises with weights that are heavy for you, your body will trigger an anabolic response that releases natural hormones, thus aiding your muscle growth and recovery. So for the best bang for you buck, follow a routine that focuses on these movements. (Be sure to check out my other articles about training for maximum muscle mass.)
3. After stimulating your muscles, they need to rest in order to recover and grow. Sleep is probably the most important part of that recovery process. While you are sleeping you body releases growth hormones to recover and rebuild your muscles. So, the less you sleep, the less muscle you build. Strive for around 8 hrs per night.
4. Eat regularly throughout the day. Try not to let 3-4 hrs go by without at least having a healthy snack. Eating something every 3-4 hrs will stabilize your blood sugar levels, decrease hunger and regularly provide your body with the nutrients it needs to rebuild new muscle. Here is a sample timing for your meals and snacks throughout the day.
9:00pm snack (I prefer to have a protein shake before I go to bed)
5. It is not only important what you eat, but also how much you eat. If you are relatively thin and are wanting to gain some good weight, then try to start eating around 18 calories per pound of bodyweight. That means that if you weight 140 lbs then you should start eating at least 2,500 cal per day. Keep in mind that that amount will gradually go up as you pick up new muscle. So when you weigh 160lbs, you should be eating almost 2,900 calories per day. If you don’t gain weight with 18cal/lb bodyweight then try increasing it to 20 calories per lb of bodyweight. Some may need more some may need less. All those calories should be mostly made up of good quality carbs, fats and proteins. Strive for around 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight. (Be sure to have a look at my other articles that talk about muscle building nutrition.)
Follow these tips and it will help you to jumpstart your muscle building plan and give you real results that you will quickly see.