The process of gaining muscle tissue isn’t as simple as lifting heavy weights and eating more protein. There are some key rules that must be followed if you are going to gain noticeable amounts of lean muscle mass. Many people gain weight but end up losing it all and realizing what they thought was muscle gain was actually fat they’d gained, with minimal amounts of muscle.
Science has evolved and since the old days of bulking up and then stripping away the fat, you can actually gain muscle and look lean at the same time. If you find yourself in this position, you may want to add these tips to your training plan.
1.Include Fats In Your Diet
Not only do healthy fats support your immune system and help deliver vital nutrients around the body, but foods such as avocado, oily fish, nuts and oil provide more calories to the gram compared to carbohydrates and protein. So if you’re trying to add calories to your diet to help build muscle, you’re missing a trick not eating your fats. Fats should form around 30% of your daily calorie requirements.
2. Eat More Protein
You must be consuming enough lean protein daily to build muscle tissue. There is so much debate out there about the quantity you should eat each day, but I work on around 1.5 grams per kilogram of body weight for muscle gain.
3. Use Your Training Time Wisely
You really shouldn’t need more than 1 hour of actual workout time in the gym. In many cases, guys spend half the time talking and scrolling on their phones. Prepare your sessions ahead of time, get in to the gym, train hard, and then get out. A little over or under an hour is fine, but spending over an hour-and-a-half training is a waste of time and energy.
4. Make Sure You’re Using Enough Muscle Tension
An area where I see so many going wrong in the gym, is their inability to use weights slower and for longer. This is important to make sure that the time frame being used supports muscle growth. For this to happen effectively, your must make your set last between 40-60 seconds. So those of you who use weights quickly, and you’re looking to gain muscle mass, chances are you are not even lifting in a range that will help you to grow. 12 reps lifted quickly with questionable technique could last around 20 seconds. You get completely different results doing the same 12 reps with a 2-3 second lowering tempo, a split hold at the bottom and a split second hold at the top of the exercise.
5. Learn How to Contract Your Muscles Properly
All to often guys tell me what weight they lift on certain exercises, only to take them through a session, only for me to drastically lower their weights. To grow a muscle, you must learn to contract it, the best way to do this is to learn how to connect your mind to muscle to which you are training and to avoid other muscles kicking-in to help with the load. So for the next time you’re training, slow down your reps for one workout and focus on the intending muscle you’re working on that day. Don’t be scared to drop the weight, remember it’s your body training, not the person next to you, drop the ego!
6. Prioritise Quality Sleep
You must sleep at least 7-8 hours per night. Lack of sleep increase your cortisol levels (the stress hormone) and high levels of the stress hormone lowers your testosterone level. If you didn’t know. You need testosterone to grow! Get some sleep and start growing.
7. Review Your Training Programme on a Regular Basis
The programmes I write usually work on roughly 4-8 week cycles. If you have been doing your current programme for a lot longer than that, chances are your body has become accustomised to it and your muscle development would have ceased. A simple step could be to move from a programme your higher rep ranges of 12-15, down to a lower end muscle gain range of 8-12 reps. It’s a simple change but enough to provide a response.
Written by – Paul Karoullas