If you’ve ever hung around a gym or spent time on online bodybuilding blogs or forums, you’re likely to have heard quite a few theories on how best to build muscle. However, when it comes to creating a defined physique, there’s a lot of inaccurate information in circulation, so before you jump on the latest muscle-promising bandwagon, it’s important to separate fact from fiction.
You probably already know how important protein is for developing lean muscle. If you remember your GCSE Science, you’ll know that proteins are packed with amino acids, which are the building blocks of muscle tissue. Eating a variety of protein-rich foods, such as lean red meat, poultry, eggs, beans and tofu, will not only aid muscle gain, it will help you to stay in good overall health. The British Nutrition Foundation recommends that men aged 19-50 get approximately 56g of protein a day and women get 45g. However, exactly how much protein you need depends on your body weight. Nutritionists generally recommend 0.8g of protein per pound of bodyweight per day.
If you’re looking for a convenient way to get more protein in your diet, you might consider taking supplements. Protein supplements that help to enhance performance, build muscle and control appetite are available in a wide range of forms, from whey protein shakes, to pills, to tasty bars. If you’re going to supplement your diet with powders or pills, it is vital that you understand exactly what you’re getting. Bodybuilding experts, like Monster Supplements, provide a wide range of safe protein-based products that are specially design to support the growth and replenishment of lean muscle mass. While you can’t expect to pack on muscle overnight by drinking a shake or popping a pill, if you combine your supplements with a nutritionally balanced diet and an effective training programme, you are sure to see results sooner rather than later.
Many people looking to tone up see carbohydrates as the black sheep of the food family and make every effort to avoid them. However, this reputation is unfair and shunning this crucial food form will only hinder your efforts. As the primary source of fuel for human bodies, carbs are essential for developing and maintaining muscle. If you want to promote muscle growth and stay healthy, you need to eat a balanced diet. Moreover, if you’re training regularly, it’s important to ensure you’re getting enough carbohydrates to get you through your workouts. Eating small portions of slow-release complex carbohydrates, such as potatoes, whole grain bread, brown rice and pasta, on a regular basis can help you to develop a lean physique without experiencing muscle cramps, weakness, fatigue, headaches and other nasty effects that are associated with a low-carb diet.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking you should avoid fat just because you want to stay lean. Omega-3 fatty acids, which is found in oily fish, nuts and seeds, avocados and olive oils, have a great reputation for bolstering heart health, joints and hormone function. But did you know that this type of fat can also reduce muscle soreness, allowing you to workout more regularly? What’s more – recent studies suggest that omega-3 also boosts muscle strength and prevents muscle wastage. So there’s really no need to forgo the olive oil dressing on your next salad.
4. Strength training
It goes without saying that if you want to get the body of your dreams, you have to put in some effort. To make the most of your workouts, plan your training program in advance and do your very best to stick to it.
While you may be tempted to focus solely on creating more toned upper arms or getting rid of flabby abs, it’s important to make sure you treat every muscle equally if you want to achieve a completely proportionate and defined physique. For the best results, train each muscle group at least twice a week. Vary your workout by alternating compound lifts, which work several muscle groups at once, and isolation lifts, which focus on one muscle at a time.
Focus on getting consistently stronger. You cannot keep lifting the same weights week after week and expect to see new results. Whether you workout at home or at the gym, keep track of your progress by recording the loads you are using every workout to keep you focused on continuously beating your personal bests. There are a plethora of mobile apps and websites that are designed to help you keep track of your training progress. Alternatively, you can go old school and jot your figures down in a notebook.
Consistency is key when it comes to reducing body fat and increasing muscle mass. To help you to stay motivated, consider working out with a friend. Having a gym buddy can help you to spot weaknesses in your form sooner rather than later and keep you focused on your goals.