With all the information clutter on the internet, building muscle can be more confusing than a barking cat, especially for beginners. The rules to building muscle are the same for all newbie’s starting out in the muscle building adventure, (unless you’re a 2 toed martian from space; in that case to get your protein, you will need to eat some meaty-or’s!)
All lame jokes aside, (I would tell you another joke about space but… it’s too out of this world!) today’s post is going to cut through all the b.s like a samurai chopping a watermelon. Below are the 7 golden rules a beginner should stick to when training for muscle gains. Stick to these rules and you will be on your way to building the muscle you want!
1) Eat in a calorie Surplus
A lot of beginner’s claim they can’t gain any weight. When I ask them what they eat, it’s roughly the same amount a mouse would eat on a diet. Cereal and a few bags of crisps won’t cut the mustard if you want to gain muscle. Food is the body’s fuel. Gaining muscle requires the right amount of food consumption.
A calorie surplus is when you eat more calories than you burn in a day. This gives the body extra calories to build and repair muscle. If you are under eating you are not giving your body the fuel it needs to gain muscle. If you put a small skinny person next to a big muscular person you will notice one very obvious thing, the bigger muscular person always eats a lot more! So rule number 1, make sure you’re eating enough food.
2) Get the right amount of protein
Protein is the macronutrient that repairs and builds muscle tissue. (If you don’t know what macronutrients are then you can read this article – ‘the beginners guide to macronutrients’).
You need to be consuming enough protein so your body can use it to build the muscle you want.
Try to eat at least 1 gram of protein per 1 lb of body weight, but don’t rely solely on drinking protein shakes; eat most of your protein. Consume high protein foods like fish, eggs, meat, chicken etc. Don’t eat meat? No worries, check out this article- 6 excellent high protein vegetarian foods.
3) Train frequently with compound exercises
Protein synthesis remains elevated no longer than about 48 hours. This is the amount of time your body is building the optimum amount of muscle after a workout. For a beginner, there’s no point in waiting one whole week to train a muscle group again like the standard split routine workouts.
Your body requires you to train muscle groups more frequently. I used a split routine for many years. I trained my muscle groups once a week, used nearly always the same weight and never really focused on compound movements.
This led to me beating around the bush, with no gains in strength or muscle. I got better results in ONE year of training my muscle groups twice a week with compound movements than I did in 8 years of training them once a week with mostly machines.
- Train your muscles 3 times a week with a full body workout and with compound exercises. Alternatively, you can train them twice a week with a lower and upper body split routine.
- Use barbells and dumbbells and not machines at the gym.
Compound movements with free weights engage a lot more muscle groups during the lifts, leading to more muscular growth.
(If you’re unsure of compound movements you can sign up to the FREE Modest Dragon Newsletter using the form below or by clicking here) and you will receive a copy of the FREE Modest Dragon eBook; which goes through the main compound movements and gives detailed instructions on how to perform them correctly).
4) Progressively overload your muscles
Your muscles need stimulus to be able to grow. Lifting heavier weights is one of the best ways to get the stimulus needed. You need to be increasing your weights and getting stronger; the heavier you lift the bigger your muscle fibres will become. If you are not getting stronger you are most likely gaining little, to no muscle.
To be able to build a decent amount of muscle, you need to be able to lift a decent amount of weight. Lift in a 5-8 rep range instead of 10-12, to gain strength as well as mass. Lower reps enable you to lift heavier weight.
Progressive overload is when you gradually add weight to your lifts. Do this in small regular increments so your body can handle the extra weight. Make sure you keep a record of how much weight you lift. This will keep you from lifting the same weights day in and day out.
5) Mix up your routine
To maximise your muscle mass you need to shock your body and mix up your routine after a while. This keeps the body guessing and keeps the muscles growing. Our bodies are clever and will adapt to the workouts we are performing. Switch up your exercise routine now and then, so your body doesn’t have the time to adapt to what you are doing.
6) Always stay hydrated
Our bodies are made of 70% water. Water is needed for muscle hydration and recovery. Dehydration can hinder the muscle building and recovery process. Headaches are the first sign that you’re dehydrated. Try to drink at least 8 glasses a day!
7) Get adequate sleep
Muscles are built outside of the gym. When you sleep your body is recovering and building muscle. You need to get at least 8 hours of sleep, so your body can get a decent amount of time to do its work. It’s also optimal to take a day rest after a training day to give your body time to recover from heavy workouts.
So there you have it- a beginners guide to muscle gains- the 7 golden rules! Remember to stick to these 7 rules when starting out training and you will see a great improvement in your muscle gains and strength.
If you need any help sorting out a workout routine or any further advice, feel free to leave a comment or email me and I will be more than happy to help you sort something out. If you like the post don’t forget to share it with your friends using the buttons on the left or below. Thanks! 🙂
P.S- You can sign up to the FREE Modest Dragon Newsletter below and get the latest posts on mixed martial arts techniques and fitness training directly to your email. As a gift, you will also receive a FREE copy of the Modest Dragon eBook!