A lot of people look at some of the huge muscle-bound men in the gym and wonder why they can’t achieve the same kind of physique themselves. Indeed they will often come to the conclusion that they must have some kind of muscle-building secrets that they don’t know about, or are simply using steroids in order to achieve these gains.
However the truth is that there are no secrets that people aren’t telling you about. The reality is that even if you have always been naturally very skinny, you can still bulk up and build huge muscles if you know what you are doing, and it all comes down to 4 simple things.
1. Exercising Efficiently
Many people will buy themselves a set of dumbbells and start off by lifting a very light weight for as long as they can, which is generally when their arms start to get tired. However whilst this is better than doing nothing at all, it is counter-productive because you are far better off doing fewer repetitions with heavier weights.
The general advice is that you should perform 8-12 reps with the heaviest weights you can manage, ie the heaviest weights that you can lift whilst maintaining correct form, but you can even finish off with 4-6 reps if you prefer, or adopt a pyramid strategy of 10, 8 and 6 reps, for example, increasing the weight each time.
This will give you far better results that lifting lighter weights for say 20-40 reps, and is a far more efficient way of working out.
2. Exhausting Your Muscles
Following on from the last point, you should always aim to exhaust your muscles, and then allow a rest period of at least 24-48 hours in order to allow them to recover and encourage them to grow before working them again.
So by doing a low number of reps and using the heaviest weights you can manage, you will be doing just this, and you should find that you will start to get very good results.
Once a particular exercise becomes a little too easy, you should then consider increasing the weight rather than increasing the number of reps, because this will help you to continually build bigger muscles in the long run.
3. Fuelling Your Body
Whilst you may achieve some results through exercise alone, you really need to fuel your body with the right foods and / or supplements if you want to see real results.
There are lots of supplements that can help boost muscle growth, such as creatine, glutamine and testosterone, for instance, but it is protein that will make the biggest difference to your success because muscles primarily consist of protein and water, and need protein to make them grow.
In addition, eating more protein will also encourage muscles to recover a lot quicker, so hopefully you can see why it is so important.
Opinion is divided as to how much you actually need, but the general rule is that you should try to consume at least one gram of protein for every pound that you currently weigh. So if you weigh 150 lbs, for instance, you should aim to consume 150g of protein per day, either through diet alone or a combination of diet and protein shakes.
It is not always easy to eat this amount of protein every day, even if you eat high protein foods such as chicken, beef, nuts, salmon, tuna and eggs, which is why many people use whey protein and other protein drinks and supplements to help them get the recommended amount.
4. Staying Focused And Motivated
The final point is one that is often overlooked, but it is vitally important that you stay focused and motivated because it is all too easy to become downbeat and lose interest once you reach a plateau, which happens to a lot of people at some point.
If there comes a time when you are not seeing any more gains, then you need to switch up your workout and maybe change your routine to incorporate new exercises and work different muscle groups.
If this fails to bring results, don’t be afraid to ask for advice from the personal trainers in your gym because they will help get you back on track.
The reality is that it takes a lot of work to not only get a dream body in the first place, but also to maintain this body once you get there. Furthermore, as you get older, it becomes even harder to build muscle and retain muscle mass, so you have to be prepared to work hard if you want to see steady results over time.