Eight Quick Tips For Adding More Muscle
With the winter season now approaching, many of you are going to be shifting the focus of your efforts from fat loss to muscle building. Gone are the days where you need to worry about what you're going to look like without a shirt or in a bikini because for most of us, the winter weather means layers of clothing covering our bodies up.
This makes it the perfect time to focus on adding more lean muscle mass to your frame because if you do happen to add a small amount of body fat along with it (which is to be expected when adding muscle), you won't feel quite so self-conscious.
The good news is that if you start now, that'll give you a good 4-6 months to add quality mass, and then give you another 2-3 months to diet off any fat you've gained along the way so once next summer approaches, you've got a body you're proud to show off.
That said, here are eight quick tips for building more muscle mass. Have a look through and see which ones you can apply to your training, or in the case of the mistakes, which ones might be costing you results.
1. Choose A Plan And Stick With It
One mistake many people make is starting up a plan, not seeing results within a week or two, and then abandoning it all together. While you definitely do need to be monitoring your progress to see if the plan you're using is delivering, realize that most results aren't going to be all that noticeable until you've been on the workout for a good four to six weeks.
If you're quick to jump ship on every plan you do, you're likely to spend more of your time in the re-adjustment stage, rather than the actual mass-developing progress stage. Get yourself on a good set-up and then give it a good four to six weeks of focused training before you evaluate too quickly.
2. Add Dry Oats To Your Shakes
If you're doing fairly well on the calorie intake front - trying to find ways each day to consume more calories here and there, you might already be getting great results. If not, then you're going to need to search just a little harder for ways to bump that intake up so weight gain will happen.
One easy way to do so is simply tossing in 1/4 cup of raw oats to your protein shakes. It will alter the consistency slightly, but if you grind up these oats before doing so, chances are you will hardly notice them - and if anything, it'll make the shakes taste thicker.
This is advantageous compared to say a shake with just fruit because the specific carbs found in oats will work better towards the goal of restoring muscle glycogen, which is the primary focus when trying to build muscle mass. While fruit is great because it's chalk full of nutrients, it contains 50% fructose which does nothing for muscle glycogen levels.
3. Spend More Time Out Of The Gym
Contrary to popular belief, often the best way to build muscle mass quicker is not to spend more time in the gym, but rather, spend more time out of the gym. Why?
For some hardcore enthusiasts out there, they're in the gym so often breaking down their muscle tissue through weight lifting activities that they are not allowing the body enough time to repair these muscle tissues and build back stronger.
If you continually pound your muscles with weights but don't allow for that recuperation, essentially you're just going to grow weaker over time, rather than stronger.
If you have trouble gaining body weight, chances are you will do best on either a three day total body program or a four day upper/lower or push/pull type of split. While some individuals can grow very well on a body-part type of workout set-up, they are far and few between. Most people do better with more rest built in.
4. Look After Your Stress Levels
While you may be heavily focused on what you're doing in the gym and in the kitchen - so focused in fact that you have everything 100% on all the time, if you're highly stressed in your daily life - or if staying so perfect is causing you stress, this will without a doubt work against you.
When the body is under a great degree of stress it will release higher levels of certain hormones, which will then work to break down tissues rather than build them up.
So, if your body is in a constant state of breakdown, how do you expect to build more muscle mass? It would prove to be quite the challenge. By looking at all aspects of your life and being sure you are taking steps to reduce stress, you will be taking one step forward in your quest to add more muscle.
5. Find A Mentor, But Know Your Own Body
The next tip to take if you're really serious about putting on muscle mass is to find a good mentor. Mentor's are great because not only will they serve to boost your motivational levels, but they are often a wealth of knowledge that you can put to good use.
But, with this, be sure you never forget that you are not your mentor. Understand that while you may covet their exact body type, you do not have their metabolic rate, their recovery capacity, they're exact nutritional habits, and so on. Use what they do as a guide, but adjust according to your own individual needs depending on how your body is responding.
Too often people make the mistake of following verbatim what this person is doing. While it may work extremely well for that person, that doesn't necessarily mean it will entirely work for you. Never forget that half the key to getting top notch results is understanding and learning about your own body on an ongoing basis.
6. Understand Your Supplements
Another big mistake that people make is hearing that such and such a supplement is what they need to be taking. So, they purchase the supplement and take as directed. While this is good, it's better to do some research on the product yourself so you can understand exactly what this supplement is and is not going to do for you.
If you blindly take a supplement thinking it will do something and that's not exactly what it does in fact do, you could start putting forth less effort in the gym as you think the supplement is doing the work for you.
Always remember that supplements are meant to supplement a proper program and diet. Many will prove to be highly helpful, but only if that training program is in place. Do not expect a supplement to do the work for you. Those who get the best results from the supplements they use know this fact.
7. Remove Some Of The Isolation Exercises
Another big thing that hinders many people's results is an overload of isolation exercises. Now, not to say some isolation exercises don't have their place in certain programs tailored toward certain goals, but in most cases, there is simply no need to perform 12 sets of 3 different bicep exercises in a mass-building program.
Your time is much better spent focusing on the main core, compound lifts that will stimulate the greatest number of muscle fibers, as well as causing the highest release of testosterone by the body.
Ideally you should only be adding two or three isolated exercises per session if you're looking to build mass. If you're looking to really bring out definition or develop a lagging body part, things might be different, but from a purely mass building viewpoint, those compound movements is where it's at.
8. Eat More Healthy Fat
Many times there are two camps of people: the high carbers and the low carbers. Some people will choose a middle ground, but it seems to be slightly less common. While you can build muscle with low carb - some do get great results, generally speaking, a moderate to higher carb intake does tend to provide a better anabolic environment as far as mass building hormones are concerned.
But, it should be noted that fat intake should never be taken too low, which is something those in the 'high-carb' camp do wind up doing. They figure that if they keep their diet strictly carbs and protein, it will limit the amount of fat they gain when building muscle.
Definitely you don't want to overdo it on fat if it raises your calories too high, but understand that fat does tend to help keep testosterone levels at a healthy level and as such, needs to be there. Don't bring your diet any lower than 20% total calories if you're trying to build muscle and you should be okay.
So, keep these points in mind this coming season as you try to reshape your body and reach new heights in terms of your lean muscle mass.