Seeing new and faster gains doesn’t always require getting on a drastically different workout plan or following an ultra-scientific diet. Small changes can add up to major results. Start making the following tweaks and build muscle faster.
Set Strength Goals
Rather than focusing strictly on gaining “X” pounds of muscle–which may or may not be doable in a specific amount of time–work on getting stronger. Increasing strength enhances your body’s ability to recruit muscle fibers, particularly the ones that make the biggest difference in the way your physique looks.
Training for strength also makes your goals more tangible and concrete. If you take to hit certain numbers on your lifts and then meet them, you’ll see your muscles respond along the way.
Choose three exercises you want to see improvement on: one upper-body push (such as the bench press), one upper-body pull (such as the chinup), and one lower-body exercise (try the deadlift), then get to work.
Keep A Food Journal
Just as you want to be specific with your training goals and track your progress, you also want to keep track of your nutrition. Training hard won’t translate to new muscle unless you’re eating enough calories, and a food journal offers you an objective measure of how much you are actually eating.
It also enables you to make adjustments easily if you’re not making the progress you’d hoped for. Write down everything that you eat and drink, along with the period of the day. If you are not gaining weight, try to see where you can sneak in more calories to kickstart your progress.
Focus On Compound Exercises
Lifts that operate muscle at more than 1 joint are known as compound exercises. These include the deadlift, squat, press row, and pullups. Compound lifts recruit lots of muscle mass, making for efficient training and a huge release of hormones such as testosterone that encourage growth–make them the cornerstones of your workouts.
There’s nothing wrong with throwing in some isolation work (curls, leg extensions), but treat them like dessert after you’ve had your main course of compound lifts.
Proceed to Bed 30 Minutes Earlier
Recovery is imperative for muscle growth, and there’s no better way to recover than by simply sleeping more. In a perfect world, you’d get eight to nine hour of sleep per night, but that’s not always realistic.
You can, however, control when you go to bed, thereby giving you the best chance of getting as much sleep as you can. Record the TV shows that would otherwise keep you up and hit the hay.