Some folks complain that building muscle naturally is ineffective, but usually what’s not working is their protocol.
Set Realistic Expectations
Getting jacked naturally takes years of hard work and sacrifice. So if the Incredible Hulk isn’t staring back at you in the mirror after a month or 2 of bulking, don’t grow discouraged and stop.
Packing on natural muscle takes patience and persistence. A good amount of muscle gain can be achieved by gaining 10-15 pounds over 6-12 months.
When it can take years to transform your body, you’ll start to see progress sooner than that. Beginners can expect to see noticeable muscle growth within eight weeks of starting. A new program experienced lifter will see noticeable change in 3-4 weeks.
Track Your Fuel Intake
Eating “a lot” isn’t good enough. What feels like a lot can be a lot less than the calorie surplus it takes to put on weight.
Often people who want to gain lean muscle are not consuming enough calories and are not eating frequently enough, our muscles need food to grow. Without sufficient calories, our body can enter a catabolic state, ruining the muscles we work so hard to gain.
Knowing your calorie intake and adjusting it gradually is crucial. It is important to control the excess by adding in calories each week to avoid too much fat gain. Before beginning, you should track your intake for a week to figure out what your baseline calorie amount is.
Generally speaking, 1 gram of protein per pound of body fat is the bare minimum for increasing muscle mass, and that eating frequent meals is the way to go. But you may have to tailor your plan based on how your body reacts. Different individuals may require different macronutrient ratios.
Eat Enough Carbs
Carbs are important for two reasons: avoiding catabolism (muscle loss) and creating glycogen to fuel your workouts.
Restricting carbs is one of the biggest mistakes people make when trying to build muscle. Carbs are necessary because your body will prioritize burning carb calories first, protecting protein stores.
And without adequate glycogen, you won’t be able to create the type of effort in the gym that turns on the”get bigger” switch.
Eat carbohydrates prior to workouts so they will be broken down and used as fuel, and again after workouts to replenish those depleted glycogen stores.
Everyone had busy lives, and often it feels like the only way to make time for one thing is to sacrifice another. But skipping sleep to train is not good for your health.
Sleep and rest are severely crucial for muscle recovery and growth. If you don’t get enough sleep, your body doesn’t have sufficient time to recover, grow muscle, and burn off fat.
Being sleep deprived also makes you more likely to phone in your workout. If you have to select one, choose sleep. Always aim for 7-8 hours each night.
Focus Your Workouts On Building Muscle
In general, the tried-and-true workout formula for hypertrophy, or muscle development, includes moderate rep ranges, body-part splits, and a lot of rest.
You want to train the muscle with 3-4 sets at a weight where you can achieve muscle failure at 8-12 reps. People also do not need to do 6-7 exercises per muscle group. Doing too much can cause overtraining, which is counterproductive when building muscle.
Instead, try doing 4-5 exercises per muscle. There are many different programs or body-part splits that you can use. For example, you can do a push/pull/legs split, an upper/lower body divide, a 4-day split, or a 5-day split.
Whatever approach you choose, attempt to changing it every 6-8 weeks so your body doesn’t get complacent.
Schedule your body-part splits with tons of time to rest each muscle group before you operate it again. For our muscles to grow, they have to fully recover, Hitting isolated body parts 1-2 times a week with at least two days of rest in between gives muscles time to repair and rebuild.
Slow Down Your Rep Speed
The speed at which you lift and lower the weights can affect the outcome of your workout. When you lift for hypertrophy, try and move slowly.
Muscles grow when they are under tension for longer amounts of time. Slow and controlled repetitions mean time under tension for that muscle. Using slower reps also gives you an opportunity to concentrate on using proper form and really feel the muscle working.
The most important supplements for gaining mass naturally fall into three categories: protein, aminos, and creatine. Here are Amanda and Tim’s bulking stacks.