Building lean muscle mass requires dedication, hard work, and knowing what to do – and what not to do. Follow these eight dos and don’ts to maximize your muscle growth and avoid common mistakes. With the right strategy, you’ll be well on your way to achieving your fitness goals.
Do Lift Heavy Weights
Lifting heavy weights is key for building muscle. Use a weight that allows you to complete 6-12 reps per set before reaching muscle fatigue. Focus on compound exercises like squats, deadlifts and bench presses that work multiple muscle groups. The mechanical tension from lifting heavy weights signals your body to grow muscle.
Don’t Skimp on Protein
Getting enough protein is crucial. Aim for 0.5-1 gram of protein per pound of body weight per day. Protein provides the amino acids your muscles need to repair and rebuild after strength training. Whey, casein, eggs, poultry and fish are great protein sources. Spread out your protein intake throughout the day for maximum muscle protein synthesis. Try Tongkat Ali supplements to help boost protein synthesis.
Do Allow for Recovery
Muscles grow during the recovery period between workouts, not during the workout. Be sure to take 1-2 rest days between working the same muscle groups to allow your muscles time to repair and grow. Not allowing enough recovery time can hinder your results. Get 7-9 hours of sleep nightly for optimal recovery.
Don’t Neglect Cardio
Do cardio to maintain cardiovascular health, burn calories and reveal your gains. However, limit yourself to 2-4 cardio sessions per week max when trying to build muscle, as too much can interfere with strength and muscle gains. Low or moderate intensity cardio is best; try brisk walking, jogging, cycling or swimming.
Do Eat More Calories
To build muscle, you need to be in a calorie surplus, consuming slightly more calories than you burn. Aim for a surplus of 300-500 calories per day. Focus on getting those extra calories from nutritious sources like lean protein, complex carbs, healthy fats and plenty of vegetables. Eat plenty of whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, oats, and whole wheat bread for sustained energy. Snack on nuts, seeds, avocado, nut butters and dried fruit between meals. Drink fruit smoothies made with protein powder, banana, nut butter and full-fat Greek yogurt for extra quality calories.
Don’t Forget the Compound Lifts
Stick to proven compound lifts like squats, deadlifts, bench presses, rows, pull ups and overhead presses. Isolating smaller muscles with curls, triceps extensions, lateral raises, etc. should not be the focus of your workouts when building mass. Get stronger and gain size with heavy compound lifts.
Do Mix Up Your Workouts
Vary your rep ranges, rest periods and workout splits to keep challenging your muscles in new ways. Switch between higher reps (12-15) and heavier weight lower reps (6-8). Train with a variety of set and rep schemes such as drop sets, pyramids, supersets and tri-sets. Shock your muscles by changing your routine every 4-6 weeks. This will help avoid plateaus. Experiment with new exercises and variations (e.g., sumo deadlift, incline press).
Don’t Give Up
Building significant muscle takes months, if not years, of proper training, nutrition, and recovery. Stay consistent with your workouts, keep challenging yourself in the gym, and be patient. Track your progress monthly, not daily or weekly. Celebrate small wins and milestones. Perseverance pays off.
Following these dos and don’ts will put you on the optimal path for gaining lean muscle. Make sure to lift heavy, eat enough protein, allow for recovery, do compound lifts, and mix up your workouts. Building muscle requires commitment and consistency. Stick with it and you will achieve the strong, muscular physique you desire.