To be able to build muscle effectively, one must understand how muscles grow.
So, how exactly does muscle grow? And how and why does lifting weights lead to muscle growth? What is the real purpose of weight training?
Well, essentially what you’re doing when you do weight training is you’re damaging your muscles. Yes, that’s right, you are actually injuring your muscles when you subject your muscles to high amounts of stress (i.e., when you train with weights). Not only that, your muscles actually get a bit smaller while you are doing weight training.
You are probably scratching your head right now saying “does this guy know what he’s talking about?” Yes, I know what I just said may be contradictory to what you are seeing while you are at the gym lifting weights. Yes, your muscles do look like they are swelling up as you lift more weights. But that is not because your muscles are growing, the swelling is actually caused by what is known as the “pump”.
This muscular “pump” is caused by the increased blood flow to the muscles and has nothing to do with your muscles getting bigger. Always keep in mind that the “pump” is essentially just an illusion, it makes you feel good and tight, and it makes your muscles look bigger. But that’s it. So, do not take the “pump” as a signal that’s you’ve had a good workout.
Anyway, going back to our original topic, muscles don’t get bigger until you go home to eat, rest, and sleep. It’s only when you’re resting that your damaged muscles get repaired. And it is during this repair and recovery process that your muscles grow bigger. The thing is that when your muscles get repaired, they actually get “over repaired” in such a way that they will be able to handle the stress that you have just subjected them to without getting damaged (at least not as much as they did before). That’s why, along the way, you need to incrementally increase the weights you are lifting. The reason for this, as obvious as it may be, is to make your muscles adapt to higher amounts of stress, making them grow bigger each time.
In addition to having enough rest, here are five other tips that will help you build muscle quickly.
Tip #1 – Stretch before and after your workout.
Some people believe that stretching doesn’t contribute anything to muscle building, while some swear by it saying that it is an essential part of a workout. Whichever of these are true, there’s no question that stretching does come with some benefits. It reduces muscle tension, it increases the range of movements in your joints, it enhances muscular coordination, and it helps in improving blood circulation.
Tip #2 – Eat Frequently.
To enable your body to build the most amount of muscle, you must constantly supply your body with the required nutrients. No, you don’t have to eat every hour, but you have to eat more frequently than you did when you were not yet working out–at least 6 meals a day instead of the traditional 3. Also, you need not have a full-sized meal each time. A mid-sized meal is enough, just make sure that your meals are rich in protein and carbohydrates. As a rule of thumb, you need to have at least 500 to 750 more calories everyday over what you used to be having.
Tip #3 – Take it easy on the cardio exercises.
Doing 30 minutes of cardio workout two days a week is enough (for general health maintenance purposes). Cardio workout is highly catabolic, meaning it wastes muscle tissue. And doing too much cardio will interfere with your muscle building efforts.
Tip #4 – Don’t push yourself too far (in terms of reps and sets) when you’re just starting out.
Doing too many repetitions and too many sets increases your risk of over training your muscles. And over trained muscle do not grow. For maximum muscle growth, keep it below 20 sets per muscle group and between 6 to 12 repetitions per set. What you want to have more of are weights. The heavier the weights the better. Also, limit your entire workout session under an hour. 45 minutes is ideal. This is to keep your muscles from becoming catabolic.
Tip #5 – Change your routine regularly.
Change your workout routine every 4 to 6 weeks, whether it’s the number of reps you do in each set, or the kind of exercises you perform, or the weights you lift, or any variable in your training. A workout journal can come in very handy for this.
This article is written by Jonathan Castor. Castor enjoys writing and educating people about matters related to health and fitness. He has written many articles that focus primarily on the topic of muscle building. If you want to learn how to build muscle quickly fast, visit http://www.gainmusclebuildmuscle.com.