We are two months into the new year of 2017 and I am sure that a lot of you are trying your hardest to fulfill those New Year’s resolutions that you set for yourself back in December. Whether those resolutions were to lose weight or build more muscle or eat healthier – you have come to the right place.
I wrote this article mostly to help those people trying to put on some more muscle mass, but these methods can also help you lose weight and eat healthier because these three goals are all intertwined.
Building muscle seems to be a great chore for some people and a lot of people struggle because they do not know where to start. They might start off by radically changing their diet and daily routine, or perhaps they take on an intense workout regimen.
And while these might sound like good steps, let me tell you why they are not – they are often times too difficult for a lot of people and when they fail, they get discouraged and go back to their old ways.
Building muscle mass and losing weight is a marathon, not a sprint. You have to gradually phase in these changes so that you are much more suited for the adjustment. That is why I prepared this list. Let’s get started, shall we?
Following are top 10 muscular strength growth hacks to build lean muscle mass:
1. Make sure to get at least eight hours of sleep
It might sound a bit weird that making sure you sleep enough will help you build muscle, but it is true. This is because the body actually releases something known as a growth hormone during the time you sleep which helps to grow your muscles. On top of that, sleep is great for the overall health of your body as it replenishes and restores your body after a hard day’s work.
Many health experts recommend that you get at least eight hours of sleep each night, but not everyone is able to get that much. Make an effort to at least get seven hours, though. Eight hours of sleep is optimal, but seven hours of sleep will suffice.
2. Contrary to popular belief, you should still eat carbs
If you have read any number of health article, you would know that these so-called “experts” love to make carbs sound like your worst enemy. And they are not wholly wrong, but you should not stay away from carbs entirely. Instead, you should eat foods that contain carbs that take a while for your body to digest, such as oats.
Turn those oats into oatmeal and you have a nice, nutritious, delicious, and filling snack. How does this all relate to muscle growth? Various scientific studies have shown a correlation between consuming carbs after a workout and an increase in the release of hormones that have been shown to help speed along muscle growth.
3. Do not skip leg day
A lot of people who work out tend to only work out their upper body – that is because they think that is the only part that other people actually look at. And that may be true, but if you are only working out so that other people will pay attention and not to boost your overall health, you are doing it all wrong.
Get this – doing various leg workouts like squats can actually cause more testosterone to be made and released into your body, thus boosting your body’s muscle growth. What is even better is the fact that you do not even have to do workouts that focus solely on your legs. More on that in the next item on this list.
4. Do some compound exercises to maximize the effect of your workout
Compound exercises are an excellent for people who are short on time to work out in their daily routine. You should still set aside about 30 minutes to an hour of your day to exercise, but if you can work out multiple muscles in the same exercise, you should definitely do that.
The top four compound exercises that you can do are squatting, bench pressing, overhead pressing, and deadlifting. Now leg day and arm day can be the same day!
5. Work out with a friend
Everything is better in twos, right? Well, I am not sure that everything is, but working out in twos definitely is. Losing motivation is one of the leading reasons that people give up on their goals to lose weight and build muscle.
When you have a friend or family member doing the same exercises to achieve the same goals as you, it motivates you to keep going. Heck, you can even turn it into a competition to see who build muscle faster or lose more weight.
Or even just something as simple as seeing who can bench more. The possibilities are endless when you are working out with a partner and you will actually start looking forward to your daily workout.
6. Stay away from stressful situations
Everyone knows that being stressed out is bad for one’s overall health, but not many people know that stress is especially bad for those trying to lose weight and / or build muscle. Why? This is because of a well-known hormone known as cortisol.
It is known as the “stress hormone” and it has this moniker because the body releases this hormone in large quantities when you are feeling stressed out. And cortisol is disruptive and inhibitive to your body’s ability to build muscle.
Look into some stress relieving therapies and exercises, such as special breathing techniques and yoga.
7. Motivate yourself to work harder
Sometimes you have to be your own coach or motivational speaker. When you start to feel discouraged, you have to tell yourself to keep moving forward and instead of doing less when you work out, make yourself do more.
I touched upon it earlier that this is a marathon, not a sprint. You need to make yourself gradually go harder when you work out. That is how you stop yourself from getting bored and how you keep muscles growing each time you exercise.
And do not be afraid of failure – it is a part of life and instead of it being the end-all, be-all – make it just a hurdle that you have to work harder to get over.
8. Set a specific routine and follow it
Working out whenever you feel like it is not a good plan to follow. Why? Because this could mean that you could go days without exercising and on some days you might not feel like exercising as long or as hard so you go easy. If you are serious about muscle growth, this kind of plan should not even be considered.
You need to devise a weekly routine of what days you will work out, how long you will work out on those days, and how intense those work outs will be. And most importantly, you will actually have to follow that routine to a tee and adjust it if it becomes too easy (or if your initial plan is too intense).
And do not EVER take days off that were originally scheduled to be workout days. Even if you promise that you will exercise on one of your scheduled days off instead. Do not get into that kind of habit or else it will become too easy for you to slack off.
9. Make sure to eat a lot of protein-rich foods
Protein is essential to muscle growth. One simply cannot expect to build their muscle if they do not consume a lot of protein. This is because protein has both muscle growing and muscle healing properties that few other nutrients have.
Experts recommend that you get roughly 1 and a quarter grams of protein per pound of your body weight. This means that if your body weight is 180 pounds, you should be eating roughly 225 grams of protein. Meats are one of the best sources of protein, so make sure to eat plenty of meat.
10. Do not be afraid to ask for help
The human ego tends to dissuade us from getting the help that we need. So we instead try something that we do not really know how to do and end up messing up badly. In most cases, it is harmless, but in others it could lead to torn muscles or just a lot of wasted time.
Nobody knows everything and you should not be afraid to ask someone else for help. If you are at the gym and do not know how to do a certain exercise or use a certain machine, ask another person.
And no, I am not saying that you have to go out and hire a professional trainer to oversee your workout regimen. Although, it is not a bad idea if you are having a hard time staying motivated. Consider that a last resort if you have tried everything else on this list and failed.
Growth Hacks to Build Lean Muscle Mass Conclusion
And there you have it. Ten fairly easy steps to follow if you are serious about building muscle and losing weight. I hope this article will end up being a valuable resource as you come up with your plan to build muscle.
I really hope that you follow all or most of the steps on it because I really tried to include the most important steps that one has to take if they really want to have success in building muscle. Make your New Year’s resolution for 2018 to be to increase the intensity of whatever workout regimen you end up devising for this year. Good luck!