Like as if there would be a straight answer to this question. Many so called "guru's" would say "to gain mass lift heavy and fall into a rep range of 6-10 and lift light weight and fall in a rep range of 15-20 to get cut". If anyone ever tells you this run as fast as you can way from them. The old saying was to do exactly that. If you ever hear or read anyone mentioning or writing this, close your web browser and stay far far away.
The reality of it is you need a combination of very important factors in order to achieve muscle growth over time. Key words, "over time". Considering you are healthy and your hormone levels are normal, I am going to break this combination down into several key components that you will need to build muscle. If you can follow these components or at least a few of them, your sure to be on your way to building lean muscle mass on a consistent basis.
The first thing you need to do is figure out what your daily caloric maintenance level is. This is how many calories your body needs to sustain itself every single day. If you eat less than this amount, you will be in a caloric deficit and if you eat more than this, you will be in a caloric surplus. In order to grow muscle you will need to be in a caloric surplus. By being in a surplus you are providing the needed calories that will support the new muscle growth that will come from the other key components soon to be discussed. A good starting point for a caloric surplus would be 300 - 500 calories. You will have to manage this on a weekly basis in order to determine whether you are gaining body fat or muscle. Be prepared and have a body fat testing tool handy such as skin fold calipers. Stay away from the scale and tape measure as it is impossible to determine whether you are gaining fat or muscle.
Watch the video ==> "How To Prevent Muscle Loss While Dieting"
Macro Nutrient Allocation
Now that you have your caloric surplus figured out, you now need to determine what your proper macro nutrient allocation would be for those additional calories. That is how you will divide the calories between protein, carbohydrates and fat. If you have tried several diets in the past this should be easy to determine and will be entirely based on the meal plan style or diet you are currently following such as paleo, ketogenic or balanced diet, just to name a few. I personally follow the ketogenic style so, I would increase those extra calories mainly into fats and protein. A great tool for this is website and mobile app called My Fitness Pal.
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As you can see, we are building a plan that will be the foundation to muscle growth. The next key factor is supplementation. In many cases, when following any type of meal plan regimen, you will be lacking the vitamins and nutrients your body needs in order to support muscle growth. An example of this would be for individuals who follow a ketogenic diet, they lack key nutrients that may actually reverse the benefits that come with the diet. These key nutrients are calcium, potassium and sodium. Knowing this, most, if not all who follow this way of eating, know this, and should be supplementing with an engineered supplement that provides them with this need. For individuals following the paleo diet, they tend to lack vitamin C, probiotics, magnesium and Omega-3 fatty acids, therefore they should be supplementing to make up for those missing vitamins and nutrients. For whatever diet you are following be sure you know what vitamins and nutrients you are not getting from the foods you are eating so you can then properly supplement.
Importance of Water
One key component that is recommended in every diet, and I am sure you hear this all of the time, but for some reason many lack the discipline to achieve, is water consumption. Pure water, not Vitamin Water or water mixed with stuff, simply pure water with zero calories, zero additives and zero preservatives. Water is needed to transport nutrients to your cells and transport waste out of the body. Water helps form the structures of protein and glycogen. In order to move and flex your muscles, you need water. If your body is dehydrated, your muscles will be deprived of electrolytes and cramp. Water also aids with constipation, headaches and kidney stones, which may come with a change in your eating habits, especially on the ketogenic diet where you are switching your bodies primary source of energy from sugar to fat. The paleo diet requires large sums of protein which may also have the same negative effects.
Last but not least and my favorite component to building muscle is weight training or resistance training. There are many programs out there that tout to have the best weight training method to building muscle mass or for getting a lean and cut looking body. The reality of this is many of them do work however, my muscles may react different to your muscles, so what works for you may not work for me. You have to test each training style for an extended period of time in order to really determine if it is working but because humans are impatient beings, we tend to switch from one style to another which is actually a great thing. Many people believe if you lift heavy your muscles have to grow to be able to handle the workload the next time it is faced with a heavy work load, hence the reason people train a muscle group 2-3 times per week. The method I teach in my 30Days 2Burn! Fitness Program is a mix of 4 strategies; 1 focus on negative and positive contraction by performing 6 second reps, 2 always train to failure then attempt 3 failed reps, 3 cycle between heavy and light weights, 4 change your exercise routine every month to hit the muscle with different movements. By implementing a systematic approach that incorporates all of these key components of weight training, you will be sure to stimulate the muscle to grow.
I have shared with you five key components that are needed in order to build muscle. To answer the question "how do you build muscle" you need to incorporate all of these key components in order to stimulate muscle growth, support the growth with calories, vitamins and nutrients and be sure to drink plenty of water. This process is not easy and takes a lot of time and precision in order to maximize results because of this many people fail and go back to their normal ways.
If you would like an easy to follow approach that may help you in reaching your fitness goals check out the 30Days 2 Burn! Fitness Program where I take you through 30 days of meal plans, weight training and education built around the ketogenic diet and my weight training principals. Watch a new video every day for 30 days and follow what I do. I also provide you with tools for a quick start and tools to help you track your progress.
I hope I was able to provide you some value through this article. Let's continue the conversation on my social media sites and be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel, hit the bell notification so you are alerted when I post new videos.
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