With the new year in full swing, it’s the perfect time to make a lifestyle change. A common change people make has to do with their overalland routine—while it may be a cliché, this is always a worthwhile goal to pursue. It’s never too late to make a change and try to look your best, but it does take a lot of hard work and patience. If you want to go through a transformation and obtain a lean and muscular physique, there are several things you may need to change. Here is our comprehensive guide to building muscle to set you on the right track.
Figure Out Your Calorie Intake
Before you get started on your muscle-building journey, the first thing you will want to do is calculate your calorie intake. This can be done with Bodybuilding.com’s Calorie Calculator. The calculator will ask you your age, sex, height, weight, goal, and current activity level. Where it says goal, make sure you choose “muscle gainz.” Once you’re finished with the form, the calculator will then tell you how many calories you need to take in based on all those factors.
Now that you know how many calories you need, use this as a meal preparation guide. If you’re trying to build lean muscle, then you want to be very conscious about what you put into your body. When you build muscle, this means you want to eat more, but it’s essential that you consume goodfull of the necessary nutrients. Some foods to include in your meal planning are eggs, salmon, chicken breasts, and broccoli. To be well prepared for the week, make all your meals on one day, so that you don’t have to worry about food prep at all during the week. Because, in order to build muscle, you must eat more, plan for around five meals a day. The key to building good, lean muscle is to eat good foods instead of just stuffing your face with junk food.
Focus on Form
A common misconception about working out is that it’s all about how much you lift. While you want to increase your weight as you progress, you should first and foremost focus on your form. If you don’t work on your form, then you won’t truly work your muscles. It’s also dangerous to focus on just lifting heavy weight with bad form, because you may suffer from an injury that keeps you away from obtaining your goals. Perfect your form before you start adding significant weight.
A major key to building muscle is consistency both inside and outside of the gym. This means eating the appropriate amount and types of foods daily, in addition to sticking with a consistent workout schedule. To build muscle, try to hit the gym anywhere from five to six days a week. Also, designate each day to specific body parts and never skip leg day. If you remain committed to this lifestyle change, you’ll see results.
Give Up Alcohol
Giving up alcohol is one of the hardest parts of adopting a new diet for some; however, it’s necessary if you want to see the results you are looking for. What you put into your body is so essential for muscle growth, and alcohol only hurts your gains in the long-term. Replace water and juices as your beverage of choice and you’re on your way to healthy muscle gains.
Committing yourself to building muscle doesn’t mean you need to hit the gym 24/7. Rest days are actually a vital part of muscle growth that many people overlook. Your muscles need that time to rest and repair after you attack them during your workouts. This is also when they start to grow and become stronger. In addition to making your muscles stronger, it helps you avoid injury. You only need to hit the gym for around an hour per session. Try to take at least one rest day per week and try and make it the same day every week.
Use Free Weights
Workout machines are great for beginners or those who are trying to get back in shape. However, when building muscle, you’ll want to primarily use free weights instead. The main reason for this is because when you use free weights, you work more parts of your body as opposed to a machine, which can be limiting. Stick with premium fitness equipment from a high-quality store, and utilize their dumbbells, kettlebells, and weight plates.
Don’t Compare Yourself to Others
Comparing one’s body to others is an internal struggle many people face on any fitness journey. This is one of the many negative effects social media has on people, especially with many people using the platform to showcase their bodies. For one, it’s important to realize that many of these people use filters and that their physique cannot be maintained. The same can be said for celebrities, especially when they have various other resources that you do not. Try to shut all of that out and just focus on your personal goals and progress.
Drink Protein Shakes
To build muscle, you must increase your protein intake. A great way to do this is by consuming protein shakes. We recommend using whey protein powder, which you can then blend with almond milk. Chug the protein shake after your workouts so your muscles can properly repair themselves and grow.
Try New Exercises
Building muscle and seeing the results you’re looking for can be a long and tedious journey, so be patient. A final suggestion we have is to try new exercises—even if the thought of this is intimidating. Not only will it make things feel new and interesting, but it’s ultimately better for your body. When you continue to do the same workouts over and over again, you and your muscles will get comfortable with the exercise. Continue to grow outside of your comfort zone and experiment while you work to build a strong and lean physique.