To build muscle you can either be in a calorie surplus or caloric deficit, the difference comes in with how much weight and/or fat you’ll gain or lose in the process because as said in How to Lose Fat, you need to be in a caloric deficit to lose fat. Ultimately, it depends on your goals whether you’d want to gain size and inadvertently fat with your muscle or just build muscle and lose the fat in the process, I’ll focus on the first, more common one, building muscle and gaining weight too because it is generally the easier one building muscle.
How to Make Building Muscle Easier
- LIFT HEAVY WEIGHTS
To build muscle, you need to tear the muscle and refuel it with food to allow it to build. The best way to tear the muscle is to lift heavy weights because the more the muscle will tear in lifting.
This doesn’t mean go overly high and ruin your lifting form – the way you lift the weight – form is more important to prevent injury. Otherwise, ensure that you choose a weight that you can lift for at least 6 reps (between 6-12) to build muscle (hypertrophy).
- EAT IN A CALORIE SURPLUS
Being in a calorie surplus means to eat more calories than you burn daily, to understand what calories are and how to calculate your required intake check out this link.
The issue or inadvertent trait of eating in a calorie surplus is the gaining of fat and excess weight, but the muscle building is made easy because the muscle will be filled with fuel allowing you to be “swole”.
This doesn’t mean that you can and should eat whatever you want in ensuring the calorie surplus, it requires balance and understanding your macros.
- DRINK A LOT OF WATER
Your body is made of about 60% water, but you’re muscle are made up of more than 70% water, so it makes sense to drink more water when trying to build muscle because during your daily activities your body loses water through sweating, some dehydrating foods and obviously urinating.
Take time to sip water steadily throughout the day, aim for at least 2-3 litres of water, even though you may not get to that number daily through drinking water, but you get some water from food, fruits, vegetables and all other fluids that you drink.
- EAT A LOT OF PROTEIN
I had learned this back in high school that the building blocks of all muscle is protein, therefore to maximise your muscle building, you have to eat more protein, this doesn’t mean you have to overload on protein shakes or high protein meals and snacks.
A common recommendation is to eat about 2 grams of protein per 1 kg of body weight or 1 gram of protein per 1 lbs of body weight. I am more of a carnivore than herbivore and created a list of Top 5 Meat Protein Sources. I’m joking as I will probably do a list of best plant protein sources.
- DRINK LESS ALCOHOL
Alcohol is known for dehydrating you and this dehydration usually makes you look very ripped for awhile because of water loss, but actually reduces muscle size also due to this, it also negatively affects the hormones that optimize muscle growth such as testosterone.
This is highly dependent on your alcohol intake therefore, don’t drink to get drunk all the time, a glass of red wine is scientifically proven to be healthy for you, therefore one glass wouldn’t hurt.
- REST ENOUGH
As you get older, apparently you require less sleep, but if you’re still able to build muscle and want to build it, you need to sleep 8 hours. Your body produces muscle-building hormones called Human-Growth Hormones (HGH) in your sleep and there is also increased blood flow to be fed to your muscles, so get that rest.
During sleep and recovery days, your muscle undergoes growth and repair because after its tearing during heavy lifting, the time to repair and grow comes through your rest and nutrition, that is why it is recommended that you allow at least 24 hours for a muscle group to recover before you train it again to ensure this growth.
Muscle building is not easy like any fitness goals you put in place, it requires patience and consistency and the points listed above, obviously. To ensure that progress is made, it should be a lifestyle change to ensure that progress is made and maintained in the long-term.
Just like the Fat Loss tips, nothing I provide will be short-term and quick fixes, but rather sustainable changes that you can slowly include in your daily habits, you can save the picture that I had attached to be a guide or reminder to keep including these changes in your life to make them habits.