Anyone who’s ever made the transition from scrawny to brawny knows that getting big isn’t an accident. Putting on muscle does not just happen overnight and it doesn’t come without doing the hard yards.
The reality is that for you to pack on muscle, it takes a complete change in attitude and lifestyle. It’s all about creating good habits and being disciplined. Ok now I am going to take you through 6 strategies to help you pack on some muscle.
Step #1. Keep it Simple Dude
You probably have a handful of fitness sites bookmarked and you read articles every day. You may even print some of these out and read them again later. You may spend some time everyday browsing YouTube for strength and fitness related videos.
The question is : are you practicing what you learn? Go and look in the mirror and if you see the same scrawny dude staring back at you then you maybe you need to get to the gym and start working a bit harder. Go on a 3 week fitness media fast. That’s right! No reading fitness magazines, books, or online articles for a full 21 days. You probably know enough of the basics. Now get to work!
Step #2. Eat More
You might think you eat a lot but if you are working harder in the gym and still not gaining muscle mass then guess what? You are not eating nearly enough.
It’s really important though that you don’t just eat crap. You need good carbs, good fats, lots of protein and I would suggest adding some calorie packed super shakes to your daily intake of food.
Super Shakes are a great way to add some quality calories to your diet. Having 2-3 per day will make the world of difference to your muscle building efforts. Here is how you can make your own.
Step 1: Start with Ice Cubes
Use about 3-5 cubes for a thin shake and up to 10 cubes for a thicker shake.
Step 2: Pick a Fruit
Make sure you go with frozen over fresh fruit. Preferably berries and they are high in antioxidants. My picks- strawberry, raspberry, blueberry, blackberry
Step 3: Throw in a Vegetable
Add some greens powder or spinach
Step 4: Add Protein Powder
Add one to two scoops of your favourite protein powder
Step #3. Get with the Program, Get Consistent
The key is to stick with a program that’s right for you and fits in with your goals. Many people see professional athletes doing HIT (High Intensity Training) and think oh that looks cool, or they want to try this new body part split one of their mates is talking about.
- Whatever you do safety should always come first
- Seek professional advice from a certified strength coach who can assess your current level of mobility, stability and movement quality before designing your program
- Once you have designed your program make sure you follow it for at least 8 weeks
- Practice progressive overload and focus on taking a small step forward every time you’re in the gym (i.e. add more weight to the bar, take less rest, do more repetitions or sets, or perform the exercise more smoothly
- Get really good at the basics (rows, pull ups, squats, bench press, dead lift)
Step #4. Measure Your Progress
Assuming you are following steps 1-3, if you measure your progress you will be seeing results and if you are seeing results you are far more likely to continue to work hard. It is very motivating to not only see results in the mirror but also to see the gain in strength and power from all the hard work you are putting in.
Some ideas on how to measure your progress:
- Keep a training journal and write everything down
- The weight you use for every set of every exercise you do
- How many meals you eat per day. This way you can compare across weeks
- Take photos
- Step on a scale every week
- Take girth measurements. You might not have increased weight but you could have added ½ an inch to your chest.
Step #5. Find a Mentor
Having a mentor makes sense. They will be there to answer any questions you have, help you gain valuable insight into the muscle-building process and most importantly motivate you.