When it comes to Fitness, there’s tons and tons of information out there. I constantly get asked numerous questions about losing weight, increasing strength, and more – but one question is always asked significantly more than the rest. And that is: How can I build muscle?
It’s a complicated question to answer, simply because there’s so many different elements to building muscle and putting on muscle mass. Therefore, I wanted to do this blog post explaining 15 tips for building muscle that you probably didn’t know. If you have any questions about anything on this list, feel free to post a comment!
Kicking this list off, making sure you get enough rest when working out. Especially when lifting a lot of weight, you’re going to be putting your body through massive amounts of stress, so it’s important to give your muscles proper time to recover. I personally shoot to workout 4-5 days MAX every week, just to ensure enough recovery time.
2. Candy After Workout
Immediately after your work, have candy. No joke – after a workout, your muscles need a simple sugar like Dextrose/Maltodextrin. The best candy, which is made entirely of Dextrose, is Haribo Gummy Bears, SweeTarts or Pixy Stix. Regardless of your choice, shoot for 20-30 grams of carbs. If you don’t want to have candy, then just have powered Dextrose instead.
3. Coffee Pre-Workout
There are numerous health benefits of coffee, and one of the best parts is that it’s a perfect pre-workout drink. The truth is, most pre-workout supplements (like C4, Jack3d, etc) have a lot of harmful chemicals. But with coffee, you’re getting the right amount of nutrients with caffeine, and this helps you lift more weight. Lifting more = more muscle.
4. Isolate Each Body Part
When it comes to building muscle and strength, you want to isolate each body part in order to have well-rounded strength. As oppose to doing a bench press with a barbell, for example, use dumbbells instead. That way you can separate the move with the left and right arm, become more well-balanced and build your stabilizer muscles.
Pavel Tsatsouline, former training instructor for the Spetsnaz (the elite Soviet special-forces units), stated that the Kettlebell was his #1 choice when it came to building strength and muscle with soldiers. Incorporate kettlebells into your workout to build massive amounts of muscle, strength, and performance.
6. Working Out at the Right Time
I’ve seen a study float around the internet stating that you can lift the most amount of weight between 4 and 6pm. This is partly true. For example, if you have an overnight shift, you might fall asleep at 8am and wake up at 4pm. As studied by Tim Ferriss in the Four Hour Body, it was found that the most optimal time to workout is 8-10 hours after waking up. 8-10 hours after waking is when your body can lift the most amount of weight, therefore maximizing your muscle mass gains.
7. Night Eating
One trick that bodybuilders use to gain tons muscle mass is eating late at night. They will set an alarm at 2/3am, and upon waking, they’ll have a protein shake or a high protein meal. This trains your body to continue to put on mass, and it teaches it that food is abundant. Now if you’re like me, you probably don’t want to wake up at 2/3am every night. One great trick is have Casein Protein, which is slow absorbing protein. By having Casein right before you go to bed, you’ll keep your body absorbing protein throughout the night while you’re sleeping.
As discovered by Dr. Rhonda Patrick, having a Sauna after every workout is not only a great way to mitigate the effects of aging but also to build muscle. They’ve become so popular in recent studies that Saunas have even been referred to as the next big performance-enhancing drug.
It’s no surprise that visualizing what you want your body to look like can really set you up for success. When it comes to fitness, it’s been discovered that by picturing a workout and building muscle you actually increase muscle mass. Especially when it comes to keeping you focused, nothing beats visualizing to reach your fitness goals.
Although this is working out 101, I’m always surprised to see people lifting and struggling while holding their breath. By properly breathing while working out and heavy lifting you’ll be able to lift more and pack on more muscle in a short period of time. And – even better – you’ll decrease your chance of getting a hernia.
11. Water, Water, Water
Everyone knows water is good for you, but most people don’t know that having tons of water helps build muscle. Not only are you giving your muscles exactly what they need, but you’re also improving your overall health – which equals better performance in the gym. If you want to see even more benefits, check out my experiment when I drank a gallon of water a day for 40 days.
12. Hot Girls (Seriously!)
For evolutionary reasons, guys try and impress girls whenever they’re around (no surprise here). You can take of this evolutionary phenomena by focusing on hot girls at the gym or bringing some with you (don’t be a creep though). Weirdly enough, you can actually lift more because of the desire to impress girls you find attractive. Huge point though: Don’t do something stupid – while it might help you lift more, don’t go beyond your limits and hurt yourself.
13. Lift FIRST, Cardio SECOND
I know this is fitness 101, but always lift first and do cardio afterwards. Don’t get me wrong, a brief warmup isn’t bad, but don’t overdo it with the cardio because you want to save all your energy for weightlifting.
14. Wear Red
It’s been found in various studies that when males wear red their testosterone increases. In addition, they’ve found in sporting matches that when all things are equal, the team that wears red has a better chance of winning. Now I’m not saying that just by wearing the color red you can instantly lift more, but it can definitely give you an advantage with the testosterone increase (and hey – everything helps).
15. MORE PROTEIN
This, above any item on this list, will help you build more muscle and increase your size. Most of these techniques will vary in strength from person to person, but having more protein throughout the day is the 100% no-fail method to packing on mass. Make sure you shoot for a gram to gram and a half of protein per pound, per day (ex. If you weight 100lbs, have 100-150 grams of protein a day).