A modern-age man can be described using a number of epithets - but patience is not one of them.
With great advancements being made in science and technology, we've been spoilt thinking we can get almost anything in a heartbeat. The truth is - certain things still take time, that is, if you want to do them the right way.
But let’s refocus from these generalisations to what is really important here - you’ve decided to bulk up a bit, and you’ve decided to start on Monday. We regret to inform you, the result will not be visible on a Tuesday morning.
If you opt for a natural approach to building muscles, you have to accept that in order to reach your final goal, it is going to take you a lot more accelerated heartbeats and a lot of sweat. Are you up for a challenge?
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Take it Slow
Every transformation requires time and effort and the same goes for building muscles.
The internet is overwhelmed with stories and tips on how to build muscle fast or “have a perfect beach body in 10 days” scams. The reality is, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Going for a quick fix usually requires taking some sort of drugs or steroids, which is something you definitely don’t want to do.
This type of artificial solution for building muscle fast revolves around a hormone level manipulation. It increases muscle protein synthesis which results in enhanced muscle growth. And while you may feel like you look good, the negative effects of taking steroids are countless and simply not worth it.
It may take time for natural muscle gains to become visible, but it’s the only way to ensure you’ll stay healthy during the process.
So, if you’re looking to build muscle and do it naturally, here are some tips on where to start and what to focus on.
Get rid of fat first
Before you start going hard on the gain train, it’s important to focus on losing fat first. While you may have heard that artificial enhancement drugs allow you to gain mass and melt fat despite your body fat percentage, know that's not the case with the natural approach.
A research study shows that a high percentage of body fat affects testosterone level and decreases insulin sensitivity. The reason we are highlighting this fact is that these two things lead to a higher rate of muscle protein synthesis. In other words, you’ll be able to develop more muscle. Essentially, your body will build muscle faster, as while gaining body mass it will turn into muscle, rather than fat.
One piece of advice: try not to overdo it with getting lean. If you do, you’ll have to restrict your calorie intake in order to keep losing weight. Aiming for too low a body fat percentage can be a painful process. There’s no reason to put your body through something that unpleasant unless you’re planning to become a professional fitness model or a weightlifter.
Extremely low body fat percentages have many negative side effects, such as compromised hormone levels and a hindered immune system. If your goal is to appear lean, it's important to remember our body has to have a certain level of body fat percentage which will allow it to function properly.
It’s time to put on some weight
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Once you achieve an ideal body fat percentage, it’s high time you put on some weight in the form of muscle.
Newbie lifters (who focus on a proper form while exercising and stick to a healthy nutritional plan) can even gain about 1 pound of muscle a week without accumulating any fat. In time, you will notice that the more you train and the more muscle you build, the harder it will be to gain additional mass.
If the 1-pound rule is not the case with you, don’t worry - for natural muscle gain, focus on gaining around half a pound per week. This is the perfect amount for optimal muscle growth and it also ensures that your body gets enough energy to synthesise new muscle tissue.
Pair your workouts with a nutritionally dense calorie surplus and you will begin to see results. Try something such as True's All-In-One, which contains a full serve of protein, carbs and healthy fats in one simple serve.
Optimise your workouts for muscle gain
If you don’t adjust your workout routine to your weight gain program - you may end up gaining more fat than your desire.
There are exercising regimes specially created for bulking up. Most of these techniques are based on three main rules:
• Include compound movements (squats, deadlifts, presses, rows, pull-ups, etc.) - these types of movements will enable you to use more weight, which leads to increased muscle growth.
• Increase the weights with regular progression. It will challenge your body, which will in return gain greater mass. Make sure to incorporate the principle of progressive overload into your workout routine and gradually and constantly raise the weight size.
• Frequent workouts combined with enough rest - for a beginner like yourself, 3 days a week full-body workout is more than enough. Once you get the hang of it, add an additional day to your routine. Giving your body enough time to rest and recuperate is as important as having a healthy diet plan or a good night's sleep.
In the end, everything comes down to this:
• If necessary, lower your body fat first - that way you’ll start with lean muscle tone.
• Less body fat increases the testosterone level which leads to higher rates of muscle protein synthesis, aka more muscle gain.
• After that, start by slowly gaining weight. Avoid over-eating or you may find yourself gaining weight (and not the good kind).
• By gaining 2 pounds per month, you’ll be able to maximise the natural muscle growth and minimise the chances of creating fat deposits.
• Stick to compound movements, the principle of overload and regular but moderate workout routines.
The best way to build muscle is by doing it naturally. For those who claim the opposite… well, don’t believe everything you hear. People tend to look for quick and easy solutions, which often leads to regret later down the track. Remember, slow and steady wins the race!
Good things take time, and that especially applies to working out. There are no overnight fix-ups. Be patient, stay informed and work hard. It will all be worth it once you see the end result.