If you have been going to the gym but struggling to gain muscle mass, here are a few ways to help you reach your goal easier
Most people who can’t gain muscle weight are simply eating and exercising the wrong way. Follow these seven principles to pack on as much as a pound of muscle each week.
1. Eat big, but clean: This is a must, plain and simple. You have to understand that if you don´t eat more calories than you burn, you will not gain mass no matter how hard you try. But that doesn't mean you can eat whatever you want: egg whites, whey protein, chicken, tuna, veggies, turkey. I could go on and on, but I think you get the idea.
2. Work your biggest muscles: If you’re a beginner, just about any workout will be intense enough to increase protein synthesis. But if you’ve been lifting for a while, you’ll build the most muscle quickest if you focus on the large muscle groups, like the chest, back, and legs. Add squats, deadlifts, pullups, bent-over rows, bench presses, dips, and military presses to your workout. Do two or three sets of eight to 12 repetitions, with about 60 seconds’ rest between sets.
3. Water, lots of water: Learn to love it and drink a lot of it. It makes up as much as 70% of your muscle. Doesn't it make sense that if you want bigger and stronger muscles, you need more water? Drink about a gallon of water a day.
4. Down the carbs after your workout: Research shows that you'll rebuild muscle faster on your rest days if you feed your body carbohydrates. Post-workout meals with carbs increase your insulin levels, which, in turn, slows the rate of protein breakdown. Have a banana, a sports drink, a peanut-butter sandwich.
5. Have some milk before bed: Eat a combination of carbohydrates and protein 30 minutes before you go to bed. The calories are more likely to stick with you during sleep and reduce protein breakdown in your muscles. Try a cup of raisin bran with a cup of skim milk or a cup of cottage cheese and a small bowl of fruit. Eat again as soon as you wake up.
6. Change things up: Although we follow workout routines, there's always a need for variety. A workout shouldn't just be a weightlifting challenge; there should also be a level of complexity and variation to each move. Alternatively, try to work in a little bit of high-intensity interval training or cardio moves into each workout to make sure your body is constantly adjusting.
7. Eat something every 3 hours: If you don’t eat often enough, you can limit the rate at which your body builds new proteins. Take the number of calories you need in a day and divide by six. That’s roughly the number you should eat at each meal. Make sure you consume some protein, around 20 grams, every 3 hours.
Latin American Post | Luisa Fernanda Báez
Copy edited by Laura Rocha Rueda