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How to Build Muscle Today: 5 Simple Tips on How to Add Pounds of Muscle

How to Build Muscle Today: 5 Simple Tips on How to Add Pounds of Muscle

February 21, 2024

How to Build Muscle Today: 5 Simple Tips on How to Add Pounds of Muscle 

By Ryan C. 

Contributor

Build muscle mass through research-based strategies. Don’t fall for gimmicks and outrageous claims. Follow these simple tips and start to grow. 

Table of Contents

 

Introduction

As someone who has worked in the fitness industry for more than 20 years, I have just about seen it all.

From personal trainers who appear to have never touched a weight in their lives to questionable workout routines that will leave people injured, nothing surprises me anymore. 

But I will admit that one of the most frustrating things I have witnessed in the gym, over and over again, is how there are so many dedicated people tackling strength training a few times a week without a muscle to show for it.

They are putting in the time. They are showing they are dedicated to the process. But they are approaching it all wrong.

We have all seen these people. They are training frequently. However, if you ran into them on the street and didn’t know better, you would mistakenly believe the last time they hit the gym was over a decade ago.

For all their hard strength training work, they are receiving very few benefits.

And that’s because lifting objects over and over again is not enough. There has to be a plan in place to build quality muscle. Follow these five simple tips to start building more muscle now so in a month, other people are going to start complimenting you on your gains.

 

1. Work Smart and Hard towards Muscle Growth

Man bench pressing

Are you one of those people who hop blindly on machines without a clue what you are doing?

Do you check out what other people are doing and try to just imitate them?

Do you have a plan in place every time you step into the gym?

You should have all your workouts for the week mapped out ahead of time. If not on paper, then at least a rough idea in your head.

For instance, some experienced lifters believe they should always train chest on Mondays, bis and tris on Wednesdays, back and shoulders on Fridays, and legs on Saturdays. This may not be exactly their workout routine, but it is probably close. And there is nothing wrong with it.

They are training each body part, all the muscle groups, and if they work out with the proper form and good intensity, the benefits will come.

However, for most people, you really only need 24 hours for a muscle to recover from a workout. Unless you are training hard, really pushing yourself, 24 hours of muscle recovery is fine.

So instead of training bis and tris once a week, why not do a full body workout every other day? You will be training bis and tris, chest, back, shoulders, legs, and core three to four times a week.

And there is research that shows a full-body workout like this will yield better muscle-building results. Plus, your training will not take much more than an hour or so a day.

Sample Exercise Schedule:

Simply do two exercises for each body part every workout.

Chest: Flat Barbell Bench Press and Flys

Biceps: Barbell Curls and Dumbbell Hammer Curls

Legs: Deadlifts and Lunges

And so forth and so on. The key is to not do the same exercise twice during the week, so you are hitting your muscles differently each day. Get creative and start incorporating various exercises that perhaps you have never done before. 

Approach these workouts with intensity and intelligence, and before long, those sleeves on your shirts are going to start feeling tighter than ever before.

 

2. Increase Your Protein Intake

Protein-rich foods. Salmon, steak, eggs.

Remember that fitness is 25 percent exercise and 75 percent diet. You cannot out-train a poor diet. And in the same vein, you can’t build serious muscle mass until you have increased your protein intake.

It will make a world of difference in muscle development. Protein combined with strength training will produce quality muscle.

Protein is the building block of muscle. Without protein, your muscles are going to starve.

The key question is how much protein you should consume daily to increase muscle mass and build muscles. There are a couple of ways to tackle this. Analyze how much protein you are getting per day right now and start to increase it from there. Or, as many professional bodybuilders and others tend to do when adding lean muscle mass, they consume about one gram of protein per pound of body weight a day.

To put it simply, if you are weighing 200 pounds, you could just go with that same equation and consume 200 grams of protein each day. To eat that much protein per day can be very difficult to do, so if you fall short, don’t worry about it. You can still usually get great results from less. For instance, I weigh about 220 pounds and am single digits for body fat percentage. I have plenty of muscle mass and I only ingest about 100 to 120 grams of protein per day.

Some of the simplest ways to increase the amount of protein in your diet could be protein shakes, with many having about 30 grams of protein per shake. You can also eat more meat, eggs, nuts, yogurt, drink more milk, and, surprisingly, broccoli has plenty of protein in it.

As an added bonus, protein stays in your stomach longer and will have you feeling full for hours. This will keep you from snacking on junk food and, in turn, will reduce your body fat. You could be adding muscle mass and losing fat at the same time! It is a win-win situation!

More Nutrition Tips for Muscle Building

  • Don't forget about carbs—they're your body's main source of fuel, especially during those tough gym sessions. Opt for complex carbs like brown rice, sweet potatoes, and quinoa. These will give you sustained energy and help replenish your glycogen stores, which are like your body's energy reserves.
  • Healthy fats are also key players here. Think avocados, nuts, seeds, and olive oil. They support hormone production and keep your joints and muscles functioning smoothly.
  • Aim for whole, nutrient-dense foods as much as possible. That means fruits, veggies, lean meats, and whole grains. They're packed with vitamins, minerals, and fiber, which all contribute to overall health and promote muscle growth and function. Plus, they'll keep you feeling full and satisfied.
  • Water is essential for pretty much everything your body does, including muscle repair and growth. So, keep that water bottle handy and sip throughout the day, especially around your workouts.
  • Lastly, a little meal planning can go a long way. Spend some time prepping your meals and snacks for the week ahead. It'll help you stay on track with your nutrition goals and ensure you're getting the nutrients you need to to support muscle growth.

Fuel your body right, and those gains will follow. It's all about finding that balance and giving your muscles the nutrients they need to thrive.

 

3. Get Your Testosterone Levels Checked

If you are a man who is 30 years old or older, you need to get your testosterone levels checked. Your testosterone levels can start to drop off dramatically through no fault of your own. When that happens, muscle mass disappears as well and extra fat can start accumulating from there.

Before long, your body composition can change for the worse.

Testosterone keeps your muscles full and bones strong. Without an adequate amount of testosterone in your body, your fitness level is going to suffer. Plus, there are many other side effects to low testosterone such as low sex drive and depression.

For instance, in my case, I had my levels checked at the age of 30 after believing my testosterone had been low over the last few years. It came back at about 250 nanograms per deciliter. Someone around the age of 30 should more or less have their levels around 1,000 nanograms per deciliter. However, according to literature that a general doctor can base decisions on, there is poor information stating a man’s testosterone levels can be perfectly fine at 300 nanograms per deciliter.

You definitely don’t want this. Your levels should be much higher.

 

4. Invest in Supplements

There are quite a number of supplements that offer questionable benefits at best. If you are not careful, you could be spending a small fortune on supplements every month that simply do not work. One trip to GNC could set your bank account back for months.

Approach supplements wisely. You don’t need the latest designer supplements with the outlandish claims. Keep it simple and inexpensive. There are two supplements that will help you build lean muscle mass and basically cost pennies a day.

Creatine and protein powder can yield amazing gains in the weight room. Research has shown over and over again that if you want to add muscle mass, these two supplements can’t be beat.

And to save yourself some serious coin, purchase both of these supplements in powder form. Creatine capsules could have you paying $50 for a month's supply, while simple creatine unflavored powder will only cost you perhaps ten dollars for a month's supply. The same can be said for protein shakes. The powder form will cost much less than buying shakes that were already premade.

Supplements for Testosterone Support

After you get your testosterones levels checked, whether you need a boost or just want to maintain healthy levels, consider adding a testosterone support supplement. Obviously, if medication is necessary your doctor will discuss that with you. But for a more natural approach, there are many herbal extracts that can help support healthy testosterone.

Ashwagandha is one such extract that has clinical studies showing it's positive effects on testosterone levels. It works with your body to improve its testosterone production process, naturally. It does this by helping your body adapt to and better manage stress levels, recovery and muscular endurance.

M Drive Start can kill two birds by combining a protein powder and testosterone support supplement. It combines 6 forms of protein with ashwagandha.

Shop M Drive Start

 

5. Get Plenty of Sleep

This is one of the main things men overlook when it comes to building muscle. We are always on the go and rarely focus on getting the right amount of sleep every night. We often stay up late binging the latest streaming apps or just put off rest because we think we can get by with only a few hours a night.

But getting quality sleep is important for building muscles, especially when you combine it with strength training. Aim for at least eight hours of sleep a night, and if you can swing it, try for nine hours. Your muscles will respond with the right amount of rest and will repair themselves and grow.

Rest Days and Recovery

Additionally, incorporating rest days into your workout schedule allows muscles to recover from intense training sessions, reducing the risk of overuse injuries and preventing burnout.

In addition to rest, utilizing recovery strategies such as foam rolling, stretching, and massage can help alleviate muscle soreness, improve flexibility, and enhance circulation to muscle tissue, all of which contribute to faster recovery and improved performance in subsequent workouts. Prioritizing rest and recovery alongside your training efforts is crucial for achieving long-term muscle gains and overall well-being.

 

Conclusion

So, there you have it—five simple yet powerful tips to kickstart your muscle-building journey. It's not rocket science, but it does require commitment and a bit of know-how. By incorporating these strategies into your routine, you'll be well on your way to achieving the gains you've been working towards. But don't just take my word for it—put these tips into action, stay consistent, and get ready to turn heads at the gym. Remember, building muscle is a journey, and every step you take brings you closer to your goals.

Let us know which of these tips you plan on incorporating into your routine! Whether you're excited to revamp your meal plan with nutrient-rich foods, eager to hit the gym with a new full-body workout approach, or ready to prioritize rest and recovery for optimal muscle growth, we want to hear from you. Share your goals, challenges, and successes with us in the comments below.




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