Putting on muscle isn’t just about piling on more and more weight. Here are some tips to pack on as much as a pound of muscle each week.
Maximize muscle building
The more protein your body stores, the larger your muscles grow. But your body is constantly draining its protein reserves for other uses—making hormones, for instance. The result is less protein available for muscle building. To counteract that, you need to build and store new proteins faster than your body breaks down old proteins.
In addition to adequate protein, you need more calories. To put on one pound of muscle, you need to consume at least 3,500 extra calories. Try to consume calories from healthy protein sources like grass-fed beef, healthy fat sources and healthy carbohydrate sources.
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.
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.
Rest and recover
Do a full-body workout followed by a day of rest. Your muscles grow when you’re resting, not when you’re working out.
While you are resting, be sure to give your body what it needs to properly recover and put the muscles into a state of optimal growth. Activities that can enhance recovery include ice baths or cold showers, compression clothing, massage therapy or foam rolling, stretching, breathing exercises, and adequate sleep.
If you are above the age of 30, hormonal deficiencies can slow your rate of muscle gain. If you feel your muscle gain is too slow, consider going to a doctor to test your hormone levels and address any imbalances or deficiencies.