Ready to build muscle mass? Here’s the 50 tips cheat sheet to get you on the road to awesome!
50 Tips For Building Muscle
1. Do compound exercises that recruit many muscles at once! Isolation exercises are for refining your muscles when you have a solid foundation.
2. Don’t measure gains in cm or inches or lbs, but in strength. Body weight and tape measure can show body fat increasing, strength always shows you are training your muscles!
3. Get enough protein. Without protein, muscle growth can’t happen!
4. And forget the “six meals a day rule,” because it’s a myth!
5. If you aren’t sure how and what to eat, here is all figured out for you.
6. Don’t train every muscle every day! Muscle growth doesn’t happen during training, but afterwards.
7. Get enough sleep! If you try to get away with 4h, don’t expect your body to put out stellar workouts! Sleep is the time when your body recuperates and repairs!
8. Don’t use machines, but free weights. Machines train only a few muscles, free weights many at the same time.
9. Train your legs! Your leg muscles are among the largest in your body and it looks ridiculous when 50 lbs of muscle stand on sticks!
10. Keep track of your workouts and write down what exercise you did when with what weight and for how many reps. Otherwise you never know what works and what not!
11. If you fail to increase reps or weight on an exercise for three consecutive times, change the way you do it!
12. And if that doesn’t help, pick a different exercise targeting the same muscle group.
13. You do have a workout plan, don’t you? Training without and just doing the exercises you feel like will get you nowhere!
14. Be patient! It’s impossible to gain 20 lbs of muscle in six weeks, despite what the ads claims. If you can gain 20 lbs in a year, you are doing good!
15. Lift with intensity! The last rep on the last set should really feel like the last you can do and not like you can put in another dozen!
16. Don’t lift with too much intensity! If you overdo the weight, you’ll be doing bad form or injure yourself! Aim for a minimum of 6 reps per set and a maximum of 12.
17. Don’t skip cardio! Cardio improves your heart fitness and your heart fitness is important for your weightlifting!
18. Just to drive the point home: cardio does not burn muscle!
19. If you are a beginner, do 2 to 3 full-body workouts per week.
20. Don’t fear eating at night. Gaining weight comes from eating more calories than you burn, not from eating them at a specific time.
21. Always strive for good form! A good workout trains your muscles, not your ego!
22. Take a picture every six months to measure progress. You see yourself every day and won’t notice the subtle changes otherwise.
23. If you have problems staying motivated, write down why you started working out and keep that piece of paper where you see it.
24. If you are skinny, don’t try to get skinnier to get a six-pack. Chances are you already are skinny enough, but your ab muscles aren’t developed.
25.You shouldn’t stretch before your workouts, you should warm up! Cold-stretching can damage the muscle or make it perform worse!
26. Eat some carbs an hour before your workout. Carbs fuel high intensity activities and you’ll do better!
27. Don’t blindly copy someone else’s plan. Your triceps may not get along with exercises famous bodybuilder xy does! Start with a full body beginner workout and later on tailor a plan specific to your needs!
28. That also means you should educate yourself! The wider your knowledge, the better you can assess the truth behind tall claims and what could work for you.
30. Whey protein works best right after a workout.
31. Pain doesn’t mean it’s working, pain means you are doing something wrong! Pain isn’t soreness!
33. Use good form! An exercise where you cheat yourself doesn’t train the muscle you intended to!
34. Don’t waste money on supplements. There are only 3 with real scientific evidence behind them: protein, creatine and caffeine.
35. For that matter, no research has ever shown that protein from powder is better than protein from food!
36. Did I mention you should train your legs?
37. It is ok to take a week off here and then. Muscle gains don’t disappear overnight!
38. If you are a teenager, you don’t have to fear that weightlifting will stunt your growth!
39. You can gain muscle while losing fat, but it’s hard!
41. When you can do 12 reps in 3 sets, increase the weight by about 10% and start over at six.
42. But don’t always use the same rep range! Your body will get used to it!
43. Raw eggs don’t give you bigger muscles!
44. You are practically never too old to start working out!
45. But you can be too young; before puberty the body lacks the hormones to build a lot of muscle mass.
46. For getting “toned” you have to lower your body fat while increasing your muscle mass!
47. You can get big with home workouts, because your body doesn’t care if it works against a $5,000 machine or a slab of concrete you found in your yard.
48. Don’t worry about muscle asymmetry. If you aren’t planning on taking part in bodybuilding competitions, nobody will ever notice it, but you.
49. Last tip but one: stick with it. The true key to building muscle is persevering. Only those that give up are left without gains.
50. And train your legs!
Picture courtesy of Lin Mei.