Have you seen those ads on Tv or on your Facebook feed that promise instant muscles if you try this product or use a certain piece of exercise equipment?
All of these quick and easy ‘hacks’ are just gimmicks, designed to get your attention and to help part you from your money.
Can you build muscle super fast? Yes, if you take illegal substances. Just be prepared for the health risks.
So how do you build muscle safely and efficiently?
You need to lift weights and eat food.
When I am having a conversation with someone about how to build muscle it usually comes down to two mistakes they are making.
- They are not lifting heavy enough weights
- They are not eating enough
These two common mistakes are the difference maker more often than not.
1. Using weights that are too light
In order to gain muscle, you need to cause stress to your body. Many times people are lifting weights, but they are using a weight they can lift over 20 times.
In order to effectively build muscle, you would need to use a weight that you can lift 8-12 times with good form throughout the set. Here is an example for someone who a 1 Rep Max Back Squat of 200lbs: Perform 3 sets of 10 at 80% of your 1 Rep Max with 60s rest in between sets. This would put the weight at 160lbs for all three sets.
If you are uncomfortable using heavier wight you can also increase your time under tension (TUT) meaning perform each rep for a specified period of time. Using the back squat again you can perform 10 reps while lowering into the squat. You can manipulate TUT by lowering slower, pausing at any point in the lift, or on the rising portion of a lift.
When using TUT protocols keep your sets between 40-60s in length with 30-90s rest periods. A set of 10 back squats with a 4 second lower will take 40s to complete. This will force you to use a lighter weight and cause more stress to your muscles and increase muscle building capabilities.
2. Not eating enough
A lot of members come to us because they want to lose weight and build muscle. Often the weight loss comes easily. Performing CrossFit workouts while being in a caloric deficit is a simple formula for weight loss.
Many of our members have great success using the strategy listed above. However, once they reach their target weight loss goals they fail to adjust their nutrition strategy to match their new goal of building muscle.
When trying to build muscle you need to be in a caloric surplus. This means you are consuming more calories then you are burning off. If your goal is to build muscle you must eat and eat enough.
Talk to a registered dietician and find out how much you should be eating and when. When you combine a solid nutrition plan with a great strength planning you will see amazing results!
Do not be fooled by those quick and easy advertisements that are in your face every day. Building muscle takes time and effort.
Using the methods outlined in this article will help you begin to add muscle to your body creating a lean and athletic look. Lift weights that challenge you with good form and eat plenty of good food and you will be well on your way!