When Popeye blows the lid on a can of spinach, his bulging biceps magically appear. If only it were that simple.
While men have more muscle mass than women, it takes some effort to sculpt muscle tissue into a firm and fit physique. And a can of spinach or any other magic formula is not going to transform your body overnight. But there are ways for guys to build muscle quickly and safely.
Start with nutrition
Food acts as fuel for the body and plays a role in building muscle. The key is to eat enough so that you will gain muscle without eating too much so your diet does not negate the positive impact of your workouts. When choosing foods, multiply your lean body weight by 19 to determine the amount of calories you need to build muscle. Getting the majority of your calories from lean protein sources can help muscles grow faster. The rule of thumb is about 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight each day. However, don’t overlook the benefits of carbohydrates, which are a source of fuel for the body.
Balancing proteins and carbohydrates with a variety of fresh produce will give the body the necessary vitamins and minerals it needs to repair itself after workouts.
Less is more
While it may seem like you have to spend hours at the gym to build muscle, it’s actually better if you scale back a bit. Fitness experts suggest doing no more than 20 sets per muscle group. In fact, sticking to around 12 sets is even better. Keep repetitions in each set to around six for the most muscle growth. Don’t spend hours working out; stick to a 45-minute workout and do each set at a controlled speed. Slow speeds are always harder because they isolate the muscle being used.
When working out, limit the amount of cardiovascular work that you do. Incorporate just enough to burn fat and not burn off muscle. Twenty to 30 minutes of cardio per session is ideal.
Stretching can help prevent injury, which can sideline any workout plans and reverse all of your hard work. It can also improve recovery between workouts.
Instead of eating three big meals aday, aim for four to six smaller, quality meals to continue to provide fuel to your body. You get the calories your body needs to build muscle while maintaining a healthy metabolism.
Change it up
Regularly alter your routine to keep your body guessing. Just as you can plateau with weight loss by keeping everything status quo, the same thing can happen with muscle growth if you do the same thing day in and day out.
Don’t work out everyday. Muscles grow during resting periods.
If you’re not doing the lifting or exercises correctly, you will not build the bulk you desire, and you could injure yourself.
Always consult with a professional before beginning any workout routine to make sure you’re performing the exercises correctly.