There are many fine books, magazines, instructional videos and trainers who can provide information on how to perform exercises that build muscle. Whether using free weights, machines, cables or free-hand exercises, mastering the principles of resistance training is fundamental to building muscle. However, what is often lacking in these how-to guides is information on how to best organize one’s diet, rest schedule and exercise routine to maximize results. Building muscles and muscle mass is one of the toughest tasks you can attempt. Okay, sainthood is probably harder, but not by a lot. Your body is an extremely efficient machine. It retains the amount of muscle mass that is required to comfortably perform your daily routine — no more and no less. Excess bulk takes a lot of energy to maintain — up to 50 calories a day per extra pound of muscle mass you add — and thousands of generations of evolution have taught your body that that’s a waste of perfectly good nuts, berries, and animal flesh.
As a man, I typically look for exercises that will help me build muscle mass, rather than burn calories. It basically all comes down to your body type and goals. In the end, a good fitness routine is mandatory for everyone for basic health reasons.
For a balanced fitness program, strength training is essential. It can slow the muscle loss that comes with age, build the strength of your muscles and connective tissues, increase bone density, cut your risk of injury, and help ease arthritis pain.
“Strength training is very important, not just for your muscles but for your bones,” says certified fitness trainer Debbie Siebers. “It’s preventative for [bone-thinning] osteoporosis and other problems.”
Did you know that weekly exercise is imperative for staying healthy? It’s true and shouldn’t be dismissed. What do you do to stay in shape? Personally I like to practice martial arts. Along with self-defense training, I strive to build muscle mass. Let’s face it, you want a toned body. This characteristic gives you confidence, not to mention strength. Who doesn’t want to be stronger? Some of the more basic routes to a fit figure can be done without machines. For example, have you ever considered push-ups, pull-ups, crunches, dips, leg raises, running, jogging, jumping jacks, jump rope, or maybe even lunges? And that’s just to name a few. The list goes on and on. That is why I laugh when individuals claim they simply can’t get into shape because they lack the proper equipment. You don’t need any!
Lose Fat. Strength training will build muscle while decreasing your body fat. Eating healthy will further decrease your body fat. If you need to lose a lot of fat or if youre impatient, these tips are for you:
* Cardio. Do 30 minutes of cardio after your strength training. Three times a week at moderate intensity will do. The goal of cardio is to burn fat, not to exhaust yourself. You should breathe heavier than when at rest, but not gasping.
* Cut calories. Track your food intake using Fitday. Start eating 18x your current body-weight in lbs. One week later: cut 500kcal. Check the balance one week later again. Did you lose weight? If you did, keep eating the same amount of calories. If not: cut another 500kcal.
So those are the basics of muscle-building. Most people – even so-called “hardgainers” – can put on a significant amount of new muscle by closely following the steps outlined above. Of course, genetics plays a huge role in determining your maximum size. But, for the average person, even a 10 or 20 pound addition of new muscle can make a big difference in the way they look and feel. There is one more thing: in case you want to build muscles fast and to actually grow, then you might need to take supplements. But which one of these actually work and which ones are healthy? The best thing is to ask both a nutritionist and a fitness specialist. Tell them your desires, listen to their advice and make sure you dont make any abuses. Extra vitamins and minerals can help you increase your strength in any context, so taking them involves no risks, but there are many more which can be tricky in certain situations. Good luck!