Building Muscle Mass 101

Building muscle mass is great for changing your body’s composition, assists in lowering your fat mass support your joints and bones, and builds strength to reduce the risk of injury, just to name a few benefits.

Muscle tissue is a skeletal muscle that is very adaptable in the human body. When we do resistance training, we put this muscle under stress which breaks down. To repair the muscle, the tissue joins together. Resulting in creating more muscle fibers. Following a specific training program is very important to ensure that muscle keeps moving and growing and practicing progressive overload. Progressive overload means to increase the effort made in your training at a consistent rate around the type of exercise you are doing.

If you don’t have much experience with resistance training, I would suggest beginning with approx. 2-3 days per week for 30-40min. You don’t need to smash yourself in the gym to get results, you want to avoid doing too much too soon and getting injured. Your days and time training will increase as you become more confident, gaining muscle, and adapting to the process. Focusing on whole-body workouts is a great way to get started into a routine and work all major body parts multiple times a week. Begin with doing between 8-15 reps for 3-4 sets for 6-8 exercises per session and aim for 30-45 seconds rest between each set. Here is an example of what a full-body resistance training day might look like:

Full Body 1

A1. Chest Press Machine (8 reps x 4 sets)

B1. Seated Cable Row (8 reps x 4 sets)

C1. Leg Press Machine (8 reps x 4 sets)

D1. Seated Shoulder Press (10 reps x 3 sets)

E1. Lat Pulldown (10 reps x 3 sets)

F1. Goblet Squat (12 reps x 3 sets)

G1. Seated Lateral Raises (12 reps x 3 sets)

H1. Barbell Bicep Curls (15 reps x 3 sets)

To follow the Progressive Overload method the next week you could increase 1 or 2 of the 8 rep exercises to 10 reps or 1 or 2 of the 3 set exercises to 4 sets.

Your training isn’t just the only focus if you want to build muscle, your nutritional habits are just as important. You will more than likely require increasing your overall caloric intake and your protein. I would suggest consuming at least 30% protein in your diet or you can calculate using your body weight. The minimum protein needed to build muscle is between 1.5g-2.8g per 1kg of your body weight.

For example, 65kg x 1.5 = 97.5g minimum protein each day.

Aim to have a source of protein in all your meals to ensure you are feeding your repairing muscles. Eating smaller meals throughout the day (every 2-3 hours) has shown to be a good option if you want to increase your muscle mass. For your main meals (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner), you could make these slightly smaller and have some snacks in between e.g. protein shake, protein bar, boiled eggs, yoghurt, or a can of tuna. If your protein intake is high in your main meals, you could have some fruit, nuts, rice cakes with jam, or oats in between. (Please note these are just examples to give you some ideas and not what you have to be eating!).

A few other things to assist with building muscle includes –

  • Getting enough sleep so your body can rest and recover. Have a bedtime routine to prepare your body and mind for some rest time like avoiding screens and making the room dark.
  • Meal prep is a great tool to plan and prepare your meals for the week ahead to ensure you are eating the right foods and the right amount and setting yourself up for success
  • Building a routine of your wake up and bedtime, eating times, workouts so you don’t miss a thing and prevents procrastination from doing it
  • Surround yourself with people who will support you with your choices and keep you on track

Seeking advice from a Personal Trainer is a great way to learn many exercises in the gym correctly and safely for your goals. They can give you additional information to help you with the goal you have and be your support and accountability along the way.

If you want more information or would like some further assistance with your muscle-building goals please send me a message so I can help you achieve your goals!

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