Why Should I Become Muscular?
How to gain muscle is a question asked by everyone when first planning to achieve your fitness goals. There is no method as tried and tested as hitting the gym and eating high amounts of protein in boosting a mans sex appeal. Being muscular isn’t just about girls though, the positive effects on your life both socially and financially can be surprising. Hitting the gym is a lifestyle in itself with the gym additionally being both a perfect retreat from your daily problems and an excellent place to find like minded people. This article is your complete guide on how to gain muscle.
There is no better time to maximize your natural muscular gains than between the ages of 18-24. This is when your natural testosterone, growth hormone and IGF-1 levels are the highest. For more information on testosterone read my testosterone replacement therapy guide. For those wondering how to gain muscle, the first 18-24 months of consistent lifting (3-4 times a week minimum) will lead to the vast majority of men achieving around 90% of their natural muscular potential.
My recommendation for those asking how to gain muscle is to spend your first 18 months hitting the gym at least 4 times a week until your newbie gains start to stop. After this point I would cut the training down to a level of 3 times a week. My split for muscle maintenance purposes is Monday (back and triceps), Wednesday (chest and biceps) and Friday (legs and shoulders). Read my other fitness posts for the best exercises and routines for each muscle group.
Why is Diet Important?
What you eat is the single most important factor when putting together how to gain muscle. If you do not eat a calorie surplus with high levels of protein each day you will find yourself getting stronger not bigger, Diet is the most important factor in solving how to gain muscle.
Your body needs to be constantly taking in more calories than it actually requires. The excess calories are turned into muscle if you lift hard and fat if you don’t. Whilst sleeping is when the muscle building actually occurs so ensuring you sleep undisturbed is essential to maximize the rate of muscle gain.
How Often Do You Need to Eat?
To find the best solution to how to gain muscle, a meal has to be eaten every 2-3 hours. Not all the meals have to be solid food though, you can use whey protein after your workout and before you sleep.
If you want to learn how to gain muscle, eating 5-6 smaller meals are preferable to eating 2-3 larger meals with the same overall macronutrients. This is because your body is constantly absorbing vital nutrients for muscle growth throughout the day. If you are hitting the gym to your full capacity this combination will lead to steady, consistent muscle gains.
How Much Should I Eat?
The quantity and quality of diet is a essential factor in putting into practise this article on how to gain muscle. The quantity of food to eat will depend on both your metabolism and body type. TSH (thyroid levels) play the main role in your metabolism. A low TSH level (closer to 0) results in a faster metabolism which leads to a higher required calorie intake for guys who want to gain a lot of muscle. The opposite is true of higher TSH levels, guys with a slow metabolism might find themselves gaining too much fat on a large calorific surplus. You can get your TSH level checked from the link below. In finding the best diet to how to gain muscle a key factor should be fat gain minimised whilst muscle mass maximised.
Ectomorphs generally find gaining weight difficult whilst endomorphs might struggle to minimize fat gain whilst bulking. Eating 500 more calories a day than your body requires should lead to the maximum rate of muscle gain whilst minimizing the rate of fat which is added. 3350 calories are where every guy should start. If your body is still struggling to gain weight, gradually increase the calories. Very few guys will find 3350 calories to be too high. Some guys might need to eat 4000-4500 calories a day to really achieve the body they want.
What Food Should I Eat?
In order to best solve how to gain muscle, I would recommend a macronutrient split of:
- 40% protein
- 40% carbohydrates
- 20% fat
Many guys do not realise the importance of carbohydrates in solving how to gain muscle. To put it simply you will find it impossible to gain significant amounts of muscle without carbohydrates fueling your muscles. The same is true of protein. I personally know multiple people whose diet consisted primarily of protein with low/moderate carbs when first starting out. A lot of them feel they wasted some of their newbie gains and thus muscular potential through not having a perfect diet from the start. For those serious about learning how to gain muscle, a diet rich in carbohydrates and protein is essential.
A good training regime within a good gym is also essential for the best solution to how to gain muscle. I would also recommend PayAsUGym for your training requirements. PayAsUGym is a marketplace for gyms in the UK, offering single-use passes, classes, contract-free memberships, and full yearly memberships for 2,300 gyms and health clubs across the UK.
Protein You Should Eat:
- Grilled chicken
- Lamb chops
- Extra lean beef burgers
- Whey protein
Carbohydrates You Should Eat:
- Baked/mashed Potatoes
- Baked/mashed sweet potatoes
- Brown rice
- Whole meal tortilla wraps
- Whole wheat pasta
- Whole wheat noodles
Fats You Should Eat:
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Peanut butter
I recommend MuscleFood for top quality protein foods including fresh meat delivered straight to your home. The Link is below.
Recommended Bulking Diet
Meal 1 (breakfast) – 135g instant oats, 35g whey protein, 330ml semi skimmed milk.
Meal 2 (post workout) – 35g whey protein, 330ml almond unsweetened milk.
Meal 3 (lunch) – 2 whole meal grilled chicken wraps.
Meal 4 (snack) – Can of tuna with some salad.
Meal 5 (dinner) – Grilled steak with mashed potato.
Meal 6 (before bed) – 35g casein protein with 330ml almond unsweetened milk, 1 tablespoon peanut butter.
This is the very diet I used to gain 15-17 pounds of muscle completely natural in my first year of training. As the oats are fine milled you should be able to mix them with milk and get them all down within 30 seconds. Semi skimmed milk is fine to drink before your workout but I would recommend drinking unsweetened almond milk with your protein post workout/before sleep due to the almost untraceable amount of sugar. The key with this diet is to gain as much possible muscle as possible without gaining too much fat. I personally use My Protein to purchase the instant oats, whey protein and casein protein.
The meals take very little time to make and the diet is relatively unexpensive. There is also room for significant customization involving the sources of protein, carbs and fat I discussed in ‘what food should you eat’. Eating grilled chicken and brown rice for every meal like some suggest quickly becomes very tiring. Variety is key when solving the issue of how to gain muscle, consistency with your diet is what leads to muscle mass gains. Casein protein forms a steady flow of amino acids which lasts for around 4 times longer than whey protein. Taking casein protein just before bed helps take full advantage of the muscle growth window whilst sleeping when growth hormone and IGF-1 levels are peaking.