There are lots and lots of benefits to having more muscle on your frame as a man. This doesn’t mean that you need to hulk out and look like Arnold in his prime. What this means to the non personal trainer or non “bro dude” is that you need to reduce your fat mass and increase your lean tissue. I am going to detail out for you here the benefits of increased lean tissue. The benefits of decreased fat mass. Then how to start building more muscle from a training point of view.
The fitness world buzz words for training.
Before we get cracking let me jargon bust for a quick minute. There are probably a lot of terms that you’ve heard banded about when it comes to body shape change. Let me explain a few of the for you now.
- Lean body mass – The amount of tissue on your body that isn’t made of fat, water or bones.
- Fat mass- The weight of all the fat on your body
- Training split- Working out different muscles on different days of the week
- Hypertrophy- The building of muscles
- Body composition – The make up of your body, usually referring to the amount of muscle and fat.
- Benching- The amount of weight that you can lift performing the bench press exercise.
- Compound lift – The act of lifting a weight a weight that requires more than 1 joint to move and more than one group of muscles to execute the movement. An example would the the squat.
- The big 3 – Refers to the squat, bench press and deadlift as big compound movements that are used in competitions.
- Straight set – A single set of exercises with a certain rep range.
- Reps – The number of time you perform a certain exercise
- Tempo – The speed at which you perform a rep. 2:0:2:0 is an example of how tempo should be written. This means 2 seconds in the eccentric phase: 0 seconds at the bottom end of the movement: 2 seconds concentric movement back to the top end of the movement: 0 seconds spent at the top.
- Anabolic window – The mythical hour after training when you “need” to get nutrients in your body.
Benefits of having more muscle
When it comes to having more muscle, like I’ve already stated it doesn’t mean that you need to super massive. But the benefits are numerous and I’ll run through a few of them here.
- Increased fat burning potential – By having more muscle on your body you actually burn more calories at rest. Your BMR or basal metabolic rate. Is the amount of calories you burn while at rest. There has been shown to be a direct correlation between the amount of skeletal muscle you have. With an increased BMR. Meaning the more muscle you have, the more energy it takes to keep your body running. Source: page 48 https://dspace.sunyconnect.suny.edu/bitstream/handle/1951/68307/Vaughn%2C%20Chase.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y
2. Improved testosterone levels. By having more muslce and less fat you actually help your body have a better balance of testosterone and oestrogren levels. The health benefits to increased testosterone are deatiled in my blog Sex hormones, what you need to know. But to summarise the points, just having normal levels not even increased levels of testosterone can do the following. Increase bone density, regulate and improve fertility, build more muslce, produce red blood cells, increase libido, improve mood and increase confidence.
3. Improved strength and posture. Something that I’ve seen in all my clients over the years, both male and female is improved strength and posture. This is massively important particularly as you age. The more lean tissue you have the slower the onset of osteoperosis (bone degenration). Trust me, the stronger you can make your bones and muscles now, the more your 80 year old self will thank you for taking the action.
4. Increased confidence. Not everything you do needs to be completely aesthetic based. Improving confidence is a goal for 90% of my clients past and present. What’s one of the key drivers of confidence? In my experience, having less fat and better muscle tone and definition. There is nothing wrong what so ever with wanting to look good! One of the benefits of losing weight and starting to look good is you actually become healthier. But getting back to the main point, increasing your confidence releases more feel good happy hormones around your body.
The phrase success breeds success, the same is true with confidence. It doesnt matter how you obtain that confidence in my opinion. But like I said in my experience of 15 years being a trainer and delivering close to 12000 hours of PT sessions. I know first hand, looking better naked immediately increases your confidence!
5. Improved immune system. It’s been shown that having increased muscle mass can help your body in the fight against stressors on the body. Against long term chronic illnesses and even help support the body through fighting cancer treatment. This works because your body treats muscle like a bank of amino acids. Amino acids are what make protein and you muscles are a lot of proteins put into fibres. If there is not enough protein in the diet to break down into amino acids to fight disease. The body will turn to breaking down muscle tissue to get the amount of amino acids that it needs. Source: https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/84/3/475/4648841
How to build lean muscle.
I’m going to keep this as simple as I possibly can. Whole books have been written about this subject, and here is me trying to get it into a subheading on a blog post…
Let’s start from the beginning, how quickly you build muscle or tone up is going to depend on your training age (how long you’ve been lifting weights). Your diet in terms of volume and quality, your state of inflammation and your dedication to the program.
Building muscle is a lot like building a house, you need plans, solid foundations and a schedule of work. Let’s break this down.
To start with if you’re training age is less than 2 years old you need to start with some kind of strength endurance based training. This is your foundation level stuff. the more time you spend grafting the foundations the better your long term physique is going to look. To train in the strength endurance fashion you need to be performing 15-25 reps of an exercise for 3-5 sets. At this point just work on compound movements. Squats, deadlifts, bench press, lat pull downs, rows or machine based equivalents. Stick with this rep range and system for 4-6 weeks or until you start to feel the weights getting easier. Then you move into the hypertrophy stage.
This is the training methodology or strength quality where you actually start to build muscle. The great thing about hypertrophy is that you get stronger, you get bigger and results start happening very quickly. If you’ve done the ground work in the foundation and the time in the strength endurance phase.
To go back to our house building analogy this where we start to lay down the bricks and mortar. This is when you start to see the shape starting to take hold. The better the foundation the better the house right? Same deal with your muscles.
When it comes to training with the hypertrophy strength quality. You’re looking at performing 8-12 reps for this strength quality. These reps need to be performed with good technique, and performed at a good tempo. If the rep is performed too fast you wont break down the muscle fibres enough. If it’s performed too slowly, you wont be able to perform enough reps to get the response from the nervous system or the muscle.
This client followed the plan bang on for his whole time of training with me. His first 8 weeks are what is pictured here. He stuck to doing the foundation work, then we moved into the hypertrophy phase and these were his results. On the left, his initial picture, bottom right is after 4 weeks and top right is after 8 weeks. He gained almost 10kg of lean muscle while only gaining according to the tanita scales 2% of body fat! Incredible results! For help with your own gym programming get in contact and I’ll see how I can help you out.
How to eat for gaining muscle.
This is massively individually based, I cant really set you a specific amount to eat. I can’t really set you a macro split without meeting you and going through your training and diet history. Assessing your body shape, your body strength or potentially how well or not you handle carbs. You will need to eat carbs to build muscle! Being on a low carb diet will not get you building good quality muscle. I’m not saying it can’t be done. But carbs will be your friend when it comes to building muscle.
Not only will carbs help you mediate the stress of training. They will replenish a lot of the glycogen stores that you will use up if you’re training properly.
As with most training goals calories are king. If you want to be gaining weight and muscle, you need to be eating a calorie surplus. This means if you’re not going to work with me or with trainer. Get yourself over to TDEECALCULATOR.NET and work out how many calories you’re going to need to be eating. Once you know what your surplus calorie target is I’d opt for an even balance of carbs proteins and fats. Make certain that your protein content is high enough 1-2g per KG of total body weight. Or 1.8-2.8g per KG of LEAN BODY MASS if you have scales that can facilities that measure that for you. Once you have your grams of protein worked out lets say you need 120g per day. Multiply that number by 4 and then you have the calories to ingest through protein, 480 calories in this case. Like I said this is just a formula, you need to work off your own data and your own numbers. If you start eating calories like the Dwayne Johnson, chances are you’re going to get fat. And not the same physique as him. That guy trains twice a day some times and eats to support that activity.
In my eyes there is no point having a great training plan if you’re going to eat like an arse hole. Training and eating should be a symbiotic relationship. The client I showed you above I had him eating close to 3500 calories, 400-600g of carbs, 150g of protein a day and the rest coming from fats. The main challange he faced was eating while not hungry, but he did it and it fuelled his training with me and by himself. The results in 8 weeks speak for themselves I believe.
To build muscle in a gym takes time if you’re new to training. It takes time if you’re a naturally skinny guy. It takes time if you’re eating like a dickhead to lose fat. It takes time to go through the process and do the due diligence on yourself before you start training. The biggest problem I see in men that want to gain muscle is ego. Don’t get me wrong sometimes you need that ego to smash through a set. Sometimes you need to summon aggression from some dark places to get through some training sessions. I’ve had many clients get angry, emotional and scream during a workout. These are men that normally would do anything to avoid having attention drawn to them. So for these men to scream out during a session shows how dedicated they are and how hard they work.
The issue with ego is that you want to lift weights that are too heavy for what you need. Trust me, that proper tempo and the proper range of movement, you will not be wanting or needing to lift heavier weights! Leave your ego at the door, train hard and do not exercise this! Building muscle takes discipline, time, skill and knowledge. Take time to invest in it all.
Eat clean, eat enough, train hard leave your ego at the door. Thats how you build muscle in the gym!
Get Building Muscle Effectively
To really build the most amount of muscle that you can in the shortest amount of time. Get in contact with me today and let me start you on the right path.