Last week, I discussed how you can lose weight faster, and keep it off by using a multi-faceted approach. This week, I’m going to show you how to share with you seven strategies you can use to build more muscle.
Focusing on many things can make it a lot easier to build, and maintain your gains compared to if you focused on any one thing. That’s why I wanted to make a quick list, a cheat sheet if you will, or many of the biggest influences in your muscle building strategy. You don’t need to use every one of these, but including many of them at once can produce a much better result than just using one or two.
#1 Keep a consistent routine
Consistency is the foundation to all success in fitness, especially when it comes to building muscle. Going to the gym whenever you feel like it and “winging-it” through a workout is a hit-or-miss strategy at best. Even if you do make some gains they will be meager and hard to maintain.
A consistent routine instantly solves this issue while ensuring you’re not wasting time and energy on activities that won’t do much for you. It doesn’t have to be the exact same thing every time, but bringing some structure to your weekly training will do wonders for helping you build muscle.
#2 Stick to simple, basic exercises
Athletes figured out the best exercises centuries ago. There’s no need to try and invent the wheel. Basic movements like pushing, pulling and squatting have built the most jacked and bad-add warriors in history. If dips and pull-ups are good enough for the Navy Seals then they’re good enough for us too. Besides simple moves are the easiest to improve and progress over time which is the next point.
#3 Keep a log and focus on progression
Pen and paper are the two most important pieces of equipment in any gym. This is because you don’t build muscle by working hard. You build it by progressing your time under tension over time.
Progression is sometimes a tiny thing to nail down. You might improve by the smallest technical adjustment, or maybe you found you’re better off doing rows after pull-ups instead of before. Couple that with the unreliable nature of human memory and you have two strikes against your gains the moment you do your first rep.
Writing down what you did, and what you can improve might seem like a small thing and it is, but building muscle is all about making small things add up. Progression is seldom made in leaps and bounds, but it is a lot easier to build up when you keep a written record of what you’ve done and how you can improve it next time.
#4 Get plenty of sleep
The better you sleep the better you build. Sacrificing sleep in the name of “the grind” is a fools idea of toughness. It helps you recover from your previous workout, optimize your hormones, reduce cellular damage and gets you ready to crush your next workout.
#5 Eat a satisfying diet with as little restriction as possible
Deprivation and building muscle seldom go hand-in-hand. This is why I can’t understand why someone would put a ton of time and energy into their training and then adopt the latest twigs-and-berry’s diet that some celebrity doctor is advocating.
Muscle comes from a place of health and health is seldom the result of depriving the body, and mind, of the satisfying foods it needs to recover from training. So ditch the dogmatic approaches that tell you a healthy diet is all about sacrifice and deprivation. If you’re hungry or craving something there’s a good chance your diet isn’t supporting your muscle building efforts.
#6 Reduce stress and pain
Yes, a hard workout should make your muscles burn and push your mental limits, but stress and pain outside of that are going to hold you back. This is why you want to treat any excess pain or stress like the muscle-melting poison that it is. This goes for both mental and emotional stress as it does for physical. Reduce the negativity in your daily environment like avoiding the news and drama seeking coworkers can help a lot. The world isn’t nearly as bad as some would have to believe.
The same goes for physical pain and discomfort. Don’t ignore that knee pain or the chronic stiffness in your lower back. Stuff like that will hold back your muscle building potential like crazy! Be sure to see a health professional to get an accurate diagnosis and remove any pain as quickly as you can.
#7 Improve your mind-muscle connection
Most everyone can strengthen their mental ability to put tension in at least a few key muscles. Once you improve your neurological tension control you’ll be amazed at how much easier it will be to workout with less discomfort and make greater gains.
This is why I recommend practicing tensing up muscles that are stubborn to grow on a daily basis. Contracting your lats while driving or your abs while at your desk will not only give you a little activity but will improve your mind muscle connection within a few weeks.
Just one of these 7 things can improve your ability to build muscle if you’re not practicing it, but including many of them will do even more. Again, you don’t need to adopt all 7 right now. Just pick one or two and make it a habit for the next few weeks. After that, pick another one and build up from there. Before too long, you’ll have an army of multi-faceted habits working to help you build more muscle and strength than ever before.