In my time as a bodybuilder and personal trainer, I’ve heard a lot of horror stories from clients and gym rats alike about their apprehensions regarding building muscle. They seem to have the impression that to build muscle you need to be that guy in the gym screaming at the top of his lungs, with sweat dripping wildly down his face. Sure, going to that extreme will certainly help build muscle, but building muscle doesn’t have to be taken to this extreme. Building muscle is all about increasing the tension you expose your muscle fibers to. As you increase the tension, more blood flows to your affected muscle(s), giving you the “pump” you’ve probably heard so much about.
Increasing tension can be as simple as adding an additional repetition to your existing repetition scheme at the end of each set or simply adding an additional repetition at the end of every other set. It increases t-levels of your body as well. The answer to how you can build muscle in a relatively simple way really depends in no small part on your genetics. If you happen to be one of those individuals blessed with great muscle-building abilities, you may only need to add a few additional reps to your existing repetition scheme, changing your repetitions scheme periodically throughout the month to continually “shock” your muscles. If, on the other hand, you weren’t given other-worldly muscle-building capabilities, you may have to add one or two extra repetitions at the end of each set.
The ease with which you’re able to build muscle will also largely depend on your goals. If you want immediate gains, you may or may not be able to gradually increase your repetition scheme or the amount of weight you’re pushing or pulling. Immediate gains in muscle mass usually mean larger changes in your workout routine, whether these are increases in repetitions, weight, or both. However, if you’re willing to take a longer-term approach, building muscle can be accomplished by slow increases in your overall workload.
Last but certainly not least, your diet will affect your gains in muscle, long and short term. If your diet consists of Happy Meals, refined sugars, and other diet no-no’s, building muscle will be more difficult to achieve than a stricter muscle building diet. What is a strict muscle building diet? I’m talking here about a mix of low and high complex carbohydrates, high-quality proteins, and “good fats.” Spiking your insulin levels at a particular time and to a particular level along with providing your muscles with the proper building blocks (i.e. high quality proteins) and long-term energy (i.e. fats) are essential for muscle building schemes. Just what all of this is will be explained in a future article, so stay tuned.
Gains in muscle mass can be achieved without the remorseless workouts many of us envision. Building muscle can be achieved by just about anyone, and with minimal effort. First, you need to decide what your goals are. Second, you should have a good idea of your body, what you can and cannot handle. Lastly, you need to be aware of what you’re eating. If you’re not eating right you won’t see the muscle gains you’ve been working hard to achieve. The finish line is just on the horizon, so look for a personal trainer who can assist you in reaching your muscle building goals!
Samira Gutoc is the founder and managing editor of Atlas and Co. She is also a content writer, blogger, poet, photographer and an editorial associate.