You may have just started your journey to build muscle or have tried various exercises in the past, did not see any improvement, hence lost motivation and gave up. If you belong to either of the categories, this article is for you.
According to a study, a new year and a new resolution result in a lot of enrollments in the gym in January however less than 10% continue in February. This is because people do not see the desired difference in them and give up soon.
It is important to know that when you start your journey to build muscles, especially for the first time, you initially build only strength and stamina. It is only after the first 5-7 weeks that you start feeling stronger but still may not look stronger, largely because even though muscles are the most adaptive tissue of the body, building them takes time.
The science behind muscle building
Our skeletal muscles are made up of fibers with special cells, these cells during and after each workout send signals to the brain to activate the glands to release hormones. These hormones help in repairing any muscle tear, triggers the metabolism and helps turn amino acids into protein to bulk up muscles. All this takes time and you need to keep pushing yourself long enough for the muscles to grow.
There are majorly three factors that influence muscle building i.e., our genes, exercise, and diet. Although we do not have much control over our genes, we can do the following to gain the desired muscle mass over a period of time.
Exercise right, especially if you are a beginner
- Start slowly with 2-3 strength workouts per week, give your muscles time to adjust.
- Rest is important, take a day’s gap after a total body workout.
- If your workouts are focused on one muscle group, such as arms, wait for 48 hours before you do an arms-focused workout again.
- Initially just do 2 to 3 sets per exercise. Progress gradually to increase the load to stimulate muscle growth. As you get stronger, choose harder exercises, add variation or do more reps.
To build good muscles you need to give the right fuel. Your diet is number one! You can live in the gym, but if you do not eat right, you might be just wasting time. By doing just few modifications and additions in your diet, you can get there.
Do not eat less or more, eat just right
- Protein is the building block of muscle; the right intake is a must to build them strong. Studies state that active adults need nearly 1 gm of protein per kg of body weight. Consuming a sufficient amount of protein will put you in an anabolic state which helps with building muscles.
- Having the right type of protein, right from the beginning helps. Your quality protein intake is very crucial. Having protein-rich food in the diet in the form of eggs, dals, pulses, curd, milk, chicken, etc. is important, however, grabbing a quality source of protein like a whey protein supplement helps tremendously.
- Whey is one of the best scientifically proven and globally trusted protein that assists speedy recovery and supports in building muscles. A good whey protein supplement for beginners has a combination of whey protein concentrate and whey protein isolates with lower protein content as they are easy to digest and absorb. Once you advance, you can go for blends of whey protein concentrate, Isolate and Hydrolysate or opt for a pure Isolate. Having a whey protein drink pre-workout and post-workout is helpful to fuel muscle building.
- Consuming vitamins & minerals are equally vital, they help in the synthesis and repair of muscle tissue during recovery from exercise and injury. Have enough fruits and vegetables or invest in a good multi-vitamin supplement
- Omega-3 fatty acids/ Fish oils help improve the anabolic effect of training, prevent muscle loss, reduce muscle inflammations, and hence it is essential for building muscles. Having fatty fish twice or thrice a week can be very helpful. One can also look for alternatives like Fish oil capsules or flaxseed oil. Make sure, these are from quality sources, free from harmful substances, and contain the right potency.
- Keep yourself hydrated: it is important to have a minimum of 8 glasses of water every day to help your muscles function properly.
"Bodybuilding is an art, your body is the canvas, weights are your brush and nutrition is your paint. We all have the ability to turn a self-portrait into a masterpiece." Kai Greene
Just make sure you are hooked to these to attain your body goal this year.
Most importantly, be patient, focused, and believe in yourself. Good things take time!