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Muscle Building 101

Muscle Building

So, you want to build some muscle? Building muscle can be a simple yet complicated task and I’m here to give the basic tools to put on some quality muscle based on my knowledge as a personal trainer and competitive bodybuilder.

Let’s start with the building blocks of putting on some quality muscle and that is obviously your nutrition.

 Step 1

Make sure you have enough protein, for a muscle building phase where calories are going to be pretty high, I would suggest around 2g/kg of bodyweight. So, if you’re 80kg, you would need at least 160g of protein per day, for those of you who aren’t quite familiar with macros an easy guide for meat would be - 100g of lean meat would equate to around 20-25g of protein. So, if you were to get your whole daily protein from meat that would equate to 7-800g of meat for the above example, if you struggle to get this in a good protein supplement can help you hit your targets.

 Step 2

Next is your fat intake which I would suggest anywhere between 0.5-1g/kg, again with our 80kg example that would equate to 40-80g of fats per day. You would get a lot of these fats from your meats and then I would fill in the gap with healthy fats such as nuts, nut butter, avocado, egg yolks and fats from fatty fish – if you can’t stand fish, a good fish oil/omega 3 supplement would be essential to add in.

 Step 3

Lastly you will fill in your remaining caloric needs with carbohydrates. So, you would increase or decrease carbs to get the desired weight gain you want whilst keeping your protein and fat targets as above. I would recommend roughly around a 0.5kg gain per week for lean gains with minimal fat gain. Carb sources I would recommend most of the time would be oats, bread, rice and potato. If you struggle to eat all those carbs, a good carb powder combined with some amino acids while you train can be an easy way to get them in.

Now that we’ve taken care of your nutrition, let’s take a look into training. There are many different styles of workouts from low/high volume, low/high reps, DUP, low/high frequency etc. and people will argue until the cows come home about which is better. However I will give you my general guidelines to set up your training week, I would aim for 80-120 working sets per week – you can spread this evenly throughout your muscle groups or we can shift it somewhat to bring up lagging body parts. The amount of working sets you do per week will vary person to person depending on your training age and how well you can recover from your workouts. Reps I would keep anywhere between 6-15 reps per set.

Last but not least is recovery, we need to keep in mind that we actually grow when we recover, not in the gym training. There are quite a few different factors in recovery - we’ve covered nutrition already and we’ve covered monitoring your training volume so you do enough to grow but not so much that you can’t recover from it. The last bit of recovery would be to give your body the right tools and supplements to help your body to stay in good health, help upregulate optimal hormones and increase quality sleep. Supplements I would recommend would be: Zinc, Vitamin B, Vitamin D, Chromium, glutamine, creatine and magnesium.

There you have it, the basic guide on how to pack on some quality muscle! Put this into practice, train hard and stay consistent and you should see gains in muscle in no time!