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Protein Co.

Muscle Building Guide

In order to build muscle mass effectively and consistently, there are a number of factors you should pay close attention to. Here are some general guidelines and then a few things to try if you are having trouble with muscle building efforts. Working to build muscle, or at the very least maintain the muscles you have, is something everyone in Canada can and should do regularly. You don't have to be a serious athlete to benefit greatly from supplements, foods and exercises designed to build and maintain muscle mass. More muscle typically translates to a higher metabolism and overall lower body fat. That is something almost everyone can benefit from. What follows are some general ideas for helping with your muscle building regardless of what your goals and athletic ambitions are.

The accepted best method for building muscle mass is through strength training exercises. Everyone can participate in strength training that is great for muscle building that isn't over the top. Bodybuilders are the extreme so don't think you have to train like them or look like them. Simply wanting to be stronger and fitter looking is reason enough to engage in muscle building exercises and nutrition. Both men and women can work to build more muscle without ever coming close to a bodybuilding type physique. All you have to do is work up to lifting more weight once you have adapted your muscles to a specific routine. You don't have to go overboard however as it's not about lifting as much weight as you possibly can. Lifting the weight you are just strong enough for and using the proper technique is most important. By increasing the amount of weight you train with, you get stronger and then your body will build more muscle. It's that easy and it can be fun and rewarding to see the results. If you are a person looking to build maximum muscle mass, remember genetics plays a role in how well your body reacts to training and nutrition. You can overcome any genetic deficiencies however by sticking to your routine for months at a time and gradually increasing the weight as you get stronger. Changing routines and movements is something many weight lifters do, possibly just out of sheer boredom. By sticking with a routine for 4-6 weeks at least though, the muscles you use will keep getting stronger. When you get stronger, you can lift more weight and that is what builds massive muscles. "Compound exercises with heavy weights is more likely to build better muscle mass than isolation movements. Here are some of the best muscle building exercises for specific muscle groups"

Barbell Rows
Pectorals (Chest)
Bench Press
Dumbbell Flies
Overhead Press
Front Raises
Lat Pulldowns
Leg Extensions

Compound exercises can build more muscle mass overall as you use other muscles to balance and support the main group you are working. This can also save you time and help you burn more calories during your workout as more muscles are being exercised with a single movement.

Here are the top 5 muscle building exercises that should be in everyone's routine:

1. Squats Done properly, squats are the most balance lower body exercise you can do. The biggest problem with squats is people get in a contest with others to see who can squat the most weight. The key to muscle building from squats is doing the exercise properly. If you don't get your quads parallel to the floor, you aren't getting the most from each squat. To do this without risking injury, you need to learn from a professional and gradually increase the weight. Done properly, squats will not only work core muscles like glutes and hamstrings, it will work and strengthen many other muscles in your lower body as well as some in your upper body. 2. Deadlifts Possibly the second best exercise you can do to strengthen many muscles at once is the deadlift. Equally as important as squats, proper technique and gradual weight increase is key. Get some training from an instructor to maximize muscle building from deadlifts.

3. Pull Ups This is an exercise anyone can do and it's easy to do them almost anywhere. It's probably the best bicep and back strengthening exercise and much more preferable to lat pull downs. Since pull ups aren't as popular as some other gym machine exercises, not many athletes in Canada do them or can even do many when they try. Pay attention to someone that does pull ups regularly the next time you are in the gym. You will notice a definite difference in how cut and toned their back and biceps are. 4. Bench Press This "old standby" exercise has gotten to be a bit passé with Canadian athletes. For massive pectoral development, you can't beat the bench press. There are some great variations to the straight press so ask a professional to show you the next time you hit the gym for some pec work. 5. Rows You can use either dumbbells or barbells to work the upper back with rows. The only machine rows that are nearly as effective are done on the seated row machine.

Eating properly to fuel muscle growth is a science in of itself. Fortunately many nutritional supplements have been formulated that make it much easier for anyone to fuel themselves properly. Depending on your goals and the amount of muscle you are looking to gain, the art of eating and supplementing may still require a lot of effort. There are a few points that everyone should pay attention to however. Doing so will make it fairly easy for you to eat, fuel and supplement properly to achieve any muscle building goal. The key points for proper muscle building nutrition are:

  • Total Daily Calories – We are talking muscle building and "gaining" weight here so this isn't a time to skimp on total calories per day. The amount of calories you should consume eat day will vary depending on body size, gender and training goals. Suffice it to say, those who are looking to build muscle mass but are struggling, are most likely not eating enough calories each day. It's generally best to eat a good amount of calories 5-6 times per day rather than just 3. Especially if you are trying to gain maximum muscle, it's almost impossible to eat enough calories per day if you are only eating 3 big meals per day.

  • Total Daily Protein – Once again this will depend on your body size and gender. As a quick guide, everyone should eat close to 150 grams of protein per day. This is typically the starting point and can go as high as 240 grams per day for those who have difficulty gaining muscle mass and/or have high metabolisms. 1-1/2 grams per pound of body weight is another good guideline but not something to stick to regardless of your height and weight. A better guide is to eat 30-40 grams of protein every 3 hours or so. That is to 1-2 scoops of a typical whey protein isolate supplement powder. Anyone serious about building muscle mass and who is training hard to do so should consume 180 – 200 grams of protein per day in this manner. While whey protein supplements are quick and easy to use, your total protein intake shouldn't come from this alone. Eating grass fed beef, poultry, fish and beans should be part of your daily protein intake as well.

  • Protein Timing – There are certain times of the day where consuming protein can have more muscle building power. Consuming some protein early in the morning can help you get a jump start on being anabolic all day long. As well, it can help keep you satisfied long enough to keep you from reaching for the quick, unhealthy snack. Whey protein shakes made mixed with fruit and juice for breakfast can be good a few days per week. Eggs are another excellent source of a.m. protein that you should consider consuming 2-3 days per week. Whey Protein Isolate is great for taking on the go for morning and afternoon snacks. It can also be used to boost protein intake and increase energy levels pre workout. Consuming protein immediately post exercise along with carbs, creatine and other essential nutrients such as glutamine can maximize your workout by decreasing recovery time. The windows for post workout calorie consumption are immediately following training, 90 minutes post workout and 3 hours after training. Typically protein supplements will be used for the immediately and 90 minute window and whole foods for the 3 hour time frame.

  • Carbohydrates – This is your "quick" energy source for boosting your body when you are low and providing glycogen for working muscles. Many consumers in Canada make the mistake of consuming a large dose of carbohydrates 1 hour pre workout. This can lead you into your workout with lower blood sugar as you are just starting to digest it in earnest. As well, your metabolism can be cranked to the point of depleting your glycogen stores faster. You only have about 60 – 90 minutes of stored glycogen so after that you need some type of carbohydrate replacement to avoid the dreaded "crash". Consuming carbs 10-15 minutes pre workout is better timing for ingestion. It will boost your energy levels and help keep you energized throughout your workout. Adding a good amount of carbohydrates to your post workout protein powder drink can add much needed calories and it's the window to maximize glycogen replenishment. The remainder of the day, be sure you add good sources of complex carbs to balance your protein intake.

  • Good Fats – Particularly for the best muscle building possible, you need to fuel your body in a balanced manner. Many Canadians make the mistake of thinking they need to avoid fat all together if they are to build lean muscle mass. The problem with doing this is your body goes into emergency self-preservation mode. This can cause your body to retain more body fat and not release it for energy use. Avocados, Omega 3 supplements, salmon, nuts, olives, olive oil, macadamia nuts, flax seed and chia seed are all good sources of healthy fat. The Omega 3 fatty acids are the "anti-inflammatory" fat that you need to balance too much Omega 6 which is the "inflammatory" source. Fat contains 9 calories per gram where carbohydrates and protein contain 4 calories per gram so you don't need a lot of fat compared to carbs and protein. Make sure you consume at least a small amount several times throughout the day however and you may find your muscle building results become much leaner and meaner!

What To Eat Before, During and After Training

For these times during the day, supplements are the fastest and easiest way to meet the needs of Canadian athletes, consumers and health conscious individuals. Supplement stacking is a popular term used for getting all the nutrients you need at the right time to more efficient muscle building. A supplement stack is simply a combination of nutrients that work well together for building muscle mass. In addition, supplements digest faster and they are easier to consume during these times which is one of the reasons they are so popular in Canada. Taking whole food on the go and consuming at the proper times for maximizing training efforts is difficult to say the least. Use these supplement stack suggestions to get more from your muscle building training. Not all the supplements listed need to be stacked together. Choose what best suits your training and muscle building goals and adjust as necessary. As with exercise routines, stick with a particular supplement combination for at least 4-6 weeks and only adjust after that if you feel you aren't getting the results you want. What works for some people might not work well at all for others to forge your own path.

Muscle Building Supplement Stacks

Whey Protein, Arginine, Carbohydrate Drink, Creatine, Beta Alanine, BCAA, Mild Stimulants
Carbohydrate Drink, Creatine, BCAA, Whey Protein (training over 2 hours)
Protein, Carbohydrate Drink, Creatine, Glutamine, BCAA, ZMA, Casein Protein

Muscle Building Success In A Nutshell

Building muscle and staying toned and fit isn't rocket science despite what some of the marketing hype leads some people to believe. Following some basic guidelines, tips and suggestions will almost always assure muscle building success. These are the most important points to keep in mind and follow in your quest for the best muscle building situation possible:

  • Perseverance – Too often people get fired up for a short time then change routines soon after they start out of boredom and lack of immediate results. It takes time and perseverance to build muscle mass or simply get more toned and fit. Whether it be your exercise routine, your supplement stacks or food choices, give each major change some time to work.

  • Exercising Properly – Doing the wrong types of exercise can severely limit the gains you will see when muscle building. Often this comes from copying or listening to someone else in the gym. Sticking to the basic core strength exercises that work many muscles per movement should be your foundation. Once you have gotten the physique you were striving for in the first place, then you can be picky and isolate a specific muscle group you may want to target more.

  • Nutrition – You MUST eat enough quality calories each day or your efforts will be wasted. Too often Canadian athletes skimp on calories thinking it will just increase body fat. The more muscle mass you build, the higher your metabolism will be so increase caloric intake in harmony with your mass gains. Use the best supplements you can find to help your body maintain that anabolic state, recover adequately from hard training, and assure you get enough calories each day.

  • Push Yourself – Remember the old saying "No pain no gain?" Well it's is true within reason of course. Pushing yourself too hard can lead to injury and lack of motivation to start up again. Not pushing yourself because you are happy with your routine will stall your progress. There is definitely pain and suffering involved with building muscle mass. If it doesn't hurt at least a little bit then you can push harder and see better gains.

  • Complete Balance – More than anything else possibly, balance in all you do, or lack thereof, can mean the difference between achieving your goals and falling well short. A balanced diet, balance nutritional supplement intake and balanced training routines all work in harmony to help your body become stronger overall.

You are now armed with all the knowledge anyone ever needs to build muscle, tone existing muscle and increase fitness and strength. Even if you are a long time weight lifter, bodybuilder or strength trainer, it's good to review the basics from time to time. Now get out there and put this to work!

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