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How Can We Realistically Build Muscle?

It is something that every guy wants, but the reality is that they don’t necessarily know how to get it. There’s a lot of misinformation out there when it comes to building muscle. So what does it really take to understand how to build muscle realistically?

Understand How Much You Can Actually Build

Blood and water are the two ingredients of muscle, nothing more. We have to remember that there isn’t a magic potion that will build up muscles, apart from anabolics, but we have to remember that there is only a certain amount that we can realistically gain. Beginner lifters should expect to see approximately 2 to 4 pounds of muscle every month if they are training optimally, eating right, and recovering. We’ve got to be realistic and understand that we will not turn into Thor in a couple of weeks, a couple of months, or even a couple of years, because of things like genetics, your training volume, and so much more.

Eat More

If you really want to be big, you’ve got to consume a lot more than you think you need. Eating more is the most important thing to building muscle. You need adequate protein, where the rule of thumb is to consume 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight. For example, 160g of protein if you weigh 160 lbs. But you also need to increase your calories by approximately 500 a day. Because if you’ve been trying to build muscle for some time and it’s not been working, chances are, as long as you have been recovering properly and working out effectively, it was the food that let you down.

Use Compound Moves

Compound moves are the king when it comes to getting big. Rather than going for isolation exercises like bicep curls if you really want to pack on the muscle, you’ve got to do exercises that challenge multiple parts of your body. These include the big five: 

  • Squat
  • Deadlift
  • Chest press
  • Bent over row
  • Military/shoulder press

Compound moves need to be in your workout regime if you stand a chance of building any muscle.

Make the Most of Time Under Tension

Time under tension is, in a physiological sense, the key to overloading your muscles. A lot of people talk about progressive overload, which is the concept of lifting heavier than you can realistically cope with. The problem with doing progressive overload is that if you do it with improper form, you could run the risk of really hurting yourself, which is where time under tension comes into play. Placing tension on your muscles as long as possible stimulates hypertrophy and muscle growth. There are practices like isometrics that focus on this; isometrics are great for time under tension, but there are also other ways of doing it. You don’t necessarily have to focus on tension if you are looking to build muscle strength, but if you are looking for bigger muscles you need to ensure that the muscles are under constant tension. You can even do this at home by getting some heavy resistance bands and holding them for as long as possible.

These are just a few ways to build muscle realistically. But remember, it’s about the relationship between the right workout, the right foods, and the right recovery.