In this wild ride called life, you are sometimes faced with challenges. Stepping across a creek during a mountain hike is a good example of a challenge. But that’s relatively easy compared to something else – knowing how to build muscle and strength naturally.
You may not even have thought it was possible, given all the illegal ways there are to build muscle. But rest assured, it completely is! And you can do it in a relatively short amount of time, provided you have a halfway decent head on your shoulders.
1. Get your buns in the gym!
Oh, did you think you can just sit back and think about building muscle to make it happen? It’s true that you should keep a positive attitude and act like you are in possession of that which you want, but the muscle won’t magically appear on your body.
You actually have to physically lift objects to get there, and this is completely natural. Those objects are weights in the form of barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells and the like.
To get the best bang for your buck, throw in a few compound exercises like leg presses, bench presses, Bulgarian split squats, Turkish get-ups, weighted pull-ups, and dips. These exercises recruit a high amount of muscle fiber and will get you results more efficiently.
If you are housebound, don’t worry. You can still build muscle with the help of bodyweight exercises like push-ups, step-ups, squats, dips, and lunges.
2. Use rest days to your advantage
Your muscles don’t like it when you push them too far or too hard. You need to know when to ease off. As a general rule of thumb, never work the same muscle groups to failure on consecutive days. Simply put, take at least one day off between workouts with each group.
If you do this and still notice muscle pain or extreme fatigue, take another day off. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Since we’re on the topic of recovery, don’t neglect the importance of sleep. It is then that your muscles fully get a chance to build. Aim for at least 7 hours a night and sleep in a dark, quiet space where you won’t be woken up multiple times.
3. Lift heavy iron
Lifting sissified weights is not how to build muscle and strength fast. It’s how to stay soft and puny for a long time. Grab some iron that makes you break a sweat and causes you to put a lot of effort in.
As a rule of thumb, use a resistance that you can only lift 6 to 8 times with good form. And aim for five-plus sets with your exercises.
Take as much rest as you need between each set, too. You want to be as recovered as possible so that you can maximize your lifts.
4. Hit the bottle – water bottle, that is
Your muscles need good hydration to perform optimally. The best thing you can do is leave the bottle of bourbon on the shelf and carry a bottle of water around with you all day. You don’t have to get fanatical and slurp down 2 gallons of water a day like a lot of idiots do.
Just make sure to drink it before, during, and after your workouts. And sip it throughout the day. Staying hydrated will keep your muscles plump and in good working condition. It will also keep your joints lubricated so that you can lift with more proficiency.
5. Have a post-workout feed
When you get finished with a tough workout, your muscles are like sponges. They want nutrients and they want them fast! Here’s where a good quality shake comes into play. Or, more specifically, a smoothie.
You want to have a good blend of carbs and protein. The carbs will replenish the used-up glycogen from your workout and the protein will kickstart the muscle-building process.
Here’s a good recipe for you to try out. Add a banana, some almond milk, honey, and whey protein powder to a blender. Turn it on and slowly add three ice cubes to it, one at a time. Once it is smooth and frothy, it’s done.
For an added punch, add some creatine or L-glutamine to the blend. Both are natural and good for recovery and kickstarting muscle growth.