There are more than a few ways to building muscle. Of course, when most think of weight training and muscle, they tend to think of huge freaky physiques that you see in some of the muscle magazines.
Weight training doesn't necessarily mean getting super huge. Building muscle is simply to process of improving your muscular endurance and strength. Muscles are simply a by product of this process. Once a person starts to get stronger, their muscles will adapt to this stimuli by growing. You never hear about a person getting stronger while their muscles are getting smaller. Remember this, the stronger you get, the more toned and and more developed will your muscle become.
Now, building huge muscles requires years of hard work and constantly increasing the intensity at which a person works at. Going to the gym 3 days a week and lifting relatively light weights will not build a bulky physique. Going to the gym, day in and day out, for years at a time and constantly improving your lifts and intensity, will, over time, build big muscles.
This takes hard work. The guys and gals you see in the muscle mags have spent years and have put in hours of hard work in the gym. They have perfected their weight lifting routines that is best suited for their particular physiques.
Now, you don't necessarily have to build a super large physique but maybe you want a nice, attractive body that's not quite as huge but toned and muscular.
You can definetly build both! You see, there are different stages of building muscle which I will explain.
Building Muscle for a toned and muscular body
Here's the truth about building muscle and getting toned. Muscles start to take on that "hardened" look after they've gotten stronger. Muscles will start to grow in order to accommodate more strength. The stronger you get, the bigger your muscles will become. How strong do you have to be in order to have a toned look? That depends on a bunch of factors but really, all you have to do is add more weight and/or more repetitions to your training regiment.
You can do all this without bulking up. Believe me, your not going to look like a muscle monster after you've done a few workouts. At most, if your deligent in your workouts and do it month after month, and watch your diet,you can look like an athletic runner - Not a body builder.
Here's the deal. Start with a weight training program and improve with each workout. Once you start improving, you'll start to notice different about your body. Once this happens, keep at it. Sooner or later, your going to get to where you want to be. Once there, decide if you want to keep improving, or if your happy with what you got, keep doing exactly with what your doing. Chances are, your going to want to keep improving.
What about repetitions and sets? Don't even worry about that. Start off by doing 12 repetitions for each set. Once you've done this for 2 to 3 weeks, start adding more weight and, gradually, strive to get 12 repetitions.
You'll start to get stronger and improve, and with this, a change in your body will come over time.
Weight training is an exciting and rewarding process. Seeing the desired results day after day is a truly fantastic feeling.
Want to get huge? Want to add slabs of beef to your frame? Than you will have to lift heavy and lift hard! You will have to use high intensity techniques built into your weight lifting routine.
In order to create large amounts of muscle growth you need to damage the muscle to a certain extreme for your muscles to respond, repair and grow into strong, healthy muscles.
You certainly won't build large muscles using light weight and high repetitions. I hate to break this to you but the only way to get huge is to lift huge.
Lift hard and heavy. Unless you are a genetic freak, the only way to pack on the muscle is to lift heavy and lift strict.
Using heavy weights damages the muscle sufficiently to create this type of muscle damage.
Muscle building training
Weight training to build muscle is a simple process:
Improve with each workout + Add more and more intensity = More and more muscle growth.
This process isn't rocket science. Adding more and more intensity means one thing - Making your body work harder and harder which translates into one thing - Building bigger and bigger muscles. Do you think a person who is thinking of jogging simply gets up and runs 5 miles? No, they slowly work up to that goal. The same goes for building muscle. You have to slowly and surely work your way up to lifting heavier and heavier weights.
This is the only way to build muscle mass.
The way I like to train is with a combination of heavy and light weight movements. This way, I train for muscle mass as well as muscle improvement.
However, choose a program that is suited to your goals and ambitions. If you want to build a toned body, doing a 5x5 power lifting program might be a little too extreme. A 3 day a week, full body split using 12 repetitions with moderate weights might be a better alternative. It all depends what you want.
You can't expect to build muscle by just showing up at a gym and messing around with a few weights and hoping for the best. If you want maximum results from your training program then you should get yourself a training program that will get you long-term effective results.
How do you get yourself an effective training program? Use good advice from reputable people/companies such as ahem...Building Muscle 101 or other professionals that may be willing to help you.
Muscle building nutrition
Nutrition is a very important element in building muscle. Of course, this depends on what your goals are. If you want to build huge muscles you will need to consume quality calories. You will need to ensure that you take in sufficient protein, carbohydrates, and fat to help you get through your training and for healthy repair of your muscles.
If you are looking to build lean muscle and keep fat to a minimum, then you may want to reduce your calories and structure your diet that is relative to your weight lifting program.
You will need to closely watch your calorie and fat intake, while still ensuring that your body gets sufficient nutrition and quality calories from protein, carbohydrates, and fat. No matter what your training goals are never starve yourself. Regular meals through out the day are very important.
Will Brink of Body Building Revealed offers this advice:
"Gaining quality weight is a process of obtaining proper knowledge about the foods needed, following the right ratios of those foods, deciding on the calories required and being methodical with your plan.
Consistency, as much as anything, is why some people get the results they want while others fail. Of course, being consistent with a poor plan and a lack of knowledge regarding calories needed, macro nutrient ratios, etc. is a sure route to failure." (Will Brink, Body Building Revealed.com)
Effective steps to a muscle building program
1. Ensure that you have to right weight lifting routine that suits your needs. You will want to make sure that it gives you sufficient instructions on how to perform your exercises.
2. Always ensure that you perform the exercises correctly. Using good form while exercising will produce the best results and keep injuries to a minimum.
3. Don't get into the habit of swinging your weights. If you can't perform the exercise correctly using proper form and mechanics, then you should lower the weights until you are ready to advance.
4. When performing your exercises keep your knees slightly bent, your back straight and your tummy firm, even when you are performing seated exercises you need to make sure you have good posture.
5. Always warm up properly. Never attempt to lift heavy weights when you are cold because this is one sure way to injure yourself. Start by doing 10 to 20 minutes of cardio before each weight lifting session and start each exercise with a light warm up weight and do 15 to 25 repetitions.
6. Remember to include a cool down after an intense weight lifting session. Try riding the exercise bike for 10 minutes. Remember, this is a cool down so don't go crazy!
7. Always keep hydrated. Keep a water bottle near by so have easy access to fluids while training.
8. Get enough rest. This is where your body grows. You want to train hard and have enough rest time to build and repair your body.
9. Plan your meals. This way you know exactly what your putting into your body and it will keep you on track with your weight lifting program.
10. Ensure that you are getting enough protein. Protein builds muscle so make sure you get the optimal amount to build muscle.
11. Ensure that you are getting enough carbohydrates to power your workouts. If you are building muscle mass, you will need an optimal amount of carbohydrates to fuel hard and intense workouts.
Remember that you need the right weight lifting routine to match your goals. Just showing up at a gym and randomly lifting weights is not good enough. You need to organize and plan your routine for optimal results.
All the best,
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