How Building Muscle
Building muscle is a tricky blend of science, determination and self-awareness, weaved to fit your own particular needs, metabolism, and lifestyle. Everyone differs in what they want from building up their muscles; everyone has their own unique response to exercise and diet regimes. And we all have our own lifestyles, and everyday demands, around which we will have to bend our muscle-gaining regime. So there can never be a single ‘one-size-fits-all’ best method for building muscle.
But there most certainly is, a best way to approach the whole concept of developing yourself physically. And it starts, not with your body, but with your mind – equipment, diet, and techniques are really just a backdrop. To sculpt your muscles into the body-beautiful that you demand, you’ll need to make some pretty hard demands of yourself mentally. Not impossible demands, mind you. Nothing that’d be out of the reach of anyone with a little imagination, self-awareness and motivation. But the willingness to take on a mental challenge is a big first step for any goal towards self-improvement.
Still with us? Good. Because those who may have bailed out already are the ones likely to be beating their muscles to a pulp on useless ‘secret’ muscle-building techniques; or poisoning their bodies on useless ‘new-to-science’ nutritional supplements. As with most things in life, shortcuts to success in muscular development will only lead you to a dead end – or right over a cliff.
Now for the science bit. Any muscle-building strategy worth its salt relies on a three-legged approach to develop muscular tissue – stimulation, nutrition and rest. That’s it. Nothing more is needed to complicate the equation. Take any one of those legs away, and the process becomes unbalanced. Your attempts to build muscle will come crashing down. And critically, you need to bear in mind that you are the one that has to find the balance between those three pillars. It’s not a hard-and-fast mix that can be prescribed by others, no matter how expert or experienced.
Stimulation: This covers the easy bit – even though its often thought of the real hard work – the exercises that will stress your muscles and soften them up. Whether it’s free weights, resistance training, or weight-free body exercise, the aim is the same. To literally rip the muscular tissues, preparing them for repair and growth. Do it right, and you’ll have prepared the way for the next two factors.
Nutrition: Muscle-tissue that has been stimulated and torn through exercise is going to need nutrients – of the right sort, and at the right time – to grow back for optimal-bulking. That invariably means protein, and lots of it. For some, that will involve a carnivore’s paradise of chicken, fish and red meat. It will almost certainly require protein-intensive supplements that can get protein rapidly to where it is needed. It can, for some mean a blend of vegetable-based proteins, prized for their lower saturated fat-content.
Rest: Often neglected, but an absolute essential pillar of any exercise regime. Muscular tissue will not repair and strengthen instantly. It needs rest, at the appropriate time, to make sure your muscle expands sustainably, and your body is allowed to recover. Over-train your muscle, and you risk bringing on an hyper-adrenergic state. That can play havoc with your sleep, and so can wreck your training schedule.
As you’ll probably realize, the options for combining these three pillars are almost endless. So you do need a starting point. That will require for you to gain a good grasp of the techniques that are out there, and how they can be best-used to reach your goals. Just don’t be rigid with them. Adjust them to suit the way your body works, and the rhythm of your day-to-day life. And as you go about the task of bulking your muscle up, listen – very carefully – because your body is providing you with constant feedback.
It will be flooding a hundred signals, which, if read properly, will help you to choose the optimal balance of stimulation, nutrition and rest. Pay attention to this ‘body talk’, and be prepared to adjust your routine accordingly. By being open-minded, body-aware, and in control mentally, the best way to build your muscles will be there for you to seize.