If you spend hours in the gym and you’re not gaining the muscle you think you should, you may not be eating properly in order to fuel your body to build muscle. Here are some ways to help gain muscle while weight training. 

The Importance of Weight Training

Highlighting the importance of what you do outside the gym is only beneficial if you already know what you’re doing at the gym. To gain muscle, you need to lift weights. Lift heavy and often. Even if you have this picture of lean muscle and you’re not trying to get bulky, lifting heavy weights will help you fulfill that image. 

Grab a barbell, follow a muscle building program and lift regularly. You won’t build muscle just lifting once a week and by not giving it your all. It’s also important to watch how much cardio you’re doing. If you’re pairing strength training with cardio, you have to eat more to replenish those calories you’re burning doing cardio. 

Choose a Path

In fact, you’re probably not going to build muscle while you’re trying to lose weight. You need to pick one path and stick to it until you see results. You may need to look at muscle building as bulking. You’re going to have to eat enough to potentially put on some fat. Get comfortable with this. You’ll have the chance to lean out, while maintaining your muscle, after you make the gains you desire. 

Eat Enough of the Right Things

Now to what you should do outside the gym. You’re going to have to eat a lot of extra calories to supplement muscle gain. You should eat an extra 250-500 calories a day to build muscle. It’s also important what you’re eating and when you’re eating it though. 

You need to eat protein with each meal and you need to eat a lot of protein. If you find this challenging, supplementing with a collagen protein shake can help you get the amount your body needs. This is a higher quality option that will help support skin and joint health as well.

You will need shakes, because protein is the building block of muscle. This means it’s imperative to eat a lot and regularly. Eat between .7 grams per pound and one gram per pound of body weight. 

Plan the Timing of Meals

The reason shakes come in handy is because you need to spread your protein intake out between meals. Your body can’t process more than about 30 grams of protein per meal. Try planning meals around this need and eat about every three hours.

This is also why it’s important to make sure you eat breakfast and that your breakfast includes protein. It’s important to start your day off right and give your muscles that fuel it needs after a long period of fasting. 

For the same reason, you should eat protein before bed. Your body restores and repairs muscles at night, while sleeping. Consume a slow burning protein before bed. This will help keep you from waking up hungry as well.

Avoid Alcohol

No one wants to hear it, but alcohol has a huge impact on your body’s recovery and ability to build muscle. This is because alcohol affects your sleep. It keeps you from getting into deep wave sleep, which is when your body repairs muscles. Lifting weights actually creates tiny tears in your muscles, and your body gets stronger during the repair process. Since alcohol keeps your body from being able to repair itself, it’s best to avoid it. 

Sleep Well

Aside from alcohol, other things can keep you from getting the restorative sleep you need to gain muscle. Sleep is hugely important in the muscle building process, so it’s important to make it as big of a focus as your actual weight training regime. Avoid blue wave light at night, avoid alcohol and drink plenty of water. These will all help lead to sound sleep and better recovery. 

Building muscle is possible, but you need to make it a focus of your whole day. From food to sleep, make sure that you’re intention is on your goals and you’ll reach them!

Photo Cover: Uber Images / Shutterstock

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