The same steps for building a house apply to building a body. You have to lay a good foundation, have a sturdy structure you can rely on, and make sure you give the project plenty of time so you’re not cutting any corners. Building a house might actually be a bit more complicated, but building muscle can be done in three easy steps: weight training, eating right and resting.
To build anything you need a good foundation. For building muscle a good foundation requires a good exercise routine. Weight training is the best way to increase muscle strength. (1)
In weight training people commonly use either dumbbells or barbells. There is a bit of a debate on which is better. Both have their benefits. Dumbbells can seem less intimidating than barbells. They allow you to exercise more independently, since you don’t need a spotter to use them. However barbells weigh more so it takes less time to get in a full work out. One study done on weight training using barbells, showed that three sets and six repetitions per set was the best way to improve strength. (2)
Although the use of dumbbells and barbells are the most common tools for weight training, you can also use weight machines or practice lifting your own weight (via chin ups, push ups, sit ups, etc.) I would recommend trying all different kinds of weight training before deciding which works best for you.
The key to a good weight training regimen is fatigue. Regardless of what tools you use to sculpt your muscles you want to work out until you start feeling fatigued. It’s good to have sore muscles for a few days after training but don’t push yourself too hard or you could be at risk of overtraining. (3) Whichever method you choose to weight train it is important to use proper form and to remember to breathe. (4)
The building blocks to being healthy have always been diet and exercise. Muscle mass is controlled by nutrition and physical activity. (5) To really be stacked it isn’t enough to hammer in a good workout you also need the right materials to get big muscles. While wood, cement and plaster make up the interior of most of our buildings our muscles are made out of just one thing: protein.
Eating enough protein gives your body the support it needs to be big and strong. It’s recommended that bodybuilders get between 25-30% of their total daily nutrients from protein in order to maintain muscle mass. (6) Luckily, it’s easy to get protein in your diet. As you might have guess all animal products contain a healthy dose of protein.
However if you are not a natural born carnivore, if you prefer foods that have never walked around, there are plenty of vegan foods that are rich in protein such as soy products, sunflower seeds, legumes, nuts, spinach, broccoli and beans. (7)
Rest is really important to weight training. Just as concrete needs time to harden after being poured, our muscles need time to recover and get stronger after a good workout.
You want to make sure you get enough rest not just at the end of your workout but in between sets. In strength training it is good to rest for 3-5 minutes between sets. (8)
It is also recommended to perform strength training exercises only two times a week. (4) This gives your body plenty of time to completely heal between workouts. Overtraining mainly happens when you don’t allow yourself enough rest in between workouts.
Sleep is the best way to recover. (9) While sleeping our bodies rebuild muscles and recover from previous workouts. If you don’t sleep enough your muscles aren’t given enough time to rejuvenate themselves. (10) It is best to sleep at least 6 hours every night. Getting plenty of rest is an important part of maintaining muscle.
The blueprints to having a strong body will always include strength training, nutrition that incorporates a healthy dose of protein, and an appropriate amount of rest.