When all else fails: Eight steps to putting on muscle

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You want to put on some muscle and you’re tired of waiting. You’re ready to take your physique to the next leveling terms of pure, big time muscle and or size. 

Here are some tips to all you hardgainers out there who are going to keep trying to get it done.

Spike your volume.If you train how you’ve always trained, then you are going to look like you have always looked. There’s a good chance that you’re not carrying as much muscle as you would like because you’re not moving enough weight for enough repetitions during enough sets.

You can’t naturally transform your body if you are only showing up to the gym four times a week and training for 40 minutes. Yes, you may get into good shape, but as far as putting on some quality muscle – you just need to train more than that. Hit the gym five times a week for 75 to 90 minutes. Saturate every muscle group with 20-30 sets, then go home and take a nap. Your appetite will skyrocket too – and you will grow larger and stronger as a result.

Stop Stressing.Your lack of additional muscle may be due to stressing over it. Stress leads to a release of the hormone cortisol, a stress chemical that eats up your muscle, saps your energy and kills your hormone levels. Stay relaxed, slow down and breathe. This is great for adding that muscle you desire.

Boost your immune system.Piggybacking off of the stress issue is the importance of keeping up a strong immune system and staying as healthy as you can. We do not grow when we are sick, we shrink.

Beef it up.Beef is one of the best foods you can eat while on a muscle building mission. High on protein, fat and calories, beef is everything that is good when it comes to adding new beef to your frame. Add lean beef to 2-3 of your daily meals. The change to your body will become very obvious very quickly. You gotta eat muscle to make muscle.

Go back to lifting basics.Re-examine your current lifting program. What percentage of your total overall sets for each of the major muscle groups are you devoting to heavy free-weight exercises? If you are currently getting more than half of your exercises with machines and cables, then you are lucky because you can change it. You can shift your free weight to machine ratio to 3 to 1. The results will be immediate growth.

Pump up the sleep.You don’t grow in the gym, the kitchen or while skimming the Internet at 1 a.m. You grow when you are fast asleep. Your mind releases growth hormone, and your torn muscle fibers use the amino acids in your bloodstream as the building blocks for new muscle growth. Look to get 8-9 hours per night and nap as much as you can.

Frequent protein shake feedings.Your body grows new muscle in response to training, but only if the adequate amino acids are available to facilitate such growth. So tip the scale in your favor by adding a few shakes on a daily basis.

Good ol’ fashioned bulking.If nothing else works, Get Big – Pig out, sleep, lift heavy and give yourself a 2-3 month window where you just let yourself go (if on the skinny side) to get a little sloppy. Consume your normal muscle-building foods, but you should also be eating some junk food to give you some surplus calories to aid the new heavy basic workouts you have now incorporated into your program.

Adding muscle to your frame is a HUGE benefit to your entire body, whether you want to weigh more, less or just enhance your total body composition, regardless of the number on the scale. Use these tips and new muscle should be coming your way.


Beau Arney is the owner of Mass Appeal Personal Performance Training, a personal training/fitness program design business in Carrollton. Questions or to request for training or program design, contact Beau at (502) 645-9560 or via Facebook at Mappt Beau Arney.