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10 Ways To Increase Muscle Mass

Many people at the gym want to get bigger and more muscular and often wonder what are the best ways to increase muscle mass. It's no wonder, if you're spending hours at the gym, you want to get results. Here are a few ways to increase muscle mass:

Lift heavy

If you lift light ass weights day in day out, you're not going to increase muscle mass as your muscles aren't getting enough stress for growth. If you can perform 20 repeats without sweat, it means the weights are too light. Try to aim between 8-12 repeats with medium-heavy weights. A word of caution though, don't try to lift too heavy than you can handle. If you can barely perform 3-4 repeats, it means the weights are too heavy. Adjust the weights and increase them gradually as you progress.

Perform enough sets

If you're performing only 1 set for biceps and call it a day, you're not working your muscles enough. Performing more sets will get blood rushing to your muscles and get you a decent pump and workout. For biceps and triceps, 6-9 sets is usually enough as these are small muscle groups. But if you're performing compound exercises say back exercises like bent-over rows, lat pull downs which solicit the bicep muscles indirectly, you can finish your workout with only 1-2 sets of biceps exercises as your biceps will have already been pre-fatigued. Here you're putting your back and biceps workout same day although you can work your biceps on separate days if you wish for more sets and intensity.

Don't rest too much in between sets

One common mistake made by some gym goers is resting too much in between sets. 1 minute is fine but not 5 minutes. If after each set, you need to talk to other people for several minutes, you're sabotaging your workout. Once your muscles start getting a slight pump from your first set, you need to keep going at it until you get a great pump. Try to rest between 45-60 seconds and resume with the next set. You can also use a weight training strategy called drop sets whereby you start with heavy weights then gradually switching to lighter weights with practically no rest. This method allows you to continue pumping out those reps once muscle failure is achieved at one weight. Stressing your muscle fibers enough is key to maximize muscle mass.

Perform compound exercises

If you want to get bigger, focus more on compound lifts which are exercises that solicit several muscle groups at a time. These exercises stress and recruit a lot of muscle fibers for example rows, deadlifts, military press squats, lunges, pull-ups, dips just to name a few. They also stimulate the release of testosterone and growth hormones which increase muscle mass. Compound exercises will definitely make your body more anabolic that is building muscle.

Go easy on cardio training

Cardio training will reduce your body fat percentage giving you a more shredded physique but if you overdo it, you will lose muscle mass. If you lift weights 4 days per week, perform cardio once or twice per week for about 45 minutes per session.

Eat eat eat

If you want to grow and put on more muscle mass, you absolutely need to start eating more, in fact nutrition's importance is at least 75% of your muscle building goals. If your daily diet is 2 meals, it's definitely not enough calories. To increase your calorie intake, add more quality meals to your nutrition routine. 4-6 meals per day is usually the norm for most muscle-building enthusiasts. If you really can't eat that many meals, at least stick to the 3 meals per day and make it quality by having enough complex carbohydrates, lean protein and omega-3 healthy fats. Example oats/sweet potatoes/brown rice - skinless chicken breast/fish/lean beef - olive oil/fish oil supplements like Nordic Naturals - Ultimate Omega, 1000 mg, 180 softgels/almonds. Don't neglect your omega-3 fats intake as relying only on carbs and protein for optimum muscle growth is not enough. Omega-3 fats can aid protein synthesis and foster muscle development.

Take glutamine

Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid naturally found and synthethized in the human body and mostly stored in your skeletal muscles. It's considered a non-essential amino acid meaning you don't need to get it from foods and supplements but there are times when glutamine can become a "conditionally essential amino acid" notably when your body undergoes intense physical stress resulting in glutamine depletion. This is where glutamine supplements like Optimum Nutrition Glutamine Powder, 1000g are handy and convenient. A great time to take glutamine is after a grueling workout that is post-workout. Glutamine prevents muscle catabolism and speeds muscle recovery.

Take creatine

Creatine is one of the most popular supplements because it definitely helps increase muscle mass. Firstly, creatine improves strength, mental focus and stamina and these are some of the key components to build muscle mass. Secondly, creatine draws water to your muscles and gives them that bigger and fuller look. Creatine is great pre-workout as well as post-workout and usually 5-10 grams per day is enough for most individuals. There is no need to do the creatine loading phase, just have some creatine supplements like Optimum Nutrition Creatine Powder, Unflavored, 600g, 114 Servings on your workout days. It's important to drink lots of water while taking creatine as it will dehydrate your body.

Have a post-workout meal

Refueling your body a few minutes after your workout is an important step to increase muscle mass. After an intense workout, your muscles are depleted and properly nourishing them post-workout is vital. Timing is critical also, it's better to eat or drink something within 15-30 minutes post-workout rather than after 2-3 long hours. Most people find it easy to down a whey protein shake rather than eating a complete meal, this is where whey protein supplements like Optimum Nutrition 100% Whey Gold Standard, Double Rich Chocolate, 5 Pound come handy and convenient.

Get enough sleep

If you're training hard and eating right but not getting adequate rest, you are not going to increase muscle mass like you should. The simple reason is your muscles really grow when you're resting not during training. So if you get adequate amount of sleep like 7-9 hours each night, your body has enough time to recover from all the physical stress and grow as a result. Sleeping before midnight will also make a difference as you'll wake up fresh and fit.

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