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Increase Muscle Mass - How To Get Muscle Mass

Building Muscle Mass - 10 Things You Should Know
By Jean Lam

Building muscle mass is difficult and takes time, work and patience. With the right exercises either weight-free or with weights plus a proper diet, you should be able to bulk up and build muscle mass. Depending what type of muscle size you are aiming for either lean or heavy, you should prepare a workout for your goals as well.

Below are 10 things you should know about building muscle mass:

(1) If your plan is to get lean muscle mass, just doing weight-free exercises like push ups, pull ups, dips, leg raises, squats and calf raises will help you achieve your objectives. Below is a list of the muscle groups these exercises target.

Push Ups: Chest, triceps and shoulders
Pull Ups: Back, biceps and forearms
Dips: Triceps, chest and shoulders
Leg Raises: Abdominals
Squats: Legs
Calf Raises: Calves

If you don't know how these exercises are performed, just make a search on Google for instance and you will get more details.

On the other hand, if you are targeting for bigger muscles, it's better to lift weights for hard muscle mass. For every exercise set, go for 6-10 repeats and try to lift weights where you can do between these number of repeats. This means you will lift heavy and as a result, you'll get bigger and stronger muscles. Exercises like bench press, barbell rows, barbell curls, triceps extensions, military press, deadlifts and squats are good for hard muscle mass.

(2) Don't overtrain. For example, don't work a body part everyday because it won't grow. Your muscles need recovery and rest to grow because after every workout, your muscle tissues are depleted. If you're training with weights, you can do a full workout on a particular muscle group once a week and train to failure meaning to total exhaustion. If you're training weight-free, twice a week should be fine. Remember, your muscles grow when you're resting not when you're training. Also, avoid working on a muscle group if it's still sore because this can lead to injury.

(3) Consistency is key for muscle gains. If you plan to train twice this week and then the next week once only, then 3 times the following week, your progress will be really slow. Stick to a plan for at least 1 month and see how it goes. Train about 3-4 times a week and don't miss any workout.

(4) Have a proper diet and eat healthy food. Eat reasonable amount of carbohydrates, protein and fats at each meal. Some good sources of carbohydrates are potatoes, yams, sweet potatoes, oatmeal, wholewheat pasta, wholemeal bread, brown rice. For protein, some good sources are skinless chicken or turkey breast, fish, tuna, salmon, egg whites, skim milk, cottage cheese, baked beans, red lentils, peanuts and lean red meat. For fats, opt for unsaturated fats like virgin olive oil, flaxseed oil and fish oils and avoid animal fats which are saturated ones.

(5) Eat vegetables and fruits because this will balance your diet. These are good for your health as well. Some good sources of vegetables are broccoli, green beans, cauliflower, tomato and for fruits, you have banana, orange, peach, grape, apple amongst others.

(6) Eat regularly and avoid keeping your body without food for more than 3 hours unless you're sleeping. You should eat preferably 4-6 times per day in moderate amounts every 2-3 hours as this keeps your metabolism high. Eating only 1-3 meals per day slows your metabolism down. Don't skip breakfast as this meal will ensure you have energy before starting your day. Just remember, if you want to get big, you need to eat big but you have to eat clean and not just anything. You need to eat more calories than you usually do to bulk up.

(7) Drink water before, during and after each workout as the latter helps maintain muscle mass. Also it's important to hydrate yourself because you're perspiring when exercising. Drink at least 1.5 litres of water per day. The more the better.

(8) Eat sufficient amount of carbohydrates a few hours before exercising because your body needs energy for your workout. Never exercise on an empty stomach. Your body needs "fuel" for your workouts and depriving it from this important element in your training will hinder your muscle gains. When your body doesn't have sufficient amount of energy, it will break down on your muscle tissues and you'll lose muscle mass.

(9) Get adequate amount of sleep every night, at least 8 hours of quality sleep. Your body needs recovery after working out and in order for it to grow, it needs sufficient amount of rest. Also, proper form is important when exercising to get maximum gains.

(10) Do some cardio like jogging, swimming, aerobics, bicycling as this will burn fat and make your body more muscular.

Building muscle mass is a long term goal and if you don't see results when you're just starting out, don't get discouraged because it takes some time to get results. Follow the 10 tips above, keep at it and you should progress with time. Good luck in your muscle mass building goals.

About the author

Jean Lam is the webmaster of Body Building Resource which provides articles on weight training, nutrition and fitness, body building book and DVDs.

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