Lately, I’ve seen, and been asked, a ton of questions about building muscle….
So, I’ma drop a #TruthBomb.
Building muscle is a painstaking process, ESPECIALLY for us women!
It’s literally creating new tissue, and that takes forever! It takes so much longer to see the results when the goal is muscle gain than when the goal is fat loss. Truthfully, you’re not going to see much change on a day to day basis, or even month to month. But, 6 months from now, you will notice that you’re starting to look more muscular, and your post lift pumps will be getting better and better. And, a year from now, when you look back on pictures, (HINT: Progress pics are SO important!) you’ll see a significant difference in your physique.
I find that impatience is often people’s BIGGEST limiting factor here, but you’ve got to stay consistent with your workouts! You’ve also got to be sure you’re switching up your routines every 6 weeks or so, to keep your muscles from becoming “bored” and adapting to the training. These switch ups don’t have to be complicated, you can even incorporate some of the same exercises you’ve been doing, but adding new things and going back and forth between routines is very important, and will make a huge difference.
Additionally, you’ve got to continuously overload your muscles. This means asking them to do more “work” than they’re used to, which is accomplished by periodically placing more demand on them…You can achieve that by:
1. Adding reps to your sets (i.e. Instead of 8 bicep curls, do 10).
2. Increasing your resistance (weight) and doing the same number of reps (i.e. Do the same 10 reps, but increase the resistance from 5# to 10#).
3. Adding more sets of “work” to a specific muscle group (i.e. adding an additional set or two, while keeping reps and resistance the same…Instead of doing 3 sets of 10 reps at 10#, do 4 sets of 10 reps at 10#).
If you aren’t quite ready to go heavier, stick with numbers 1 & 3. Overload is necessary for growth, but remember, it takes time and consistency.
Finally, you’ve got to make sure you’re eating to match your goals. Building muscle requires you to take in more Calories than you burn. But, just counting Calories isn’t enough. You’ve got to give your body the vital nutrients it NEEDS. You’ve got to be sure to get enough protein each day to support muscle growth, as well as other cellular, hormonal, and regenerative functions. Carbs are important to putting on lean mass, as well. Your body will use them for quick energy, preventing you from burning stored nutrients, and allowing for growth. And, of course, fats are necessary for hormone production/function, brain functioning, and the transport/absorption of certain vitamins and minerals…Not to mention, they’re the longest lasting energy source in the body!
But, don’t just look at what you eat as Calories, carbs, protein, and fat…Really pay attention to food quality…The types of foods you eat will make a huge difference. Loading up on minimally processed, wholesome foods will help you see the results you want over time.
Building muscle calls for a multi faceted approach. It requires hard work, consistency, and patience, because it takes TIME! There is no fast track…You can’t force it…You’ve got to work at it day after day…one rep at a time.