The best start you could have to your muscle building journey would be to go back in time and demand to have the same parents as Arnold Schwarzenegger. As that is not possible (At least I don’t think it is) the next best thing you can do is get your muscle building diet right.
Because it is without a doubt the single most important factor in bodybuilding success and unlike having Arnold Schwarzenegger’s parents (yes were back to that again) the food you eat is totally within your control.
The good news is eating correctly is not difficult and only involves two factors; the first is ensuring you get enough calories to build your muscle and the second is making sure those calories come from the right foods.
Therefore, once you know exactly how many calories you need and you get them from the best sources possible you have cracked the biggest obstacle to the outcome of your bodybuilding journey.
So how many calories are needed to build muscle?
The exact amount of calories needed to build muscle varies from person to person depending on metabolism, build, age and how active the person is but as you have to start somewhere a good guide is to multiply how many pounds you weigh by 18.
So for example, using this formula a 150 pound man would need 2,700 calories to gain weight and build muscle but please keep in mind that this is only a guide. If you start at this level make sure you weigh yourself regularly and if after a few weeks your weight hasn’t changed or is increasing to fast simply increase or decrease the calories until you find the right balance.
For good results do not confuse pounds gained with muscle building as it is possible to gain a lot of weight that is predominantly fat if it is done to quickly or with the wrong foods or training. Therefore, keep in mind that your body has a maximum speed at which it can build muscle and any weight gain above this will only be fat. The best advice is to take your time and monitor your results so that if your fat levels become unacceptable you can slow the process down.
The right foods
For muscle building your diet should consist of lean meats, fish and low fat dairy products for protein, fresh fruits and vegetables and complex carbs such as rice, pasta and grains. There is nothing new or radical about this and that’s because it works and as the saying goes, if it aint broke don’t fix it. The best thing you can do is keep to the standard advice and you won’t go wrong.
The amount of protein you need is not cast in stone and the experts disagree to some extent as to how much is required. Having said that, 1 gram of protein for each pound that you weigh is what most body builders would recommend.
The food equation
The exact percentage of your calories that comes from protein, carbohydrates and fats is also up for grabs to a certain extent and some people find that they do better if they increase or decrease one of the 3 elements having said that a diet consisting of 40% protein 30 percent carbohydrates and 30% fats is a good starting point which can be adapted to what you think best with a bit of trial and error.
When to eat
A diet of 5 to 6 small meals each day is the best way to put on weight and build muscle and as strange as it seems this is exactly the same as the diet to lose weight (I know it’s a crazy world) the only difference is the amount you eat. So spread your calories out over the entire day making sure you eat at least every 3 hours and each meal has protein.
Note, if you are feeling like Delia Smith because of all the meals your are preparing keep in mind that a meal can consist of a protein bar or shake.
For those that are new to muscle building the very best exercises you can do are the classical compound movements. If you use bodyweight exercises you can’t go wrong with press ups, pull ups, free squats, dips and all the different versions of them.
If you use weights then stick to the old favourites such as dead lifts, squats, bench press and military press.
Beginners do well on a 3 days per week routine that consists of
8 to 12 compound exercises
With 2 to 3 sets and 8 to 10 reps of each exercise
Remember the training you do will only pay off if you eat the proper food to fuel the engine. If you get enough calories in a balanced diet then you can build muscle with practically any weights program. However, once you have trained for some time your body will adapt to what is being asked of it and this is when the training you do becomes far more important.
Although the results vary depending on the individual and whether their parents are the same as Arnold Schwarzenegger’s (I won’t say it again a promise) everybody can change their physic dramatically with a good muscle building program.
The importance thing to remember is that the right healthy eating plan makes things so much easier. If you follow a good training routine and consume enough calories from good foods you can not fail to build muscle.
If on the other hand your diet lacks enough calories or doesn’t have the right balance of protein, carbohydrates and fats then all the training in the world will not help. So the key to success is what, when and how much you eat, it pays to take the time and trouble to work out what the right diet for you is, stick to it and reach your full potential.