To build muscle mass, either because one has ambitions of an athletic or body building nature, or because one just wants to look good in tight t-shirts and shirtless on the beach, it is important to understand the basic concepts of how muscle is built. Each of the following facets of muscle building is important and oughtn’t to be overlooked or undermined.
You obviously have to lift weights and create resistance if you want to build muscle because it is when you challenge a muscle that you stimulate growth. One of the first and foremost questions about lifting has to be – more reps or heavier weights? Well the fact is that you should get an optimum balance between both. The rule of thumb should be that the weights shouldn’t be so heavy that you are exhausted within 8 or fewer repetitions, and not so light that you can easily do 12 of more of them. It is important to strike a balance with the weight and the reps in order that your muscles get the best kind of work out.
This obviously, is the other major factor that influences how much and how well you are able to build muscle. Protein is the key component in one’s diet that helps build muscle, but this is not to say that you survive on turkey breasts alone. It is important to obtain plenty of other nutrients from whole grain (which incidentally also have very significant protein constituents) and fruit and vegetables. Also the fats that you eat should be of a good quality –olive oil, safflower oil, fish oil are all healthy oils and other types of fats as well as sugars should be kept to a minimum.
Rest and Recuperation
Another hugely important facet to building muscle mass is to get adequate, good quality rest. The muscles need time to recover from each spell of lifting, and if they don’t get the time to recover, they are not going to grow as you would wish them to. For this reason you should not only get adequate and restful sleep each day, you also need to plan out your workouts in a way that gives a particular muscle group adequate rest after being worked on. For instance you shouldn’t train your biceps two days in a row, because that doesn’t give the muscles in the arms any time to recover; which is essential for muscle growth.