If you are looking to see defined muscles, strength training is the way to go. But you need to know the basics of muscle building and its science in order to get the results you desire.
It may seem obvious, but protein is important for muscle building. However, it’s more than just consuming adequate protein.
Eat a Healthy Diet
When you want to build muscle, the right diet is essential. Eat a balanced diet with lots of protein, carbs and fats, and make sure you get enough sleep. In addition, you must take supplements like protein powder, creatine and a multivitamin.
Choose healthy, lean protein sources. These include meat, fish, poultry, eggs, legumes and low-fat dairy products. Also, opt for proteins that are complete – they contain all the necessary amino acids to build and maintain muscles.
Consume 20 calories per pound of body weight each day to support new muscle growth. Add protein to meals with grated cheese, peanut butter and wholegrain toast; and top salads, casseroles and mashed potatoes with olive oil, avocado and nuts. Avoid sugary sodas, sports drinks and gummies.
Eat Right Before Workouts
Whether you’re lifting weights, running miles or swimming laps, the food you eat before a workout makes an important difference in the actual muscle-building benefits of that workout. If you skip eating beforehand or eat the wrong types of foods, your muscles may not have enough energy to perform their best.
Ideally, it’s best to eat a well-balanced meal three or more hours before exercising, and stick with carbohydrates and a moderate amount of lean protein. But that’s not always possible, and everyone has a different tolerance for foods before exercise. For example, some people find that a protein shake or a handful of dried cereal works for them, while others prefer to eat more of a snack like a banana and toast. Try experimenting with your food combinations and timing to find what’s right for you.
Get Enough Sleep
Getting enough sleep is essential for muscle growth and repair. A good night’s rest helps optimize muscle recovery and regulate hormones, which play a critical role in building muscles. A proper sleeping requirement varies from person to person, depending on age, body weight, and lifestyle. If an individual who typically functions well on 7 hours of sleep begins to cut back on this amount, their body may begin to experience a decrease in muscle growth and recovery.
Whether you’re working out to stay in shape, playing sports for fun or making it your career, dehydration can lead to injury. Your body loses a lot of water through sweat during exercise, and this loss is even more rapid if you’re practicing or playing in hot weather. Staying hydrated is important because it helps prevent muscle cramps, increases strength of muscle contractions and maximizes performance. Drink at least eight ounces of water each hour before and during workouts, and bring a wide-mouth bottle for constant refilling. You may also want to consider drinking a beverage with electrolytes such as Powerade or Gatorade.