So you wanna be like Muscle Man Randy Savage?
Many people ask me: “How do I build muscle?”
The answer to this question can become very detailed and long. I will try my best to keep it short and to the point. There are a number of methods that can be used to build muscle. The main thing to keep in mind is to implement these few parameters into your current workout regimen and lifestyle.
- Progressive overload
- Variations in training
- Proper diet
When exercising, at first you may see great results but then shortly see your gains diminish. Our bodies are very smart and when they are given a challenging stimulus they will adapt to it. This is where we have to add more stimulus or weight to make the workout challenging once again. This is considered progressive overload. A stimulus is placed on the body, it adapts, then more stimulus is required. When the muscles are challenged, they will grow. Without this, gains will plateau.
Variations in training simply means changing the variables (reps, sets, etc) within a workout. Lowering repetitions, adding more reps, changing the exercises, adding sets, or playing around with tempo are all variations that can be tweaked within a workout program.
One of the biggest key components to building muscle is diet. As much as people hate hearing it, proper diet will expedite growth. Many bros will give this piece of advice over and over, “Bro, you gotta bulk.” Yes and no… I disagree slightly, due to the fact that most methods of bulking involve “dirty bulking.” This method of building muscle involves eating vast amounts a food (mostly junk food), getting fat, then cutting the weight off in hopes that muscle is maintained. It’s unhealthy and makes people look like they never worked-out for half of the year.
What I prefer is a method called “clean bulking.” Basically this form of bulking involves eating the same foods that someone would eat when cutting weight, yet they’re just eating more of it… yup it’s that simple!
Foods I Recommend to Eat on a Clean Bulk Diet Include:
- Chicken (breast, or boneless thighs)
- Lean Pork (loin, or boneless chop)
- Lean Steak
- Shell-Fish (shrimp, crab)
- Grass-Fed Cheese
- Vegetables (muy importante)
- Nuts (almonds, macadamia nuts)
- Healthy Oils (coconut oil, olive oil)
- Etc. (basically whole healthy foods with roughly one ingredient)
Now that we know what a clean bulk consists of, let me explain the final piece of this puzzle: micro-bulking. This is by far the healthiest, fastest, and less pain staking way to gain muscle mass. Micro-bulking & cutting involves a two week on, and two week off process.
*Note: For some people this may vary.
Me, for example, I would normally clean bulk for two weeks. The first week, I would gradually increase my caloric intake. By the end of the first week, I should be consuming my goal which is usually 3,000 calories. After that, I will continue eating the 3,000 calories for the whole second week. By the third week, or depending on how much body fat I accumulate, I will start cutting. Don’t worry, when I mention body fat it’s not much, just remember to stop when abdominals become faint to see.
Usually I would cut 200 calories every 2-3 days to prevent myself from losing the muscle mass I gained. Usually around the fourth week, I would have hit my caloric deficit, or point of which I am burning more calories than consuming. For me that number is around 2,200 calories. After a few weeks of cutting, I repeat the process. This method is what helped me go from 150 lbs to 160 lbs with low body fat percentage within 6 months.
As a disclaimer, use my parameters of micro-bulking as a reference guide. Everyone’s body is different; the bulk and cut periods may vary. Some individuals may need to bulk longer, and others may need to cut longer. Also macronutrient amounts (macronutrients = protein, carbs, fats) may also vary from person to person.
The beauty of this method is that it helps people learn more about their body and how it functions to different amounts of food. The other benefit is that it does not cause vast amounts of fat gain like traditional bulks.
That’s it! This should be plenty of information to start on a muscle building path. Just be open to different ideas and pay attention to how your body is functioning. Gaining muscle is a long journey, yet it really helps us find out what works and what doesn’t. Now go kick some ass and become the learn mean muscle machine you dreamt of becoming.