Alas, strong is the new sexy, so is it any surprise that the majority of us want to increase lean muscle mass?
If you’ve ever attempted to increase your muscle mass naturally before, you can attest to how challenging it really is.
The truth is that gaining muscle is more complex than lifting weights and increasing your protein intake.
Your body is the collaboration of several working systems and when nourished properly, can create a muscle building environment that will promote new muscle tissue.
How important is creating a muscle building environment?
Think for a moment, about the time when you were going through puberty. Your body was transforming into a different shape and you we’re becoming a bigger YOU.
Did you happen to notice that no matter how many times you refused to eat your fruit and vegetables that you still continued to grow?
This is because your body was releasing hormones. These powerful hormones were the main driver behind your growth into a bigger you and they ultimately dictate your ability to generate new muscle tissue.
Hormones are the blueprints that tell your body to absorb the nutrients in your food and then deliver them in the form of bigger bones and stronger muscles.
We know that protein is the material needed to build new muscles, but without the blueprints nothing will happen.
The two main hormones responsible for muscle growth are Testosterone and Human Growth Hormone. These are muscle building hormones the body secretes in response to lifting heavy weights and working out.
A must-follow checklist of ways to increase your muscle mass naturally.
1. Get enough sleep & don’t fight it
Several studies have shown that a lack of sleep can lead to an increase in the hormone cortisol. Cortisol is a catabolic hormone that breaks down molecules into smaller units of energy.
By all costs you’re going to want to minimize the amount of activities that increase your levels of cortisol.
Without getting too scientific, the release of cortisol into the body is a natural response to several activities that can result from either good stress and bad stress.
Activities that encompass bad stress, like sleep deprivation and working out too long, are forms of cortisol that we can control and should work to eliminate. A prolonged exposure of Cortisol is not conducive to an anabolic, muscle building environment.
Cortisol is a catabolic hormone because it has the opposite effect to testosterone and growth hormone, in that it breaks down tissue.
2. Select a high-quality protein powder
If you’re going to utilize a protein supplement to increase your protein intake you should look for a pure, high quality product. Beware most protein supplements on the market contain cheap ingredients and other food additives that constitute a substantial amount of ingredients in your supplement.
I prefer to us a clean, all natural supplement like .
Why me and 1,000+ others are choosing Formulx…
Formulx has 5 ultra-high qualities that make it my choice for a protein supplement.
– 100% grass-fed protein
– Plant extracted digestive enzymes
– Naturally sweetened with Stevia & Birchwood Xylitol
– 100% Non-GMO
– No artificial flavors or colors
Even if you don’t choose to use an all-natural protein powder like , you should still be cautious when selecting your next protein. The majority of protein supplements on the market contain more ingredients than just protein. In fact, most of these additional ingredients are cheap, inferior substances that are used to the manufactures advantage.
3. Consume 1g of protein per pound of body weight
This amount of protein intake is a good rule of thumb and has never disappointed me. supports this by suggesting that this is the ideal amount for those looking to increase lean muscle mass.
It’s easy to become overwhelmed by the thought of how food this can add up to. But protein adds up quickly and it’s easy to consume a significant amount.
Some easy ways to increase your protein intake:
Consume eggs: 6g protein per egg
Consume peanut butter: 7g protein per 2 Tbsp.
Consume chicken: 30g protein per 8oz
I suggest looking at the protein content of your favorite foods and tallying how much is in them. Protein is found in nearly all foods and you may be surprised at how much you’re consuming already.
4. Don’t forget about your micro-nutrients
Stumble upon nearly any health and fitness blog and the answer to increasing muscle is upping your protein intake. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and protein makes up muscles. You know how it goes…
Micro-nutrients tend to get forgotten about in traditional muscle building advice.
What many people don’t know is that Micro-nutrients are the nutrients in your body that allow more complex systems like Protein Synthesis to function properly.
Protein Synthesis is the process by which dietary protein is digested and then absorbed into your body. AKA the process trainers and body builders like to talk about because it relates to the building of new muscle tissue.
It’s easy to get distracted by your intake of macro-nutrients, which is protein, fats, and carbohydrates because this advice is overstated in the industry. Without adequate micro-nutrient consumption, these more complex systems won’t be able to function at their prime. Don’t be a sissy, eat your fruits and veggies.
5. Utilize your body weight as resistance
Using your body weight as resistance is a simple yet EXTREMELY effective way to begin working your muscles. Performing body weight exercises are often overlooked because of how simple they really are.
Body weight exercises require your core muscles to constantly contract which increases your abdominal time under tension, otherwise noted as TUT. TUT is an important denominator in driving muscle growth.
Is it possible to get a full body workout just by utilizing your body weight?
The is one tool in particular that allows you to get a complete body weight workout from the comfort of your home or any place that has a doorway. It allows you to do pull-ups, push-ups, sit-ups, hanging crunches, triceps dips and more.
This tool can be used by nearly everyone who is less than 250 lbs. and who has access to a door way.
6. Moderate alcohol consumption
The impact of alcohol on achieving new muscle mass really depends on your level of consumption.
Some things to consider when drinking alcohol isn’t only the effect alcohol has on your body, but also the secondary effects of drinking alcohol.
Getting into a bar fight and breaking your hand just set you back a month or two. Junk food always seem to taste better when you’re buzzed…
By all means treat yourself, but if you’re serious about getting results, you’re going to want to keep these NON muscle building habits to a minimum.
7. Don’t overly rely on supplements
The supplement industry is a multi-billion dollar a year business that spends a nice chunk of that marketing to passionate fitness enthusiasts like yourself.
Personal trainers, magazines and GNC-like retailers all have great relationships with supplement companies. WHY? BECAUSE THEY SELL!
They sell because those who workout believe supplements will help them achieve their goals sooner. I’m not disregarding supplements altogether, because they certainly do have their place. Supplements like Vitamin C have been crucial to our human evolution and relieved us from Scurvy years ago.
Over-reliance of these supplements, however, can detour your goals.
In his break through book, In Defense of Food, Michael Pollan talks about how supplements ARE NOT equivalent to the food they’re trying to substitute.
Even if supplements are nutritionally the same as food, Pollan argues that food has a synergistic effect that processed supplements can’t provide.
8. Don’t sleep at the Gym
You just watched Arnold Schwarzenegger’s crowning of Mr. Universe and now the glory of an aesthetically perfect physique is starting to rub off on you.
So much so, that you haven’t seen your friends in you can’t-remember-when because you’ve been sleeping at the gym.
Great, you’re motivated. Working out excessively however, is a real thing.
Even if you’re satisfying all the macro and micro-nutrients that your body requires to increase muscle mass, lifting weights is exhausting on your body.
Your central nervous system in particular, is one that requires rest to perform at its best. A sluggish nervous system is grounds for a poor workout. Don’t be a hero, take your rest proudly.
WHICH OF THESE HAS WORKED FOR YOU?
It doesn’t take 8 ways to increase your muscle mass necessarily. Part of the reason I included all of these tips is because everyone’s body reacts differently to various suggestions. I would like to know which one of these has helped you get the best results?