I WANT TO BUILD MUSCLEIncreasing muscle mass is not something that happens over night, it takes months of dedication and doing the right things to make progress. There are many lifestyle and exercise factors that influence muscle growth, however diet and exercise are the two most important. Even if you eat optimally for muscle growth, your workouts need to be effective in order to promote muscle growth, and vice versa. There are supplements that can support and enhance your muscle building journey; there are some that improve the quality of your workouts, others that help your muscles repair and strengthen, and also hardcore supplements that optimise your hormonal balances to favour muscle growth. In this blog the most critical elements that impact muscle growth will be broken down and explained.
Diet!When it comes to diet and body composition, calorie intake is paramount. Your calorie intake compared to your maintenance calories will determine whether you lose, maintain or gain weight. For example many people from the health & fitness and bodybuilding community cycle bulking and cutting seasons. This is where individuals focus on gaining as much weight as possible, before the cutting season, where they reduce calories to lose weight, in an attempt to maintain the muscle gains achieved during the bulk whilst looking more lean and ripped.
Separate from weight management and calorie intake, protein intake is the key for muscle growth. Therefore to gain muscle mass, it’s important to eat a lot of protein rich foods. It is difficult to ensure adequate protein intake if you’re in a calorie deficit, so it is important to eat at least three big meals a day if you want to gain muscle efficiently.
I know it’s almost cliche to constantly promote protein when discussing muscle building, but it truly is critical. Protein is responsible for repairing your muscles after a workout, which helps them strengthen and grow bigger. Without adequate protein intake the muscle breakdown that naturally occurs during a workout will continue and ultimately weaken the muscle. For this reason, many body builders and gym goers supplement protein through whey powders. This supplement gives users a convenient method of intaking a high dose of protein post workout.
Without complicating things, anyone who trains regularly should aim to consume 1.5 - 2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. To put this into perspective, if you weigh 76 kilograms (roughly 12 stone) your target protein intake should be no less than 114 grams of protein per day. In relation to diet, one of the most protein dense foods you can consume is a skinless, cooked chicken breast, which contains about 50 grams of protein. Alternatively, there are vegan & vegetarian friendly high protein sources, such as 1 cup of tofu which contains roughly 43.5 grams of protein & ½ cup of lentils is roughly 9 grams of protein.Most protein powders contain 20-30 grams of protein per serving. This provides users with a convenient, quick and cost effective method to help them achieve their protein intake target. PNI Lean Shake Plus contains a massive 24g of protein per serving, whilst containing just 110 calories, which promotes muscle growth without the unwanted weight gain. PNI Lean Shake Plus also contains a protein split that promotes fast and slow absorption, enabling protein synthesis to occur over a longer period of time compared to standard whey.
ExerciseThe most effective exercise type to gain muscle mass is weight training. Weight training puts your muscles through tension, which is essential for growth. When the muscle is put under tension, it tears, causing soreness, which is often felt the day after training, also known as delayed on-set muscle soreness (DOMS). Although DOMS can be sensitive and affect ability to walk up the stairs, they should be glorified as it gives you an indication that you’ve had a good productive workout.
Although weight training and DOMS are great for muscle growth, caution needs to be taken, as you can over do it. Rest days are just as important as working out, as this is when your muscles repair and grow stronger. Without adequate rest from weight training your muscles will continue to breakdown. Therefore weight training 3-4 days a week is optimal for muscle building.
If you are new to weight training it is best to stick to lighter/easily manageable weights and compound movements (squat, bench, overhead press & deadlifts) whilst focusing on technique instead of moving the heaviest weights you possibly can. Once you're comfortable with the movement and acknowledge the importance of good form during your lifts, you can begin to push yourself and increase the load.
Creatine is an incredibly popular and highly researched bodybuilding supplement. By supplementing creatine daily, muscle growth accelerates in a shorter period of time. Creatine helps your muscles produce energy during heavy lifting or high intensity exercise. This increased ability helps you perform better and for longer, which ultimately allows you to train harder and achieve results quicker. Pure Labs Creatine provides 5g of creatine per scoop, which is the optimal dose. Pure Labs Creatine is flavourless, therefore can be added to your daily protein shake. To experience the benefits of creatine it must be taken everyday.
Many athletes and gym-goers use pre-workout supplements. These supplements are designed to increase energy levels, delay fatigue, prevent muscle breakdown and enhance blood flow during exercise. If you have good energy levels and feel motivated to smash your workout every time, you won’t need to take pre-workouts. However, on days that you don’t feel quite up for it, a pre-workout can dramatically transform the quality of your workout as well as your mindset towards it.
Twisted by Wazz Sports is a great starter pre-workout for those who a newbies to this supplement & Black Magic BZRK is one for more experienced pre-workout users or those who know they have a good tolerance to caffeine.
Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)
BCAAs are the most important part of a protein molecule in regards to muscle repair and growth. By supplementing BCAAs, you will be activating muscle protein synthesis which is required for muscle recovery and development. Leucine, iso-leucine and Valine are the three BCAAs, however Leucine is the one directly responsible for stimulating the MTOR pathway and therefore growth. BCAAs supplements are not essential, as you get them from food and protein powders, however if you want to repair DOMS quicker, BCAAs are very helpful. Pure Labs Anabolic Amino contains optimal dosages of BCAAs, EAAs and electrolytes, to promote muscle repair and hydration. A lot of people take BCAA supplements whilst working out to prevent muscle breakdown and enhance muscle function.
Our German Pharma range is designed to provide dedicated active individuals and athletes with a safe alternative to anabolic steroids. These supplements optimise your testosterone levels for muscle building and fat loss. For example German Pharma SARMS (selective androgenic regulator modulators), such as OSTA-MAX, LGD-ULTRA and RAD-140, are effective muscle building supplements. SARMs selectively target specific receptors in skeletal muscles and bones. This means they increase muscle growth and bone density but do not harm any organs. SARMS have been shown to have greater anabolic effects than testosterone, giving greater muscle gains; but with lower androgenic effects, equating to fewer side effects. SARMS can cause short-term mild suppression of natural testosterone production, therefore PCT (post cycle therapy), such as The Ultimate PCT or DAA is recommended. PCT will help return your testosterone production back to original values.
Building muscle requires good training and nutrition. You need to ensure you are eating enough calories and high protein foods. Weight training is critical when your goal is muscle building, however rest is just as important, therefore train 3-4 times per week and rest well. There are plenty of research backed supplements that will support your journey, whether that be improving workouts or enhancing recovery. Protein powders are a dietary supplement that supports all areas of muscle building. Many bodybuilders and athletes strongly vouch for creatine use, as this supplement naturally boosts muscle strength and endurance. If you are struggling to gain muscle or want to take your training to the next level, SARMs will increase muscle size without the side effects associated with steroids.