How to Build More Muscle
Building muscle mass does not mean becoming bulky; by changing a few routines, you can help your body gain muscle, lose fat, and get stronger.
Start using free weights. If you have a gym membership, put aside your fear of the free weights section where burly guys grunt and watch their biceps in the mirror. This is not a man’s domain; just start out on the smaller side of the weight spectrum and go for basic moves you can do well.
Schedule a session with one of the personal trainers to get a walk through on basic exercises to do with free weights, and start incorporating those into your exercise routine regularly.
Invest in a set of dumb bells at a weight you can manage. Start using those instead of doing your regular toning exercises: switch out your Pilates routine for a set of bicep curles, tricep dips, butterflies, and squats.
Create a routine that includes cardio and weight training. Focus more time on the weight training and less time on the cardio. Many women work out in the opposite way; they spend most of their time on cardiovascular routines, such as walking, swimming, or aerobics. In order to build muscle, however, it’s necessary to switch the focus. Spend less time on cardio and more time on weights during each workout, or switch back and forth; do weight training three to four times a week and cardio twice a week.
Keep challenging yourself. When you get to a level of ease with your current weight training routine, it’s time to switch it up again. Try new exercises or heavier weights. Include combination exercises that work multiple muscle groups at the same time: (calisthenic exercises: push ups, pull ups, etc)
Give your muscles both adequate fuel and rest. Muscles are made from protein; if you aren’t getting enough protein in your diet, your body cannot form new muscles. Include plenty of low-fat protein sources in your diet, such as legumes and beans, lean cuts of meat, and low-fat dairy. You can also include, in moderation, higher-fat protein sources such as nuts, seeds, and oils. Just don’t overdo it on the fat and protein combination.
Eat carbohydrates before you work out for energy and proteins after to provide that muscle-building material to your body. Make sure you get a balanced meal .
Get enough sleep every night; your body needs time to rest and rebuild after weight training and cardio work. As you ease into weight training, you may need to only work out every other day to give your body time to recuperate.
The stronger you become, the more your body can handle, but don’t push yourself further than is comfortable. A fatigued body won’t be a good muscle-builder, but a body that is challenged, trained, well-fed and rested can quickly become lean and strong.
Muscle strength peaks at age 25 and hits a plateau before falling sometime in your mid-to-late 30s. The more shapely, strong muscle you can bank now, the stronger you'll stay for life. Research shows that strength training can replace about five years' worth of lost muscle in as few as eight weeks. Use these strategies to exercise to your full potential.
LAST LONGER, RECOVER STRONGER
Age affects how quickly you bounce back from a hard workout: The younger you are, the easier it is. But at any age, you can get more from your workout and trim recovery time by knowing what to eat and drink before, during, and after exercise.
ONE TO TWO HOURS BEFORE YOUR WORKOUT
Have a high-carb snack. "Carbs can help you feel more physically and mentally energized during exercise," says Liz Applegate, Ph.D., director of sports nutrition at the University of California, Davis. In one study, cyclists who ate carbs before riding were able to pedal 18 percent longer before fatiguing.
Make the energy last by adding a small amount of protein: Try a bowl of Cheerios and boost the carb count with some fruit, or half of a turkey sandwich (stay fairly light on the turkey to keep it moving through your system) and a banana. For a turbo charge, add coffee.
A British review of 21 caffeine studies found that caffeinated people said that exercise felt easier, and they were able to run, swim, bike, and row 11 percent faster and/or longer before tiring out. Just 250 milligrams — one 16-ounce coffee — does the trick.
DURING YOUR WORKOUT
Have a sports drink if a strenuous workout lasts longer than 60 minutes. That's when the fuel (glycogen) in your muscles tends to start running out. The carbs in sports drinks will replace it. In one study, cyclists who drank a sports drink before and during a two-hour test were happier and felt the exercise was easier than those who guzzled water. Play with amounts — you may not need the whole drink to gain the energy you want.
WITHIN 30 MINUTES OF FINISHING YOUR WORKOUT
Eat a blend of carbs and protein to beat fatigue and help your body bounce back. After a strenuous workout lasting longer than an hour, your muscles are depleted of glycogen, which they need for post-exercise recovery.
The right foods can triple the rate at which your muscles restock glycogen. In fact, low-fat chocolate milk may work wonders: A recent study found that cyclists who drank it after an exhausting ride were able to bike about 50 percent longer during a second ride (four hours later) than those who downed a pricey, protein-filled "recovery" drink.
So there you go let us know what you think down below :)
- Joanna Cruel