Exercise comes with a great many benefits. With a solid fitness regimen, you’ll have more energy, sleep better, improve your brain function, boost your mood, and keep common health conditions such as diabetes and cancer at bay.
And while each of those reasons is more than enough motivation to exercise, sometimes our goals in the gym are purely based on looks – and that’s okay! There’s no wrong answer. If the idea of getting ripped inspires you to get active and chase good health, it’s the right goal to focus on.
That said, if you’re just starting out in the gym, you might not know how to get muscles, and there’s no shame in that either. We’re here to help.
Listed below are some of the best tips we can give you to build muscle and achieve your dream body. By putting this advice to use, you’ll find that you begin to see results much faster than you might have thought possible.
Increase Your Caloric Intake
The first thing you need to do when your goal is getting jacked is to look at your diet. When you’re trying to build muscle, your body needs to be in a positive energy balance. This means you’re taking in more calories than you’re burning and gaining weight as a result.
Now, don’t go too hard with your calorie increase. It’s better to build up slowly than to try to force yourself to eat so many calories that you either make yourself sick or work against yourself in terms of getting the results you want.
Increase your caloric intake by 500 calories a day and eat this amount for two weeks before weighing yourself again. If the scale hasn’t changed after the two weeks is up, bump it up another 500 calories.
Eat Whole Foods
While you technically can eat anything to boost your daily calories, it’s a much better idea to eat in the healthiest way possible as you do so. If you increase your calories by eating cakes and cookies all day, you will gain weight, but you might notice that you’re gaining more fat than muscle.
Instead, try your best to fill the bulk of your diet with whole, nutrient-dense foods. Fruits and vegetables are always a great option, but put a special focus on protein. About 20% of your muscle is made up of protein, making this a particularly important macronutrient for bodybuilding.
A good rule of thumb is to aim for 0.5 to 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight. So if you weigh 170 pounds, you should be eating anywhere from 85 to 170 grams of protein per day. And don’t forget, you’ll need to increase your protein intake as your weight increases.
Focus on Multi-Joint Movements
A typical gym is full to the brim with complex machines designed to work even the most specific muscle. And though they can be tempting, especially if you’re new to bodybuilding, it’s best to avoid them.
Instead, stick to free weights (barbells and dumbbells) and the big 5 of weightlifting. It might be less exciting, but you’ll see far better results than you would by going the other route.
This is because the big 5 of weightlifting (squat, deadlift, bench press, row, and overhead press) are all compound, multi-joint movements. By focusing on these five exercises, you’ll hit all your major muscle groups with minimal effort and time in the gym.
Don’t Train Every Day
A common mistake made by beginners and seasoned veterans alike is overtraining. It might seem like more training would equal better results, but this is not the case.
Your body doesn’t build muscle while you’re lifting. In fact, challenging your body through weightlifting actually tears your muscles apart. It’s when you’re at rest that your body rebuilds your muscles, bigger and stronger than they were before.
To ensure that you’re giving your body enough time and energy to do this effectively, it’s important that you don’t train every day.
Strength training 3-4 times a week is where you want to be to get the results you’re looking for in the least amount of time. Any more than that and you risk pushing your body past its breaking point, suffering an injury, and being forced to start from scratch after you’ve recovered.
We talked about increasing your caloric intake and how to do it the right way, now let’s dive into supplements – things you can take to kick your training up a notch.
One of the best supplements you can take advantage of is a pre-workout protein shake. Look for one that has 10-20 grams of protein per serving, with amino acids and carbohydrates.
In addition to your protein shake, consider investing in a pre-workout. These typically come in gummy, powder, and gel forms and will give you the boost of energy you need to power through your workout. If you’re interested in learning more about pre-workout supplements, here’s everything you need to know.
Before you introduce any new supplement into your body, you should check with your doctor. Even the healthiest supplements with the best reviews can react badly with certain prescription medications and underlying conditions.
Start Your Journey Toward Getting Ripped Today
When you have a specific goal in mind, there’s no better time to start working toward achieving it than now. Why put it off any longer when you can start your journey toward getting ripped today?
It won’t happen overnight. Developing your body takes time and a great deal of effort, but it won’t take long for you to start seeing results. And once you realize how amazing your hard work is making you look and feel, you’ll never look back.
In need of more tips for improving your health and fitness? Take a look at our blog!