I had a young lad in this week with a goal of putting on some muscle. Despite popular belief, its really hard to put on appreciable muscle, unless you are chemically assisted or have gifted genetics.
It can be done, and done well, but it just takes a lot more perseverance, a little longer time, and continued application.
It’s not common knowledge, but I had a training partner who took steroids & the gains that took me 3 years, took him 3 months!!
Different genetics can also dictate how effective people can put on muscle, but generally physical change happens a minimum of 12 weeks after training.
Some people are frightened of weights and what they can potentially do, but the benefits are vast -far beyond the focus on their cosmetic use!
Think strong body, think day to day easier tasks, think overall improved function, higher metabolism, better bone loading, stronger connective tissue, overall health improvements, and decreased disease.
People see the extremes of men and women, especially bodybuilders, and think, I don’t want to look like that, but in reality they never would! It’s an extreme combination!
So what, in my opinion, is necessary to put on some muscle;
Intense training – you must reach a training stimulus that causes the body to change. So those last few reps that are extremely hard will increase the effectiveness of the set. You can also adjust frequency of training, loads, time under tension, to evoke change.
You don’t need to be screaming in agony but it helps to push those last few reps!
Effective nutrition – ideally you need the nutrition to feed the body effectively. Protein requirements are one key and currently it’s suggested to have 1.3-1.8g per kg body weight. This is balanced with a range of fats, carbohydrates and foods to also provide a good spectrum of vitamins and minerals.
Rest and Recovery – muscles grow in the R and R phase. So effective time in-between muscle groups training is crucial, as is quality and quantity of sleep. You have to balance life, work and play!
Progressive overload – you don’t need to increase reps/load/sets/ etc every single session but there needs to be an increase over time. Why would the muscles need to change, if you are not asking them to? It’s the key factor as to why people don’t change!
A training log is useful here.
A change in stimulus – the body can get used to similar training so mix it up – change reps, sets, load, frequency, type, timing, different equipment etc
Obviously there’s more to it but just these key points above will get you a long way down the muscle road!