Muscle Building is a complex process. It takes time and effort. Most of the people tend to fail within the first months. But if you own and control these 5 golden rules, you won't fail. If you follow these 5 golden rules, you'll be able to enjoy the process, maintain it, and accomplish muscle building.
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To achieve muscle building, you must train and compromise your body to some kind of intense physical exercise. This can be weightlifting, powerlifting, crossfit,...basically any strength discipline. You can also build muscle with other sports. Tennis, soccer, football, rowing,...
The key point of doing exercise for muscle building is to compromise your body. To give enough reasons to build muscle. If intensity and training volume is enough, then the 'catabolism' induced during the training session will be recieved by our body as a signal to build muscle.
Fitness for Dummies
We need to exercise to build muscle. That'll put our body in survival mode. Our body is not comfortable when we train. If we build muscle, we'll adapt to the training session, and we won't be at risk anymore. Following what Darwin studied, that is simply natural selection.
How Can I Build Muscle?
If we take Muscle Building, 90% of the whole cake is about focusing on thes three levels; sleep, nutrition and training. If you are able to change and optimize these, you are more than ready to build muscle.
Each of these three levels has a lot of sublevels we need to consider as well. Although this is beyond the scoop of this post, we recommend you to check out these articles to keep reading about each of these three levels for muscle building.
Training, more specifically resistance and/or strength training, is the trigger of muscle building. In simple words, it compromises our body and gives reasons to build muscle.
If we are constanly training (2-5x/week), our body will have to build muscle to adapt to the new "normal situation". This is the principle of natural selection. Our body adapts to the environment to favour its evolution and fitness (source)
Nutrition and training go hand by hand. To see this more clearly, let me put three different scenarios:
I bet you want to be the third case, right? Then you should equally consider training and nutrition. Both are as important as the other. And both should be carefully planned and well executed to get the best results.
And science backs up the importance of nutrition for muscle building. Protein provides amino acid and upregulates our metabolism to favour muscle building (study). Carbohydrates improve our training performance (study). Fats keep the equilibrium of the hormones environment and maintains cellular homeostasis (study).
As a whole, nutrition allows to 'tune in' and optimize our metabolism to build muscle. It provides everything we need to keep creating muscle tissue, and maintaining our body homeostasis.
Sleep and Recovery
We need to sleep to Recover, Recharge, and Reset. As a fun fact, we wouldn't last more than 11 days of no sleep.
Sleep is an important chunk of the equation to consider. When we sleep and recover from the training session is when we actually build muscle. The better and more effective the recovery process, the more muscle adaptations we'll be able to build.
Not only that, but sleep is detrimental for our health as well. A correct sleep improves the brain function (study), body composition (study), training performance (study), focus and alertness (study), and boosts our inmune system (study)
The 5 Golden Rules of Muscle Building
There's a lot of factors you must consider if you want to optimize muscle building. But let's be honest. Most people doesn't have the time, or motivation, to go 10/10. And that is so respectable. They can still train, follow their diet and build a nice physique.
In the followig 5 min, we'll cover the 5 golden rules of muscle building. Five 'musts' if you want to build muscle. If you control and own these five apptitudes... you are more than ready to go. Start the journey of muscle building.
Long Term Mentality
The very first and most important attitude; long term mentality. Muscle building takes time. It doesn't happen overnight. And if you are aware of this and stick to the plan, you'll succeed and the results will eventually come.
Muscle building is one of the most expensive physiological processes in terms of energy costs. It takes a lot of metabolic work to do, and we cannot pretend to go from 0 to 1 overnight. It simply won't happen.
During your entire lifespan, you'll be able to put a max. of 40-50lbs naturally. Most people pretend to gain that in 3-5 years. Don't be like that. Don't try to hack biology. That is not viable on the long term.
During the first weeks of training, the gains will mainly come from strength (study). You'll be more efficient and driving new neural connections. This will activate muscle fibres more efficiently. And you'll be able to lift more weight.
Changes in your muscle mass are not noticeable during the first 4-6 weeks. After that, you can start to feel some body transformation happening. But again, muscle building is a long term race. Be aware of that, and stick to the plan. Don't get frustrated if it takes longer than you though. That is where all satisfaction comes.
Execute a Plan
"No action without a plan succeeds" - TBS, 2022
If you want to build muscle, you need a plan. Doesn't matter what, you need a plan. It will keep you on track, tell you what to do at all times.
With a plan on hand, you'll be able to enjoy more your trainings. You'll go to the gym knowing exactly what to do. No less, no more. And next week, more and better. That is the principle of progressive overload
The plan will determine the action. If there's no plan, there's no defined action to get you where you want. Inversely, the action can take you back to the plan. Depending on the outcome and evaluation of the action, you may need another plan to get the results you wanted.
What Should I Include In the Plan?
When talking about making a plan to build muscle, we are mainly interested on building an individualized training program. This will fit your needs, circumstances and it will point towards your goals.
To make a plan, you should consider the different points:
- Exercise selection: which exercises should I do?
- Muscle split: how many workouts per week? What am I doing on each workout?
- Progressive overload: How will I be able to progress?
- Medium/long term perspective: When do I want to achieve the results? When can I achieve the results?
Making a plan can be complex and confusing if you don't have the knowledge it requires. But that has an easy fix.
In TBS, we have released a new course with all you need to know to build muscle and make the perfect plan. It also includes modules talking about sports nutrition, how to make a diet, and other aspects of muscle building to optimize the process.
During the seven modules of this course, we take you through all you need to know to start changing your physique. After you finish the course, you'll be able to make your training program, make your own diet adjusted to your goals, and more importantly... create and maintain a healthier and sustainable lifestyle.
Online Course: How to Start Changing your Physique
Be Prepared for the Unexpected
Let's be real and honest. Not everything depends on ourselves. Even when you try to carefully control everything to get the best outcome, the tower can fall.
We cannot control everything. Starting there, the best we can do is to prepare ourselves for what's coming. If you do that, only the tip of the tower will fall. You'll have the base so consolidated, that even against the highest adversitites, your tower will be able to stay standing.
During the journey of muscle building and body composition, you'll go through high and low seasons. We like it or not, the progress is never linear, an we gotta live with it.
On our 'high seasons', motivation will be at its peak. We'll go to the gym, hit our trainings to our fullest, and follow the diet from start to end. Everything will feel smooth and easy. Your phyique will be better than ever, and the muscle gains will be fast and efficient.
HIGH SEASON ------ MOTIVATION + DISCIPLINE
You'll be driven mostly by motivation. It will take you out of bed, put you in the car, and drive to you the gym. And that will help you building discipline and habits.
But motivation is volatile. It comes and goes. And when it goes, it's discipline what we survive from. When motivation is not there, is the discipline and habits we've built what puts you out in the gym. No matter what happens.
LOW SEASON ------ DISCIPLINE
And it's here, on the low seasons, when it's important to stay on track. More than ever. You may not me motivated, but motivation will come back. And everything you do now, will help you tomorrow. When motivation is back again.
Make it a Habit
Golden rule of Muscle Building. Probably one of the most (if not the most) important rule. Make it a habit.
Muscle building and body composition is a long term process. As we've seen in this post, it doesn't happen overnight. We can't build muscle by going from 0 to 100.
If you succeed at making training and diet a habit, you won't completely rely on motivation. It will make the extraordinary ordinary, and it'll feel weird if you don't do your workout or follow your diet.
Making habits is about implementing new actions in your lifestyle. Going to the gym, following the diet, sleeping properly... It will decrease the probability of failure, to the point of being almost null.
How to Make it a Habit
Following what James Clear says in his book Atomic Habits, to succeed building a habit, it should be:
If you make a habit that follows and fulfillis these four requirement, you'll succeed. You'll be able to implement that habit into your lifestyle, and maintain it on the long term. Here it comes a practical application to build a habit of going to the gym first time in the morning
How to go to the gym first time in the morning:
- Make it easy: Don't book anything else in that timeslot. Make sure you have nothing else than going to the gym.
- Make it obvious: Leave everything ready the night before. Prepare your gym bag, leave it in your door (where you can see it), and place your gym shoes right next to your bed.
- Make it satisfying: Share it on social media. Commit yourself to the rest of your followers. Make them aware of your discipline and willpower.
- Make it attractive: Find the beauty on going to the gym in the morning. For some will be finishing the workout while it's still dark, for others will be the feeling of doing the 'homework' early...
Conquer your Discipline and Willpower
Discipline and willpower are key apptitudes to succeed on the journey of muscle building. Look at all bodybuilders. If there's something in common among them, it's the huge discipline they have. Follow crazy diets for months, training hard and keeping up to get their besy physique.
If motivation is the 'contact key' of your vehicle, discipline is the fuel. It determines how far you'll be able to go.
Discipline keeps you on track. It keeps your vehicle up and running. And, as every other apptitude, can be trained. If you are able to control and own discipline, you'll be less succeptible to easy distractions.
Nothing will stop you from going to the gym and keeping up with the diet. And that, on the long term, is the key of success. One of the golden rules of muscle building.
Willpower and discipline go hand by hand. When you train your discipline, you are automatically working in your willpower, and vice versa.
Acquiring and conquering willpower will keep you on track when the scariest storm is over you. If you conquer willpower, you'll be able to fo to the gym when you least feel like going. You'll be able to follow the diet when you most crave a cheatmeal. And again, that is the key of the long term sucess. One of the golden rules of muscle building.
Muscle building and body composition is affected and determined by a wide variety of factors. But if you accomplish the basis (sleep, nutrition, training), you have 90% of the process.
In this post, we've talked about the 5 Golden Rules of Muscle Building. Five key aspects and apptitudes that will take you to your goals. If you own and conquer each of these five aspects, you'll be more than ready to start the journey.