Muscle building is perhaps one of the most misunderstood processes. You can see dozens upon dozens of gym rats that spend countless hours working out to chisel their idea of a perfect body. The time you spend in the gym is only part of the equation. Muscle growth does not happen in the gym. It actually starts to happen once you leave your workout. Diet, meaning what you eat and when you eat it, is crucial in realizing your growth potential. How you stimulate your body for growth is also important, so you must invest in time and knowledge at learning the best routines that match your fitness goals. Muscle building routines are endless, so you must tailor fit one that will help you attain the perfect physique. Finally, rest and recuperation plays just as important a role as diet and exercise. It is at rest when your muscles actually begin to repair themselves and compensate for the previous workout. That means growth and improved strength. There are also lots of muscle building tips that you must incorporate into your regimen so you will know how the professional body-builders get to attain such muscle mass. To start of let’s get into a modest muscle building workout.
Muscle Building Workouts
For beginners lets devise a workout that splits your body into two sections that you can do on alternating days. A total upper body workout and a total lower body workout. A total upper body workout will include exercises for the chest, back, shoulders, and arms while a lower body workout primarily involves the legs.
Total Upper Body Workout
Let’s start with an upper body workout. Fitness Specialist Jeff Bayer of Askmen.com explains,
“A well-rounded workout program should always include a selection of various upper body exercises that target all the main muscle groups, including the chest, shoulders, back, biceps, and triceps. When a workout program contains movements for each group, the result is great overall strength gains without the occurrence of muscular imbalances….”
Total Lower Body Workout
A total lower body work out essentially involves your legs. This might sound misleadingly easy, but legs are one of the most difficult body parts to do. Menshealth.com elaborates on a basic of lower body training routine.
“…While this routine is designed to work your entire lower body—including your quadriceps—and your core, its main focus is on the muscles on the backs of your thighs. This helps to shore up the long-time weaknesses that contribute to poor posture and, as a result, often lead to back pain and a less attractive physique. And, of course, because you’re working your big lower-body muscles, you’ll burn a ton of calories. So as a bonus, this workout will help melt your middle, too.”
Muscle Building Diet Plan
Your muscles will need perfectly timed and measured nutrients. They say the two most important meals of a body builder are breakfast and the meal immediately after you exercise. The Mayo Clinic staff outlines some basic eating principles you can live by.
“1. Eat a healthy breakfast
If you exercise in the morning, get up early enough to eat breakfast — that may mean one to two hours before your workout. Most of the energy you got from dinner the previous night is used up by morning, and your blood sugar may be low. If you don’t eat, you may feel sluggish or lightheaded when you exercise. If you plan to exercise within an hour after breakfast, eat a lighter breakfast or drink something to raise your blood sugar, such as a sports drink. Emphasize carbohydrates for maximum energy.
If you’re not a fan of eating in the morning before you work out, try a sports drink or have a bigger bedtime snack the night before. And remember, if you normally have coffee in the mornings, a cup or two before your workout is probably OK. Just don’t try any foods or drinks for the first time before a workout, or you risk an upset stomach.
2. Size matters
Be careful not to overdo it when it comes to how much you eat before exercise. The general guideline:
Large meals. Eat these at least three to four hours before exercising.
Small meals. Eat these two to three hours before exercising.
Small snacks. Eat these an hour before exercising.
Eating too much before you exercise can leave you feeling sluggish, or worse, with a case of diarrhea or stomach cramps. Eating too little may not give you the energy to keep you feeling strong throughout your workout.
3. Snack well
Most people can eat small snacks right before and during exercise. The key is how you feel. Do what works best for you. Snacks eaten soon before exercise probably won’t give you added energy, but they can help keep up your blood sugar and prevent distracting hunger pangs.
A healthy snack is especially important if you plan a workout several hours after a meal.
4. Eat after you exercise
To help your muscles recover and to replace their glycogen stores, eat a meal that contains both protein and carbohydrates within two hours of your exercise session if possible. If you aren’t hungry after your workout, drink juice or a sports drink to provide replenishing carbohydrates.
5. Drink up
Don’t forget to drink fluids to help optimize your exercise and workouts. You need adequate fluids before, during and after exercise to help prevent dehydration.
To stay well hydrated for exercise, the American College of Sports Medicine recommends that you:
Drink roughly 2 to 3 cups (0.5 to 0.7 liters) of water during the two to three hours before your workout.
Drink about 1/2 to 1 cup (0.12 to 0.23 liters) of water every 15 to 20 minutes during your workout. You may need more the larger your body is or the warmer the weather is.
Drink roughly 2 to 3 cups (0.5 to 0.7 liters) of water after your workout for every pound (0.5 kilogram) of weight you lose during the workout.
Water is generally the best way to replace lost fluids. But if you’re exercising for more than 60 minutes, use a sports drink. Sports drinks can help maintain your body’s electrolyte balance and give you a bit more energy because they contain carbohydrates.”
Additionally, here are some diet suggestions from Muscleandfitness.com to address all your dieting needs, whether you are beginner or advanced lifter.