7 Practical Muscle Building Tips for Men.

In the first 12 weeks, it is perfectly normal for muscles to increase by 10, 20, 30 percent of their original state.

Experts offer some advice on strength training, the result will not be long in coming. Annabelle Robertson

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the American Heart Association view exercise differently. In addition to the usual load on the heart, regular exercises are encouraged with a load on each muscle group at least 2 times a week.

Spero Karas MD, Associate Professor of Sports Medicine Orthopedics at Emory University, states that testosterone, the male hormone responsible for muscle growth, reaches its limit between the ages of 16 and 18 years old. It reaches its apogee by the age of 20, and then declines. Thus, building muscle in adolescence is not worth it.

“If you start doing fitness, especially if you haven’t done anything for a long time, the result will not be long in coming,” Karas says. "In the first 12 weeks, it's perfectly normal for muscles to increase by 10, 20, 30 percent of their original state."

Muscles grow due to the work of new muscle tissue, which makes the muscles stronger and more visible. Even if exercise doesn't lead to significant muscle gains, Karas says, muscle definitely does.

The reason for this is that the muscles absorb water and due to this, during exercise, they increase. In addition, muscles burn fat, which makes them even more visible. After three months of physical activity, muscle growth slows down. The stage has been reached when the muscles really begin to grow, and this takes time.

“After the maximum increase in the load, the body reaches a limit where the increase in muscle mass becomes quite a challenge,” says Karas. Whether you're looking to get serious about bodybuilding or just to shape your muscles, here are seven top tips.

Getting in shape with strength training.

Unfortunately, good health takes a lot of work, says Kent Adams, Ph. D., FACSM, CSCS, director of the Exercise Physiology Laboratory at Monterey Bay California State University.

"You shouldn't train all the time without feeling sorry for yourself," he says. “You need to develop a reasonable, person-specific training schedule and stick to it.”

Tips and training schedules can be found on the websites of organizations such as ACSM or the National Association for General Physical Training. In the absence of excess weight, the best option is a simulator. Plyometry and rhythmic gymnastics are also possible.

At a minimum, perform jumping jacks, squats, and other exercises that develop the hamstrings, stimulating leg muscles to grow.

Whatever exercise is chosen, do not overdo it. Exceeding your endurance level (the amount of weight used) and excessive repetitions of exercise can cause muscle fatigue. And that can slow down muscle growth, Adams says. ACSM recommends three sets of 8-12 reps for each exercise.

To speed up the process, says Lisa De Los Santos (Cooper Institute Certified Personal Trainer, Southern California Air Force Base) exercise to increase your heart rate and metabolism, and try the "super- freezing." She offers one set with two to three exercises for different muscles. Rest, then one more set of each exercise. After that, we move on to the next muscle group.

The load on the muscles.

Photo: Jen SFO-BCN flickr.com/jenniferwoodardmaderazo
Physical activity causes microscopic cracks in the muscles, which are restored again during rest. But if the muscles are not properly rested, serious damage can result.

ACCM recommends that the load be divided into three days as follows:

  • Day 1: chest, triceps and shoulders;
  • Day 2: Lower Trunk (hamstrings, hip abductors and abductors, calves);
  • Day 3: back, biceps and abs.
Hard? Take another day or two breaks or work another muscle group. Do not forget about belated muscle fatigue, which can appear 48 hours after exercise.

Drink plenty of water before and after exercise.

Water is a necessary material for muscle building. But even in the absence of exercise, not all people drink enough water. According to nutritional standards, a person should drink 8-10 glasses of water per day. Karas suggests drinking an additional 350-450 g before starting physical activity, as well as 250-300 g every 15 minutes of intense exercise.

Do you prefer to drink during exercise? It is possible if the lesson lasts more than an hour. In this case, water is needed to restore the supply of electrolytes.

Balanced diet.

Photo: Muffet flickr.com/calliope
Building muscle requires a balanced intake of carbohydrates, fats, protein, and vitamins and minerals. The source of this is our daily food.

Avoid carbohydrate diets, which raise insulin levels and consequently slow down the growth of hormones that affect muscle growth, Karas says. The best option is 5-6 meals of balanced meals in small quantities. Muscle building is not combined with diets.

"When you're in a calorie deficit, you can't build muscle," explains De Los Santos.

Watch your fat intake. Fat should not exceed 30% of your total daily caloric intake. In addition, do not forget about fruits and vegetables rich in vitamins and minerals.

More protein = more muscle.

“Protein, protein and more protein plays a major role in muscle building,” Karas says. “Protein is part of the muscles, and accordingly, a large amount of amino acids is needed to create a protein supply.”

No time to cook? De Los Santos offers high protein snacks such as pressed cottage cheese, cheese sticks, protein shakes. In stores, you can find a variety of powders that dissolve in water or low-fat milk. The result is an energy protein shake that replaces snacks between main meals.

In addition to the above, it is recommended to eat turkey, cheese and dry biscuits, as well as frozen or packaged diet foods rich in protein and low in fat.

Sleep more.

Photo: Llima flickr.com/llimaorosa
Sleep has been linked to blood pressure, depression and other health problems. Therefore, sleep deprivation can stunt the growth of hormones needed to increase muscle mass, Karas says. Recent studies have shown that lack of sleep also leads to obesity.

How do you know how much sleep you need? If a person gets enough sleep, they feel rested and do not want to take a nap, according to the Centers for Disease Control. The average adult needs 7-8 hours of sleep. Of course, some need more.

Training with an instructor.

If there is a need for more detailed information or motivation, then the way out is to hire an instructor. The cost depends on the location and experience, but usually it ranges from $30 to $85 per hour. (price in the USA, we are cheaper, it all depends on the level of the instructor).

In addition, the instructor is not always needed. According to De Los Santos, three months is enough to feel confident in the gym, learn the right amount of different exercises and get the desired result.

“A good instructor teaches by coaching and therefore there is no need to use his services all the time,” says De Los Santos. “Ideally, you learn how to keep fit or achieve new results.” It is possible to hire someone who is more to your liking, since you will spend at least an hour together every week.

Photo: Llima on flickr.com/llimaorosa