Helpful Priorities When Trying to Gain More Muscle

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Trying to gain muscle, get stronger, and build a better physique? Keep reading!

 

What I Wish I Could Tell My Younger Self

If I could go back in time and tell myself one thing, it would that we can’t drive a car on empty, and that we can’t build “something” from a whole lotta nothing.

I spent SO many years working out way too much, training 6-7 days a week, not taking rest days, being afraid to eat more, being afraid of carbs, and not getting enough sleep. And if I’m honest, the ONLY thing I was doing “right” on this list was getting enough protein.

… and yet I wondered why I constantly felt beat down, burnt out, always getting injured, and stuff in the gym didn’t seem to be as progressing as quickly as it could.

Just like a body that’s consistently fed and feels safe is a body that can more easily get lean should we try to diet once in a blue moon — a body that’s consistently wellfed and adequately fueled is a body that can easily recover, quickly bounce back from workouts, prioritize building muscle, and more easily get stronger and hit new PR’s.

 

Helpful Priorities When Trying to Gain Muscle

Eat Lots of Protein:

  • prioritize BIG servings of meat and protein at your meals and snacks
  • Ideally, you should be consuming ~ 0.8-1.0 grams of protein per lb bodyweight

 

Eat Lots of Carbs:

  • Foods such as rice, potatoes, oats, bread, pasta, fruit, etc are a great source of fuel that can help you smash your workouts, support recovery, and build more muscle
  • Carbs are also often a source of fiber, which as an added benefit will help with your digestion 

 

Eat Enough Calories:

  • Can’t build something from nothing. If you wanna build, you gotta eat!
  • Eat no less than maintenance calories. Even more ideal would be eating a few hundred calories beyond your maintenance needs so you’re in a calorie surplus!
  • Building muscle takes time, so your best bet might be to spend a few months eating more and lifting heavy, so you’re putting your body in a place to grow and build more muscle

 

Sleep & Rest Days:

  • More sleep, the better. Maximizing recovery = the secret sauceee
  • Try to prioritize at least 1-2 rest days off the gym each week to let your body rest and recover

 

Training + Rest Days:

  • Strength training and lifting is where it’s at!
  • Building muscle isn’t easy, and it gets harder and harder the longer we’ve been training. You need to be lifting heavy, training hard, and challenging yourself with heavier and heavier weights
  • The most ideal way to train if looking to gain muscle would be to follow a hypertrophy cycle with progressive overload (check out our Physique programs at Paragon Training Methods!)


When it comes to trying to figure out how much to eat, your calorie needs while in a surplus will likely vary based on your training age (and gender!)

Those that are newer to lifting and working out may need to eat in a bigger surplus compared to someone like myself that’s been lifting for over a decade and already has a lot of muscle on their frame.

Someone with more lifting experience (and muscle) might only need to eat something like an extra 100-200 cals daily on top of maintenance needs, while someone newer with less muscle might need something like 200-500+ extra cals per day.

As always, there’s no getting around having to test and see what’s true for you. But this is where I definitely recommend tracking your food so you have actual data to analyze and look at.

If you’re eating more but not seeing the scale go up – you aren’t eating enough (:

That means you’re either not eating as much as you think you are, you’re being inconsistent with your calories, you’re more active than you think you are, or your maintenance is actually higher than you think it is.

Pull out that food tracking app, start logging, and check (don’t guess).

Not sure if you’re eating enough? Check out this post: Signs You Might Be Under-Eating.

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