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A Beginner’s Guide To Building Muscle

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You’ve bought some new workout clothing, signed up to your local gym, now what’s next? 

 

We’ve all got to start somewhere when it comes to building muscle, so we’ve put together a beginner’s guide to building muscle to introduce the main things you should focus on. The most important thing is that you’re training consistently, eating the right amount of protein and getting enough rest. Building on these three principles, and with a little patience it’s possible to get amazing results. 

 

If you just want to get stronger then it’s all about lifting heavy weights. However, if you want to increase your muscle size (hypertrophy) then there are a few other things you need to consider. Here is a beginner’s guide to building muscle that will get you on the right track. 

 

A Beginner’s Guide To Building Muscle: Where To Get Started

Keep things simple 

 

It can be easy to get wrapped up in the fancy exercises you see on social media, but these aren’t usually the best way to get results. Fitness influencers often over complicate movements to make them look more interesting, without questioning the impact they have on the workout. 

 

The good thing is that you don’t need to make your workouts complicated to build muscle. This goes for anyone from beginners to more advanced lifters. One of the simplest ways of building strength is by performing compound lifts. These are multi-joint movements that use several muscles simultaneously. Compound exercises include: 

 

  • Squats 
  • Deadlifts 
  • Bent over row 
  • Bench press 

 

 

Even if you’re not ready to enter the gym yet, you can start building muscle by doing bodyweight exercises. There are several ways to increase the difficulty of bodyweight exercises so that you are still able to progress. It doesn’t always have to be about lifting as heavy as possible. 

 

Incorporating bodyweight exercises into your training is especially useful as a beginner because you will be learning new movement patterns and practising technique before adding weights. 

 

Stay consistent 

 

Next in our beginner’s guide to building muscle, we have the element of consistency. You will have heard the phrase ‘consistency is key’ because it’s one of the fundamental rules when it comes to building muscle and getting results. The thing about building muscle is that it takes time and you have to be patient. This means not giving up after 4 weeks. You need to give yourself a minimum of 8-12 weeks until you start seeing results. 

Likewise, you also need to stay consistent in terms of your training sessions. It’s no good doing 1 session one week and 3 another week. You need to be doing resistance training a minimum of 3 times per week if you want results as quickly as possible. Build a routine and stick to it, you’ve got to trust the process. 

 

Use the laws of progressive overload 

 

There’s no way you’ll increase muscle mass without using the principle of progressive overload. This is a training method whereby you gradually increase the stress placed on the musculoskeletal system. There’s no right or wrong way to do this, and throwing more weight on the bar isn’t necessarily always the best way to do it. Here are a few ways you can increase the volume and intensity of your training: 

 

  • Increase the number of sets 
  • Increase the number of repetitions 
  • Reduce the rest between sets 
  • Increase the weight 
  • Use more advanced movements 

 

By incrementally increasing the stress placed on your body, you are stopping the muscles from becoming comfortable and hitting the dreaded plateau that is every lifter’s worst nightmare. The key is to keep it small and consistent. Trying to increase the volume or intensity too quickly can cause injury, leaving you unable to train and back to square one. 

 

This is one of the most important components of our beginner’s guide to building muscle, as it will help you to progress in a safe way when you gradually increase the volume and intensity of your training. 

 

Fuel your training

 

There’s no point training hard if you aren’t fuelling your body with the right amount of food to keep muscle growth as high as possible, making this an important part of our beginner’s guide to building muscle. 

 

Your body needs three food types in large quantities, known as macronutrients. These are protein, carbohydrates and fat. You need all three for a balanced and nutrient rich diet, however the one we are most concerned with for muscle growth is protein. 

Protein is the building block of muscle and without a sufficient amount, your muscles won’t grow. Eating an adequate amount of protein will help to replenish the muscles after exercise and promote muscle growth. Try to consume protein with every meal and as soon as possible after your training session. 

 

Tracking your macronutrients can be time consuming, so we’ve done the hard work for you by creating our healthy meal plans, where you will easily be able to track your protein, carbohydrates and fats, so you can remain consistent and also know you are consuming all of the nutrients that you need. 

 

Take adequate rest 

This is by far one of the most important points in our beginner’s guide to building muscle. If you aren’t giving your body the rest it needs then it won’t be able to recover in between training sessions. The most obvious way to rest is to ensure that you’re getting enough sleep. Everyone is different, but the current guidelines recommend between 6-8 hours for adults. 

 

Rest isn’t just about sleep, this also includes the rest you take during the day, in between training sessions and keeping your stress levels to a minimum. You should be aiming for a minimum of 1-2 rest days per week in between your training session. 

 

Final Thoughts in Our Beginner’s Guide To Building Muscle

It might be a little overwhelming to start with, but once you get into a routine and you stick to it you’ll reap the rewards. 

 

To support your journey towards building muscle as a beginner, take a look at our Build Plan

Eryn Barber

by Eryn Barber

Eryn is a content writer who specialises in health and fitness articles. When she’s not writing, Eryn is helping people improve their strength and overall health as a Personal Trainer and is currently undertaking her Msc in Strength & Conditioning. You’ll usually find Eryn out on the trails running when she isn’t working.

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