To get one thing out of the way first, putting on lean muscle mass as a natural lifter is not an easy task. Your body will fight it, and you will need to put in the hours and dedication needed to become the change you wish to see. Quite simply, there is a reason why many beginners quit after a couple of weeks of training, and why only a handful of individuals realize their true muscle-building potential – it’s hard, and it takes time and unrelenting dedication.
Instead of allowing this simple truth to deter you from pushing towards your dreams, it should motivate you to fight and embrace a winning mindset that will guide you safely on your fitness journey. Here is your essential guide to putting lean size on your frame.No, you’re not eating enough
Ask any personal trainer and they will tell you that one of the common problems they see in hard-gainers is their twisted perception of their daily caloric needs, and the amount of food they eat. Instead of telling yourself that you’re already eating and drinking enough during the day, why not putting everything down on a piece of paper from the moment you wake up to the moment you go to sleep?
What you will soon realize is that you’re most likely not even close to your ideal daily caloric intake. What’s even worse, many beginners struggle with consistency. Professional athletes are so successful not because they have a miraculous training routine or because they eat salmon instead of chicken, they are successful because they do the same thing every single day. If you want to get big, you need to calculate your macros and your calories, and make sure you hit the mark day in and day out, no exceptions.Follow a comprehensive program
Now that you understand the importance of eating big to get big, you can move on to building your muscle-building training split. There are many sports you can specialize in the gym, the most popular being bodybuilding, powerlifting, and perhaps CrossFit. While all of these will build muscle mass, specificity in training will be key to your success, so it’s important that you focus on bodybuilding in order to maximize muscle growth.
Instead of thinking about adding pounds to your bench press, you want to focus on quality repetitions, pumping blood into your muscle tissue, and causing as much micro-damage as possible. To achieve this without blowing a fuse, you should manage your training volume, frequency, and intensity respectively.
Volume is the number of sets you do per muscle group per week. Frequency is the number of times you train a muscle group per week, and intensity is the amount of weight you’re using. You can only max out on two variables at the same time, and this will usually be volume and frequency for building muscle while lowering the intensity.Supplement according to your goals
Another crucial element of staying safe in the gym long-term and maximizing muscle growth will be supplementation. Now, supplements alone will never get you the results you’re looking for, but if you have the aforementioned steps covered, then they can give you an edge over your peers. Out of all the gimmicks in the fitness industry, you, as a lifter, should focus on protein, creatine, vitamins, and minerals.
Keep in mind that the most powerful muscle growth supplements are the tried-and-tested products bodybuilders have been using for years, of which protein and creatine have the biggest benefits for beginners. Complement these with quality vitamins and mineral supplements and you will have no problem speeding up muscle growth and recovery.Focus on big, compound lifts
Many beginners think that isolation movements are the key to a bigger physique, however, that might be truer for seasoned lifters. As a beginner, you need to build a foundation of size first, something you can achieve only by focusing on big compound movements that will involve multiple muscle groups at a time.
For instance, doing pull-ups for reps can be more beneficial to a beginner because it utilizes the majority of your upper musculature, as opposed to curling a puny dumbbell into infinity. Focus on big movements such as pull-ups, deadlifts, squats, and presses, and you will put size on your frame much faster.Don’t forgo proper recovery
Last but certainly not least, adhering to proper post-workout recovery can mean the difference between maximum muscle adaptation, and a nasty injury. Simply put, the stress you put on your body during training is cumulative, and it can take a heavy toll on your CNS, connective tissue, and muscles. This begs the need to give your body enough time to recover, making sure your sleep plenty, eat like a bodybuilder and tend to some light cardio on your off days.
Building lean muscle is not an easy process, quite the contrary, it entails a lot of hard work not many people are prepared to face. Nevertheless, you should have no problem making steady progress towards the physique of your dreams if you just stick to these muscle-building commandments.