How to gain muscle and lose fat: 5 key steps and complete guide

how to gain muscle

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Complete guide outlines the 5 key steps for how to gain muscle and lose fat, exlpaining how to build muscle, nutrition, most effective exercises, supplements, and motivation.

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The process of building muscle is a highly complex physiological and biomechanical process that can confuse even the most experienced exerciser. Here are 5 simple steps to get you started on the right track today.

Are you looking for the most comprehensive guide on how to gain muscle? It’s good that you stopped by, we have exactly what you were looking for. This guide will guide you through all areas from nutrition to training to the right supplementation and get you on the right path to build as much quality muscle mass as possible.

How to gain muscle and lose fat: How do you really build muscle?

Before we go into the practical basics of how to gain muscle, we need to go through the basics of muscle physiology to make sure we’re on the same level of knowledge.

When someone exercises with weights, they generate trauma within the muscle fibers through micro-tears. As soon as such damage occurs, a cascade of biochemical signals begins and satellite cells become active. These cells combine with muscle cells to repair the damaged areas and help synthesize new contractile components.

When these components increase the cross sectional area of ​​the muscles, you experience the phenomenon known as muscle hypertrophy. Basically, you need to remember that the goal of exercise is to stimulate muscle protein synthesis, with the key to building muscle being in cellular repair, not damage.

Don’t get me wrong, there is some truth to the statement “stimulate rather than destroy”, but to quote super genius and performance specialist Alex Vida: “Adaptation requires forcing the body to do something it doesn’t really want to do – and that will hurt. If it gets easier, the chances are you’ll get lazy.”

Somatotypes: do they even matter?

When it comes to exercise and nutrition for how to gain muscle, most people want to sort themselves into one of 3 categories of body types: ectomorph, mesomorph, or endomorph. Before we take a closer look at these three somatotypes, we should first examine the origin and significance of sorting into body types.

Somatotypes were originally developed by a Rhode Island physiologist named William Herbert Sheldon. A body type classification was originally developed in order to characterize the physiological state of a person based on their atropometry. In the end, the bodybuilding and fitness community adopted the somatyp classification system as a way to categorize the physical abnormalities in exercisers. But not only that – the original model developed by Sheldon was designed exclusively for men, which makes the question of what women should use?

As you can see, somatotypes are quite limited in terms of design, application, and significance. With that said, here are typical characteristics of each classification in Sheldon’s evolutionary model:


The typical “dry” type:

  • Narrow joints
  • Tight shoulders
  • Quite slim build
  • Long bone structure
  • Tall and lanky

This type of exerciser is also known as a “hardgainer” in the weight training community.


  • Quite athletic physique
    • Heavy bone structure
    • Higher levels of body mass
  • Kind of beefy appearance
  • Naturally strong, even with a lack of proper training


  • Small and stocky build:
    • Thick appearance
    • Slightly higher amounts of body fat
  • The length of the limbs is beneficial for strength training in the lower body

You will notice that, unlike most of the other articles on this topic, we are not making specific recommendations for how to gain muscle with exercise and diet based on somatype.

To be honest, most of these articles take a rather short-sighted approach to how to gain muscle, as many people do not follow the “scheme F” recommendations associated with their body type.

For example, what happens if you have an ectomorphic physique, but you feel awful on a high-carbohydrate diet and can do well with 5 training days a week? Should you keep clenching your teeth and shoveling carbohydrates into yourself, avoiding cardio and only exercising 3 days a week? The short answer is “no.”

Somatypes was never developed as a means of assessing muscle growth potential or an individual’s genetic response to exercise in how to gain muscle. Remember that body types are not the ultimate wisdom – you are not doomed to a life in hardgainer hell because you are tall, lanky and have narrow shoulders.

Likewise, if you’re an endomorph who loves carbohydrates, you’re not doomed to put on fat. The somatypes are merely landmarks in how to gain muscle – no more and no less. Don’t limit yourself psychologically by believing that your somatype is something you cannot control and that is the limiting factor in your gains.

Alexander Juan Antonio Cortes described this as follows: “I think somatypes are useful as a very general classification for beginners, not as a rationale for limiting one’s potential. Your somatic type is not even real. Do not use somatypes as an excuse for generating a preconceived limit where no real limit exists.

How to gain muscle and lose fat: the 5 key steps


The first thing you need to do in the steps for how to gain muscle is determine your basic metabolic rate (BMR). Baseline metabolic rate is basically an estimate of the minimum amount of energy necessary to maintain your basic body functions (heart function, breathing, etc.) when you are physically for 24 hours.

After you have determined your basic metabolic rate, you have to multiply the activity factor by this value to get your daily calorie consumption. This value is a combination of the calories that are necessary to maintain your basic metabolic rate and to provide you with the necessary energy for your daily activities.

If you type “BMR calculator” on Google, you will find numerous sites that will help you determine your baseline metabolic rate. You will need the value determined in this way for the following calculations.

Low fat mass gain:

Low fat mass gain is generally recommended for healthy people of average weight. Use the following formula to calculate your daily calorie needs for low fat mass gain:

  • Daily total calorie requirement + 250 kcal

Aggressive mass build-up:

If you are new to training, underweight, or a classic hardgainer, it might be beneficial to use a more aggressive diet approach. Use the following formula to determine your daily calorie needs for aggressive bulking:

  • Daily total calorie requirement + 500 kcal

Keep in mind that all of these calculations are based on algorithms designed for the average person. These algorithms cannot take into account all individual factors such as NEAT (non-training-related thermogenesis), genotypes, hormones, lifestyle factors, hobbies or dominance of the nervous system.

Therefore, in the steps for how to gain muscle, some individuals will need to add more calories to their calculated total calorie burn to gain weight, while others will need fewer calories to move the scale pointer in the right direction. Start with the calculated number, eat accordingly for a month, check the scales and re-estimate the necessary amount of calories based on your progress.

If you’ve been exercising for a year or two, it’s realistic to aim for roughly half a pound weight gain per week. Beginners should aim for a slightly higher value of 0.75 to 1 pound per week to maximize their muscle building potential.


Meet Joe.

Joe is a 20 year old college student who is new to weight training but wants to build some muscle. He is 75 kilos, 185 cm tall and also works in a restaurant. He tries to train 4 days a week, he’s quite thin and reminiscent of the average ectomorph.

We’re going to use Joe as a practical example to show you the steps necessary to determine your calories and macronutrients in the steps for how to gain muscle. In step 1 you learned how to calculate your base calories and here we will show you how to break this amount of calories into macronutrients and how to plan your meals.

  • Total calorie requirement: ~ 2750 kcal
    • Estimated calorie target for an aggressive build-up of mass: 2750 + 500 = 3250 kcal
  • Protein: How much protein to gain muscle?
    • Start with 1 gram per pound of body weight
    • Each gram of protein contains 4 kcal
    • 150g
    • 150g (ie twice the body weight) = 150×4 = 600 kcal
  • Fat:
    • Start with 0.9 grams per pound of body weight
    • Each gram of  fat contains 9 kcal
    • ~ 70g = 70 * 9 = 630 kcal
  • Carbohydrates:
    • Replenish the remaining calories with carbohydrates
    • Each gram of  carbohydrate provides 4 kcal
    • 3250 – 1230 (600 + 630) = 2020 kcal divided by 4 = 505g

So Joe would aim for roughly 150g of protein, 70g of fat, and 505g of carbohydrates per day.

Don’t panic now. This may sound like a high amount of carbs and / or calories, but some guys (and gals) need these amounts to build muscle. If you can’t manage to eat that many carbohydrates, or if that amount of carbohydrates doesn’t seem to be doing you well, then you can increase your fat intake at the expense of carbohydrate intake, since fats have a higher calorie density and thus provide less food volume.

We should also note in the steps for how to gain muscle, that these recommendations are for young, healthy, and active people. In the elderly, and in those who do not respond to specific nutritional strategies, certain nutrients may require manipulation in the steps for how to gain muscle.

Joe’s muscle building diet

  • oatmeal 1.5 cups
  • whole eggs 3 large
  • banana 1
  • large mixed vegetables 1 cup
  • meal 1: 865 kcal – 125g Kh / 25g F / 35g P
  • chicken 120 grams
  • white rice 2 cups
  • broccoli 1 cup
  • olive oil 1 tablespoon
  • cherries 1 cup
  • meal 2 : 820 kcal – 120g Kh / 20g F / 40g P
  • Lean Ground Beef 180 grams
  • Sweet Potatoes 2
  • Large Green Beans 2 Cups
  • Sliced ​​Mango 1 Cup
  • Meal 3: 855 kcal – 90g Kh / 15g F / 40g P
  • Minced Turkey 120 grams
  • Whole Grain Spaghetti 180 Grams
  • tomato sauce 1/2 cup
  • apple 1 medium
  • meal 4: 870 kcal – 155g Kh / 10g F / 45g P

You don’t have to stick to this meal plan exactly. There is nothing magical about the foods it contains. This plan is just an example to show you

Total calories : 3230 kcal – 490g Kh / 70g F / 160g P
Daily goal: 3250 kcal – 505g Kh / 70g F / 150g P

These values ​​don’t match 100%, but they’re close enough that the small differences won’t make much of a difference. Consistency and adherence to a nutrition plan are decisive for success – and not your ability to achieve specific macronutrient quantities exactly.

With that said, here are some simple guidelines for measuring your food intake if you don’t have a scale on hand or want to be without a scale:

  • 1 palm = 1 serving for a protein source (~ 150 to 180 grams)
  • The length of your thumb = 1 serving for fat sources
  • 1 cupped hand = 1 serving for carbohydrate sources
  • 1 fist = 1 serving of vegetables

We should also note that most people should recalculate their macronutrient amounts regularly (every 4 to 6 weeks) and add calories if their weight doesn’t increase. Your body will try to maintain a state of homeostasis despite the fact that you are trying to gain weight, so you may have to force adjustments by increasing your calories even further.

Muscle building foods

Food contains carbohydrates in the form of glucose, fats in the form of triglycerides, and proteins in the form of amino acids. Calories are the building blocks of muscle, but you should also be aware of individual macronutrients and have a rough idea of ​​how much of them you are consuming.

When it comes to muscle gains, you should do your best to keep things simple and healthy on the nutritional side of the equation. Just stick to wholesome foods that contain as few additives as possible. Here are a few suggestions to get you started:


  • Poultry, lean beef, whey protein, fish (fatty and lean varieties), eggs.


  • Rice, quinoa, oatmeal, potatoes, fruits, vegetables


  • Olive oil, mixed nuts and seeds, coconut oil, cheese, avocados

Keep in mind that as your caloric intake increases, it can become progressively difficult to consume enough food to achieve your goals. If this becomes a problem, you can use liquid foods like smoothies, coconut milk, or whole milk to increase your calorie intake.

Once you have met your micronutrient needs, you can also use processed food sources as needed to increase caloric intake when you lack appetite. Hard-exercising people may consume more processed foods because of their higher workload, but ideally, processed foods should only make up 10-15% of their caloric intake.

How to gain muscle: Basic supplementation

This area in the steps for how to gain muscle is exactly what the name suggests: an addition to an already solid nutrition and exercise program. If you haven’t covered these two areas, you won’t be able to use supplements to make up for a poor lifestyle and your decision to neglect the two most important components of your muscle development and physical growth.

Paul Carter put it this way: “If your supplements cost more than the rest of your diet, then something is going very wrong.”

  1. Creatine –  Creatine is cheap and effective, and its effects are supported by innumerable scientific studies that show its efficiency in terms of power delivery, muscle hypertrophy, and performance of the anaerobic energy system.
  2. Fish Oil – A healthy balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids is essential for long-term cardiovascular health as well as controlling blood lipid levels.
  3. Vitamin D – Strictly speaking, vitamin D is not a vitamin. Rather, it is a fat-soluble nutrient that is similar to vitamins A, E, and K, but differs from other fat-soluble vitamins in that it acts as a steroid precursor from a hormonal perspective. Scientific research has shown that optimal vitamin D levels can influence heart health, cognitive abilities and bone density.
  4. Whey Protein – If you are struggling with your protein intake or want to increase your meal frequency to consume more calories, whey protein is one of the best, most affordable options that is portable, tasty, and convenient.


  1. Probiotics / Digestive Enzymes – If you consume 4,000 calories a day, your digestive system has to work overtime. Not to mention that improving gut flora can boost short-chain fatty acid production , nutrient absorption, and the individual’s immune response to antigens.
  2. BCAAs – The use of  BCAAs is admittedly context sensitive. If you are fasting or doing excessively long workouts, BCAAs make a little more sense, but for the average exerciser, there are wiser ways to invest their money.
  3. ZMA –  Sleep is essential in building new muscles and improving your recovery between workouts. However, many athletes suffer from a deficiency in zinc and magnesium, as the intensive training sessions can use up the reserves of these minerals. Such a deficiency can have a negative effect on sleep and hormone production and thereby impair training results.

How to gain muscle: Muscle building nutrition tips


  • Support your workouts with protein before and after your workout
  • Eat protein with every meal and snack
  • Leave 3 to 4 hours between meals to allow amino acid levels to return to normal
  • Make sure you consume some protein or at least branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) before training to maximize anabolism


  • Should preferably be consumed around training
  • Can be divided up according to personal preferences and individual reactions – e.g. spread over the day, later in the day, less in the evening, more in the morning, etc.
  • Prioritize fruits, vegetables, and other whole food options – rice, potatoes, oatmeal, etc.
  • Carbohydrates should neither be feared nor completely avoided, as they are very important for the muscle building process
  • If carbs tend to make you tired, choose options with a lower glycemic index or simply consume the greater part of your carbs later in the day after you exercise


  • Experiment with avoiding fats before, during, and after your workout, as they slow down nutrient digestion
  • Eat fats with other meals during the day as they lower the meal’s glycemic index and improve the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins
  • Consume a balanced variety of polyunsaturated, monounsaturated, and saturated fats
  • Avoid fats that are not naturally occurring (i.e. man-made fats such as corn oil, rapeseed oil, safflower oil, etc.)
  • Ensure adequate intake of omega-3 fatty acids from different sources


Diet is only part of the equation in the steps for how to gain muscle – if you’re not exercising, it doesn’t matter if your macronutrient intake is perfect or if you are following the healthiest diet known to man.

If you are the adventurous or inquisitive type then you may be interested in putting together your own exercise program, but this will require some experimentation and knowledge. Depending on your preferences and goals, your training will likely result in one of the following training splits:

  • Full body – 3 training days per week
  • Upper body / lower body – 4 training days per week
  • Legs / Push / Pull – 3 to 5 training days per week

We’ll cover exercise selection in another section of the steps for how to gain muscle, but in general you’ll find that one of these templates will work best for most exercises. Remember, this is not about using a fashionable or chic workout routine – it is about tirelessly applying the basics until you become a master at the most sophisticated things.

A few words about technology

When you first start the steps for how to gain muscle, it can be tempting to focus more on the weight on the bar than on the biomechanics of movement. Don’t fool yourself – bad technique will take revenge in the long run.

Ideally, you should start your training session with the fascia roller for 5 minutes and then move on to a few dynamic stretches and activation exercises for your shoulders and hips. This warm-up doesn’t have to be long, but it will make a drastic difference in the long run if you incorporate these elements into your exercise regimen.

How to build muscle: The most effective exercises


The deadlift is, without a doubt, one of the best muscle building exercises a trainee can include in their training regimen. How many strength athletes who can deadlift 300 pounds have narrow backs? Like squats, deadlifts should ideally be performed with a barbell.


Do deep squats and try to go deeper. Deep squats are one of the toughest exercises to really master, but they’re essential to any exercise program. Due to differences in hip anatomy and bone structure, not everyone will be able to come down their buttocks to their ankles, but in general everyone should work on doing both classic bar-backed squats and front squats master.


You should be able to manipulate your body weight through space against gravity. If you are unable to do simple exercises like push-ups, dips, and pull-ups, then you need to work on your relative strength. With that said, I’d like to point out that dips are an excellent chest, triceps, and shoulder muscle building exercise when progressive overload is sustained.


Performing pull-ups is the easiest way to determine a person’s relative strength. If you can bench press with your body weight, but can’t do at least 5 pull-ups with no extra weight, then it’s time to redefine your priorities. Pull-ups are excellent mass-building exercises for your latissimus, biceps, and upper back and should be preferred to machines like pull-ups whenever possible.

Bench press

Bench press is just as American as apple pie, fireworks, and bald eagles. If you go to the gym on a Monday, you can be pretty sure that 85% of the men in the building will bench press – and with good reason. Variations of the barbell and dumbbell bench press or incline bench press are very effective mass-building exercises for the chest, shoulders and triceps.

Overhead presses / shoulder presses

Everyone would like to know how much you press on the bench, but when was the last time someone asked you how much you press overhead? Overhead presses are an excellent indicator of your overall upper body strength and a balanced training program. Most experienced exercisers should be able to push their body weight overhead.


Bilateral (barbell) and unilateral (dumbbells) versions of rowing are both very beneficial when it comes to developing upper back muscles, which are relatively weak in most exercisers. Machine-run versions can also be useful, as each form of row has specific benefits, but you will generally benefit more from the free-weight versions.

Your recovery determines how hard you can train

It would be an unforgivable mistake not to address the importance of regeneration. Your regeneration outside the gym will determine your training frequency, your training duration and your intensity.

You cannot continuously challenge yourself to the maximum in the weight room and expect your body to perform 100% on a daily basis. As I said at the beginning of the article, cellular repair is the key to building muscle – not the muscle damage caused by exercise.

If you see bodybuilders or professional athletes who train with enormous volume, then you should keep in mind that there are specific parameters at play here that allow these athletes to train extremely hard and to recover exceptionally well and quickly from training – and these parameters are performance-enhancing substances.

Aside from possible steroid use, their whole lifestyle revolves around their exercise: they eat, exercise, eat, sleep, rest, eat, sleep, and then start all over again. External stressors are limited to allow them to focus all of their time and energy on training and improving their bodies or athletic skills.

The average exerciser should focus on the following 3 points:

  • sleep
  • stress
  • The need to rest


Sleep is without a doubt one of the most frequently neglected performance-enhancing factors. An entire scientific research area deals exclusively with sleep and its effects on body composition and muscle growth.

Most exercisers should aim for 8 hours of sleep or more per night. Suffice it to say that you should be able to naturally wake up at the same time each day without the need for an alarm clock. If this is not the case, then you need to improve your “sleep hygiene” and your day-night rhythm.


Stress can be a good thing in certain situations, because exercise is also a stress factor, right? This is of course true, but if you have multiple stressors in your life that weigh on you mentally and physically, then you will quickly feel the negative effects of these stressors on your health and your performance.

Spend 5 to 10 minutes a day in complete peace without social media or electronic devices. You will be surprised how difficult this can be, but it is important that you get away from the constant stress of updates, texts and incessant messages. Surround yourself with people who have similar goals and are willing to support you in your endeavors. If someone pulls you down continuously, it will have a negative effect on your motivation and your will to exercise.


Muscles take time to regenerate. You can’t expect your chest and shoulder muscles to perform at their best if you did 8 sets of bench press the day before.

Most muscles can recover adequately in about 48 hours, so exercising them every other day would be a good place to start. For this reason, most beginner programs are based on a one-day training schedule followed by a one-day break.

This is not to say that you should never train muscle groups for several days in a row, as there are programs that do just that (e.g. Smolov, Sheiko, etc.) and exercisers get great results with these programs. However, a 48 hour break is a solid rule of thumb.

Not only that, your whole body needs time to adjust to the stimulus of exercise, which is why you shouldn’t expect to look like Arnold after 6 months of training in the gym.

Exercising through light sore muscles is fine, but if you’re consistently training to the point where you can barely walk, then it’s time to take a step back in favor of your body.

Recommended exercise programs

If you’ve just started exercising, then you should take a look at some of the options you can find on this blog or other sites on the internet and do them exactly as they are described. Too many young exercisers want to change every training variable instead of running the program the way it is intended. And no, you don’t need a full day of training focusing solely on your arms if you can’t even do a single pull-up.

Going into all sorts of different training programs in detail would go far beyond the scope of this already very long article, which is why you should take a look at the training programs that you can find on this blog or other sites on the Internet.


When it comes to achieving your goals, remember that nothing will work until you put it into action. You won’t achieve your goals by wishing or hoping to be different – so go to the gym and do something. Nobody said it would be easy, they just said it would be worth the effort.

Find time to exercise

Most people have a 9am to 5am job, but if you are new to work then the chances are that you are a student who has classes that are spread out throughout the day and that they are in Associating with associated chores will consume a large part of your time.

You will likely have to train either in the morning or in the evening to be able to integrate your training into your hectic daily routine. Here are a few things to consider when considering the possible training times:

Morning training:

Improves your mental alertness and sets the tone for the day

  • Prevents you from giving up your training later in the day for any reason
  • Motivates you to make healthier food choices because you started the day “on the right foot”
  • Teaches you discipline as you have to voluntarily get up earlier than usual to train hard and improve
  • Gives you more time for your social life after work
  • Gives you something to look forward to at the beginning of each day

Training in the evening:

  • Exercise performance is typically higher later in the day and peaks in the afternoon
  • Means less stress because you don’t have to rush to get to work on time
  • Allows for longer workouts with longer warm-ups and longer breaks between sets, which typically correlate with greater improvements in the short and long term
  • Enables a less hectic morning, as you can sleep longer, prepare your food for the day in peace, pack your training gear and prepare adequately for the day ahead.
  • Allows for a more relaxed atmosphere, which can make it easier for you to seek advice from others or simply chat to other people in the gym to relax after a hard day at work.
  • Helps many people come down before going to bed

Food preparation

Diet is the crux of your success. As long as you have not brought your diet to an optimal level, you will not achieve your goals – regardless of whether you want to build muscle or lose fat.

Here, most of your success will come from preparing your food and consistently good nutrition.

Of course, you will occasionally have a few meals in restaurants as there are always social activities such as celebrations or invitations to dinner that should not be ignored or forgotten. However, if you prepare and cook your own meals, you will find it much easier to maintain a healthy lifestyle. This process doesn’t just begin in your kitchen, but at the time you enter the supermarket or grocery store of your choice.

If you only have healthy food options at home, it will be a lot easier to eat primarily whole and nutritious foods. It will take some time to prepare and prepare the food for the week, but in the end it will make your life a lot easier, especially during busy times.

Keep a training journal

There is nothing more important than controlling your progress. You will never know how far you’ve come if you can’t look back on your successes and failures.

You don’t have to document every single aspect of your journey, but some will like this process and get satisfaction from the little things too. Photos and body measurements are an easy way to objectively measure your progress, rather than simply relying on subjective opinions and what you see in the mirror.

More important than anything, however, is that you keep a record of your diet and exercise. You should focus on progressive overload during each training session and you should also have a general idea of ​​how many calories you are consuming. I have already talked about estimating your calorie intake above. Just make sure you’re sticking to this consistently so that you can make adjustments if your progress stagnates.


Getting to the gym is often the hardest part of the day. Once you get there and start your warm up, things get a lot easier.

However, for some exercisers, motivation seems to decrease with each passing day as they struggle with too little sleep, skip workouts, or lose their diet when they are stressed. In the midst of this social media focused world, finding motivation to exercise can be hard when so many bare chested selfies are posted to show the progress of certain individuals.

We have to remember that psychological factors play a very large role in motivation and efforts to keep going despite the influence of external factors.

When it comes to your goals, individuals with a high specific motivation will often achieve their goals and remain successful because they are motivated by the activity itself, rather than needing confirmation from others.

5 rules of successful exercisers

1. Knowledge

When it comes to building the best body possible, you need to be willing to experiment and learn from your body. Nobody will be able to tell you which is the most effective nutritional strategy and which is the most effective training split for your individual genotype. But not only that – other people don’t know your personal preferences, your previous history of injuries, your asymmetries, your level of experience and your current work capacity.

2. Preparation

If you have physical development goals, then you need to monitor your diet. It will take some work to prepare some healthy meals and make sure you are getting enough calories. Not only that, you have to approach your training this way too. If you haven’t filled your training bag with the necessary equipment, then you will be wasting time looking for your weight lifting belt or wrist bandages that you should already have packed.

3. Hard work

I’m going to share a secret that will change the way you view training and nutrition: there is no secret that your muscle gains will triple. Building muscle takes time, calories, and progressive overload and you won’t get around these things if you choose to stay natural for the duration of your training career.

4. Devotion

Have you ever wondered why most recreational athletes never reach their fitness goals? Dedication and consistency in the gym and kitchen take time and effort – two things that many fail to muster when it comes to improving their bodies or breaking a strength plateau.

5. Progression

Throughout the course of your training career, you should consistently strive for progress, both mentally and physically. Initially, you may be constantly focused on nutrition and exercise, but as you mature both mentally and in terms of muscle development, you should also focus on the balance between exercise and the rest of your life. It’s never about an “all or nothing” attitude. Correct balance is essential in all aspects of life, but this takes time and will come about over time as progress is made.

“How do I know I’m making progress?”

As I mentioned in the nutrition section above, the easiest way to objectively measure your progress is to simply make sure you are gaining the recommended amount of weight for your level of experience. You can also use a tape measure to measure the dimensions of each of the following body parts:

  • forearm
  • biceps
  • neck
  • Shoulders
  • Chest (measure under the arms at nipple level or slightly higher)
    • Does not apply to women
  • Waist (at the level of the navel)
  • Hip (at the thickest point of the gluteus)
  • Thigh (midway between hip and knee)
  • Calves (at the thickest point of the muscle belly)


  • Make sure that you are consistent with your measurements (i.e. make sure to always measure in the same place and on the state of the muscle: tense vs. relaxed)
  • Don’t pull the tape measure excessively tight. It should be snug.
  • Write down all of your measurements and watch the changes in values ​​over time to get an idea of ​​your progress.
  • Do not take measurements after a workout, as strenuous physical activity can create increased blood flow to the muscles being trained (aka pumps), which can make the muscles appear larger than normal.
  • Measure both sides of the body to identify possible asymmetries and work to compensate for these deficits.

You can also measure your body fat percentage using a caliper to see if you are improving your lean body mass to fat mass ratio, but be aware that caliper measurements are very difficult to duplicate and often misrepresented when done on yourself as your expectations may prevent you from being objective in reading the results.

For these reasons, you are better off having an expert perform these caliper measurements or simply sticking to the measurements with the tape measure in combination with the scale and mirror to assess your progress.

Remember, this is about progress, not perfection.

The 11 most important muscle building tips:

Building muscle isn’t complicated. Just make sure you remember these 11 important tips:

  1. Nothing will happen until you get your diet right.
  2. Focus on progressive overload with either more weight, more repetitions, or more sets.
  3. Stick to multi-joint exercises.
  4. Don’t abuse the training frequency (at least not at the beginning) – more is not always better.
  5. Minimize stress and maximize your regeneration.
  6. Get as much sleep as possible and take regular naps.
  7. Stick to whole foods, but don’t be afraid to include a few processed foods (10-15% of your calories) in your diet if you have poor appetite and are continuously losing weight.
  8. Eat about 250 to 500 kcal more than you consume.
  9. Emphasize protein at every meal and eat around 2 to 2.2 grams of protein for every pound of body weight.
  10. Aim to gain 0.5 to 0.75 pounds (advanced) or 0.75 to 1 pound (beginner) of body weight per week.
  11. Adjust your calorie intake up or down according to your weekly weight gain or loss.

frequently asked Questions

Q: how much do i need to eat?

A: Start with the above calculations, but don’t be afraid to adjust the values ​​up or down. Your metabolism and physiology will adapt to more food by trying to maintain a state of homeostasis and regulating your body weight. Some will need to increase their caloric intake more than others, but the number on the scales doesn’t lie. If the weight does not increase, then you will likely need to increase your calorie intake.

Q: how much protein do i need?

A: The scientific literature supports about 2 to 2.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight in young adults. Can you eat more As long as you have healthy, functioning kidneys, the answer is yes. Will you get additional physiological benefits from this? Most likely not. And not only that. Since our total calorie intake is predetermined, as we consume more protein, we must either reduce the amount of carbohydrates or the amount of fat to keep our caloric intake within the specified range.

As soon as you have met your protein needs (~ 2 to 2.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight), you will achieve greater benefits from a higher carbohydrate intake, taking into account the influence that carbohydrates have on anabolism and the anaerobic energy pathway. However, as I noted above, these recommendations will differ for older exercisers due to the reduced anabolic response to amino acid consumption.

Q: What supplements do I need?

A: Technically, none at all. A better question would be “Which supplements are useful?” In that case, I would refer you to the Basic Supplementation section under STEP 2 above.

Q: How much weight should I use?

A: Use a weight that is demanding but still allows you to do the number of repetitions you want in a controlled manner and with correct technique.

Q: When do I add weight?

A: Once you can do the number of reps you want, you should increase the weight. When you have a given rep range, target the lower end of that range when the weight feels heavy. If it feels easy, aim for the top end. Once you manage to get to the top of the rep range, add the weight again and repeat the process.

Q: How do I minimize fat gain while gaining weight?

A: The first thing you need to realize is that when you gain weight, it is next to impossible (viewed from steroids) to only build muscle without the accompanying build-up of some body fat. However, you can improve the ratio of lean body mass to fat mass by making sure that your calorie consumption is not too aggressive (e.g. 1000+ kcal above your calorie consumption).

In addition to this, it should go without saying that you need to train hard and focus on progressive overload to ensure that the calories you eat are actually being used for muscle growth. You shouldn’t neglect your cardio training either. Both HIIT and cardio training at a constant, lower intensity play a role in increasing the density of the mitochondria, balancing neurotransmitters, improving oxidative capacity and influencing neuronal plasticity.

Q: Do I need to do cardio?

A: Yes, as I mentioned in the answer to the last question, it would be ideal to include a few high and low intensity options in your exercise regimen, as each has their own physiological benefits.

Q: Do the macronutrients play a role?

A: To put it in a nutshell, “yes”. Once you’ve decided on the amount of calories in your diet, the next important variable is the macronutrient composition of your diet. For example, if you decided to only consume 50 grams of protein, no fat and the rest of the calories in the form of carbohydrates, after you determined the amount of calories, then this would definitely play a role in building lean body mass.

Q: Does meal timing matter?

A: At the end of the day, the most important variable in terms of gaining or losing weight is the amount of calories consumed. The meal frequency and the timing of your physical activities can, however, influence your training intensity and duration and thus potentially allow further improvements in body composition.

Remember that muscle growth is not a pulsating process. It does not rise acutely and then falls back to the initial value. So if amino acids are not circulating in the bloodstream, then they must be made available by breaking down muscle tissue, as muscles are the most concentrated source of amino acids in the body.

With that said, it would probably be a good idea to eat between 3 and 6 meals throughout the day, depending on your daily routine and preferences. Ideally, you should stimulate anabolism every 3 to 5 hours with food.

Q: Is there a post-workout window?

A: If your goal is to gain as much muscle mass as possible, you may find it beneficial to consume nutrients within 30 to 60 minutes of your workout. Does this have to be a protein shake? No, but ideally it should be a lower fat meal to speed up the digestion rate of the nutrients in the digestive tract.

However, if you’ve just eaten a mixed macronutrient meal before your workout, then keep in mind that this meal is still being digested, so there is no need to drop the weights after your last set and so quickly Run to your locker as possible for a protein shake.

Q: How often should I exercise?

A: Depending on your level of experience, your preferences, your recovery capacity, and the time available, you will likely find that 3 to 5 weight training sessions per week is the optimal range. If you’ve just started training with weights, stick to 3 training days a week and slowly work your way up.

Beginners and slightly advanced can cope with 4 days a week of a split program like a lower / upper body split and more advanced exercisers might be able to cope with 5 workouts per week depending on the training program used and the regeneration and nutritional strategies used get.

Q: Do I need to rest?

A: What I said at the very beginning applies: “… the key to building muscle is cellular repair, not muscle damage. The aim of the training is to stimulate protein synthesis and not to completely destroy the trained muscle group. “

Q: I am never hungry, but I need to eat more – but how?

A: Eat more often, drink less during meals (as liquids compete with your food for space in the stomach), eat from larger plates and bowls, add lime or lemon juice to the water you drink during meals ( this can help increase the production of gastric acid (which breaks down food) and consume more calories in liquid form (especially around your workout if your appetite suffers for the rest of the day).

Q: Should you exercise when you are sick?

A: Let the symptoms guide you. A mild sore throat or runny nose may require you to slow down a bit for a day or two, but it is not necessary that you go to bed and accept the worst. However, you should keep in mind that prolonged vigorous exercise can reduce your immune function and make you more prone to bacterial or viral diseases, so it is important that you listen to your body and respond accordingly.

Q: Do I need to do the squat and deadlift?

A: Yes, squats and so-called hinge exercises like deadlifts are essential for muscle growth.

Q: Do I have to do conventional bar back squats and conventional deadlifts?

On a. You want to make sure that the motor schemes of the squat and deadlift are emphasized, but you shouldn’t include other variations (front squat, sumo deadlift, safety bar squat, Romanian deadlift) in your training program until you’ve learned the technique in these more advanced exercises can master.