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The perfect workout program to build muscle quickly might be as coveted as the fountain of youth. But like the fountain of youth, it's mythical. There is no perfect program, no perfect exercise and no perfect meal plan that will give you instant muscle growth. However, there are real world principles that you can incorporate into your program to build muscle.
To give you a foundation to beef up your muscle-building for athletic performance, I've outlined five must-do tips that will supercharge your program.
Perform More Compound Exercises
Perform more compound exercises, like the Squat, Deadlift and Bench Press. These prompt the body to recruit more muscle fibers and release more natural testosterone, growth hormone (GF) and insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1) than isolation exercises such as Bicep Curls and Leg Extensions.
Reps and Timing
Performing compound exercises will only go so far in helping build muscle if they're not incorporated into your program correctly. Perform them early in your workouts so fatigue does not limit your strength output. Experts recommend performing between four to eight reps of these major lifts. Avoid training to failure or going too heavy; in other words, be smart by choosing weights that produce the desired reps with clean form.
Train Three or Four Days Per Week
Training more is not the answer when you want to build muscle. In fact, too many workouts can cause your body to cease making gains and actually lose size and strength. To prevent this, follow a three- or four-day strength training program to elicit enough growth stimulation to build muscle and prevent overtraining.
Rest and Recover
If you want to build muscle quickly, your body needs to recover and regenerate after a workout. Muscles repair and grow during the recovery period—not when you are working out. Rest for at least 48 hours before reworking a muscle group, and try to get a day's rest between workouts. Aim for at least eight hours of sleep—that's when natural human growth hormone is released. Proper pre-workout nutrition and post-workout nutrition are a must as well, and should not be overlooked.
Eat to Grow
The first step in eating to build muscle is to consume sufficient calories. To find out how much you should be eating each day, multiply your body weight in pounds by 16 to 18 calories. If you are more active, go with the higher total. Make sure to eat about one gram of protein per pound of bodyweight. Try to consume clean, organic, whole foods, and include lean proteins, vegetables, fruits, quality fats and low glycemic starches in your diet.
Tyler English is a strength coach, professional natural bodybuilder and two-time international best-selling author. He is the owner of two training facilities in Connecticut: Tyler English Fitness in Canton and Tyler English’s Fitness Revolution in West Hartford. English won the 2010 WNBF Mid America Lightweight Championship and finished third among middleweights at the 2010 WNBF World Championships. He is the co-author of Total Body Breakthroughs and The FIT Formula; and his workout programs have been featured in Shape, USA Today, Natural Bodybuilding Radio, NBC, Fox, CBS and ABC. Learn more at TylerEnglishBlog.com.