Athletes who care about their performance on the field or court are always looking for some quick and easy ways to build muscle. Unfortunately, many look in all the wrong places and end up performing workouts that don't get results. Some get on diet plans that are impossible to follow or drop a few hundred dollars on flashy supplements that do nothing.
If you're looking to pack on a few pounds of lean, powerful, dense muscle, check out these three tips.
1) Have a Post-Workout Shake or Meal.
After a hard session of practice or training in the gym, your body needs calories, protein and nutrients as quickly as possible so it can start the recovery and muscle-rebuilding process. A shake or meal with a high-quality protein powder and a fast-digesting carbohydrate right after training will give your body exactly what it needs to start rebuilding and repairing your just-worked muscles.
Finding a high quality protein powder is easy. They are available in every supplement, grocery, mega store and website these days. Just make sure you get either a whey protein concentrate or, if you have any lactose issues, a whey protein isolate. Don't let a sales guy pitch you "the next best thing." A basic whey is all you need. Some good, quick carbohydrate sources are dextrose, maltodextrin, waxy maize, grape juice and powdered Gatorade (not the bottled kind).
Now that you have your protein and carbs, follow these guidelines to determine how much you should consume in your post-workout shake:
- 1/4 of your bodyweight in pounds equals the amount of protein in grams
- 1/2 of your bodyweight in pounds equals the amount of carbohydrate in grams
2) Get In and Out of the Gym.
Forget spending two to three hours in the gym and hitting every muscle in your body from 10 different angles. You want to get in and out of the gym in under 60 minutes (including your warm-up).
When you train hard, your body responds by flooding your system with massive amounts of the hormones that build muscle (testosterone and growth hormone). But this only lasts for a short time, 45 to 60 minutes. After that, if you are still working out, your body goes into a freakout mode. It unleashed that original wave of hormones because it wanted to help you complete your workout more quickly. In freakout mode, your body responds by minimizing its production of testosterone and growth hormone and starting to pump out cortisol. This hormone is a bad dude. It helps the body break down hard-earned muscle for energy—the last thing you want after working so hard to grow that muscle.
So, cut down on your rest times, stop talking on the phone and staring at the opposite sex, and get to work!
3) Train Using Full-Body Program.
If you want to build muscle, training your entire body every time you step into the gym is your best option. A full-body workout will give you the most bang for your buck—i.e., the most muscle for the time spent.
If you perform quality full-body workouts—heavy compound lifts, bodyweight movements and minimal machines—your muscles will be forced to adapt at a quicker pace since you will be training them again in just a few days. And if you have the proper nutrition and recovery protocols in place, not only will you be ready to crush every full-body workout you do, your body will respond by producing massive slabs of muscle.
Building muscle is as easy or as difficult as you make it. By following these three tips in your training program, you will be on your way to packing on pounds of muscle as quickly as possible.
David Claiborne is the owner of Genesis Athletic Performance in Houston. He has worked with collegiate and professional athletes in football, baseball, basketball, wrestling and lacrosse. He graduated from Texas Tech University with a degree in exercise sports science. For more information, please visit DClaiborne.com.
Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock