Gaining muscle can be HARD. There are also those of us that tend to struggle more than others.
And it only gets harder as we get older because we can become anabolic resistant and we don’t utilize protein as efficiently or effectively (just another reason increasing our protein and tracking our macros is key!).
That’s why I want to share 4 tips to help you dial in your diet and your training to get the best results as fast as possible.
Now note, I didn’t say rush results, because gaining muscle, especially if you don’t want to gain a ton of fat, is a slow process.
Because both our diet and our workouts need to work together.
While we may be able to lose weight without training, training is KEY to drive muscle hypertrophy.
So here are 4 tips to help you dial in your routine to get those muscle gains!
4 Tips To Improve Those Muscle Gains:
Tip #1: Don’t Fear Carbs
You want to make sure you have more energy available, more instant fuel when you train, to help build muscle more efficiently and aid in your recovery process.
That’s why increasing your carbs may be key.
They help your muscles repair and rebuild.
So consider a slightly higher carb ratio during a muscle gaining workout progression.
OR if you find you just don’t do well with higher carb ratios, really focus your carb intake around your workout with some protein.
You just want full glycogen stores so you can really push heavy weights and perform your best.
Because you have to really push progression in your training to force your muscles to rebuild stronger.
You also want to replenish those stores right after your training to make sure you’re able to efficiently rebuild!
If you are scale sensitive, recognize you may find you fluctuate more during this process as you can gain weight just from fuller glycogen stores and the water weight you retain as you store glycogen. But this is a key part of the process and not fat being gained!
Tip #2: Create a SMALLER surplus
To often we go a bit crazy with the surplus and use “I’m trying to gain muscle” as an excuse to eat whatever we want.
And not only do we eat far more calories than we need but our food quality also tends to dip.
Don’t use this as an excuse not to track.
Also don’t use this as an excuse to create an extreme surplus. A little goes a long way.
Because you just need enough to repair and fuel the new muscle and increased resting metabolic rate.
And that doesn’t increase as quickly or as much as we often eat like it does.
The bigger the surplus you create, the more fat you’re later going to cut.
And when cutting, unless you go slow, you’re risking losing some of the muscle you worked so hard to gain.
Better to dial in that smaller surplus while tracking your macros to start to focus on more pure muscle gains…aka less fat gain as you “bulk.”
And if you’d really like to avoid gaining fat, you may even choose to start eating at maintenance calories instead of a surplus.
Because that may be enough of an increase since a diet high in protein, even while eating in a deficit, has even been shown to allow for gaining muscle as you lose fat!
Tip #3: Stop Turning Your Strength Workouts Into Cardio (TAKE THE REST)
Many of us have heard we should cut out cardio if gaining muscle is our focus.
And that does make the process easier.
However, often we then create these strength workouts that eliminate all rest and ultimately end up being CARDIO.
You do not need to be lying in a sweaty heap on the ground to build muscle. Actually, you may find you get better results if you DON’T do this.
You may find you include MORE rest between rounds or sets or moves.
Because rest allows us to recover so our 100% intensity stays more at 100% intensity.
To build muscle, we want to be able to progress movements as much as possible, even working down in reps as we increase loads.
While we can create more metabolic strength routines if our goal is to gain muscle while avoiding gaining fat, we do want to be conscious of the rest we include and our ability to progress with loads, tempos or movement variations.
Whether you go higher reps, with what will be lighter loads or lower reps with heavier loads, no weights should also ever be light.
If it challenges you, it will change you. But you always want to feel like you’ve “maxed out” at the reps you’ve stopped at while giving yourself time to recover to push as hard the next round!
Tip #4: Use Training Frequency To Your Advantage
Studies have shown that actually training a muscle group more frequently over the week may be super key to better muscle gains.
But to do this, you often have to do LESS each session and even mix up how you drive muscle growth.
You can’t seek to be sore and beaten down from each session.
You may have to adjust the volume of your workouts and even the types of moves and tools you include.
There are 3 drivers of muscle growth:
- Muscle Tissue Damage
- Mechanical Tension
- Metabolic Stress
While muscle tissue damage type movements like traditional barbell squats and deadlifts are key, they can make you more sore and create more muscle tissue damage.
You may not be able to do them as often during the week.
However you can still work your legs and glutes more frequently during the week by using those other drivers of muscle growth.
Focusing on those mini band moves or squat pulses or hip thrusters can allow you to add in multiple training days without just constantly beating yourself down so you’re sore while even getting you better results because you’re using all three drivers of muscle growth.
But just remember ever session doesn’t need to, nor should, leave you feeling destroyed.
You want to focus on increasing that training frequency over doing more in a single session. It allows even for more QUALITY work over the week.
And then create a clear progression so your body can adapt and not be sore. This will allow you to actually create more clear progression to see those results add up.
If you just constantly randomly string things together, you’re putting yourself at more risk to constantly be sore since NEW alone can make us sore.
If you’ve been struggling to really see the muscle building results you want, make sure you’re implementing these three tips.
And if you need help dialing in your training and your macros to match your needs and goals, check out the link below to my Macro Hacks!
–> Macro Hacks