Building Muscle Mass
If you are looking for an efficient way of building muscle mass, you should really be training regularly. I know that, to most people, this sounds glaringly obvious, but there are many different ideas out there.
I am a fan of split training when it comes to bodybuilding. Split training is where you would typically be training each body part twice every week, but condensing your training into four sessions in that week.
With this kind of split training, you will only be working out with weights four times per week, which means you will have three rest days.
If you are an aspiring bodybuilder or a trainer that has hit a plateaux in the building muscle mass game, this may sound like way too much rest. If you are one of those people, try looking at it this way:
Your muscles do not grow when you are working out. When you are in the gym, you are “tearing them down” and “busting them up.” It is only in your rest time that your body has the chance to recoup and repair. And it is in this rest time that the growth that you are after happens.
Also, by doing a split training routine, you will be punishing your muscles twice per week, and this adds to intensity.
From my experience, this is the “weapon of choice” for the majority of trainers who are looking at building muscle mass.
If you are training with a blitzing routine, you are basically training just one body part per session. This means that you will need to train five days per week. For example:
When you are training a blitzing routine, you will only get two rest days and you will also be giving each body part a full week to recover.
Some people will argue that this is too long between specific muscle group workouts, but it is still an effective way of training. It is effective because, in most cases, muscle groups that were targeted on the previous training day become synergistic for the next targeted muscle group. This means that muscles that were previously isolated are also being worked indirectly on the next training day, and vice versa.
For example: Yesterday, you trained your back. Today, you’re training your legs. You may feel your lats working under the weight of the barbell when you are doing your sets of squats, and you may also feel your lower back helping you out when you are doing stiff-legged dead-lifts. So, even though you trained back yesterday, it is still getting an “indirect workout” the day after.
Now, when it comes to deciding how many rest days you need, you should make a decision based on the training routine that you are doing.
If you are blitzing, I would suggest that you should have no more than two days rest per week; this way, you won’t keep your muscle groups waiting for their punishment between workouts and you will be getting some good rest in.
Workout Time For Building Muscle mass
This is a biggy if you are looking to build muscle! A lot of the time, I have watched smaller guys spend hours in the gym training and wondering why they can’t put on size. One of the reasons for the lack of results is down to the workout time.
The longer that you spend training and “stressing your body” in the gym, the more resources you are burning. There will be a point when your workouts will no longer be effective for muscle building, and, in fact, will become detrimental.
I would advise, if building muscle, that your workouts never exceed one hour of intense targeted training. Of course, everybody is different; but a one hour training session should be a good benchmark and something to aim for.
If you have not finished your planned workout in this time-frame, you should consider reducing your rest time between sets or dropping an exercise choice.
It is hard to get some people to understand this concept, even as a personal trainer! I have struggled in the past to convince people on this theory.
What About Cardio For Building Muscle mass?
There is a lot of confusion about the relationship between cardio and muscle building, but I will try to keep this as simple as possible.
If my body was at a lean composition (i.e. not much fat) but I was looking at building muscle mass, I would drop my cardio sessions all together. Yup, no cardio at all!
If I was in the same boat and wanted to keep my cardiovascular system working from a health point of view, I would stay away from steady state cardio; and probably throw in a sprint training session on one of my rest days, or on a training day that was not as intense as the others, such as “arms day.”
So, if you are struggling to put on muscle mass, I would advise that you keep your workouts to no more than one hour, and throw in a sprint session once per week if you are conscious about your cardiovascular health.
If, on the other hand, you are carrying more fat than muscle, you should consider adding a steady state cardio session to the end of each of your resistance training workouts. This may sound like a whole lot more work but it really is not, and you will hardly notice it.
As you have been training for an hour with weights, your body should be in its “fat burning zone.” This means that if, after your resistance, you jump on a treadmill for twenty minutes, you will be getting a solid twenty minutes of fat burning in.
Now, when I say, “…jump on a treadmill for twenty minutes,” I don’t mean you should get on it and run until your eyes bleed. All you need to do is to set the speed to a fast-paced walk. From my personal experience, I can tell you that this is by far the best way to burn fat without stressing your body into losing muscle.
I am very aware that this theory is under scrutiny from other fitness professionals and the argument that muscle will not deplete from cardio sessions is well documented. But I can only speak from personal experience. You could say that I learned the hard way.
If you are in the “more-fat-than-muscle boat” and are feeling very motivated, you can also start your day with a thirty to forty-five minutes steady state cardio session. Same rules apply; stick to a steady state fast-paced walk. This is all you need for optimum fat burning from a beginner’s point of view.
Of course, there are other tricks that you can call upon to further lose fat; yet if you stay consistent with this simple plan, you will continue to burn fat.
Eating For building Muscle Building
When it comes to any kind of training goal (endurance, muscle building, etc.), diet plays a massive role that you can’t ignore! I always go on and on about this, so I will try not to bang on about it again. But I will tell you this: if you are training with intensity on a regular basis, you need to fuel your body accordingly!
If you are not giving your body the tools that it needs to build muscle, your body will not build muscle for you. Simple!
If this makes sense to you and you would like to get among a real bodybuilding training routine, I would point you in the direction of this book:
The book has a full year of progressive bodybuilding outlined and uses some of the techniques mentioned in this post. I have earned my finest bodybuilding results by following this exact routine.
I hope that this article has helped you in some way. Please, let me know by leaving a comment or by dropping me an email.
Good luck, and get massive!
All the best,