Rather than focusing strictly on gaining “X” pounds of muscle—which may or may not be doable in a given period of time—work on getting stronger. Increasing strength improves your body’s ability to recruit muscle fibers, particularly the ones that make the biggest difference in the way your physique looks.
1.SET STRENGTH GOALS[tps_header][/tps_header]
Training for strength also makes your goals more tangible and concrete. If you shoot to hit certain numbers on your lifts and then meet them, you’ll see your muscles respond along the way. Choose three exercises you want to see improvement on: one upper-body push (such as the bench press), one upper-body pull (like the chinup), and one lower-body exercise (try the deadlift). Then get to work
2. KEEP A REGULAR DIET PLAN
Just as you want to be specific with your training goals and monitor your progress, you also want to keep track of your nutrition. Training hard won’t translate to new muscle unless you’re eating enough calories, and a food journal gives you an objective measure of how much you’re actually eating. It also lets you make adjustments easily if you’re not making the progress you’d hoped for.
Write down everything that you eat and drink, along with the time of the day. If you’re not gaining weight, try to see where you can sneak in more calories to kickstart your progress.
[tps_title]3.DON’T DELAY YOUR SLEEP TIME[/tps_title]
Recovery is imperative for muscle growth, and there’s no better way to recover than by simply sleeping more. In a perfect world, you’d get eight to nine hour of sleep per night, but that’s not always realistic. You can, however, control when you go to bed, thereby giving you the best chance of getting as much sleep as you can. Record the TV shows that would otherwise keep you up and hit the hay.
4. EAT MORE ON ‘NO TRAINING’ DAYS
Just because you’re not training today doesn’t mean you shouldn’t eat big. Your off days are when most of your muscle growth takes place—the recovery phase—so it makes sense to keep plenty of nutrients on hand for the body to make the most of.
It’s fine—and probably prudent—to decrease your carb intake slightly on non-training days, as you don’t need the extra energy for training, but keep your protein high and make sure your overall caloric intake doesn’t drop by more than 500 calories.
[tps_footer]5. DON’T NEGLECT YOUR LEGS[/tps_footer]
Even if your goal is just to have a big chest and arms, you can’t forget about training legs. Firstly, muscle imbalances look bad, and secondly, heavy compound lower-body exercises like the deadlift have an enormous impact on your overall muscular development, even in your upper body. That’s because they recruit muscles everywhere—even in your shoulders and back—and they promote the release of hormones that build size and strength.