Whether you want to grow muscles or lose weight, nutrition and training are the two most important factors.

However, when it comes to those focused on a specific outcome – to build muscles, there are other things to be considered.

Gaining muscle mass surely takes time, but if you aren’t seeing any increase in size from month to month, it’s a sign that your approach is off.

Here are 12 tactics you can use to grow muscles every month without hitting a plateau.

1. Eat-in Calorie Surplus

First thing first, no matter how hard you train or how clean you eat, if you are not eating in surplus (more calories than your body burns), you will probably never see any gains.

For instance, if you need 2000 cal/day to maintain your weight, you have to eat 2500 cal/day to gain 1lb muscle mass in a week. You can also eat 700 – 1000 calories more than your maintenance calories to gain fast.

However, aiming for 300 – 500 cal is a good rule of thumb to build muscles at an optimal rate without gaining fat.

To know how much calories you need to gain muscle mass, multiply your body-weight (lbs) by 15 to grow muscles at an optimal rate, and to 18 for fast gain. Going beyond 18 may result in fat gain. You can also use this calculator.

2. Train for Strength, Lift Heavy

More strength means more muscle, the heavier you train, the stronger you become, and the bigger your muscles will grow.

Lifting heavy weights put stress on type 2a muscle fibers, also known as fast-twitch fibers. These fibers are responsible for muscle growth and hypertrophy. The best way to train these muscle fibers is to lift heavyweight.

Focus on doing compound exercises such as the deadlift, squats, and rows to build strength and hit every muscle in your body.

These type of exercises allows you to increase more weight, building strength. And, as you progress the new strength will help you lift more weight for higher reps.

3. Use Proper Form

The main reason most people struggle with building muscle is their lack of form. Everyone is trying to be their coach these days. I saw people in the gym lacking proper form but are so stubborn or egoistic to ask the right way. Don’t be that person!

If you feel you are doing wrong, always ask the trainer or the person around, who you think is good at working out.

Don’t just lift the weight from position A to position B, focus on the contractions, concentric, and eccentric phase of the exercise. Keep your ego aside, learn the proper form, then increase the weight.

Proper form also minimizes the chances of muscle injury and impairment. You can check this exercise directory to learn how to perform each exercise correctly.

4. Focus on Negative Reps

Negative reps mean the eccentric phase of an exercise. For instance, as you curl the weight toward your chin during bicep curls, that’s concentric phase, and when you lower the weight down that’s the eccentric phase.

According to research, focusing on the eccentric movement is better at triggering hypertrophy.

Also, performing an eccentric phase of an exercise slowly put the muscle under more tension. And, the greater a muscle TUT ( Time Under Tension ), the greater the chances of growth.

5. Eat More Protein to Grow Muscles

Protein is important for building muscles, recovery, and many other chemical processes running inside the body.

Protein is made up of a chain of amino acids bonded together. So, when we eat protein our digestive system breaks it into individual amino acids, which then use for recovery, repairing, and building new tissues.

Lifting heavy place a lot of stress on our muscles which causes tiny tears, also known as micro-tears. These micro-tears repair with the help of amino acids and grow muscles bigger by adapting to the new stimulus.

Therefore, it is important to eat more protein. Aim for consuming 1 – 1.2 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight to build muscles fast.

6. Get Your Pre-Post Workout Nutrition Right

When it comes to gaining muscle size, pre and post-workout meal matter most than any other meal of the day. Good pre-post workout nutrition can help your body perform better and recover faster after each workout.

Consuming complex carbs such as oatmeal with 15-20 grams of protein 1 hour before a workout can help you last longer without feeling tired for hours.

Eating protein before exercise has also been shown to increase muscle protein synthesis which is important for hypertrophy. (1)

Post-workout, also known as the anabolic window. The time when your body tries to rebuild its glycogen stores and repair muscle protein depleted during an intense workout.

Eating a meal consist of protein and simple carbs can help your body done it faster. Doing this helps your body increase muscle protein synthesis (growth) and enhances recovery. (2)

Here are some pre-post workout meal ideas-

grow-muscles-pre-post-workout-meal-ideas

7. Limit Your Cardio

If your goal is to gain muscle or strength, too much cardio can hamper your gaining process by slowing recovery and burning of calories your body needs to build muscle.

Cardio is good for cardiovascular health, joint movements, and endurance.

Therefore, one or two sessions of cardio per week are good to maintain cardiovascular health, keep your body-fat minimum while not slowing muscular growth.

8. Vary your Workouts & Volume

Sticking to the same training method, set, and reps may also slow the chances of your muscular growth.

Similarly, changing your training and volume so often can also hinder the process. So, what you can do?

Wait at least a month or two to change your workout schedule, sets, and reps. Give your body some time to adapt to the new changes.

Try bodyweight workout on some days and strength training on some. Incorporate drop sets or supersets to fatigue your muscles more.

One best way approach to train for both hypertrophy and strength is to perform lower reps with compound movement first, and isolation with high reps later.

For instance, 4 sets of 4-5 reps of barbell row then 3 sets of 10-12 reps of the barbell curl, or you can also try the first two sets of the exercise with a heavyweight in 5-6 rep range, and last two sets with 10-12 rep range.

9. Get More Sleep

Muscle recovery is the most important aspect of growth. When you train, you cause micro-tears in the muscles which if not recover properly can cause muscle soreness or muscle loss.

When you sleep, your body releases human growth hormone which helps muscles grow and keeps cortisol (stress hormone) levels low.

Therefore, sleeping for 8-10 hours is important if your goal is to increase muscle mass or size.

10. Eat Casein Protein Before Bed

Casein is a form of dairy protein that absorbs slowly by the body which makes it the best protein before bed.

It provides the body with a constant supply of amino acids while you sleep, which helps with recovery and reduces muscle breakdown.

Like whey protein, it contains all essential amino acids your body can’t produce on your own, especially leucine which triggers muscle protein synthesis. (3)

Cottage cheese, yogurt, and milk are some examples of casein protein or you can also invest in Casein Protein Powder.

11. Try Supplementing with Creatine

According to research, creatine is one of the most effective supplements for increasing muscle mass and strength. (6)

Supplementing with creatine can double your strength and lean muscle gains as compared to training alone. (7)

One 14-week study shows an increase of 8 kg in bench press 1-rep max and 20% greater workload at a lower weight. (9)

As you can see in the graph, 10 weeks of creatine consumption drastically increased the half squat power. (10)

If your goal is to grow muscles or strength fast, try this creatine monohydrate supplement for best results.

12. Eat Healthy Fats

Fat is a calorie-dense micro-nutrient, which means it contains more calories than protein and carbs.

The main goal of building muscle is to eat in surplus or more than your maintenance calories. Eating fats can help you reach your daily calorie goal fast due to its calorie content.

But, make sure to eat saturated fat in limits such as egg yolks, red meat, etc. And, Eat healthy fats found in salmon, nuts, almonds, and flax-seeds more.

Best Foods to Grow Muscles

Both training and nutrition are important for building lean muscle mass and strength.

Giving your 100% into training will help, but without proper nutritional support, your progress will stall.

To maximize your muscle size, add these muscle-building foods to your diet.

best-foods-to-frow-muscles

7-Day Meal Plan for Muscle Gain

As I said earlier, your diet plays a huge rule in building muscles. No matter how hard you train, if your diet is lacking, you will have a hard time gaining muscle size.

Your diet should consist of protein, carbohydrates, and fats to maximize muscle building and veggies or fruits to get essential vitamins & minerals.

Here is the sample diet plan to gain muscles–

Monday:

  • Breakfast: 1 cup oatmeal + 2 whole eggs + 15 almonds
  • Snack: 1 cup of yogurt + 2 spoon flaxseeds + 1/2 cup of berries
  • Lunch: 1 cup of rice + 100 gm chicken thighs served with salad
  • Snack: 100 gms cottage cheese
  • Dinner: Salmon or Beef with long grain rice served with 1 cup salad
  • Before Bed: 1 cup milk + 2 spoon peanut butter

Tuesday:

  • Breakfast: 3 slices whole-grain bread with 2 whole + 2 egg whites omelet. + 1 cup berries
  • Snack: 15 almonds + pancake
  • Lunch: 1 cup whole grain rice with 1 cup kidney beans + 1 cup broccoli
  • Snack: 1 cup quinoa + 1.5 cup of mixed fruits
  • Dinner: Brown rice with 100 gm chicken breast or salmon or beef served with salad
  • Before Bed: Same as Monday

Wednesday:

  • Breakfast: 100 gm chicken sandwich on whole-grain bread served with 1 cup of fruits.
  • Snacks: 1 cup yogurt mixed with 3 spoon flax-seeds + 15 almonds
  • Lunch: Grilled fish or chicken breast served with salad + 1 cup rice
  • Snacks: 4 egg whites omelet with mushroom, spinach, and onions with 1/2 cup oatmeal
  • Dinner: 100 g bacon or 1.5 cup chickpeas curry with 1 cup long-grain rice served with 1 cup steamed broccoli
  • Before Bed: 50 g cottage cheese + 1 cup milk

Thursday:

  • Breakfast: 2 whole eggs with smoked salmon or chicken breast or bacon on 3 slices whole-grain toast.
  • Snacks: 2 spoon peanut butter + 1 banana
  • Lunch: Oats pancake with 150g smoked chicken thighs
  • Snack: 1 cup quinoa + 10 almonds and a mixed cup of fruit.
  • Dinner: 100 g bacon or 150g chicken curry with 1 cup long-grain rice served with 1 cup mixed veggies
  • Before Bed: 50 g cottage cheese + 1 cup milk

Friday:

  • Breakfast: Smoothie with oats, berries, milk, yogurt, and cinnamon
  • Snacks: 15 almonds + 1 cup yogurt + 1 apple
  • Lunch: 1 cup whole grain pasta cooked + 1 whole and 3 egg whites served with 1 cup steamed beans
  • Snack: 1 cup oatmeal + 1 cup of berries.
  • Dinner: 150 g Roasted chicken breast served mixed salad + 1.5 cup cooked rice.
  • Before Bed: 1 slice bread with two spoon peanut butter + half cup milk

Saturday:

  • Breakfast: 100 gm chicken sandwich on whole-grain bread served with 1 cup of fruits.
  • Snacks: 1 cup yogurt mixed with 3 spoon flax-seeds + 15 almonds
  • Lunch: Grilled fish or chicken breast served with salad + 1 cup rice
  • Snacks: 4 egg whites omelet with mushroom, spinach, and onions with 1/2 cup oatmeal
  • Dinner: 100 g bacon or 1.5 cup chickpeas curry with 1 cup long-grain rice served with 1 cup steamed broccoli
  • Before Bed: 50 g cottage cheese + 1 cup milk

Sunday:

  • Breakfast: 1 cup oatmeal + 2 whole eggs + 15 almonds
  • Snack: 1 cup of yogurt + 2 spoon flaxseeds + 1/2 cup of berries
  • Lunch: 1 cup of rice + 100 gm chicken thighs served with salad
  • Snack: 100 gms cottage cheese
  • Dinner: Salmon or Beef with long grain rice served with 1 cup salad
  • Before Bed: 1 cup milk + 2 spoon peanut butter

The Bottom Line

Building muscle is not only about going to the gym and lifting weights, it’s the result of both proper training and nutrition.

The way you train and eat will decide how much muscles you will grow over time. Therefore, eating the right amount of nutrients and working out with proper form & technique is essential.

Strength training is the best way to build muscles fast because it triggers human growth hormone and testosterone in the body, the two main hormones responsible for hypertrophy.

Follow the above techniques and diet to gain muscle and strength fast. Happy Gains…

111 Shares:
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like