To put on solid amounts of muscle naturally you have to get educated on optimal training, nutrition and supplementation. Optimize these three elements to reach your highest natural muscle building potential.
1. Lift heavy and high volume in the 6-10 rep range.
The goal of lifting is to subject muscle fibers to higher levels of physical stress load than they have handled before. This is known as progressive overload. You can progressively overload muscle fibers by performing higher number of reps than you’re accustomed to, by increasing the weight being lifted, and by decreasing the amount of rest between sets. To build dense lean muscle lift in the 6-10 rep range and lift heavy with high volume of reps and sets.
2. Select free-weight compound exercises:
Compound exercises work multiple muscle groups at once. Compound movements such as deadlifts, squats, flat and incline bench presses, barbell and dumbbell back rows, pull ups, parallel bar dips and barbell and dumbbell shoulder presses maximally stimulate target muscles. They are the most effective and will provide you the most returns for your lifting.
Other effective exercises to include are cable lat pull downs, cable seated rows, barbell and dumbbell shrugs, and barbell and dumbbell arm exercises. These exercises recruit and stimulate muscle fibers the most. Machines and isolation work are good to do after the above core lifts.
3. Push yourself a little harder each time
Push for progress in each workout. Add more weight, add more reps decrease rest time, include more exercises, do another set, experiment with what might work better, etc.
Nutrition heavily determines whether you build quality, lean dense muscle or not. To build muscle, eat about 500 calories above your maintenance calories. Eat 1 gram of protein per lb of body weight.
High amounts of quality lean proteins provide the source material to rebuild muscle tissues; complex carbohydrates provide sustained energy to lift hard at the gym and recover effectively; and healthy fats provide energy and optimize muscle building hormones (e.g., testosterone) to maximize muscle and strength gains.
Consume carbs based on how active you’ll be that day. Keep fats around 20% of your total calories. I usually do 40% protein, 40% carbs and 20% fats, known as 40/40/20 macros.
You can divide your daily calorie intake however you want. Say your total daily calories are 2,500. You could have 5 500 calorie meals or 6 meals with less calories per meal or 4, or 3 meals with more calories.
The two most important times to get quality meals with quality nutrients are morning time upon waking up and after workouts. You also want to eat well a couple of hours before working out to fuel your intense training session.
Creatine will help maintain higher levels of energy during hard weight training sessions. Long term studies have shown that creatine can help increase strength by 5-15%.
Whey protein is a fast digesting protein that helps you recover quicker from workouts and stimulates muscle growth.
Preworkouts contain caffeine, B vitamins and nitric oxide – which help increase blood flow to the muscle and increase energy levels to be able to train harder and longer.
Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs):
BCAAs help protect muscles from protein degradation and promote muscle growth. This can improve recovery time from workouts.
Omega 3 Fish Oil:
Omega 3s and other healthy fats play a crucial role in muscle repair and maintaining healthy connective tissues.
Look for high quality multivitamins to fill the gaps in your nutrition.