When you try to build muscle, the first thing you have to work for is eating clean foods apart from keeping your body in a calorie surplus. If you eat more than what your body burns and most of it comes from junk food, you will end up with unhealthy fats most of which is waste. Hence for building pure muscle, you have a eat clean and whole foods as much as possible minimizing fat gains and increasing muscle. You have to focus on quantity over quality. Start by incorporating healthy whole foods into your diet and then increase the quantity of these foods in each meal. This will ensure that you eat more clean foods and increase calorie intake at the same time.
#1 Eat Your Protein
If you want to maintain a positive nitrogen balance and increase protein synthesis, you must get in enough protein. The FDA only recommends 0.8 grams/kg for protein intake, yet study after study shows the benefits and lack of side effects from intake of 1 gram/lb of body weight.
Given the importance of protein in everything from building muscle, to neurotransmitter production, to being a structural component to every cell in your body, it only makes sense to ensure you aren’t too low on this essential macronutrient.
#2 Get moving
For gaining size and lean muscle, Williams recommends focusing on four main exercises — squat, bench press, deadlift, and overhead press — which aren’t just for powerlifters, he says. “Big moves are an invaluable way to increase strength and lean muscle.” And there’s a science to back that up. Research shows that compound moves, such as the squat, recruit multiple muscle groups and elicit a larger hormonal response, making them more effective for building strength and muscle than isolated movements, like the leg extension. As for rep range, Williams recommends five or fewer repetitions for strength and six to 12 repetitions for gaining size.
#3 Do set realistic goals
You want a milestone you can actually achieve, not to look like The Rock by next month. If you have unrealistic expectations you’re likely to become unmotivated when you’re not superseding your hopes. Give yourself the small victories, as they’ll spur you to more success.
#4 More Training Does not mean More muscle
Most beginners make the mistake of spending hours in the gym and doing every exercise they can. For building muscle, working out for short time and with high intensity is the best you can do. Spending hours in the gym leads to more of over-training which is caused by excessive training and lack of nutrition leaving behind unwanted health problems like fatigue, altered heart rate, and muscle soreness. The best muscle building I can give you here is that you not work out for any more than 45-60 minutes in a day and focus more on your intensity. Take minimum rest and pauses best sets and focus more on your exercise than on external factors. Keep your rep range within 8-12 for building muscle. If you are able to perform more than 12 reps, increase the weight.
#5 Use Compound Movements
Doing curls can build you some biceps, but heavy rowing movements like barbell rows and pullups/chinups will really make your arms pop. If you want a better butt and legs, you could go station to station doing hip abductor, leg extensions, leg curls, and other butt isolation exercises, or you could get under the bar and squat. If the exercise you’re doing only moves one joint, you are limiting your muscle-building potential.
#6 If the size is your goal, avoid the shrinking exercise
Running doesn’t build muscle mass. If it did, marathoners would have legs like defensive linemen. But running shrinks muscle fibers to make them more metabolically efficient.
You’d think you could get around this by lifting weights in addition to running, but your body negates that work through a mysterious “interference effect.” Your type II fibers—the biggest ones—will still grow if you run and lift. But your type I fibers won’t, and even though they’re smaller than the type IIs, they likely comprise 50 percent of the muscle fibers in your body that have any growth potential. Cut back on your running program and you’ll see growth in both your slow- and fast-twitch muscle fibers, and perhaps finally get your body to look the way you think it should.
#7 Eat up
Packing on muscle usually calls for the consumption of additional calories, but it’s important to focus on quality over quantity. According to the Department of Medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine, the diet for an athlete or exerciser shouldn’t deviate from that of a healthy individual except in the overall amount of food. By avoiding processed foods, refined sugars, and alcohol, and opting for lean protein, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats, lifters can adequately fuel their body to make gains in the gym.
#8 Don’t get hungry
Eating small meals every two to three hours stokes your metabolism and muscle growth. But fasting for long periods sends your body into panic mode, making it store food as fat. Flood your system with a steady supply of nutrients to help you burn fat and build muscle all day long.
#9 Get Adequate Sleep
Another great tip for building muscle fast for beginners is to get proper rest every day. When you workout your body creates tiny micro-tears in the body that need to be replaced so that they grow better and stronger. These micro-tears get replaced when you sleep. Another reason not to compromise on sleep is that your body produces 70% of the Human Growth Hormone during sleep. Hence remember that your body does not grow in the gym, but at home when you sleep. Try getting 8-10 hours of quality sleep every day for a better recovery and muscle growth.
#10 Have Some Patience
Putting on muscle is not as easy as it seems. Women in particular are fearful of weights because they’re afraid of bulking up. Here’s the thing though you would be lucky to add even half a pound of muscle in a week’s time, and that is if everything is perfect and you’re eating a surplus of calories to support muscle growth.
Building muscle is hard work and takes time. Expect a year’s worth of weight training to really start seeing dramatic changes in your physique.
#11 Drink Plenty of Water
Another important muscle building tip is to drink plenty of water throughout the day. Water not only excretes the waste out of the body but also helps in better absorption of nutrients. Your body needs to be hydrated throughout the day to work properly. Aim for a minimum of 12 glasses of water a day to help your body functioning properly.
These were the top 9 muscle building tips for hard gainers. The most important point a hard-gainer needs to keep in mind is to eat more and keep the body in a calorie surplus for maximum growth.