When you are in your teens and early twenties putting on weight and especially lean muscle is about as difficult as getting blood from a stone. Your metabolism is so fast that everything you eat is converted to energy which is burnt off running form one place to the next. As you get older it becomes easier to put on lean muscle and bluk as your metabolism starts to slow down.
Putting on lean muscle is a hard process and needs three main factors for successin oder of importance are:
Let's look at each one of these to understand how to put on muscle bulk in a realistic way. But before we do that let me explain how muscles are made and how we feed the muscles. When we eat the food is converted to energy to run our bodies what energy that isn't burnt off is either converted to muscle or fat, depedning an lots of factors. If you eat lots of fatty foods or foods high in sugars the energy can be quickly converted to fat.
Muscles are built by working the muscles, as you work the muscle the fibres break down in your muscles, When you rest the muscle repairs itself and this is the point when muscles actually grow. It's a common myth that muscles grow while you are working out, but in reality the actual growth is made after the workout.
To assist the muscles growth you need to supply them with food that helps the growth, the main ones being protein and Crreatine Phosphate. So to build muscle in simple model you need to break it down by working out then feed it by diet and supplements,
An average person needs about 1200 - 2000 calories a day to survive, any more calories are converted to either fat, muscle or expelled as waste. The trick with your diet when you are trying to build lean muscle which is the hardest thing to do is:
Six meals a day you say? Get up off the floor and work it out it aint as bad as you think - truly! The important thing to remember is that you have to at least double what you normally eat, and since you have trained your body over so many years to eat a certain amount of food you need to eat more meals instead of trying to force more food down your gullet. Read more about diets in the diet section of the Superdrewby fitness section.
Ok here is the stuff that you really want to know, what work out and what excercises should I do to put on the muscle gain? The short answer is that there is no true perfect formula for you to follow, but by doing some of the main excercises it will promote muscle growth quite quickly!
The strategy in this work out routine is to concentrate on all over body size, and get you used to the gym and the workout. It is strongly reccommended that you get a gym partner to train with you, so that they can help "spot" you and make sure your technique is correct. This workout should take you about 60 minutes in total and leve you feeling as though you have worked your entire body.
You should aim to do about 8 - 10 repitions of each muscles and three to four sets. A rep is a single excercise and a set is a where you do a number of them in a row. When choosing weights, try to do the heaviest weight that you do without sacrificing your form on the excercise. For the first set of the excercise you will probably find it easy to do the reps. Then on the second, third and fourth sets it will become harder and harder to complete the number of reps.
Every couple of weeks or so try to see if you can add a little bit more weight onto the excercise. The faster you can add weight the quicker your gains will be. The following routine is an idea only and the order in which you do the excercises is not important, except for the cardio which should be at the end of the workout and the abs which should also be after all the other routines.
The bench press is a classic workout for your chest and in particular your pectoral muscles. For the first couple of times just use the bar without any weights on it to get a handle on what the excercise feels like. An average bar weighs about 10 kilograms. Then try 5 kilograms on each end and move your way up till you find your optimal weight.
The pec deck will work on your chest as well and is a great excercise to build up the muscles of your chest. Again try it with no weight and then through trial and error find the weights that work best for you.
'Flies will help expand and work your chest even more, especially in conjunction with the bench press and Pec Deck. To do Flies choose a weight that is challenging and get two dumbells. lie on your back with your arsm bent outwards and then bring your ams up together. Meet the dumbells in front of your head with your arms outstreched.
Your shoulders are an important muscle group and the shoulder press is very important to give you extra strength and bulk up top.
The lat pulldown will work on your upper back muscles and help build that V shape in your upper body that is so sought after. the best way to do this excercise is to pull the bar down behind your head, not in front of your chest as this will work your chest and not you
The good old bicep curl is the best way of working on building up biceps so they bulge and flex when you lift things. There are two main types of excercises that you can do. Either with a barbell or dumbells on either arm. An important word on technique here is that you should make sure that you ground yourself so as you move the weightd up and down you don't sway backwards and forwards.
Bicep Curl with Dumbell
Bicep Curl with Barebell
Your triceps are the muscles at the rear of your biceps and you need to work these as well or your arms will be unbalanced and you will not get a good all over workout. Use a rope or a reveres V shaped bar. Pull down slowly and then go back up slowly in what looks like an inverted V shape.
The leg press is a difficult excercise and because it concentartes on the largest musclke in your body (your thighs) it will leave you feeling weak afterwards. Try to use the heaviest weight you can on this excercise, but stop if you feel pain in your knees. Also don't lock your legs in an outright position, instead always keep them just slightly bent in that way yoou will get a better workout.
The part that everyone hates doing but everyone wants to do so they can have the best abs in existence. For someone starting from scratch the best way of working our abs is using the good old ab roiller. This will prevent you from hurting or straining your neck or back. Aim to do 3 sets of 25 - 30 crunches for your first ab excercises. At the end of this you may feel a lilttle sick and your abs will hurt enormously. For more information on abs see my article on killer abs.
It is important not to do too much cardio excercise when you are trying ot gain bulk. Instead aim to do about 20 minutes at the end of your program either all on one machine or maybe ten minutes on the bike and then ten minutes on the treadmill.
You should be working out at between 65 - 75% of your maximum heart rate for best fat burning and efficiency. To calculate you optimal heart rate use the heart rate calculator here.
You should be taking at least one supplement if not more. We simply don't get all the protein required every day for our bodies to build new muscle so we must supplements to augment what we eat. If you are bulking up for the first time you need to be taking some sort of protein powder or shake. You can read more about protein powders in protein under supplments.
You should aim to have at least one shake in the morning either with breakfast or mid morning. In the afternoon you should have another one and then straight after your workout you should have something as well. It might seem like a lot but it will help you increase your size dramatically.
Common Questions and Answers
I am really skinny will doing this really work?
Yes, you will gain muscle, but how much you gain will depend on how much you eat, how hard and often you work out and of course your genetics. But if you double how much you eat and you go to the gym some of thhis will result in increased muscle and weight!
How often should I go to the gym?
You should try going to the gym at least four times a week for the your body to be shocked into changing and growing.
When can I expect to see results?
You will start to see results in your weight within two weeks but the real reults will be visible in 6 - 12 weeks.
How long should my workout take?
Your workout should take about 45 - 60 minutes not including cardiovascular workout. Any longer than this and you are either slacking off or are working too hard.
I've been following the routine for five weeks and there an no results.
This is always a difficult one, there are many reasons why you may not be seeing results, you may not be eating enough or your weight program may not be hard enough. the best bet is to re assess your routine and your eating habits and really concentrate and try again.