If you’re like me, building muscle mass has proven challenging. My body type is commonly referred to as ectomorph, known in the weight lifting community as a “hard gainer.” Weight gain doesn’t come easily, so to build muscle mass on a body with a lean disposition requires discipline, determination, and some creativity.
Do Your Favorite, and Not-So-Favorite, Exercises
My love for exercise was the best starting point for my goal of building muscle mass. The exercises I enjoyed doing easily found a place in my schedule. However, building muscle mass necessitates working out the entire body in a variety of ways. In order to get the results I wanted, I had to add some exercises that were not on my favorites’ list. This means I had to do more squats.
Those unfavorable exercises provide the potential for the greatest gains. By incorporating exercises that you dislike into your regimen, you give yourself the opportunity to engage muscles that may have previously been neglected. Early on, these muscles will respond quickly, giving you new areas for muscle growth.
Variety and Variations of Exercises
Along with having favorite exercises, I searched for different exercises that targeted the same muscles groups differently. For example, bicep curls are great for making the biceps big and strong. Lat pull-downs, upright rows, and pull-ups also work the biceps along with various other muscles. The biceps will reap the benefits of doing these exercises along with curls.
Variations of exercises are great too. You can do a standard bicep curl, either with dumbbells or a barbell. Change your grip to an overhand grip and you can train the biceps and the forearms. Widen your grip on a barbell to target the short head of the bicep more. You can even have a seat on a incline bench to hit the long head of the bicep more. Variety in training is key and will pay great dividends towards your goal of building muscle mass.
Eat for Muscle Growth
With all the training you’re doing to build muscle mass, your body needs to receive the proper fuel to provide you with the energy to train and to recover and rebuild after training. It takes 3,500 calories to gain a pound. That’s in addition to your daily recommended caloric intake. It’s hard to add another 3,500 calories to what you already consume in a day. The most common recommendation is to add 500 calories to each day and you’ll gain a pound per week.
I tackled calorie adding with shakes and smoothies. Beginning with a protein powder, I blended together Greek yogurt, bananas, fruit juice or milk, peanut butter, and blueberries. It was a great mix for a quick replenish after a workout. I encourage you to be creative and seek out recipes to develop a meal plan that will be conducive to your muscle mass goals.
Maintaining a regular schedule for both your workouts and diet will keep you on task. You must let your desire to build muscle mass show in the effort you put into planning out your regimen and sticking to it. Putting in the work, eating right, and getting plenty of rest, your muscle mass will grow by leaps and bounds.