How to Gain Muscle: 8 Essential Tips You Need to Know

Updated in December 2022

To gain muscle mass, it is important to exercise regularly following a plan, ideally from a personal trainer. You should also consume a diet that promotes muscle building, being sure to favor food that is rich in protein. 

It is also important to allow rest time between training. Muscle fibers tear and become injured with exercise, and send a signal to the body to stimulate regrowth. It is during this recovery time that muscle mass is gained.

Diet is also a fundamental part of gaining muscle, as you diet will supply the nutrients necessary to increase muscle fiber diameter to increase hypertrophy.

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Tips for muscle gains

8 ways to gain muscle mass quickly and efficiently are: 

1. Perform each exercise slowly 

Strength training exercises should ne done slowly, especially when you are actively contracting the muscle. This type of movement will ensure more muscle fiber tears during the workout, so that you have increased muscle gain during the recovery period. 

In addition to promoting hypertrophy, slower movements also make you more conscious of what your body is doing, which can prevent inadequate form and compensation that make the move easier. 

2. Don’t stop as soon as you feel discomfort 

Feeling discomfort or a burning sensation when exercise should not be a cause for you to stop. It is during this time that muscle fibers are tearing, which will lead to hypertrophy during recovery. 

If the pain you feel is in a joint or in a muscle that is not directly related to the workout move, you should stop or decrease the intensity to reduce your risk of injury. 

3. Training 3 to 5 times per week 

To gain muscle, it is important to exercise regularly, around 3 to 5 times per week. You should train each muscle group at least 1 or 2 times per week, making sure to rest each muscle group to promote hypertrophy.

A personal trainer is a great resource to set-up a plan for you that takes the different muscle groups and your personal goals into account. Learn about workouts that are targeted to building chest muscles and building leg muscles.                                                                  

4. Protein-rich diet 

To build muscle, it is important to consume healthy diet that is rich in protein. Protein is responsible for the maintenance of muscle fibers and are directly related to hypertrophy. In addition to increasing your protein consumption, it is also important to consume good fats and to consume more calories than you burn. 

Learn about different types of food that are rich in protein, and how you can incorporate them into your diet. 

5. Intense workouts 

It is important to workout intensely, making sure to start with a light warm up with aerobic exercise or fast repetitions of moves you plan to do with lighter weights. 

After strength training, you should perform aerobic exercise, which will help to increase metabolism and calorie burning. These also promote hypertrophy and muscle building.  

6. Switching up your workouts 

It is important to switch up your workouts every 4 to 5 weeks to avoid muscle adaptation, which can interfere with muscle building. After 5 weeks, your personal trainer can evaluate your performance and the progress you have made to recommend other moves and training strategies.

7. Each exercise should use 65% of your maximum strength 

Exercises should use about 65% of the maximum strength you need to complete one rep. For example, if you can only complete one single rep of a leg extension with 30 kg (or 65lb), you should drop the weight to closer to 20kg (or 45 lb) so that you can complete a full series of this exercise. 

Over time, it is normal that you will build a tolerance to certain weights and that they become easier. Therefore, it is necessary to increase weights as you progress to promote hypertrophy. 

8. When you reach your objective, don’t stop

After achieving your muscle building goals, you should not stop exercising, otherwise you will lose the definition you worked hard to gain. Generally, muscle mass loss can occur after 15 days of no exercise. 

The first noticeable results can be noted at least 3 months after strength training. After 6 months of exercising regularly, it is possible to notice a significant difference in muscle growth and definition. Improved cardiac conditioning can be noticed within the first month. 

Protein supplements or creatine supplements are a great option to also promote muscle building. These supplements should only be taken under supervision of a doctor or registered dietitian. Read more about the best supplement for muscle growth and how they are taken. 

An adequate eating plan that targets muscle gains can also positively impact muscle growth. Check out what to eat to gain muscle and be sure to see our example 3-day meal plan.