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5 Steps to Increasing Your Muscle Mass

How-to Increase Muscle Mass

How-to Increase Muscle Mass, is not for the faint hearted, it requires grit, determination, courage, and knowledge. The 5 steps to increase your muscle mass below will help considerably towards this task. They are by no means the only steps that one could take to increase your muscle mass and there will be more to follow these 5, however, it’s an important start and one you should implement as soon as possible…

Step 1 – Provision of Calories

Doubble Front Bicep Poss

Double Front Bicep Poss

The most effective way to get bigger is a strategy combining exercise and good nutrition. It’s vital to pay attention to both halves of this formula. If you’re completing the correct exercise, but not eating adequate calories, you’ll find it impossible to increase muscle mass or strength significantly.

The key is eating regular meals (every 2 – 3 hours) and increase daily calories to 500 above your weight maintenance figure. Try to consume the high quality protein and calories you need throughout the day.


Step 2 – Protein Quality Over Quantity 

Increase Your Protein intake

A lack of quality protein will result in loss of muscle tissue and tone, a weaker immune system, slower recovery, and lack of energy. If your goal is to put on muscle while maintaining definition and tone, extra protein from high quality sources is a MUST. Meal replacement performance products such as Reflex, Pro-Mass, all contain whey protein to satisfy your body’s requirements. These products should not be your only protein source, but should complement the proteins in your diet such as fish and lean meats.


Step 3 – Overcompensation & Eliciting a Training Effect

woman doing dubble front bicep poss

Double front bicep poss

When you exert your muscles, especially during high intensity resistance training, your muscle fibres are naturally broken down. Your body overcompensates for this, so you are able to do the same amount of exercise with less effort next time. This is known as the ‘training effect’. As you train your strength increases, thanks to an increase in muscle size and increased stimulation of muscle fibres. Products like Creatine, Pro-Male will allow you to train more intensely, for example, enabling you to increase the weights you are lifting in the gym or squeezing out a few extra reps.


Step 4 – Help to Prevent Muscle Breakdown


Muscle fibres



Our bodies are in a constant state of building, repairing, and breaking down cells. By helping to prevent muscle breakdown after training, you can support your muscle and strength goals further. Formulas such as HMB can help to do this. Add them to a sensible diet and training regime, for best results.


Step 5 – Introduce Additional Herbs, Vitamins & Minerals to Aid Your Results

Supplements and Bodybuilding 2Herbal and amino acid formulas are popular for accelerating muscle gains. It is also important to make sure you are getting your full complement of vitamins and minerals. Immune Support and ZMA can all be used to support the vitamin and mineral needs of the bodybuilder.

Making wise choices with supplements and foods is one key towards success. The following herbs, spices or foods should be avoided in your quest to develop the perfect physique, soy, soy milk, soy protein powders, licorice, red clover, dong quai, damiana, black cohosh, verbana, motherwort, thyme, oregano, tumeric, hops – sorry guys, but beer lowers your testosterone levels, while having the opposite effects in females, bloodroot, mandrake, pennyroyal, yucca and mistletoe.

It seems like a no-brainer, if you want to maximize the testosterone and anabolic hormonal response to weight training, avoiding or minimizing the amount of estrogenic herbs, spices and foods that you eat, you should be eating organically and smartly. If you want to ensure that you are helping tilt your body to fight off estrogenic items in the environment, you should consider using dietary supplements. And perhaps overall health can ever only be obtained through eating meats and dairy items that come from farms or facilities that do not use hormones in their rearing of the animals.

Step 6 – Understanding Carbohydrate and Proteins

If you are toPotato_galettes_with_quail_eggs grow healthy, fit, or increase muscle size then you must understand what ‘Carbohydrate and Proteins’ are ALL about.

Let’s take a look at carbohydrates and proteins in this very simple to understand way.  Carbohydrate is the petrol you put in your car to power the engine, and proteins are like the mechanic who services, repairs, and fits new parts to your car.

Without carbohydrates you won’t have the required energy to breakdown muscle fibres during your workout, and without the necessary amount of protein, your body would find it hard to repair muscle fibres. In fact, it will cannibalize it from other muscles, shrinking, and inhibiting their growth in the process. You need to also understand one very important factor about cannibalized proteins from muscles, it will not aid in cell growth, understand your body will not use this protein to increase ‘MUSCLE VOLUME’.


Keep coming back, because there are more Steps coming later…




Free Weights VS Machines

Are Free Weights or Machines Better For Muscle Growth

Weights V Machines

Rings Used By Gymnastics Do Build Impressive Bodies Can The Same Be Said For Machines In The Gym?

So What Are The Differences Between Free Weights And Machines

The first thing we should mention before we begin this debate, is the necessity to always remind oneself that exercise is a life style and is for life.

And in any 24-hour period we are only ever going to be exercising for maybe an hour or two, leaving 22 hours for the muscles to repair and develop.

It’s important to understand this philosophy and to religiously stick to your routine without fail, because it doesn’t matter if you use weights or machines without living, breathing, eating, and enjoying this activity, no advancement in fitness or muscle mass will ever materialize.

Also, it’s necessary to understand that when doing any type of exercise, the range of movement during the exercise, known as ‘the range of movement’ is just as important as the exercise itself. Generally  speaking, the more difficult or grater the range of movement is, the more affect the exercise will have, because your muscles simply as to do twice the amount of hard work performing the movement than if the movement was shorter.

Let’s take as an example a classic dumbbell bicep curl. Just in case you are not familiar with this exercise, let me take a moment to explain.

The bicep curl is performed by standing up straight, with the palms of your hands facing your sides, holding a dumbbell in each hand straight down by your sides. You begin by contracting your biceps to bring the dumbbells up to shoulder height, at about a 45° angle, twisting the dumbbell at the beginning so that when reaching shoulder height, the palms of your hands are now facing towards you, and this is all done without any twisting of the body.

You repeat for a set number of times, rest and repeat again for three sets.

Now let’s examine the same bicep curl, but this time executed on a curl machine.

To start with, the standard bicep curl machine requires you to sit down and brace your upper arms, with the triceps pressing down on a plate. Now using the two handles that will be in front you, perform the same motion as above with the dumbbells, pulling the handles in an upward motion, lowering, then repeating.

Now let’s inspect the difference between these two exercises. The first thing to notice is that when using the curl machine you are basically only essentially contracting your biceps, which is pretty much all you are doing. Also, when using a machine you are sitting down, this will severely restrict how much your shoulders can give.

The free standing dumbbell bicep exercise brings into play many muscles that will help the bicep to raise the weight, the forearms and fingers as examples. But the important thing here is to note that the machine moves only in one plane, up and down, whereas when using the dumbbells, the arm is allowed to twist giving a much larger range of movement.

Because your freestanding the biceps has to work very hard to lift the dumbbells, where as with the machines you can pull, brace against the machine to gain leverage.

gym equipment Also, with the machine the stronger arm gets an opportunity to dominate the exercise, whereas with the dumbbells, the arms are working independently of one another and therefore, the weaker bicep as to work harder to keep up with the stronger bicep.

Something you must watch out for when using a bicep curl machine. Some machines look like a bicep curl exercise, but they aren’t. If the machine has you gripping a handle that’s vertical; your palms would be facing inwardly towards one another, with thumbs on top of your hands, then it’s not for training the bicep.

This type of exercise almost excludes the biceps from the exercise; instead they are for performing a hammer movement that’s designed to work the brachial muscle, which lies between the bicep and triceps. Yes you do need to train the brachial muscle, but it should be done on a separate training day, so as to not over-train the bicep…remember that the bicep muscle will shrink if over-trained.

One of the best things about using a machine is all the weights are on the stack as opposed to dragging dumbbells or barbell plates all over the gym, especially when the biceps are beginning to fade.

There are a lot of people out there that would argue the fact that free weights are better at developing muscle size, I’m one of them and pretty much agree with this. Free weights have been around a lot longer and have been proven time after time to achieve dramatic results.

There are however, some pros and cons to both disciplines.

In a nutshell, there is absolutely no doubt that free weights will develop more muscle mass than machines do and from a bodybuilders point of view, this is the most effective way to achieve it, but this doesn’t mean that machines have no value for a bodybuilder.

In order to develop any muscle mass, it is necessary on occasions to introduce some stability exercises into the routine schedules. Although it’s pretty much well established that standing dumbbell, barbell, bicep curls will produce the desired effects, in order to develop shape and symmetry it’s necessary to introduce some stability exercises, and machines are excellent for this purpose.

I have personally used machines for certain exercises, for example, cable crossovers, triceps push downs, cable rows, lateral pull downs, and so on. And when on a competition diet, machines are invaluable, because as you approach the day of a competition your strength and stamina hits rock bottom and struggling with carrying weights takes too much energy.

Machines are very useful for people who have never been to the gym before. They allow the tendons and connective tissues the opportunity to adjust to the stress and strains of their new routines, and takes away the extra concentration required to balance or stabilize the free weights, it helps with their confidence too.

Machines are also very useful for helping people with health or injury conditions, helping to strengthen and build range of movement, getting them back into training with free weight.

Machines do add a dimension to your exercises that free weights cannot, so the argument should be…” how best to use these machines”. And leave the arguments and debates to those who have nothing better to do, but dream about owning a body that’s worth some discussion!