Building Muscle 101 – From Skinny to Fit

Hey everyone.

Thanks for checking in today. I would like to share my take on a pin I saw on Pinterest the other day. Here’s the pin:

the rockI would like to share my thoughts on the eight points mentioned by The Rock. Just my opinion.

Let’s get started!

Prioritize the Compound Lifts

If you are trying to build muscle mass, every time you work out, you need to include one or more exercise that would be classified as a compound exercise. By definition, a compound exercise is an exercise that uses more than one joint and more than one muscle group, as opposed to an Isolation exercise which uses one joint movement and one muscle group.

Since compound exercises require the use of multiple joints, multiple muscle groups are called into action and the greatest change can be recognized with fewer exercises. In fact, by doing just 8-10 exercises, you can complete a total body workout.

Alternatively, you can use compound exercises to warm up the muscle group you are working before finishing the muscle off with some isolation exercises.

bench press

The generally accepted list of compound exercises is as follows: Barbell Squat, Barbell Deadlift, Dips, Dumbbell Lunges, Bench Step-up, Barbell Bench Press, Wide Grip Lat Pulldown, Bent Over Row, Dumbbell Shoulder Press, Shrug, Abdominal Bicycle, and Close-grip Bench Press.

For an excellent article on these exercises, see Bodybuilding.com or Muscle and Fitness.

Mass Gainer Shakes

There are lots of options for mass gainer shakes. Lots of shakes that you can buy have lots of protein, which is essential for muscle growth and recovery. There are not any really good mass gainer shakes for the hard-gainer. This is one that I have found that will work, assuming you are not on a carb reduced lifestyle. That being said, it is not always a bad idea to have fewer carbs.

As with all options, everyone has their own opinion. Here is a video that talks about carb loading pre and post workout if you are following a keto lifestyle.

On to the recipe for mass gainer shakes. I found this one on Bodybuilding.com.protein shake

  • 2 scoop Pro JYM or any protein powder of your choice – (flavor of choice)
  • 2 cup whole milk
  • ½ cup raw oats
  • 1 banana
  • 1 tbsp natural peanut butter
  • 3 cubes ice

Prep: 3 min.Cook: 0 min.Total: 3 min.

Simply combine all ingredients in a blender.

Again, if you are on Keto, this may be your carb intake for the day, but it will be worth it if you are trying to gain some serious mass.

Progressive Overload / Workout Frequency / Lift Heavy

So, what is progressive overload. Simply put, if you want your muscles to grow, you must constantly make them work harder than they normally would. Your muscles will adapt to your workouts. If you continue to do the same workout, you will not gain muscle. You must continually increase the demands on your muscles and skeletal system to make gains in strength, size, and endurance.
progressive overload

There are a few ways to accomplish this. The obvious one is to lift heavier weights. (This point can’t be ignored. Every once in a while, you need to do a few sets that push your limits. This will breakdown the muscle in a way that doesn’t always happen, and will increase your growth.) But you can also progressively overload, and stimulate growth, by increasing the number of reps or the number of sets. You can also increase the number of times you work out each muscle group. Another way to progressively overload is to decrease the time you rest between sets.

All of these methods, from increasing the weight to decreasing the rest between sets, will stimulate muscle growth.

Here is an excellent article to give you more information on Progressive Overload.

Eat More Food!

It should go without saying that if you want to gain weight, you need to overload on calories, just like if you want to lose weight, you decrease the calories.
eat more food

Overloading calories doesn’t mean you can just eat whatever you want, whenever you want it! You still need to be cognizant of what you are putting into your body, and if you are following the Keto lifestyle, then you should be increasing your calories according to the plan you have set out for yourself.

Also, you really only need to increase your calorie intake by about 500 calories to accomplish your goal. You could also spread your calories out over several smaller meals.

If you include the mass gainer shake mentioned above, once a day, you will have increased your food intake the necessary amount to gain some muscle mass, as long as you incorporate the other changes (progressive overload, compound lifts, more frequent workouts, heavy lifting) into your lifestyle.

Ignore the Bro-Science!

This is an important one. Everyone has an opinion on what will work best for you to gain muscle mass. And I mean everyone. If you mention in the gym that you are a hard-gainer and can’t seem to put on muscle mass, get ready for the advice. There will be lots of it, and it will be contradictory.bro science

It is very important for you to do the research, try some plans, and find what works best for you. It is always good to go to reliable sources (Bodybuilding.com, Fit Father Project)for information and actually write out a plan that you are able to stick to and track your progress.

Try not to fall into the trap of changing your routine every week. Pick a plan that is proven to work, from a reliable source, and stick to it for a few (about 12) weeks. Then re-valuate, and change the plan as necessary to continue making the gains you desire.

Be Patientcalendar

The very fit and muscular bodies you see on-line, did not occur overnight. These people have put in years of work. Yes, years! You will see changes much more quickly than that, but remember it will take time.

One of the greatest factors in your growth will be your age. As we age, it takes longer for our bodies to adapt to the inputs we are giving, and we need to be sure we are working out in a manner that is safe for all our joints.

That is why I constantly remind my readers to do their own research based on their age, needs, desires, and current fitness levels. You will lose weight and you will gain muscle. It will happen at the pace that is best for your body.

Just be patient and consistent.

Last Words

So there you have it. With a little inspiration from The Rock, there are some tips on how to gain some muscle mass.

Again, I must say, that these are just my humble opinions, and you must find a lifestyle that is sustainable for you. Do the research, try some programs. Find something you can stick to for the long term. And then just get started. What have you got to lose!

Thanks for listening. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below.

See you in the next post.

Have a great day!

Tom Fitzsimmons

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