How To Gain Muscle For Summer?
Matt Paterson (B.Ex & Sports Sci)
Are you ready to get strong and make some serious gains? Do you want this year to be the year of major muscle growth?
If you take your workouts and nutrition seriously, you can achieve all your muscle-building goals. Explained below is everything you need to know to get ripped over summer.
Eat in a Calorie Surplus
If you want to build muscle, you need to eat in a calorie surplus. That means you take in more calories than your body burns.
To make sure you’re eating in a calorie surplus, start by calculating your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). This is the number of calories your body needs just to stay alive. To calculate BMR, use one of these equations:
- Adult males: 66.47 + (13.75 x weight [in kilograms]) + (5.003 x size [in centimetres]) − (6.755 x age [in years])
- Adult females: 655.1 + (9.563 x weight [in kilograms]) + (1.85 x size [in centimetres]) − (4.676 x age [in years])
From here, to figure out your maintenance calories, use the equation that matches your activity level:
- Little/no exercise: BMR x 1.2
- Light exercise: BMR x 1.375
- Moderate exercise (3-5 days/wk): BMR x 1.55
- Very active (6-7 days/wk): BMR x 1.725
- Extra active (very active & physical job): BMR x 1.9
Once you’ve determined your maintenance calories, add between 250 and 500 calories to that number. That will put you in a modest calorie surplus and set you up for consistent muscle gain.
Eat Enough Protein
Make sure you’re also eating a sufficient amount of protein.
Most research suggests that eating between 1.6 and 2.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight will help you to build muscle mass. If you weigh 72 kilograms, for example, you would want to aim to eat between 115 and 158 grams of protein per day.
If you have a hard time hitting your daily protein goal, make sure you’re including a protein source with each meal or snack. Try to get most of your protein from complete protein sources, too.
A complete protein source contains all nine essential amino acids: Histidine, Cysteine, Lysine, Methionine, Valine, Leucine, Isoleucine, Tryptophan, and Phenylalanine.
The body cannot produce these amino acids on its own. You need to get them from food. Without sufficient quantities of all nine essential amino acids, it’ll be harder for you to build muscle effectively.
Eat Mostly Whole Foods
To some people, the rule about eating in a calorie surplus seems like a carte blanche to eat whatever they want, whenever they want.
There’s definitely room for some fun foods when you’re trying to increase your muscle mass. However, try to get the majority of your calories (80-90 per cent) from whole, unprocessed foods.
If you’re only eating junk food, you’ll have a harder time hitting your protein goal, even if you are technically eating enough calories. You might also end up missing out on essential micronutrients that you need to stay healthy and feel your best.
Use the Right Supplements
You can’t out-supplement an unhealthy diet. However, there are some supplements that can help you while you’re on your muscle-building journey.
The following are some of the best supplements for people trying to gain muscle:
If you have a hard time eating enough protein each day, protein powder can fill in the gaps. It’s especially helpful to have on hand for adequate post-workout nutrition.
Several studies have shown that creatine is one of the most effective supplements for muscle building.
Creatine is stored in the muscles as phosphocreatine. The body uses phosphocreatine to produce ATP (short for adenosine triphosphate).
ATP provides your muscles with energy and helps you to perform to the best of your abilities during workouts.
Beta-Alanine is an amino acid. It’s found in many pre-workout supplements because it helps to reduce fatigue and improves exercise performance. It can also increase muscle mass, especially when it’s used alongside a structured workout program.
Nutrition and supplementation matter a great deal when it comes to getting strong and building muscle. Your workouts play an important role, too.
Strength training is essential to muscle building. During your strength training workouts, make sure you’re lifting heavy weights.
Of course, heavy is relative.
As a general rule, the 6-12 rep range is the most effective for muscle growth. Pick a weight that you can lift for 6-12 reps with good form. The weight should be heavy enough that the last couple of reps should feel challenging, but not impossible.
Do Compound Exercises
You’ll get more bang for your buck if you focus more on compound exercises than isolation exercises during your workouts.
Compound exercises use multiple muscle groups at once. An example might be a barbell squat, a barbell deadlift, a bench press, or a pull-up. Make these kinds of exercises the cornerstone of your workout.
You can always finish with some isolation exercises like biceps curls or tricep extensions, of course. You’ll see better results when you prioritize compound exercises, though.
Make Time for Recovery
Finally, don’t forget to make time for recovery. You might assume that, if you’re trying to build muscle, you need to lift heavy seven days per week. That’s definitely not the case, though.
Your muscles need a chance to recover if you want them to grow. This means you need to take days off during the week.
Aim for 1-3 rest days per week, and take those rest days as seriously as you do your workout days. You don’t have to be totally couch-bound when you’re not in the gym, but make sure you’re actually taking time off to recover.
Prioritize quality sleep every night, too. Your body produces most of its growth hormone during deep sleep, so if you’re not getting enough rest, you’ll have a hard time actually building muscle.
Start Building Muscle Today
If you want to build muscle and get ripped over summer, these tips will help. Keep them in mind to maximize your summer break and see great results.
Want more muscle-building advice? Check out some of our other strength training articles today.
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