10 Tips to start gaining muscle

So you want to build some real lean muscle..

You may have just started or very early on in your muscle building journey. Or you may have been training for some time and hit a plateau.

Whichever your situation, these 10 tips (as unusual or even boring you may find them), will absolutely help you add pounds of muscle to your frame.

Eat enough protein

You can’t build muscle without putting in the building blocks. You absolutely need dietary protein to build muscle & the best sources come from animals (poultry, fish, beef, dairy). Animal proteins will always contain a better more complete range of amino acids essential for growth and repair which is why they are deemed ‘complete proteins.’

To ensure that your body stays in a positive nitrogen balance (having an excess of protein to assist in growth & repair), and that your muscles are supplied with constant building material it is essential that you consume 1.5g-2g per lean kg of body weight whilst resistance training.

Look after your gut

I bet you weren’t expecting this so high in my list of tips but remember; you aren’t what you eat, you are what you digest and absorb. If you have an unhealthy gastrointestinal tract then you won’t be able to digest, synthesize & utilize all your nutrients properly turning your food into muscle.

As your food travels through your stomach and down into your intestines it’s broken down and various nutrients are extracted and carried off to other parts of the body to be used.

So you see your G.I tract is your muscle building factory where all the growth and repair starts and keeping it healthy and efficient relies on a few things.

  • Drink enough water to help digestion and food travel through.
  • Eat enough fibre for the same reason and to help carry toxins out of the body.
  • Eat enough vegetables to get a wide range of vitamins & minerals.
  • Keep your stress lower to ensure you’re in an optimal state to produce acids and other chemicals & processes essential for digestion.
  • Add some fermented foods like sauerkraut or kefir to your diet to support the friendly bacteria. These bacteria help extract nutrients from your food to nourish you.
  • Eliminate any food triggers which cause excessive bloating or gastric problems.

If your digestive system isn’t optimally running smoothly you cant expect muscle building to do the same.

Strength train.

Myofibril hypertrophy is a method of tearing down your muscle fibre so that during the repair and remodelling process the muscle fibres multiply to deal with any future muscle trauma. You  do this mainly with heavy weights so do phases of low rep training 5-8 & periods of slightly higher reps training 9-12.

Get control and contract.

Sarcoplasmic hypertrophy (increasing the volume of fluid inside a muscle cells) occurs when the muscle fibres and fascia are stretched and there is more space in the muscle to be filled up with blood and other substrates.

In order for this stretching to take place you need to force as much blood into the muscle as it can take and then keep forcing to get a ‘pump.’ Simply gaining complete control of the weight and squeezing at the top of a contraction is a sure fire way of forcing more and more blood into the working muscle.

Don’t relax when you get to the top point of a contraction, Flex! This will also increase protein synthesis.

Eat, drink & get heavy

If your muscles are flat, dehydrated and drained of carbohydrate stores you are going to struggle to get a pump and will also feel weak and unfocused. Therefore ensuring you’re consuming enough carbs & fat along with your protein and maintaining hydration is a key component to increasing muscular size & getting a good pump whilst training.

Tension is key

Forget about how much weight you can lift and concentrate on tension. The time a muscle is kept under tension is one of the most important factors when determining the outcome of the training.

For optimal gains in hypertrophy you want to keep the muscle under tension for 40-90 seconds. Keep this in mind next time you want to rush through a set or relax half way through.

Slow down the negative

Muscle fibres are built and multiplied after you damage them and tear them under tension. The best way to create damage is by slowing down the negative part of the movement.

Lengthening the muscle under tension is the most efficient way of causing the most amount of intra muscular damage. Try 3-5 second negatives if you are doping 8-12 reps.


Have you been lifting the same weight, doing the same workout for more than 6 weeks? Depending on your training age you have probably stopped responding to your workout regime & you need to change one or more variables: sets, reps, load, frequency, rest periods or the exercise.

Making small adaptations to exercises is a great way to stimulate growth by hitting different muscle fibres within the same muscle (changing your grip, the bar you use or the thickness of the bar are some really good examples of how small changes can make a big difference to the results you get).

If you need help with this you can get some HERE 

Full extension

If you want a muscle to grow you will need to take it through it’s full range of movement. This will ensure you stimulate the greatest amount of fibres within the muscle.

For example; when performing a bicep curl have straight arms at the bottom.

Supplement with zinc to optimise testosterone

You aren’t going to build much muscle if you don’t have optimal levels of testosterone (men and women). Zinc is by far the best supplement you can take to ensure you have optimal levels of natural testosterone production. Don’t bother with Zinc oxide though, it is poorly absorbed by the body.

If you want to build some serious muscle you can find out how HERE 


Matt Knight is a participant in the Amazon EU Associates Programme, an affiliate advertising programme designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.co.uk.