There’s a lot of people, especially beginners when they start out the training they want to know what is the best workout program to build muscle or what the best training style to build muscle is… I know, because I was one of those people. But here I am, a little over 1 year into my strength training journey and I can tell you, you’re asking the wrong question.
The reason why I say this is because building muscle and getting strong are a byproduct of resistance training – be it with weights or simply with your bodyweight – and not a byproduct of a magic formula… There is NO magic formula. You build muscle by doing strength training. That’s it.
Nowadays, there’s a lot of information out there and it can all feel very overwhelming, especially when the Fitness Industry is just trying to sell you all kinds of stuff and perpetuating myths… But that’s a discussion for another day. My advice to you is to learn the key principles behind building muscle and getting strong so that you can fit it into the style of training that you enjoy doing – whether it is bodybuilding or functional training – and this is what I will attempt to do with this article.
But I can tell you this: the BEST workout program that you can possibly do is the one you CONSISTENTLY follow day in, day out.
What Makes Your Muscles Grow
The human body is highly adaptive and will adapt to stress being put on it. When you do strength training/resistance training, your body needs to adapt, and its response is bigger and stronger muscles.
So if your goal is to build muscle, you need to do strength training – and you need to do it properly.
Decide what kind of training you’d like to take up – do you want to lift weights or use your bodyweight instead? In my opinion, bodyweight training’s benefits far surpass those of weight training, but in the end of the day, resistance is resistance, and you can use both training styles to build muscle – It just comes down to what you want to do and what you like doing.
Don’t over analyze things. I know that starting something new can be scary and if you’ve never done strength training, it will definitely be challenging, but just keep in mind that you WILL get stronger, you WILL build muscle and it DOES get easier.
Proper Strength Training
As a beginner, you should be focusing on doing 3 intense full body workouts per week. You don’t really need more than 3 workouts per week in order to build muscle, in fact, any more than that just slows down the process of building muscle because you won’t be able to recover from your workouts, and if you can’t recover from your workouts, you won’t be able to progress as fast with your training.
In these workouts, you should be mainly doing your key compound movements such as Pull-Ups, Dips, Push Ups and Squats. A good guideline is to divide these 3 workouts into 5-6 exercises. Aim for 3 upper body compound exercises, 1 Leg exercise, and 1-2 Abs exercise. Focus on progressing with the exercises by doing more reps and sets with each session and always push yourself!
Don’t be discouraged if you can’t quite do a Pull Up yet, or that you’re not lifting much weight in the gym. You’ll most likely find that the strength will build up pretty fast so don’t let that stop you from starting your training journey. We’ve all got to start somewhere!
Nutrition Plays A Big Part
It’s also important to understand that nutrition plays a big part when it comes to your body composition and your ability to recover from training, so, in my opinion, it’s important to keep a healthy diet composed of mainly whole foods. Make sure to eat enough protein from good quality protein sources and to eat enough veggies.
As you’ve probably heard before, to build muscle and strength, it is best to be on a caloric surplus and this is definitely true. Aim for about 400-500 calories above your daily maintenance calories. There’s no need to go above 500 calories though, as any more than that will just result in unwanted FAT.
As time goes by, if you’re doing proper strength training and eating at a caloric surplus, you’ll notice your strength is going to increase dramatically and with that so will your physique.
Setting Big and Small Goals
In order to ensure success and that you keep motivated, a good thing to do is to set goals, both big and small. What I mean by this, is that you should have something you’re working towards, like for example a Muscle Up or some hard exercise that you want to achieve, but to keep you motivated along the way you should also set smaller goals, such as being able to do 15 Pull-Ups or something like that.
Consider getting a training journal and write your goals down along with what you did in your training sessions. This will make it easier to track your progress and keep motivated. As you see your numbers go up and you get stronger and moving on to harder exercise progressions, you’ll achieve your small goals, and eventually your bigger goals too!
Mindset For Success
Your mindset will absolutely play a major part when it comes to strength training. You need to believe in yourself, be willing to put the work in and always push yourself.
Building muscle will also take time so you need to make training a part of your lifestyle, it needs to be a priority in your life if you want to get good results and achieve your goals.
At the end of the day, building muscle, getting strong and achieving the physique you want is about consistency, dedication, and effort.
There’s no magic formulas or short-cuts. Work hard and you’ll get there!
I hope this has been helpful for those of you that are just starting out and that you’ve gained some clarity in regard to building muscle and if you have any questions or comments, just leave them in the comment box below, and I’ll be sure to answer them!
Happy training everyone!