Build Muscle Like a Badass

 

Are you looking to build muscle? Do you fit the criteria below?

Women: 

  1. Are you less than 22% body fat?
  2. Do you lack any significant muscle mass? (aka, are you skinny fat?)
  3. Are you already at the low-end of a healthy BMI range?

Men:

  1. Are you less than 15% body fat?
  2. Do you lack any significant muscle mass? (aka, are you skinny fat?)
  3. Are you already at the low-end of a healthy BMI range?

If you answered yes to two of more, then you are ready to purposely build muscle! If you did not answer yes to two or more of these questions, please continue to cut overall body fat until you have reached an acceptable range.


Training Requirements

You need a periodized training plan which uses progressive overload. I know, I know, this sounds like a lot of fancy words. Let’s go into what this means exactly.

When programming a workout regimen, the individuals specific needs and goals should be taken into account. While a good training plan will incorporate all aspects of general fitness (cardiorespiratory fitness, strength, endurance, power, agility, and more) the overall training plan should focus on one specific “main goal” for a specific period of time. As they say, you don’t want to be a jack of all trades and master of none.

A periodized training plan will focus on one specific goal for a period of time before moving to another goal for a period of time. This is incredibly important not only to ensure that you are continuously progressing, but to help prevent over-use injuries.

General Adaptation Syndrome:

general-adaptation-syndrome

  • Alarm reaction phase– This is the bodies initial response to a stressor. Commonly called the fight or flight mechanism. During this phase the body will rapidly heal itself and make adaptations to avoid injury. A common symptom during this period would be Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness.
  • Resistance phase– In this phase the greatest number of adaptations are made to keep up with increased physiological demand.
  • Exhaustion phase– In this phase the body has depleted it’s resources and is no longer able to keep up with the demand placed on it. Injury, fatigue, and the inability to adapt begins.

This process takes between 4 and 6 weeks when performing the SAME routine, repetition range, and volume, every single week. By keeping training periodized we can ensure that you are staying with the first two phases of adaptation where the greatest progression is made.

 

Training Phases:

There are multiple phases of training, including stabilization/endurance training, hypertrophy training, strength training, and power training. Each has their own unique training variables. See below from NASM¹.

williams-blueprint2

 

Depending on your particular goals, moving in periods of ~6 weeks between the phases of endurance, hypertrophy, and maximal strength training will ensure that you make the most amount of adaptation, while ensuring your safety. When training to purposefully “build muscle” the greatest focus will generally be in the Hypertrophy and Maximal Strength phases of training while the “endurance” phases may serve to de-load and supply adequate rest intervals.

 

Progressive Overload:

In order to ensure that you’re getting the best bang for your buck, your periodized training program should gradually increase the volume, intensity, frequency, or time activity is performed over each period.

 

In conclusion:

A well-planned periodized training plan which incorporates progressive overload and uses mostly compound movements (which recruit the greatest number of muscle groups) is the best option for those looking to build muscle.

 


Nutrition Requirements

Building muscle requires a calorie surplus. As you build muscle you will also gain some fat. For this reason, we recommend a small surplus of calories based on your realistic muscle gain expectations. By keeping your calorie surplus small, you can help minimize fat gains.

 

 

According to multiple methods² of measuring muscle gain, the following is a reasonable expectation for men:
muscle-gain

Note: As women naturally have lower levels of testosterone they can
expect to gain ½ the values as men. If you’re a woman, please half all
values provided.

 

An easy guide to follow for creating your calorie surplus is:

bulkcals

Note: As women naturally have lower levels of testosterone they can
expect to gain ½ the values as men. If you’re a woman, please half all
values provided.

 

In addition to eating the proper amount of calories, you should aim to hit your minimum suggested protein intake to keep a positive nitrogen balance (See Here).


That’s It!

With the right training, the right number of calories and macronutrients you can be well on your way to building muscle! It’s important to note, however, that it takes many people years to see the type of aesthetic results they wish for. With enough consistency and time, you can expect to have a fantastic injury free physique!

 

For more information on how to calculate your calorie goals, see my nutrition guide here:

Nutrition Guide

For a customized training plan built just for you, please check out my virtual coaching:

Virtual Coaching