Updated: 2021, Nov 17

Healthy Muscle Building – 7 Questions, Answered by Experts

Building muscle has many direct, immediate benefits to your body. So let's go over the most common and important muscle-building questions.
Healthy Muscle Building – 7 Questions, Answered by Experts
Photo by Jonathan Borba/Unsplash

If you are interested in muscle building, you probably want to know the ins and outs of building muscle, as well as the finest tips and tactics for doing so. We’ve seen everything, from the amount of time it will take to the food you’ll need to eat, and it’s all crucial information.

However, one major challenge when you want to learn more about this topic is the vast volume of information available. Everyone has an opinion on the subject, but that doesn’t imply it’s all true. Different things work for different people, and each individual is unique.

Unverifiable bro-science and contradictory studies mean very few muscle building questions have the same answer. This might be a nightmare for beginners who want to learn everything there is to learn about building muscle. Which is why we’ve come up with this article.

Read on to find out science-backed answers to common muscle-building questions:

1. How many meals should I eat in a day?

Anybody who wishes to increase muscle mass should eat six smaller protein-rich meals each day rather than three or four bigger meals. Expert advice reckons that frequent meals spaced out throughout the day help the body store more carbs in the muscles.

Muscle carbs, in turn, fuel muscle development by stimulating muscles and providing them with the glycogen supply they require to recuperate. You give your muscles a continual supply of glycogen by consuming six or more protein-reach meals each day. [R]

Eating more frequently also ensures a near-constant supply of essential amino acids. Amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein, are required by muscles to repair fiber damage caused by intense strength training. You put on more muscle mass as a result. [R]

Amino acids are also involved in the production of key hormones that control development and support the immune system. This is crucial in that a healthy immune system is essential for recuperation after strenuous activity, such as resistance training or weight training. [R]

2. Does heavy lifting help with muscle building?

The answer is yes and no – the issue with heavy lifting is that you don’t lift for very long. In bodybuilding, rep ranges of 1-6 are usually considered “heavier.” Each rep’s usual time under tension (TUT) is roughly three seconds.

Put another way, your muscle is under a lot of strain, yet it doesn’t stay in this position for long. While this provides stress and “trauma,” it may not be the best way to provide the quantity of trauma required to induce hypertrophy (muscle growth).

Lifting heavier has the advantage of forcing the muscle to adapt to dealing with heavier weights, which may then be carried over to higher rep ranges. Furthermore, rep ranges of 1-6 and heavy weights can still cause muscle growth. [R]

If you prefer this type of intensive lifting, you should absolutely incorporate it into your program. Start your workout with hard compound exercises, then gradually increase the volume of reps with less weight. Keep in mind that it’s the ‘low-weight-lower-reps” combo that allows you to build muscle. [R]

3. How often and for how long should I train if I want to build muscle fast?

The most popular question people ask about muscle gain is how long it takes. No matter what anyone says to you, there’s no single answer. It’s almost like wondering how soon you can lose body weight – even with the finest muscle-building advice, it just doesn’t work that way.

In general, though, it’s normal to expect a slow transition that will take weeks, months or even years to complete. It doesn’t have to be the same for everyone and, as your body changes, you may need to adjust your efforts constantly.

As for how often do you need to train, it is another one of those ambiguous questions where the answer is different for everyone. However, unlike the preceding issue, there is a general rule to follow. One of the most effective methods is to train 3-4 times a week. Make sure you train each muscle group 1-2 times each week and wait 48 hours before working it again.

4. Are there supplements I can take to accelerate results?

While plenty of supplements claim to help with bodybuilding, not all work for every person’s body type or metabolism. Some of these supplements may help reduce body fat percentage, but they promote water retention, can result in estrogen-related changes, Or they fail to provide long-term results.

One option that provides very few side effects and many bodybuilders use to gain more muscle is SARMs (selective androgen receptor modulators). SARMs are very helpful in bodybuilding, although they were initially developed to treat disorders previously tackled using anabolic-androgenic steroids.

When SARMs bind to a receptor, hypertrophic and anabolic action in bone and muscle occurs. This aspect is the reason why SARMs are being studied as an alternative to testosterone replacement therapy, muscle wasting treatment, and osteoporosis treatment. [R]

SARMs help bodybuilders by increasing muscle mass, bone density, and fat loss while avoiding numerous undesirable side effects such as water retention and estrogen-related alterations. They’re also recognized for having a high bioavailability, which means the body can absorb them easily. [R]

5. What role does genetics play in muscle building?

Genetics play a crucial role in muscle building. A study involving mice found that three types of genes – Asb15, Klf10, and Tpt1 – play a crucial role in increasing hypertrophy in skeletal muscle. In plain English, this means that the three genes were found to increase muscle mass. [R]

Another study has gone one step further. It has been estimated that the difference between your genetic make-up and that of any other person (heritability) accounts for 30 to 85% of your muscle strength and at least 50% for lean muscle mass. [R]

That means that the role of genetics isn’t limited to muscle building, as evidenced by the study quoted in the first paragraph of this section. Your genes also determine how strong (or otherwise) your muscles will be. They also play a crucial role in determining how your body responds to exercise. [R]

6. What is the best pre-workout meal?

The best pre-workout meal is the one that is the best for the type of workout you’re going to do. Those of you who want to build muscle might want to consume oats, bananas, yogurt, whole grains, and boiled eggs 30 minutes before starting your workout.

In terms of drinks, caffeine is the best pre-workout drink. A 2016 study compared people who drank caffeinated drinks before a workout with those who didn’t. The researchers observed that the former group experienced a significant increase in power performance. [R]

Beetroot juice is a less common but equally beneficial pre-workout drink. It contains nitrate, which is converted into nitric oxide in the body. Nitric oxide helps blood vessels expand, thereby increasing blood flow and improving muscle contraction. [R]

Green Tea is another healthy pre-workout drink. According to a study published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, green tea extracts help burn body fat and increase exercise performance during endurance training. [R]

7. What are the most effective muscle-building exercises?

Squats, barbell hip raises, deadlifts, incline bench press, clean and press, parallel dips, and pull-ups are the most effective muscle-building exercises. You should make all of them a part of your weekly workout plan because they target all your major muscle groups.

Here’s how you can perform each of these seven exercises:

a) How To Do Squats?

Stand with your feet firmly pressed against the ground. Make sure your feet are more than hip-width apart and your toes are turned outward. Join both your hands, tighten your core, and sit as if you’re going to sit on a chair. Go as far down as is possible. Get back up and jump. Repeat for up to 12 reps.

The method mentioned above is of jump squats. Research shows that jump squats are an excellent way to build muscle size and strength and lose weight. The International Sports Science Association reckons them as a convenient way to build muscle. [R]

b) How To Do Barbell Hip Raises?

Place a loaded barbell on the bench. Sit against the bench and gently roll the loaded barbell onto your hip area. Press your back against the bench and lift your hips. Your arms should be resting on the bench and your hands holding the barbell.

Squeeze your glutes and push the hips towards the ceiling. Wait for 2-3 seconds before reaching the top. Let your hips drop along with your chest. Keep your core engaged and make sure that the tension on your glutes is maintained.

c) How To Do Deadlifts?

Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Keep your back straight, put your hands at the bar (shoulder-width apart) and lift the bar from the floor using the strength of your legs. Lifting with your legs enhances your stability and prevents you from hurting your back while lifting weights. [R]

Make sure the bar is close to your body at all times. Your core should be engaged to create tension. Lift the barbell all the way up, wait for 1, 2 seconds and then lower it with complete control. Use the same bar path using which you had just picked the bar.

d) How To Do Incline Bench Press?

Set the bench at a 30-45* angle. Lie back and put your hands on the bar, slightly wider than the width of your shoulders. Make sure your palms are facing up. Lift the bar until your arms are fully extended. Gently lower it back to your chest. Repeat for up to 8-10 reps.

e) How To Do Clean and Press?

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Squat down. Grab a barbell with your hands shoulder-width apart. Make sure the palms are facing your body. In one swift movement, lift the barbell over your shoulder while maintaining a straight back, keep it there for 1, 2 seconds, and sink it back.

f) How To Do Parallel Dips?

Place your hands on the parallel bars. Push yourself up the tips until your arms are fully straight. Make sure your hands are on either side of your waist, not in front of your chest. Cross the feet against each other and lower down. Push yourself back up. Do 2-3 sets.

g) How To Do Pull Ups?

Stand directly underneath a pull-up bar. Place your hands on the grip (palms facing away from the body). Lift yourself up until your chin is above the bar. Stay in the position for 1, 2 seconds. Inhale and lower your body back to the initial position.

Author

Heather Owen, CPT

Heather Owen is a certified personal trainer, sports nutrition specialist, blogger, and self-made thousandaire. When she is not competi

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