5 Tips to Build Muscle

Patrick Dunham's picture
By Patrick Dunham on June 18, 2020

Father's Day is the perfect time for men to take stock of their health and their habits.

When they do, one of the most common questions they ask is how to build more muscle.

Building a strong, muscular body is not just about looking good on the beach. Our muscles play a vital role in supporting our overall health and wellness, and it is a critical factor when it comes to:

  • Metabolic health
  • Weight control
  • Bone strength
  • Resilience to stress and disease

Check out my top five tips for building more muscle.

1. Add in Strength Training
General strength training is the key to increased muscle mass and strength. A proper strength training program should consist of two to three times per week and all major muscles should be worked at some point every week.

The muscle-building, or hypertrophy, range of repetitions for strength training looks like this: six to 12 reps, three to four sets, with 1- to 3-minute rest periods between sets.

Sets should be performed at 70 to 80 percent of the individual’s one-rep max (1rm).

2. Perform Compound Exercises
Compound exercises help build muscle and increase strength quickly because it forces you to use multiple muscles and joints at the same time. Examples include squats, deadlifts, presses and pulls.

You can find both strength training and compound exercise routines on Carilion Wellness's YouTube playlist.

3. Consume Sufficient Protein
To build muscle, your recommended protein intake should be at least 1.2 to 2 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight. 

Check out the example formula below for a 200-pound man trying to gain muscle:

1 pound = 2.2 kilograms
200 lbs. ÷ 2.2 kg = 91 kg
91 kg x 2 grams per day = 182 grams of protein per day

4. Increase Calories
It is a common misconception that increased protein is the sole nutrition component needed to increase muscle. Increasing calories is actually even more important.

If you are at a normal weight or below, try increasing your calories by about 500 per day to help build up more muscle. An average of about 2,500 more calories per week can support up to 1 pound of muscle growth.

But that does not mean more junk food. Reach for healthy foods, but try doubling up on portions.

Before you start adding in those extra calories, talk to your health care provider about your weight. You can also get an InBody Assessment at Carilion Wellness for an accurate assessment of your body composition (how mush muscle or fat you have). Visit CarilionWellness.com or call the facility nearest you to inquire about availability.

5. Get Enough Rest
Sufficient rest is crucial to build muscle. Proper rest puts our bodies in an anabolic state, which means that tissue is being built and repaired. If you don’t get enough rest you will put your body into a catabolic state in which your body is forced to break down tissue.

For most adults, seven to eight hours of shut eye a night is recommended.
Find your strength at Carilion Wellness!

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