7 Muscle-Building Strategies for Guys
Experts share strength-training tips that yield results quickly.
3. Drink plenty of water -- before and after workouts.
Adequate hydration is essential to muscle building, yet few people get
enough water, even without daily exercise. So in addition to the daily 8 to 10
glasses of water recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, Karas
suggests an additional 12 to 16 ounces before working out. He then
recommends another 8 to 10 ounces for every 15 minutes of vigorous
Prefer sports drinks? Indulge only if you're exercising for more than an
hour, when electrolyte depletion becomes more of a risk.
4. Eat a balanced diet.
Muscle building requires a careful balance of carbohydrates, fats, and protein as well as plenty of vitamins and minerals, all
of which are best absorbed through food.
Avoid carbohydrate-heavy diets, which can cause insulin levels to spike and
inhibit growth hormones that prompt muscle growth, says Karas. Instead, opt for
five or six small, balanced meals every day. And if muscle building is your
goal, don't use this time to diet.
"The body won't easily put on muscle if it is at a caloric deficit,"
explains De Los Santos.
Watch your fat intake, which should be no more than 30% of your total daily
calories, and be sure to consume plenty of vitamin- and mineral-rich fruits
5. Get lots of protein.
"If you want to build muscle mass, the key is protein, protein,
protein," says Karas. "Muscles are comprised of protein and you need
the essential amino acids that are the building block of protein."
No time to cook? De Los Santos suggests high-protein snacks like
cottage cheese, cheese sticks, protein bars, and protein
shakes. Health and nutrition stores carry a variety of powders which can be
mixed with water or low-fat milk for an energizing protein
power punch between meals.
Other recommendations include turkey, cheese, and cracker snack packs as
well as frozen or prepackaged diet foods that combine protein-rich choices with
low-fat, low-complex carbohydrates.
6. Get enough sleep.
In addition to being linked to high
blood pressure, depression, and other health problems, sleep
deprivation can inhibit the growth hormone important for muscle building, says
Karas. Recent studies have linked it to obesity as well.
How do you know you're getting enough to build muscle? People who are
well rested feel alert and do not have the urge to nap, reports the CDC. The
average adult needs between seven and eight hours of sleep, although some may