You surely know that working out is essential in order to gain muscle.
Of course, that’s not all. Dieting and resting have at least the same influence on muscle growth as training itself.
You can find all kind of tips on the internet. Some of them are pretty useful, others are controversial and extremely nonsensical.
Today, I’d like to share with you 46 real tips for maximum muscle gain. No bullshit. I personally follow all of these tips and I’m fairly satisfied with the results.
Let’s get started. You can either go through every single tip or directly jump to the area you feel like you need improvement the most:
46. Track your lifts.
Constantly try to improve yourself. More weight, more reps or more time under tension. Make sure you progressively overload your body as it will result in bigger muscles.
45. Split your training into different workouts or body parts.
While beginners shouldn’t lift more than 3 days a week, more advanced lifters can follow a 4 or 5 days split. The split “Push, Pull, Legs” has proven successful and lifters in general report great results from it.
44. Follow an established routine.
Unfortunately, the “I-train-whatever-I-want-to”- approach doesn’t work in most cases. Whether the workout plan was designed by yourself or someone else, you should stick to it. I’ve recently published my personal routine called “Performance Meets Aesthetics”. It contains my full program including all workouts in detail and also meal plan.
43. Warm up properly.
Don’t touch any heavy iron before your muscles are warm. A good way to get your body beastmode-ready is doing 5-10 minutes of cardio followed by a little bodyweight routine like 20 squats, 20 pushups and 20 box jumps.
42. Stretch after each workout.
Stretching helps you to remain flexible. You should also work on mobility. Full range of motion allows you to hit the full muscle and not only part of it.
41. Find a training partner and motivate each other.
It’s easy to call off a gym session if you’re tired, but when you scheduled the gym visit with a partner, the chance to cancel your appointment are way lower. In addition, a gym partner can help to push to your limits and beyond and also spots you in case you reach muscle failure.
40. Set the focus on compound exercises.
Start your workout with a compound movement such as bench press, deadlift or squat. These exercises don’t only work on multiple muscles but are also ideal to determine performance enhancement.
39. Work big muscle groups before small muscle groups.
If you plan to work on chest and triceps, start with bench press and end with triceps extensions. This principle also counts if you train abs and legs. It doesn’t make sense to destroy abdominals before you even deadlift or squat, which both work on your abs too.
38. Get strong.
Incorporate lifting techniques like 5×5 to become a stronger athlete. Keep in mind, the stronger you are, the more weight you can lift, which leads to more muscle mass.
37. Be athletic.
Guys work out to grow muscle, build an aesthetic physique and to impress women. As a matter of fact, girls like muscular, athletic gentlemen. The classic bodybuilding-look is not appealing to girls, however. If you want to look athletic, lifting weights is only a piece of the puzzle. Try to incorporate other strength based sports such as climbing or gymnastics. Also, sprints are a good way to get an athletic shape.
36. Don’t work the chest on Mondays.
If you work out in a public gym, work on your chest either on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday… or any other day of the week than Monday. Since Monday is dedicated to chest in bodybuilding world, it can get really busy in the gym and to be honest, there is nothing more annoying than waiting for the bench press or any other chest related machine to be free.
35. Mix up your workout routines.
Your body will sooner or later adapt a specific training and, therefore, you need to add more weights or more reps. Also, swap exercises of your program every now and then or switch sequence of exercises. All of it will lead to more muscle gain.
34. Incorporate bodyweight movements.
It’s a myth that you can’t gain muscle with bodyweight movements – which, of course, is completely wrong. Perform them at the end of a workout, as a superset, or as a regular working set. Also, nobody wants to look jacked, but being incompetent to rep 30 straight pushups, right?
33. Perform other sports or incorporate cardio.
Some cardio, cardiovascular exercise has a positive impact on general health and keeps you fit.
32. Listen to music.
Put your headphones on and play your favorite playlist. Studies have proven that music during workouts can lead to more repetitions. Plus, your headphones are a good deterrent to the workout-killing conversation.
31. Sleep more.
The importance of sleep is often neglected when it comes to building The fact is that muscles grow best at night when you sleep. Try to get at least 6 hours of sleep, more is even better.
30. Take days off from the gym.
I personally take one day off per week and I honestly hate it. However, I feel always stronger after a break, because it gives my body the possibility to recover properly. Also, too much training can be mentally tiring and lead to overtraining.
29. Take relaxing baths.
Taking a hot bath will help to relax muscles and prepare them for your next workout. Additionally, it also helps to reduce stress levels all over your body.
28. Get yourself a massage.
Massage has shown good effects on muscle recovery and also improves flexibility. Unfortunately, it’s probably not as comfortable as you might think it would However, it’s worth the pain.
27. Do some active recovery.
Whenever you feel extreme soreness or your body needs a day off, light activity such as a short walk, an easy bike ride, throwing some balls at the basketball court, foam rolling, or doing mobility drills will help relieve soreness by stimulating blood flow and improving circulation to the muscles.
26. Try to reduce stress.
Too much stress at work or having heavy debates with your girlfriend does not only affect your mind but also your recovery. Try to reduce your stress level with doing something you enjoy. Go out and have a drink (I didn’t say the drink has to be an alcoholic liquid) or enjoy fresh conversations with family over a delicious meal. Another method for stress relief is yoga or meditating.
25. Eat to recover. Eat to build.
Your body needs nutrients to recover from the previous workout, but also to let your muscle grow. Nobody can build muscle without eating enough food.
24. Learn how to cook.
Muscle building food doesn’t mean you have to eat rice and chicken every single day. There are plenty of other meals which boost muscle gain.
23. Drink, drink, and drink.
I’m sorry to disappoint you – I’m not speaking about alcohol, but water and tea. Make sure your body is always hydrated. If you need to visit the bathroom every other hour, you do it all right.
22. Limit your protein shakes to maximum twice a day.
Try to get as much protein as possible from real food. Protein shakes taste good and deliver a good amount of protein, but they often contain tons of chemicals. I personally take protein shake post workout only.
21. Eat unprocessed foods.
Get your protein, carbohydrates and fats from natural, unprocessed food. There are plenty of delicious food choices which do not only help you gain muscle but are also good for your health.
20. Keep your fingers away from ‘Mass-Gainer’.
Mass-Gainer is a supplement that is supposed to help you gaining muscle mass. Unfortunately, they often contain excessive amounts of sugars. Actually, there’s no need to supplement fat and carbohydrates. You want to add more fat to your diet? Eat almonds, salmon, nuts, avocados or even quest bars (I’m not kidding, there’s up to 10 gram fat per bar of which is very little trans fats). For carbohydrate sources, there is rice, pasta, potatoes, quinoa a lot more (The difference between “good” and “bad” carbs can be found here).
19. Learn to know your body.
Our bodies are all different. We don’t only look differently, but we also react in other ways. Try what happens if you follow a high carb diet, low carb diet, or even low-fat diet and go with what works best for you.
18. Consider taking supplements.
It’s a million dollar business as everyone hopes for THE MAGIC PILL which gives you superhuman strength and let your muscles grow hulk-size. Luckily, there are supplements which are pretty useful, named Creatine or Whey Protein. You’ll get a list of all my supplements with the Performance Meets Aesthetic Program.
17. Use tools like MyFitnessPal to track your food.
Get an idea of how many calories and macronutrients (Carbohydrates, Fat, Protein) you consume on a daily basis and see how your body reacts to it. Adjust the numbers and find your ideal macros.
16. Don’t worry too much if you couldn’t follow your diet a day.
It sometimes gets really busy in our lives and there’s not always time or even possibility to prepare food. It’s fine to eat something ‘unhealthy’ or really calorie-dense, as long as it won’t become a habit.
15. Plan ahead.
Reserve a specific time frame for training, for example from 6 pm to 8 pm. Also, prepare your food for the whole day. Pre-cook your food, put it in a Tupperware and heat it up in a microwave at your working place. Also, don’t forget to bring your snacks (nuts, quest bars, low-fat yoghurt, berries…).
14. Inform yourself about muscle gain. Read books, articles, and blogs. Listen to podcasts. Watch documentaries.
Educate yourself and learn what it needs to gain muscle. Actually, you’re on a good way as you’ve already done a first step. Reading this article on my blog means you’re interested in muscle gain and you want to know how to get better results. Keep reading and find out how you optimize muscle growth even more.
13. Set goals and work toward them.
There’s no way to keep motivation when you don’t value the end result. Set goals, write them down, and give a hundred percent to reach them. Also, make sure your goals are realistic. Nobody will gain 5 kg of muscles in 30 days. Neither does anybody improve their bench press from 100kg to 150kg in two weeks.
12. Limit your alcohol consumption.
I know, you don’t like to hear this, but alcohol isn’t good for you and your muscles at all. Enjoy a beer with friends every now and then, but never go overboard and limit alcohol consumption to once or twice a month.
11. Get inspired by pros.
It can be the most muscular guy in your gym, but also someone you’ve discovered on YouTube. Having someone you look up to can motivate you to push harder in the gym.
10. Watch a motivational video on YouTube prior your workout.
It always gives me a boost to train harder. If you haven’t watched motivational videos yet, try this.
9. Learn from constructive criticism.
See it as a chance to become a better athlete. Someone tells you that your bench form is not correct? Well, let him show you proper form and adapt. Don’t listen to everyone, however. There’s always faggots who think they know better or want to distract you (haters gonna hate, right?).
8. Don’t believe everything you hear in the gym.
Most ‘facts’ base on bro-science or are completely made up.
7. Don’t complain about muscle soreness.
Muscle ache is simply part of the game. If you can’t handle it or don’t feel comfortable, then you’d better find another hobby.
6. Get a life outside the gym.
Working out is healthy, enhances self-esteem, and actually makes you more attractive to women. Therefore, there’s a good chance to become obsessed with fitness. However, the gym isn’t everything in life. Don’t let fitness take over your life. Find another hobby, meet up with friends, have a good time with your family. Finding balance is the key.
5. Think positive.
I often hear things like “I genetically have no abs” or “I can’t put on weight because I’m a hardgainer”. Fuck that! The fact that you believe in these things does nothing than distract you from reaching your goals. Believe in yourself. Turn IMpossible into possible. Like so many other things in life, it’s a mental game. Master it!
4. Make it happen.
It’s in your responsibility to learn from the tips and take actions. You’ve already read 43 useful tips on how to maximize muscle gain and 3 are still to come. At the end of this article, I explain how these tips can be transferred into your life. But first, get pumped for my personal top 3 tips on how to optimize muscle growth.
3. Work on one goal at a time.
Be realistic when it comes to setting goals. Nobody can get “Big and Lean” in a short period of time. It usually ends up in nowhere, neither “Get Big” nor “Get Lean”. You should rather focus on muscle gain or reduce body fat. By aiming for one goal at a time, you will get much more out of what you are trying to achieve.
2. Tell your friends about your fitness goals.
Share your goals on social media, talk to your co-worker and let everyone in your life know about your goals. The idea of spreading the word is building passion and even some pressure. It’s easy to give up if nobody knows about your failure but telling everyone you’ve failed and admit weakness actually isn’t.
1. Never touch a running system.
This is actually a term I picked up from the IT world. However, it can easily be transferred to fitness. Why should you change somethings that actually works? If you feel like your workout routine works, stick with it even though your gym-buddy might doesn’t agree with you. There’s no reason to convert success into possible failure.
It’s your turn now.
“These are all good tips, but how can I transfer them into my everyday’s life?”, I hear you asking.
It’s simple. I tell you how!
First of all, pick at least 3 tips you consider as most useful and write them on a blank word document.
Write it down. Right here, right now.
Now, create an action plan.
The action plan should contain actions which you plan to take (that’s why it’s called action plan).
For example, if you find number 2 “Tell your friends about your goals” helpful, then your sheet could look like this:
Tell your friends about your goals
- I’ll announce my fitness related goals on Facebook and Twitter. I’m going to tell that I’ve started with fitness and enjoyed the progress so far. Also, I’ll add a picture of me doing pullups in the gym.
- Each day, I try to let someone know about my goals. I’ll try to build a fitness related conversation with somebody. My family, friends and co-workers should all become aware of what discipline I have and what I do in my free time.
- I’m going to create an Instagram account, where I’ll post pictures of my progress every other week and let everyone know how my training goes.
You might also consider setting up a blog to make your ‘project’ even bigger.
Don’t forget to add a deadline to each action, for example, “Until Sunday, this week.” Or “Every day until the end of July”.
Even though you could set unlimited actions, I recommend setting minimum 2 and maximal 5 actions per tip.
Once you’ve done your action plan, print it out and put it somewhere you can always see it. It could be on your desk, above your bed, next to the television… Just make sure you come across every day.
Then, you’re going to make it happen. Everything is there: WHAT I’m going to do and also WHEN I perform the action.
That’s it. After some weeks of taking actions, you’ll notice that you don’t need the reminders any longer. At this point, you’ve transferred the tip into your life and you can expect better muscle growth.