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15 Muscle Building Rules For Skinny Guys And Gals Part 2

(category: Muscle-Building, Word count: 1535)
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In part 1, I touched on general weight gain rules and reasons why you can't gain weight. Now it's time to get into workout specifics...

WORKOUT RULES

4. Stop listening to every ridiculous piece of advice you hear in the gym or read on a message board.

Recently a client of mine informed me that someone in the gym stated that he was training all wrong and he needed to train 5-6 days a week, and aim for more reps during his workout. Somewhere in the range of 15-20 reps per set.

The person giving the advice was quite confident about his recommendations, and he had an impressive physique that typically elevates him to the elusive "listen to me if you want to look like me" level in the gym. He was bigger than my client, so even though my client's "intellectual" mind knows that advice is absurd; his "unrealistic dreamer" mind took this information very seriously. So seriously that he changed his program and didn't inform me until a week or so later. This particular person had been making great progress on his current program, yet he allowed this one person's comment to overshadow that progress and convince him that his program was inadequate. This is a mistake and it showed in his lack of further progress.

In addition, don't judge the validity of what a person says by how they look. Just because the guy is huge doesn't mean he is spewing pertinent advice for you. Many people that have big physiques are big despite of their training, not because of it. I know some huge guys that know very little about training and dieting correctly. They can do whatever and still gain muscle; unfortunately we are not that way, so we much approach things in a more intelligent way.

5. Workout Infrequently

This is the most difficult concept for many to grasp simply because it involves less action, instead of more. When we get motivated and start a new program, it's natural to want to do something. We want to train and train and train. Thinking all along that the more you train, the more muscle you will build. Unfortunately, this could not be farther from the truth.

More training does not equal more muscle growth. Understand that the purpose of weight training is to stimulate muscle growth. That takes very little time. Once that has been done, the muscle needs to be repaired and new muscle needs to be built. That only happens when you are resting. You do not build muscle in the gym, you build muscle when resting! If you never give your body any essential "non active" time, when will it have a chance to build muscle? Think about that.

Now, add in the fact that you have a difficult time gaining weight and the importance of rest increases. Individuals who are naturally thin and have difficulty building muscle tend to require less training and more rest.

6. Focus on Multi-Jointed Lifts

Multi-jointed exercises are those that stimulate the most amounts of muscle fibers. Unlike isolation exercises which only work individual muscles, multi-jointed lifts work many different muscle groups simultaneously. For those needing to gain weight, this is ideal because these lifts put your body under the most amount of stress. This is the stress that will shock your nervous system and cause the greatest release of muscle building hormones. This results in increased muscle gain all over the body.

You can still do some isolation work; however it should not be the focus of your workouts, and should only come after your multi-jointed lifting is complete.

7. Focus on Using Free Weights

Free weights are preferred over machines for many reasons, but most importantly because they allow the stimulation of certain supporting muscle groups when training. Stimulating these stabilizer and synergistic muscles will allow you go get stronger, and ultimately build more muscle faster. Yes, some can most likely still build large amounts of muscle using machines, but why make it more difficult if you already have a difficult time gaining weight?

8. Lift a weight that is challenging for you

Building mass involves lifting relatively heavy weight. This is necessary because the muscle fibers that cause the most amount of muscle size growth (called Type IIB) are best stimulated by the lifting of heavy weight. A heavy weight as one that only allows you to perform 4-8 reps before your muscles fail.

Using a lighter weight and doing more reps can stimulate some Type IIB fibers, but again if you have a difficult time gaining weight, why make it more difficult? You need to try and stimulate as many as you can with the use of heavy weights.

9. Focus more on the eccentric portion of the exercise.

When you lift a weight, it can be divided into three distinct periods. The positive, the negative and midpoint. The concentric or "positive" motion usually involves the initial push or effort when you begin the rep. The midpoint is signaled by a short pause before reversing and returning to the starting position. The eccentric, or "negative" portion of each lift is characterized by your resistance against then natural pull of the weight.

For example, when doing push-ups, the positive motion is the actual pushing up motion. Once you have pushed all the way up, you hit the mid point. The negative motion begins when you start to lower yourself back down. Most would simply lower themselves as fast as they pushed up, but I recommend extending and slowing down this portion. Slowing down the eccentric part of the lift will help to stimulate more muscle growth. It actually activates more of the Type IIB fibers mentioned about in Rule 7.

10. Keep your workout short but intense.

Your goal should be to get in, stimulate your muscles and then get out as quickly as possible. It is not necessary to do large amounts of exercisers per body part trying to target every muscle and hit every "angle". This should only be a concern of someone with an already developed, mature physique who is trying to improve weak areas.

If you have no pec, don't concern yourself with trying to target inner, outer, upper, lower or whatever. Just work your chest. You should do no more than 2-3 exercises per body part. That's it. Doing more than that won't build more muscle, faster. In fact it could possibly lead to muscle loss. Long training sessions cause catabolic hormone levels to rise dramatically. Catabolic hormones are responsible for breaking down muscle tissue resulting in MUSCLE LOSS. While at the same time, long training sessions suppress the hormones that actually build muscle.

If you don't want to lose muscle during your workouts, I suggest limiting your sessions to no more than 60-75 minutes MAXIMUM. Less if you can.

11. Limit your aerobic activity and training

Honestly, I do not do any aerobic activity when I am trying to gain weight. This is mainly because it interferes with the important "non-active" time my body needs for muscle building and recovery. I do understand that people have lives and other activities that they don't want to give up, so it must be kept to a minimum. It won't hurt your progress as long as you don't over do it. If you find that you are doing more aerobic activity weight training, that's overdoing it.

I also don't recommend it because people tend do it for the wrong reasons. Many start aerobic activity because they believe it will help them to lose fat. While that is true, it won't do so on a high calorie mass diet. To lose fat, you need to be eating fewer calories.

12. Don't program hop

Here's how it usually happens. You've just read about a new exercise or workout that is supposed to pack on the mass. Now, even though you had already started another training program a few weeks ago, you are tired of it and really want to start this routine instead because it sounds better.

I call these people, "program hoppers". They are very enthusiastic when starting a new program, but they never follow it long enough to actually see any results. They are easily distracted and love to drop whatever they may be doing to follow the latest "hot" workout or exercise.

My advice is don't do it. This is a bad habit that never leads to a positive outcome. Understand that it takes time for any program to work. To be successful, you must follow your program consistently. Yes, there are many different training methods and interesting routines out there, but you can't do them all at the same time and jumping around won't allow enough time for any of them to actually be effective for you. Pick one that is focused on your current goal and stick with it. There will be plenty of time to try the others later, but NOT NOW.

In Part 3 of this article, I will cover your eating rules and guidelines to MAKE SURE you know how AND what to eat to build muscle mass.

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How To Gain Muscle Naturally No Steroids Necessary

(category: Muscle-Building, Word count: 522)
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Wondering how to gain muscle? There are many fads, gimmicks and "quick fixes" to be found, but there is really only one healthy way to gain muscle mass. You don't need to be gifted with great genetics or use potentially dangerous illegal hormones or steroids.

The "how to gain muscle" question has a relatively simple two-step process:

1) increase your caloric intake, and

2) workout. This combination will provide the desired results.

Don't be embarrassed to look in the mirror! You CAN have the body that you strive to achieve. When you first begin thinking about how to gain muscle, the first instinct may be "But I don't want to gain fat". Losing fat and gaining muscle mass are two different objectives, and are tackled in two different ways. At this point you have to realize that dieting and exercising to lose weight is different than dieting and exercising to gain muscle.

In gaining muscle mass, the caloric intake must be increased. You have to take in more calories that your body is used to: take in more proteins and fats-your body has no choice but to gain weight. While nutritional supplements may be utilized, this should NOT be used as a substitute for a healthy diet. The increased calories are then offset by working out with weights in order to achieve the increased muscle mass you desire. This workout will stimulate growth by "overloading" the muscles. The combination of caloric building blocks (which help rebuild and repair muscle tissue) along with the increase workout.

If you are among the millions who constantly try to gain weight and build muscle mass, remember that a firm commitment, the proper diet, and a good weight-training regimen are the best ways to succeed in reaching your goal. A muscle mass building diet includes plenty of protein and enough calories to promote weight gain.

A good place to start is to multiply your current weight by 18. This number will give you a rough idea of how many calories your body needs in a day to bulk up. If you are extremely active, play sports, or have a faster than average metabolism, you may need to increase your caloric intake even more. A muscle building diet requires a lot of effort on your part. It's not easy to consume enough calories in three meals per day. A good suggestion would be to eat several small meals each day rather than three large ones.

Protein is a critical element in any mass building diet. Ideally, you should eat one and a half grams of protein per pound of body weight. While this seems like a lot of protein, spread over several small meals each day it will be a lot easier to meet this goal. Fish, poultry, eggs, and lean red meat are excellent sources of protein. Lots of fresh vegetables and simple carbohydrates combined with plenty of protein should allow you to meet your calorie quota each day. The best muscle building diet is a combination of consuming adequate calories and the proper types of foods.

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Creatine

(category: Muscle-Building, Word count: 480)
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Creatine is a naturally formed amino acid that is found in the human body, especially around the skeletal muscle. The human body generates Creatine naturally, partly from the diet we take and partly on its own. A healthy person has about 120g of Creatine, most of it being in the form of a compound called PCr. The body can store a maximum Creatine quantity of 0.3 g per one kilogram of body weight. The body produces about 2g of Creatine per day. The chief food sources of Creatine are fish and red meat. Half a pound of raw meat provides about 1g of Creatine for the body. Creatine that does not come from food is produced endogenously by the body from amino acids.

There are several benefits of Creatine. Creatine boosts anaerobic energy in the body. It provides instant energy to the body. It improves muscle strength and makes the muscle suitable for high-intensity, short duration exertion like weightlifting or sprinting. It is also found to speed up the recovery of energy. It delays fatigue significantly. It promotes lean-muscle mass and reduces muscle wasting in post-surgical patients. It is also believed to help heart patients by increasing their exercise capacity, reducing heart spasms and thus increasing heart function. Creatine is generally taken as a supplement by athletes who need heavy bursts of energy. Creatine acts as a catalyst to a special chemical reaction that occurs in the body when a person does high-intensity, short duration work. The body generates enough Creatine to accommodate such kind of a reaction. For additional exertion, Creatine has to be taken additionally through food or through other forms.

Creatine has become very popular among athletes because of its many benefits and very few side effects. The only side effect documented till now is weight gain. However, overdose of Creatine or use of Creatine over a long period of time may have some other side effects also, and tests are still being conducted to determine the effect of using Creatine in the long run. Creatine is available as a supplement like vitamin pills in the form of over-the-counter drugs. Creatine is categorized as a "dietary supplement" and can be purchased even without a prescription as per the 1994 Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act. Then again, Creatine is not tested by the American FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and certain side effects like vomiting, diarrhea, and deep vein thromboses have been listed under a 1998 FDA report.

There are several Creatine supplement products in the market today. Creatine is available in capsule, chewable and powdered forms. One teaspoon of the powdered form contains 5g of Creatine monohydrate. The recommended dosage is 1-2 teaspoons with 8 ounces of water per day. Nevertheless, the dosage can vary depending on the body exertion. Athletes usually follow a dosage cycle comprising of loading and maintenance phases.

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What Causes Muscle Growth

(category: Muscle-Building, Word count: 224)
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In order for muscles to grow, three things are required:

1. Stimulus - exercise is needed to make the muscles work, use energy and cause microscopic damage to the fibers.

2. Nutrition - after intense exercise the muscles need to replenish their stores of fuel.

3. Rest - it is during the rest or recovery phase that the muscles repair the microscopic damage and grow.

Muscle size increases due to hypertrophic adaptation and an increase in the cross section area of individual muscle fibers. Intensive exercise impacts more on the strength influencing fast twitch type II fibers, therefore the increase in muscle size is accompanied by greater strength.

This will deplete the muscle's energy stores and cause microscopic damage to the muscle tissue. During recovery, these stores of glycogen and phosphocreatine will replenish from carbohydrates and creatine ingested as food or supplements. Amino acids supplied in the diet will trigger the protein synthesis that repairs the damaged muscle and lead to the creation of bigger muscle fibers.

To achieve continuous improvement you will need to keep reaching for higher levels of training intensity otherwise the improvement process will grind to a halt. Fortunately, this is relatively easy to plan for provided certain basic principles and rules are clearly followed. Subsequent articles in this series will examine these principles in detail.

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Chest Exercises For Beginning Bodybuilders

(category: Muscle-Building, Word count: 273)
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The chest area is one of the easist muscle groups for beginning bodybuilders to strengthen and develop. It consists of a large muscle (pectoralis major) to either side of the breastbone and a smaller muscle (pectoralis minor) underneath. The pecs are relatively easy to develop in the early stages simply because they can be trained intensively although care needs to be taken to work them from different angles to ensure full development.

For beginners, three safe but effective exercises are recommended:

1. Incline dumbbell press - 3 sets of 10-15 reps. When you feel comfortable with the mechanics involved in this exercise you can move on to using a barbell instead, remembering to maintain proper form.

2. Incline dumbbell flyes - 3 sets of 10-15 reps. Done properly, this exercise is good for inner and outer pecs.

3. Push-ups - 3 sets of 10-15 reps. Keep your body straight from head to knees and lower your body until your arms form right angles. Done properly, the old fashioned push-up still offers benefits to the chest muscles.

As with all exercises you need to take care in scheduling specific body parts. To begin with you should incorporate your chest exercises into a program similar to the one suggested below:

Day 1: Biceps, Back, Abs

Day 2: Hamstrings, Shoulders, Abs

Day 3: Quads, Forearms, Calves

Day 4: Triceps, Chest, Abs

For the first couple of weeks complete one set but then add one set each week to a maximum of three. At the end of three months you will be ready to move on to more intensive intermediate level exercises.

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The Myth Of Gaining Muscle Without Fat

(category: Muscle-Building, Word count: 756)
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Many of you have expressed concerns about gaining too much body fat while on such a high calorie diet, and wonder if you should do some aerobic exercise to offset the weight gain.

Absolutely not.

That will be detrimental to gaining muscle. For best results, you either have to train and diet to gain muscle or lose fat. One or the other. If you are a true hardgainer, you cannot do both. If you try, you will not make any substantial progress either way. So, now is the time to gain weight. You will worry about losing fat later.

The fact is that there are no magic pills, powders, foods or exercises that will allow you to gain muscle and lose fat at the same time.

It all is determined by your genetics and metabolism. Some people can do it, some can't. If you are naturally thin and have a difficult time gaining weight of any kind, it would be silly of you to think that you will be able to gain muscle while trying to keep your body fat low.

Most skinny guys want to gain more muscle, but are afraid of gaining body fat. They see all the bodybuilder photos and read the stories about people gaining pounds of muscle while losing pounds of fat - They want to do the same. When looking at these photos, you have to remember that most of these people do not have your body type. The majority of them are overweight and want to lose fat, not gain muscle.

'Well', you say, 'What about those people who transformed their bodies? They lost fat and gained muscle'. Yes, but almost all of these people were overweight, or had high levels of body fat. In other words, their metabolisms were, for the most part, slow. They simply dieted and trained for fat loss.

Weight training helped them to tone up and slightly increase their muscle mass by replacing some of the fat with muscle. However, you will never increase your body mass far above your original starting weight on that type of diet.

In other words, even though you gain some muscle, you will actually weight less!

For example, Big Joe weighs 189lbs with 18% body fat. This works out to be 34lbs of fat and 155lbs of muscle. He then goes on a fat loss diet and slowly diets down to a ripped 5% body fat at 168lbs, which is 8.4lbs of fat and 160lbs of muscle. He lost 26lbs of fat, and his weight only went down by 21lbs. So, looking that this we realize that he managed to also gain 5lbs of muscle. You can see that he has more muscle mass than when he started, and he looks totally ripped, but his weight decreased because his main goal was fat loss. He looks much better, and his measurements changed, but he only increased his total weight by five pounds.

If you are very thin, you cannot do this. Yes, your body fat will decrease, and this will also give you more muscle mass, but it will not increase your weight. You will just get much thinner. Big Joe was 'big' to begin with; we are not. To get the same results as Big Joe, you must first gain the weight, and then concentrate on losing the body fat later. Joe had the size; he just needed to trim down. We do not have the size to work with, so we have to force our bodies to grow beyond our body's comfort range. This is the hard part.

This is why if you want to grow beyond your current size, you have to diet for it specifically.

Remember, most of you have extremely fast metabolisms. Gaining weight will be extremely difficult.

The only way you will get bigger is to shock your body.

You must shock your body by:

1. Training with heavy weights, and

2. Eating a lot of calories.

The first shock is with weight training. You must focus on compound free- weight exercises, and lift heavy weights, which will stimulate the largest amount of muscle fibers. Your body responds to this stimulus by increasing your muscle mass.

The second way we must shock our body is by eating more calories than your body is used to. This is the most important factor in gaining mass. When you overload your system with plenty of protein and fats, your body has no other choice but to gain weight.

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Know Your Muscle Building Exercises The Chest

(category: Muscle-Building, Word count: 287)
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Every bodybuilder and weight trainer will have his or her favorite exercises for each body part. That's how it should be - as you progress through the various stages of learning you'll understand what works best for you. It is useful, however, to take stock of your progress every so often and carry out an analysis of where you are and what changes, if any, are needed to move onwards and upwards.

Part of this analysis should include an assessment of the core exercises that make up your bodybuilding training program. In this article we'll look at the chest exercises that have proven their worth to serious bodybuilders for many years. Where appropriate a series of exercises suitable for achieving pre-exhaustion will be presented. All exercises should be performed to failure with one set of six to eight reps.

1. Dumbbell flyes - this exercise provides a useful means of isolating the pectorals and preserving the triceps for the subsequent exercise. The exercise should be performed as follows:

- Hold dumbbells directly overhead.

- Lower them to sides with elbows slightly bent, pulled back and to the side. Lower no further than level with the torso.

- Use the pectorals to pull the weights back up to the starting position.

2. Incline bench press - you can move straight on to this exercise if you have reached an appropriate level of experience. If you perform this exercise as the second part of a pre-exhaust routine you may have to use lighter weights than normally.

- Take a shoulder width grip.

- Lower the bar to the chest with the elbows pointed to the side.

- Return to the starting position.

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Why My Muscles Won T Grow Cortisol Stress Hormone Destroy Muscle Tissues

(category: Muscle-Building, Word count: 310)
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There are many reasons why your muscles won't grow or why your muscle growth is retarded. One main culprit for your muscle tissue to in a catabolic and not in an anabolic state is the stress hormone called cortisol. This stress hormone, cortisol, is produced by your body when you are under stressful situations.

Yes, any type of stress, whether they are mental stress, physical stress or just emotional stress will trigger off an increased in the production of cortisol hormones. A high level of cortisol is always a bane for bodybuilders and that in itself, is creating more stress.

When you exercise or especially weightlifting body building exercises, you are placing a tremendous stress on your body. This in turn will cause the cortisol hormone in your body to rise to unacceptable level which may destroy your muscle tissues, bone density and causes weight gain especially abdominal fat. Ohhh...that abdominal fat that would not go away.

This hormone hates your muscles and wants you to grow fat. It takes away protein from the muscles. However to be fair to this hormone, the cortisol hormone has its positive functions.

Cortisol is produced by the adrenal cortex and is commonly known as a stress hormone because the level of cortisol in your body rises sharply when you are under stress. This hormone plays an important role in your body's metabolic function, it facilitates cardiovascular function, carbohydrate metabolism and controls inflammation. After all, it is a steroid hormone.

As more cortisol is being produced, your muscle tissue breaks down further since the amino acids from your muscle protein is being converted into glucose for energy. This hormone also blocks new muscle tissues from growing because it interferes in protein synthesis in your muscles.

How to lower cortisol level?

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8 Proven Strategies For Maximum Muscle Gains

(category: Muscle-Building, Word count: 1012)
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There is so much conflicting information out there when it comes to the topic of building muscle, and sometimes it can be very difficult to know where to start. If you're an average beginner looking for some basic guidelines to follow in the gym, the following 8 points will start you off on the right track.

1) Train With Weights and Focus On Compound, Free Weight Movements.

If you want to make solid, noteworthy gains in muscle size and strength, you absolutely must train with free weights and focus on basic, compound exercises. A compound exercise is any lift that stimulates more than one muscle group at a time. Examples of these lifts are the squat, deadlift, bench press, chin up, barbell row, overhead press, dip and lunge. Compound movements allow you to handle the most weight and will stimulate the greatest amount of total muscle fibers.

2) Be Prepared To Train Hard.

One of the biggest factors that separates those who make modest gains from those who make serious gains is their level of training intensity. In order to stimulate your muscle fibers to their utmost potential, you must be willing to take every set you perform in the gym to the point of muscular failure.

Muscular Failure: The point at which no further repetitions can be completed using proper form.

Sub-maximal training intensity will leave you with sub-maximal results, plain and simple.

3) Track Your Progress In The Gym From Week To Week.

Our bodies build muscle because of an adaptive response to the environment. When you go to the gym, you break down your muscle fibers by training with weights. Your body senses this as a potential threat to its survival and will react accordingly by rebuilding the damaged fibers larger and stronger in order to protect against any possible future threat. Therefore, in order to make continual gains in muscle size and strength, you must always focus on progressing in the gym from week to week. This could mean performing 1 or 2 more reps for each exercise or adding more weight to the bar. Keep a detailed training log to track your progress as your strength increases over time.

4) Avoid Overtraining.

Overtraining is your number one enemy when it comes to building muscle size and strength. When most people begin a workout program, they are stuck with the misguided notion that more is better. They naturally assume that the more time they spend in the gym, the better results they will achieve. When it comes to building muscle, nothing could be farther from the truth! If you spend too much time in the gym, you will actually take yourself farther away from your goals rather than closer to them. Remember, your muscles do not grow in the gym; they grow out of the gym, while you are resting and eating. Recovery is absolutely vital to the muscle growth process. If you don't provide your body with the proper recovery time in between workouts, your muscles will never have a chance to grow.

5) Eat More Frequently.

The main area where most people fail miserably on their muscle-building mission is on the all-too important task of proper nutrition. Training with weights is only half of the equation! You break down your muscle fibers in the gym, but if you don't provide your body with the proper nutrients at the proper times, the muscle growth process will be next to impossible. You should be eating anywhere from 5-7 meals per day, spaced every 2-3 hours in order to keep your body in an anabolic, muscle-building state at all times. Each meal should consist of high quality protein and complex carbohydrates.

6) Increase Your Protein Intake.

Of the 3 major nutrients (protein, carbohydrates and fats) protein is without a doubt the most important for those who are looking to gain muscle size and strength. Protein is found in literally every single one of the 30 trillion cells that your body is made up of and its main role is to build and repair body tissues. Without sufficient protein intake, it will be physically impossible for your body to synthesize a significant amount of lean muscle mass. If your body were a house, think of protein as the bricks. A general guideline is to consume 1-1.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight each day from high quality sources such as fish, poultry, eggs, beef, milk, peanut butter and cottage cheese.

7) Increase Your Water Intake.

If you want a simple, easy and highly effective way to maximize your muscle gains, drinking more water is it. Water plays so many vital roles in the body and its importance cannot be overstated. In fact, your muscles alone are made up of 70% water! Not only will drinking more water cause your muscles to appear fuller and more vascular, but it will also increase your strength as well. Research has shown that merely a 3-4% drop in your body's water levels can impact muscle contractions by 10-20%! Aim to consume 0.6 ounces for every pound of bodyweight each day for optimal gains.

8) Be Consistent!

Consistency is everything. Those who make the greatest gains in muscular size and strength are the ones who are able to implement the proper techniques on a highly consistent basis. Simply knowing is not enough, you must apply!

Building muscle is a result of the cumulative effect of small steps. Sure, performing 1 extra rep on your bench press will not make a huge difference to your overall results, and neither will consuming a single meal. However, over the long haul, all of those extra reps you perform and all of those small meals you consume will decide your overall success. If you work hard and complete all of your muscle-building tasks in a consistent fashion, all of those individual steps will equate to massive gains in overall size and strength.

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