A very simple question from a colleague indeed while I was minding my own business the other day; ”Ironthumb, (not my name of course) how the hell do you get big, jacked muscles?” The guy seemed serious so I explained to him a little bit about how to build muscles the Ironthumb way.
But what struck me the most is how I have been writing some complex stuff here about lifting, intensity, time under tension and stuff like that and I often forget that it is the very simple questions that beginners have in mind such as something that short as “how to get big muscles”. And for one I do believe that a beginner’s question must not be taken lightly since we all were once beginners and used to have the same type of questions in mind.Follow @AboutLifting
Off course we know that the question wasn’t so “simple” at all. For one it requires several things that need to be done in order to just build every pound of lean muscle. And my purpose on this post is to condense some of the stuff that we’ve talked about in earlier posts for the benefit of newbies like Francis (did I fail to give you his name earlier?).
Put yourself in the right environment to grow – or simply put you must create an anabolic environment for your muscles. We talked about some easy tips about that in this post. That includes eating the right foods (avoiding soy, taking in fatty foods) , avoiding any endurance type of work (like marathons) and eating lots of meat and animal fat.
Avoid Fast-food – It will be easier for you to build “lean” muscle mass without worrying about getting fat if you will just avoid all the fake junk that the fake modern world offers you. Believe me that is not only for your muscles but for your well being as well.
Lower your weights slowly – I cannot stress this one enough; the lowering portion (negative portion) of every rep must take at least 3 seconds. This has been scientifically proven to produce the greatest micro-trauma therefore the most hypertrophic response as the muscle recovers and becomes meaner and bigger.
Carbs are king – High intensity workouts are required for growth. That means doing 6-10 reps maximum for a weight (not more than 12) for a number of sets. This type of intensity requires the body to switch to carbs and muscle glycogen (carbs stored in your muscles) as a primary source of energy. Imagine working out carbohydrate depleted, will you be able to give the right level of intensity that is required to get huge? NO! And besides all that glycogen will make your muscles look fuller.
Rice is king – You should eat lots of carbohydrates but carbs don’t only come in the form of bread and pasta. You should buy a sack of rice and eat it with meat like a pig! Rice is delicious and will give you high quality carbohydrates and is much healthier than bread. Rice will also give you a more sustained energy release so you will not just crash. Even regular grains cannot compare to rice, heck even paleo-gurus who hate grains are biased on eating rice. So if you are planning to build lots of big lean muscle – eat some rice!
Note: veggies are also another great source of carbohydrates anabolic and health preserving phytochemicals.
Water please – Your muscles are like 80% water. You want to shrink your hard-earned muscles the easiest way to do that is to dehydrate. Drink at least 15 glasses of water a day (that doesn’t include the jug that you take during workout) to maintain your bodily systems and at the same time make your muscles fuller (bigger) and hydrated.
Don’t over stay in the gym – your workouts must not take longer than 1 hour every session. Remember that your goal is to stimulate and anabolic response as an adaptation to your high intensity workout and not train for an athletic event (where you might need to train for hours). You need to avoid the time frame where your testosterone levels drops below optimal level that is needed to produce growth.
Apparently a very long workout is going to signal your body that it needs to stop making your muscle fibers too big since you need all the energy that you can get because you are undergoing a difficult situation – which is how your body sees it. And your body knows that big muscles consume too much calories (energy) and long workouts will only make your body stingier of giving you bigger muscles.
Keep in mind that you only need to do at 1 compound move (multi-joint) for an angle of motion and one isolation (single joint) move for the entire body part you are working out. With that it should not take you more than an hour to complete a good workout for a certain muscle group. For more clarifications please see our list of exercises regimens here.
Do more compound and free-weight movements – pure beginners must not fancy doing machines and specialization moves. What a beginner must be doing for the first two months is our modified consolidated program here which will have you focusing on all the basic moves like squats and deadlifts increasing your numbers and building foundations. Make no mistake – these basic compound moves are the BEST MASS BUILDERS of all!
Fats are your friend – What is it with society blaming cholesterol and promoting McDonald’s? Whole animal fats are healthy and you need them for testosterone production. What is killing westerners are crappy lifestyle, processed foods and processed fats which can be found in any junk food and cooking oil where they dip your fries. You must also take fish oil to balance out your omega6/omega3 ratio.Follow @AboutLifting
That’s it for now. Can you share us some other tips below in the comment section? And one last thing – eat your eggs, people!