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How to Gain Muscle Mass - 9 Simple Steps
Muscles are ever-changing structures in our bodies. They give us strength to move things, power to throw things, control to keep us upright and play a role in everything we do in our day-to-day. Muscle size and maximum strength are in some parts determined by genetics, but our lifestyles guide our end result. [1, 2, 3]
Here are 9 ways that you can grow muscle mass:
1. Remember to Use the FITT Formula
Frequency - This is the number of times you will be training each week.
Intensity - This is the level of difficulty of each training session.
Time - The amount of time you rest in between each set.
Type - This is the type of exercise you use to hit each muscle.
2. Eat to Grow
When it comes to putting on some serious muscle, the first step is to choose a meal plan that prioritizes protein synthesis. The plan must include the calorie and macronutrient (protein/fat/carbohydrates) targets that are specific to your goal. Aim to get this first step right before adding more details.
For optimal muscle growth, we need to include a caloric surplus when creating a meal plan. We need to eat more than we are expending. This will be broken down into different ratios of macronutrients, for example: protein = 2g/kg body weight, carbohydrate = 3 to 4g/kg body weight, fat = 1g/kg bodyweight.
Everyone will have different needs, depending on general physical activity, work-time sedentariness, muscle development, and end goal. When choosing a plan, don’t take your inspiration from Instagram – your body will respond differently to the next person, so take the time to figure out what works best for you. 
In saying that, it is not necessary to be in a surplus of 1000+ calories. By maintaining a surplus of 10-20% of your maintenance calories and working on your exercise and physical activity routine, your body tends to prioritize muscle development over fat storage. 
3. Prioritize Your Sleep
When it comes to sleep and building muscle, sleep plays a major role in the muscle building process. I’m sure you have noticed that when you don’t get a good night sleep you can feel it in your energy levels and may also find it in your cognitive function too. You may function ‘just fine’, by doing this you are just short changing your body on its much needed recovery time for overall function.
Sleep is essential when it comes to your recovery for the muscle building progress and overall progress in and out of the gym. Your body needs a certain amount of time to recovery from the activities you take part in on a regular basis. 
Sleep can also effect the amount of fat you carry on your body. One study compared two separate groups - one group were to sleep for five-and-a-half hours per night, while the other group were to sleep for eight-and-a-half hours per night.
The results showed that the group with only five-and-a-half hours per night maintained 60% more fat and lost 40% more muscle than that of the other group. 
4. Drink Your Water
Hydration is a forgotten yet incredibly important factor in the growth and development of muscle. This is because our bodies are made up of more than two-thirds of water and utilize it to increase size and mass.
If you are not hydrating during exercise, you may run the risk of dehydration. Even 2% dehydration can affect concentration, effort, and recovery. Keep a water bottle next to you throughout the day and take regular sips. Studies have shown that optimal hydration throughout exercise can improve performance and prolong the exercise duration. 
5. Train to Get Big
Focus your training on building muscle and strength. This requires a challenging and effortful program. You should put the time into considering a routine that will allow you to focus on building muscle.
By choosing a plan that includes hypertrophy – aiming to move weights or bodyweight against resistance for a rep count of 8-12 at 60 to 80%RM – you are giving your body the opportunity to make progress. I suggest training with a total body split 2-3 times per week to get the most benefit.
Training your muscles consistently will help you to stimulate growth and help with overall development. Studies have shown that people tend to make more progress by increasing the frequency of times you target a specific muscle group than to train a specific muscle group once per week. 
6. Set Yourself Goals
Start by setting yourself some SMART goals, these are goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. By setting yourself SMART goals you are putting in the time to consider whether you can achieve this goal or not.
To avoid getting overwhelmed, focus on one goal at a time. It is not uncommon for us to take too much on at once and get overwhelmed by the number of goals we have set for ourselves. So by focusing on just one goal at a time, we can avoid this overwhelming feeling and achieve our goals one at a time.
Set a goal that will take a few months or even a year. This is to avoid setting yourself a goal that will be completed over a weekend, as we tend to over-celebrate in the short term. The instant, short-lived dopamine hit makes it hard for us to stick to personal goals in a busy world. By playing the long game, and making time work for you, you are more likely to see results and to appreciate the journey your body has been on.
7. Take Some R&R
By giving yourself some time to rest, your muscles will have the space to recover and repair any damage that was done throughout the exercise sessions. Muscle trauma is a normal and necessary part of the exercise, and each micro tear in the muscle is built back stronger for the next day.
Taking rest days doesn’t mean you have to sit around all day, declining all invitations to participate in fun and active event. You can make the most out of your rest days by doing some low-impact activities such as going for a walk or yoga. This will allow you to stimulate blood flow, which can aid in the recovery of muscles around the body.
Studies have shown that active recovery over passive can help to clear the build-up of blood lactate within the muscle by performing active recovery rather than passive recovery. This will help aid in the recovery process of the muscles and relieve the rate of perceived soreness. 
8. Supplement Your Gains
Creatine is the most highly recommended supplement when trying to achieve muscle growth. One study showed that muscle glycogen is enhanced throughout the performance of exercise, by prior consumption of creatine. [11, 12]
If you’re looking to supplement some creatine into your diet, you can check out our range here.
Protein is essential in the muscle building process, it is a good idea to consume more protein than your body breaks down. Whey protein is a good way to make sure that you reach your protein target. You can read more about the different kinds of protein and its benefits by reading this article.
If you’re looking to supplement some protein into your diet, you can check out our range here.
9. Take Your Measurements
Recording your measurements is a great way to keep track of your progress over time. It is as the saying goes what gets measured, gets improved.
I recommend that you monitor your progress by taking progress pictures, body measurements and body fat percentage.
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 Chen, Y., Cui, Y., Chen, S., & Wu, Z. (2017). Relationship between sleep and muscle strength among Chinese university students: a cross-sectional study. Journal of musculoskeletal & neuronal interactions, 17(4), 327–333.
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