Champions aren’t born, they are forged through years of hard work, sacrifice, and unwavering persistence. That said, no one is expecting you to win the next Mr. Olympia title, or even compete in the professional arena. What you can do, though, is take your fitness journey to the next level by learning from the best of the best and sculpting the body you always wanted.
The road to the Muscle Kingdom might be laden with numerous obstacles, requiring time and dedication, but it is not complex in any way. With that in mind, here is your definitive guide on how to build muscle like a pro, and sculpt a physique worthy of a champion.
If you want to be a champion, you have to eat like one
You have probably heard of the age-old adage permeating the fitness industry “you are what you eat”, as well as the famous “a six-pack is built in the kitchen”. Well, you better believe it, because, without a healthy diet plan geared towards building muscle, you will never be able to reach your fitness goals as a natural athlete.
That’s why your first order of business is to tidy up your diet, making sure you throw away all unhealthy food sources and stick to quality protein, fats, and carbohydrates. But that’s not all the pros have up their sleeves, as it’s equally important to monitor your macronutrient ratio as well as your caloric intake on a daily basis. Building muscle requires you to maintain a caloric surplus, so make sure you’re eating at least 500 calories above your maintenance level daily in order to gain size fast.
Progressive overload is king
Ask any golden-era bodybuilder, or every modern-day gym rat, and they will tell you that no amount of time spent in the gym will bring any results if you don’t have a solid training program in place. Specifically, your training split needs to emphasize some form of progressive overload in order to present your body with new challenges that will make it grow bigger and stronger.
You can emphasize progressive overload in three ways: adding weight, adding sets, and adding reps. While you should chase a higher PR, you should never sacrifice proper form, so consider dropping the weight and emphasizing higher reps and form. This type of stimulus will produce new micro-tears, and therefore, new gains.
Staying injury-free should be your primary goal
One of the most important elements when trying to achieve a sculpted physique worthy of a champion is overall health. Many people tend to ruin their bodies in the pursuit of success, in the end failing to reach their goals. That’s why longevity needs to be your no.1 priority, as staying in the game longer will allow you to safely realize your bodybuilding dreams.
To that end, you need to make sure you are wearing the right protective gear when exercising, such as durable compression clothing to keep your muscles primed and your joints warm, as well as wrist wraps, knee sleeves, and a lifting belt. Remember, the equipment you use can significantly influence your performance and allow you to build muscle faster than ever before.
Don’t neglect compound movements
Where most people get things wrong is emphasizing isolation exercises over compound movements, thinking that they will gain considerable size and muscle mass by curling a 10lb dumbbell into infinity. This is simply not the case.
Big, heavy exercises such as bent over rows, deadlifts, squats, and various presses will not only do wonders for your physique, but they will also translate into your everyday life, helping you lead a more functional, energetic lifestyle. So be sure to open your workouts with several heavy sets of compounds, followed by isolation work.
Increase your training frequency
There has been a toxic myth permeating the fitness industry for decades, the myth that you should train every muscle group once a week for optimal results. It’s time this myth got debunked once and for all. Studies have shown time and time again that muscle-protein synthesis spikes in the first 24 hours after exercise, and then decreases gradually as you move towards that 48-hour mark.
So why are you waiting a whole week to train chest again? If you want to get as jacked as naturally possible, you want to increase your training frequency, and train every muscle group at least two, preferably three times per week.
Building muscle is not astrophysics, obviously, but learning the correct way to maximize and reach your potential does require thorough research, time, effort, and persistence. Use these bodybuilding tips the pros swear by to build muscle fast and sculpt the body of your dreams.
Author: Peter Minkoff