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How to Build Muscle

Updated: Sep 9, 2023

So you're searching google for the best advice on building muscle. We're going to touch on the following aspects which impact your muscle growth:

  1. What Muscle Mass is

  2. How to Build Muscle Mass

  3. Nutrition and Supplementation

  4. Recovery and Rest

  5. Lifestyle and Mindset

Are you looking to build muscle?

  • Absolutely

  • Nah, I'm already swole

What Muscle Mass Is

Muscle Mass is the weight of the muscles in our bodies (total muscle tissue). When we think about our bodies we have bones, organs, blood, muscle and more which amount to our weight.

Muscle Fibres are what makes up a muscle. If you imagine a cheese string... Stay with me, it will make sense.

The cheese straight out of the packet is your muscle. Once you take the cheese out of the packet you have a solid string of cheese. If you were to peel the cheese you find the strings of cheese. The solid string of cheese represents your muscle (or part of it), if we were to disect the muscle (or peel the cheese) we would find 'string-like' features. These represent our muscle fibres.

To build muscle we can either recruit more muscle fibres or increase the size of our current fibres. This is what changes our muscle mass. Muscle mass plays a crucial role in maintaining our overall health from balance & metabolism right up to the obvious... strength & power.

How to Build Muscle Mass

Let's talk about the bit that you really want to hear. The tips, tricks and techniques on how to build muscle. We'll explore the main aspects required to build muscle and how to maintain it once you've got it.

When it comes to building muscle mass it's almost like baking a cake. If you miss an ingredient, the cake might not rise. With that being said the following aspects have to be considered:

  • Exercise

  • Diet & Nutrition

  • Recovery and Rest

  • Mindset


The majority of exercises will help you build muscle if done correctly. The key to unleash your potential is Micro Tears... A micro tear is caused when a muscle is placed under increased stress and is the body's way of adapting to become stronger. Once these occur the body sends good nutrition and good blood to the area to heal and repair, in turn increasing muscle fibre size/recruitment.

Progressive Overload, proper technique and training frequency are all important for preventing injury and making your training optimal.

The time that a muscle spends under high tension, increases the muscle tears. Now lets really get into the fun stuff...

Please note that these exercises are only part of the equation. There are many other exercises to consider. It's essential to perform each exercise with proper technique and gradually increase the weight (progressive overload).

Bench Press: A well known exercise for the chest, shoulders and arms. It is an effective compound movement for building strength and muscle in the upper body.

Squat: Another well known exercise which is great for training the legs, glutes and abs. They are excellent for engaging the lower body in strength training.

Lunge: A great exercises for targeting the legs, glutes and core. Lunges are particularly good at engaging the core and creating stability for other lifts.

Deadlift: A compound exercise that primarily works the glutes, hamstrings and lower back. They also engage the core and again, are great for stability.

Overhead Press: These help build muscle in the shoulders, targeting the deltoids, triceps and upper chest.

Rows: Great for targeting your back, more specifically your rhomboids and latissimus dorsi. They are great for helping to build a V shaped upper body.

Diet and Nutrition

Exercises are extremely important for growing muscle mass, however, we could argue that your diet is the bit that most people struggle with. You can spend as many hours in the gym as humanly possible, but without the right fuel, your muscles won't grow.

Macronutrients (Macros)

Without the right fuel your body can't grow. Here are 3 macro's that you need to know; Protein, Carbohydrates & Fats. A recommended split of these macros is listed below.

Carbohydrates (50-60%)

The body's main source of energy, providing fuel for powerful workouts. You find these in foods like bread, pasta, energy drinks, fruit and vegetables.

Proteins (25-30%)

Needed to repair and rebuild muscle tissue after exercise. These can be found in foods such as meats, eggs, fish and supplements.

Fats (15-20%)

Essential for hormone production and overall health. These can be found in foods like butter, cheese, cream, cake & biscuits.

Meal Planning

Meal planning and macro tracking is one of the most effective ways to boost your muscle growth. You can use free apps such as MyFitnessPal to log your foods for the upcoming days. Adopting a structures approach to your meals allows you to hit you targets consistently and have the right nutrients needed for muscle development.

Balanced Diet

A balanced diet is a perfect mix of nutrients, fine-tuned to promote muscle growth. Aim to diversify your meals with an array of whole foods. This will ensure your body receives a broad spectrum of micronutrients. Vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, all crucial micronutrients, not only bolster your overall health but also play a significant role in muscle development. Therefore, fill your plate with a vibrant mix of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats to nourish your muscles and optimise your results.


Supplements shouldn’t replace a well-balanced diet. There are plenty of supplements flooding the market for example, protein powder can be a convenient way to meet your daily protein requirements. Creatine has been shown to enhance strength and muscle gains. Always remember that supplements are meant to aid your diet, not replace it.


Recovery is a crucial component to building muscle. It's during these periods of rest that our bodies repair the micro-tears in muscle tissue caused by intense exercise, leading to increased strength and muscle mass. But the benefits of recovery extend beyond muscle growth.

  • Muscle Repair and Growth: During rest, your body repairs the microscopic damage caused to muscle fibres during exercise. This repair process leads to muscle growth and increased strength.

  • Prevention of Overtraining: Overtraining can lead to a decline in performance, increased risk of injury, and a weakened immune system. Adequate recovery allows your body to replenish energy stores and repair damaged tissues, preventing the negative effects of overtraining.

  • Improved Performance: Rest is essential for maintaining optimal performance. Without adequate recovery, you may experience a decrease in performance, often referred to as a 'plateau'.

  • Reduced Risk of Injury: Overuse injuries are common in individuals who do not allow their bodies sufficient time to recover. Rest helps to prevent such injuries by giving the body time to heal.

  • Mental Well-being: Rest and recovery aren’t just for your muscles. They’re also key for your mental well-being. Taking time to unwind, relax, and rejuvenate can help reduce stress levels and prevent burnout.

I suggest waiting at least 48 hours before working the same muscle group again. This allows the muscles time to repair and grow. You should aim for 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night for optimal recovery.

Remember, recovery should be an integral part of your routine, not an afterthought. By prioritising rest and recovery, you can optimise your muscle growth.


Building muscle mass requires dedication, consistency, and a positive mindset. It’s important to integrate fitness and muscle-building habits into your daily life. This includes setting goals, overcoming challenges, and staying motivated. Embrace the lifestyle changes that come with building muscle and unleash the power within you.

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