A 10-Step Guide to Building Muscle


Building muscle is a lot like building a house. The foundation (your diet) needs to be sturdy enough to support everything else. Then you put in the walls (your workouts) and add on some stuff that makes it look pretty. When you’re done, you have something strong and sturdy that will last a lifetime! Building muscle can help you live healthier and longer, but it’s not easy — it takes hard work, dedication and patience to succeed. Here are 10 tips for building muscle:

1. Get the Tools for Success You’ll Need

Now that you’ve made the decision to build muscle, it’s time to get your tools for success. In order to build muscle effectively, you will need a gym membership and the following items:

  • 1. High-quality weights. You can buy these at any major sporting goods store or online retailer like Amazon or Dick’s Sporting Goods. If possible, buy heavier weights if you’re planning on building more strength than size (there is a tradeoff between those two).
  • 2. Protein powder and sports drinks (water won’t be enough). Protein powder is essential if you want to add on lean mass quickly—you’ll use it in all of your shakes made with water or milk as part of your post-workout recovery routine; sports drinks are also helpful for post-workout recovery but aren’t required unless there are circumstances that make drinking plain water difficult for you (such as being in an environment where there isn’t much liquid available). Most protein powders are relatively cheap compared with other supplements like creatine monohydrate and beta alanine; however, some brands have more effective formulas than others so be sure not just any brand will do when it comes time to purchase this important product!

2. Define Your Goals

You need to know what your goals are before you start a muscle-building regime.

Your goals will vary from person to person, but here are some examples:

  • “I want to lose weight and gain lean muscle mass”
  • “I want to build my biceps for the first time”
  • “I want to become a competitive bodybuilder”

3. Make a Plan

When you make a plan, it’s often helpful to think about everything that needs to happen for you to reach your goal. That can include the exact days you’ll be working out, what exercises you’ll do and how many reps per set of each exercise.


Day 1: Workout A

  • 10 reps of squat with dumbbells or barbell (choose a weight appropriate for this number)
  • 8 reps of bench press with dumbbells or barbell (choose a weight appropriate for this number)

4. Do Compound, Multi-Joint Exercises

Compound exercises are movements that use multiple joint angles and muscle groups at the same time. These are more effective than isolation exercises, because they require your muscles to work together when performing the movement.

Example compound exercises include:

  • Squats – these engage your legs, glutes and lower back
  • Push-ups – this engages your chest and shoulders as well as your arms

By doing compound movements, you’re getting more bang for your buck by working out multiple parts of the body at once!

5. Don’t Forget About Cardio

Cardio is a crucial part of any muscle-building program, and if you’re serious about building muscle, then you need to be doing cardio. And not just a little bit. You need to be sweating through your shirt and properly taxing your heart for at least 30 minutes at least three times per week (and more if your goal is fat loss).

But why? Why does cardio help build muscle? The answer lies in the science of energy expenditure: when you do cardio, you’re burning up energy from your body’s stores—by breaking down glycogen into glucose (which gets turned into ATP) or fat into fatty acids that can be broken down into glycerol (which also gets turned into ATP). That means there are less potential calories in the tank for building new muscle tissue when training or recovering from a workout! Remember what I said earlier about how important it is for your body to replenish its glycogen stores after every workout? It takes time for this process to occur naturally as well; adding in extra training sessions with no rest days between them only makes matters worse!

6. Rest and Recover

Rest and recovery are vital to your muscle-building success. The more you rest, the better your body will respond to exercise, so it’s important to schedule rest days into your workout routine. You should also make time for sleep every night—sleep is another important way for the body to recover from workouts.

“Resting can be as simple as taking an extra day off from the gym,” says Dr. Jordan Metzl, M.D., a sports medicine physician at Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City who serves as an advisor to Runner’s World magazine and ShapeFit. “This can help muscles heal faster without overtraining.” Making sure you get enough sleep every night is just as important: Studies show that not getting enough shut-eye can affect hormone levels (like testosterone), which affects muscle growth.

Even if you’re just coming back from an injury or don’t want to risk injuring yourself further by doing too much too soon, there are other ways besides lifting weights that you can build up strength during periods of reduced activity. For example: Swim laps in a pool! It won’t bulk up your frame like weightlifting will but still allows you keep active while recovering from injury or travel plans during which workouts were impossible due to time constraints.

7. Improve Your Diet

If you want to build muscle, your diet is going to be the most important factor. As long as you’re consuming enough protein and calories, eating the right foods will help you build more lean muscle mass. Here’s what a good diet looks like:

  • Eat more protein. The best sources of protein are chicken breast, salmon and tuna fish, eggs, beans and legumes (like chickpeas), Greek yogurt and cottage cheese. Protein helps repair damaged tissue in your body so that it can grow back stronger than before!
  • Add more fruits and vegetables to every meal (and always eat them with meals). Try adding spinach or kale salad with tomatoes on top; orange slices drizzled in olive oil; carrots dipped into hummus instead of chips at snack time; roasted peppers stuffed with feta cheese instead of fried mozzarella sticks during happy hour at the end of an exhausting day…the possibilities are endless once you start getting creative!
  • Eat healthy fats like nuts & seeds (almonds/walnuts) because they provide essential nutrients such as calcium which supports bone health & fiber which keeps our digestive systems running smoothly all day long without feeling bloated after eating too much junk food 😉 Also try avocado slices topped w/ feta cheese for lunch or dinner – delicious & nutritious too 🙂 This will help keep us fuller longer throughout the day so we don’t overeat later down south!”

8. Get More Sleep

Sleep is important for muscle recovery, so getting enough sleep will help you recover faster and build more muscle. Additionally, research shows that the body grows new muscle tissue while we sleep. Sleep deprivation has been linked to a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity. Adults should aim for at least eight hours of quality sleep per night—and if you’re experiencing difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, consult your doctor to make sure there aren’t any underlying health issues that could be causing it.

One way to increase your sleep quality is by limiting screen time before bedtime: TV screens emit blue light that suppresses melatonin production (melatonin is a hormone responsible for regulating your circadian rhythm), which makes it harder to fall asleep once you actually hit the sheets. If possible, try shutting off all electronics at least an hour before bed so that the only light in your bedroom comes from natural sources like lamps or candles (or just wait until morning!). Another tip: keep the temperature in your bedroom cool—research suggests that optimal sleeping conditions are about 65 degrees Fahrenheit (18 degrees Celsius).

9. Try Supplements When Necessary

When you’re training hard, it’s easy to forget about the importance of a healthy diet. You may think that all you need is some extra protein powder and creatine and everything will be fine. But supplements are not a substitute for a nutritious diet—they can only help fill in gaps that your regular eating habits might leave.

Supplements can help increase muscle mass and reduce fat more effectively than without them, but they’re no magic pill that makes you automatically look like an athlete (or even just healthier). They should be used as additional support when needed and not relied upon as a primary source of nutrition or nutrient intake.

10. Stay Motivated With These Tips

It’s important to keep yourself motivated while trying to build muscle, because if you lose steam, then it can be tough to get back on track. To stay motivated:

  • Remind yourself that building muscle is a journey and not a destination. You’ll make progress in fits and starts; sometimes your body will respond better than other times (depending on your diet/training program), but don’t give up when things don’t go according to plan—it’s all part of the process!
  • Don’t think about your goals as a single event; rather, see them as steps along the way towards achieving what you want out of life. If you focus on each milestone achieved instead of thinking ahead too much (and becoming discouraged), then each step will feel more manageable and less daunting overall—and that makes it easier for us all!

Building muscle can help you live healthier and longer, but it’s not easy — it takes hard work, dedication and patience to succeed.

Building muscle is a long process that requires patience and consistency. There are no shortcuts. You need to know what you’re doing and be patient enough to do it for a long time before you see results, but the payoff is worth it: building muscle can help you live healthier and longer, even into your old age.

Some people don’t succeed because they give up too early or they pick the wrong method of bulking up. If they had stuck with it longer and learned more about how their bodies work, they could have achieved their goal of being stronger (and maybe even healthier).

Here are some examples of people who succeeded in building muscle after making mistakes along the way:


Building muscle is not an overnight process. It takes time and hard work to achieve your goals, but with the tips in this article you’ll be on your way to building leaner muscle mass in no time.