THE “SECRET CODE” TO BUILDING MUSCLE
Amidst the endless mounds of advice you’ll find contained in the millions of bodybuilding articles and videos circulating online, today I’m going to share with you the real “secret code” when it comes to packing on muscle…
It involves two critical steps that, when implemented consistently, virtually guarantee significant, on-going increases in muscle size.
Fail to implement them however, and your gains will either be minimal or non-existent altogether.
Are you ready?
The “muscle building secret code” is this…
“Muscle Building Secret” #1: Eat In A Calorie Surplus.
“Muscle Building Secret” Step #2: Get Stronger.
There you have it.
That’s the closely-guarded “secret code” you’ve been waiting for to unlock that muscular, head-turning body you’re after.
Now, I of course use the term “secret code” jokingly here because of how downright simple this advice really is, but I’m continually amazed at how many people trying to gain muscle quite simply overlook these basic foundational steps…
The basic foundational steps that form the entire underlying structure of the muscle building process itself.
I receive messages every day from guys out there stating that they “can’t gain muscle” no matter what they do, and in such a case it’s a 100% guarantee that at least one of these two steps is not being followed.
The simple reality is this…
1) If you don’t eat in a calorie surplus, you are NOT going to gain a significant amount of muscle.
2) If you don’t get stronger on your lifts in the gym over time, you are NOT going to gain a significant amount of muscle.
Every single thing that you do as part of your muscle building program ultimately stems from these two basic principles, and virtually nothing else will matter until you’re consistently following them.
Unfortunately, most people out there have been so overly bombarded with conflicting advice and flat-out bad information that they end up totally over-complicating things and losing sight of these core fundamentals.
They’ll go on to ask me all kinds of other questions in regards to the best training splits… exercise selection… macronutrient breakdowns… food choices… supplements… when all the while they don’t even have that basic foundation in place first.
Yes, there are of course many smaller details that go into structuring an optimal muscle building program, but NONE of it is going to help you add muscle to your frame until you’re eating in a calorie surplus and adding more weight to the bar over time.
In fact, unless the structure of your training and nutrition plan is really bad and highly unbalanced, just following these two steps alone will produce reasonable muscle building progress without taking anything else into account.
So, if those muscle gains you’re after just don’t seem to be showing up in any noticeable way, you need to get back to basics and make sure you’re doing the following two things first and foremost…
“Muscle Building Secret” #1: Eat In A Calorie Surplus
It doesn’t matter which specific foods you’re eating… how many meals you’re consuming per day… how your macronutrients are distributed…
None of that will make any difference at all unless you are eating in a calorie surplus by consuming more calories than you burn.
You may gain a small amount of muscle in the beginning stages of your training by eating at maintenance or in a deficit, but if your primary goal is to get bigger and more muscular, you MUST eat in a calorie surplus.
How do you know if you’re in a calorie surplus?
Simple: your overall body weight will be consistently increasing.
If the number on the scale isn’t moving anywhere, then you are quite simply not in a calorie surplus and won’t be making any real gains until you are.
In order to build muscle, the energy coming in must exceed the energy going out.
Assuming your body fat levels are reasonably average (which they should be any time you decide to do a focused bulk), here’s a simple starting point that you can use…
Find your estimated calorie maintenance level by multiplying your body weight in pounds by 14-16, and then create a calorie surplus by adding 300 to that number.
Whether you choose 14, 15 or 16 depends on your activity level. Go with the higher end if you’re very active throughout the week, and go with the lower end if you are relatively sedentary.
From there, simply track your daily calorie intake to reasonably accurate degree and see how your body weight responds. If your weight continues to remain stagnant, slowly add more calories in until it begins increasing.
As a beginner, your goal should be to aim for around 0.5-0.75 pounds gained per week, or roughly 2-3 pounds per month.
This is a good range to ensure that you’re maximizing your muscle building potential while keeping body fat gains under control.
As you gain more and more muscle, gradually taper your calories up to ensure continued growth. You can do this by adding in an extra 100-150 daily calories any time your body weight stalls.
“Muscle Building Secret” #2: Get Stronger.
This is of course known as the law of “progressive overload“, and it’s without question the most important principle out of everything that you do in the gym.
It doesn’t matter if you train 6 days a week on a “bro split”… 4 days a week on a legs/push/pull split… or twice a week on a full body routine…
Unless you are consistently adding weight to the bar over time on your exercises, you’re not going to be making any real gains.
Muscle growth is an adaptive response to stress, and if you want to consistently build more and more muscle, the stress must continually increase.
This may sound very basic to those who are aware of this principle, but next time you go to the gym, take a look around at how many people you see who actually track their workouts.
In many cases I literally don’t see a single person other than myself who is doing it.
The simple fact is this…
If you’re trying to gain muscle, there is no reason whatsoever why you shouldn’t be logging every single workout you perform and writing it down on paper. (Or tracking them with an app if that’s your preference)
Gaining strength is the most fundamental aspect of gaining muscle, and if you’re just “winging it” every time you train, you’re essentially missing the whole point.
Even if you try to “keep it in your head” and make progress that way, it’s still much more powerful and much more effective to write things down.
This gives you a concrete visual to work from, and you’ll see the weight and reps increase much more efficiently this way.
What you need to do is very straightforward…
Just write down the exercises you performed, how much weight you used and how many reps were executed for each set. Then, put all of your focus on “beating the logbook” each week by slightly improving upon those numbers.
This could mean performing an additional rep or two using the same weight, or increasing the weight itself.
The difference from week to week will be minor, but when you extrapolate it over months and years of consistent training, you’ll be amazed by the gains you’re able to make.
Again, there are plenty of other details that go into laying out a proper training program, but progressive overload is by FAR the most important factor of all.
Even if your workout plan is only half-decent at best, you’ll still make reasonable gains just from from following this one step alone.
The Muscle Building “Secret Code”: Bottom Line
So, there you have it…
The “secret code” to adding new muscle to your frame week after week.
Eat in a calorie surplus, and combine it with consistent increases in strength.
Do those two things, and you WILL gain muscle. Fail to do either of them, and you won’t.
If you want to grab a fully structured, step-by-step program that combines this basic foundation with all of the other training and nutrition details needed to maximize your progress, make sure to check out my interactive video presentation below…
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