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TestoFuel Blog : Make Gains & Pack on the Muscle

The Ultimate Muscle Building Guide: For Beginners

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So, you’re looking to make some serious gains? Here’s how our muscle building guide can help!

Armed with your daily supply of TestoFuel, you’ll be able to get that testosterone pumping and start to make some real progress on muscle building.

But why stop there?

Here at TestoFuel, we want you to get the best results and smash your body goals.

We’ve put together our Ultimate Muscle Building Guide to getting started on your bulking journey with helpful diet tips, exercise advice and lifestyle changes so you can make BIG GAINS quicker!

muscle building guide

In this guide, we’ve divided it into 3 sections which all contribute towards successful muscle building:

  1. Diet
  2. Exercise
  3. General Lifestyle Changes

Let’s get started!

1.   Diet

We begin our muscle building guide with one the fundamental pillars of successful bodybuilding – getting your diet right.

Yes, when you’re bulking, you will have to increase your calorie intake. But to do this effectively, it is a bit more complicated than just ‘eating more’.

Eating the right things, getting the proper nutrients and generally being in control of your meals all contribute towards significant muscle growth.

muscle growth

Check out our top tips to understanding your diet better so you can optimize your muscle building potential.

Get Your Calorie Intake Right

Research shows that in order to successfully start putting on muscle, you need to increase your daily calorie intake by around 15-20%.

But first you need to establish what your maintenance calorie intake is to work out how much more you need to add on each day.

How to find out your recommended daily calorie consumption

Step 1

Start by working out your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) which is the amount of energy your body needs whilst resting.

One popular way to do this is using the Harris-Benedict formula, which uses weight, height, age and gender:

For Men:

BMR = 66 + (13.7 x weight in kg) + (5 x height in cm) – (6.8 x age in years)

For Women:

BMR = 655 + (9.6 x weight in kg) + (1.8 x height in cm) – (4.7 x age in years)

Step 2

Then you need to apply your activity level to decipher your calories burned for your lifestyle:

  • Sedentary – If you get minimal or no exercise, multiply your BMR by 1.2.
  • Lightly active – If you exercise lightly one to three days a week, multiply your BMR by 1.375.
  • Moderately active – If you exercise moderately three to five days a week, multiply your BMR by 1.55.
  • Very active – If you engage in hard exercise six to seven days a week, multiply your BMR by 1.725.
  • Extra active – If you engage in very hard exercise six to seven days a week or have a physical job, multiply your BMR by 1.9.

After you’ve got your maintenance calorie amount, you’ll need to add on 15-20% per day when bulking up.

What to Eat

Although your calories will be increased, you need to make sure you’re eating the right things and focusing on foods and herbs that are complementary to muscle growth.

Cracking your diet can really make or break the success rate of your gains so it’s important to get it right. The trick is to get the correct balance between the three macronutrients – protein, carbohydrate and fat.

three macronutrients

Whether you’re bulking or on your cutting days, the general rule of thumb is that the ratio of macros stay the same:

Protein = 30-35%

Carbs = 45-60%

Fat = 15-30%[1]

Lean Protein

When you’re bulking up, you need to increase your calorie intake by around 15-20%. To really optimize your mealtimes for muscle growth, scientific research says add 1.2-2g of protein per kg of body weight per meal[2]  for best results.

  • Protein is essential for muscle building and repairing so you can upgrade muscle gains safely, with rapid results
  • It stops unhealthy cravings for sugars and refined carbs for a clean diet which is vital for healthy and quick muscle growth
  • It boosts energy levels for better endurance and longer muscle building potential
  • It keeps you fuller for longer by reducing your hunger hormone ghrelin and increasing appetite-suppressing hormones like peptide YY and GLP-1
  • The digesting and metabolizing of protein burns more calories through thermogenesis by 20-30% (carbs = 5-10%, fat = 0-3%) so you can shed excess fat and make way for big muscle gains[3]
proteins

We recommend:

  • Lean meats like skinless chicken breast, turkey and trimmed pork medallions
  • Seafood like seabass, salmon and prawns
  • Eggs
  • Nuts and seeds like cashews, almonds, walnuts, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds
  • Beans like lentils, black beans and peas
  • Low fat dairy

Complex Carbohydrates

As your body’s preferred source of energy, carbs are vital to your athletic performance when it comes to pumping iron efficiently.

If you cut carbs too much, you’ll lack that energy you need to really smash your workout goals.

There are two types:

Simple carbohydrates – which provide rapid energy from sugars

Complex carbohydrates – which release energy slower

In order to make sure you can sustain your workout, complex carbohydrates are better than simple alternatives as their energy is longer lasting giving you better endurance when exercising with less chance of drastic crashes.

muscle building guide

Complex carbs are rich in nutrients and are processed slower in your body therefore need to be consumed around 2-3 hours before your workout for optimum performance[4].

Complex Carbs we recommend:

  • Oats
  • Whole grain pasta, bread and brown rice
  • Beans and pulses like lentils
  • Fruits like bananas, strawberries and blueberries
  • Vegetables like broccoli, cabbage and sweet potatoes

Eating the right sort of carbs can revolutionize your workout potential so it’s really important to remember that when you’ve preparing pre-workout meals.

Healthy Fat

Healthy fats are essential for healthy muscle growth. Increasing your intake of good fats boosts your testosterone levels, encouraging more production of the growth hormone and amino acids which are the key building blocks in your muscles[5].

In short, cutting out fat from your diet entirely could negatively impact your gains. Adding components packed with omega-3 fatty acids, for example, can significantly maintain muscle mass and overall strength[6].

Foods enriched with ‘good’ fats we recommend:

  • Eggs
  • Seafood high in Omega-3 like salmon, tuna and tilapia[7]
  • Soybeans
  • Cottage cheese
  • Peanuts
  • Tofu
  • Milk

Foods to Avoid

When looking to build up muscle, you need to be aware of what foods to cut out of your diet if you want to see results fast.

  1. Alcohol – not only is a lot of alcohol packed with sugar, alcohol has been linked to ruining your body’s ability to function properly – especially processing protein. So, if you’re looking to make the most of the muscle-building nutrients you’re consuming, ditch the drink[8]
  2. Refined Sugars – try to avoid added sugars in your diet. Not only can you suffer severe crashes which could hinder your workouts, added sugars can lead to problems with hydration and digestive issues too[9]
  3. Fried food – deep-fried foods are prime examples of BAD FATS which could lead to inflammation, heart disease and mood swings which all can impact your muscle growth and ability to perform in your workouts.

 

2.   Exercise

Second on our muscle building guide is another key to healthy gains – exercise.

It can be difficult to know where to start when it comes to bodybuilding in terms of exercises.

So, we’ve put together some top exercise tips when you’re starting out with building muscle to give you a strong basis for the best results.

Lift Weights

One of the most effective ways to build lean muscle is to lift weights. Not only does it help boost your testosterone levels, but it increases your strength, endurance and fitness all in one[10].

weightlifting

Plus, weightlifting has been linked to boosting your brain giving you better concentration in your workout and in day-to-day life, as well as being effective in fat loss so you can cultivate ultimate lean muscles throughout your body[11].

Find out more testosterone-boosting weight-lifting exercises here.

Do Compound Exercises

Whilst isolation training like bicep rows or leg extensions benefit muscle building by targeting spots you’ve missed and focusing on imbalanced muscles, we believe compound exercises are at the very core of efficient muscle growth.

Compound exercises like squats, deadlifts and bench presses involve multiple joint movements and are fundamental for successful weightlifting and strength training, making them perfect for any level of weight-lifter – from beginner to advanced[12].

  • They can increase testosterone levels by engaging more muscles at once which takes your muscle growth to another level, building up power and strength quicker
  • Save time by doing sets of exercises like squats, clean and press or pull-ups which use multiple joint movements, you can hit all muscle groups collectively in less time
  • You use compound exercises throughout day-to-day life – from picking up shopping to squatting to pat your dog, so perfecting your form could boost your everyday function

We recommend:

  • Squats
  • Bench Press
  • Pull-ups
  • Planking
  • Deadlifts

Use a ‘reps-and-rest’ Cycle

Following a reps and rest cycle has been proven to help increase stamina and optimize your results more than normal sets would.

The idea is to keep your reps up until you can no longer maintain good form and your muscles essentially ‘fail’.

Black man in the gym barbell back squatting for hypertrophy

By pushing your muscle groups with repeated movement to their absolute limit, it will encourage more effective and accelerated muscle growth as the damaged muscle fibers repair bigger and stronger[13].

Studies show that weightlifters should aim for between 6 and 12 reps per set. If you’re just starting out, try the minimum and progress from there to avoid injury.

Your rest period should be 60-90 seconds – no more!

Keep Challenging Yourself

Whether you’re looking for massive muscles fast or just want to sculpt out a lean, muscular physique, the key is to keep your workouts challenging.

With the help of TestoFuel, your increased testosterone levels, exercise plan and muscle-targeted diet will all help your body bulk up easier with efficient recovery.

Because of this, you’ll get used to your exercise routine quicker which could slow your progress if you don’t keep on top of it.

To push yourself further, you need to keep your workouts fresh and constantly challenge yourself for the best muscle development.

Change up your routine regularly to make sure you’re always gaining.

We recommend:

  • Always review your weight amount if it’s getting easier and try add on weekly
  • Ramp up your reps each gym sesh for optimum muscle growth
  • Keep your muscles always on point by mixing up:

Isotonic exercises like crunches, donkey kicks, tricep dips, squats and push-ups

+

Isometric exercises like planking, glute bridge, boat pose and warrior poses

 

3.   General Lifestyle Changes

To finish our muscle building guide, we’ve given you a few extra tips you can do daily to boost your muscles.

Fuelled with a healthier diet, muscle-boosting exercise regimes and TestoFuel, you will have a great basis to start making some serious gains.

But there are other lifestyle changes which could contribute towards healthy and effective muscle growth too.

building muscle

Get Enough Sleep

Chances are if you’re increasing your exercise, falling asleep will not be an issue. But if you’ve got an action-packed schedule already, adding in your new bulking-up regime might end up eating into the amount of sleep you’ll be able to fit in.

Don’t compromise your sleep!

Studies show a positive correlation between effective muscle growth and a good amount of sleep with people gaining 40% more muscle mass with 8.5 hours sleep a night than those who have less[14].

So, whatever you need to sacrifice to make way for your new routine, don’t make bedtime one of them.

When we’re asleep, it gives our bodies chance to recover from the day – both physically and mentally. The Human Growth Hormone (HGH) is most at work when we’re asleep, processing our muscle recovery and growth. So, if we don’t give it enough time to do its job, you could end up significantly limiting your overall gains.

Plus, if you’re tired, you’re more prone to mood swings, endurance depletion and a lack of focus so your workouts will suffer too[15].

The average adult needs at least 7 hours of sleep a night to be efficient.

Stay Hydrated

Whilst water has a whole host of health benefits – from alleviating fatigue to improving teeth, hair and digestion, one of the key elements to supporting your muscle growth is staying hydrated[16].

80% of your muscles are made up of water so if you’re dehydrated you could compromise the full functionality when flexing and moving them properly[17], affecting your overall athletic performance and muscle pumps.

muscle-pumps

Also, dehydration has also been linked to impaired memory, focus and mood which could have a serious impact on your workout[18] so you can’t make the gains you’re looking for.

Health professionals suggest drinking around 2 liters a day minimum to stay well hydrated[19] – but increase this if you’re exercising a lot.

Reduce Your Stress

Everybody has to deal with day-to-day challenges and stress is inevitable. However, too much stress could have a serious impact on your ability to gain muscle mass.

From low sex drive to headaches, stress affects us all in different ways[20] but an increase in cortisol – the stress hormone – could also lead to:

  • Tension in your muscles – restricting functionality and essentially reducing muscle development
  • Appetite stimulation – which could encourage overeating and cravings for junk food
  • Slower metabolism – bringing your whole body to a stand-still and putting the breaks on muscle growth[21]
  • Reduced cognitive performance – impairing your workout potential with a lack of focus, motivation and low mood

Eating healthier, exercising more and getting enough sleep are all great ways to counteract your stress levels.

hiking-mountain

We recommend:

  • Getting on top of your daily routine with to-do lists to tick off each task as you go. Using our muscle building guide will definitely help to take the pressure off planning too!
  • Doing more outdoor activities – from hiking to golf or visiting the beach, being outside is a great way to chill out
  • Minimizing alcohol to avoid dips in your mood and hangover irritability
  • Taking up calming activities like reading, listening to music, yoga or meditation to get some healthy headspace

 

The bottom line

Using our Ultimate Muscle Building Guide, you can easily integrate this new muscle-gaining regime into your life whilst utilizing TestoFuel to its full potential.

The more committed you are to gaining, the better your results will be with:

  • Real muscle growth
  • Increased strength
  • Reduced body fat
  • Improved mood
  • Unbeatable self-esteem

We hope you’re now fully equipped and fired up to get that sculpted, ripped physique you’ve been looking for!

Good luck on your muscle building journey to making SERIOUS GAINS!

References

[1] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24864135/

[2] https://journals.lww.com/acsm-msse/Fulltext/2016/03000/Nutrition_and_Athletic_Performance.25.aspx

[3] https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/10-reasons-to-eat-more-protein

[4] https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322963#carbohydrates

[5] https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/fat-will-help-you-get-in-the-best-shape-of-your-life-heres-how

[6] https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/26-muscle-building-foods

[7] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25285409/

[8] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3922864/

[9] https://www.livestrong.com/article/519831-is-sugar-bad-for-muscle-growth/

[10] https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00421-013-2586-y

[11] https://www.healthline.com/health/fitness-exercise/why-i-lift-heavy

[12] https://www.healthline.com/health/fitness-exercise/compound-exercises

[13] https://www.healthline.com/health/fitness-exercise/rest-pause#benefits

[14] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21550729/

[15] https://www.issaonline.com/blog/index.cfm/2018/does-lack-of-sleep-hinder-muscle-growth

[16] https://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/behar12.htm

[17] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4562569/

[18] https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/british-journal-of-nutrition/article/mild-dehydration-impairs-cognitive-performance-and-mood-of-men/3388AB36B8DF73E844C9AD19271A75BF/core-reader

[19] https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/drinking-water-helps-with-weight-loss#section4

[20] https://www.healthline.com/health/stress/effects-on-body#1

[21] https://www.healthline.com/health/stress/stress-and-weight-gain#stress-on-the-body