Did you know that 98% of anabolic-androgenic steroid use is amongst males? Soon after the discovery of testosterone nearly 90 years ago, many male athletes and weight lifters have used testosterone supplements or steroids to assist in gaining huge muscles.
The downsides are the lack of medical monitoring and increased health risks, especially to the cardiovascular system. This sheds light on how critical testosterone is toward building muscle.
And if you have an interest in building muscle mass, this is one key element to your journey. Luckily, we have an in-depth article for you on simple ways you can make a difference in body mass and start shedding the fat while packing on the muscle. Keep reading on for more information!
How To Get Huge Muscles
Not everyone is genetically predisposed to Arnold Schwarzenegger muscles, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find simple, effective, and healthy ways to build muscle and look bigger.
For some, their genetics are in favor of ideal bone structure and body shape for packing on the pounds or naturally looking “bigger.” Here are some other factors that affect how to get stronger, including:
- Anabolic hormones
- Fast-twitch versus slow-twitch muscle fibers
- Proper training
For most individuals, muscles don’t appear overnight. You need consistent training, hard work, and dedication. Before diving into the benefits of exercise and adjusting calories, let’s look at some other reasons you may be limited in muscle growth.
1. Anabolic Hormones
Anabolic hormones are critical for muscle building. These include testosterone, estrogen, insulin, and growth hormones. You may also be familiar with the terms anabolism and catabolism.
Anabolic hormones and anabolism affect growth. Ultimately, they are both parts of your body’s metabolism. When you are in an anabolic state, you gain muscle and improve mass.
Arguably, testosterone is one of the most important anabolic hormones on this list. It is also one of the most widely studied muscle and skeletal growth hormones.
Testosterone is an essential hormone for men and women. Along with muscle growth, it also stimulates several secondary male characteristics like:
- Body hair
- Deepened voice
- Heavier bone structure
Many bodybuilders supplement testosterone during their workouts. While some have had success with anabolic steroids, there are some risks with overuse or off-label usage, such as:
Testosterone also has several systemic side effects. These can include adverse reactions like mood swings, difficulties sleeping, and nausea.
Testosterone vs. SARMs
Recently, there has been an increased debate between anabolic steroids and SARMs. Here are a few key differences:
- SARMs are not steroids
- SARMs have fewer systemic side effects
- SARMs are newer to the research field
- SARMs are yet to pass clinical trials to treat medical conditions
Testosterone has been studied for decades. SARMs are non-steroidal that attach to specific androgen receptors. They can either act as agonists or antagonists at these receptors, making them ideal for targeting anabolic effects without the unwanted side effects.
Do you see what we are getting at here? The research shows vast potential for using SARMs for various medical conditions, muscle building, and skeletal growth.
However, you cannot buy SARMs for human use. It is still in the research phase and can only be studied and used by laboratories or research groups. With advancing studies and clinical trials, more uses of SARMs may show up in the future!
2. Muscle Fibers
You have two dominant muscle fibers: slow-twitch and fast-twitch. To put it simply, your slow-twitch fibers are ideal for endurance activities like long-distance running, cycling, or swimming. Fast-twitch fibers are ideal for power and speed.
Genetics determines how many of these slow or fast-twitch muscle fibers you have. Your training techniques can also affect their development.
Some of the best ways to get stronger are by targeting fast-twitch muscle fibers during workouts. When you train with weights, lifting, or sprints, your fast-twitch muscle fibers grow, leading to more muscle mass.
Slow-twitch muscle fibers prefer low-intensity exercises and activities. While it is still helpful to train your slow-twitch fibers, too many endurance activities can limit your fast-twitch growth and muscle mass.
3. Benefits of Exercising
When you search for “how to build muscle,” you will no doubt encounter several articles emphasizing the benefits of exercise and achieving huge muscles. More specifically, they are referring to strength training.
Strength training involves exercises that build muscle, power, or strength, including simple bodyweight exercises. You have to start somewhere, and doing too much too quickly (or with improper technique) can lead to several injuries.
Luckily, participating in regular exercise also has a myriad of other health benefits, including:
- Preventing osteoporosis
- Managing weight
- Protecting joints
- Improve balance
- Prevent or manage chronic illnesses
- Burn more calories
- Reduce fat
- Manage blood sugar levels
- Improve flexibility
Research also shows that exercise can help with your mental and emotional health. Studies found that adults who participated in strength training had improved cognitive function. Other research shows it can reduce anxiety, depression, and improve self-esteem.
What Types of Strength Training Should You Use?
If you want huge muscles, you may have to fine-tune your strength training regimen a bit. Here are some examples of ways you can start strength training:
- Body weight exercises (e.g., push-ups, squats, planks)
- Free weights (e.g., dumbbells, kettlebells, medicine balls)
- Resistance bands
- Pulley or suspension equipment
With these tools, you could participate in circuit training, explosiveness, muscle endurance, and more. Muscular hypertrophy is the primary goal when it comes to building huge muscles.
For that, you need to target moderate to heavy lifting with fewer reps. This scale can be different depending on your body type. Generally, there are three sweet spots when it comes to weight lifting:
- Improving strength: 1 to 5 reps
- Muscle hypertrophy: 8 to 12 reps
- Endurance 15 or more reps
Ideally, you want to remain in the strength to muscle hypertrophy stage. However, that doesn’t mean you should stick to the same weight, reps, and exercises each time.
Your body adapts over time to the stresses placed on it. That is one key component of why you gain muscle mass – your body adjusts to the increase in load. If you want to continue growing, you can’t be afraid to mix it up.
For example, you could try for timed sets or mix high and low repetitions. While constantly working on lighter weight at higher repetitions isn’t always ideal in the beginning stages, it can become crucial later on for sustained muscle growth.
Do You Need a Gym to Gain Huge Muscles?
In one word: no. While a gym is helpful because it has various equipment and personal trainers, it isn’t absolutely necessary. Some gym-goers don’t even enjoy weight lifting.
If you want muscle growth, it is essential that you find activities you enjoy. Going to the gym for weight lifting once a week likely won’t put on the muscle mass you dream of.
Others may not have the time to fit in a weight lifting session. For those with limited time and access to weights, try out these muscle-building tips:
- Aim for more than four weekly sets per muscle group
- Keep repetitions within 6-15 loading range
- Emphasize bilateral or multi-joint exercises
Three key exercises you should incorporate in these sessions are leg-pressing, upper body pushing, and upper body pulling. Examples could be squats, push-ups, and pull-ups. With those three activities, you target most major muscle groups.
Best Ways To Get Stronger
There is no set guideline or rule on specific exercises to help you get stronger. Typically, free weight exercises and body weight exercises can potentially target more muscle groups at once.
Additionally, using barbell squats versus a leg press challenges your balance and core muscles. You may find that these are more useful to you. The downside is that you risk injury if used incorrectly.
Ultimately, you should still incorporate other activities for well-rounded training. For example, researchers found that trail runners can benefit from more than simply running on trails.
Their exercises should include plyometrics, dynamic flexibility, and improved neuromotor strength and balance. The same can be said for weight lifters. Flexibility, balance, control, and endurance can help you become a better weight lifter.
You should exercise caution when using other activities to supplement your weight lifting. If you run right after leg day, you could over-fatigue your muscles and increase injury. Whenever you have any questions or concerns, talk to a trained medical or exercise specialist for further guidance.
4. Increasing Calories
When you want to start gaining muscle, your body needs the extra calories to build lean muscle. On average, aim for around 300 to 500 additional calories daily to start building muscle.
Calculating how many calories your body needs to maintain your weight can be a bit challenging since it depends on a few factors, such as:
- Your activity level
- Your metabolism
There are some general guidelines you can go off, such as around 2,000 to 3,000 calories daily for men. As you age, you should require fewer calories.
Start measuring your caloric intake and tack on a few extra hundred calories to see how your body does. If you still don’t notice changes in weight gain, you can also talk to your medical provider about how much you can safely increase your caloric intake.
Benefits of Eating Healthy
As you increase calories, ensure you include healthy food options rather than processed, high fat, or high sugar foods. Protein is another critical component of healthy weight gain.
However, instead of red meats that can increase the risk for high cholesterol and other chronic conditions, aim for well-balanced meals with fish or chicken. The CDC has several recommendations on healthy eating, including added emphasis on:
- Whole grains
- Fat-free or low-fat milk
- Lean meat
- Soy products
Some of the ingredients that the CDC advises against are added sugars, sodium, trans fat, and saturated fats. Also, don’t neglect your drinks.
Many energy drinks or sodas have harmful ingredients. Instead, try black coffee and tea for your morning caffeine boost.
5. Stay Consistent
For major muscle mass gains, you must remain consistent in your new eating and exercise plans. Indulging in your favorite foods every now and again isn’t going to cause any harm, but if you make it a habit, you could increase your health risks.
It can take weeks to months before you start noticing significant results. On average, you should aim for strength training at least two days a week. This gives you ample time to train your lower and upper body.
That rule is more of a minimum, and you can increase your days. Yet, plan for muscle groups to have at least a day of rest.
For example, you could train legs on Monday, arms on Tuesday, and core on Thursday. By Saturday, you should be fine to start back on your legs again.
Ultimately, find a schedule that works for you! If you have a busy job, try using some at-home bodyweight exercises to fit in a quick workout.
Start Getting Huge Muscles Today
Huge muscles don’t come easy for everyone, and most people struggle with the right exercises, dieting, and consistency. Ultimately, find a schedule that works for you and consider teaming up with a personal trainer.
Building muscles starts with proper technique, good exercise equipment, and an understanding of how the body works. Anabolic hormones and body composition are integral parts of muscle building, which is largely why males tend to have larger skeletal and muscle features.
If you enjoyed learning more about muscle building tips, check out the rest of our health and fitness articles!