Muscle Building Keys: the ultimate tools for non-stop muscle gains

Why Should I  read about Muscle building keys anyway? didn’t I just need to hit the gym and eat a lot of food and my body will take care of the rest? Well, it is actually a bit more complicated than that. Why it is more complicated?

Why It Is Hard To Build Muscles

Well, because Muscle building is a naturally slow process which means it takes time to occur because we are forcing our body to do something he actually hates. yes that’s true, our bodies don’t want us to build muscle, aren’t they lame? No, they are not they are just trying to protect us from a possible famine.

Muscles need energy to be sustained and even though that nowadays we can simply reach out to the fridge and grab a delicious protein shake, our ancestors back in the day needed to go hunting and that hunt sometimes went for days. They spent days without food which led our human body to develop a protective mechanism against anything that might consume that precious energy, especially muscle mass. So in this article, we are going to discover the main muscle building keys that will help you to outcome this protective mechanism, bust through your muscle building plateaus, and get some serious muscle gains.

Over time the human race managed to outcome that obstacle by the development of resistance training and exercise nutrition. But, until this day, even with the overwhelming amount of information available people are still not able to build muscle and get the body of their dreams. why is that? I think a simple answer is that they don’t nail down the basic keys and concepts of muscle building correctly.

So I decided to write you this little article where I shed light on what I think of as the main keys to muscle building. So keep reading, bet you will be surprised because this is no magazines type of content, it is what I found to work over the years for me and my clients.

1- Maintain a Calories Surplus:

We all know how important is nutrition when it comes to muscle building and fat loss. But, some people misinterpret that and think they only need to eat healthy food and their body will magically build muscle and lose fat. That’s not the case, because calories do matter. To be in an anabolic state you need two things: high calories and enough protein because your body will use calories as energy to fuel the muscle building process and repair damaged muscle fibers so you build new bigger stronger fibers.

So if you want to build muscle make sure to ingest enough calories. How much calories you need will also depend on multiple factors like weight, height, age, sex, and bodyfat.

Here is a simple way to calculate your calorie needs accurately:

-Step 1: you need to establish your basal metabolic rate or BMR which is the number of calories you burn doing nothing. I personally use the modified Harris-Benedict formula which is the following:

-for men : BMR= 66 + (13.7 x lean weight in kg) + (5 x height in cm) – (6.8 x age)

-for women: BMR = 655 + (9.6 x lean weight in kg) + (1.7 x height in cm) – (4.7 x age)

Note: the lean weight is your lean body weight without the excess body fat. You can calculate it using this formula:

Bodyweight(in kg)x(%) bodyfat= bodyfat in kg

Lean bodyweight=bodyweight in kg-bodyfat in kg

If you don’t have a clue about your body fat percentage here is an approximation:

-For men:


-For women:

Step 2:

Now that you had established your BMR it is time to determine your maintenance calories. Simply multiply your BMR by 1.5 on days you workout and by 1.2 on days that you don’t and that will give you pretty much a right approximation about your maintenance calories aka the calorie number that you maintain your weight at.

Step 3:

Establish a 20% calorie surplus, which means you will multiply your maintenance calories by 120%.

Now that you have established your caloric intake, you need to monitor your results and adjust the numbers either up or down.

you can read more about nutrition and diet here Nutrition 101.

2- Focus on Big Compound Lift :

They will result in at least 80% of your gains. So don’t neglect them and go after the newest machines and exercises you saw some jacked dude doing in youtube videos. Yes, muscles do need variety and angles but unless you have been training for over 3 years and you put on at least 20 lbs of muscles, all you need is to emphasize the big lifts.  Here is a quick list of the best compound exercises for all the big muscles in your body  :

Muscle Group Best Compound exercises
Chest -Bench Press

-Incline Bench Press


Back -Pull ups/Chin ups

-Bent Over Rows


Shoulders -Military Press

-Dumbbell Overhead Press

Legs -Barbell Back Squats


-Stiff Leg Deadlifts

Those moves should be the base of any muscle building routine at least for beginners and intermediates. Now I can go on and write you an extra 1000 word about why those exercises are the best but am starting to feel this article is getting long and there is more to cover I won’t, but hey, do your compound lifts buddy, they will help you make some Gainz.

3- Do the Right Amount of Volume:

We all know that skinny dude who powers through 8 chest exercises before moving to train his biceps. Sounds familiar right. Well, training volume is one of the main inducers of muscle hypertrophy but at a certain point, it will only lead to overtraining if continuously abused.

This is especially true for natural trainees who don’t have the privilege to use the vitamins s. I can hear you saying but Arnold did ultra high volume and it worked for him, well first Arnold was on steroids and second, you are not Arnold so relax.

Here is some a quick guideline regarding the best weekly volume for each body part :

Muscle Group Weekly Volume
Chest 16-20 sets
Back 24-30 sets*
Shoulders 24 sets**
Legs -12 sets for Quads

-12 sets for Hamstrings

Arms -12 sets for Biceps

-9-12 sets for Triceps

Calves 20 sets minimum***
Abs 16 set minimum***


*The Back muscles are composed of multiple muscle groups like the lats, the Rhomboids, the Traps, and the lower back. So, they need more sets and exercises than other bodyparts.

**Shoulders tend to respond very well to the high amounts of volume. They also need to be worked from all the different angles in order for them to grow properly.

***Calves an Abs both need a lot of volume and frequency in order for them to grow. They also tend to recover very fast and you can even work them daily.

So guys train hard but train smart. don’t overdo yourself because it will lead you nowhere.

4- Progressive Overload:

Many bodybuilding and fitness professionals would agree that progressive overload is the main reason for hypertrophy over time, at least the majority of it.

progressive overload simply means increasing the load on the muscle each week either by increasing weight or increasing reps which will over time lead to bigger stronger muscles.

A simple way to apply progressive overload is to add 1 rep to each set of every exercise.  once you added 4 reps, increase the weight by 10%. For instance, let’s say you used to bench press 180 lbs for 8 reps, you will go and try to add one rep per week until you reach 12 reps then you increase the weight to 200 lbs or so and try adding reps. It is really a simple yet very effective method of building slabs of sexy meat on your body.

5- Rest:

Bro are you kidding!  Rest is for losers. No pain No gain! I am gonna lift that shit till I puke, every day until my last day.

Yeah, relax bro, it really sounds cool but congratulation you just entered the no progress cult. Talking about those guys in string tanks working arms and chest every day and creeping the hell out of every girl who happens to be around. Yet, one thing those dudes have in common is that they never seem to progress. They are the same week after week, month after month, and year after year. and I am sure that you don’t want to be one of them.

You may feel good about it, being the badass who workouts every day and he go all out in every last set, but without proper planned rest, you will never build muscle to the best of your ability. which is already limited if you are natural.

What you need to do instead is to follow a training routine that involves planned rest days and a structured split that allow ample recovery for each muscle group. So yes chest and biceps every day is out of the equation. And don’t worry we will give you different splits and workouts plan here on the fitness coach so you can choose from them depending on your goal and preferences. So, stay tuned!

Also, another part of the proper rest equation is the proper sleep, you need a minimum of 6 hours of deep sleep per night to regenerate your cells and rest your body and mind. Also, the majority of your natural growth hormone secretion happens during your sleep, which means if you want more muscle and less fat you gotta get those zzz in buddy.

6- Improve Your Digestive Health:

As coach Charles Poliquin says “ you are not what you eat you are what you digest”. It is true that you might be eating all kinds of meats and protein powders. But, if you can’t digest them properly they won’t help you. Especially when it comes to building your dream physique.

One of the most important things to do in order to improve your digestive health is to consume enough dietary fiber on a daily basis. try to get at least 25 gram of fiber daily either from supplements or from eating veggies. Also, it is essential to get in both soluble and insoluble fiber because each one of them has a unique role. Insoluble fiber, since it can’t be digested it adds bulk to the stools, while soluble fiber prevents watery stools. Good sources of insoluble fiber are wheat bran, vegetables, and whole grains. For soluble fiber, it is best to get it from oat bran and legumes.

Another trick is to chew your food properly so you give your stomach enough time to release its digestive enzymes. I mean just look at lions and mimic them they would chew their meat for minutes before swallowing it.

Probiotics also are an essential component of a healthy gut and digestive system. So if you wanna take your nutrition and supplement game above regular folks try to supplement with a probiotic that has at least 2 billion CFU  per unit as a good place to start.

In Summary:

 Make sure you are eating on a calorie surplus

– Focus on the big compound lifts

– Do the right amount of volume

– Focus on progressive overload

– Focus on proper rest and recovery

– Improve your digestive health

Now, it is time to make some Gains folks!

Also, don’t forget to like us on our facebook page The Fitness Coach.

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