Gaining more muscle can be achieved by way of strength training. It requires putting your muscles under tension and stress. When you combine your training with proper nutrition, recovery and rest, you will gain muscle.
But the effects aren’t the same for everyone. Some will notice a difference fast, while for others it may take a bit longer. So, how do you know if your body is gaining muscle and becoming stronger? These methods should help:
1. Use a measuring tape.
You should measure yourself once a month using a measuring tape. Measure various parts of your body such as your chest, upper thigh, bicep, etc.
2. Use a skinfold caliper.
Measure your body fat using a skinfold caliper so that you’ll know how much body fat you have. When you know the number then you will know your actual lean body mass – simply subtract the body fat from your total body weight. Measure your body fat every 4 weeks.
3. Track your progress.
Building muscle takes time which is why measuring your progress is important. It will not only tell you how much muscle you have gained, but will also tell you your progress in terms of strength and endurance. So how do you track your progress? Try any of these:
Keeping a fitness journal helps you plan your workouts, determine where and when to make changes as well as measure progress. To track your progress using a fitness journal, write down the exercises and reps you need to do. Then document the weights used for each exercise. Each week take a look at your journal to see whether your strength and endurance have increased compared to the previous week.
5. Take photos and measurements
You can’t simply depend on the number on the scale to tell you whether you’re progressing or not. In fact, if you’re trying to gain strength and muscle, then chances are you won’t see any difference when you weigh yourself. The best thing to do is to measure your body using body measurements, skin fold and body fat. You should also take photos weekly to see if you’re gaining muscle or not.
6. Find Your 1RM
One rep max (1RM) is a good indicator of your strength. In the weight training world, it’s a measure of how much weight you can lift for one rep and you can use it regularly to determine your strength gains. To do this, here are the steps:
- First, make sure you have a spotter and that you have already mastered your form.
- Then do a warm-up set of 8-10 reps at approx. 50% of your 1RM.
- Rest for 1 minute.
- Do a set at approx. 80% of your 1RM.
- Rest for 1 minute.
- Gradually increase the weight at increments of 10% until you can no longer achieve the lift. This is usually achieved within 3 to 7 attempts.
As mentioned previously, it takes time for your body to build muscle. Don’t get easily frustrated if you don’t see results in a few months. The key is to use a progressive training routine that will continually challenge your muscles. Whether you train at home or in places like Fit Body Boot Camp, increase the amount of weight you lift weekly or increase the number of repetitions. If you can do more than what you were able to before, then you are making progress!