It has become very common for all gym bros to take some kind of muscle building 'pills' or 'injections' these days to build muscle. Along with that, horror stories of people dying due to taking bodybuilding drugs, suffering from serious health risks, addiction, and depression frequent the news. They do build impressive physiques by taking these pills and injecting hard to pronounce compounds in their asses.Does this mean you cannot build muscle without taking these drugs?
The answer would be NO.
The problem with most natural lifters is that they try to imitate drugged or enhanced bodybuilders. It is like going to play cricket with a hockey stick. It is not a different level, it is a different game. How many sixes would you score even if you were the best batsman with the hockey stick? Here is what you can start doing if you are serious about gaining muscle naturally:1. Increase Your Frequency And Divorce The Bro-Split
One muscle group, once a week?! Yes, forget about that. When a person takes steroids, their Muscle Protein Synthesis shoots up for almost a week. Meaning, if they train chest on Monday, they will be repairing and building that tissue until Sunday. On Monday, they repeat again.
You, a natural lifter, on the other hand, will have this elevated Muscle Protein Synthesis for 24 to 48 hours max. If you train your chest just once in a week, you will have a window where you are not making any gains for your chest. That is where you lose out on gains. If you want to avoid this, stop having a one muscle per day workout plan.
Train all your muscle groups 2 to 3 times per week.2. Do More Of Compound Exercises
It's really cool to see bodybuilders have that pump and then do 20 sets of arms in one session. The fun fact here is that they can recover from these crazy high volumes due to the usage of anabolic steroids.
There is nothing wrong with doing isolation exercises like above. Do your bicep curls too. But, not at the cost of compound exercises! To grow muscle, you need to get stronger aka need to have progressive overload. When you start going to the gym, you may be able to curl dumbbells of 7.5 kilos. Over time or say a period of 10 years, this will maximum reach 25 kilos.
You did become stronger but the number is not a crazy increase.
Let's compare that with a bench press. You start at 20 kilos. Over 10 years, this number can even go up to 120 kilos. That is a 100-kilo increase. You can overload muscle more and get stronger more in your compound exercises. Add to that, these exercises work more than just one muscle group per given time. This helps you save time too.3. Eat In A Calorie Surplus
To gain muscle, you need to eat in a calorie surplus. You cannot lose weight and gain muscle at the same time unless you are a beginner. A lot of bros waste their time trying to recomp or build muscle and lose fat at the same time. It is like two steps forward, one step back. Instead, just focus on one thing at a given time and prioritizing it. So yeah, if you think that you cannot build muscle naturally, that is a wrong notion. It is just that you have been doing things sub-optimally.
Pratik Thakkar is the co-founder and director of GetSetGo Fitness an online fitness company and the founder of Mars Nutrition a nutrition supplement company. Both his companies are geared towards providing you the right information and products without any false or fake claims. You can reach out to him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Instagram.