#1 There is No Perfect Plan But You Still Need a Plan
“If you fail to plan you plan to fail”
The plan doesn’t have to be perfect, so don’t get paralysis analysis. In fact, your plan won’t be perfect. Nothing is perfect. Accept that fact and get going with a plan that is good enough.
An MVP aka Minimal Viable Plan.
Don’t overcomplicate things. You don’t need an auto-regulating, reverse linear, daily undulating periodisation plan to gain muscle and strength. You just need to walk in the gym knowing which exercises you are doing, in which order, and for what sets and reps.
Do that, work hard, add weight to the bar or reps to a set wherever possible and you will build plenty of muscle as a beginner.
#2 Keep a Training Journal
Whether it be hand-written in a notepad, on your phones notes, or in an app it is vital that you track your sessions.
That way you know what you lifted last time and what you need to beat next time. Keeping a record of your performance shows if your training is working. Did you get stronger or not?
It also helps you to adhere to one of the fundamental principles of training…
Progressive overload basically means your training has to be hard and it has to get harder. How do you quantify if your training is progressing and becoming more challenging if you don’t know what you did previously?
So, get a training journal, logbook, or smartphone app and aim to beat your previous best.
Like point 1 this will do way more for your muscle building efforts than any supplement or complicated training plan as a beginner.
#3 Be Relentless
You have to be patient to build muscle. It takes time. Nobody got jacked overnight. I don’t like using the word patience though because it implies if you sit around long enough you’ll get your rewards. Building muscle doesn’t happen this way.
You have to put the work in. Patience sounds way to passive. You will not build muscle being passive. You have to be active. Aggressively pursue your goal.
Training is a great example of getting out what you put in. Within reason the harder you work the better your results.
It just takes time. You need to be patient, persistent, consistent, and hard-working.
The word that captures all of that is relentless.
So, become relentless S.O.B. and you’ll get your rewards.
#4 Progress is NOT linear
In the beginning, you will make rapid progress. You’ll pack on size and strength at an alarming rate. Especially if you have a decent plan and eat enough to grow (go HERE for a FREE beginners training plan and HERE for muscle building meal plans).
After a few months of lifting you begin to calculate that at your current rate of progress you’ll be squatting 200kg, benching 140kg, and deadlifting 250kg for reps in a year. You’ll be a #strongmotherfucker. Guys will want to be you and girls will want to be with you…
…yeah it doesn’t work that way.
If progress was constantly linear we would all deadlift 500kg like Eddie Hall and be ripped like an IFFB pro bodybuilder. Sadly, the law of diminishing returns dictates that your rate of progress will gradually decline.
Eventually, you’ll be fighting tooth and nail for fractional gains.
The good news is that with a few years of dedicated graft you can make a large percentage of your total gains and build a physique significantly better than the average guy. That’s good to know, but it is also important to understand that to have a truly exceptional physique takes a long period of relentless training, eating, and recovery to achieve.
#5 Technique Trumps Everything
“It is not about what you are doing but, how you are doing it”
When it comes to executing your exercises, this is a vital concept. Quarter squatting more weight than you can handle, bouncing the bar off your chest when benching, or swinging your lateral raises are all examples of why most guys don’t build much muscle.
They train their ego not their muscles.
Building muscle is all about tension. You need to place the target muscles under tension. Using good technique does this. It creates a powerful muscle building stimulus and saves your joints.
Good technique helps you avoid injury. Staying injury free is one of the most powerful muscle building strategies there is. After all, if you can’t train you can’t get bigger.
Bonus Tip #6
You don’t get big lifting weights you get big recovering from lifting weights.
I wish I’d learnt this lesson earlier!
Instead of trying to train every day of the week and focusing exclusively on trying to find the next “BEST” training program I would have gained way more muscle if I’d recognised the importance of recovery. Specifically, diet and sleep.
These are your two most powerful recovery tools.
If you want to build muscle you need to eat enough to support muscle growth. Follow these guidelines:
- Eat enough to gain about 0.5% of your body weight per week
- Eat 1g of protein per pound of body weight (2.2g per kg)
- Consume some “good fats” (e.g. salmon, eggs, olive oil, nuts & seeds, fish oils, avocado etc.)
- Carbs are your swolemate. Eat loads of potatoes, rice, pasta, oats, fruit, sweet potatoes etc.
- Do that 24/7/365
- Get 7+ hours every night
- Take naps if you can
- Go to bed at roughly the same time every day
- Aim to wake up without needing an alarm clock
- Go to bed at roughly the same time every night
- Get of your phone one hour before bed
- Do that 24/7/365
Want a Beginners Plan specifically designed for Hardgainers?
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