The 10 Rules of Building Muscle - 2024 Edition

The 10 Golden Rules for Building Muscle: 2024 Edition

Everybody want to be big, but ain't no one want to do the things needed to be big!

That said, building muscle isn't just about lifting heavy weights or spending countless hours at the gym.

It's about discipline and following a daily strategy that includes proper nutrition, appropriate recovery, and of course, a well-structured workout regimen. If muscle-building is your goal, then you need to follow these 10 golden rules. 

There aren't any surprises this year's list, but these serve to remind you of what it takes to achieve optimal health year in and year out.

2024's 10 Golden Rules for Building Muscle

1. Consistency is Key

Muscle building is a process that requires consistent effort over time. Think months and years, not weeks. Sure, you could take a ton of roids and get there faster, but that can come with serious consequences, like raging back acne and unwanted body hair.

It's also not about hitting the gym hard for a few weeks then taking a month off. Building and maintaining muscle requires a commitment.  

2. Prioritize Protein

Protein is the building block of muscle, and it will hard to get enough to build large amounts fast if all you need is nut butter and broccoli. Aim for 0.6 to 1 gram of protein per ideal pound of body weight each day, spread across your meals.

This is easiest by making protein the center of every meal, and supplementing with protein shakes here and there as needed.  Focusing on protein has the added benefit of crowding out bad calories like sugar.

3. Don't Neglect Carbs

While we do not advocate for consuming large amounts of refined sugar or corn syrup, carbohydrates are important.

Carbohydrates are your body's primary energy source during high-intensity workouts. Including carbs in your diet ensures you have the energy to power through your workouts and supports muscle recovery.

The key is to get them from low oxalate fruits, vegetables, sweet potatoes, etc.

4. Lift with Intensity

In order for your muscles to grow, you have to provide them with a stimulus that sends a very loud signal, "the body is under attack and needs to grow to survive!"

Progressive overload, or gradually increasing the stress/intensity placed upon your body, is key to muscle growth.

No matter how you choose to workout, regularly challenge yourself by increasing the weight, time under tension, or the number of reps or sets you're performing.

You can also crank up the intensity by slowing down your rep speed, and by using isometric holds to really exhaust your muscles. 

5. Focus on Compound Movements

Compound exercises like squats, deadlifts, and bench presses work multiple muscle groups at once and are more effective for building muscle than isolation exercises (though isolation exercises do help). 

If you lift 4 days per week, aim to hit one of your major lifts during each workout, and supplement that with a back movement and 3-5 auxiliary lifts that target the same muscle. 

A sample workout plan might look like:

  • Day #1: Bench Press
  • Rest 
  • Day #2: Squat (Quad Focus)
  • Rest
  • Day #3: Overhead Press
  • Rest
  • Day #4: Deadlifts (Posterior Chain Focus) 

6. Incorporate Rest Days

As noted above, you should ideally have 1 rest day between workouts. This allows your body to grow and repair between assaults. Rest and sleep are key to growth and recovery, especially if you are over 35. 

Remember, your body doesn't grow when you are awake. It happens while you sleep.

Aim to take at least one to two rest days per week to allow your muscles to repair and grow.

7. Sleep Well

Quality sleep is often overlooked but is vital for muscle recovery and growth. Most of your key growth hormones are released when you sleep, so staying up late and getting up early can be counter productive. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night religiously. 

8. Stay Hydrated

Water plays a crucial role in numerous bodily functions, including nutrient transport and muscle contractions. Stay well-hydrated throughout the day, especially during and after your workouts. 

Water can also help you maintain your energy levels so that you can get more out of your workouts. 

9. Limit Alcohol Consumption

We know no one wants to hear this, but we say it a lot: alcohol is not good for your or your results. We know that's blasphemy, but it is the truth. If your fitness is your goal, then you should treat alcohol like dessert and avoid it. 

Alcohol can interfere with muscle recovery and growth by disrupting sleep and negatively affecting protein synthesis. 

 A beer here and there won't kill your results, but binge drinking and closing down the bar with the bros every weekend won't help you.

10. Be Patient

Again, building muscle takes time and patience. Often months and years to realize your body's genetic limits. Don't get discouraged if you don't see immediate results. Stay consistent with your efforts, and the results will follow.

There are cheat codes out there, but those often come with unwanted side effects like sterility and tiny balls. 

Building muscle is a journey that requires dedication, effort, and smart strategies. By following these 10 golden rules, you'll be well on your way to building a stronger, more muscular you.

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