You don’t necessarily need a gym membership to achieve your dream body. Sure, having access to a wide range of equipment and being held accountable (by your wallet, at least) is helpful, but it’s actually easy to get lost in the countless possibilities offered at a gym. If you’re still at the beginning of your muscle-building journey, starting out with less is a solid strategy. There is a lot you can do at home, even with no equipment at all, but it’s important you do so safely. To help you out, here are a few tips for building muscle at home.
1. Start with the right diet
Your body needs the right fuel to keep you energetic throughout your workouts. Everyone knows protein is important for muscle gain; after all, this is what much of our body is made up of. But it’s not all you need to know. The most important thing is that you keep to a healthy, balanced diet that contains plenty of fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and, of course, lean protein. A meal full of vitamins will also keep your body in the right condition for muscle gain. Never skip breakfast, only eat healthy fats, and leave carbs for after your workouts. Don’t forget about proper hydration; you will be sweating a lot and you don’t want to risk dehydration.
2. Keeping fit
Before you jump right into an intense weight training regime, it’s important that you prepare your body by boosting your fitness and increasing your stamina. Therefore, it’s a good idea to combine your muscle-building efforts with aerobic exercises like running. Don’t worry, you don’t have to sign up for a marathon. While long-distance running will not help your efforts, short bursts of high-intensity activity like sprints indeed show to promote muscle growth in the lower body area. With increased physical and mental endurance, you will be ready for the next step.
3. Using your own weight
One of the concerns of those who’d like to train at home is their lack of equipment. However, you don’t actually need anything substantial to get started. After all, you have your own body weight and can use it to your advantage with a bit of creativity. In fact, bodyweight exercises are perfect for practicing form and working smaller muscles. You can build your upper body with different kinds of press-ups that focus on your chest. Press-ups are also great for your arm muscles, just like dips and handstands, if you are up for the task. For your lower body, squats and lunges are going to be your best friends. On the other hand, crunches are going to challenge your abdominal area. When you’re starting to get bored, you can practice their more complex and challenging variants.
4. The next step in weight training
Doing the same exercises all the time is bound to lead to stagnation. Of course, you can always switch up your reps, but if you’re ready for the next step and to take your weight training to another level, it may be time to invest a little in your fitness journey. This does not have to be a huge investment immediately. You can simply get a few dumbbells for a start and give a boost to your shoulder, chest, and arm exercises. A kettlebell or a resistance band can add some variety to your workouts, too, without taking up too much space. Installing a pull-up bar is also a smart investment. However, if you are more serious about this and have some space to spare, you can look into equipping your home gym with a sturdy power rack for heavy lifting.
5. Give yourself a boost
As mentioned, supplying your body with the right nutrients is just as important as the exercises you choose to do. A balanced diet is the first priority, however, aiding your efforts with a moderate amount of supplements can mean a lot in terms of results. Especially if your time is limited and you truly want to make the most of every session, taking supplements like creatine a little before your workout can give you a healthy boost. Protein is also a massively important nutrient, so if your diet doesn’t already contain plenty of it, some whey or casein protein powder can help you out. However, be sure to study when the best time to take each one is as they work in different ways.
6. Keep track of your progress
Finally, another important piece of advice for anyone who is to take their workouts into their own hands is keeping it all organized. Be sure to plan ahead and come up with a schedule that allows for enough time to rest between workouts. Keep track of your progress and note down everything of importance—the amount lifted, the reps, etc. You can also take pictures and write down the changes to your body as time goes by. Having a workout journal would be a great idea.
You don’t need to step out of your home in order to build muscle, however, you need to take special care that you do it right. Instead of heading straight to weights, develop a holistic approach and prepare your body with the right diet and right workout routine. Use your body weight to your advantage and upgrade when the time comes. Track everything and soon, your progress will be visible.