7 Tips to Build Muscle

7 Tips To Boost Muscle Growth

A big thanks and shout out to Elise Morgan for this guest post!

Learn more about Elise on Twitter: @elisemthewriter


If you’re looking to build muscle fast, you’re probably a pretty driven person used to working hard and seeing results. If you’re not seeing significant progress with growing muscle from month to month, however, you may need to change your approach. Here are seven scientifically proven ways to boost muscle growth in no time.


Focus More on the Eccentric Phase


There are two phases in lifting weights: concentric (hard) and eccentric (easy).  For example, lowering into a squat is an eccentric action, while returning to standing is concentric. According to the European Journal of Applied Physiology, eccentric work is better for stimulating hypertrophy of muscle fibers – more humbly known as muscle growth. To achieve this, do one of two things: slow down eccentric movements or incorporate eccentric-only variations into your session. Using the squat as an example, lower into the squat, then end the exercise to make it eccentric-only. You’ll need to increase weight substantially since muscles are stronger when moving eccentrically.


Prioritize Sleep


All the proper nutrition and weight training in the world won’t counteract a persistent lack of sleep. Avoid burning the candle from both ends and prioritize getting enough sleep every night. During sleep, the release of human growth hormone in your body helps repair cells and build muscle, as well as keeping production of cortisol, a stress hormone, at a minimum. It’s also important not to time your daily workouts too close to bedtime. Instead, give yourself at least two hours after your workout to calm down before you try to head to sleep.


Increase Training Volume


Training volume is the number of reps multiplied by number of sets. This is a primary factor in muscle growth. The math is a little complicated after that, but the bottom line is that you need to use 50 to 75 percent of the maximum weight you can lift for three to six sets of 10 to 20 reps.


Eat More Protein


Weight training breaks down muscles and protein rebuilds them. Harder workouts increase your required intake of protein to grow muscle. Research has shown that you need to eat .25 to .30 grams of protein kg of body weight per meal. That’s the equivalent of three or four eggs or a cup of yogurt. To simplify your goal, go for a scoop of protein powder.


Decrease Rest Intervals


Rest no longer than 30 to 90 seconds between sets. This will provide rapid release of muscle-building hormones like the human growth hormone and testosterone while at the same time ensuring that you really tire out your muscles – a requirement for substantial muscle growth.


Focus on Calorie Surpluses


If you’re accustomed to counting calories to lose weight, this practice can be hard to get used to. However, to be effective in building muscle, you will need to consume more calories a day than you burn. If you consume less calories than you burn, your body sees this as a deficit and responds by downshifting its tendency to grow muscle. Shoot for 250-500 extra calories per day, mostly from protein, which is more likely to be stored as muscle.


Supplement with Creatine


Although creatine doesn’t have a direct connection to muscle growth, it boosts performance for high intensity lifting sessions. According to a research review in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, supplementing your workouts with creating may help you lift an estimated 14 percent more reps than without creatine.


If you want to build muscle fast, these research-based changes to your current approach should do the trick – and remember not to get ahead of yourself. Make sure you allow time to recover from your workouts and get plenty of sleep.


Image credit: pexels

Strength Training: The Best Way To Get Fit

Strength Training With Kettlebells at San Jose Boot CampTalk to 10 people and you’ll get 10 different opinions on the best way to get fit.

One will tell you to attend an aerobics class. Another will swear by jogging. Yet another will tell you that dance and biking worked for them.

The truth is that there’s really only one effective way to get fit and be lean.

Before I get into the details, it’s important that we agree on the definition of ‘fit’. Too often skinny is mistaken for fit, and that’s not what you should strive for. In my opinion, “fit” means that you’re lean, strong, and flexible and that your body functions well as a unit.

When someone is skinny but has very little muscle tissue, they aren’t truly fit.

Here’s why skinny doesn’t equal fit:

  • A skinny person’s body fat percentage could be higher than ideal—even though you don’t see a lot of fat on them
  • A skinny person’s resting metabolism will be low since little muscle is present to burn calories at rest
  • A skinny person’s body won’t be functionally strong, which can  lead to injuries

So how does one get truly fit? It’s this simple: Strength Training 

Strength training is when resistance is used to challenge your muscles in order to gain strength and endurance. You could do this with traditional weights, exercise bands, medicine balls, cable machines, sandbags, kettle bells or even just using your own body weight.

Regular strength training has the following benefits…..

  • Improved strength and muscle tone
  • Improved cardiovascular capacity
  • Higher resistance to injury and disease

If that’s not enough to convince you that strength training is the only way to truly become fit, read on…

Top 9 Reasons To Strength Train

1) To Build Muscle and Gain Strength: Don’t worry, ladies. This does NOT mean that you’re going to ‘bulk up’ or look too masculine. What will happen is that your arms, tummy and legs will become tighter, leaner and more defined.

2) To Lose Fat: When it comes to losing size, all that you want to see go is fat, not muscle. Strength training ensures that you maintain and grow those muscles and lose unwanted fat.

3) To Build Strong Bones: The older we get, the more important our bone density is. A good strength training program is one of your best defenses when it comes to osteoporosis.

4) To Alleviate Anxiety, Stress and Depression: Sure there are plenty of pills out there that claim to give these benefits, but you and I both know that strength training is a more wholesome and effective way. And besides, who really wants pharmaceutical side effects?

5) To Sleep Better: Here’s another pill you can stop taking once you start strength training. Study after study have proven that strength training improves sleep.

6) To Improve Chronic Back Pain: If you are one of the millions across the globe who suffer from back pain then you’ll love the benefit of decreased pain.

7) To Improve Insulin Sensitivity: Today diabetes is a huge threat. Minimize your risk by improving insulin sensitivity through regular, challenging strength training.

8) To Improve Good to Bad Cholesterol Ratio: Here is yet another pill that you could potentially stop taking while on a strength training routine. Blood pressure and heart health are of utmost concern, so why not give yourself the advantage of a strength training routine?

9) To Raise your Metabolism: This helps to reduce body fat and to keep that body fat off, even on the days that you aren’t able to exercise. Pretty awesome, right?

A solid strength training routine will tone your legs, lift your buns, strengthen your core, and will result in inches and pounds lost.

All those things I mentioned at the beginning of this post–aerobics class, jogging or biking–these are all great things to do to improve your fitness.  However, to round out that fitness program and get the best results, strength training is the key, hands down!

Not sure how to safely add strength training to your current fitness routine?  Contact us at lifeSport Fitness for a free consultation, or sign up for a free one-week trial at our boot camp workouts in San Jose or Campbell.  We can teach you how to successfully strength train in a one-on-one session or at boot camp.


Committed to your success,




A super fast strength training routine

Before I tell you about my latest super-fast strength training routine, I want to give a warm welcome to all my “newbie” campers!

Almaden bootcamp:  Welcome to Kristi, Janti and William.  Even though you were sore from workouts earlier in the week, you guys did an excellent job on the obstacle course today!

Campbell boot camp:  Welcome to Lisa, Noelle and Renu.  You guys are hard workers and it’s great to see you blending right in with the “veterans”.

Willow Glen “FitCamp for Women over 40”: Welcome to Angela, Shadie and Gloria.  Woo Hoo!  You ladies rock!  I saw some serious effort during your interval training segments this week.  Well done!.

A number of you “newbies” have approached me to talk about your fat loss goals.  I can tell you’re really motivated.  I suspect that we’re going to see some serious fat loss happening this month!

Speaking of fat loss…………strength training is key to revving your metabolism and helping you burn calories all day long.  So, I’ll share with you below the workout I did the other day at my gym.  If you have dumbbells at home, you can do this workout at home.  It took me 22 minutes, and I worked all my major muscle groups.

I did three sets of each superset with no rest in between the exercises.  When I had completed three sets of a particular superset, I rested for one minute before beginning the next superset. 

I did 12 repetitions per set unless otherwise noted.  I used dumbbells that fatigued me by the last few repetitions of the set.


A1:  Push ups (15 reps)

A2:  Dumbbell squats

B1:  Assisted pull ups (if you’re at home, substitute dumbbell bent over rows)

B2:  Dips

C1:  Step ups with dumbbells

C2:  Dumbbell shoulder press 


Doing a “superset” routine is a great way to get a strength workout completed without being in the gym forever.  If you need to get another strength training session in this weekend, give this one a try!


Committed to your success,