Working from home has almost become the standard of a typical weekday for most since the epidemic turned the world upside down in 2020. Because of this, many gym-goers have felt the shock of exercising within their own private space at home, without heavy equipment and less room to go all out. Whether you’re deciding to improve your body from scratch or modifying existing programs to suit your needs, here is how you can build muscles at home.
How to set smart goals for muscle gain?
Putting on muscle is something that’s going to take time; therefore, knowing the type of goal you’d want to commit to is vital. Ultimately, elements of body-building and aerobics are inevitable since the crafts emphasize putting on muscle over time, but deciding on a cutoff point before starting to tone is subjective, and there is no official time to stop.
Another factor to think about when setting your goal is to truly understand your body type. If you’re the sort to easily put on fat, having a prevalent cardio routine in the first few months of your program is vital in order to highlight your muscles. On the other end of the spectrum, if putting on mass is difficult for you, the bulk phase will have to be far longer before cutting is required. The plus side to this body type is that definition is going to be the easiest part, which can be contrary to other body types.
There are those who are slightly in the middle who have avoided either extreme’s their entire lives. This body type places almost equal emphasis on bulking and toning, while not excelling at either. Unfortunately, there will be no shortcuts and an immense amount of time and effort will have to be put in order to achieve growth and definition. Individuals who fall under this body type tend to build and lose weight easily.
Plan your muscle-building diet without supplements
Many say that diet is far more important than the workouts themselves, and the saying isn’t far from the truth.
The first step is to choose a diet that focuses on a larger-than-normal amount of protein intake. Protein is the most important ingredient for muscle building and there are tons of options to choose from: chicken, beef, soy, eggs, oats, and more. Healthy fat is a tricker staple to the diet and shouldn't be the primary component of any meals. Some examples include salmon, tuna, peanuts, sesame, tofu, and olives.
The necessity of carbohydrates is more important than ever as it will supply the body with enough energy to assist you in having a quality workout. Complex carbohydrates will be what you want to primarily be going for due to its nutritional benefits and long-term supplement of energy. Whole-grains, beans, nuts, fruits, and vegetables fall under this category and should be present in every meal to a certain extent.
Your diet won’t necessarily have to begin with a crazy meal count range (five meals and up) and can give you steady muscle growth with just breakfast, lunch, pre-workout snack, and dinner. Greek yogurt, fruits, eggs, and fruits are wonderful breakfast options. Lunch and dinner can consist of brown rice, broccoli, lean meats, quinoa, and beans.
Opt for healthy cooking
Anything that is pan-fried, baked, or roasted is the healthiest option and should be exclusively looked at when beginning your diet. Portions are moderated based on which step you are on: when bulking, you’d ideally want to put your body on a calorie surplus without overloading it, while toning is when you can afford to reduce carbohydrate and fat intake - resulting in a calorie deficit. It is possible to have both simultaneously, which is why bulking and toning are individual hurdles that will have to be overcome without any shortcuts.
What are the best muscle-building exercises at home?
Most homes won’t consist of large machines, racks, and trays of dumbbells, but with a minimal set of equipment, you’ll have more than enough to get started - just don’t expect rapid muscle growth within a short period of time.
Despite seeming counterintuitive to the task at hand, running/jogging are the best ways to keep your body fat percentage at the level you want. This is a good way to moderate your muscle gains as you begin eating more, without adding too much unnecessary mass. Running a decent warm-up, but should not be the main focus of your routines and should be done only three times a week maximum.
If you do not have any equipment at all, bodyweight exercises are all you have, therefore muscle growth will happen, but gradually. Full-body exercises that can serve as compound exercises include squats, push-ups, pull-ups, crunches, burpees, and Mountain Climbers are solid ways to start.
Repetition is difficult to quantify as you won’t have weights to fluctuate with, so a time-based system is far more effective to get things started. It starts looking like High-Intensity Interval Training when equipment is scarce, but muscle building is still achievable.
Willing to fork out a few bucks for workout equipment? If so, isolation exercises will start coming into the mix and you’d be able to focus on specific body parts per exercise. Granted, each workout will take longer, but having every possible part of a particular muscle group engaged is critical to see muscle growth.
Dumbbells with changeable plates and kettlebells are great go-to options to start with. With this equipment, exercises like bicep curls, flies, bench press, military press, lunges (can still be done without weights), and more. This method is recommended over body exercises as the very purpose of weight training is to specifically target muscle growth.
Toning the body is slightly more flexible; with high repetitions and a lower weight to manage (if any), HIIT can come back into the fold as a viable option and can even pair nicely with lighter weights. In conclusion, muscle building is a good way to destress after a long day and it does wonders for anyone’s self-esteem, but muscle definition is often overlooked and should be synonymous with muscle building in order to avoid unnecessary heft that will make many not appear muscular in the first place. The process of bulking healthily with minimal supplements will be grueling, but more than worth it.