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How To Get Build Muscle Outside of the Gym

Want to look less like the guy on the left and more like 4-time Mr. Olympia Jay Cutler on the right? Then implement these suggestions and you'll be on the right track.

Do you want to get “jacked” and “yoked” like all of your college bros? Logic would tell you that since they go to the gym a lot, muscle growth only occurs in the gym.

You can throw that “broscience” out the window, because building mass is a 24 hour process.

Going to the gym is the cornerstone of building muscle. A common misconception is that muscle growth occurs in the gym. This is actually opposite from the truth. During resistance training, you are actually creating tears in the fibers of the muscle you’re training. Don’t fret, this does lead to muscle growth. In your body’s attempt to repair these tears, it tells itself to repair the tears and then some so your muscle fibers will be able to perform the same exercise again without tearing. This is why an increase in weight lifted correlates with an increase in muscle mass.

Here,  Andrew Peters, a 5 year veteran of the iron and is the online content manager for supplementreviews.com, gives us the skinny on getting big outside of the gym.

Eat Big. Get Big.

“Nutrition is often one of the most overlooked areas of the entire process,” says Peters. “Any gym rat knows that if you aren’t eating to fuel gains, you’re spinning your wheels.”

You should eat 5-6 times a day, excluding your postworkout whey protein shake. These meals have to be big. You might feel like you’re force feeding yourself sometimes, but you must do this to grow. You should shoot for 1.5g of protein/lb of body weight, 3g or carbs/lb, and about .7 g fat/lb. Some excellent sources of foods and supplements to help you hit your new benchmarks include grilled chicken, egg whites, fruits, vegetables, peanut butter, Nutrabolics Fighter’s Food Meal Replacement Shake, and Dymatize Elite Gourmet Protein Bars. As a rule of thumb, the more natural or organic food you can get, the better.

Hit the Hay, Count the Gains

Adequate sleep, meaning 7 to 8 hours of rest per night, is the only way to ensure that you can give 100% in the gym every day. “During sleep is when the male hormone testosterone is at its highest levels. Cutting your sleep short is a missed opportunity” says Peters. Testosterone, the male sex hormone, induces muscle growth by synthesizing proteins and rebuilding muscle fibers damaged by training. Sleep also plays a major role in proper immune function and metabolism. A simple increase in time spent asleep can increase strength, muscle growth, general health, and your body’s ability to maintain a healthy weight. One of the best sleep aid/testosterone boosting supplements on the market today is Anabolic Innovations 3Z.

Supplementing Your Growth

There are tons of supplements on the market today, so which ones should you buy? Must-have supplements include a multivitamin and a whey protein supplement to take post-workout. Multivitamins fill in nutritional gaps in your diet and boost immune health and energy. An excellent multivitamin for daily use would be Universal Nutrition Animal Pak. Protein is just as important. “Protein should be the supplement that the rest of your stack is built around. It is crucial for cell repair and growth, and can possibly have the most noticeable effects on how you feel” says Peters. For a post workout protein, I recommend Optimum Nutrition Hydro Whey since it is the purest form of whey, contains the highest amino acid concentration, and induces protein synthesis (recovery) the fastest. More advanced supplements include popular creatine supplements like Controlled Labs Green MAGnitude, a weight gainer shake such as Optimum Nutrition Pro Complex Gainer, and pre workout mixes like Purus Labs Muscle Marinade. Make sure you do your research, many sub-par supplements are marketed the hardest and cost the most. If you’re on a budget and can only pick one other supplement, go with tried and true Creapure Creatine. Andrew briefly summed up the benefits of creatine. “The energy that fuels muscles is called ATP. Creatine simply provides your body with more of this substance, which helps you to complete more repetitions than you normally would, aiding in muscle growth.”

Photo by robbden/Creative Commons


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The Hub Bub is a collection of articles, videos, audio, photo slideshows, interactive maps and other media produced by students enrolled in journalism courses at Loyola University Chicago's School of Communication. For more about the School of Communication, our award winning faculty, and our state of the art facilities located in the heart of Chicago, visit our website.