How can I make sure I’m building muscle?

A really common complaint we get from young athletes is that they struggle to put on clean weight. 

And by weight, we assume they mean lean muscle mass, as we don’t know that many people whose main goal is to grow just there fat mass stores.

From all types of sports and training desires, it can be really frustrating to really want something, put in a tone of work and not get the result at the end.

In life education and mentors can help speed up our learning and help us to not make the same mistakes others have made in the past, so we can achieve more, faster.

It's worth noting here, that not every individual is looking to build muscle mass or training to see objective results, for some people training is about feeling good and wellbeing and that is also really important. Don’t take it or athletes as one size fits all. 

In this article we are going to look at the methodology you should apply to your training if you're serious about seeing objective results, especially if you're looking to build muscle.  

The lesson we need to learn is that, as much as possible in complex systems like the body we need to take away the guesswork. 

You have to use science as much as possible in your planning as random attempts won’t cut it when it comes down to sustainable changes.

The thing is we as a species as susceptible to cognitive bias, ego and blind spots and the way in which you view event can be skewed depending on a whole host of factors including the way we feel. 

That being said, numbers can be perceived as putting too much pressure on an athlete if that is the case then they shouldn’t be used at that moment in there development or more importantly some work needs to be done to put the numbers into context and this is where great coaching can help. 

The art of problem-solving and facing up to challenges is a great skill to learn and will help you in all areas on your journey. 

If we come back to our example with building muscle. The athlete thinks they can’t build muscle and has tried everything from different types of rep numbers and exercises and supplements. 

The first step is to have a unit of measurement using science, so whether this is as basic as taking your weight or as advanced as calipers and DEXA body scan, you need to know where your starting point is to measure any changes.

There are pros and cons to detailed and rough measures, as a practice the more experienced you get, the more detailed you should get also. Once you have your unit of measure then we can progress. 

The second step is to make sure you are affecting the correct parameters i.e doing the right things to get the result, and not going of course, which is easily done. So this is an education step. You need to go out into the literature or find a coach/mentor and figure out what I need to do on a daily, weekly or monthly basis to get the result. The more you immerse yourself in the knowledge surrounding the outcome.

The quicker and more likely you will be to achieve the result. You have to be asking the right question as a precursor to success. In our example, once you start looking around about how to build muscle, it will become very clear that you have to increase your calories to achieve muscle growth as the foundation principle.

The energy we store in our bodies doesn’t magically appear, we have to consume it. So if your aim is to build muscle, you need to increase your calorie intake on a daily basis above what you burn, with a larger percentage of these calories coming from protein ideally. If you're not exceeding what you burn, you will struggle to get heavier, it's that simple.

The final steps are to execute and re-measure at consistent intervals, so you can check you are on course. Normally expect to get it wrong the first few attempts, the key is to keep rejigging each of the other prior elements until you find the answer.

Science + some education alongside resilience and determination is key to your success.

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