It's easy enough to physically go to the gym, but it's definitely not easy to find the right routine or motivation to get as big, hot, and hella muscular as you've always hoped to become one day.
To help you out, Men’s Fitness compiled a list of 25 simple and foolproof ways to get bigger and stronger, so that you, too, can get the most out of your workouts and become as massive as The Rock in no time.
1. Consume more calories.
"Extra calories combined with training leads to growth," certified strength and conditioning specialist Sean Hyson tells Men's Fitness, encouraging you to eat a lot of the right foods - like salmon, olive oil, and lean meats - if you want to get swole.
2. Eat more protein.
Without protein, you can’t build muscle, so it’s obvious that you need to up your protein intake when you’re trying to bulk up. For every pound of lean body weight, eat 1 to 1.5 grams of protein.
3. Don't skimp on the carbs.
A lot of people think that cutting carbs is going to help you get muscular and big faster, but numerous studies suggest pairing protein with carbs in order to balance hormones and maximize your gains after working out.
4. Use dumbbells
If you're only using barbells, you might want to consider occasionally working with dumbbells, too, because Montreal-based strength coach Andrew Sakhrani says: "Dumbbell presses open up the chest and recruit more muscle fibers.”
5. Don't forget about your back.
Unless you want to look like Popeye, don't focus too much on your arms and chest without doing plenty of rowing and pulling to work your back as well.
6. Sleep eight hours a night.
Thanks to science, we already know that sleeping is basically the best thing ever, and is actually the ultimate key to happiness. True story.
But sleep is also crucial for post-workout recovery and maximizing gains, because "most of your growth hormone release in a day comes during sleep," Hyson explains, recommending eight hours of shut-eye each night.
7. Volume training.
Bodybuilders, a.k.a. the buffest, most swole dudes known to man, get that way from volume training, with "five or more exercises per body part, four sets of 8 to 12 reps," which adds up to a grand total of about 200 reps per body part.
It's going to take a while, but it'll be worth it.
8. Do some heavy lifting.
Instead of circuit training, Hyson recommends doing "sets of five or fewer reps" of the heaviest load possible, because it causes your testosterone levels to spike, which is good news when you're trying to get bigger.
9. Change things up.
As with all things in life, workouts need variety too, or else your training will plateau and you won't see more gains.
"Try to work in a little bit of high-intensity interval training or cardio moves into each workout to make sure your body is constantly adjusting."
10. Move with multijoint exercises.
"The foundation of a big, muscular body comes from big, compound lifts, defined as motions that incorporate at least two joints," Men's Fitness says, and recommends doing chinups, because "The chinup is the original biceps curl."
11. Rest a little.
Contrary to popular belief, working out with the heaviest weights every single day is not going to make you stronger faster. It's actually a lot more productive to allow your body to fully recover for a few days by decreasing the weight, increasing the reps, and foregoing the last two sets.
12. Do powerlifting moves.
Squats, deadlifts, and other powerlifting moves cause your body to release high levels of testosterone, and as we said before, testosterone is absolutely crucial for big gains.
13. Bodyweight exercises.
Don't underestimate the power of bodyweight exercises, like planks, squats, and push-ups. Sometimes the simplest exercises are the best ones.
14. Train with a partner.
“Competition in the weight room boosts testosterone and makes you enjoy your workouts more, so you’ll stick with them. You’ll also be forced to train harder,” Hyson says, encouraging us to indulge in a little healthy competition.
15. Take creatine.
Creatine helps increase muscle size and strength, speeds recovery, and enhances brain function, making it the ultimate workout supplement.
16. Focus on form.
If you're sloppy while lifting, there's a solid chance you're going to pull a muscle, and if you're sitting out with an injury, you're not going to build any muscle. That's why you should always pay attention to your form.
17. Consistency is key.
If you only go to the gym once a week, don't expect to see any results whatsoever. However, if you consistently go 3 to 4 times a week, you'll get bigger in no time.
18. Eliminate stress.
Stress causes your body to release the stress hormone cortisol, which makes it damn near impossible to build muscle, and actually promotes muscle breakdown.
Just chill out, count your blessings, and try to ignore the horse shit life flings your way, and you'll not only get bigger on the outside, but you'll be a better, happier person on the inside, too.
19. Don't limit yourself.
"If you’re stuck at a weight and unsure if you can make that jump up to 225 from 215 on the bench press, don't just walk away from it. Grab a spotter who knows what they're doing, and give it a shot. Worst-case scenario? You fail, then you can try again next week."
20. Use a spotter.
Spotters are useful for a number of reasons: they help you get in that one extra rep, they watch your form, they count your reps when you're too busy bench pressing 200 pounds to count for yourself, and they can be your workout buddy. Good dudes.
21. Get a professional trainer.
More often than not, trainers know exactly what they're doing, which is why they're in the profession. Even a session or two can be enough to lock down a good routine, or learn some new nutrition tricks to maximize your workouts.
22. Get in the zone.
Without the proper mentality, your workout is going to be subpar at best, so you should do whatever it takes to get rid of distractions and find your gym flow.
23. Be focused.
You're at the gym to work out, not to text and fool around. Put distractions aside and focus on your workout for the best results.
24. Warm up.
Thanks to common sense, we know that diving into weight training without warming up is a guaranteed injury, so make sure to properly warm up first.
25. Find the workout that's right for you.
"If you're following a program, be sure to give it at least 6-8 weeks. If you're not happy with your results, don't be afraid to try something completely different. Change the exercises, amount of weight, reps, rest periods, amount of days, you name it."
H/T: Men's Fitness