Building muscle is an important part of every exercise plan. Whether you want to get to bodybuilder levels or simply get a good workout in, it’s important to follow a strict schedule. Without consistency, the results will not be satisfactory, and that often leads to a drop in motivation.
There are times when you simply can’t go to the gym to work on your muscle mass. As an example, nowadays most of us are stuck at home, and that doesn’t do us any favors. Have you been able to keep up with your exercise regime? If not, don’t worry. Achieving a nicely toned body is entirely possible to do from the comfort of your own home.
When trying to get fit at home, you need to take a few factors into consideration. Your health is even more important than building muscle, so it’s crucial that you choose the right exercises for your body.
If you’re just getting started with your home workouts, you may feel slightly overwhelmed. Where to begin? What to eat? What equipment do you need? Take a deep breath. We’re here to help you with all of that.
Take the first steps to better yourself today and start working out at home. Please keep reading if you want to find out how to build muscle at home.
How can I build muscle at home fast?
This is the first question many of us ask ourselves when it comes to either gaining weight, losing weight, or working on our muscle mass. How can it be done fast?
The answer is simple, although it isn’t one that most people like to hear. Building muscle is not something that should be done in a hurry. Healthy gains rely on many different things that need to be done every day of the week before you see results. However, once the results start appearing, they will be definite and long-lasting — provided you do it the right way.
While it’s not possible to achieve a bodybuilder’s body within a couple of days of pushups or squats, there are ways to make the process of gaining muscle as fast as possible. Let’s talk about how to gain muscle mass at home.
Keeping the right diet is one of the most important parts of your new exercise plan. Of course, there may be days when you stray from your plan, but it’s important to try to maintain consistency on most days of the month.
When you’re doing vigorous workouts, it’s important not to lower your calorie intake by too much. Your body will need a lot of protein, healthy fats, and vitamins in order to build muscle.
It’s imperative to note that you shouldn’t try to lose weight while building muscle at home. In fact, many experts recommend upping your calorie intake slightly (up to 300 calories) when you’re doing strength training. The reason for that is that you need your body to focus on building mass, not dropping it.
Many people include some form of strength training while also trying to lose weight. This is great, as it helps them not just drop a few pounds, but also tone up their body after the extra weight has been shed. Of course, it’s good to watch your body weight even when your main goal is to gain muscle.
Ask yourself if your biggest wish is bulking up — you’re happy with your weight and okay with gaining some in the form of muscles. Alternatively, if you’re looking to lose weight and replace some fat with muscle, make sure you put equal amounts of focus on cardio, diet, and weight lifting.
What are some steps to take in regards to following a meal plan for strength training?
- Find out what your BMI is (there are many online calculators for this)
- Research your recommended calorie intake or contact a dietitian
- Include the calories burnt through exercise when you come up with a daily calorie limit
- Make healthy eating choices — avoid fried food, sugar, carbs
- Look into macros — daily limits on protein, fat, sugar, carbs, and more.
- Eat regularly and time your eating windows according to your workouts
We will talk more about nutrition below, so keep reading to learn what exactly you should eat for building muscle!
It’s important that you get enough sleep every single day, and we can bet that you’ve heard that everywhere, right? We know that it’s hard to follow a steady sleeping pattern. When it seems like there are hundreds of things left on your to-do list by the end of the day, it’s all too easy to sacrifice sleep. However, if you care about your body, you need to make time for adequate amounts of rest.
Most bodybuilders follow a rather strict schedule. This applies to sleep, eating, exercising, and most other areas of their lives. Remember to get your seven or eight hours of sleep a night, and try to go to bed around the same time all throughout the week.
When your sleep cycle is well-adjusted, the rest of your body runs more smoothly. Sleep gives your body time to build up that muscle that you’ve been working on, too — don’t skip it!
Strength training & bodyweight exercises
Once you have the two main areas covered (diet and sleep), it’s time to move on to the real deal: the exercise routine. There are many ways to work out in order to build muscle, and one of the staples is strength training.
Strength training can easily be done at home with the use of little to no equipment. We cover this in more detail in the workout section below.
Cardiovascular training, cardio for short, is just as important as strength training. Of course, you build muscle through body exercises and weight lifting, but it’s cardio that lets you do those things in the first place. That’s why you will need to pay a great deal of attention to both of those types of exercise.
While many people associate cardio with things like walking, jogging, running or swimming, it’s not all that there is to it. You can get your daily workout done entirely at home. We will talk about this at length, too.
Can you build muscle with home workouts?
Not everyone likes the gym, and not everyone is able to attend one right now. Fortunately, it’s entirely possible to get fit without leaving the house. Don’t listen to the nay-sayers and overly helpful gym junkies. It’s okay to settle for working out at home, especially if you consider that you will be able to achieve great results.
The main thing that matters is consistency. Be patient and diligent. Plan out your sets and stick to your schedule even on days when the TV looks far more tempting than your workout clothes.
Some of the best body muscle building routines can be done entirely from home. Before getting down to the details, let’s answer some commonly asked questions about how to build muscle at home.
Do I have to buy special equipment for body exercises & strength training?
You don’t necessarily require extra equipment for working out at home. There are many exercises that can be done without any gear whatsoever. There are also ways to make your own weights or other tools at home, provided you’re feeling creative.
However, if you have the budget and want to invest in your body, it’s never a bad idea to help yourself and prepare a couple of useful things.
Some of the best fitness tools to get are:
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- Kettlebell set: includes 5, 10 & 15 lb kettlebells
- Smooth vinyl coating
- Each dumbbell adjusts from 5 to 52.5 pounds; adjusts in 2.5-pound increments up to the first 25 pounds
- Lets you rapidly switch from one exercise to the next
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There are many other things you could get, not all of which are related to muscle building. An exercise ball, jumping rope, and many more are all things often found in fitness lovers’ homes.
Do I need to get in touch with a personal trainer?
Again, you can, but you absolutely don’t have to. The exercises we describe are all safe, tried, and tested all over the world. However, many people see the benefits of hiring a personal trainer to keep them accountable.
Instead of hiring one right off the bat, consider setting and keeping your own schedule. Write out a plan with each day assigned to a specific set or type of exercise. You can also simply try to follow a mixed routine. Give yourself a few weeks to adjust to your new lifestyle. It may turn out that you grow to love it and don’t even require encouragement anymore!
What should I eat to gain muscle?
Gaining muscle relies heavily on a high-protein diet. Therefore, upping your protein intake is going to be the main step to victory. However, there are several keys to the proper nutrition that you should consider before changing up your diet.
If you’re not a diet expert, you may be surprised to find that carbohydrates and fats are also helpful and necessary to help you gain muscle. Keep in mind that everything has to be done — and eaten — in moderation. It’s also beneficial to make healthy choices instead of strictly following macros.
Speaking of macros, while they are an individual decision and for every person, they may vary, the rule of thumb is that you should get:
- 55-60% of calories from carbs
- 30-35% calories from protein
- 15-20% calories from fats
Every person has to calculate these for themselves. Take into account your gender, weight, and height to measure just how much of each type of nutrient you should be getting.
Having your macros down to a T is one thing, but knowing what exactly to eat is another. Below, we will talk about some of the best foods to build muscle at home.
We hope you like eggs because they are the staples of every aspiring fitness lover’s diet. They contain lots of high-quality protein, some healthy fats, vitamin B, and other important nutrients. The proteins found in eggs are particularly rich in the amino acid leucine. Leucine plays a big part in muscle gain, so it’s ideal for you when you work out.
2. Chicken & turkey
Chicken or turkey meat, especially breasts, are filled with protein. They also contain lots of niacin and vitamin B6. Both of these are important in a balanced workout diet. Lastly, chicken and turkey can make a lot of tasty meals, so both are a good addition to your meal plan.
3. Cottage cheese
Cottage cheese is yet another option that provides loads of protein and leucine. It can also be a good way to squeeze some extra healthy fats in, as it comes in several variants. The high-fat versions often have more calories, so it should be carefully measured.
4. Salmon, tilapia, tuna, mackerel, & other fish
Fish contain both healthy fats and protein. They also have several types of vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids. These nutrients are important for your overall health, muscles, and maintaining a balanced diet.
Beef is a massive source of protein. It can sort you out in terms of macros with just one meal. However, it’s important that you choose lean beef over high-fat versions. The latter is a pointless source of extra calories that you could put to good use in other ways.
Nuts, while high in calories, are great for buffing up. They have a mix of carbs, protein, and healthy fats. These also have quite a bit of leucine. If you find yourself not feeling hungry anymore, but still not meeting your calorie goal, half a cup of peanuts will push you past the limit. The same rule applies to almonds: high in nutrients, but also high in calories.
There are many types of beans, and the majority of them are good for muscle gain. Edamame, soybeans, pinto, black, and kidney beans are all great sources of protein. They’re also packed chock full of vitamins and fiber, both of which are crucial for muscle gain and a healthy body.
8. Protein powder
Many people opt to add protein powders to their diet. Of course, it’s better if you are able to meet your goals without additional supplements, but it’s not always possible. There is only so much protein you can consume in a day before you feel a little tired of it. If that’s the case, consider adding protein shakes, powders, or bars to your diet.
How should I workout to build muscle?
Working out on your own is a challenging task. At the gym, you are immediately presented with a variety of machines that are made to help you reach your goals. You’re also met with personnel that can guide you and helps you figure out a good routine. When you’re home, you’re on your own.
Don’t worry — there are plenty of ways to build muscle efficiently without leaving the house. Before we begin, remember that muscle training relies on vigorous sets with little downtime in between. You are supposed to break a sweat and expect cramps the next day when you’re just starting out!
Now that we’ve got that word of warning out of the way, let’s talk about some of the best sets of exercises that can make you improve your fitness level & buff up quickly!
Upper body & core exercises
These exercises can involve some of the equipment we talk about above, but they don’t have to. What’s more, they’re all workouts that you would be doing even if you were to follow a gym routine. Upper body exercises involve all kinds of bodyweight exercises, weight-lifting, and strength training.
Not everyone loves them, but they make a huge difference in how your muscles are building and how they look. They do wonders for core muscles, arms, and the stomach.
Remember to keep your spine straight and in line with your bottom. Keep your arms spread a little wide and lower yourself, then bring yourself back up supporting yourself solely on your feet and your palms. This should be a daily workout that increases in sets over time.
Planks, like pushups, go a long way in working your entire core. They’re also highly adaptable based on your experience and should be done in sets.
Start by getting into the same position as you would for pushups. Then, instead of on your palms, rest on your forearms. Keep your spine straight and your muscles tight as you hold this position for as long as you can — preferably up to a minute. Allow yourself a short rest (around 30 seconds) and then repeat this exercise.
For this exercise, you can use the dumbbells we mentioned above, or simply prepare something at home. A bottle filled with rocks or sand, water, or a gallon of milk can make for a good substitute for dumbbells or kettlebells.
Curls are going to help you tone up your arms. They should be done while standing up. Hold a weight in each arm and, with your elbows close to your torso, exhale and curl the weights up. Make sure that your upper arms are kept stationary as you complete this set.
You’ve probably heard the phrase: “never skip leg day”. It’s often said as a joke, but there is a lot of truth in it. It’s easy to focus on just your biceps and forget that your lower muscles also must be trained at a similar pace. About half of the sets you’re doing will be dedicated to them.
Most people dedicate certain days of the week to training either the lower or upper parts of the body. However, you can do a mix of both sets of exercises when you feel like it.
Squats are the pushups of lower body training. They’re going to go a long way in building up those leg muscles that are sometimes a little hard to train in other ways.
In order to perform a proper squat, you need to stand up straight with your feet somewhat far apart. Tighten your muscles and lower yourself down into a squatting position. The key here is to keep your spine straight as you do this. Most people stretch out their arms in front of themselves, but you can also rest your hands on your hips.
It’s important that the squat is low, as low as if you were about to sit in a chair. It’s also not enough to just do one or two. Start with a shorter set, then gradually add on to it until you’re doing 20-30 at a time. After the first set, rest a short moment and repeat it.
Cardio doesn’t seem like it should play a part in strength training, but it does. However, the difference is that you won’t be pacing yourself during the sets. Every action has to be done in repetition and quickly.
Some of the ways to build up your leg muscles are:
- Jumping jacks
- Lateral jumps
- Box jumps
- Wall sits
- Jumping rope
Whether you’re working out at home out of choice or out of necessity, it’s important that you try to make it become part of your daily routine. As long as you work hard and, first and foremost, consistently, you will start seeing the results in no time.
We hope that our guide has been helpful in getting you started on the right track to great health and a strong body. You’ve taken the first step — all that remains is to begin your training!