If there’s one overcomplicated topic in the world of fitness, it has to be that of muscle growth.

You see, a quick search on Google with the key phrase ‘how to build muscle’ will net you about... well... 640 million results (yes, million).

With the sheer volume of information out there, it can be difficult, impossible even for most people to separate the useful from useless and put together an effective muscle-building plan.

To that end, we’ve written down three vital things you need to do to ensure optimal muscle growth. Oh, and before we forget, make sure you check out DealDrop.com for protein coupons. If you’re interested, you can check our Myprotein USA coupons or The Protein Works UK coupons for some excellent deals.

1. Do Enough (But Not too Much) Volume

Training volume refers to the amount of work we do within a given workout or training week. As with most things in fitness, doing too little isn’t good, but doing too much is also bad. We need to strike a healthy balance if we want optimal results.

For muscle growth, research seems to suggest that larger muscles like the chest, back, and legs benefit from at least ten weekly sets and that more advanced folks can do up to twenty. For smaller muscles like the shoulders, biceps, triceps, and calves, researchers suggest somewhere between six and twelve weekly sets.

The best thing you can do is start on the low and train for a few weeks. If you’re making progress - keep doing that. If you’re stagnating, add a couple of sets for the muscle group that is lagging and go for another few weeks.

The goal is to do as little work as possible while making progress—that way, when your progress stalls, you will have room to add more work.

2. Eat Enough Calories to Support Growth

Aside from training properly in the gym, you also need to be mindful of your caloric intake as that can make or break your progress.

While it’s more than possible to build muscle mass while eating in a slight caloric deficit (also known as body recomposition - mostly possible for beginners), or at maintenance level, building muscle mass optimally requires a small caloric surplus.

That way, your body will have enough energy to support itself and function correctly, and it can use the surplus of calories to create new tissue - i.e., muscle.

An excellent place to start is by eating 150-250 calories over your maintenance level. Past the beginner stage, you should aim to gain about two pounds of weight per month.

3. Get Enough Protein

Consuming enough protein is vital for muscle growth. Even if you eat in a caloric surplus and train hard, you won’t be able to build muscle mass without an adequate supply of amino acids.

This is because amino acids help repair our muscles, stimulate muscle protein synthesis, and contribute to muscle growth. Calories alone are not enough to spark muscle growth.

Think of amino acids as the building blocks for our muscles, organs, and body as a whole.

A good rule to follow is to consume about one gram of protein per pound of body weight. So, if you weigh, say, 175 pounds, aim to consume 175 grams of protein daily. Simple.

The only issue is, getting the recommended protein every day can be a big challenge. Protein powders are quite helpful as they offer quickly, high-quality, and convenient protein for a smaller cost.

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