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How do I build muscle?

Build muscle with the right approach

Building muscle has several benefits for health and well-being, as well as for specific goals such as sports performance or aesthetics. Here are some reasons why people choose to build muscle:

  1. Improved physical strength: Muscles are responsible for generating force in the body. By building muscle, you improve your overall physical strength, which helps you with daily activities such as lifting, carrying and moving.

  2. Increased metabolism: Muscle burns more calories than fat, even at rest. Building more muscle can speed up your metabolism, which can help with weight management and burning excess body fat.

  3. Better body composition: Increasing muscle mass and reducing body fat can lead to better body composition, resulting in a tighter, more muscular appearance.

  4. Improved bone and joint health: Stronger muscles can help support and stabilize the bones and joints, which can help prevent injuries and conditions such as osteoporosis.

  5. Reduced risk of chronic diseases: Regular exercise, including strength training, can reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and hypertension.

  6. Better sports performance: If you are an athlete, well-developed muscles can help you perform better in your sport because they improve strength, speed and endurance.

  7. Increased confidence and self-esteem: Achieving physical goals and seeing progress in your strength and appearance can boost your self-confidence and give you a more positive self-image.

  8. Functional benefits: Strong muscles can improve your body's overall functionality, making it easier to perform daily tasks and making you less prone to injury.

  9. Aging with strength and independence: Maintaining muscle mass as you age can help you function independently longer and maintain quality of life.

Building muscle can be achieved in various ways, such as strength training, resistance exercises and appropriate nutrition. It is important to find a healthy balance between strength training and other forms of exercise to maintain overall good health.

The basis for building muscles and muscle mass

Below is the basics in brief for building muscle mass, followed by some more explanation.

The basics of building muscle include some fundamental principles that should be integrated into your exercise and nutrition routine. Here are the essential steps for muscle growth:

  1. Weight training:

    • Strength training is the core of muscle building. You should regularly do exercises that are specifically designed to stress your muscles and stimulate them to grow. This includes both compound exercises (such as squats, deadlifts, bench presses) and isolated exercises that target specific muscle groups.
  2. Progressive overload:

    • To grow muscle, you need to gradually increase the resistance. This means increasing the weight you lift or increasing the number of reps and sets over time. Progressive overload forces the muscles to adapt and become stronger.
  3. Protein intake:

    • Protein is essential for muscle growth because it provides the building blocks (amino acids) necessary for muscle repair and building. Make sure you consume enough protein from foods such as meat, fish, eggs, dairy products, legumes and nuts. Protein supplements can also be used to meet your daily protein needs.
  4. Caloric surplus:

    • To build muscle, you must be in a caloric surplus, which means you must consume more calories than your body burns every day. This extra number of calories is used for muscle growth and recovery. Make sure you eat a balanced diet rich in protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats.
  5. Sufficient rest and recovery:

    • Muscles grow during the post-workout recovery phase, so it's important to get enough sleep and give your muscles time to recover between training sessions. Overtraining can lead to injuries and muscle breakdown.
  6. Hydration:

    • Stay well hydrated. Water is essential for several bodily functions, including muscle function. Drink enough water to prevent dehydration.
  7. Consistency:

    • Muscle building is a slow process that requires consistency. Maintain a regular exercise routine and stay true to your diet and recovery practices.
  8. Patience:

    • Building muscle takes time. Be patient and realistic about your expectations. Results will not be visible overnight.
  9. Vary your training:

    • Vary your exercises and training program to stimulate your muscles and avoid reaching a plateau where you no longer make progress.
  10. Listen to your body:

    • Respect your body and avoid overload and injuries. If you feel pain, take appropriate rest and consult a professional if necessary.

Build muscle with nutrition

Building muscle depends not only on exercise, but also on nutrition. A balanced diet with the right nutrients can be essential for maximizing muscle growth and post-workout recovery. Here are some nutritional guidelines for building muscle:

  1. Proteins: Proteins are the building blocks of muscles. Make sure you get enough protein to support muscle growth. Foods such as lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy products, legumes and nuts are good sources of protein. It may also be helpful to consider protein shakes or supplements if you have trouble getting enough protein from your regular diet.

  2. Carbohydrates: Carbohydrates are the main source of energy for your body, especially during intense workouts. Choose complex carbohydrates such as whole grains, oatmeal, quinoa, sweet potatoes and vegetables to keep your energy up.

  3. Healthy fats: Healthy fats, such as those found in avocados, nuts, olive oil and oily fish (salmon, mackerel, trout), play a role in hormone production and can contribute to muscle recovery.

  4. Fiber: Fiber-rich foods help regulate digestion and nutrient absorption. They are found in vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes.

  5. Calories: To build muscle, you need to consume more calories than you burn (a positive calorie balance). This is often called bulking. Make sure you get enough calories, but avoid excessive overeating to avoid gaining too much body fat.

  6. Timing of meals: Spread your food intake across multiple meals and snacks throughout the day to provide a steady supply of nutrients to your body. It is also important to have a protein-rich meal or snack after your workout to aid recovery.

  7. Hydration: Drinking enough water is crucial for overall health and performance during exercise. Dehydration can affect muscle recovery and performance.

It is important to note that nutritional needs vary from person to person depending on factors such as age, gender, activity level and goals.

Example nutrition plan for men and women for muscle building

A nutrition plan for muscle building does not differ significantly between men and women. Both have similar nutritional needs when it comes to building muscle. The most important thing is to get enough calories and protein to support muscle growth, while also paying attention to carbohydrates and fats for energy and overall health. Here is an example of a muscle building nutrition plan:


  • Oatmeal with banana and almonds
  • Low-fat Greek yogurt
  • Glass of freshly squeezed orange juice


  • A handful of nuts (e.g. almonds or walnuts)


  • Grilled chicken fillet or tofu (for vegetarians)
  • Quinoa or brown rice
  • Cooked vegetables (e.g. broccoli, carrots, and green beans)
  • Avocado salad with olive oil and lemon juice


  • Low-fat cottage cheese with blueberries

Evening meal:

  • Salmon or chickpeas (for vegetarians)
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Cooked spinach or kale

Snack (optional):

  • A protein shake with water or milk after training

Before bedtime (optional):

  • Low-fat cottage cheese with a little honey

Here are some important guidelines for a muscle building diet plan:

  1. Protein: Make sure you get enough protein, preferably from lean sources such as chicken, fish, lean beef, tofu, and low-fat dairy products.

  2. Carbohydrates: Choose complex carbohydrates such as quinoa, sweet potatoes and whole grains to provide energy for your workouts.

  3. Fats: Healthy fats are important for hormonal regulation. Avocado, nuts, olive oil and oily fish are good sources of healthy fats.

  4. Portion control: Eat enough to support muscle growth, but avoid overeating as this can lead to weight gain in the form of fat.

  5. Hydration: Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated, especially when exercising intensely.

  6. Supplements: Consider using supplements such as protein powder, creatine, or BCAAs (branched-chain amino acids) to supplement your diet.

  7. Training: Combine this diet with a well-structured strength training program to stimulate muscle growth.

It is important to remember that individual needs vary.

Build muscle with training

Building muscle with training requires a structured and consistent training program that focuses on muscle growth, also known as hypertrophy. Here are some key aspects of strength training that you can consider to build muscle effectively:

  1. Strength training: The heart of muscle building training is strength training. This includes lifting weights (such as barbells, barbells, dumbbells, or machines) to stress and stimulate your muscles to grow. Focus on compound exercises such as squats, deadlifts, bench presses and overhead presses, as these target multiple muscle groups at once.

  2. Progressive Overload: To grow muscle, you need to gradually increase resistance. This means using heavier weights or increasing the number of reps and sets over time. This stimulates the muscles and forces them to become stronger and bigger.

  3. Number of reps and sets: There are different training methods, but typically 3-5 sets of 6-12 reps are recommended for muscle building. Heavier weights and lower reps (for example, 4 sets of 4-6 reps) can also be effective for muscle growth.

  4. Rest and recovery: Muscles need time to recover after intense training sessions. Provide sufficient rest between training the same muscle groups, usually 48-72 hours, depending on the intensity and volume of the training.

  5. Varied exercises: Varying exercises can help to break through plateaus and target different muscle fibers. Add variety to your training by introducing new exercises every now and then.

  6. Technique and form: Good technique is essential to prevent injuries and maximize the effectiveness of the exercises. If you're new to strength training, consider consulting a fitness instructor or personal trainer for guidance on proper technique.

  7. Nutrition: As mentioned earlier, nutrition is crucial for muscle building. Make sure you get enough protein and calories to support muscle growth and enough carbohydrates and healthy fats to provide energy for your workouts.

  8. Rest and sleep: Adequate sleep is essential for muscle recovery and growth. Try to get 7-9 hours of sleep per night.

  9. Patience and Consistency: Muscle building is a slow process, so be patient and stay consistent with your exercise routine and diet.

Remember that everyone is different, so it may take some time before you see the results of your efforts. It is also important to listen to your body and avoid using too heavy weights to prevent injuries.

Example training schedule for men and women for muscle building

An effective muscle building training regimen can be similar for both men and women. The main difference is usually the weight used, as men generally have more muscle mass and strength than women. Here is a basic example of a muscle building training plan:

Note: This is a general schedule. Adjust the weights, reps and sets based on your own fitness level and goals. It is also important to get enough rest between sets and exercises.

Training day 1: Chest and Triceps

  1. Bench Press (Barbell or Dumbbell):

    • Sets: 4
    • Reps: 8-10
  2. Dumbbell Flyes (Butterfly):

    • Sets: 3
    • Reps: 10-12
  3. Tricep Dips:

    • Sets: 3
    • Reps: 8-10
  4. Tricep Pushdowns (with cable):

    • Sets: 3
    • Reps: 10-12

Training day 2: Back and Biceps

  1. Deadlift:

    • Sets: 4
    • Reps: 6-8
  2. Pull-Ups or Lat Pulldowns:

    • Sets: 3
    • Reps: 8-10
  3. Barbell Rows:

    • Sets: 3
    • Reps: 8-10
  4. Barbell Curls:

    • Sets: 3
    • Reps: 10-12

Training day 3: Legs and Shoulders

  1. Squats:

    • Sets: 4
    • Reps: 8-10
  2. Lunges (with weights):

    • Sets: 3
    • Reps: 10-12 per leg
  3. Leg Press:

    • Sets: 3
    • Reps: 8-10
  4. Military Press (Shoulder Press):

    • Sets: 4
    • Reps: 8-10
  5. Lateral Raises:

    • Sets: 3
    • Reps: 10-12

Training day 4: Rest or Active Recovery (e.g. yoga or light cardio)

Repeat Training Day 1-3 and then take another rest day.


  • Make sure you perform each exercise with proper form to avoid injuries. Consider consulting a personal trainer for guidance if you're new to strength training.

  • Gradually increase the weight if the exercises become too easy, but maintain good form.

  • In addition to strength training, it is important to consume enough protein and calories to support muscle growth. Also make sure you get enough sleep and rest for recovery.

  • This schedule is an example and can be adapted to your needs and goals. It is essential to listen to your body and avoid overtraining.

How many calories to build muscle

The number of calories you need to build muscle varies from person to person and depends on several factors, including your current body weight, metabolism, exercise intensity, goals and genetics. Here are some general guidelines to consider:

  1. Calorie surplus: Building muscle usually requires being in a calorie surplus, which means consuming more calories than your body burns daily. This extra number of calories is used to build and repair muscle after intense workouts.

  2. Moderate calorie surplus: A moderate calorie surplus of about 250-500 calories per day is often sufficient to stimulate muscle growth without leading to excessive weight gain in the form of body fat. However, this may vary depending on individual needs and responses.

  3. Protein intake: Protein is essential for muscle growth, and it is important to consume enough protein. In general, a protein intake of 1.6-2.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight is recommended for people looking to build muscle.

  4. Carbohydrates and fats: In addition to proteins, carbohydrates and fats are important sources of energy for your workouts and overall health. Make sure you have enough carbohydrates and healthy fats in your diet.

  5. Monitoring and Adjustment: It's important to monitor your progress and be willing to adjust your calorie intake based on how your body responds. If you're gaining weight too quickly, you can reduce your calorie surplus, and if you're not making enough progress, you may want to consider consuming more calories.

It's crucial to remember that individual needs can vary greatly, so what works for one person may not work for another.

Buy and use nutritional supplements to build muscle

There are several nutritional supplements that can help with muscle growth. Here are some of the most popular and researched supplements for muscle growth:

  1. Protein Supplements :

    • Whey protein: Whey protein is one of the most popular protein supplements and is quickly absorbed by the body. It can help with muscle recovery after training. We also have isolate and a plant-based protein shake.
  2. Creatine :

    • Creatine is one of the most researched and effective supplements for muscle growth. It can promote muscle cell volumization, making muscles look fuller, and it can also improve performance in short-term, high-intensity activities.
  3. Vitamins and minerals:

    • Some vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin D and magnesium , are important for muscle function and may indirectly contribute to muscle growth. A multivitamin and omega 3 can also be a good addition to supplement vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids if you have a deficiency of these.
  4. Pre-workout :

    • A Pre workout can help you get the most out of your training so that you can train hard enough to stimulate muscle building.

    It is important to note that nutritional supplements should never be used in place of a balanced diet and strength training. They should always be considered as additions to a healthy lifestyle and diet.

    Building muscle is not very quick

    Building muscle takes a long time due to various physiological and biological factors. Here are some reasons why muscle growth is a slow process:

    1. Biological Limitations: Muscle growth is influenced by genetic factors, gender and age. Some people naturally have a greater potential for muscle growth than others, and men generally have a greater potential than women due to hormonal differences. In addition, muscle growth slows as people age.

    2. Adaptation: The body adapts to new stressors, such as strength training. At first, results may be quick and noticeable, but over time it becomes more difficult to maintain the same level of muscle growth. The body becomes more efficient at dealing with stress, resulting in a slower pace of muscle building.

    3. Nutrition: Building muscle requires a consistent surplus of calories and adequate protein intake. Even with proper nutrition, it can still take a long time to see noticeable changes in muscle mass, as the body uses the extra energy and nutrients for recovery and other metabolic processes.

    4. Rest and recovery: Muscles grow during the recovery phase after training. Sufficient sleep and rest are essential for the recovery process. If you do not recover enough, this can slow down muscle growth.

    5. Training level: If you have been training for a long time, it may be more difficult to add muscle mass. Novice athletes often experience faster results because their body has not yet adapted to the new training stimuli.

    6. Overload: To grow muscles, you must constantly challenge them with increasing resistance or intensity. Over time, it can become more difficult to find the right training stimuli that lead to muscle growth.

    7. Patience and Consistency: Building muscle requires consistency and patience. You have to follow your exercise and nutrition routine for a long time before you see noticeable results.

    In short, muscle growth is a complex process influenced by genetics, nutrition, training, recovery and time. It's important to have realistic expectations and understand that building muscle is a long-term effort that requires consistency and dedication. It can take months to years to achieve significant changes in muscle mass, but with the right approach and a positive mindset, results can come eventually.