How to build muscle

Posted by Eddie . on

Here are the essential ingredients to building muscle.


Caloric surplus

You need to be eating in a caloric surplus if you want to build muscle. This means you’re consuming more calories than you’re burning.

You’ll need to calculate your baseline calories (the level of calories you need in order to maintain your current body composition), and eat above that. In body building colloquialism, this is known as a bulk. Depending on how you want to go about this, you can undergo a ‘dirty bulk’ (which means pummelling your body with excessive calories well above your maintenance) or perform a ‘lean bulk’ (which is where you’re consuming slightly more calories than your maintenance level).

Dirty bulking causes a lot of excess fat gain (typically something undesirable if you’re into bodybuilding), but has the advantage of satisfying all your dietary cravings. Lean bulking requires dietary control which can be difficult if you’ve already spent half the year shredded and lean. 

To calculate your baseline calories, I recommend using the site

Sufficient protein

Along with surplus calories, you’ll need to be eating sufficient protein. To build muscle, your body needs both the energy (calories) and building blocks of muscles (protein).

Personally, I take a maximum of 2 grams per kg of lean body weight (the weight I am at when I am leanest). If you’ve never been lean before, technically speaking you’ll need to see a doctor or sports physician to measure your body fat and work out your lean body weight from there. But for now, just eat 2 grams per kg of your current weight.


Without having to elaborate, hypertrophy training is obviously essential. Doing so creates micro tears in your muscles. When these tears heal, the muscle grows.

Other factors

The above are absolutely essential, however I also highly recommend doing the below too as these will greatly help:

  • Sufficient sleep (6 hours or more);
  • Sufficient water (2 litres on gym days);
  • Vitamins (multivitamin tablets); and
  • Vegetables and greens


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