Make no mistake about it, putting on muscle is tough. So if you want to make it happen be sure to address the fundamentals. Here's 5 aspects of muscle gain many people fail to maximise before becoming frustrated and giving up on the process.
1/ SLEEP- This is the one chance in the day your body gets chance to turbo charge all the cogs that allow you to recover and crucially grow; including growth of muscle tissue. Quality over quantity is important here. 6 quality hours is far superior to 8 broken ones. I love using a ZMA supplement to improve my sleep quality.
2/ INTENSITY- If you are to grow muscle tissue, you must break it down via intense resistance based exercise, there is no way around this. Ensure you time your rest periods. I use a standard casio for what are normally 60-90 second rest periods. Avoid using your iphone; far too many distractions!
3/ PROTEIN- You can't build a house without bricks and it's much the same when it comes to building muscle without protein. Aim to include protein in every meal of the day, in various forms to provide plenty of bricks to build the physique you want. Think chicken, turkey, beef, lamb, eggs, tofu, greek yoghurt or whey protein powder.
4/ PROGRESSION- Track your sessions to enable you to look back at previous weeks to identify progress. If you've hit the same chest session 4 weeks in a row without any progression (increase in weight, reps, shorter rest periods etc.) it's unlikely you'll see/feel much change in that area.
5/ MINDSET- As referred to above, building muscle requires intensity. For you to create the kind of intensity that brings you the best results, you need to enter the right mindset when you take on each session. Learning how to tune in your focus and ignore all distractions will only improve this. Take 5 minutes before every session to zone in and get your head straight. Whether it's 5 minutes on the treadmill with music of your choice or a few minutes of foam rolling or stretching, do what you need to do to get your head in the game and your training sessions will step up a level.