How To Build Muscle Naturally
I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve been asked how to build muscle naturally. People even question if there is such a thing as building muscle naturally – as so many people have been disillusioned to believe that you must take performance enhancing drugs in order to achieve any kind of success in the gym.
Here’s the truth:
If two people have the exact same genetics, follow exactly the same training and meal plans and train exactly as hard as each other, but one of them takes steroids and one of them doesn’t, the enhanced athlete will look better than the natural. That is obvious and it’s the reason that steroids are so popular in this country – they allow people to go above and beyond what’s possible for a natural athlete.
That’s their choice, and I’m not here to pass comment or judgement on that – especially if the person taking steroids is a disciplined, hard working and intelligent individual.
There are so many people going out every Friday & Saturday night getting absolutely shitfaced and doing a ton of coke trying to look down on steroid users. There are people who are 10 stone overweight living on a diet of fast food and takeaways preaching that steroids are bad for your health. The fact they cannot see the irony in this is quite honestly mind boggling. Everyone has personal choices and ways of living their life, in my opinion it’s wise not to pass judgement on others for this.
I made a personal choice a long time ago that I didn’t want to take performance enhancing drugs. I wasn’t willing to put in the time or work to learn about how to do it intelligently and I didn’t want to risk my health by ‘winging it’ (like most people do) and messing something up. Therefore I guess I could refer to myself as a ‘natural’. If you’re reading this blog post, you probably made a similar decision to me.
So, How DO You Build Muscle As A Natural?
So now the decision has been made, the question of how to build muscle naturally remains. And it’s a complex question with many areas to answer, but the thing is – there aren’t that many differences between us and the guys that use drugs.
People seem to think that steroids are this magic fairy dust that does all the work for you. To the extent that I’ve genuinely seen and spoken to people that take steroids and DON’T EVEN GO TO THE GYM. In case you missed that, go and read it again. I’m sorry but this is fucking retarded.
If you’re actually considering this option – first of all, don’t breed, and secondly you should know that no amount of drugs will improve your physique if you’re not willing to put the work in. No matter what fitness model, athlete or bodybuilder you see on Instagram or the front cover of a magazine – enhanced or not, they all have one thing in common: They fucking work HARD. This brings me on to my first element of how to build muscle naturally:
To answer the question of how to build muscle naturally, we must first start with effort. Building muscle is not a process that comes easy to human beings (generally speaking). Muscular development is a result of an adaptive response to a stimulus. In other words, you must put your body under a great deal of stress over a long period of time in order to give it a reason to adapt, change and grow. Sticking a needle in your arse or swallowing a few magic pills won’t do that for you.
When I say ‘effort’, I mean consistent effort. Doing the necessary. This can’t be once, twice or three times per week. If you’re serious about learning how to build muscle naturally then you’ve got to make this a part of your lifestyle.
The training, the nutrition, the sleep, the stretching, the hydration, the stress management. These are all aspects we need to take in to account when building muscle and never more so than when dealing with naturals.
The way I see it, we as natural lifters must put that much more effort in to level the playing field versus our enhanced counterparts. I want to be able to train with someone who uses drugs and make them feel embarrassed that they aren’t able to keep up with me. How? Consistent and ruthlessly applied EFFORT.
Training: Accuracy & Intensity
Now, we can’t talk about how to build muscle naturally without talking about training. But there’s two aspects of training I want to focus on in particular: Accuracy & intensity.
When I say ‘accuracy’, I want you to picture two guys in the gym doing bicep curls. Both guys are the same bodyweight, and have the same level of strength. The first guy is curling 30kg dumbbells, screaming the place down and doing more swinging than a really bored married couple in their 50s. The second guy is using 15kg dumbbells – half the weight, but contracting his biceps 100% and tearing down every fibre in the muscle. Which guy is creating a bigger stimulus for an adaptive response (growth) in the biceps?
I hope you know the answer to that and my point is clear. Weight and strength are massively important to the muscle building process – but you know what’s more important? Actually training the muscle you’re trying to train. Be relentless in your pursuit of accurate training, your physique will show the difference.
Now, intensity. If you want to know how to build muscle naturally – you can’t get there without intensity in your workouts.
When I talk about intensity I don’t mean pretending you’re having a “#BeastMode” session and posting selfies on Instagram about it. I mean actually locking in and working fucking hard. I mean when you think you haven’t got it in you to complete a single extra rep – somehow finding the testicular fortitude to get another 5 out. Making the reps count, and working yourself damn hard.
Nutrition: Consistency & Discipline
Without going into technical nutrition specifics (I have tons of articles here if you want to read them), the main key when it comes to learning and applying how to build muscle naturally is consistency and discipline.
You must have the discipline to do the necessary from a nutritional standpoint – that is, eat enough food to put yourself into a caloric surplus and gain weight. You must also eat the right sort of foods at the right times to optimise your performance in the gym and give yourself the best chance of putting on muscle.
In addition to that, you must show the consistency to do this every single motherfucking day of your life (for the foreseeable future). If you’re serious about stacking on muscle and building a physique, there’s no way around this. Eat big, get big – but you must do it consistently. A few days a week simply won’t cut it if you’re serious about getting results naturally. Do the necessary consistently and you’ll see exactly how to build muscle naturally.
Recovery: Self Respect & Values
The main difference between us naturals and enhanced lifters? Recovery.
The main benefit steroid users get versus natural lifters is an increased rate of recovery. Steroid users can handle much more stress than we can, and find their recovery is much improved versus natural lifters.
That’s just one more reason we need to be on our recovery protocols like a fucking rash. Remember – you’re only as good as what you can recover from. There is no point in hitting amazingly intense workouts in the gym if you don’t sleep, stretch or manage stress properly. This is why in my view, recovery comes down to how much respect you have for yourself and where your values lie.
Personally, I have enough respect for myself to realise that in order to function and recover properly I need a certain amount of sleep each night. For me that’s around 7-8 hours. Therefore I have to take steps to make sure I’m sleeping well enough, like wearing blue light glasses before bed, eliminating stressful situations and putting myself in a relaxed state before going to bed. It’s also a case of making sure I actually go to bed on time each night (and wake up at the same time each morning). The difference it will make if you get your sleep right to your training and progress in the gym is absolutely staggering.
Do you have enough self respect and value yourself to give your body the rest & recovery it needs? Or are you happy to live on poor sleep & caffeinate your way through each day? Your answer to those questions will determine more than anything if you’ll truly see how to build muscle naturally or not.
I hope this article was of some use to those of you trying to build muscle naturally. I understand that the entire premise of building muscle can be massively confusing, that’s why I have a huge bank of articles which you can access by clicking here to help you. I also have content on other platforms all designed to help you on your muscle building journey, check them out here:
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