Top 5 Muscle Tips for a Buff Body


January 28, 2008   •   Fact checked by Dumb Little Man

Would you like to build a truly impressive physique?

Sculpted Abs?
Defined Pecs?
Big Biceps?

Whatever it is, there are basic fundamental principles that will get you there. With so much confusion and conflicting advice in the world of bodybuilding & fitness, it’s time to cut through the noise by delving into the scientific fundamentals that guarantee success.

Here are the top 5 muscle tips to take you from fat to fit; from scrawny to brawny.

  • ‘Progressive Overload’ will Guarantee your Results.
    The body adapts. It’s been doing it for a loooonnng time and will continue to do so forever. So how do we use this to our advantage? Well the key is to place ever increasing demand on the body, thereby forcing it to continually adapt. If you workout with the exact same weight every session and perform the same number of repetitions, how can you expect your body to grow?

    “The law of progressive overload simply says that you must increase the amount of reps or the weight lifted every single workout (or as close to this as humanly possible) in order to ignite muscle growth.”

So, if you want bigger biceps, you must increase the weight you are curling every session or the amount of repetitions. Remember: Progressive Overload = Muscle Growth.


  • Work In The Anabolic Rep Range
    ‘Rep’ is short for repetition. A repetition is simply the process of lifting and lowering a weight again. But is there an optimum number of reps you should perform for muscle growth? I believe there is.


8-12 reps on any given exercise will stimulate most muscle growth. Lower rep ranges of say 3-6 work well for building strength but not necessarily muscle hypertrophy (growth).

Higher reps e.g. 15 – 20 can indeed stimulate muscle growth but it is far from optimal. In higher rep ranges, type 1 (slow twitch) muscle fibers are mostly stimulated which can grow in diameter but do so to a lesser extent than type 2A and 2B fibers. Type 2A and 2B fibers will grow more in response to a rep range of 8 – 12.

The National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) holds this position on optimal reps as does Tom Venuto who states,

“The advantage of the 8-12 rep range is that you get maximal hypertrophy”.


  • Increase the amount of protein in your diet.
    Muscle = protein. In order for muscle tissue to repair itself after your weight-training sessions it needs an abundance of protein. Some beginners don’t take enough protein and some more experienced guys take ridiculously extreme amounts of protein.So how much protein is enough to supply those hungry muscles?Use the following formula for the most accurate daily protein requirements.

    Lean Mass Weight (Kg) x 2.75 = Daily Protein Requirement

    Your lean weight is your total body weight minus the amount of fat you are carrying. You will need to know your body fat percentage for this. If you are unsure about this, you can get a good estimate by using the Body Fat Calculator in the sidebar at

    Another good rule of thumb is to take 1 gram of protein for every pound of total body weight. So a 160 lb man would take around 160 grams of protein per day.

    My favorite sources of protein include:

    • Chicken
    • Steak
    • Pork
    • Eggs
    • Cheese
    • Whey Protein Powder Shakes
    • Seafood – tuna, prawns, salmon…
    • Nuts
    • Seeds



  • Increase the amount of fat in your diet.
    Increase fat?! Yes, absolutely. Increasing the amount of fat in your diet increases the amount of anabolic (muscle building) hormones in your body. These are:


Some people resort to taking anabolic steroids in order to accelerate muscle growth but you can get comparable results by implementing the ultimate bodybuilding diet.


  • Decrease the amount of carbohydrates in your diet.
    If you want to build muscle without gaining fat, I advise you cut down on the level of carbohydrates in your diet. With a high carb dietary approach, you prevent your body from using body fat for fuel and actually encourage the laying down of new body fat. That’s


    • Decreased Lipolysis (use of fat for energy)


  • Increased Lipogenesis (creation of fat)


This is the bane of every bodybuilder on the planet. There is the erroneous belief that in order to gain muscle, you have to gain fat too – wrong. You can build muscle, in fact more muscle, with controlled carbohydrate nutrition than with the standard high carb, low-fat diet.

Carbs are important for muscle growth but only at the right time. I encourage you to read an article I wrote previously for a full breakdown of the best bodybuilding diet on the planet.

Written by Mark McManus owner of


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