It doesn’t matter if you call yourself skinny, a hard gainer, or an ectomorph. You’ll feel better knowing that it’s possible to increase your size by gaining healthy weight and putting on more muscle mass. Many men have a hard time building up there upper body mass. However, by changing up your current style of living, sticking to a serious diet plan, and following a regular exercise schedule that consists of specific workouts, you can put on muscle and build the upper body up.

1. Stop or do less cardio

Cardio exercises take up most of the calories needed for your body to grow, and no matter how loyal you to the routines, you cannot succeed without those extra calories needed. If there is a health reason for you to do cardio exercises, you should speak with your physician about reducing them to no more than 45 minutes (less is even better) per session. On the other hand, if there’s no health reason involved, they should be stopped completely in order to succeed in putting on more muscle weight.

2. Have a good eating plan

healthy food

Putting on more weight and building up those muscles takes extra calories, that is, if you intend to stay healthy. You should change your eating plan to include an additional 500 calories. After a period of time, should you find you’re not happy with the weight you’re gaining, you can add or subtract more calories until your body mass is satisfactory.

Your eating plan should include lean meats and fish, along with foods that are calorie-dense, such as avocados, peanut butter, and nuts. An example of a good snack would consist of 500 calories and would include ¼ cup of dried cranberries mixed with ½ cup of almonds. Another one is having 2tbs of almond butter, ½ of a banana, eaten with a whole-wheat bagel.

3. Schedule exercise sessions 48 to 72 hours apart

The time between the exercise sessions is referred to as the recovery phase (post-workout), and this is the time period when those exercises you just did begin working on your body. That is when the real muscle growth happens. Exercises don’t affect the body at the time when you do them. This means that if you don’t let your body have the right amount of recovery time before doing your next exercise session, it will stop your body’s ability to gain the muscle weight you are aiming for.

4. Lifting heavy vs lighter weights

heavy lifting

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It is recommended by the American Council on Exercise to use heavier weights for gaining muscle mass. The weights used should be of an amount that is going to give you the ability to only lift them 6 to 12 times during the set of exercises in your routine. If you use a lighter weight, it will not let you experience the muscle gain you’re striving for.

Start out by trying 3 to 5 different sets of exercises in your routine, for instance, 6 to 12 bench presses (for chest muscles) and 6 to 12 squats (for the quadriceps).

5. Have more sleep

Sleep helps to repair your body’s stress caused by exercising. The pituitary gland in the brain releases its growth hormones during sleep and repairs the muscles, stimulating muscle growth. Basically, resting improve the overall health of the entire body, so don’t undervalue it.