08/24/2010 02:15 pm ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

5 Steps to Build Good Muscles

Defined muscles are a sign of physical fitness and overall health. They represent hard work and dedication along with being aesthetically pleasing. People want them, but most people don't know how to obtain or maintain strong muscle definition. It's not all about doing 100 bicep curls every day or having a two-hour session working every muscle anyway you can. It's a formula of a proper strength training program and balanced diet with pre- and post-workout nutrition.

Step 1
Start lifting. Aim to work each muscle group twice a week. A total body day followed by an upper body day and a lower body day is a basic strength training program that will get you started. Perform four to eight exercises at 12 repetitions three times in a session.

LIVESTRONG.COM: Weight Lifting Exercises

Step 2
Change it up. As you begin to see improvement in performance and physical results, there should be a change in your workout, such as increasing repetitions and weight. This will maintain your progress so your body won't hit a plateau or begin to digress.

Step 3
Include cardio in your regimen. You don't want a layer of fat hiding the muscle you are building. It's recommended that you should do between 75 to 150 minutes of cardio a week. Find something you enjoy that makes you sweat, such as biking or running with your dog.

LIVESTRONG.COM: Cardio Exercises for Weight Loss

Step 4
Don't be afraid of carbohydrates. Carbs give you energy and are an important part of building muscles. Incorporate whole grains into your diet.

Step 5
Get your protein in after a workout as soon as possible. Ideally, you should be taking in some form of protein within the first 30 minutes after you are done working out. Try a protein shake or have some other form of lean protein available as a snack. Protein is essential to muscle building and recovery.

LIVESTRONG.COM: How to Build Muscle Mass With Protein

Tips and Warnings
  • For more advanced strength-training workouts, consult with a fitness professional. A complimentary training session is normally provided at any gym before you're asked to buy into a membership.
  • Before starting a new diet or workout program, make sure to consult your primary care doctor.
ReferencesAbout this Author

Vanessa Connolly

Vanessa Connolly began writing in 2002. Connolly was Writing Editor of the campus yearbook along with the publication of her article "Pressures Could Prompt Sorority Members to Quit" in "The Roanoke Times." She graduated with a Bachelors of Science from Radford University in media studies.

5 Steps to Build Good Muscles
. Courtesy of LIVESTRONG.COM

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