Muscle & Strength's 2014 Muscle Building Transformation Guide

This complete muscle building guide includes detailed nutrition advice, workouts and training tips, along with motivational transformation stories, articles and interviews.

When polled, nearly 70% of all men and women said they want to get into better shape for the new year. To look your best you will need more than just fat loss; you will also need to build lean muscle mass.

How we look in the mirror is dependent on 2 major factors:

  1. The amount of bodyfat we have.
  2. The amount of lean body mass we have.  

The ratio of body fat to overall weight determines our body fat composition. The higher our body fat percentage, the more soft and out of shape we look. While most of us know that we can improve our appearance by losing fat, it should also be noted that the addition of muscle mass also dramatically changes our appearance.

Even a small amount of additional lean muscle mass can give our bodies a more fit, athletic and muscular appearance. If you want to look your best, then it's time to start building muscle. It is just as important, if not more important in the long run, if you are trying to build a body capable of stopping traffic.

While losing fat is great for health, it often results in a skinny but somewhat soft looking physique. To improve your health AND look fit and sexy, you'll need a quality resistance training workout and diet plan.

Remember, the key to the muscle building process lies in planning, knowledge and consistency. Use the information on Muscle & Strength to equip yourself for success. Then execute your plan, and stick to it. This is how you will reach your goals.

This guide will equip you with the resources to succeed. We have compiled the best of the best from the Muscle & Strength website; articles on muscle building, nutrition, motivation, and a number of highly effective workout programs.

Before you begin the muscle building process

Only 75% of individuals manage to stick to their resolutions a week into the new year. 36% of people return back to their old habits within the first month. [1]

To reach your goals we recommend that you ease into training the first couple weeks. Make the decision to change your lifestyle and develop new habits rather than simply rushing to the gym to punish yourself.

When it comes to diet and nutrition, focus on creating a plan that fits your eating habits and lifestyle. The muscle building process can take years, depending on your goals. Make sure you devise a plan that is easy to stick to.

Pull Ups

Muscle Building Nutrition and Diet

Come January first gyms will fill up fast. Everyone rushes in to build that dream physique, knocking out rep after rep of their favorite muscle building exercises. Unfortunately, a very high percentage of these individuals don't take time to research a proper muscle building eating plan.

Gym efforts must be backed with proper nutrition. Undereating, making sub-par food choices, or not eating enough protein are three good ways to slow the muscle building process.

A precisely crafted eating plan is a must. At minimum you will need to know how many calories and grams of protein are going into your body each day. It's also highly beneficial to maximize every calorie by eating a variety of the right foods.

That extra 300-500 calories and 30-50 grams of protein per day can make all the difference in the world. To maximize the muscle building process, stop guessing and start planning.

Muscle Building Nutrition and Diet Expert Guides

  • Workout Nutrition And Timing Guide - Workout nutrition can be confusing. Learn about the role of protein quality and quantity, carbohydrates, fats and nutrient timing in this complete expert guide.
  • How To Gain Weight Fast - Can't gain weight? This guide takes you step by step through the gaining process, helping you to set up a meal plan and providing you with a muscle building workout.

General Muscle Building Nutrition Articles

  • Maximize Muscle, Minimize Fat - There is no need to get fat! This guide and Q&A by Brad Borland shows you how to add muscle while adding minimal fat.
  • Eating Like A Bodybuilder - In part one we looked at building the right fitness fundamentals. Now it's time to get nutrition sorted! Learn how to eat like a bodybuilder to maximize lean muscle growth.
  • Bulk Up Fast - Forget six pack abs - it's time to bulk and pack on some serious muscle mass! Maximize the muscle building process with these seven workout and diet plan tips.
  • Basics Of Intermittent Fasting - Is intermittent fasting the real deal? Can you build muscle and lose fat without eating every 2-3 hours? Find out if intermittent fasting is for you.

Female Muscle Building

Muscle Building Workouts and Training Tips

Now that you have your eating plan in order, it's time to hit the gym. The following muscle building workouts and training tips will help you to maximize your gains and build the body you are after.

You will learn how to maximize progressive overload, choose the best exercises, balance your training and stave off injuries by working on exercise form.

Fast Start - Workouts For Beginners

  • 3 Day Workout For Beginners - New to weight training? This workout is for you. Designed to hit each muscle group with the big compound exercises once per week. Each workout day has 3-5 exercises.
  • The Ex-Hardgainer Workout Plan - Tired of being a hardgainer? This program contains a detailed workout and progression scheme, along with eating advice and a sample daily diet plan.
  • 12 Week Beginner's Workout - A twelve week full body beginners routine designed to get your body ready for an intense split routine. Includes a detailed week by week plan.
  • 8 Week Quick Start Program - New to lifting? Start here. This is a novice quick start guide that will move you from day 1 to day 60, providing you with specific advice and workouts.

Top Muscle Building Workouts

  • 4 Day Power Muscle Burn - This building workout by Steve Shaw is designed to maximize progression and muscle gains by hitting each muscle group with power sets, muscle sets and burn sets.
  • 10 Week Mass Building Program - This workout is designed to increase your muscle mass as much as possible in 10 weeks. Works each muscle group hard once per week using mostly heavy compound exercises.
  • HIML-4 Maximum Muscle Building System - HIML-4 is a highly effective four week muscle building workout system that cycles between heavy days, intense workouts, and moderate to light weight training days.
  • Doug's 4 Day Split - This muscle building workout is a tried and tested M&S muscle building staple! This workout was developed by trainer and forum member Doug Lawrenson.
  • Pyramid Volume Training - Are you stuck in a plateau? Do you want to increase your strength, size, and muscular definition? Send your body into an anabolic state.
  • Density & Strength 4 Day Split - This 4 day split by Steve Shaw is a powerbuilding system designed to propel intermediate lifters towards faster muscle mass and strength gains.
  • 4 Day Maximum Mass Workout - A mass building routine that features a great combination of effective compound and isolation movements along with intense, high impact five minute burn sets.
  • Bulldozer Training 4 Day Workout - 4 day Bulldozer Training muscle building split. Combines rest-pause sets with progressive resistance. Workouts are shorter but more intense.

Dumbbell Flyes

Training Tips and Articles for Improved Size & Strength

  • Knowing Your Body Type - Body type influences how you respond to diet and training. Understand your body type in order to plan your muscle building training and diet program.
  • Ultimate Workout Split Reference Guide - A complete guide. Learn which splits are effective, and which workouts to avoid. Included are numerous workout and training splits examples.
  • The Most Productive Exercises - A detailed look at the most potent muscle building exercises, as well as a bodypart by bodypart breakdown. Stop wasting time in the gym and start getting results!
  • 50 Things You Should Know - What do you need to make quality gains? While most lifters rush towards complexity and training overkill, what they really need simplicity and training refinement.
  • Natural Muscle Building Genetics - How much muscle can you add naturally? What arm size can you expect? Is it even possible to know the answers to these questions? Find out in this complete guide to natural bodybuilding genetics.
  • Teenage Bodybuilding Guide - Get answers to all your training and nutrition questions. This is a complete guide for teens that includes workouts and nutritional advice to help you maximize progress.
  • 150 Muscle Building Tips - This article packs a punch. 150 of the best muscle building tips, including specific information on workouts, exercises, nutrition and supplementation.
  • 75 Bench Press Tips - This is a compilation of some of the best benching pressing tips you will find on the net. They are brief, to the point, and when applied properly, effective.

Get Motivated and Build Muscle

Got motivation? Muscle & Strength contains a wealth of motivational articles, body transformation stories and interviews with top fitness and physique experts.

One of the best way to sustain progress is to cultivate your motivation on a daily basis. Begin each day by reading an article or transformation story. This is a great way to reconnect with your goals and stay focused.

Here are some of the best resources from the M&S website:

Motivational Articles

  • 101 Bad Ass Training Quotes - This no holds barred article contains uncensored opinions on strength training, muscle building, diet and nutrition from many of the lifting industry's top names.
  • 41 Things Not To Do At The Gym - Yo, bro! It's time to clean up your act in the gym. These 41 tips might not help you become a better lifter, but they will help you gain respect and maybe even make a few friends.
  • 64 Arnold Schwarzenegger Quotes - 64 amazing and inspiring quotes from the Austrian Oak Arnold Schwarzenegger. Mr. Olympia shares his opinions on bodybuilding, life, success and happiness.
  • 51 Lame Reasons Not To Workout - Why train when it's so much easier to stay at home, eat cookies, drink Dew and play Xbox. If you're looking for a good reason not to lift, you've come to the right place.

Amazing Muscle Building Stories

  • Alex Lee Packs On 60lbs - Extreme ectomorph Alex Lee added over 60 pounds while lowering his bodyfat to single digit levels! Now he's bigger, stronger and has a 6 pack!
  • Michaella Campbell Sheds The "Mom" Body - Michaella wasn't satisfied with just having a "mom's body". In less then one year she lost over 60 pounds and now looks amazing!
  • Michael Lee Packs On The Mass - Frustrated by a recent photo, Michael completely turned his life around in only 10 short months using a healthy diet, running and weight training.
  • Marcela Perea Goes CrossFit - Marcela Perea was a self-proclaimed treadmill queen working her way through every possible diet and pill, until she found Crossfit and lost 43 lbs.