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How to Build and Gain Muscle Mass

Fit Man Exercising with Kettle Bell

How to Build and Gain Muscle Mass

All of us have an idea of our dream body, and a goal weight or look we want to achieve. You might want to lose weight, gain weight, tone up, or build up your muscle mass.

Bodybuilding is a very popular thing among both men and women, but sometimes it can be hard to know where to start and what to do to go about gaining muscle. 

Derek Jacob Webb is one young man who took inspiration from the brilliant Arnold Schwarzenegger and Ronnie Coleman, and decided he wanted to build up his body mass. Derek worked extremely hard and became the playgirl magazine real man of the year runner up in both 2010 and 2011. He managed to gain 35lbs in just six months, going from 175lbs to 210lbs. Seeing a number like this might seem bad, as society today puts so much importance on what the scales say, and having them show a number as low as possible. However, it is important to remember that muscle weighs much more than fat, and so what this number actually represents is a great increase in muscle mass. You might ask, how is this possible? Well, this article is going to tell you exactly how this is achievable, with Derek’s brilliant story providing some fantastic tips and secrets on how to successfully body build!

How to Get Started

It is common to feel intimidated when starting your journey trying to gain muscle, but it is very easy to get started. You don’t have to (and definitely shouldn’t) start off straight away lifting the heaviest weights you can find and stuffing your face with protein. If you start this you are less likely to stick to the routine, and actually much more likely to injure yourself. You have to be so careful when starting to lift weights, as it can cause serious injuries and strain that can be with you for a long time.

You can start off by just doing workouts from home, which is exactly what Derek did. He explained how, at first, he would just do push-ups and pull-ups at home, using things such as a tree branch or chair to help him. He said how using nature was an extremely useful, and easy, thing to do which is accessible to everyone. By this he means working out outside, using things you can find around you as weights, or even just using your body weight.

To get started it is also important to make a plan of what you want to achieve and by when, and also to plan out your meals. Bodybuilding involves eating lots of meals throughout the day, and so this requires a lot of planning and structure to ensure you keep to it and are still eating the right things.

What Exercise Should You Do?

After starting off at home, you might find yourself plateauing, with results starting to slow. This is when it’s often a lot better to get to a local gym and start the heavy lifting that will really get that muscle mass up.

Walking into the gym can be overwhelming and intimidating, and it can be hard to know what to do. Well, Derek can provide some inspiration and ideas! To give you an example of what workouts he would do, a typical leg day for him consisted of 1,300lbs or more worth of weight doing leg presses, and 75lb dumbbell curls. He would spend about 2 to 3 hours every single day (whether that be at home, the gym or elsewhere) working out. This might seem intense, but that is what is needed to successfully body build, as to gain muscle it is all about increasing your workout volume.

Some other ideas of exercising that are good for gaining muscle are:

  • Dead-lifts
  • Barbell bench press
  • Barbell Squat
  • Wide grip lat pull downs
  • Dumbbell shoulder press
  • Dumbbell lunges

You could also get some simple equipment so you can extra little workouts from home. Ab rollers are a great bit of kit that works your core and can really help build up your strength.

The best exercise, in general, for bodybuilding is to do compound exercises. These are exercises that engage multiple muscle groups at once, and so maximize your performance and allow you to get the most you can out of every single workout.

It’s also a good idea to focus on eccentric exercises. This is where your muscle stays contracted, such as during the downward motion of a bicep curl, squat or bench press.

However, you always need to remember to build up your weight slowly to ensure you are being safe and avoid any strain or injury.

What Should You Eat to Gain Muscle?

Alongside exercising, it’s extremely important that you are eating correctly in order to maximize your performance and get the gains you want.

The best way to layout your meals in a day, is to eat lots of meals throughout the day that are packed with lots of protein, rather than just having 3 main meals. Derek ate about 5 to 6 meals every day, and to give you an idea of what sort of thing he would eat, here is what was included in a typical breakfast for Derek:

  • 1 cup of oats
  • 1 banana
  • 8 to 9 veggie servings
  • Veggies with egg whites
  • Game and chicken
  • 3 whole eggs (cooked however you want)


When you exercise, the fibers in your muscles break down, and protein is needed to rebuild them. The rebuilding process is what makes you ‘tone up’ and gain muscle, which is why it is essential to have plenty of protein in your diet. It’s important to make sure you get a good intake of it within about an hour of finishing your workout to get the most gain possible.

A protein shake is a great way to get this protein intake, and there are so many places that sell delicious protein powders for you to make your shakes with. You can get some great protein shakers too, such as this stainless-steel marvel one!

What’s the Secret?

There’s that common phrase “abs are made in the kitchen, not the gym”, and this is very true. Derek said how he found the secret to his success was the commitment to keeping up with good nutrition and a healthy, protein-rich diet. Keeping to the heavy lifting and workout routine is also essential, but diet and nutrition is what ties everything together and makes those hard-earned gains show. Bodybuilding is all about calorie surplus rather than deficit and smashing out workout sessions with some good (and safe) heavy lifting.

So, you should have everything you need to know about how to successfully body build, and hopefully you can take a lot of inspiration from Derek’s story. So, get out there, get that sweat on, and build muscle!