#1- Prioritize the big lifts first and start with the big lifts in the beginning of your workout when you're fresh!!
When it comes to gaining muscle as a beginner there are 3 muscles that are the most critical to blast. Those 3 muscle groups are chest, back, and legs!!
You will not add 2″ on your arms by simply doing barbell curls, but you can add 2″ to your arms by never touching a barbell curl and focusing on growing your body as an entire unit!!
#2- Only perform accessory work once a week.
#3- Stick to just 1 or 2 quality supplements until you've slapped on some decent muscle.
I see nothing wrong with quality protein powder, creatine, multi-vitamins and high calorie weight gain shakes to gain major size for a beginner.
Leave the other shit alone until you already have some mass on your frame.
#4- Calories over nutrients.
You probably don't want to hear this because it goes against everything you'll read now, but calories are energy and you need them to grow.
As a beginner you do not need to nit-pick over diet foods when it comes to gains. You need these calories to grow. I always lived by the rule of 80% clean foods, 20% dirty.
#5- Stay consistent with training, food and just a couple quality supplements.
This means that each day you hit enough calories to grow, each day you take your creatine and protein powder, and you don't fucking skip out on things like leg day!!
#6- Train to gain weight and lift more weight.
Forget some of my other articles on volumizing muscle, slower reps and time under tension, and high intensity techniques.
You're not ready for that yet. What you need to focus on right now is slapping more weight on that bar on a consistent basis…and lifting it!! Stronger muscles become larger muscles!!
#7- Power up throughout the entire movement.
This means that you try to push with the same amount of force from the bottom of the rep to the top of the rep. There are no slow spots, it's pure power from point A to point B!!
#8- Keep good form and remember to breathe.
On bench press you want to keep a high chest and your shoulder blades together (helps protect shoulders), on deadlifts you want to keep your back as straight as possible and power up through the heels, and on squats you want to keep a high chest and again power up through the floor.
#9- Lose the ego.
Listen, ego can be a killer in the gym. If you cannot yet bench press 315 lbs then so what? Eventually you will if you're consistent with training hard and eating enough food to grow.
Focus on quality reps right now, power, and bar speed. You don't need every set to go up sloppily and you barely get it.
This is when using a slightly more moderate weight that you can blast up again and again through multiple sets can benefit you.
Powerlifters do a large number of sets because it's all based on the tonnage system. The tonnage system is when you basically lift an extra 10 lbs on the bar x 8 sets. Lets say you've done 3 reps a set with 10 lbs more. That equals an extra 240 lbs lifted that workout.
When you think of your lifts like this then you can see where your body will have no choice but to grow. Your body grows under stress and new muscle stimuli.
#10- Use what's within your reach!!
So you may not be able to afford steak right now, then eat ground beef you buy in bulk. You may not be able to afford a $100 lifting belt, get a more affordable belt and use it as a tool but don't rely on it.
To this day I use a cheap weight belt from Wal-mart because it's just what I'm used to. I'll probably splurge and get a nicer one soon, but this works for now!!
If you don't have gym clothes then go grab some from a consignment store or thrift shop, nobody will know and who really gives a shit?
Use what you got or can get and train hard!! -John
PS – If you liked this article you will love my book Becoming The Bull. It's like this article but with a lot more information.