Build Muscle. The fastest way to build muscle is to get stronger. The stronger you are, the stronger you’ll look. Get into strength training. Do barbell exercises that hit several muscles at the same time: Squats,Deadlifts, Overhead Press, etc.
Start with an empty barbell. Learn the exercise technique. Increase the weight gradually. If you don’t know where to start, check out the Beginner Strength Training Program: it takes 3 times 30 minutes a week.
Nutrition. You need solid nutrition to get stronger and build muscle. Keep the nutrition healthy and you’ll lose fat. Some tips:
- Protein. 1g/lbs daily. Meat, poultry, fish, eggs, etc.
- Fat. Balance omega 3, 6 & 9 intake: fish oil, saturated fat & olive oil.
- Veggies. All kinds, especially green fibrous veggies.
- Fruit. Also all kinds. Eat veggies and/or fruits with every meal.
- Water. 1 liter per 1000 calories you expend.
- Whole grain food. Oats, rice, pasta, breads, …
Eat foods that come in their natural state. Avoid anything that comes out of a box. Avoid trans-fats. Limit junk food consumption to once a week. Quit drinking soda. These simple tips will make a big difference in a very short time.
Lose Fat. Strength training will build muscle while decreasing your body fat. Eating healthy will further decrease your body fat. If you need to lose a lot of fat or if you’re impatient, these tips are for you:
- Cardio. Do 30 minutes of cardio after your strength training. Three times a week at moderate intensity will do. The goal of cardio is to burn fat, not to exhaust yourself. You should breathe heavier than when at rest, but not gasping.
- Cut calories. Track your food intake. Start eating 18x your current body-weight in lbs. One week later: cut 500kcal. Check the balance one week later again. Did you lose weight? If you did, keep eating the same amount of calories. If not: cut another 500kcal.
Whatever you do: don’t starve yourself. Fat is emergency storage for your body. If you don’t eat your body will hold the fat and burn muscles. That’s the opposite of what you’re after. Only cut calories if you don’t progress.
Women. Building muscle, losing fat and strength training for women is same as for men. The only difference is women have other hormonal profiles than men. Meaning women will always have less muscle mass and more body fat than men.
But the approach is the same. Follow these tips and you’ll get results. You won’t get bulky if you don’t overeat and stay away from steroids.
Motivation. The best way to keep yourself motivated is to set goals & track your progress. The classic scale is not your best tool. Here are better ways.
- Fat measurements. Measure your body fat weekly using a fat caliper.
- Pictures. Take pictures every 4 weeks.
- Blood test. Check health improvements.
- Strength stats. Keep a training journal. More strength is more muscles.
- Weigh scale. Only use it once a week. Each Friday for example.
Would just like to add that nuts, beans, lentils, and tofu are also excellent sources of protein. You can certainly build strong muscles on a vegan/vegetarian diet as well as a conventional diet (: