How to Start Building Muscle

If you’re looking for information that will actually be able to help you learn how to start building muscle, you have come to the right place!

We all understand that building muscle is a difficult thing. While it’s never been a consistent upward stream, and never will be for anyone, I have been quite successful in packing on some decent muscle while minimizing fat gain over the past few years, (keep in mind I’m only 16, haha).

Don’t worry, this information is actually worth the time of yours and myself!

My intent within this article is to give you the hard truth on muscle building, clear the air of any lingering BS and give you some actionable and applicable information to work with so you can achieve your goal of BUILDING MUSCLE!

Why Don’t People Build Muscle?

What I’m about to say is something you may very well not expect. The reason why 99% of people do not build the muscle they desire is because they lack consistency. Yes, you heard me right.

Everyone wants to get jacked while staying lean, and this is totally possible. However, they also want to skip the gym on Friday night to go drinking. Or skip that last meal of the day because they’re full. Well, you can’t have both. When one decision is impacted by the other, you need to make the decisions that are consistent with your goal and do so on a consistent basis.

I’m not saying you need to be 100% perfect, I am saying be consistent. Consistent does not look like going to half your workouts and missing the other half. Consistency is hitting all your workouts, but not allowing yourself to feel guilty if you miss one because you were sick or had life events come up.

I’m not saying to make excuses. Those are the fastest way to not achieving any gains. However, things do come up. While you should always do your best to work around these things, sometimes they just interfere with your plan. When these events occur, don’t beat yourself up. Just get right back on track the following day!

I Smell BS in the Air!

Another huge issue with people not building muscle is their desire to find the easy way out. They think protein powders and testosterone boosters will be their magic fix.

Look, I’m going to keep this section of the article short. If you think there are any supplements out there that will allow you to achieve your goals with minimal to no effort from yourself, you may as well pack your bags and get off the bus that’s trying to take you to your goals.

Supplements are called supplements because they HELP you achieve your goals (in a minimal way, but can be effective). They DO NOT achieve your goals for you single handily.

Testosterone boosters are a bunch of BS. Protein powders can come in handy. There are supplements that can be beneficial. However, if you expect your goals to be achieved from supplements alone, and don’t change this perspective… you may as well be the walking joker.

So What Should You Do?

Now that you know some common reasons as to why people don’t achieve the goal of building muscle, let’s take a look at some fundamental steps to achieving this goal.

The first of these steps actually takes place outside of the gym. It is your nutrition. In order to optimally build muscle (I am talking about a pure muscle gain goal, not fat loss and muscle gain), eating in a calorie surplus is most optimal. It gives your body all the energy it needs for day to day functions with leftover to support muscle building processes.

Now we enter the gym. How you structure your program is crucial. The main driver of gains is the number of sets you are doing (training volume). A set has been shown to be effective for hypertrophy when it is between 5 and 30 reps, between 0 and 4 reps in reserve and at above 30% of your one-rep maximum.

Roughly 10-20 sets per muscle group per week will be enough to gain muscle. This is especially true if you are just starting out. With that being said, not every muscle group needs to be trained with the same number of sets. You can prioritize different muscle groups, and a primary way of achieving this is through the amount of targeted work you put on that muscle group.

Now that we have a baseline of the work we should be doing in the gym, what will actually allow us to continually achieve progress? This is called progressive overload. If you gradually increase the training stress you are putting on your muscles over time, they constantly need to adapt in the form of becoming bigger and stronger. The primary methods of achieving progressive overload would be through increasing the sets or reps or weight you are using.

Other Resources:

What I have just discussed are fundamental principles that have been explained rather briefly. I have entire articles on all these subjects. I urge you to check them out after reading this to further your knowledge on gaining muscle. I will link them below:

Nutrition For Goals (Muscle gain goal is about half-way down the article, listed as a sub-heading)

Muscle Gain How-To

What is Volume in Training?

What is Progressive Overload Training?


That’s a Wrap!

If I can leave you with one thing, it would be this. Achieving any goal is a 3-pronged approach. You need to consistently execute your plan to achieve your goals. You need to put forth the effort that will actually propel your progress. You need to set up your program in a smart way, you need to build an effective plan.

That’s all for today folks! If this article has been able to open your eyes as to what you can do to start building muscle, I urge you to give it a share so it can open the eyes of others! Thank you very much for taking the time to read, I truly hope it has been able to benefit you!

As always, if you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to leave them below and I will be sure to reply!


Until Next Time,

Kohl Johnson

Please refer to my liability disclaimer to ensure you know who is responsible for use of this information after reading.


Support is much appreciated if you benefited from this:

Kohl Johnson

I am a 16-year-old fitness fanatic! I have learned nothing but quality training and nutrition information from the utmost well-respected individuals in the field. Now, my only focus is to share this knowledge with you for your benefit, in the most honest way possible. We are all in this together! LET'S GO!

4 Responses

  1. Great article! 

    All of the things you mentioned are very true when it comes to building muscle. A lot of people lack consistency, which eventually leads them to stop going any further. 

    Getting bigger is everyone’s main focus, and I see a lot of people giving up before they see any significant improvement in size.

    The #1 thing to have in order to build muscle is the right motivation. You can take all the supplements that you want, but those won’t do anything if you don’t stick to a weekly routine. 

    Building muscle takes time. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t see any difference in size after the first week, because that is absolutely normal. The key is to stay motivated and keep pushing yourself for weeks and months and you’ll eventually start seeing results. 

    So for anyone reading this: keep all the information provided in this article in mind. There is nothing more important than your mindset when it comes to building muscle.

    • Hi Jay, everything you said is very, very true. 95% of the process is getting the fundamentals down. The quicker people grasp that concept, the quicker they will see the results they desire.

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