Muscle can be gained with a combination of weight-lifting workouts and a high-protein diet. Those hoping to gain muscle mass should focus on weight-lifting workouts that target the chest, back and legs because these are the largest muscle groups. A high-protein diet is essential because the body's ability to build up more protein than it breaks down is a key component of muscle building.
The process by which the body stores protein is known as protein synthesis. The greater the protein synthesis the larger the muscles grow. To gain muscle mass, a good rule of thumb is to eat 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight per day. The remaining caloric intake should be split between carbohydrates and fats. It is also helpful to drink a protein shake made with whey-protein powder 30 minutes before each workout.
Exercises that build the body's largest muscle groups include squats, deadlifts, bench presses and military presses. Weight-lifting exercises should be performed every other day. A rest day between workouts is crucial because muscles grow during the rest period, not while they are being exercised. It is also helpful to eat a high-carbohydrate meal after each workout. Carbohydrates assist muscles in the rebuilding process because they increase the production of insulin, which in turn helps prevent protein breakdown.