10-Step Simple Plan for Building Strength, Muscle Mass and Muscle Definition

So you’re going to the gym and putting your all into your awesome workouts, but you know that something is missing, that it just doesn’t feel right. Maybe your shoulders are too sore or your elbow hurts or you just aren’t seeing the progress you were hoping for.

Today I want to show you how to structure your action plan so you can take care of all of this and gain control over the shape of your body.

You can look like this too!

You can look like this too!

Fitness Journey: What’s the Right Thing to Do First? And What to Do Second?

Most people go about building muscle the wrong way. Do you feel like you are one of them?

Let me know if this sounds familiar.

  • Pounding protein shake first thing in the morning
  • Scrambling eggs every day to get enough protein
  • Working out and following the latest plans from your favourite fitness magazine
  • Reading the latest fitness news every evening
  • Getting tips from your local personal trainer who seems to know it all

…And despite all of this you still don’t have the body you desire.

You know what I’m talking about, the type of body that is supposed to bring you more confidence, social status, self-worth and happiness into your life.

So what’s wrong?

Is it you?

No.

It’s the approach. Or in other words, you are perfectly fine, but your method sucks.

Here’s the issue with the conventional approach: it just doesn’t work.

That’s why I’ve outlined a simple 10 step process to help you understand this, take action and build the body of your dreams over time.

Let’s see what you can do differently to build some size, but keep the definition and avoid the terrible bulk:

  1. Set a clear and specific goal
  2. Come up with a detailed action plan and clear strategy
  3. Develop a habit of going to the gym – be consistent
  4. Learn all of the exercises for all of your muscle groups
  5. Work on your exercise form – master it
  6. Build a good foundation of strength and conditioning
  7. Build some solid Muscle Size
  8. Focus on the Mind-Muscle connection
  9. Check progress towards your goal on a regular basis (compare pictures). Reevaluate if necessary.
  10. Become a source of coaching and inspiration for others

Let’s break this down.

Here’s the Step-by-Step Process

You start with a goal in mind. Imagine the type of the body you wanna build.

Just be realistic.

Imagine the amount of body fat and muscle mass you wanna carry.

Once you have it, write it down and get specific about it.

From here, you can start making plans on how you will achieve your desired outcome.

At this point you want to start thinking about creating a new structure for your lifestyle, to better fit your fitness goals (no pun intended :)).

This may mean waking up earlier, going to bed sooner, finding someone to go with you to the gym or skipping lunch and going to the gym during lunch break instead, you get the point.

Once you are there it’s all about implementing your plans and strategies and then being consistent and patient.

Did you know that it takes about 30 days for a repeated action to become a habit?

You have to bear that in mind when you are stressing about slow progress.

What usually happens when you hire a trainer is that he overwhelms you with diet and training changes.

Personally, I think that at this point you should hold back from implementing more techniques and just go to the gym and do something. Get into the routine. First you might go for only 20 minutes, it doesn’t matter, the next workout can be longer.

It’s still progress and at the beginning you wanna focus on developing the routine and taking SOME action.

After about 4 weeks, you are clear on your goals and have a good routine going on. That’s a great situation to be in.

Come the 5th week, get a professional workout program (my best pick is The Transformation Blueprint) and start following that instead of just blindly moving weights around in the gym not knowing what to do.

In this month you also need to learn the proper form on all of the exercises i.e. go through the video tutorials (FYI all Muscle Pyramid workouts have them), practice the form and focus on the lift when you are at the gym and then watch the videos again when you get home. Obviously the best thing would be to have someone  film you when you’re doing the exercises (or you can do it yourself). You could then compare it to the professional tutorials and see where you need to improve.

Just so you know, after you learn the form you are already light years ahead of 95% of the guys in the gym who just don’t understand that form always comes before weight, as far as importance is concerned, and I’m not just talking about safety and an injury-free life here. If your form sucks, your gains will too. But once you learn it, there will be a phase you go through where you will be gaining a lot of strength (assuming you are a beginner or only slightly advanced). This phase usually begins about 3 months after you started following a proper workout.

Once you get some strength foundation and conditioning you are really progressing and the hardest part is behind you (learning exercises, creating new routines and gaining some basic strength and conditioning).

What’s next?

At this point going to gym is normal for you, just like brushing your teeth every morning. Also, you aren’t as sore as you were at the beginning and you actually enjoy working out and the feeling of strength and confidence it gives you.

At this point you should pick a harder workout (if you are following the Transformation Blueprint or the Hardgainer Solution it’s already taken care of for you by the natural difficulty progression within the program).

At this point, you are gaining size and it’s starting to become obvious. This phase comes after you learning proper form and gaining basic strength in order for you to be able to handle more difficult workouts. It can take up to two years before your gains start to seriously slow down. Most people make a quite incredible transformation in the first 3 months of their training, given they have a solid workout program, and the “quick muscle gains” usually last up til the following year.

When you get to this point you should do something very important that most guys never do or even think about doing, something you won’t find in fitness magazines. Do you know what it is?

It’s working on the mind-muscle connection.

What you wanna do is, instead of increasing weights every workout, which is impossible (ya, you can’t keep increasing the weight you lift forever), stop thinking about the weights COMPLETELY – let it be there just as a resistance, nothing more.

You see, muscle is built by expending and squeezing the weight, so when you are lifting decent weights and already have some strength, it’s important to focus on the actual training of the muscle.

Now, you don’t wanna do this at the beginning obviously, that would be too much stuff to focus on – routine, goals, workouts, training, getting to the gym, getting stronger etc – but later on it’s the only way to get in killer shape unless you want to just stay “fit”, and there is nothing wrong with fit, it’s healthy, but it’s still weak and average looking. If you are after a desirable and dominant male look, then this is the next step you wanna focus on.

The mind-muscle connection is, in its essence, “body building”, but if I used that phrase everyone would think about something completely different thanks to modern fitness media.

So…

Give yourself permission to lift light and focus on squeezing the muscle, slowing down the tempo, keeping perfect form and feeling the muscle pump…that’s the best way to get huge gains, guaranteed!

When you are so advanced that people compliment you on your look every day, you get smiles from women, you feel the power in business meetings, you enjoy walking down the beach with your shirt off and in the gym guys ask you for advice, it’s time to reevaluate your goals.

Some guys choose to compete in pro fitness contests, some just continue developing their physique, but not being interested in the fitness industry, some start coaching others or just make money from developing fitness plans for the general public.

It’s up to you whether you will just keep this as a tool to help you live a better life, or help others using your knowledge and experience.

What to Watch Out For

Here is the important part – most people will act immaturely and just disregard this advice and skip right to the point of trying to lift as heavy as possible, usually following some bodybuilding split plan from their favourite fitness magazine. That is a very uneducated and almost childish approach.

You are smarter than that.

Instead, make a weekly and monthly checklist based on the steps above and follow that plan only. Don’t force it. You need to take it slowly, trying to achieve something quickly never works and usually just means spending money on useless crap, killing your best years and constantly having injury lurking around the corner.

Be smart about it and don’t take the shortcut everyone is offering. Take the slow road and become the champion while everyone else is chasing the latest trends, fad diets and magic pills.

Good luck.

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About Vaclav Gregor

Vaclav Gregor is a peak physique coach and a former hard gainer from Czech Republic. Vaclav is a founder of Muscle Pyramid and a senior member of Adonis Lifestyle team. His focus is on helping young, busy guys, who are not satisfied with how they look, build a peak physique and a better life. He is a believer in doing things differently. Being connected to a few of the best scientists, fitness models and "behind scene guys" he knows the truth about fitness, bodybuilding, steroids and supplements. You can sign up for his free series on how to start building a better body with your training and diet plan here.