Whether you want to build muscle or just look better, it’s a good idea to start by making sure your workout and diet are on point. If one of those pillars is off, it’ll be harder to get the results you’re after.

You can stimulate muscle growth with your workouts, but if you don’t have enough calories to fuel that growth, it won’t matter how good your training program is. And if you don’t have enough rest to allow your muscles to recover from your workouts, you won’t be able to build muscle either.

Building muscles requires a lot of work, so you need to be committed to doing it consistently. It’s a great idea to hire a personal trainer, strength coach or exercise physiologist to help you avoid injuries and make sure you’re doing each workout correctly. They can also provide tips on how to maximize your muscle gains and minimize fat gain.

The best way to build muscle is to work out with weights, but you can also use resistance bands and your own bodyweight for some exercises, too. If you’re new to lifting, it’s important to start slow and work up to higher reps and heavier weights as you get comfortable with each exercise.

It’s also important to vary your workouts, so you’re working different muscles each time. For example, instead of doing bicep curls every workout, try dumbbell rows to hit the biceps but also work other muscles in your shoulders and back. You can also increase the difficulty of your workouts by increasing the number of repetitions or by using a higher amount of weight, such as when you’re doing squats, bench presses and deadlifts.

You can get protein from whole foods, such as lean meats, fish and dairy products. Nutrient-dense plant foods, such as beans, peas, lentils and nuts, are also good sources of protein. If you’re having trouble getting the protein you need from food alone, you can supplement your diet with a whey protein powder.

The best time to eat protein to support muscle growth is right after your workout, when your muscles are primed for it. You can also eat protein in smaller meals throughout the day. Just make sure to eat protein with carbohydrates and healthy fats to maximize muscle building.

In order to build muscle, you need to eat enough calories to fuel your workouts and provide the nutrients necessary for recovery. It’s a good idea to consult with a nutritionist or health professional before making big changes to your diet.

Muscles aren’t made in the gym, but they’re kept there with good nutrition and proper sleep. Make sure you’re eating enough protein and carbs, as well as healthy fats and fiber, to keep your muscles growing. If you don’t have enough time to cook, preparing protein-rich snacks like grated cheese or peanut butter on whole grain bread can be a good option. Also, consider adding a powdered protein supplement to your smoothies or shakes.