Today's Edge: Building muscle requires more than slurping protein shakes and doing curls. Muscle gain takes a comprehensive approach. Here are 6 components to efficient muscle gain:
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1. SLEEP: Lift hard, sleep hard. How do you expect muscle to repair and grow if you don't give it time to recover and rebuild? When you prioritize sleep you optimize the hormones responsible for supporting muscle growth. Natural and necessary levels of growth hormone and testosterone require sleep.
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2. SUNSHINE: Exposure to 20-30 minutes of natural sunlight helps to regulate sleep and it's the best source of vitamin D. Vitamin D is critical to muscle repair and growth.
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3. MANAGE STRESS: Stress or poorly managed stress results in an increase in muscle kryptonite: Cortisol. Use mindfulness strategies and give yourself time to debrief from the stress of life if you want to build muscle. 
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4. GET ENOUGH PROTEIN: Somewhere between .6 - .9 grams of protein per pound of body weight per day there's a sweet spot for total protein intake for you. You might be on the higher end if you're a hard gainer, you might be on the lower end if you're an easy gainer. Your ability to burn fat for fuel can also influence what this number needs to be. Seek a variety of real food protein sources and supplement with protein powders where necessary. @biosteelsports are the highest quality supplements you'll find.
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5. LIFT HEAVY STUFF: You need to lift big to get big. Use many muscle groups, big movements and varied set/rep schemes. Shoot for resistance training 3-5 times per week for best muscle gain results. 
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6. CALORIC SURPLUS: Eat more than you're burning. You'll need to support the added resistance training with added quality calories. You may have to eat more often, but at the end of the day you'll need to have consumed more than you've burned. Don't fall into the trap of thinking you can out-train poor quality calories.


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Tim DiFrancesco, PT, DPT, ATC, CSCS spent 6 seasons as the Head Strength & Conditioning Coach of the Los Angeles Lakers and founder of TD Athletes Edge.  He is nationally renowned for his evidence-based and scientific approach to fitness, training, nutrition, and recovery for athletes and fitness enthusiasts.

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