Beginners 5 Step Guide on Building Muscle - Tips from a Personal Trainer

Consistently going to the gym but struggling to put on muscle? 

Well look no further, as Personal Trainer and Competitive Powerlifter Sean Creedy explains in this article how you can build muscle as a gym newbie.

Sean believes there are 5 simple steps to building muscle no matter what level of fitness you're at.

So whether you've just finished a set or you're heading to the gym today, take some time to scroll through to see how you can optimise your exercise.

 Sean Creedy physique

Step 1 - Set Clear Goals

Whether you're weightlifting like Eddie Hall or bodybuilding like Arnold Schwarzenegger, it's crucial that you have clear goals in mind when trying to build muscle.

Having clear goals gives you the perfect roadmap to achieving the best results. 

In fact, research shows that the more specific your goals are the more motivated you become, which in turn will increase the likelihood of you achieving them (R. D. Arvey et al, 1976).

Therefore, before you start your muscle building journey, having clear specific goals in mind will stand you in good stead going forward.

Sean Creedy at the British Powerlifting Championship qualifiers in Rhyl (April 2023)

Step 2 - Structured Routine

Before we go any further, let's take a moment to address the elephant in the room.

We've all skipped muscle groups in the gym in favour of another group we prefer.

Spontaneously doing a chest workout on leg day may seem tempting, however it can hinder your progress in the long term.

Sean recommends that you follow a workout routine that targets ALL muscle groups, and that you should aim for around 3 to 4 workouts per week to allow adequate recovery time. 

A routine like this would be seen as regular physical activity, which can improve your muscle strength and boost your endurance (Mayo Clinic, 2023).

Sean Creedy competing at the British Powerlifting Championship qualifiers in Rhyl (April 2023)

Step 3 - Utilise Compound Exercises

As a competitive powerlifter, Sean is all too familiar with compound exercises such as the squat, bench, and deadlift during his workouts.

And he doesn't do it blind fully either.

An article published by Lifestyle Fitness earlier this year states that compound exercises help to stimulate the release of hormones which help build muscle, such as testosterone and other natural growth hormones.

Therefore, compound exercises are scientifically proven to help stimulate your muscle growth, and when it's recommended by a powerlifter you can't really doubt it's effectiveness.

Sean Creedy in his Animal Instinct Oversized Pump Cover Tee

Step 4 - Progressive Overload

When you're in a set routine in the gym, it's easy to incur negative habits such as sticking to the same weight for your exercises.

This is detrimental to your growth and will stagnate your progress.

Sean instead recommends that over time you should start to gradually increase the weight and reps of your exercises in order to challenge your muscles and promote continuous growth. 

According to extensive research by W. J. Kraemer Ph.D., the manipulation of the volume of resistance exercise over several weeks has been suggested to influence metabolic and hormonal responses (1991; 2005).

In English, a steady progression of weight stimulates muscle growth hormones (as mentioned earlier in the article).

Therefore it is paramount that you incorporate progressive overload into your workout routine. 

Sean Creedy in the zone at the British Powerlifting qualifiers in Rhyl (April 2023)

Step 5 - Nutrition and Rest

Arguably the most underestimated steps in building muscle, nutrition and rest are one of the most important aspects of seeing real progress. 

Consuming a balanced diet is advised, with Sean recommending foods rich in protein to help support muscle growth.

To find out more about a balanced diet, The Eatwell Guide by the NHS is a great basis for what people should aim to achieve.

Sleep is also important in building muscle, as confusing as that may sound. 

In fact, a study carried out by the American College of Physicians (2010) found that a group of sleep deprived individuals lost 60% more muscle mass than a group with an adequate sleep schedule.

Imagine how much of your hard earned muscle you've lost staying up all night scrolling social media!

In all seriousness, rest is highly recommended in the aid of muscle repair.


And there you have it, that's five simple steps recommended by Powerlifter and Personal Trainer Sean Creedy on how to grow muscle.

This article was inspired by an Instagram post made by Sean Creedy, which you can find on his Instagram handle @creedyfitness_ along with other tips on living a healthy lifestyle.

As well as being a Personal Trainer, Sean Creedy is an Animal Instinct athlete that has represented the brand twice in competitive powerlifting.

In this article, he is pictured wearing the Black and White versions of our Mens Oversized Pump Cover Tee, which you can find in our shop.