Rule #1: Eat at least one gram of protein per pound of bodyweight each day

This one can't be overstated enough. A bodybuilding diet packed with the right amount of macronutrients is vital. And just as important is protein - it's what helps build muscle. Without protein, all your musclebuilding efforts will be in vain. Luckily, this rule is an easy one to follow. If, for example, you weigh 200 pounds, you should be eating a minimum of 200 grams of protein each and every day to build mass. Spread that 200 grams out over 5 or 6 smaller meals over the course of the day, and suddenly eating enough protein doesn't seem that difficult. Protein can be obtained from a variety of sources, though for best results you should try to get yours mostly from leaner cuts of beef, chicken, turkey, and fish, as well as scientifically advanced protein supplements.

Rule #2: Get plenty of sleep each night

Sleep is often overlooked as a critical aspect of building muscle, yet to deprive yourself of optimal sleep would be a big mistake if you're looking to pack on quality size. Getting roughly eight hours of sleep each and every night will help play an important role in protein synthesis and the release of growth hormones, and it will help you recover faster for another day at the gym. One secret some top bodybuilders use to help ensure they get enough sleep is to have nap of an hour or two in the afternoon. So if you have a few hours between classes or your shift ends early, why not catch a few z's?

Rule #3: Make post-workout nutrition a priority

There is one moment during the day when nutrition matters above all else. Your post-workout supplementation program not only affects the muscular size, strength, recovery, and energy you have today, but also affects your future training and physical performance. Nutritional experts generally agree that the best time to fulfill nutrient requirements caused by lifting weights is within one hour after having finished training. This narrow but critical window of opportunity is when the human body's response to supplementation is at its greatest level.

Rule #4: Drink plenty of water each day

While drinking water might not seem like a significantly important aspect of growing muscle, the truth is that it's one of the most overlooked reasons why many bodybuilders may not be achieving their goals. Proper hydration goes far beyond simply being thirsty or not. One of the many effects of dehydration is lowered performance, which decreases your gains through the lowered ability to lift heavy weights. Another is cell shrinking. When a muscle cell shrinks due to lack of water in its environment, it signals cell protein loss and muscle catabolism! Under normal conditions, everyone loses some water every day through sweat, tears, and using the washroom. However, bodybuilders will lose even more water through sweating if they are performing intense training and cardio numerous times each week. Remember, voluntary drinking doesn't replace all the water you lose from sweating. Thirst is actually an imprecise indicator of dehydration. Chances are that by the time you're thirsty, you're already dehydrated.

Rule #5: Perform more compound free-weight exercises

With all the machines we use in our everyday lives, it's not surprising that machines are also slowly taking over gyms as well. While machines may be comfortable and convenient, free weights are the way to go if you want to add serious mass. Machines take the element of balance out of the exercise and can limit the involvement of stabilizing muscles and secondary muscle groups, which limits the total number of muscles and muscle fibers involved in the exercise. Getting back to basics and training using exercises such as squats, bench, deadlifts, shoulder presses, and barbell rows is the way to go for packing on more mass.