You: A gung-ho college freshman looking to put on some beef and attract all the hot chicks.
Your Plan: Hit the gym every day for 2 hours during the week and lift all day during the weekend – obviously if you workout all the time, you’ll get bigger faster.
Your Goal: Turn into a ripped mo-fo and get a girlfriend by second semester.
Your Problem: Muscle size and strength only increases during recovery – not in the gym…your efforts will result in frustration and lots of xbox playing on Saturday nights.
The Solution: Rest To Grow – Avoid OverTraining
What most novice lifters don’t quite understand is how rest and muscle growth and recovery work. When you hit the gym, you are actually tearing down your muscles, only to have them repair themselves and grow back bigger and stronger. With improper rest intervals, which usually is the result of a poor workout routine (or no routine at all) your muscles NEVER get a chance to repair themselves and grow bigger. This results in smaller (or no gains), frustration and destructive behavior – like working out even harder to get your gains!
To avoid overtraining, it is recommended to give each muscle group at least 48 hours to recover between workouts. One such routine you can use is called a “split”. If you hear someone say they are on a “split routine” that means they have specific upper and lower body days and usually throw in acardio day in between.
Another common split routine is to divide up your workouts by pushing and pulling exercises, by body part, etc,
Whatever strategy you choose, you need to ensure your nutrition is in-check, you are eating plenty of protein and aminos to stimulate your muscle building and recovery. And again, remember that your muscle gains are made during rest, not while lifting. Here is a great article on how to grow your muscles on bodybuilding.com.