Between work, family obligations, and the occasional weekly hangout with the guys, finding time to meet all of your health and fitness goals can prove to be quite challenging. Compound those events with the conflicting ideas concerning optimal workout times, meal frequency, and other factors and the whole idea of building muscle becomes a confusing mess. To help simplify the process, we’ve laid out a step-by-step game plan to your ideal muscle-building day. Follow the steps below to set yourself up for success in achieving your dream physique.

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6AM-8AM

1. Hydrate

After spending six to eight hours horizontal in bed, your body is likely dehydrated. Taking into account that 75% of muscle tissue is water, the lack of hydration can really put a damper on your muscle-building abilities. Replenish the water you missed out on overnight with a tall glass first thing in the morning - before your first cup of coffee. 

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2. Eat a high-quality breakfast

While the intermittent fasting craze has taken off as of late, breakfast is still an important meal especially for guys looking to build muscle. Your muscles likely aren't breaking down from lack of nutrition after only six to eight hours without food, but a solid breakfast is one of the best ways to get a jumpstart on proper fueling for the day and curb cravings. Plus, most guys have more time in the morning to focus on eating properly (provided you don't miss your first alarm). Start with a high-protein breakfast including a few sources of dietary fat. Finish the meal with another large glass of water.

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9AM-11AM

1. Eat a high protein snack

Like many other arenas, the best offense against snacking temptations is a good defense. Plan to take down a high-protein snack mid-morning to keep energy levels high and to prevent yourself from binging on the coffee cakes and cinnamon rolls.

2. Hydrate

Like many of your other coworkers, you’ve likely downed a few cups of coffee by mid-morning. Supplement your java habit with 10-12 ounces of water. The extra fluid will help to keep you hydrated and also prevent hunger pangs (combined with your high-protein snack) that tend to strike at this time.

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3. Move

If you're like the majority of the American population, you spend the bulk of your day seated in front of a computer. That position can both wreak havoc on your posture and ruin your chance at your desired physique. To make matters worse, excess sitting has been correlated with metabolic disease, depressed mood states, and increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Beat them all by moving around mid-morning. After planning out your day and answering any pertinent emails, take a quick walk around the office. Try to move for at least 5-10 minutes. If you don’t mind being dubbed the office health nut, throw in some bodyweight squats and push-ups. Keep moving throughout the day trying to be seated for no more than an hour at a time.

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12PM-2PM

1. Workout

Afternoon workouts are beneficial for several reasons. First, your body is likely more warmed up than first thing in the morning leading to less risk of injury. Second, hormones like growth hormone and testosterone are at higher levels ensuring that you get the most muscle-building benefit from your lifting session. Lastly, the demands of the workout session ensure that your energy levels are high, and you avoid the mid-afternoon slump.

To get the most out of your afternoon workout, focus on hitting your entire body combining multi-joint exercises like squats and deadlifts. This type of whole-body focus will further elevate your hormones and help you get in and out of the gym quickly.

2. Eat a high protein lunch

Protein is crucial to take in, particularly post-workout. Alongside your serving of this muscle-building macronutrient, be sure to include some fast-digesting carbohydrates like potatoes or rice. The carbohydrates will slow down catabolism – the body’s process of breaking down tissue during your workout. This results in a faster recovery and jumpstart on the muscle-building process.

3. Supplement with creatine

Creatine is one of the most popular sports supplements on the market for one reason – it works. The strength builder has been backed by numerous studies and offers a safe way for men to increase muscle mass. If you need to take back your daily dose, http://www.mensfitness.com/nutrition/supplements/when