Five Ways to Build Muscle Quickly, Naturally

"Batter Up!" Pretty soon that cry will be heard on baseball diamonds across the country. Are you ready for the challenge?

Even if you aren’t a player, you still may be looking into the mirror and thinking about how to get rid of that extra flab and tone up those muscles before swimsuit season begins. Since there aren’t too many weeks left, you need a safe, effective and natural way to accomplish your goal. The solution to your search is weight training.

While any kind of exercise benefits the body, when it comes to changing the way your body looks, weight training provides the best results.

Debbie Mandel, author of "Turn On Your Inner Light: Fitness for Body, Mind and Soul," and host of "Turn On Your Inner Light" on Radio WGBB 1240AM in Freeport, N.Y., gave these five tips for gaining muscle.

1. When you lift weights or use the body’s own resistance, do the movement slowly. Fast lifting causes you to use momentum, rather than recruiting the muscle. Don’t swing the weight, as this stops the isolated muscle from working to maximum effort. Try this: Do a biceps curl slowly and controlled, full extension down and then curl up versus quick, abrupt movements. Slow is always harder because the isolated muscle is working.

2. Execute the movement properly. If you are out of alignment, then you are not working the muscle properly and you might be injuring it.

3. Rest in between weight-lifting days; muscles grow during rest. You can do cardio, but do not lift. Two to three days of lifting will provide the best results. If you do not have a specific block of time to allocate, you can always work for shorter periods of time such as doing upper body one day, lower body another day; however, make sure you create balance for your workouts over the week to achieve total body fitness.

4. Do not do cardio beyond 90 minutes. Excessive cardio workouts could cause you to build lean muscle, rather than gain the "bulk" you're seeking.

5. Feed your muscles quality complex carbs and protein. If you do not eat properly before and after your workout, your muscles will not grow. Lean protein, such as egg whites or low fat yogurt, along with whole grain carbs, such as oatmeal and whole-wheat toast, provide good fuel.

During your workout stay hydrated with water, as water is essential for all metabolic processes. The goal is to eat smaller meals throughout the day to stay fueled as opposed to a big spread of time between meals. Avoid sugary, white processed foods, which wreak havoc with glucose levels and your immune system.