If you’re like a lot of guys out there, than you want to know the quickest and most efficient way possible to pile on pounds of lean muscle. I don’t blame you. What guy doesn’t want to know the secret to building muscle fast? Unfortunately there is no shortcut that will produce a lean muscular physique in a few short weeks. If it existed we would have found it by now.
What does exist however there are several principles, that when applied correctly and consistently over a period of time, will transform your soft skinny body into that of a Greek god. If these muscle building principles interest you then keep reading as I go through them and explain exactly how to capitalize on them to start building muscle the fastest way possible.
Your Current Diet
You’ve probably heard this before but since you’re still looking up articles like this in search for a better answer, then I’ll assume that it hasn’t quite set in. If you want to grow then you need to optimize your diet. If you’re not eating enough food EVERY day then you will struggle to grow, case closed.
Not only do you need to be in control of the amount of food that you’re eating every day, but you need to make the right food choices that make up those calories. Just using the “See Food Protocol” will not give you the results you want, unless you’re trying to get fat; in that case have at it.
I’m often asked what people need to eat in order to build muscle. People want to know how much they should be eating and a ton of other questions. The first thing I tell them to do is figure out what they are currently eating. Most guys have no clue how many calories they are consuming each day. Or they think they know but when they actually keep track and count the calories, they are way off.
If you aren’t sure how many calories you’re eating each day then that is the first place to start if you want to modify your diet so that you start growing. Keep track of your meals for the next couple of days. Get an idea of how many calories you consume on a typical day.
If you’re an over achiever, then tally up your macro-nutrients. It’s good to know where the calories you’re eating are coming from. Once you’ve figured out your current macro-nutrient and caloric intake for a typical day, you’re ready to make some adjustments.
Optimizing Your Diet
At this point you’re going to adjust your macro-nutrients so that they are optimized for muscle growth. To do this you’re going to need to know your lean body mass (LBM). You can figure this out by having your body fat percentage tested.
If you weigh 200 pounds and your body fat is 20%, that means that you have 40 pounds of body fat. 200 – 40 = 160 pound of LBM.
Now to figure out the best intake for each macro-nutrient you’re going to use your current caloric intake as the starting point. For my example I’m going to use an individual with an average caloric intake of 2,000 calories.
Protein intake should be set to 1 – 1.5 grams per pound of LBM. For our example individual that would come out to be 160 – 240 grams of protein per day. I prefer to use 1.5 grams per pound of LBM but as long as you’re at a minimum of 1 gram per pound of LBM then you should be good.
Fat intake is next. I prefer setting my fat intake to .5 grams per pound of LBM. Again using our example above, their fat intake would be 80 grams of fat per day.
At this point we have used 940 calories for protein and 720 calories for fat. So far we’ve used 1,660 of our available 2,000. This leaves us with 350 calories available for our carbohydrate intake. Since there are 4 calories per gram of carbohydrate simply divide 350 / 4 to get your daily intake of 85 grams of carbohydrates.
Protein intake 240 grams per day (940 calories)
Fat intake 80 grams per day (720 calories)
Carbohydrate intake 85 grams per day (350 calories)
This is where I would suggest starting an individual who’s been eating roughly 2,000 calories a day. From this point I suggest increasing your calories each week. This should be done slowly while paying close attention to your body fat. If you don’t increase the calories enough then growth will stall. Add them on too quickly and you’ll see some extra body fat start to accumulate.
Work Harder & Smarter
Now that you’ve got your diet straightened out it’ time to turn your attention to your workouts. Chances are, if you have struggled to put on any decent amount of muscle mass then your workouts aren’t as effective as they should be. Let’s discuss some of the most common areas that guys go wrong with their workouts.
One of the biggest mistakes I see a lot of guys make in the gym is the order of their exercises. A lot of guys are training the larger muscle groups after exhausting synergistic muscle. An example would be doing a triceps exercise followed by a press or barbell curls followed by rows.
The problem with this is that by training a muscle group like the triceps before doing a pressing exercise for the chest you will drastically reduce the amount of weight that can be used during the pressing movement. Think about this; if you wanted to perform a 1 rep max on your squat would you run a mile before doing it? Hell No! You’d want to make sure that you had as much energy as possible to devote towards that 1 rep max.
You should have the same mentality with all of your workouts. Perform exercises in order of size, punishing the larger muscle groups first, then moving on to the smaller muscle groups. This might seem simple, but it’s one of the biggest mistakes I see guys make in the gym, luckily it’s a simple fix. By making this change you’ll be able to start training with heavier weight and working those larger muscle groups harder and you can start doing this during your next session. Can’t get much faster than that!
Another training mistake that I see too much of is guys lifting weight that is too heavy. It’s not bad to try and challenge yourself; you need to do that in order to grow. However, if the weight you’re using causes you to use bad form or go through the movement too quickly then you’re not doing yourself any favors.
Bad form not only increases your chances of getting injured but it will seriously reduce the amount of tension that you apply to the muscle you’re trying to grow. Bad form will decrease the effectiveness of the exercise by limiting the amount of time that the muscle is under tension (this is also known as TUT).
Cheating the weight up using bad form or just hammering out a bunch of fast reps might make your feel tough but it’s not going to help you grow. If want to build muscle fast then focus more on each rep, really think about the muscles that you’re trying to target and concentrate on applying tension throughout the entire movement. I promise that you’ll feel and see a huge difference if you do.
Recovery Is The Key To Fast Muscle
When guys try to build muscle as fast as possible they think they need to work out every day, sometimes multiple times a day for hours on end. They think that more is better but it’s not.
These guys are operating under the impression that muscle growth actually occurs in the gym while you’re training. The truth is that muscle growth doesn’t occur in the gym. Most muscle growth actually takes place when you’re asleep.
Recovery is possibly the most over looked aspect of muscle growth. For people looking for the fastest way to build muscle mass getting more sleep is probably the best answer assuming you’ve done everything else on this list.
It’s during sleep where vital muscle building hormones are released and your damaged (if you trained correctly) muscle tissue is repaired. When muscle is repaired it’s made bigger and stronger than it was in an effort to prevent future trauma. But since you practice the concept of progressive overload future trauma and continued muscle growth are inevitable.
In addition to getting more sleep, there’s not need to train for hours every day. In fact if your training sessions are much longer than an hour then you’re either doing too much, taking too long of breaks or talking too much between sets. All of which are inefficient if your goal is to build muscle.
Let’s recap what I feel are some of the fastest ways to build muscle mass.
1. Figure Out Your Current Caloric Intake
2. Adjust Your Macro-Nutrients To Optimize Your Diet
3. Target Muscle Groups By Lifting Slowly With Correct Form
4. Maximize Recovery By Limiting Time in The Gym Getting Lots of Sleep
Are any of these things going to make you grow 20 inch arms over night? No, but they are critical to your long term muscle building success. These recommendations can be put in place the moment you decide to do them, so they are things that can have an immediate impact on your ability to finally put on some mass.