Building muscle isn’t rocket science. All it takes is repeatedly doing the things that are proven in the lab and gym to work. This article provides the 5 great ways to build muscle fast. None of them require you to spend lots of money on fancy fitness equipment or nutritional supplements either. All you have to be willing to do is make a few adjustments to your diet, workout, and supplement routines. Put forth the effort and you’ll be able to gain 5-10 lbs. of muscle in a month or two.
1. Eat Enough Protein Every Day
Contrary to what advertisements for protein powders say, you don’t need to eat and drink hundreds of grams daily to build muscle. The truth is, eating this amount won’t help you build muscle faster. It can actually be stored as fat. All you really need is enough to meet your body’s daily needs and then a little more to stimulate muscle growth. This works out to about .8 grams per pound of body weight. So, if you weigh 150 lbs. you need to eat about 120 grams daily.
Don’t stress too much over the exactly how many grams of protein are in everything you eat. Use the eyeball method instead. This is done by looking at the protein on your plate and picturing an amount that’s the size of the palm of your hand. This amount contains about 28 grams of protein. Do this every time you eat and you’ll easily be able to make sure you eat enough.
You also need to know which foods are protein rich. They include: beef, eggs, poultry, pork, and seafood. Drink a protein shake if you’re having trouble eating enough of these foods. The best type of shake for building muscle is one that uses whey and casein proteins as its primary sources. Research shows these are the best protein powders for building muscle. One study also shows that drinking a shake that contains casein protein before bed can actually turn on the muscle building process.
2. Do ‘Big’ Lifts
Forget exercises like curls, shoulder presses, and flyes and training individual body parts (chest, back, biceps, etc.) if building muscle is your goal. You must instead perform exercises that train several muscle groups at once. Scientific studies show that exercises that do this are better for building muscle than the aforementioned isolation movements.
Exercises you should do lots of include: dips, deadlifts, farmers walks, kettlebell swings, military presses, and pull ups. These are the movements that will really stimulate your body to build muscle fast. This article outlines how to perform my favorite muscle building exercise farmer’s walks.
3. Train Hard Often
You don’t have to work out every day for hours at a time to build lots of muscle. What you need to do is train using the exercises I mentioned above often enough to stimulate muscle growth. Lifting weights 3 to 4 days a week is plenty. Give yourself a days rest after every 1-2 workouts.
Your workouts only need to have 4-6 of these exercises. Choose an exercise for every major muscle group at each workout and you’re set. This includes your legs (squats, deadlifts, lunges), chest/shoulders/triceps (bench press, dips, military press, push ups), and back (bent over rows, pull ups). I like to include a total body exercise every workout too. I find that they are the best exercises for building muscle fast. This includes exercises like kettlebell swings, kettlebell throws, and farmer’s walks.
Perform 3-5 sets of each exercise for 6-10 reps. Use a weight that makes it difficult to do the last rep of each set but not so hard that you cannot do it without using good form. Increase the weight you use when you can do every rep of each set.
4. Rest And Recover Between Your Workouts
Working out breaks down your muscles and eats into your ability to recover. You build muscle when aren’t exercising. Proper rest and recovery can speed the muscle building process. The best way is to get enough sleep. Getting 7-8 hours of sleep every night will enable you to train harder, longer and build muscle faster. If you can’t get this much sleep daily, take a 45 minute nap during the day to make up the difference.
Another way to recover faster and speed the rate at which you can build bigger, stronger muscles is to back off a little bit with regard to the number of sets and reps you do at each workout every once in awhile. Studies show that reducing the workout volume (sets and reps) by about 50% every 8-12 weeks can help you make progress significantly faster. This means that instead of doing 12 total sets at a workout you’ll only do 6 using the same weight. Do this for a week. You can then go back to your normal routine.
Cutting back every once in a while will help you stay mentally fresh too. This in turn gives you more energy to put into your future workouts.
5. Take Nutritional Supplements That Are Proven To Work
Once you have the 4 other tips in place you can consider taking nutritional supplements to help you build more muscle. The key thing is to use products that work. I felt the same way at one time too. What I did about is spend time reviewing scientific studies to see which products are shown to work and then try them on myself. While there are several that I found to work, there are 3 that work best. They are branched chain amino acids, creatine monohydrate, and fish oil.
The first supplement, branched chain amino acids are shown in several research studies to give you energy during your workout, decrease muscle soreness and ‘turn on’ the muscle building process within your body. I find that they work well for me too, especially at increasing my energy and decreasing post-workout soreness. You should take about .05 grams per pound of body weight before and after working out for best results.
Next is my favorite, creatine monohydrate. If you’re only going to take one supplement to build muscle this is the one. This is because there are dozens if not hundreds of scientific studies that show it safely helps you build muscle and get stronger and plenty of real world evidence too. Taking it helped me gain about 10 lbs. of extra muscle in a month. I also notice that I recover faster between sets and my strength increases when I use it as well.
If you decide to give it a try, make sure you buy a product that is tested and guaranteed to nothing but creatine monohydrate to ensure its purity. When you take creatine follow what’s referred to as the loading phase which is taking 10-20 grams a day for 5-7 days for the best results. Research shows this is the best way to get as creatine into your cells as quickly as possible. You can then back off to 5 grams a day to keep getting benefits. You can learn more about the best way to load and take creatine at this article.
Last but not least is fish oil. In addition to being good for the health of your brain and heart, it can also help you build muscle. In one study, subjects taking 2 grams of fish oil daily for 6 weeks added a couple pounds of muscle. They lost fat too. All without changing their diet or exercising at all. When shopping for a fish oil supplement, make sure you buy a concentrated source that’s tested to be free of impurities and pesticides.
- Eat about .8 grams of protein per pound of body weight.
- Do total body workouts using ‘big’ exercises like dips, pull ups, and squats.
- Workout 3-4 days a week using heavy weights.
- Make rest and recovery a priority. Sleeping 8 hours a night is key.
- Take a few supplements that are proven to build muscle like creatine monohydrate.
Now all that’s left for you to do is to apply this info…and get to work in the gym!
(Photo credit: Weights and Water via Shutterstock)