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How to Build Muscle Fast: 10 Steps to Be Strong

How to Build Muscle Fast: 10 Steps to Be Strong

Most people who have the goal of building muscle don’t want to wait a long time to see results. It can be frustrating to train for a long time and feel like you’re working hard, but not really see a difference in your body. Want to know how to build muscle fast? Try these 10 steps to be strong in a short period of time.

1. Weight matters.

That sounds obvious, but to build muscle, you need to challenge yourself with increasingly heavier weights. If you keep lifting the same amount day after day, you won’t build muscle. So challenge yourself to lift more, and you’ll build that much more quickly.

2. Go fast.

Don’t try to time how long it takes you to lift, hold, and release when you’re lifting. Instead, think about powerful movements and increase the tempo a bit if you can. You’ll use more of your fast-twitch muscles, which will help you see results faster.

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3. Watch your form.

Having said that, though, make sure that you’re performing the movements correctly when you’re lifting weights. You don’t want to hurt yourself because you’re doing it wrong. So if you’re ever in doubt, go slowly enough to make sure you’re lifting properly, then speed up a bit if you can, while maintaining good form.

4. Work your muscles together.

Lots of people like to do single-joint movements like bicep curls. But to get strong quickly, multi-joint exercises are so much more effective. Next time, try doing some deadlifts or bench presses, and you’ll see results a lot sooner.

5. Eat.

You need a lot of calories for the hard work you’re doing, and calories are necessary for building muscle. Make sure you’re eating 250 to 500 more calories a day than you were before you started trying to build muscle. You’ll probably need to up your protein intake, too; some experts say you should eat a gram of protein for every pound you weigh. It’s a really great idea to have a protein-packed snack within half an hour of wrapping up your workout, too, to aid in recovery.

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6. Drink.

Staying hydrated keeps you healthy in all sorts of ways, but it’s especially helpful to aid in recovery when you’re working out hard. Drinking enough water will ensure you don’t get fatigued and need longer to recover.

7. Be willing to rest and recover.

Speaking of recovery, don’t think that the best way to build muscle fast is going to be working out hard every day. That’s a sure route to injury. You need to work out as hard as you can, until the muscles are really worn out, but then give them a couple of days to repair before working them out again. Remember, lifting a lot of weight is literally tearing up your muscles; building up muscle is your body’s way of repairing that damage. If you don’t give your body time to do that work, you won’t see results, you’ll just get hurt.

8. Do some cardio, too.

So what do you do while you’re recovering? Certainly you’ll have different muscle groups to work on different days, but you can also spend more time focusing on cardio on those recovery days. But if you have time to do both on the same day, do your weights first. That way your heart rate will be up when you start your cardio, so you’ll burn more fat, thus showing off your muscle that much faster.

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9. Supplement if you want.

There are all sorts of supplements out there that claim to be effective to help you build muscle fast and get strong in no time. A lot of these are full of hype rather than results, but there are a few specific supplements that are helpful, including branched chain amino acids, creatine monohydrate, and fish oil. Check out this article on fitness and nutrition hacks for building muscle for more about these supplements and how to use them.

10. Watch your stress levels.

When you’re stressed out, levels of cortisol jump and testosterone takes a nosedive. Testosterone helps build muscles, while cortisol actually damages your muscles, so you need to limit your stress as much as possible while you’re building muscle.

Check out “10 Workout Hacks for Building Muscle” for more tips and ideas to help you build muscle quickly.

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Featured photo credit: Man lifting weights from user dmscs, via morgueFile.

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Sarah White

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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