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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

Freelance Writer, Editor, Professional Crafter

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Last Updated on November 20, 2018

10 Reasons Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail

10 Reasons Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail

A new year beautifully symbolizes a new chapter opening in the book that is your life. But while so many people like you aspire to achieve ambitious goals, only 12% of you will ever experience the taste of victory. Sound bad? It is. 156 million people (that’s 156,000,000) will probably give up on their resolution before you can say “confetti.” Keep on reading to learn why New Year’s resolutions fail (and how to succeed).

Note: Since losing weight is the most common New Year’s resolution, I chose to focus on weight loss (but these principles can be applied to just about any goal you think of — make it work for you!).

1. You’re treating a marathon like a sprint.

Slow and steady habit change might not be sexy, but it’s a lot more effective than the “I want it ALL and I want it NOW!” mentality. Small changes stick better because they aren’t intimidating (if you do it right, you’ll barely even notice them!).

If you have a lot of bad habits today, the last thing you need to do is remodel your entire life overnight. Want to lose weight? Stop it with the crash diets and excessive exercise plans. Instead of following a super restrictive plan that bans anything fun, add one positive habit per week. For example, you could start with something easy like drinking more water during your first week. The following week, you could move on to eating 3 fruits and veggies every day. And the next week, you could aim to eat a fistful of protein at every meal.

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2. You put the cart before the horse.

“Supplementing” a crappy diet is stupid, so don’t even think about it. Focus on the actions that produce the overwhelming amount of results. If it’s not important, don’t worry about it.

3. You don’t believe in yourself.

A failure to act can cripple you before you leave the starting line. If you’ve tried (and failed) to set a New Year’s resolution (or several) in the past, I know it might be hard to believe in yourself. Doubt is a nagging voice in your head that will resist personal growth with every ounce of its being. The only way to defeat doubt is to believe in yourself. Who cares if you’ve failed a time or two? This year, you can try again (but better this time).

4. Too much thinking, not enough doing.

The best self-help book in the world can’t save you if you fail to take action. Yes, seek inspiration and knowledge, but only as much as you can realistically apply to your life. If you can put just one thing you learn from every book or article you read into practice, you’ll be on the fast track to success.

5. You’re in too much of a hurry.

If it was quick-and-easy, everybody would do it, so it’s in your best interest to exercise your patience muscles.

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6. You don’t enjoy the process.

Is it any wonder people struggle with their weight when they see eating as a chore and exercise as a dreadful bore? The best fitness plan is one that causes the least interruption to your daily life. The goal isn’t to add stress to your life, but rather to remove it.

The best of us couldn’t bring ourselves to do something we hate consistently, so make getting in shape fun, however you’ve gotta do it. That could be participating in a sport you love, exercising with a good friend or two, joining a group exercise class so you can meet new people, or giving yourself one “free day” per week where you forget about your training plan and exercise in any way you please.

7. You’re trying too hard.

Unless you want to experience some nasty cravings, don’t deprive your body of pleasure. The more you tell yourself you can’t have a food, the more you’re going to want it. As long as you’re making positive choices 80-90% of the time, don’t sweat the occasional indulgence.

8. You don’t track your progress.

Keeping a written record of your training progress will help you sustain an “I CAN do this” attitude. All you need is a notebook and a pen. For every workout, record what exercises you do, the number of repetitions performed, and how much weight you used if applicable. Your goal? Do better next time. Improving your best performance on a regular basis offers positive feedback that will encourage you to keep going.

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9. You have no social support.

It can be hard to stay motivated when you feel alone. The good news? You’re not alone: far from it. Post a status on Facebook asking your friends if anybody would like to be your gym or accountability buddy. If you know a co-worker who shares your goal, try to coordinate your lunch time and go out together so you’ll be more likely to make positive decisions. Join a support group of like-minded folks on Facebook, LinkedIn, or elsewhere on the internet. Strength in numbers is powerful, so use it to your advantage.

10. You know your what but not your why.

The biggest reason why most New Year’s resolutions fail: you know what you want but you not why you want it.

Yes: you want to get fit, lose weight, or be healthy… but why is your goal important to you? For example:

Do you want to be fit so you can be a positive example that your children can admire and look up to?

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Do you want to lose fat so you’ll feel more confident and sexy in your body than ever before?

Do you want to be healthy so you’ll have increased clarity, energy, and focus that would carry over into every single aspect of your life?

Whether you’re getting in shape because you want to live longer, be a good example, boost your energy, feel confident, have an excuse to buy hot new clothes, or increase your likelihood of getting laid (hey, I’m not here to judge) is up to you. Forget about any preconceived notions and be true to yourself.

  • The more specific you can make your goal,
  • The more vivid it will be in your imagination,
  • The more encouraged you’ll be,
  • The more likely it is you will succeed (because yes, you CAN do this!).

I hope this guide to why New Year’s resolutions fail helps you achieve your goals this year. If you found this helpful, please pass it along to some friends so they can be successful just like you. What do you hope to accomplish next year?

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