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