If you’re looking to build muscle fast, you need to concentrate on three main factors: eating, resting and training, in that order. Most people assume the number one ingredient in building muscle fast is to work out hard. Although significant, this isn’t the most important factor. Of course, you’ll need to put serious effort into your workouts.
THE SECRETS ON HOW TO BUILD MUSCLE FAST NOBODY WANTS TO SHARE
HOW FOOD COMES INTO PLAY
To build muscle fast, you need to spend more time in the kitchen, followed by adequate amounts of rest than lifting weights in the gym. Without enough food ingested at regular intervals during the day, you simply won’t grow fast enough, and the same thing goes with sleep. It’s only when you’re resting that you’re growing.
BEGIN WITH A PLAN
You may not be aware of this fact, but most gyms have an average of about 1 in 3 active members. The main reason behind this is because most people don’t get any results from working out. The reason they don’t get results is due to the simple fact–they don’t know what they’re doing.
The majority of people walk into a gym with no plan, workout for weeks or months and see no progress at all, whether it’s in gaining muscle or losing weight, and then they stop, end of story.
To see a noticeable difference in your body from working out with weights, especially if your goal is to build muscle, you need to start with a plan, and your plan must include the three vital factors I mentioned earlier, eating right and frequently enough, long rest periods and high-intensity workouts.
SECRET 1: EAT MORE AND MORE OFTEN
Let’s start with the eating. As a personal trainer, I cannot stress enough how important each and every meal is if your goal is to build muscle as fast as possible. By the way, building muscle is definitely not something you can do quickly. It takes a long time to grow new muscle, and it’s for this reason I’m writing this article.
Since it takes so long to build muscle, you don’t want to waste your valuable time and not make any progress when you can be using the same amount of time wisely and making progress. This is why if you’re looking to gain some quality muscle by working out regularly, you need to start eating.
Over the years, I couldn’t tell you how many times someone has come to me and asked: ‘I want to gain some serious muscle and I want to start doing it right now, what should I do?’ Nine times out of ten times, I tell them they need to start eating more food and more often. The usual response is ‘I already eat a lot, but I can’t gain weight’.
What people who can’t gain weight don’t seem to understand is that gaining weight is purely mathematical, nothing more. If you eat more calories than you burn, you have to gain weight. It’s that simple.
Many young guys who want to get into bodybuilding, I was one of them years ago, have trouble gaining weight since their metabolism is flying a million miles an hour. The only way to get the ball rolling is to eat more and in most cases, a whole lot more.
Back in the late 1980s when I got into serious training, I had trouble gaining muscle till I met a few bodybuilders at my local gym who laughed at me when I told them I was a big eater, they quickly replied: ‘It doesn’t look like it’.
They went on to tell me I needed to start by eating double what I was currently eating and after I make that happen, come back and see them. They said a great way to start would be by drinking a full litre of full cream milk in between each meal, so that was exactly what I did.
At first, I immediately felt sick after drinking a full litre of milk for the first few weeks after each meal, and I threw up many times, but I wanted muscle so badly that I didn’t care.
My mother thought I was crazy, but I kept it up and have a guess what happened. It worked! I was getting bigger and still being a teenager at the time with a lightning fast metabolism, I wasn’t getting fatter, I was getting more muscular. At this time, I was also working out for over 2 hours per day, six days a week.
Eventually, I cut back on the milk and started eating more solid food, and I continued to get even bigger as I ate more and more. Within a year, I had gone from 150 to 180 pounds eating mainly beef, chicken, eggs, milk and occasionally, some fish for my protein and rice, pasta, fruit and vegetables for my carbohydrates.
Everybody is different when it comes to eating, and I’m not going to get into specifics within this article about how much of what food you need to eat to gain muscle. But, what you do need to do is eat every 3 hours. For most people, this means you should be eating 5-6 times per day, every day to gain muscle fast, no exceptions.
A right mix of food for the hardgainer will be to eat approximately 40% protein, 10% fat and 50% carbohydrates. A couple of sample meals are:
- Half a pound of beef with a medium bowl of rice and some green vegetables
- Half a pound of chicken breast or 6 medium size chicken drumsticks with a medium plate of pasta and a piece of fruit
- One pound of canned tuna in water with a quarter of fresh pineapple.
If these meals seem excessively large to you, you are not eating enough. You need to be eating meals of this size 5-6 times a day if you want to gain muscle fast.
Nowadays, in my 40s, I usually stay clear of milk, but I do take a whey protein shake mixed in water immediately after my workout. I also eat five to six medium sized meals of solid food throughout the day. This is a lot of food for a guy in his 40s, but at my current body weight of about 100kg (220 pounds), I need this much food to maintain the level of muscle and still keep a low body fat percentage.
Just to put you in the picture. If you are a bloke in his 40s or older and your goal is to lose weight and you want me to train you, we will start with your diet. And one more thing, if you think I am going to starve you into losing weight, think again, that won’t be happening.
In many cases, you will be eating more food on my diet than you are currently eating, and you will begin to lose weight. After 30+ years of trying every different kind of diet on my own body, I can tell you categorically, starving yourself to lose body fat, will never work long term.
The key here is to create an eating plan that you can stick to and will stick to for the rest of your life. Starving myself or starving you, is not even in my vocabulary.
Although I am an advocate of protein shakes, I still believe you’re better off with solid food most of the time. The protein shake after the workout is ideal for the body to quickly absorb some essential amino acids necessary to begin the refuelling and repairing of your muscles from training.
But remember, it’s only a food supplement; solid food is always the better option. Despite whatever supplement or drug companies will tell you, no amount of protein powder, creatine monohydrate, concentrated liquid amino acids or steroids can deliver what you will get from a mix of solid proteins and carbohydrates from food.
One more very important ingredient in a muscle building diet is water. Your entire body is approximately 70% water, and that means that most of your muscle is actually made up of water. Although it seems like a lot, most people should be drinking between 2-4 litres of water per day depending on your body weight.
If you’re in doubt, drink more, a lot more. Most people don’t drink even 50% of what they should be each day. If you’re looking to gain muscle fast, a good start would be to increase your water intake to 50% more than you’re currently drinking. Yes, you’ll be going to the toilet more often, but you’ll also start seeing results a lot quicker.
SECRET 2: WHEN YOU REST, YOUR MUSCLES GROW
When it comes to rest, this is almost as important as eating. While you’re working out in the gym, you’re stimulating your muscles. But, it’s only when resting that your muscles get a chance to recover. The growth actually happens while your body is at rest or asleep.
The person looking for serious muscle growth should be sleeping for about 8 hours per night, and if you can have an afternoon nap each day or on your days off, go for it, it can only help you recover quicker from your workouts and allow your muscles to work harder the next time you train.
Resting your mind is also an important factor in recovery since the mind is inherently linked to the body. If you’re under stress mentally, it’s difficult for the body to rest physically, so keep this in mind. A calm and low-stress lifestyle is conducive to building muscle fast.
SECRET 3: DON’T SKIP TRAINING DAYS
A lot has changed since the Arnold Schwarzenegger days and also my early days of training back in the 80s. These days the biggest bodybuilders on earth are training less and less. I remember seeing a former Mr. Olympia Dorian Yates in a seminar a few years back, and he said he only trained for 45 minutes 4 times per week.
I believe at his biggest, he sometimes wouldn’t even train that much. So you can forget about these 2-hour marathon workouts I used to do six days a week, those days are gone, and I’m certainly happy about that.
After over 30 years of heavy and intense workouts, I must say, as much as I love training, I’d rather get my workout over and done within an hour rather than two. When Dorian Yates says he works out for 45 minutes, he means he works out almost non-stop for that period.
Often, people will rest for about a minute or so in between sets and that’s ok. But if you’re resting anymore than a minute, you need to get serious and get moving if you want serious results. If you are resting for 3 or 4 minutes or longer in between sets like I see many people do in the gym these days, you are wasting your time and your money on a gym membership.
You should take up playing marbles or something like that. Remember, it’s all about movement. The more time you spend in the gym moving your body, the faster you will see results. And no, I don’t count moving your fingers to text your girlfriend in between sets as movement!
Ideally, if you’re a beginner or intermediate, you should be training your whole body over 3 to 4 workouts per week, no more. Too many people over complicate their workout routine unnecessarily, if you want to gain muscle fast, less is more and stick to the basics.
I’m not going to get into complex training techniques as I don’t do that myself. I just hit the gym hard with basic movements and lift around 8-10 reps on heavier days and 12-20 reps on lighter weight days till failure on almost every set after I’m sufficiently warmed up.
The perfect routine for most beginners interested in gaining muscle will be:
Monday: 9 sets of chest, 6 sets of shoulders and 6 sets of triceps
Wednesday: 9 sets of quadriceps, 6 sets of hamstrings and 3 sets of calves
Friday: 12 sets of back/trapezius and 6 sets of biceps
Take the weekends off and then start again on Monday, repeating the cycle and continually keep changing the exercises you perform for each muscle regularly since your body responds well to change. If you keep doing the same exercises week after week without change, your progress will lag.
Keep the rest time to a maximum of 1 minute between sets and make sure you can complete a full rep for a minimum of 8 reps every set but cannot do more than 10 complete reps without failing on your heavier days.
It’s up to you to find the correct weight that allows you 8 reps but no more than 10, this way of training is imperative in gaining muscle fast. If you can follow this routine, this is all you need to do in the gym, perhaps a few sets of abdominals at the end of each workout won’t hurt either.
This may not seem like much, but if you’re not exhausted by the end of this workout, you’re not training hard enough.
Whether you’re a beginner or advanced bodybuilder you will know instinctively by the end of your work out if you have trained hard enough. And if you want the best results, it’s up to you to turn up the volume on your workout, but there’s no need to ever be in the gym for any more than 1 hour per workout.
I feel three workouts per week is enough for most people, however, as you start to see a noticeable gain in muscle size, you can go for four workouts per week but certainly not more.
One more thing I want to mention is if you’re still feeling sore in the muscles you’re about to train on a scheduled workout day, it’s better to take an extra day off than to train an already sore muscle.
I must say that I had a lot of difficulties accepting what I have told you in this article about training less since I initially started bodybuilding by training for 2 hours a day and almost every day. I always thought the more, the better. But now I know from many years of experience and some injuries, that less training time and more intensity during my workouts is the ultimate key to growth.
Now in my 40s, my body is still muscular and lean at 220 pounds even though I can notice a definite slow down in my metabolism but that does come with age and that’s life. But I know that if I wanted to gain even more muscle, I would not so much have to adjust my workouts as I would have to increase my food intake.
If you stick to the basic guidelines I have mentioned here and up your food to the necessary level, get enough sleep and don’t miss your workouts for any other reason than sickness, or unless you feel you have not fully recovered from your last workout on that body part, you’ll build muscle fast.
If you are in your 40s and just about to begin an exercise program you may be pleasantly surprised at how quickly you start to make improvements from the get go. Ironically, the more overweight you are, the faster the results will come, in the end, your speed of progress comes down to the percentages. Don’t wait, don’t hesitate, don’t procrastinate, the best time to start is right now. I’m here when you need me.
All this writing has made me hungry. I think it’s T-bone time!