Building muscle can take time, but tweaking your exercise and diet can help you gain muscle faster. By making sure you are eating the right amount of nutrients, recovering properly and stimulating muscle growth through strength training, you can build muscle faster.
Here are some specific tips how these things can help you build muscle fast.
#1 Increase your weights
Maybe one of the most obvious ways to build muscle fast is to strength train. Muscle proteins get torn down through exercise, and muscle fibers grow when they are rebuilt back up. Lifting heavier weights than normal (or increasing the number of sets or repetitions) will cause greater breakdown of muscle fibers than lifting easier weights.
Set tangible goals for building up strength during your lifting. This may help you reach your goal of building muscle fast instead of focusing on gaining 10 pounds of muscle (or whatever your weight goal is). Focus on building the amount of weight you can lift for each exercise.
Focus on doing multi-joint exercises, for example cleans and squats, instead of single joint lifts like a bicep curl. Stressing your muscles different ways can further enhance muscle strength and muscle fiber recruitment, which can help you build stronger muscles faster.
Cross fit type exercises are known for doing multi-joint exercises and pushing muscle limits, but you don’t necessarily need to join a cross fit gym to build muscle fast. You can do your own exercises at your local gym or house.
The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) suggests strength training each muscle group 2-3 times per week, two to four sets per exercise and 8-12 repetitions to best improve strength.
#2 Recover properly
Muscles get built in recovery, and they get broken down during the exercise. Therefore, more is not always better in terms of exercise and increasing muscle. The ACSM recommends waiting 48 hours between resistance training sessions. See also: Post workout recovery
For example, if you lift legs on Monday, don’t exercise your legs again until Wednesday for the best strength gain possibilities. This is especially true if you are lifting heavy.
Getting adequate sleep is also important for muscle growth; make sure to get plenty of sleep at night when trying to build muscle fast.
#3 Get protein at the right time
Instead of bulking up on protein in 1 meal, spread out your protein evenly throughout the day for maximum stimulation of building muscle. Some research studies suggest ingesting 20-30 grams of protein at each meal and after exercise can help best stimulate muscle growth.
How much protein do you need per day? Daily protein intake of 1.6-1.8 grams per kilogram of body weight are recommended for strength training athletes. Some researchers suggest going much above this recommendation will not translate into increased muscle gains.
In other words, there may be a plateau of how much protein can be beneficial for stimulating muscle growth.
To determine your protein needs for building muscle, take your weight in kilograms and multiply by 1.6 to 1.8. Divide this amount of protein grams as equally as possible throughout the day to help stimulate muscle synthesis.
#4 Eat enough and the right kind of carbohydrates
Protein is often the go-to macronutrient in terms of building muscle, but carbohydrates and fats are also just as important for building muscle. Carbohydrates are stored in muscle, and carbohydrates are a prime energy source for muscles.
If you don’t have adequate carbohydrate intake, your muscles may not be able to exercise as much as they could.
Healthy sources of carbohydrates include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, dairy products and legumes. These foods will also provide vitamins and minerals needed to build muscle mass.
According to the National Strength and Conditioning Association, strength athletes should get about 55% of calories from carbohydrates.
#5 Eat enough for muscle growth
It is vital for someone wanting to build muscle fast to be getting the right amount of calories. If someone is getting too little calories, they will not be able to build muscle. To determine your calorie needs, there are many equations or fitness applications that can help estimate how many calories your body needs for building muscle. (See also: 10 foods for building muscle)
For more specific advice on building muscle fast, talk with an exercise specialist. If you have any injuries, on medication or have a history of illness or previous injuries, talk with a medical professional before starting or changing your exercise program.
Building muscle is a combination of strengthening and stressing your muscles, allowing them time to recover properly, and adequately fueling for proteins, carbohydrates, fats and micronutrients. Remember, your overall calorie intake needs to be adequate enough so your body will be in an anabolic (building up) mode.
Focus on increasing strength through your workouts, try new multi-joint exercises and give your body 48 hours between lifting sessions to allow adequate recovery time. Speak with a health professional or exercise specialist for more individual questions in building muscle and in regards to your individual medical history.
References used in this article