Have you been wondering how you can gain muscle mass in the shortest time possible? As either a beginner or a ‘gym freak’, you very likely would have looked into the best way to gain muscle mass within the shortest possible time.
Gaining size and building muscle at a very fast rate is very achievable, but it goes beyond just showing up at the gym and going through the motion. If you are worried about wasting time and energy on the wrong muscle building workout routines, then today is your lucky day! We’ll take our time and look at various ways of gaining muscle mass fast.
Let’s be honest, gaining muscle takes time. If you’ve been training for months without seeing obvious increases in your size, then it’s very likely you’ve been using the wrong approach. You just need to get back to the basics, follow the recommendations in this blog, work hard, stay committed, stay consistent and watch your size gradually increase.
Even if you’ve struggled to gain and maintain muscle weight on your skinny frame in the past, you can start noticing increases in muscle mass as long as you stick to the right approach.
Rate Of Muscle Growth
All things being equal, there are some minute factors that play a role in how fast you gain muscle. The total size your body can naturally (yes, naturally) reach is dependent on your skeletal frame. Factors such as genetics, natural shoulder-width, and thickness of wrist and ankle can give some individuals an advantage from the word go.
Naturally, young males tend to gain muscle at a faster rate compared to their older counterparts due to the higher level of testosterone present in young males. Individuals who have lifted before also tend to naturally have a fast muscle gain due to muscle memory.
On the average (without the use of drugs), you can realistically expect to gain about 1kg/2lb of muscle per month during your first year. This equates to about 12kg/24lb muscle gain by the end of your first year of training. This rate of muscle gain assumes that you develop and stick to an effective training programme and stay consistent.
It is however worth mentioning that rate of muscle gain slows down after the first year. In your second year, the rate of muscle growth drops down to about half of the first year’s rate. This rate drops even further in the subsequent years, even though a higher percentage of your muscle gains happen in the first three years.
Using supplements for muscle growth gives you a false sense of muscle growth. Such supplements increase your body’s water retention and gives you a fuller look. Your body-weight increases due to the increase in water-weight and not an actual increase in pure muscle.
Don’t Get Discouraged
The natural muscle growth rate of 1kg/2lb per month might be lower than you expected, but don’t be discouraged. I am not here to dampen your body-goal dreams. The aim here is to ensure we set realistic targets and work hard at it.
Yes, some guys might manage to gain more than 1kg/2lb per month. You just need to have an effective workout plan, stay committed and be encouraged by the progress you make. It is harder to gain muscle than lose fat, and it sure is very easy to lose the muscle you’ve gained through hardwork and dedication. Stay focused!
Let’s now take a look at the best ways to gain muscle mass!
10 Ways To Naturally Build Muscle And Size Fast
1. Focus On Increasing Strength
Strength building and muscle building go hand-in-hand. To build muscle, you must make a conscious effort to increase your overall strength. A great amount of strength makes muscle building way easier. Improve strength by increasing the intensity of your training.
You should place more emphasis on basic multi-joint strength training exercises that boost your overall weight lifting ability. This helps you to do more reps with heavier weights, resulting in an increase in the power of the nerve impulses that stimulate muscle growth.
2. Focus On Compound Exercises
This goes hand-in-hand with the above point. When it comes to gaining muscle mass fast, choosing the most effective muscle building exercise is very vital. Your choice of muscle building exercise makes a massive difference in the rate of muscle growth and prevents the frustrations you are very likely to get when your dream physique is not being realised.
To effectively and efficiently gain muscle mass, your workout routine should be built around compound exercises such as deadlifts, squats, bench presses, overhead presses, shoulder presses, barbell rows and lat pull-downs.
Due to the hormonal response they produce and the stress they place on muscle fibres, compound exercises trigger muscle growth like no others. Compound exercises should always be included in your workout routine in one form or another as they give you the best way of conditioning your body, gaining strength and getting your much-desired bulk.
Isolation exercises such as bicep curls, leg extensions and tricep kickbacks should be avoided at this early stage as they only target a specific muscle group and make use of only one joint. Compound exercises on the other hand make use of multiple muscle groups and joints.
3. Lift Heavier And Explosively
Focus on making progress on the weight you lift. Yes you might feel sore to start with, but lifting heavy is a very vital component of muscle building. It is all about progressive overload, that is, gradually lifting heavier than before. Progressive overload is a method of training that supports the gradual increase of stress placed on the body’s musculoskeletal and nervous system. This continual increase in workload seeks to stimulate strength gain and muscle growth.
In addition to the weight being lifted, the technique used should not be under-estimated. When it comes to gaining muscle mass, it is highly recommended you lift explosively. You have to focus on lifting the weight up quickly and lower slowly.
Any weight lifting exercise has a hard and easy phase. The tempo at which you lift and lower the weights has a great impact on the outcome of your workout. Slow and controlled reps put your muscles under a lot of tension. Muscles grow quicker when placed under tension for longer periods of time.
Research suggests concentrating on the easy phase is far effective in triggering muscle growth. For example, when bench pressing, the lowering phase of the bench press is much easier than lifting the weight up. In order to effectively trigger muscle growth, you need to concentrate on lowering the weight slowly and then lift the weight back up quickly.
4. Increase Your Muscle Training Volume
Your muscle training volume is simply the number of reps multiplied by the number of sets you do. This plays an important role in determining how fast you build muscle. To build your desired muscle mass, it is recommended you train with a high volume and medium intensity. Intensity here refers to how much weight you lift.
Slightly lowering your weight and increasing the number of reps and sets has a massive impact on hypertrophy. Increasing the number of sets and reps with its attendant burning sensation in the muscles triggers muscle growth.
5. Increase Frequency Of Training
Increasing your exercise frequency makes you stronger and enables you to lift heavy. Simply put, the more often you workout a muscle, the more you trigger it to grow. Three workout sessions per week is ideally the minimum number of workout frequency needed to stimulate muscle growth. You should be looking at doing your compound exercises 3 times per week instead of just once.
Individuals with a significant strength training experience may attempt more than 3 sessions per week. Rest and recovery are still very needed though!
6. Not Too Much Cardio
There’s the need to find that ‘sweet spot’ between not doing too much cardio and doing weight training. Cardio exercises do indeed come with great health benefits. However, you risk burning away your muscle gains or slowing muscle growth when you do too much cardio exercises.
If you are completely focused on muscle gains, then it is absolutely important you limit your cardio training by keeping a close eye on the intensity and frequency of your cardio sessions. You simply can’t do marathon training and attempt to build muscle and size at the same time. At extremes, the biochemistry and training physiology in cardio and weight training are contradictory. In other words, to maximise workout results, there is the need to concentrate more on one over the other.
This is not to say you need to completely ignore cardio sessions. Having some cardio sessions in addition to your weight training makes a great fitness combination. The fitter you are, the more productive your workout sessions and the better your overall recovery time.
7. Eat For Muscle Growth
If your aim is to gain muscle and size, there’s the need to focus on calorie surpluses and not deficits. You’ll struggle to gain muscle and size if you are simultaneously cutting down on your calorie intake. To quickly and effectively build muscle mass, you need to supply the body with high-quality calories each day. In other words, you need to consume more calories than you burn each day. The body’s tendency to build muscle is hampered when it stays in a calorie deficit.
The body needs enough food to fuel workouts and help with muscle recovery. Our muscles struggle to recover and grow when there’s shortage of food. You basically need to eat more than you normally would. You’ll need to either add extra portions to your meals or increase the number of times you eat in a day in order to ensure the body stays in a calorie surplus.
Staying in a calorie surplus means you are likely to gain some pounds of fat along the way, especially if your choice of meals are not of a healthy quality. If the fat gain becomes a concern, you can either do more cardio workouts or reduce your calorie intake, especially on rest days.
8. Meals Should Contain High-Quality Protein
Protein supplements are not necessary if you eat enough high-quality protein daily. Daily consumption of sufficient high-quality protein is very essential for muscle building. When your muscles break down after a workout session, protein helps to build them back up.
Experts recommend a daily consumption of 1 gram of protein per kg of bodyweight. A little more or less will not make much of a difference even though other studies recommend increasing daily consumption of protein to 1.5 – 2.0 grams per day.
The better the quality of protein consumed, the more of it will be used for muscle building and recovery. Consumption of high-quality proteins such as lean meats, chicken, eggs, fish and milk is a must, if you want to maximise muscle growth.
9. Stress Less And Sleep More
Less sleep and more stress has a negative impact on muscle growth. You can’t think of the best ways to gain muscle mass without mentioning the importance of sleep and recovery. To maximise your body’s muscle building potential, there is the need to keep stress at bay and give the body more than enough recovery time by getting enough sleep on a daily basis.
In order for muscles to grow stronger and bigger, a lot of importance should be placed on recovery time. Your mind and body can’t recover if you keep working out every single day. The length of sleep is also very vital as it allows the muscles to grow. Less sleep deprives your body of enough time to burn fat, recover and grow muscle.
Experts recommend a minimum of 7 hours sleep per night. 8 to 9 hours of sleep is ideal!
10. Be Committed And Consistent
Gaining muscle is an everyday project, even on the all-important rest days. It averagely takes a year to gain about 12kg/24lb lean muscle, so this journey is not an overnight quest. The importance of being committed to achieving the end-goal and staying consistent can never be over-emphasized.
Don’t be discouraged, this journey takes time and effort. Dedication and consistency is the key to your success. You need to set yourself a goal, stick to the plan, be patient and stay consistent!