There is a ton of hype, false information and pure baloney out there when it comes to learning how to build muscle fast. There are heaps and heaps of fad diets, sensationalized supplements and about how to achieve your own state of Ahhh-nuld.
Note that the title of this article is, “How to Build Huge Muscle Mass Fast,” and not something cheesy or misleading like, “Grow Big Muscles Overnight” or “Have Massive Muscles in a 8 Minutes Flat.”
The reality is that building big muscle mass takes some time. Exactly how long obviously depends on where you stand right now and what your eating and work-out habits are going to look like going forward. But big muscles are possible, and inevitable, no matter whether you consider yourself a “hard-gainer” or you don’t have any experience in the gym.
I’ll try to keep everything in this guide as simple as possible. It can be extremely frustrating to get overwhelmed with all the info out there, so I’ll keep it basic and try to get to all of your muscle mass questions. Which means for those of you with some experience in this area, this will be a bit of a refresher.
Building huge muscle mass fast, at its very simplest, requires you to do two things:
1. Eat more.
2. Lift more.
Sounds simple, right? We both know from personal experience that its not that easy. But everything you do need to know essentially stems from those two pillars of muscle growth.
So where to start? Here is a 12-point checklist to get those muscles poppin’:
1. Lift to the point of failure.
I see this all the time. Someone lifting a bunch of weight, blasting through their set, and soon as they feel slightly fatigued they throw the bar back up on the rack. It’s no surprise that this person rarely sees the gains they expect, or the gains they could be getting if they trained to the point of failure.
Training to the point of failure solicits a peak amount of muscle fatigue, which is where you need to get if you wanna see the huge muscle mass you are looking for.
2. Recovery is where your muscle grow.
Believe it or not, your muscles don’t grow while you are at the gym. They grow in between sessions. The funny thing about muscle growth is that it is actually a defensive mechanism. Your body recognizes a threat (your muscles going to the point of fail), and builds itself up to be stronger for the next time around. It is essential that you allow enough time between your lifting sessions for your muscles to completely repair themselves so that you can give them a fresh new thrashing.
Your first instinct, especially when you are starting up and you are brimming to the edges with motivation, is to hit the gym every chance you get. I know it can be hard, but restrain yourself. When you are fired up and want to hit the iron the hardest thing can be to sit your ass down and focus on recovery. If you are having issues with this, I would highly suggest active rest days as a substitute.
3. Progression is the name of the game.
Muscle growth means that your muscles are continually being broken and down and forced to recover. Each week you should be lifting more, more often. Continue to challenge your muscles, and you will continue to see growth.
4. Isolation and Compound Exercises are your 1-2 Punch.
Compound exercises are all the rage recently, particularly for its effects with fat burning. (Compound exercises require several large muscle groups in one move – squats, dead-lifts, etc.) Isolation exercises, as their name suggest, center on a much smaller number of muscles. That being said, they target them more exclusively, so they certainly have their place when it comes to building big-ass muscles. Best case, use them both.
They way that I have always looked at is as is as following: Compound exercises for overall bulk, isolation for sculpting. So start with your compound exercises and finish with your isolation moves.
5. Don’t lift for hours on end.
Similar to the point above with getting adequate rest, newbies (and I fall victim to this mentality myself sometimes as well) tend to work out for longer than necessary. Spending more time in the gym lifting doesn’t equate to big muscles. There is a 45-50 minute window until your body goes into a catabolic state. You want to avoid this, because catabolism (sounds a lot like cannabalism, and it’s not far from it!) is when your muscle tissue begins being broken down for energy. This is a big, greasy no-no. So keep your lifting sessions short and sweet.
6. Caloric Surplus.
Your body needs a specific number of calories per day. Any less, you lose weight. Any more, you gain weight. So far, so good, right? Muscle growth comes from a combination of strength training and eating more calories than you are expending. After all, those brand spankin’ new muscles have to come from somewhere. As a rough guideline, you should be consuming 300-500 calories above your daily caloric maintenance levels.
7. Realize you’re not just gonna gain muscle.
Now that you understand the importance of achieving a caloric surplus, keep in mind that despite all of your training, some of those extra calories you are ingesting are inevitably going to be stored as fat. This is nothing to panic about. It’s a natural part of the process. Once you have achieved the size you want, you can always fire off a quick cutting phase to get rid of that excess fat. In comparison to the amount of muscle you are going to be building this is a minor concern — just be aware that it is part of the process.
8. Protein, protein, protein.
If ya haven’t heard already, protein forms the building blocks of muscle. You are going to want to aim for 1g-1.2g of protein per pound of body weight, per day. So if you now weigh in at 200 pounds, you will want to ingest 200-240g of protein per day. Simple enough. Another fun fact about protein, our bodies don’t store it. What is not needed by the body at that moment will be secreted as garbagio. So you will want to spread out your daily intake of protein.
9. Make sure you are drinking lots of water.
We all know proper hydration is important, it keeps our joints healthy, makes our skin prettier (err, handsomer!), helps big-time with digestion, reduces hunger, fatigue, blah blah blah. But did you know that it can also affect your strength? True story! Besides the fact that it transports nutrients to our muscles (hey, that sounds important!), it also reduces muscle cramping (ow), and that even a 3% drop in hydration can deplete strength by up to 15%. How much is enough? Forget 8 glasses a day.
For active people, we should be consuming significantly more than this. A general guideline (and you may need more depending on climate, stress levels, etc) for peak muscle growth is : Your Body Weight x 0.6 = H20 (oz)
As a quick example, right now I am 255 pounds. 255 x 0.6 = 153 ounces of water
If 8oz is the standard glass of water, that means I need to be drinking around 19 glasses of water per day. Far above the wives tale of 8 glasses.
Although it seems like it would be the easiest one to put into place, make sure you are getting a solid 7-8 hours of sleep per night. The health benefits of getting sleep are well known (if not, they should be to you. Or just read this little ditty I wrote on how sleep is a significant factor in weight loss), but it seems like it is the first thing we bail on when we start cutting corners. It’s essential to your recovery, and will play a part in your performance tomorrow.
11. Don’t rely on supplements.
These are marketed as muscle-building silver bullets, but they do not replace the essential core of working out and eating well. If you do decide to use supplements, I would suggest that you keep it simple; a good creatine, whey protein, and maybe a multi-vitamin. Don’t mistake supplements as a replacement for good diet and for actually working out! Remember, they are called supplements for a reason. Nothing more, nothing less.
12. Keep a workout log.
I cannot emphasize this enough. No matter what your muscle building goal is, it is imperative that you track your workouts so that you know exactly how much you lifted last week so you can top it this week to achieve optimal muscle growth.
Don’t have one? I have a completely free Muscle Building Workout Log that I can give you a few moments after you enter your email in the form below or to the right. You’ll also get my daily muscle building newsletter that is packed with exclusive muscle building tips. Whammy!
See ya at the gym,