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How To Build Muscle Fast

Want to Build Muscle Fast and Effectively?

No matter what your goals are, building muscle and achieving the respectively ideal body composition is imperative.  I’m sure that you’re not just wondering the best way to build muscle but HOW TO BUILD MUSCLE FAST.  No matter your goals, muscle plays an integral role. Want to get stronger?  Build muscle! Want to lean out?  Build muscle.  Want to tone up?  Build muscle.

We’ll discuss how to effectively increase your lean muscle mass by through efficiency.  Let’s start by addressing three of the most important factors:  lift, recover, eat. Oh, and repeat.


Lift Weight Up and Put Weight Down.

You must put stress on the body in order to elicit adaptations.  The real key is to apply the appropriate amount of stress at the appropriate time.  Not all stress is created equally and without an intelligently designed structure, it is very likely you’ll be wasting precious time and energy.  I’m talking programming here.  Science based, rhyme and reason programming.  Applying the principles of progressive overload and program periodization will help you BUILD MUSCLE FAST.

Resistance training causes damage to the muscle tissue but in good way!  Weight training causes microscopic tears in the muscle fibers which then heal to a denser and more resilient state.  Each weight training sessions causes damage to the muscle tissue and then it heals.  This is the adaptive process that gets the muscle building underway.  The accumulation of these adaptations equates to increased muscular density.  Increased muscular density provides for increased strength and aesthetics.

 Attention ladies, do NOT be afraid of the weights.  I repeat, DO NOT BE AFRAID OF THE WEIGHTS.  As a female, I can empathize that my goal is not to bulk up to be more muscularly defined.  Tonus, residual muscle tension is achieved through weight training. I hate to break it to you, but those cute little pink neoprene dumbbells just aren’t going to cut it.  If you want to tight and fit then make sure you hit the weights.  Hard!

Utilize compound movements to get the most bang for your sweaty buck.  Compound movements such as squats, pull ups, and bench presses utilize more than one joint and therefore, more than one muscle group during the movement.   Using free weights over machines gives the body another physiological adaptive advantage by recruiting stabilizing muscles to perform the exercise.  Machines are fantastic tools to isolate muscles but are a little lackluster for greater adaptations.  Machines are a great starting point to enable a body to perform a movement pattern with load if it is unable to do so in a more free motion fashion such as with a barbell and dumbbells.  If you’re new to weigh training, remember that form and technique will make or break your success.

Be sure that you can first perform the movement pattern properly.  Secondly, that you can perform the movement pattern properly with repetition.  Thirdly, be sure you can perform the movement pattern properly with repetition under load.  Now, you can really start to toggle your intensity variables and periodize the program parameters.   Your intensity parameters include the weight, the repetition range, the total amount of sets, the rest period in between sets, the time under tension, order of the movements. 

Training volume matters but I argue that so too does training frequency.  Multiple weight training frequencies per week provide for the structure and increased adherence.  Additionally, training frequency may prevent you from over reaching during each training session.  Both novice and advanced exercisers may be inclined to gas out at each session which can lead to over-training and sometimes injury.

You see, personal trainers are really science geeks who love to practically apply their knowledge.

Recovery is Required

Listen up!  Rest is not for sissies!  Rest is intelligent and absolutely required to optimally build muscle!  We already know that resistance training causes microscopic tears of the muscle tissue and that it must heal.  When you sleep and rest, your body is able to heal up.  Rest means time for the body to recover because it is not being stressed and tissue is not being torn.   Rest does not just mean time off from the work but it also means sleep!  Catching Zs, sawing some logs, counting sheep, drooling on the pillow!  Have you ever been sleep deprived?  Do you know the feeling of your brain simply functioning like a babbling idiot? Have you ever felt physically exhausted or even injured on the tail end of a bad night sleep?  Sleep and rest allow the connective tissues, bones, muscles and nerves to heal back up for another day’s work. 

Rest and recovery are factored in the weight training program and you saw it listed as an actual intensity parameter.  Rest!  Who’da thunk that you need to do nothing in order to get something!  The rest periods in between each set are imperative and outlined based on the overall program goals.  There is an incredible difference in 15 measly seconds of rest.  Do you use a watch in the gym to time your rest periods?  YOU DO NOW!

Every person is different with how much sleep they need to function optimally.  I personally need 7.5-8.5 hours per night to feel my absolute best.  That’s a 1 hour margin for me to feel like junk the next day which most certainly affects not just how I feel but how I perform and how my machine functions.  Maybe you need 9 hours of sleep, no judgement here!  Maybe you are a rock star with just 6 hours of sleep.  Much less than 7 or so hours of sleep may hinder you from being your best so I advise you to pay close attention and work to make healthy sleep part of your health habits.

Eat as Your Goals Demand

Food is fuel!  The more lean muscle mass you have on your body the more fuel your body requires to function.  Muscle requires fuel to survive and thrive so it is important to not just calorically feed your muscular growth but to nurture it with nutrients.

Proteins are found in every cell of your body and is an essential nutrient that the body requires in order to function.

If you’re looking to build muscle, you have to support it by eating to allow your body to grow or shrink but always providing for the good body mass.

Great natural sources of protein include meats, fish, poultry, eggs, nuts, to name a few.  You have your supplemental protein sources like powders and pre-made shakes.


The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends that the average individual should consume 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram or 0.35 grams per pound of body weight per day for general health. So a person that weighs 75 kg (165 pounds) should consume an average of 60 grams of protein per day.  You can calculate the ideal amount of protein you should be consuming by doing a little math.

Remember Sally from Karn’s?  Sally weighs 145 pounds and is looking to simply maintain her body weight.

145 pounds x 0.35 grams = 50.75 grams

Therefore, Sally’s RDI (recommended daily intake) of protein is 50.75 grams.*  Now, if Sally wants to increase muscle mass she must calculate to be sure she takes in more protein so she has a net positive intake.*

It’s important to keep your agenda aligned with your goals.  Most people we work with in the gym are looking to lose body fat and gain lean muscle mass.  They package this in the goal phrase of “lose weight and tone up”.  One of the first things we address with our clients is the proper comprehensive nutrition structure to support those goals so we aren’t schizophrenic in diet.  If Sally loses weight but loses more of the good weight (muscle) than the bad weight (fat) then Sally won’t be very happy.  She’ll be smaller but squishy, weaker, have a lower metabolism and darn mad she wasted time.

It’s the time of year when everyone is resolving to lose weight and tone up so don’t be a Sad Sally and ignore this information.

To build muscle fast, focus on all these important measures.  Growth doesn’t happen overnight so you must trust the process.  Have an understanding of the physiological needs so you’ll have science to support your efforts.  Create an intelligent structure so you can apply that knowledge.  Lift. Eat. Recovery. Repeat.  TRUST THE PROCESS!

*According to the American College of Sports Medicine

Written by Samantha Stewartz