Your time on earth is limited. If you want something out of your life, it’s best to aim high and move fast.
If you want to gain muscle, you want to do it fast.
You can gain 27 to 40 pounds of muscle mass in the first 2 years of your training.
If you manage to build this muscle mass, you will look terrific.
See what does 12 pounds of muscle look like. Imagine building 40 pounds of muscle. You will look amazing.
After the first 2 years of training, muscle gaining speed slows down to 0.5 pounds per month.
Aim for the fastest muscle gains within your first 2 years of resistance training.
Build them muscles fast before your gains slow down.
There are 5 essential factors to gain muscle mass fast.
Factor #1) Mass Building Exercises
When it comes to exercise selection for gaining muscle mass, the Pareto principle (also known as the 80/20 rule) applies.
This means, 80% of the bodybuilding exercises will build you 20% of your muscles and 20% of the bodybuilding exercises will build you %80 of your muscles.
So, for the first 2 years of your training, forget about 80% of all the bodybuilding exercises.
There will be no machines and no isolation exercises (except for your biceps).
Only the most effective exercises matter.
Most effective exercises for mass gains are compound exercises which employ multiple joints and muscle groups of your body at the same time.
This will allow you to lift more weight in a shorter time.
Lifting more weight means gaining more muscle mass. Shorter time means you don’t have to spend your life in the gym.
These exercises are:
- Bodyweight exercises: Burpees, pull-ups, chin-ups, push-ups, dips, bodyweight squats
- Weightlifting exercises: Deadlifts, squats, military presses, bench presses, rows, and farmer walks.
Add some hammer curls in addition to these exercises and that’s it.
These exercises will give you the most bang for your buck.
Forget about the rest.
In fact, doing any exercises other than these will steal from your recovery time and hurt your gains.
Bonus tip: Learning the correct form of these exercises will minimize your odds of injury. A few weeks of practice will do the job.
Factor#2) Progressive Overload
Building muscle is a simple process. You impose stress on your muscles, your body adapts by building more muscles to handle the newfound stress.
If you don’t put more stress on your muscles, there is no reason for your body to grow new muscle mass.
This principle is called progressive overload.
When you are lifting weights, you need to do more reps with the same weight or lift more weight for the same number of reps for progressive overload to happen.
Example: If you deadlifted 160 pounds for 5 reps at today’s training, for the next deadlift session you either have to:
- Deadlift more than 160 pounds for 5 reps. E.g. 165×5.
- Deadlift more than 5 reps for 160 pounds. E.g. 160×6.
Progressive overload for bodyweight exercises can be achieved by introducing a third variable: Time.
Let’s say you did 20 push-ups in 20 seconds at today’s training.
If you did 20 push-ups in less than 20 seconds in your next training, you achieved progressive overload. And, of course, if you did more than 20 push-ups, you also achieved progressive overload.
You can apply the time variable to weightlifting exercises too but I find it difficult to track, so I skip that altogether. It’s best to focus on increasing the weight or reps.
Write down how much weight you lifted, how many sets/reps you did for each exercise. If you don’t track your training you are shooting in the dark. You will never know if you are progressing or not.
Bonus Tip: It’s not realistic to expect progressive overload at each training session for every exercise. Sometimes you will have bad days. That’s normal and happens to everybody. Don’t sweat it and just keep going. Train as hard as you can and progressive overload will happen sooner or later.
Factor#3) Mass Building Nutrition
The two most important principles of nutrition for muscle mass are
- Calories (Total calories that come from protein, fat, and carbs)
- Animal protein. (Aim for at least 0.8 grams of animal protein per pound of your body weight)
For muscle building purposes, how many calories you will eat will depend on your current muscle mass and body fat percentage.
If you are fat, you need to eat fewer calories than you burn. (Don’t listen to naysayers. You can build muscle and burn fat at the same time, especially during the first year of your resistance training.)
If you are skinny or skinny-fat, you will need to eat more calories than you burn.
There are no clear-cut requirements that will apply to everybody so you have to do your work. Count your macros. Get some weight watchers and track your body weight, body fat percentage and your measurements around your waist, chest, shoulders, arms, waist, glutes and legs.
After 2-3 weeks of tracking your training load, macros, body weight, body fat percentage, and body tape measurements, you will have a good idea of what works the best for you.
Make the necessary adjustments to your diet and keep going.
Bonus tip: If you have trouble eating enough animal protein, you can add whey or casein protein to your diet.
If you trained and ate well, your body will convert them to muscles during recovery.
Sleeping is your best tool for recovery. Everything else is secondary.
If you don’t sleep enough, no amount of massages, saunas, ice baths and so on will help you recover from your hard training sessions.
The beauty of training hard is, it makes you sleep better.
I always had trouble falling asleep after I go to bed. Training hard eliminated that problem.
If you have sleep problems, don’t be surprised if they are automatically solved by weight training.
Try to get at least 7-8 hours of quality night sleep.
Bonus tip: Eating a cup of yogurt 1 hour before bedtime makes it easier to fall asleep.
Factor#5) Mass Building Workout Routine
In addition to your exercise selection, you also need to know the best way to integrate them into a workout routine.
Here are the variables of a workout routine you need to adjust for the fastest muscle gains:
- Training frequency
- Training volume
- Number of reps used
- Rep speed
- Rest intervals between sets
- Training session length
- Training intensity
- Training session and body part frequency
If you are serious about gaining muscle mass, you should have a solid workout routine.
Bonus tip: Avoid workout routines which don’t involve the big 4: Deadlift, squat, military press and bench press.
Building a muscular body is one of the most rewarding actions a man can take.
Life is a lot more enjoyable when you have muscles on your side.
Follow the instructions laid out in this article, and you will gain muscle mass fast.
Just 2 years of weight training can set you for life.
The life of an average man sucks.
Building big muscles is a surefire way to break from the chains of being average and catapult yourself up to the ranks of the top men in the world.
Build your muscles fast and enjoy the view from the top.
P.S. Bodyweight training is the best way to start building muscle fast. If you want to build an excellent muscular foundation with a solid bodyweight training program, check out Ripped with Bodyweight.