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How to Gain Muscle Fast

Three Parts:Working Out to Gain MuscleEating to Gain MuscleFocusing On Muscle Building

It can be tough to pack on muscle but the way forward is consistency. If you want to gain muscle quickly, however, there are a few tradeoffs, such as gaining some fat along with that muscle mass, and giving up some other activities like running so that your body can focus on muscle gain. You need to be eating more, using the right workout strategy, and employing exercises geared toward making your muscles bigger.

Part 1
Working Out to Gain Muscle

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    Start with basic strength training.[1] Most workouts for your major body parts should start with basic, multi-joint strength training exercises that allow you to lift more weight overall, such as the bench presses for chest, overhead presses for deltoids, barbell rows for back and squats for legs. This will allow you to lift heavier on these exercises, while you're still fresh and have enough energy to better stimulate muscle growth.
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    Go all in. Doing high-intensity workouts is the key to building muscle. Light workouts, even if they're long, don't go nearly as far to produce the right conditions for your muscles to break down and rebuild. Plan on doing 30-45 minute session 3-4 times per week (every other day). This may sound like a surprisingly manageable plan, but remember that during each session you have to make it as intense as possible. Your muscles will definitely get sore at first, but that will ease up once you get going with a routine.
    • During each session, lift as much weight as you can using the correct form. Test your limits to find out how much weight you should lift by doing reps with different weights. You should be able to do 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps without having to put the weights down. If you can't, lower your weight. Generally, the 6-12 rep range stimulates bulky muscle growth, while lower reps favor strength gain at the expense of muscle size.
    • If you can do 10 or more reps without feeling a burn, add more weight. You simply will not get bigger unless you challenge yourself to go all in.
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    Lift explosively. Lift the weight quickly but lower slowly.[2]
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    Use proper form. To develop precise technique, do every rep with good form. Beginners, strive to keep the rep target inside your strength capabilities. Find the right groove for each exercise. Don't train to failure when you're just starting out.
    • You should be able to complete the full motion of an exercise without having to lean over or change position. If you can't, you should be lifting less weight.
    • In most cases you'll start with your arms or legs extended.
    • Work with a trainer for a few sessions so you'll learn the right form for different exercises before continuing on your own.
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    Alternate muscle groups. You don't want to work out the same groups with every workout, or you'll end up damaging your muscles.[3] Rotate muscle groups so that each time you work out, you're putting in an intense hour working on a different group. If you work out three times a week, try something like this:
    • First workout: do exercises for your chest, triceps and biceps.
    • Second workout: focus on your legs.
    • Third workout: Do your abs and chest again.[4]
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    Avoid plateaus. If you do the same thing over and over each time you work out, you're not going to make progress. You need to be adding weight, and when you plateau with the new weight, switching up your exercises. Stay aware of the progress you're making and take notice when it seems like your muscles haven't changed in awhile; it could be a sign that you need to switch things up in the weight room.
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    Rest between workouts. For someone with a fast metabolism, the rest period is almost as important as the workouts. Your body needs time to build muscle without burning a lot of calories doing other activities. Running and other cardio exercises can actually impede the growth of muscles. Take it easy in between workouts instead. Get a good night's sleep so you're fresh for the next workout.
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    Develop the mind-muscle connection. Research confirms that tuning in to the mind-muscle connection can optimize your results in the gym. Instead of focusing on your day, or the blonde next to you, strive to get into a muscle-building mindset to help increase gains. Here's how to do it:
    • Visualize your target muscle growing as you complete every rep.
    • If you're doing lifts with one hand, place your other hand on the muscle you're hoping to improve. Doing this can help you feel exactly where the muscle is straining, and help you refocus your efforts.
    • Remember, it's not the amount of weight on the bar that's important; it's the effect of that weight on the muscle that leads to increases in the size and power you're after. This has a lot to do with how your thinking and what you’re focused on.

Part 2
Eating to Gain Muscle

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    Eat high-calorie whole foods.[5] You should be getting your calories from nutritious whole foods that will give your body the right kind of fuel to build up your muscles fast. Foods high in sugar, bleached white flour, trans fats, and additives are high in calorie but low in nutrition, and they're going to build fat instead of muscle. If you want your muscles to grow and look defined, you need to eat an array of whole foods from every food group.
    • Eat calorie-rich protein dishes like steak and roast beef, roasted chicken (with the skin and dark meat), salmon, eggs and pork. Protein is very important when you're building muscle. Avoid bacon, sausage and other cured meats, which contain additives that aren't good for you to eat in large quantities.
    • Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables of all kinds. They provide you with fiber and essential nutrients and help to keep you hydrated.
    • Eat whole grains like oatmeal, whole wheat, buckwheat, and quinoa instead of white bread, biscuits, muffins, pancakes, waffles and similar foods.
    • Eat legumes and nuts like black beans, pinto beans, lima beans, walnuts, pecans, peanuts, and almonds.
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    Eat more than you think you need. Do you eat when you're hungry, and stop when you're full? That sounds normal enough, but when your aim is to gain muscle fast, you need to be eating a lot more than you usually would. Add an extra serving to every single meal, and more if you can handle it. Your body needs the fuel to build muscle: it's as simple as that.
    • A good muscle-building breakfast might include a bowl of oatmeal, four eggs, two or more pieces of grilled ham, an apple, an orange, and a banana.
    • For lunch, you might eat a chicken sandwich on whole wheat bread, several handfuls of nuts, two avocados, and a big kale and tomato salad.
    • For dinner, have a big piece of steak or another protein, potatoes, vegetables, and second helpings of everything.
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    Eat at least five meals a day. Don't wait until your stomach is growling to eat again; you need to be constantly refueling your body when you're in a muscle-building phase. This isn't going to last forever, so try to enjoy it! Eat two additional meals in addition to breakfast, lunch and dinner.
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    Take supplements, but don't rely on them. You can't rely on muscle-building protein milkshakes to do the job for you. To build muscles, you need to be getting the vast majority of your calories from calorie-rich whole foods. That said, you can help accelerate the process by taking certain supplements that have been shown not to harm the body.
    • Creatine is a protein supplement that has been shown to help build bigger muscles. It comes in a powdered form, and you mix it with water and drink it a few times a day.
    • Protein milkshakes like Ensure are acceptable supplement to have around for when you're having trouble eating enough calories between meals.
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    Stay hydrated. Working out as hard as you have to in order to gain muscle can dry you out quickly. Combat this by carrying a water bottle with you wherever you go, and drinking whenever you feel thirsty. Ideally, you should be consuming around 3 liters (0.8 US gal) per day. Drink extra water before and after workouts.[6]
    • Give up sugary or carbonated drinks. They won't help your overall fitness, and they might actually hold you back when it comes to strength training.
    • Alcohol isn't helpful, either. It dehydrates you and leaves you feeling low energy.
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    Get to know your body better. What's working, and what isn't? As you change your, pay attention to what's happening with your muscles. Everyone's different, and a food that might not do much to one person might be helpful for someone else. If you don't see improvements one week, switch it up and try something else the next week.

Part 3
Focusing On Muscle Building

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    Get more than enough sleep. Sleep is very important for giving your muscles a chance to grow. Getting at least seven hours of sleep a night is the minimum, 8-9 is ideal.
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    Focus exclusively on weight-training. You might enjoy other cardio activities (sports, running, etc.) but those put additional strain on your body (muscles, joints) and use up energy that could be used instead to build muscle. Normally, cardio activities should definitely be included for all-around health, but if you're temporarily focused on building muscle quickly, focusing on weight-training exclusively for a few months will help you reach that goal.


  • Always use a friend to spot you on the more difficult lifts like bench pressing. This move is high risk, and plus it always helps to have some support to hit a few more reps.
  • Stay motivated. Find a friend to join your workout, join a weightlifting forum, or keep a journal of your progress. Whatever it takes to keep you inspired.
  • If you don't have weights right now and you haven't done any weight training, start out with push-ups and chin-ups. They'll be sufficiently difficult when you first start.
  • Do negative push ups: start at the top position of a push up and very slowly lower yourself. Go as low as you can without touching the floor with your chest and stomach. Then get up and start again. This is a good option for when you're not strong enough to do proper push-ups.


  • Too much exercise may be harmful for your health. Be aware of your condition and limit your efforts to avoid injury.
  • Avoid taking to much of the creatine supplement as it is broken down in your kidney to toxic molecules. As long as you don't take too much it won't hurt, though.

Article Info

Categories: Building Muscle & Strength