How long have you been stressing about not being able to get to the size you want to be? Are you watching other guys getting bigger muscles, but you’re still stuck in your “smedium” t-shirt? Do you want to bulk up and you don’t have the time to wait? (Nobody has time for that.)
With the end of the year slowly but surely creeping up on us, now is the time to set new goals of swole or to revamp your current muscle-building program. If you’ve been hitting the weights with little success or if you’ve hit a muscle-building plateau, there’s a good chance that it’s through no fault of yours. You probably have bad or outdated information. We got your back.
Let’s take a look at how to speed up muscle growth including vital muscle growth tips that go beyond training and diet.
First things first: how long does it take to see muscle growth? How long do you have to hustle before you start to see some decent results in the mirror. Muscle growth depends on a number of factors; a few are outside of your control, but most things you can do something about.
Genetics: Genetics do play a central role in determining how quickly you can get big. If you’re genetically gifted with a mesomorph body type, you can expect to see results fairly quickly. If you’re a hard gainer with an ectomorph body type, you might have to grind harder than most. Identifying your body type can help you determine what you need to do to overcome any genetic obstacles.
Experience: Newbies always see faster results than those people who have a history of fitness and weightlifting experience. In fact, those who are new to a muscle-building will often see bigger muscle tissue along with an increased rate of fat burning.
Consistency: This one is pretty obvious: Want to see more muscle growth? Don’t skip workouts and don’t slack on your diet. The more consistent you are with your training and diet, the faster you’ll see muscle growth.
With all that said, if you’re following a comprehensive weightlifting program and you’re staying true to a caloric surplus diet, studies suggest that you can expect to see between a quarter pound to two pounds of muscle growth per week.
To put that into context, after three months of weightlifting, on average, you can gain between three and twelve pounds of lean muscle mass.
If you want to make sure you’re achieving the higher end of those possible results mentioned above, here are the best ways to tap into fast muscle growth.
Maintain Caloric Surplus
If you want to lose weight, you need to enter a caloric deficit. This means that you burn more calories than you consume. But if the end goal is to speed up muscle growth, you need to be in a caloric surplus, eating plenty of food for muscle growth. In other words, you need to consume more calories than you burn each and every day.
Your body needs extra calories, especially protein, for muscle growth, repair, and function. This energy surplus creates a favorable anabolic environment in the body to build bigger muscles faster. So your first step is to calculate the number of calories you need to eat to achieve successful muscle growth.
Have A Protein Shake Before Working Out
A post-workout protein shake usually gets the spotlight as studies show that it helps to restore your body’s glycogen stores while promoting recovery through protein system. The result: muscle growth. What’s not talked about as often is the potential benefit of having a protein shake before exercising.
Not only can a pre-workout protein shake provide a source of energy for your workout, but studies show that it can prevent muscle “catabolism”, or the breakdown of muscle tissue.
Eat More Protein
Eating sufficient calories for muscle growth is important, but arguably the most important macronutrient in your diet should be protein.
Protein is made up of molecules called amino acids, and your body uses these as the backbone for muscle growth. Amino acids are often referred to as the building blocks of muscle tissue. Therefore, it’s essential to eat adequate amounts of protein in order to skyrocket your muscle-building results.
How much protein? Studies suggest that eating 0.7 grams of protein per pound of body weight can prevent muscle breakdown while promoting an anabolic environment for optimal muscle growth. However, the common bodybuilding rule of one gram of protein per pound of body weight tends to be more accepted in muscle-building circles.
For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, your goal should be to eat 150 grams of protein each day. This can be in the form of whole foods and supplements.
Increase Your Training Volume
Weight training volume is a key factor in ensuring optimal muscle growth. In general, volume is defined as your workload, or how many sets and repetitions you complete over the course of your workout. Workout duration (time) plays into this as well, but the primary focus is the actual work you’re performing.
Greater workout volumes are important in producing a superior effect on the size of muscle fibers. Increasing training volume doesn’t mean you have to spend three hours in the gym; rather, you want to get the most bang for your buck with your weight training workouts by manipulating sets, reps, and weight.
For muscle hypertrophy, studies recommend focusing on two to three exercises for major muscle groups like your legs and back, and one or two exercises for smaller muscles such as biceps and calves. Perform three to five sets of 8 to 12 repetitions for each exercise.
Rest Every Other Day
Although it may seem counterintuitive to take a break from the gym, your body needs time to repair to build new muscle. Sure, it’s not as glamorous as training, but resting is a vital aspect to muscle growth. Unfortunately, it’s largely neglected.
Exercise creates microscopic tears in the muscle. Don’t worry, this sounds worse than it is. These tears are a normal part of the muscle-building process and it’s during rest that cells called fibroblasts repair it. This is what leads to tissue repair that results in muscle growth. Working out every day without rest could impede this process.
In general, it’s recommended not to train more than two days in a row. Optimally, you’ll alternate between hardcore workouts and rest days.
Although widely touted for its cardiovascular and metabolic benefits, cardio exercise may need to be limited to achieve muscle growth.
Remember how we said that you want to stay in a caloric surplus? When performed in excess, cardio exercise can work against this because it tends to burn more calories than weight training. In other words, too much cardio can put you in a caloric deficit.
The optimal forms of cardio are short-duration, quick burst exercises. For example, high-intensity interval training or sprinting are great cardio workouts, but they should only be performed twice a week. The focus of your training should be weightlifting.
Supplement for Muscle Growth
Supplements are commonplace in homes across the globe for supporting muscle growth. However, many people fall prey to the false muscle-growth claims of certain supplements and vitamins for muscle growth. Here are some of the best supplements for muscle growth that are actually backed by research:
Whey Protein: A muscle-building staple, whey protein is a cheese byproduct that is filtered and flavored. Numerous studies have confirmed that whey protein can increase protein synthesis, improve muscle repair, and support overall muscle growth.
Creatine: Your body makes about one gram of creatine on its own, but supplementing with it can have serious benefits for your performance and results. Studies show that creatine can increase energy, improve performance, and promote muscle building.
D-Bal: D-Bal is a legal steroid that is modeled after the popular bodybuilding steroid, Methandrostenolone (better known as Dianabol). D-Bal contains a number of powerful and proven muscle-building ingredients that can complement your training and diet program.
If you’re considering taking a vitamin for muscle growth, take a look at your diet first. You might be getting all of the vitamins and micronutrients you need for growth so that a multivitamin isn’t needed.
Get More Sleep for Fast Muscle Growth
Sleep and muscle growth are uniquely intertwined. Did you know that you see your greatest results while you’re asleep? But the absence of sleep can sabotage your muscle gains. When you skip on sleep, your body releases more of a catabolic hormone called cortisol.
Studies show that excessive cortisol production can lead to muscle tissue breakdown. What’s more, a lack of sleep has been linked to decreased testosterone and human growth factor.
Sleep is an important time for your body to focus on recovering. It diverts resources from things like the digestive system to allocate them into repairing and rebuilding tissue, like the tears that occur from working out. This leads to faster recovery, increased muscle growth, and improved physical performance, so you can be ready to jump right into the next gym session.
Experts suggest sleeping no less than seven hours per night, but the more active you are, the more you’ll probably need. If you have a tough time getting to sleep or staying asleep, start using a pre-bed routine:
- Power down all electronics two hours before bed
- Take a warm shower
- Make sure the room is cooler
- Drink some non-caffeinated tea like valerian root
- Supplement with L-theanine and GABA
- Meditate for a few minutes and focus on deep belly breathing to relax
Measure Your Results
Working your ass off in the gym to see no results can be discouraging and downright infuriating. However, you might be gaining muscle and not even realize it. You see yourself every day so it can be difficult to notice any improvements, especially if you’re gaining at a slow rate.
Measuring your results can be a way to keep track of your progress and see that the energy you’re putting towards bettering yourself is worth it. It also can be a great tool to gauge which workouts fit you best and help you achieve the results you’re looking for.
Make sure to take note of your measurements before you start your journey. This means weighing yourself and measuring inches at your thighs, hips, waist, chest, and arms. Don’t forget your Day 1 pictures. Take these measurements again every week and take progress pictures every month.
Often referred to as juice or roids, many bodybuilders and weightlifters use steroids for muscle growth and to improve performance. Although steroids can deliver impressive muscle-building results in less time, the side effects of steroids will negate any benefit.
Common side effects of steroids include the following:
- Weight gain (post cycle)
- Stunted growth
- Liver damage
- Sexual dysfunction
- Mood swings
- Gyno (bitch tits)
The most important thing to remember about using steroids for muscle growth is that the results you achieve during a cycle quickly fade once you stop using them. That means you’re spending a lot of money only to watch your gains disappear. Not to mention, the health problems you’re left to deal with.
How to Speed Up Muscle Growth? Don’t Give Up
Nobody wants to spend hours on end at the gym focusing on trying to gain muscle without getting the results that they worked so hard for. Even if you are seeing results, it can be frustrating to see them happen so slowly.
If you want success, you need to stay consistent. Push yourself during workouts, eat plenty of healthy calories with a focus on protein, and stick to your program for at least two months before considering a change.