Muscle growth is the main goal when going to the gym. But do you really know how to build muscle?
In this post we'll talk about what 'building muscle' means and a quick guide to do it fast and efficiently.
Should we start now? Keep reading!
Muscle growth, also known as muscle hypertrophy, is an increase and growth of sarcomeres (muscle cells) (study). Growth comes from adding sarcomeres, noncontractile elements and sarcoplasmic fluid (source).
For muscle hypertrophy we need two main facts; resistance training and protein intake. With those two balanced properly we can determine our muscle growth and/or muscle loss.
How Fast can You Build Muscle?
This depends on your diet, experience level and many other factors.
Generally, if doing things correct, you could potentially gain 40-50lbs of muscle over our life.
However, this 40lbs is looking at your overall career. If you close the range to one year, it would probably be 5-8lbs..
Building muscle mass is not as fast and easy as people may think. You need a few months to start noticing small changes in our body composition, and a few more years to turn this small changes into something noticeable.
As your experience level training gets higher, your mass gains will be lowered.
Your adaptations to the external stimulii are so stablished already that making further adaptations takes more time, discipline and work.
Adapted from Layle Mcdonalds, shows the estimated growth rates depending on your expertise.
- Muscle growth is one of the most highly-cost metabolic processes
- Muscle hypertrophy is an increase and growth of sarcomeres.
- Your experience level, age, sex.. determine your potential muscle gains.
- Building muscle takes time, and the long term behaviour is what determines your success
How to Build Muscle Fast and Efficient
We can't hack biology, but we can manipulate and change our strategie to row faster and build muscle fast and efficiently.
If you don't know how to build muscle yet, check out this list and make sure you are on the right path!
How to build muscle fast and efficiently:
- Be in a calorie surplus
- Get sufficient protein
- Prioritize vitamins and minerals
- Perform resistance training
- Periodize your trainings
- Ensure progressive overload
- Don't overtrain
- Get enough sleep
- Kep you chronic stress levels low
Nutrition to Build Muscle Fast
Be in a Calorie Surplus
Muscle protein synthesis is one of the most expensive metabolic processes. It takes 485kcal for men and 120kcal for women everyday to build muscle (study). This implies a lot of energy and metabolic activity.
To maximize and optimize protein synthesis you must be in calorie surplus for a prolonged period of time (study).
Calorie surplus is basically eating more calories that those being used within a 24h cycle.
But sometimes more is not always better. Excess of calorie surplus will lead to more fat gain and equal muscle gain.
Calorie surplus of 300-500kcal/day is an efficient protocol to minimize fat gains and optimize muscle growth (study).
High Protein Intake
To build muscle, we need:
- Resistance training
- Protein intake
Protein intake between 1.6-2.2g/kg of protein seems to be the ideal range to maximize muscle growth (study).
Don’t Forget your Vitamins
Diets are not only calories and macronutrients. That would way too easy. Vitamins and minerals, also called microutrients, have a crucial role in our metabolism.
Vitamins regulate thousands of metabolic processes in our organism. Minerals, being important for enzyme activity, muscle contraction, neural connections and other functions.
Vitamins B, C and E are potential antioxidants. They improve muscle damage and recovery (study).
Minerals like calcium and potassium are involved in the transport of molecules across the membrane (study), also regulating muscle contraction.
Magnesium plays a crucial role as cofactor in many metabolic reactions (study). Sodium, on the other hand, is involved in cellular hydration and mantaining stable water levels in the cellular environment (study)
Prioritize foods with high nutritional value. Go for fruits, leaf green vegetables, red vegetables, liver, fatty fishes, eggs,... In other words, follow a flexible diet including a wide range of foods.
Training to Build Muscle Fast
Do Resistance Training
Resistance training induces muscle adaptations by 'destroying' muscle tissue and telling our body that, in order to adapt to the external stimulii, we have to build more muscle tissue.
Periodize your Trainings
Periodized and well-programmed trainings are more efficient when it comes to muscle hypertrophy (meta-analysis).
It improves maximal strength and muscle hypertrophy when compared to non-periodized training programs. And this is why...
- Periodized trainings are highly individualized to your needs. They adapt to your lifestyle, your exercise selection and many other factors that make the trainings more enjoyable.
- Periodized trainings are able to handle fatigue and muscle recovery. With periodized training protocols you are able to autorregulate your sessions and adapt it based on your limitations.
- Periodized trainings take into considerations all the variables affecting your performance. Intensity, volume, frequency,... to ensure an efficient progressive overload.
Ensure Progressive Overload
Progressive overload is a 'must' when it comes to muscle hypertrophy (study). It allows us to keep building adaptations to our trainings and keep progressing.
Progressive overload can be done in many ways. Advanced techniques, volume load, repetitions with the same weight, less rest time of better and more controlled technique are great tools to induce progressive overload.
Only induce progressive overload through one of these options at the time. Build adaptations slowly and don't go wild from the beginning.
More is not always better. There are two possible paths when we workout.
On the red one, you are training too hard and not giving enough sleep and recovery to your body.
Performance deteriorates and you don't progress over time. You are stuck with the same weights and lose motivation...
On the green one, you are following our program and considering all the variables.
You do your sessions and go home to get enough sleep and recover. There's a huge progress overtime and the weights are increasing like crazy.
Other Factors to Build Muscle Fast
Nutrition and training are the two main fields to consider when talking about body composition. But they are not the only ones.
Get Enough Sleep
Sleep, with nutrition and training, is the basis of fitness and health. Sleep deprivation is associated with higher risk of weight gain and obesity (study)
In this study (study) parameters related with weight loss were negatively affected by sleep deprivation. Subjects with less sleep were more likely to follow a higher-calorie intake during the day.
The recommended daily dose of sleep is accorded to be 7-9h for adults, with childrens needing 9-12h (study)
Keep your Stress Levels Low
Cortisol is one of the main hormone regulating stress levels. High cortisol decreased testosterone levels (study).
You can efficiently reduce stress levels by:
Muscle growth is quite hard if you don't know what to do.
In this post we have seen how to build muscle more efficiently and fast. All tips point towards either nutrition, training or sleep. These are the basis of body composition. If you have these managed, you are set and ready to go...