How to Build Muscle and Strength Fast
Probably the most frequent question I get asked is, “How can I build muscle and get stronger fast?”.
Of course, it’s not a surprising question as today we live in a world where everything has to be done yesterday, people are always expecting fast results, and we all want instant gratification.
While there is no magic pill or formula to give you overnight results, there are things you can do to ensure you’re maximizing your time in the gym and building muscle as fast as humanly possible.
Let’s take a look at what those things are.
Record Everything (and I mean everything) You Are Doing
Probably the most important step in building muscle and strength is to keep a very detailed and accurate record of what you are doing, and the effect it is having.
You need to keep an accurate record of everything you are doing in the gym (and out of the gym) to see what effect it is having on your body week to week.
Keep track of your workouts: the exercises, the number of reps, sets, weight, and time of rest. You need to know this information so that you are absolutely sure that you are increasing at least one of these variables from workout to workout.
If you’re not making progress in the gym, then you’re either not working out enough (or possibly even working out too much). Either that or you’re not doing something right outside of the gym (I’m talking about your diet here).
Exactly how many calories did you eat versus the previous week? How many of those calories came from protein, carbohydrates, and fat? Of the carbs you consumed what percent were complex carbs and what percent were simple sugars?
Exactly how many ounces of water did you drink?
If you’re not tracking any and all of these metrics; how will you identify what’s preventing you from making gains and building muscle.
Bottom line is you must record everything you are doing in and out of the gym.
You Must Make Progress to Grow
The most common and biggest mistake I see guys making in the gym is that they stick to the same routine.
And I mean, literally… they don’t make any progression at all. They’ll go to the gym, and do the same exercises, using the same weight, using the number of sets, and reps, with the same rest period in between.
How are you going to push the muscle into growth if you’re not making any of these variables more difficult?
Increase the amount of weight you’re using, increase the number of sets or reps, decrease your rest time… do anything to make this workout more difficult than the previous workout.
And make sure you’re getting the proper nutrition to support your muscle building and strength gains.
You are tracking this stuff right (remember point one above?).
In order to build muscle and strength, you must be making progress with every single workout.
Stop Spending So Much time in the Gym
For many newcomers to muscle building, this one seems counterintuitive…
But if you really want to build size and strength, you should be spending less time in the gym.
Keep the length of your workouts down. It is so tempting to fall into the trap of thinking that more time necessarily means greater results. Do the same amount of work in less time, by taking shorter rest periods, increasing weight and decreasing sets and/or reps, and you will see greater results from your efforts.
This is due to the vast increase in intensity levels. Increasing your intensity is the number one way to build muscle and strength quickly.
Decrease Your Number of Reps
Building on the last point, if you want to build muscle and strength, use smaller rep counts (and heavier weights).
The upper limit of your rep count really should be set at 6 or 8 reps (max); not your typical 10 reps and definitely not 12.
Once you go beyond an 8 rep set you are working the slow twitch muscle fibers. This is not that useful for building muscle and strength, as these are muscles which do not really grow. Heavier weights and lower rep counts will activate the fast twitch muscle fibers which are more responsible for building muscle mass.
Like I said, there is no magic pill or overnight formula for building muscle, but if you follow these tips you’ll be on your way to bulding muscle and strength as fast as humanly possible.
Now get to the gym!