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How to Build Muscle Fast: 15 Tips to Gain Mass Quickly


Jun 18, 2022
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by Andreas Abelsson
When you’re looking to build muscle fast, certain factors have a greater impact than others.
How you structure your training, your choice of exercises, your diet, your recovery strategies, and your mental attitude all play critical roles in your quest to pack on the lean muscle mass.
In this article, you’ll find the 15 most crucial, no-nonsense tips to beefing up. Whether you’re a gym newbie or a seasoned lifter, these insights will turbocharge your routine and catapult your results.

Without further ado, let’s jump straight into tip number one.

1. Follow a Structured Workout Plan​

A structured workout plan is a must when you’re trying to build muscle fast.
Random workouts are like random weather forecasts: unpredictable, and following a random workout routine is more than likely to produce random results.
A structured plan, on the other hand, is your personal roadmap for building your muscle mansion. Without it, you’re like a construction worker without a blueprint, randomly placing bricks here and there. A structured plan ensures every workout contributes towards your goal of adding pounds of muscle to your frame.
How to Build Muscle Fast: Tracking workouts in a training log app

Just like tracking your high scores in Pac-Man, a structured plan helps you monitor your progress (more about tracking your progress later; it’s another critical factor for building muscle fast). That way, you can see how much stronger you’re getting and adjust your plan to keep the gains coming.
It also makes sure you’re not wasting time on ineffective exercises. Instead, every minute of your workout is optimized for maximum muscle gain. It’s like having a secret map to find new paths and keep climbing higher on Mount Gainsmore.

2. Consistency Is Key​

Consistency is one of the main not-so-secret ingredients in the muscle-building recipe.
After each strength training session, you increase both muscle building and muscle breakdown. However, as long as you give your body the dietary protein and energy it needs, muscle-building outpaces muscle breakdown.
Over time, with consistency, your muscle fibers come back bigger and stronger, leading to the lean body mass increases you want.
Consistency means hitting the weights for one more rep or squeezing in another workout, even when your couch is calling your name. Showing up and putting the hard work in workout after workout is the only way to reach your muscle growth goals. Muscles have this funny habit – they only grow if you consistently challenge them.
In short, regular resistance training (that’s your consistency), proper nutrition, and ample rest and recovery are your magic beans for muscle growth.
Also, remember that even if you have the genetics to add muscle mass faster than most and do everything right, it is still a gradual process with months of training needed to put on an appreciable amount of muscle. But when consistency meets patience, magic happens. Consistency keeps you on track, while patience sets the foundation for long-term gains.
Keep it consistent, and your muscles will be sending you thank-you notes in the form of gains!

3. Practice Progressive Overload​

Your muscles are like lazy couch potatoes. If you don’t nudge them off the couch (or the training bench, in this case), they are slow to get moving. Progressive overload is that nudge, forcing your muscles to get with the program and start growing. You can’t lift the same 10-pound dumbbell forever and expect to keep adding much muscle and strength.

How to Build Muscle Fast: Progressive Overload

Think of it as a video game; you want to level up to make your stats increase. You can use heavier weights, increase the number of reps, shorten your rest periods, improve your technique, or up your training volume. Without progressive overload, your muscles will hit a plateau sooner rather than later. They get comfy doing the same old thing and stop growing.
Here’s the twist – don’t go overboard. If you add too much too fast, especially training volume, you might exceed your body’s ability to recover and end up overtrained instead.
Whether you use free weights, resistance bands, or weight machines, combining sensible progressive overload with a good diet and enough rest and recovery will put you on your way to Muscle Town, with your biceps as the mayor.

4. Track Your Progress​

Tracking your progress is essential to keep your gains coming. It ties into progressive overload; you need to lift a little heavier or do one more rep than last time to keep growing, and a workout log is the best way to help you remember what you need to beat.

It details your workouts, sets, reps, and weights, offering a clear overview of your strength progression.
StrengthLog Workout tracker personal records

Someone’s been working out and beating records with the StrengthLog workout tracker!

Your workout log is basically your personal fitness diary. By tracking your workouts, you can play detective and spot patterns. Are you lifting heavier over time? Are those bicep curls turning your arms into pythons? Without tracing your workouts, you might miss these clues to your progress.
But wait! A workout log helps in more ways than keeping track of your reps and sets and how heavy weights you’re lifting.
Let’s face it: some days, you might feel like a deflated balloon. But then you flip open your log, see how far you’ve come, and boom! Instant motivation, like having a mini-cheerleader in your pocket. Seeing your weights and reps go up in black and white before you is a powerful boost to your workout morale.
In addition, your workout log lets you celebrate those small wins – like adding five more pounds to your lift or squeezing out an extra rep. These victories add up and keep you hungry for more.
Your log is that friend who always keeps you in check. It doesn’t let you forget that you skipped leg day or the half-hearted effort you put into your last workout. It’s a constant reminder to stay on track and push harder. Can you build muscle fast without one? Sure, anything is possible. But a workout log removes much of the guesswork and simplifies the entire process.
Start logging your workouts with StrengthLog by clicking the button for your device below! It is free and 100% without ads.

5. Prioritize Compound Movements​

Compound movements are exercises like squats, deadlifts, bench presses, overhead presses, and rows: your core lifts. Unlike isolation exercises targeting a single muscle group and involving just one joint, compound exercises simultaneously involve several joints and major muscle groups.

How to Build Muscle Fast: compound exercise

Compound movements offer several sweet benefits:
  • These exercises mimic everyday movements, like picking up groceries or wrestling with the couch to find the remote. They don’t just build muscle fast; they train your body to be more efficient and less injury-prone in real life.
  • More muscles working equals more calories burning. Compound exercises turn your body into a calorie-torching furnace.
  • Compound movements can boost the natural release of muscle-building hormones like testosterone and human growth hormone. These hormones are your body’s natural muscle-building supplements.
For building muscle, isolation exercises are as effective as compound movements.1 However, compound exercises give you more bang for your invested muscle buck. Instead of isolating one muscle at a time, you’re hitting several. Time is muscle!

Combining compound lifts and isolation movements in your weight training routine likely gives you the best results, but the core lifts are your bread-and-butter exercises to build muscle fast.

6. Avoid Overtraining​

Remember progressive overload, one of the key players when you want to build muscle fast? There is another side of the coin: more isn’t always merrier, especially when it comes to building muscle. Few things slow your progress more than overtraining.
If you start feeling more tired than a sloth, experience mood swings, and keep getting sick, these could be signs of overtraining. Other signs include persistent muscle soreness, plateaued progress, lack of appetite, insomnia, and feeling unmotivated to train. Basically, they are your body’s way of telling you you’re doing too much, too fast.
Rest days are not lazy days – they’re your muscles’ chance to repair, rebuild, and come back stronger. If you notice tell-tale signs of overtraining, cut back on your intensity and volume or take a week off to allow your body to recover.
Even better, follow a training program that considers your fitness level and muscle recovery and keeps you on the right side of the overtraining gremlin.
Your body is smarter than you think. It sends signals like fatigue, lack of motivation, and mood swings to tell you when to push and when to pause. Avoiding overtraining keeps you on the fast-track course to build muscle fast and consistently.

7. Maintain Proper Form and Technique​

Lifting heavier over time is essential to keep those gains in muscle size coming, but you don’t want to do it at the expense of good form. Sometimes, your ego must step back for lighter weights and proper technique.

First off, think of using proper form as your insurance policy. It’s there to keep you safe from nasty injuries. Strength training is a very safe form of exercise, but sloppy form can still lead to strains, sprains, or even more severe injuries.
Proper form prevents injuries

Being unable to train puts the break on your quest to build muscle fast like nothing else. Injuries not only hurt but also sideline you, and you can’t build muscle from the couch.
In addition, proper form ensures that each rep counts and every drop of sweat is invested wisely. Like a savvy businessperson, you want the best returns on your effort, and a good lifting technique maximizes muscle engagement and minimizes wasted energy. It’s like squeezing every last drop of juice out of an orange – but in this case, the orange is your workout, and the juice is your gains.

8. Eat Enough Calories​

You don’t build muscle fast without providing your body with the energy and nutrients it needs to do the job. Being in a caloric surplus puts your body in an anabolic state – you build more than you break down.

How to Build Muscle Fast: calories

Imagine your body is a construction site. The workers (your muscles) are ready to build but need bricks and mortar (calories and nutrients like protein) to construct your muscle mansion. A caloric surplus means you deliver truckloads of building supplies, and the construction never grinds to a halt due to a shortage. It’s like having a team of tiny construction workers in your muscles, fixing the damage and adding to your muscle fibers.
Also, extra calories can boost your energy levels, making you feel like a dynamo in the gym. You can then put this energy towards extra-intense workouts that kickstart your muscle hypertrophy and strength gains.
You can build muscle without a calorie surplus, but it’s a much more challenging and slower process. If you want to build muscle fast, getting those extra calories above maintenance speeds it up tremendously.
Here’s the slightly tricky part – a caloric surplus invariably leads to some body fat gain along with the muscle. But don’t fret; with diet planning and heavy lifting, you minimize the fat gains and maximize the muscle. Just don’t go on the seefood diet (see food = eat food) and bulk up excessively. A huge surplus doesn’t add more lean mass than a moderate one.
In short, a caloric surplus is essential for rapid muscle building, but it’s something of a balancing act. You want enough extra calories to build muscle but not so many that you gain too much fat. A calorie surplus of 250–500 calories is the sweet spot for most people. If you’re naturally skinny, you can go for the higher end of that interval, but if you find yourself gaining fat easily, it’s better to aim for the lower end.

Read more:
>> How to Bulk: The Complete Guide to Muscle Gain

9. Eat Plenty of Protein​

Protein provides you with amino acids your body uses to repair muscle fibers and create new muscle tissue.
Imagine your muscles are like a Lego tower. Amino acids are like the Legos themselves. You can only build a bigger and stronger tower if you have enough Legos. Similarly, your muscles will only grow or repair properly with enough protein and amino acids.
Protein: the building blocks of your muscles

So, how much protein is enough protein?
  • According to the American College of Sports Medicine, your should aim for 1.2–1.7 grams of protein per kilogram, or 0.5 to 0.8 grams per pound, of body weight per day.2
  • Other experts suggest even more, 1.4–2.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day (0.65–1 gram per pound) to optimize muscle growth.3 4
Leaning toward the higher numbers of those recommendations can be a good idea to ensure faster muscle growth. There is zero harm in doing so.
Now, lifting weights isn’t wasted if you don’t eat more protein than the average person, but if you want to build muscle fast, upping your protein intake offers significant and proven benefits.
The quality of protein matters, too. Complete proteins containing all essential amino acids are your best bet. We’re talking lean meats, fish, eggs, dairy like cottage cheese, and for the plant-powered, beans, lentils, quinoa, tofu, and other soy-based foods. Protein shakes using a high-quality protein powder like soy or whey protein are good, too.
If you only eat plant-based foods, increasing your overall protein intake by 25% is a good idea. That way, you get as many essential amino acids (the ones you must provide to build muscle) as someone who eats animal proteins.
Finally, spread your daily protein intake reasonably evenly throughout the day, and you’re golden.
Read more:
>> Protein for Strength Training: The Ultimate Guide

10. Pay Attention to Post-Workout Nutrition​

Post-workout, your muscles are like sponges, ready to soak up nutrients. Now is your chance to give your body what it needs to build muscle fast.

And what it needs first and foremost is protein. After a training session, both your muscle protein synthesis (that’s fancy talk for building muscle) and muscle breakdown increase. Once you eat or drink protein, muscle protein skyrockets, overtaking muscle breakdown, and you start gaining muscle.
How to Build Muscle Fast: post-workout nutrition

While not necessary for building muscle, carbohydrates can also be helpful after training. Carbs are like the premium fuel for your body’s tank. During a workout, your body taps into the carb reserves for energy, depleting them. Post-workout carbs help replenish these stores, giving you the energy for your next epic workout and helping with muscle recovery.
For the muscle-gain express train, aim for a snack or meal rich in protein within an hour or so after your workout. Carbs aren’t strictly necessary for muscle gain but aid in recovery. Your post-workout meal could be a classic protein shake, some chicken and rice like your favorite pro bodybuilder, or Greek yogurt with a sliced banana.

Thirty to forty grams of protein is ideal, although you can increase that amount if you know you won’t eat again for many hours to ensure the muscle-building gnomes have access to the building blocks they need.
Now, if you have already eaten a protein-rich meal a few hours before working out, post-workout meal timing becomes less critical. Your body can use the protein from that meal to build muscle after your training session. Separating your pre- and post-workout protein intakes by 3–4 hours is no problem. You can extend that interval to six hours if we’re talking about large meals like lunch and dinner.
But if you haven’t eaten much protein before hitting the weights, eating or drinking some after your workout is key to start adding muscle.

11. Consider Supplementing with Creatine​

Let’s get real: most dietary supplements that claim to boost muscle growth are junk. Almost no supplements provide muscle-building benefits you can’t get from regular foods.
The exception is creatine. You can get creatine from food (primarily animal proteins like meat and fish), but not enough for the effects you’re after.
Creatine is a substance that’s naturally found in muscle cells. It helps your muscles produce energy during heavy lifting or high-intensity exercise. Think of it as your muscles’ personal battery booster.
When you supplement with creatine, you increase your stores of phosphocreatine. That helps your body produce more of a high-energy molecule called ATP. ATP is like the energy currency of your cells. More ATP equals more power to your muscles.
In addition, creatine might increase the number of satellite cells in your muscles.5 They are small cells inside the skeletal muscles of the human body that are usually dormant. When woken up through physical activity like weight training, they fuse with existing muscle fibers, increasing the size and strength of the muscle.
In short, creatine lets you push harder, thus building more muscle.

Creatine builds muscle

Some opt for a loading phase of 20 grams per day for 5–7 days, followed by a maintenance phase of 3–5 grams daily. It’s like filling up your muscle car’s gas tank before a big race. If you’re not a fan of loading, stick to 3–5 grams daily. That’s the slow and steady wins the race approach. The end results are the same.
Not all creatine is created equal. The good news is that the least expensive is also the best. Look for creatine monohydrate, the most researched form.
Read more:
>> Creatine: Effects, Benefits and Safety
>> The Best Time to Take Creatine

12. Get Enough Quality Sleep​

Good sleep is like plugging yourself into a charger. It replenishes your energy stores, so you’re ready to hit the ground lifting. Most people can deal with one night of poor sleep and still perform decently in the gym, but consistent sleep deprivation will tank your performance.


In addition, sleep is super-important for your muscle-building hormones. While you’re snoozing, your body’s like a busy workshop for releasing anabolic hormones like testosterone and growth hormone.6
  • A single week of bad sleep (less than six hours per night) lowers your testosterone levels by a whopping 10 to 15%. Testosterone is like the foreman of Muscle-Building Inc., and getting plenty of sleep keeps him happy and productive.
  • Also, sleep is when your growth hormone levels rise the most, helping repair and build your muscles. And if that wasn’t enough, cortisol (a stress hormone that decreases muscle-building) levels are higher after a night of insufficient sleep.
Aim for 7–9 hours of sleep to keep your muscle-building mission on track. Some people need even more, and others can get by on less, but in general, 7–9 hours is ideal for someone looking to build muscle fast.

It’s not just about clocking in hours under the sheets, though. Good sleep quality means diving into deep sleep, where the real magic happens. Avoid late-night caffeine, keep a cool, dark room, and tell that noisy neighbor to keep it down.
In short, hitting the pillow can be almost as important as hitting the gym. So, make sure you get enough quality sleep – snooze like a champion, and your muscles will thank you.

13. Do Some Cardio But Not Too Much​

Many lifters and bodybuilders avoid cardio like the plague, fearing aerobic exercise will break down muscle, impair muscle strength and growth, or all of the above.
However, such fears are unfounded. Current research shows that cardio does not prevent strength and muscle gains.7
cardio strength training

On the contrary, some cardio is great for overall health benefits and can actually boost your muscle gains. You improve insulin sensitivity (more of the nutrients you eat get shuffled straight into your biceps) and can eat more calories without putting on body fat. More calories to play with means more energy and nutrients for your muscle-building efforts.

So, cardio in itself does not hamper muscle growth. However, you only have limited funds in your recovery account. Overdo the aerobic exercise, and you might overdraw that account and find yourself struggling to recover from and adapt to your strength training regimen.
A good rule of thumb is to include moderate cardio in your exercise routine a few times a week. Think 20–30 minutes of jogging, cycling, or brisk walking. That’s enough to get the benefits without turning your muscle-building bakery into a cardio cookie factory.

14. Maintain a Positive Mindset and Set Goals​

A positive mindset can help you attain your goals in all areas of life, including fitness and muscle development.
First off, your brain is the boss of your brawn. A positive mindset isn’t just feel-good fluff; it’s the power-up your workouts need. If your mind’s not into it, your muscles are just going through the motions.
Motivation and performance are best friends. High motivation equals better performance, which, in turn, keeps the motivation high. When you’re motivated, you’re more likely to push through those last reps that really turn up the heat on your muscle-building machinery.
Like keeping a positive mindset, setting goals is like having a roadmap to Gainsville. Without them, you’re likely to wander around aimlessly. Goals give you direction; each achievement on the way is like a checkpoint, keeping you on track.
Just thinking about building muscle won’t pack on the lean mass, but positive thinking and clear, achievable goals keep you pumped and ready to tackle those extra reps, push through another set, or increase the amount of weight. When your mind is cheering you on, your body is more likely to follow suit.

15. Have Fun!​

The final secret ingredient to muscle gain is a hefty dose of fun. Your workouts should be like your favorite show – you can’t wait to see the next episode.
If working out feels like you’re being chased by a bear, you’re not going to stick with it. Again, consistency is the key to long-term muscle building, and the more you enjoy your workouts, the more you’ll stick to them. The result? Better long-term gains.

Final Words​

There you go – the top 15 tips to build muscle fast.
The more of them you can implement into your muscle-building strategies, the better your chances of building muscle faster than you can say “muscular hypertrophy.”by Andreas Abelsson
When you’re looking to build muscle fast, certain factors have a greater impact than others.
How you structure your training, your choice of exercises, your diet, your recovery strategies, and your mental attitude all play critical roles in your quest to pack on the lean muscle mass.
In this article, you’ll find the 15 most crucial, no-nonsense tips to beefing up. Whether you’re a gym newbie or a seasoned lifter, these insights will turbocharge your routine and catapult your results.