Top 3 Rules For Gaining Muscle Mass FAST
Nowadays, lots of people want to get in shape and achieve their dream bodies, no matter their starting point. However, while most people are overweight and need to lose fat to look good, some of them are actually quite skinny and scrawny. Therefore, it makes sense for them to try to gain weight and build muscle mass (not lose fat).
This exact process of building new muscle mass and gaining strength is known as “bulking” in the fitness realm and in this article, I’ll share with you the top 3 rules for gaining muscle mass fast.
If you are new to this well-worn bodybuilding concept, let’s first see what bulking actually means.
What is bulking?
In simple terms, “bulking” is a period of time when you are trying to build muscle mass and strength. Put simply, you want to gain weight, not lose it.
(“Bulking” is the opposite of “cutting” – when people want to lose fat as much as possible.)
This usually happens when people are eating a surplus of food and lift heavy weights to stimulate the muscle-building process. (Read the top 3 rules for gaining muscle mass fast below)
Trying to gain muscle mass and lose fat at the same time is incredibly difficult. It’s often appropriate only in particular cases like when being a complete beginner or when going back to lifting weights after a long layoff.
For that reason, I recommend doing either only “bulking” or “cutting” at a time (depending on your fitness goals and starting point).
As this article is all about bulking, we’ll be going over the top 3 rules for gaining muscle mass fast.
With this out of the way, let’s now take a deeper dive into the muscle-building process.
Top 3 Rules For Gaining Muscle Mass Fast
The following tips are not something out of this world.
Yet, exactly because of their simplicity and practicality, they work. They have been proven time and time again to work great for anyone who consistently puts them into practice.
You know, I’m all about sharing tried-and-tested principles that have been proven by science + the experience of people.
1. Eat at a Caloric Surplus
This is by far the most important rule. Without it, you simply CANNOT build as much new muscle as possible.
Don't get intimidated by the term "caloric surplus". It simply means eating more than you burn.
For example, if you need to eat 2500 calories daily to remain the same weight, you should start eating 250-300 calories more if your goal is to pack on solid muscle.
By eating more than you burn over time, your body will be in an “anabolic” state, a.k.a. growth phase. Put simply, you will be in a prime state to build new tissue, bones, and muscle as well!
(This FREE article goes into much more detail. It's called "The NO-BS Guide To Building Lean Muscle(The Right Way!)", so I highly suggest taking a look!)
However, your daily caloric intake should be controlled. In order to calculate how much you should eat per day to gain muscle and strength over time, head over to this online calculator.
Simply input some basic stats about yourself and you will have the numbers ready in a few minutes.
After that, it’s simply a matter of dedication and consistency. Your nutrition is hands down the biggest contributor to your fitness goals (whatever they are), including gaining muscle in this case.
Once you have your numbers dialed in, I recommend tracking your calories rigidly and consistently for the most optimal results. Smartphone apps like “My Fitness Pal” can really come in handy because these apps make tracking your daily calories a walk in the park!
Seriously, you will learn so much about how nutrition works in general. Generally, we are so bad at estimating things, including how many calories a certain meal consists of. For example, we can think it’s 500 calories whereas, in fact, it can be 200-300 calories more or less. Thus, this can obviously interfere with our fitness goals but tracking takes the second-guessing out of nutrition.
Plus, once you get the hang of it and have been tracking your calories daily for long, you can then step back and continue without it.
You will have become so good at it that you would be able to tell approximately how many calories/protein/carbs and fats a certain meal would contain, ha!
2. Eat enough protein
Regardless of how often or how intense you work out, your body will refuse to build muscle if you don’t eat enough protein.
I’ve said this multiple times but protein is arguably the most important macronutrient you should prioritize first. Without it, your ability to build new muscle or recover adequately from grueling workouts will be hindered. Also, it’s important to know muscles are largely made of protein.
As a result, it makes sense to hit a higher daily protein intake consistently.
Contrary to popular belief, the common daily protein recommendation is only ~ 50 grams for the average person, which is simply NOT enough for someone who is trying to bulk up and build more muscle tissue (aka make gains!).
A general rule of thumb is to consume around 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight (anywhere between 0.8-1).
For example, if you weigh 160 lbs, you should make efforts to eat close to 160 grams of protein per day.
(For people using kgs, this equals to roughly 1.6-2.2 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight.
To illustrate, for a person weighing 80 kgs, this makes around 128-160 grams of protein per day.)
An important note: As long as you stay within the range of:
8-1.0 grams of protein/ per 1 lbs
1.6-2.2 grams of protein/ 1 KG
You should be fine. Don’t get bogged down in these tiny little details too much – hitting 150 or 165 on some days will hardly make any difference in the long run. Most importantly, you need to stay within that range.
Additionally, it could be a good idea to spread out your protein intake throughout the day. It’s usually better to eat 3-4 high-protein meals instead of eating all your protein in one sitting. This helps with creating regular spikes of muscle protein synthesis (every 3-4 hours), which is likely your best bet.
Some of the best protein sources include meats, fish (both low-fat and fatty), eggs, some dairy products (skyr, cottage cheese, and low-fat Greek yogurt) because they contain all the essential amino acids that our bodies need. Some good plant-based protein sources are quinoa, legumes, tofu, tempeh, and some nuts, for example.
3. Lift weights (at least 3x/week) and “Progressively Overload”
Finally, it makes sense to lift some heavyweights, too, as the point of bulking is to pack on muscle mass, right!?
Not only that but also you should pay attention to mostly to the most important exercises out there – the ones that have been proven to work.
These are called the “compound exercises” – the fundamental movements which involve multiple muscle groups at once. They give the biggest bang for their buck and by prioritizing them, you are bound to get stronger and build more muscle over time.
These exercises include bench presses, deadlifts, squats, pull-ups, dips and a 1-2 more.
(Check out this article to learn more about the BEST exercises EVER – link to my article)
Besides, it’s important to hit the gym at least 3x/week (in fact, that’s what I recommend for most people!) and follow a structured, resistance training program that is based on the concept of “Progressive Overload”.
Progressive overload is a common bodybuilding term, which sounds too complicated. However, it’s quite simple in essence. It implies the idea of constantly “overloading” your muscles with more in some way, shape or form.
This could include adding more weight to the bar, doing more exercise repetitions/sets over time, decreasing your rest in between exercises, etc.
By doing this, you make sure you are consistently pushing your physical boundaries and trying to improve. As a result, you will be richly rewarded and your muscles will grow (provided that you follow the other rules as well!).
(If you want to learn more about how to work out in the gym and which training program to follow, head over to this FREE article. It's your best bet as a beginner!)
BONUS TIP: Avoid “Dirty Bulking”
“Dirty Bulking” refers to the process of eating mindlessly lots of food (including junk food quite often) only to bulk up and gain muscle mass.
While this will certainly help you gain weight faster, it will not do you any favors in the long run. Not only is “dirty bulking” bad for your health (because you are constantly stuffing your face with "unhealthy" food) but it also promotes greater fat gain. As a result, you will gain the necessary weight but you will end up looking fatter because most of it will be fat, NOT muscle.
For that reason, I recommend doing things slowly and eating only 250-300 calories in a surplus (above your maintenance). I also suggest following the 80/20% Nutrition rule. It states that you should focus on eating healthy and nutritious foods around 80% of the time while the remaining 20% could go to the fun stuff – chocolate, pizzas, pancakes, you name it.
This article goes into way more details about the difference between “dirty bulking” and “lean bulking” and also explains which path is best to follow.
Top 3 Rules for Gaining Muscle Mass Fast
To recap, here are the top 3 rules for gaining muscle mass fast:
Eat At a Slight Caloric Surplus (250-300 calories above maintenance!)
Hit Your Daily Protein (1 lb per pound of bodyweight)
Lift Heavy Weights (at least 3x/week) and "Progressively Overload"
Gaining muscle fast is not rocket science. It essentially comes down to a few key principles that are proven to work by science and the people who have already done it.
I’m 100% certain that if you take your time, commit to the process and follow these top 3 rules for gaining muscle mass fast, you will build tons of new muscle and strength over just a few weeks.
But remember… Don’t rush the process. As with anything that is worth having in life, it takes time!
About Todor Kirev:
Todor Kirev is a former fatty turned fitness blogger! Losing weight transformed his life in all aspects and now he helps other young guys get in shape and do the same.
He created his health & fitness blog called “The Fit Students” to share useful, practical and science-based fitness content after realizing how unhealthy the young generation is. His main mission is to help young people build their best body ever and get fit forever while living their best life.
In other words, he is all about blending fitness and lifestyle - he likes to keep things simple, fun and enjoyable (in and outside the gym)!. His fitness approach is flexible and lifestyle-centered, which means he doesn’t sacrifice life for making gains - he has cracked the code to do both!
Todor is also a life-long lover of coffee & food (pancakes being his all-time favorite!) - not your typical chicken and broccoli type of guy!