The fact is that there are many legitimate old school ways to build muscle fast but many trainees never achieve this task.
The road to muscle growth is paved with the emaciated, undernourished bodies of those who fail to achieve it.
And while there are many different good old school programs out there that will lead you to the holy grail of muscle growth and a herculean physique, they all share common traits that must be followed if you want to succeed in your goals.
So instead of concentrating on what you might be doing wrong in your muscle building endeavours, let’s look at the eight things that you need to follow to ensure your success!
You Need To Have Clearly Defined Goal and Concentrate On It
Too many people want to do everything at once. I have lost count of the amount of times I have heard people say, “I want to put on x amount of muscle, lose y amount of body fat, look good at the beach and be ready for the next football season.”
Whoa. Hold up there, fella. That’s actually four separate goals.
Why not concentrate on one clearly defined goal for six months and evaluate things from there. If it’s building muscle, make it just that.
Define it more narrowly and make it realistic. A 10-20lb muscle gain in six months is realistic for most dedicated beginners. You might be on the lower end of this scale if you are a true hardgainer but it is an attainable objective. Make this your goal.
If you concentrate on this target and monitor your nutritional needs carefully you will find that the other three goals will be partially met anyway. Focus on the one thing and you will be more likely to succeed. Muddy the path with too many goals and you will likely not succeed at anything.
You Need To Have a Solid plan To Attain Your Goal
Great you have your goal. Now you have to have a structured plan to achieve this objective.
And you need to stick to it.
This is where many people fall apart. They get a good solid program, do it faithfully for a couple of weeks, get bored and then get seduced by some other program and somewhere along the way their goal becomes compromised.
Our recommended strength program is a good, basic muscle gaining program that works if you adhere to it. There are equally good muscle building programs to be found in our strength library. Pick one program and stick with it for six months faithfully. You may find it a little boring after a time but from your persistence your muscles will grow.
You can throw an extra exercise in, every now and again, after your workout to keep the interest going. But stick to the plan.
You Need To Have A Program Based Around A Full Body Workout
This means a program fundamentally based on compound lifts, bodyweight exercises and some basic conditioning drills.
Programs based around isolation exercises and machines are not effective when it comes to significant muscle gains.
Squats, Deadlifts, Bench Presses, Presses, Rows, Pull ups, Press ups, Dips are the exercises that stimulate large muscle groups and encourage muscle growth. For a good marriage between strength and muscle growth a rep range between 3-8 reps is desirable.
You Need To Engage In Short Intense Exercise
Workouts should be around 45 minutes long and done with intensity. This stimulates the production of testosterone and the release of endorphins in the brain. Long drawn out workouts are for the chemically enhanced lifter or the genetically gifted. For everyone else, long workouts are actually detrimental to muscle gaining goals.
You Need To Lift Heavy
The number one reason that people have trouble gaining muscle is they are simply not lifting enough weight. From the very start you need to be involved in a progressive resistance program.
If you’re a beginner you need to start light but you need to start adding small and measured incremental poundages to the bar each time you workout. This needs to be consistent. Don’t let your ego rule your lifts, stick to your plan and do not deviate from it. You will be surprised how quickly your totals increase over time and how much muscle you will gain. I repeat again – stick to the plan!
You Need To Eat More
If you want to gain muscular bodyweight you have to consume more calories – period.
If you workout your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE) and eat roughly 15% more than this total you should have no trouble gaining more muscle. Eat cleanly and stick to a conservative gain in caloric intake and you will gain muscle with a minimum of fat gain.
If you are a beginner, are training hard and sticking to your plan, there is the possibility your bodyfat levels may even lower. If you have endomorphic tendencies, your fat percentages may stay the same or even rise a little but remember if you are putting on significant muscle, this will not be very noticeable and you will look better.
If this is the case and you are concerned, you can drop your caloric intake to 5-10% above TDEE, and at the macronutrient level reduce your carbohydrate intake. Notice I said reduce not eliminate entirely – carbohydrates are essential in the muscle building process.
You Need To Have Sufficient Rest
Muscle growth occurs when the body is at rest.
Is that embedded in your mind? It’s a concept that’s overlooked in a chemically prevalent training world. I’ll repeat it.
Muscle growth occurs when the body is at rest.
It is a fine balance between too much training and too little but you have to give your body adequate time to recover. This means a solid eight hours sleep every night and a sufficient break between workouts.
How many workouts a week?
If you are following a program according to your plan it should be laid out for you. But if you are having real problem recovering between workouts then reduce it by one workout a week and see where you are at.
You Need To Measure Everything
Gaining muscle is an art form based in scientific reasoning.
The art is in the expression of your exercise: your form, your breathing, your intensity, your aesthetic improvements and your concentration.
The science is the road you must travel to express the art. You are engaged in a progressive resistance program so you need to plan, measure and collate the amount of weight you are lifting each workout. You need to measure your caloric intake and work out your macronutrient ratios when it comes to nutrition. You need to be aware of the timing of your workouts and your rest periods. The list goes on.
A successful trainee records everything and is in complete control of each aspect of their training. When we measure and record our progress we can readily make minor adjustments that can stimulate growth when progress has stalled.
If you use these eight factors as the backbone of your muscle building education, and you train diligently, you will assuredly build muscle fast and achieve your goals.