The Final Information to Constructing Muscle Quick (Coaching & Coaching)
Do you want to build muscle like this guy?
(Uniform leopard print, but recommended)
This guide provides step-by-step instructions to get you started building muscle right away! As today!
We will examine:
That seems like a lot of subjects to cover. NOT PANIC!
Because building muscle and strength really boils down to three things.
If you want to build muscle, get bigger and stronger, here's what you need to do:
- Lifting heavy things
- Eat a diet based on your goals
- Get enough rest
I realize that doing these three things is much easier said than done. I've struggled with progress for a decade and I know exactly what you go through when you feel unsure.
You probably don't have years to go through the mistakes I made and you just want to start getting results today. In addition to the free resources listed below, we also offer 1-to-1 online coaching, where you receive personalized guidance for your body type and goals, as well as professional accountability from a coach on Team Nerd Fitness!
But enough of that, let's quickly dive into how to get started with weight training!
How do you build muscle and strength? Lifting heavy things
If you want to build muscle, you have to lift heavy things.
This means that you will most likely need access to a gym with a great free weight area.
Bodyweight exercises can be fantastic for losing weight and maintaining the muscle you already have. However, if you're serious about weight training, to be most efficient, you need a gym with a squat, bench, barbells, and a place for pull-ups and chin-ups and dips.
Do you have access to a decent gym? If so, well, it will help us get started.
Gym closed due to COVID? No problem, here's how to build a gym in your own home.
Because we want to create functional strength and size, we will be doing many full body routines of compound exercises that work multiple muscle groups at the same time.
They are more efficient, provide solid growth and stimulation, and protect you.
Why is that?
Well, if you spend all of your time doing silly isolation exercises on weight machines (ugh), you're only working on those specific muscles and not your stabilizer muscles (because the machine does all of the stabilization work).
On the flip side, with compound exercises like barbell squats, you are training pretty much EVERY muscle in your body to make yourself strong and injury-free.
Stay away from machines when you can and focus on free weights and barbell exercises.
If you do a full body routine every time you work out (which I would recommend ANY beginner) then any routine can Do you have a leg exercise, push exercise, pull exercise, and core exercise:
- Leg exercises: Squats, deadlifts, or lunges
- Push exercises: Bench press, overhead press, or dips
- Pull exercises: Reverse rows, pull-ups, or pull-ups
- Core Exercises: Reverse crunches, hanging knee raises or planks
That's it. Don't worry if you add ridiculous shrugs, iso breast flies, preacher bicep curls, calf raises, etc.
If you learn these few exercises, you will get really good at them and your whole body will get stronger and bigger. Each week, focus on adding more weight to each exercise.
For example, From one week to the next, you can do the following:
- Week 1 Barbell Squat: 3 sets of 5 at 150 lbs.
- Week 2 Barbell Squat: 3 sets of 5 at 155 lbs.
When you do that, you have become stronger. Then repeat next week. Eat right and you will grow taller too.
What is a sample muscle building routine?
Following the principles I outlined in my "Creating a Workout Routine" article, here is a three day routine I recently created for myself:
- Monday: Squats, bench presses, wide-grip pull-ups, planks
- Wednesday: Deadlift, overhead press, reverse row, hanging knee raises
- Friday: Weighted lunges, weighted dips, weighted pull-ups, reverse crunches.
Each day has a leg exercise, a push exercise, a pull exercise, and some core tasks.
While it is possible to create the perfect routine yourself, many of our rebels spend hours and hours building something custom – only to realize weeks and months later that it is not what they need (or not effective) Gates.
For people who want to avoid this altogether, we've developed the solution – our hugely popular 1-to-1 nerd fitness coaching program combines you with your own nerd fitness coach who will guide you, your goals and your lifestyle Get to know Create an exercise plan that is specific not only to your body, but also to your schedule and life. Click the image below to schedule a call with our team and see if we are a good match!
How many sets and repetitions should I do?
We have a MASSIVE guide on the exact numbers of sets and reps to focus on based on your goals. However, you can follow the basics here.
- If you're just interested in getting stronger, here's what you can do: 3-5 sets of 5 reps, with an emphasis on lifting heavier and heavier each week.
- If you want to add more size and strength, mix up your rep ranges. Sets of 5 reps create compact explosive power, while sets of 6 to 12 reps create more size but less concentrated force.
If you're bored, want to change something, or want to break a plateau, here are some things you can do:
- This week I may be doing 3 sets of 5 reps for each exercise (other than the core exercises), adding enough weight to each exercise so that it is incredibly strenuous.
- Next week, I do four sets of each exercise, adding weight and doing fewer reps each time. For example, I do an overhead press in the following order:
- 100 pounds: 12 reps
- 105 pounds: 10 reps
- 110 pounds: 8 reps
- 115 pounds: 6 reps
The good news is that whichever route you choose (pure strength, size, or a mixture of both), as long as you add weight each week – and eat enough – you will get stronger.
EVERY route will work provided you increasingly overload your muscles with an increased challenge!
So if you do 5 sets of 5 squats at 140 pounds this week, aim for 5 sets of 5 by 145 pounds next week. Or 3 sets of 10 at 100 pounds, then try 3 sets of 10 at 105 pounds next week.
Get stronger, that's 20% of the puzzle. The other 80% is nutrition (which I'll cover later)!
As I said, if you want more information, You can dig deeper into the subject in our article “How to Determine the Correct Number of Repetitions and Sets”.
Any other muscle training and weight lifting tips?
# 1) warm up before training – Don't hit a gym, hit 45 pound plates on the bar, and then start your routine.
First, increase your heart rate and muscles by doing a dynamic warm-up of jumping jacks, lunges, squats, hip raises, pushups, leg swings, jumps, etc.
Then always start with a sentence or two of JUST THE BAR. Only then should you start adding weight for some warm-up sets before moving on to your real sets.
# 2) Have a focused shape – If you crouch incorrectly, you can develop bad habits.
However, if you get a barbell squat wrong with 405 pounds on your shoulders, you can do serious harm. If you're just starting out, check your ego at the door: start with a VERY light weight and make sure you do the exercise correctly.
There's NO shame just starting with the bar. You can always add more weight next week if that week is too easy.
# 3) Stimulate, not destroy – I still try to repeat when I finish a sentence.
Some coaches will preach how to train your muscles to the point of destruction, but I think that just calls for an injury, poor form, and sore muscles.
Your muscles are built while resting, not in the gym. So don't worry about completely destroying them every day you enter the gym – it's not worth it.
# 4) Change the time between sets – If you're doing 3 sets of 5 reps with a really heavy weight, it's okay to wait 3-5 minutes between sets – you're focusing on pure strength here.
When doing sets in the 8-12 range, try to keep the time between sets for about a minute. This affects your muscles in different ways.
Learn all about sets and rep ranges.
Just be consistent between sets and when doing the same workout between weeks to track your progress.
# 5) Don't overdo it – More doesn't mean better in weightlifting. You don't have to spend two hours in the gym, you don't have to do 15 different types of chest exercises.
My routines last no more than 45 minutes, I only do three or four sets (after warming up) for each exercise, and it's enough to stimulate muscle growth.
Three routines a week are also sufficient – you shouldn't exercise every day as you need to give your muscles time to get bigger – remember, muscles are made in the kitchen!
Often times, less is more – just make your routines very intense and strenuous.
# 6) Write everything down – Keep a training journal and write down exactly how many sets and repetitions you did for each exercise.
This way you can compare how you worked this time with the last time. You will know how much more you need to lift this week to make sure you are stronger than you were last week.
# 7) Follow a routine, have a plan. The best thing you can do is have a plan to follow and stick with it! We offer a free body weight routine and a comprehensive gym workout routine to get you started with weight training in our free guide. Strength Training 101: Everything You Need To Know. Get your guide when you sign up in the box below:
Download our comprehensive guide
- Everything you need to know to get strong.
- Exercise routines for body weight AND strength training.
- How to find the right gym and train properly in one.
Proper Diet To Build Muscle (And What Supplements)
If you are thin and trying to collect yourself it is 90% of the fight.
If you've been lifting weights for a while but "can't seem to gain weight," then you're not eating enough – it's that simple.
I thought I was one of those people who just could never put on weight … and then I found out it was all diet, started eating 4,000 calories a day, and gained 18 pounds in 30 days.
Yes, I wanted to throw up because I always ate three muscle milk shakes a day, but it worked.
Looking back, I would have done things differently (so many calories and so much sugar / carbohydrates) but after 6 years of training without gaining weight it was great to see so much progress in such a short amount of time.
4,000 calories sound crazy, right? I know.
It makes eating a full time job.
You will always either cook, eat, or clean up after yourself.
But if you really want to get bigger and have difficulty doing so, then you must make every effort to eat more, eat healthier, and eat all the time.
Since then I have changed my strategies and have become much more calculated in my approach. That's how I went (jokingly) from Steve Rogers to Captain America.
Here are some different weight gain techniques:
PATH # 1: Eat plenty of whatever – This was my first plan years ago: It's the cheapest, the fastest, but probably the least healthy.
Just make sure you're getting over 200 grams of protein a day and over 3,500 calories in every possible way: pasta, rice, pizza, milk, hamburgers, chicken, protein shakes, muscle milk shakes, whatever. So I went from 162-180 pounds in 30 days. I'm not proud of the way I ate, but it has produced results and I've stayed healthy and strong.
WAY 2: Eat a lot "healthy" Stuff – I did this once and gained about 10 pounds in 30 days. Lots:
- Brown rice
- My homemade big ass shake
- Almond butter sandwiches on whole wheat bread
Still not optimal, but it works and is better for you inside than the previous method. Still relatively cheap as tubs of oats, brown rice, and bread are cheap and can add tons of calories quickly.
PATH 3: Eat Paleo – I tried this strategy too and despite my efforts to gain weight, I managed to lose five pounds (everything was fat).
It is certainly possible to gain weight on the Paleo Diet (try adding three great Ur-Shakes a day), but getting 4,000 calories from paleo-approved foods daily is difficult and very expensive. Lots of nuts, eggs, sweet potatoes, olive oil, and yams, plus loads of chicken, grass-fed beef, fruits and vegetables.
PATH # 4: GOMAD (gallon of milk per day) – Of course, this method only works if you are not lactose intolerant.
Oh, and it has to be whole milk. You will definitely eat some fat, but you will build muscle and get really strong quickly – and then you will adjust your diet to get thinner.
I've tried this diet on occasion as whole milk is certainly a quick way to get tons of carbohydrates, fat, protein, and calories. Be prepared to have your stomach and body feeling bloated all the time. Note: You can adjust the amount of milk you consume daily based on your body's response.
"What Supplements Should I Take to Build Muscle Fast?"
As we pointed out in our Nerd Fitness Supplement Guide, Most supplements are a waste of money and completely unnecessary for muscle building.
However, there are two supplements that can be helpful in building muscle quickly:
- Protein shakes: If you're struggling to meet your protein and calorie intake goals for the day, adding a high-calorie protein shake can play a crucial role.
- Creatine Supplements: Creatine helps your muscles hold water and can improve your performance so you can work out harder for longer in the gym.
Are you vegan and trying to build muscle? Read our full article on How To Properly Plant Based!
How Many Calories Should I Eat to Build Muscle?
It depends on your situation – Your age, how much you weigh now, how much you want to weigh and how fast your metabolism is. For some, 2,500 calories and strength training are enough to build muscle.
For others, you may need to eat more than 4,000 calories to gain weight. The only way to find out is to track your normal caloric intake for a few days and then add 500 extra calories per day for a week or two and see if you notice any changes.
Would you like to have a rough idea of how many calories you should be eating?
Here you can find our calorie requirement calculator.
Bottom line: If you don't see any change, you'll need to eat more.
- Yeswill it feel excessive.
- YesYou will feel full all the time.
- YesIt's annoying and expensive.
But if you really want to be bigger, you really have to dedicate yourself to the kitchen.
Unless you're a genetic mutant, building muscle and strength without overloading your system with calories and nutrients is incredibly difficult.
Just keep eating.
Won't all this food make me fat? I don't want to get bulky.
I get this question in emails all the time, usually from people who are 6 feet tall and 130 pounds.
Don't worry, if you can't gain weight now, adding extra weight is great for you.
Yes, you will take in some fat along with the muscle you are building when you are excess calories.
For this reason, it is important to choose the right amount of calories per day:
- If you can build muscle on 3,000 calories but eat 4,000 calories, you will gain a pound or two of fat per week along with your muscles.
- However, if you need to eat 4,000 calories to build muscle and you only eat 3,000, you won't see any changes.
Everyone is different so you have to experiment and find out what works best for you.
Once you've reached your desired weight (in fact, you should aim for about 10 to 15 pounds heavier than your target weight), you can cut calories, add some extra sprints at the end of your workout, and keep lifting heavy – muscle will stay, fat will disappear and you will be left with the body you want.
I am not thin, I need to lose weight – what is different for me?
You can actually build muscle and lose body fat at the same time.
You just have to be careful how you do it.
We cover the topic in detail in the article "Can you lose weight and gain muscle at the same time?"
This core goes like this:
If you eat enough protein and have decent reserves of fat to meet your energy needs, you can still build muscle with a calorie deficit.
As long as you are resting (next section) and weight training (previous section), you can lose body fat while you are still building muscle.
This only works if you have enough fat reserves to draw from. Once you start getting some rest, you will likely need to increase your calories to build more muscle.
I recently added some strength (and muscle) while losing 22 pounds in 6 months.
Remember, you can build muscle and lose weight at the same time if you:
- Maintaining a calorie deficit
- Lift heavy
- Prioritize protein
Let's talk a little about the last one.
Rest days to build muscle and strength
If you are thin and trying to build muscle, avoid cardio like the plague (avoid the plague, too).
Why? Check out the best marathon runners in the world and compare their physique to someone like Usain Bolt, the best sprinter in the world – tons of muscle, strength and a body to envy.
There's nothing wrong with EVERY body – we're all great and special and blah blah blah.
But you're reading an article on how to build muscle fast right now, right? So concentrate fully on building muscle!
You want all of the calories you consume towards "building muscle" rather than "fueling my run".
I admit that I'm biased against chronic cardio, but mostly because I'm bored!
You can be far more effective if you focus on getting stronger and only "cardio" for the things you enjoy – after all, your success depends largely on your diet, NOT your cardio!
Personally, I spend three days a week in the gym, each workout lasting 45 minutes.
I take long walks on my days off along with a sprint day to keep active, but I know my muscles are built while I'm resting, not when I'm exercising.
I really focus on my workouts to make them as strenuous as possible and then I give my body enough time to recover (while eating enough calories to produce an excess).
If you are lifting heavy and eating enough, make sure you are getting enough sleep, too! 5-6 hours a night is not enough – you need to sleep at least 8-9 hours a night for optimal muscle building. Take a nap too if you get the chance.
Sleep has to be a priority.
If you're a tall man / girl trying to get lean, a little extra cardio can speed up your fat loss, but it does Failure to eat right can cause you to lose some of it You already have muscles.
On your days off, don't worry about 10 mile runs – do 20 to 30 minute intervals or run hill sprints in your park. Weight will decrease more slowly, but you will only lose fat, not fat AND muscle.
Once you've reached your target weight and amount of muscle mass, I would recommend adding some cardio for your overall condition. but keep it varied (sprints and intervals). The focus is on continuing to build explosive muscles rather than long, slow, boring muscles.
If you love to do long runs and don't want to give up, I won't stop you. Just know that the long hours of cardio will greatly hinder your progress in building strength and size.
Start building muscle today
This is a basic overview to get you started. It really boils down to a couple of important things:
- Lift heavy
- Eat lots of good food
Easy to understand, difficult to implement.
Trust me, I know – I've been fighting this for a decade.
If you've made it this far and want more specific instructions, here are some ways you can help Nerd Fitness!
1) If you are someone who wants to follow a bespoke program that will build muscle and get strong, check out our popular 1-on-1 online coaching program.
You will work with our certified NF teachers who will get to know you better than you do, review your form and program your training and diet for you.
Get step-by-step guides, form reviews, and global accountability in your pocket! Find out more about our coaching program
2) If you want a fancy app teaching you exactly how to build muscle and how strong you are, check out NF Journey. Our fun habit-building app will help you exercise more, eat healthier, and (literally) improve your life.
Try your free trial here:
3) join the rebellion! We need good people like you in our community, the Nerd Fitness Rebellion.
I'm sending you two free resources to help you achieve your goals: our massive ones Strength training 101 Leader and a Bulk Up Cheat Sheet and grocery list.
Download our comprehensive guide
- Everything you need to know to get strong.
- Exercise routines for body weight AND strength training.
- How to find the right gym and train properly in one.
So I missed something:
Do you still have questions about muscle building?
Do you have any tips or tricks that I am missing?
Are there any success stories from our community to share?
Post your questions in the comments and I'll answer them.
Let's hear your strength and muscle stories!
PS: Make sure to check out the rest of ours Strength training 101 Series:
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