Is there really a secret to building muscle fast?
No, there is no secret formula to gaining additional mass overnight, but there are some secrets to building muscle fast. Do not believe anyone that tells you differently and says that you will become huge overnight with their miracle workout or supplement. There are some ways to look lean and mean very quickly though.
Sounds a little odd because you are looking to add lean muscle mass, but the fact of the matter is that, if you shed some of the fat from your body, the muscles that you already have will be more in focus and it will appear that you have added muscle fast. While it seems like an optical illusion, it does work and makes you looked ripped.
Eat a Well Balanced Diet
Protein is great for your muscles, but ask any professional bodybuilder what their diet looks like and you will see the typical follow something like a macro breakdown of 40/40/20 meaning that they split their calories down to 40% protein, 40% carbohydrates and 20% fat. Your protein should come from lean sources, your carbohydrates should come in the form of complex carbohydrates, and your fats should come from good sources such as salmon, avocados, or nuts.
Eat Enough to Pack on That Muscle
Most beginner bodybuilders (and even some more experienced ones) are just not eating enough to build muscle. Taking what we learned about (40/40/20), we now have to carry that forward to how many calories we need to eat per day. There is no secret number that you want to eat per day because your daily caloric intake to add muscle depends on many factors including your weight, your cardio activity and so many more factors. At a bare minimum, you will need to at least consume 2,500 calories per day, and this is only for someone really light. If you are going by the recommended 2,000 calorie diet, you will never build muscle at any kind of rapid pace.
Know When to Eat
Once you have your diet adjusted to hit your daily macros, you now need to know what the optimal times are for eating your macros. I like to hit the ground running in the morning by consuming protein. I typically eat 11 egg whites and 2 slices of turkey bacon with 1/2 of an avocado or protein pancakes (see my recipe for chocolate peanut butter protein pancakes). As soon as you wake up, your body starts to look for protein, so start taking it in.
I also like the recipe for HungaryAndFit.com’s 5-Minute Protein Pancakes. Below, is also a nice video on muscle building foods and the 40-40-20 principles.
Before your workouts, cut down on the fats and concentrate on protein and carbs. You will need carbs for energy and you will need protein to feed your muscles. After a hard workout (you need to work hard to get big – this will always be a must), fill yourself with protein and carbs again. An hour later, eat a full meal of protein carbs and fats.
Depending on when you work out, I would say to cut the carbs out after 7:00 PM, but you can get away with that time if you workout at night as I do. You really only need carbs for energy to fuel you through your workouts (and the daily grind).
If you get hungry between meals, eat some healthy fats to fill you up quickly. One of the most important to not being hungry is to eat 5-6 small meals per day instead of 3. You will feel much better throughout the day and you will get the constant ingestion of the macros that your body is screaming for. You will keep your metabolism higher, which will burn more fat as well as feed your muscles. Also, drink plenty of water. This cannot be emphasized enough.
Know When to Rest
You build muscle while you rest, not while you workout. You get the pump when you workout, but you are actually tearing your muscles when you lift big (and with correct form please). Your muscles repair themselves bigger and stronger to keep up with the load that you are making them keep up with. The body is such an amazing thing. It quickly learns to adapt pretty much anything you throw at it. Just like your immune system fights a cold, your muscles repair themselves to accept bigger loads.
If you think that you will get huge arms by working them every other day, which will end up hurting your cause more so than building muscle. Overtraining will lead to injury very quickly. Give your body adequate rest in between workouts and your body will thank you by adding some hard-earned muscle to your frame.
In conclusion, building muscle overnight will not happen, but building muscle fast has more more to do with your diet than your workouts. Never be fooled though. If your workouts are lacking, your muscles will not be growing. Feel free to steal that quote.