If you are trying to enhance the period of packing on mass and improve your knowledge on how to build muscle naturally fast, you are at the right spot.
Some people complain that building muscle naturally is ineffective, but usually what’s not working is their bulking protocol. When people cannot answer the question “how to build muscle naturally fast?” They jump on the gear aka steroids. Thus, they never know their potential as a natural.
IFBB pro athletes Amanda Aguzzi and Tim Santiago are proud natural bodybuilders who come by their gains the hard way. Steal their playbook for building high-quality mass naturally.
Set Realistic Expectations
Getting jacked naturally takes years of hard work and sacrifice. So if the Incredible Hulk isn’t staring back at you in the mirror after a month or two of bulking, don’t grow discouraged and quit.
“Packing on natural muscle takes patience and persistence,” Aguzzi says. “A good amount of muscle gain can be achieved by gaining 10-15 pounds over 6-12 months. It took me about a year to add noticeable muscle and three years to increase muscle mass.”
While it can take years to transform your body, you’ll begin to see subtle progress sooner than that.
Track Your Fuel Intake (Maybe the most important answer to how to build muscle naturally fast)
“Most beginners can expect to see noticeable muscle growth within eight weeks of starting a new program,” Santiago says. “More experienced lifters will see a noticeable change in 3-4 weeks.”
Eating “a lot” isn’t good enough. What feels like a lot can be much less than the calorie surplus it takes to put on weight.
“Often people who want to gain lean muscle are not consuming enough calories and are not eating frequently enough,” Aguzzi explains. “Our muscles need food to grow. Without enough calories, our body can enter a catabolic state, destroying the muscles we work so hard to gain.”
Santiago stresses the importance of knowing your calorie intake and adjusting it up gradually. “It is important to control the surplus by slowly adding in calories each week to avoid too much fat gain,” he says. “Before you begin, you should track your intake for a week to figure out what your baseline calorie amount is.”
Both athletes agree that 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight is the bare minimum for increasing muscle mass and that eating frequent meals is the way to go. But you may need to tailor your plan based on how your body responds.
“Different individuals may require different macronutrient ratios,” Aguzzi says. “For me, keeping protein around at least 1-2 grams per pound of bodyweight really assists muscle growth.”
Eat Enough Carbs
This is the key to build muscle FAST naturally.
Many lifters eat low carb in the hopes of staying lean, but this approach can make gaining muscle an uphill battle. Carbs are important for two reasons: avoiding catabolism (muscle loss) and creating glycogen to fuel your workouts.
According to Santiago, restricting carbs is one of the biggest mistakes people make when trying to build muscle. “Carbs are necessary because your body will prioritize burning carb calories first, protecting protein stores,” he explains.
And without adequate glycogen, you won’t be able to produce the kind of effort in the gym that turns on the “get bigger” switch.
“I always aim to eat carbohydrates before workouts so they will be broken down and used as fuel, and again after workouts to replenish those depleted glycogen stores,” Aguzzi says.
By now you probably know why most natural athletes eat loads of oats, because it is one of the most substantial factors to how to build muscle naturally fast.
We all lead busy lives, and often it seems like the only way to make time, for one thing, is to sacrifice another. But skipping sleep to train at zero dark thirty shoots your gains in the foot.
Some of you probably gonna say: “Damn man! I’m here to learn how to build muscle naturally fast? and you are talking about sleep!” But listen tight for a second.
“Sleep and rest are very important for muscle recovery and growth,” Santiago explains. “If you don’t get enough sleep, your body doesn’t have enough time to recover, grow muscle, and burn fat.”
Sleep has a significant impact on muscle recovery. Surely your personal trainer has informed you about the importance of sleep and that if you don’t get enough of it, you’re not going to feel rested in the morning, and your muscles will not recover properly.
Aside from being groggy the next day, another pitfall of not getting enough quality sleep is that it affects your efforts in the gym.
While you may be able to ‘function just fine’, on a few hours of sleep, doing so still short changes your body composition goals.
Let’s first understand the two main stages of sleep in order to understand sleep’s impact on muscle recovery.
REM (rapid eye movement) Sleep: occurs in cycles of about 90-120 minutes throughout the night, and it accounts for up to 20-25% of total sleep time in adult humans.
It dominates the latter half of the sleep period, especially the hours before waking.
In addition, it provides the energy to the brain that supports it during waking hours and is necessary for restoring the mind.
Also known as slow-wave or deep sleep, this phase is essential for muscle recovery and restoring the body.
Accounting for 40% of total sleep time, during this phase your blood pressure drops and your breathing becomes deeper and slower.
Your brain is resting with very little activity, so the blood supply available to your muscles increases, delivering extra amounts of oxygen and nutrients which facilitate their healing and growth.
Muscles and tissues are rejuvenated during this phase of sleep.
So, now that we know that the ‘non-REM sleep cycle’ is the most important for muscle recovery, something else which occurs during adequate time in this phase is the secretion of Growth Hormone.
As your body enters into the non-REM deep sleep stage, your pituitary gland releases a shot of growth hormone that stimulates tissue growth and muscle repair.
Not enough sleep causes a sharp decline in growth hormone secretion. Growth hormone deficiency is associated with loss of muscle mass and reduced exercise capacity.
Sleeping for 7-9 hours per night is crucial, especially if you are looking to change body composition, increase muscle mass and/or if you want to be ready for your personal training session the next day.
Sleep enhances muscle recovery through protein synthesis and human growth hormone release. If you want to grow or lean out, stop procrastinating and get to sleep!
How to Build Muscle Fast? Easy! Gear Your Workouts Toward Building Muscle
In general, the tried-and-true workout formula for hypertrophy, or muscle growth, includes moderate rep ranges, body-part splits, and plenty of rest.
“You want to train the muscle with 3-4 sets at a weight where you can achieve muscle failure at 8-12 reps,” Santiago says. “People also do not need to do 6-7 exercises per muscle group. Doing too much can cause overtraining, which is counterproductive when building muscle,”
He recommends doing 4-5 exercises per muscle.
“There are many different programs or body-part splits that you can use,” he adds. “For example, you can do a push/pull/legs split, an upper/lower body split, a 4-day split, or a 5-day split. I use the latter.”
Whatever approach you choose, he recommends changing it every 6-8 weeks so your body doesn’t get complacent.
Schedule your body-part splits with plenty of time to rest each muscle group before you work it again.
“For our muscles to grow, they must fully recover,” Aguzzi explains. “Hitting isolated body parts 1-2 times a week with at least two days of rest in between gives muscles more time to repair and rebuild.”
Slow Down Your Rep Speed
The tempo at which you lift and lower the weights can affect the outcome of your workout. When you lift for hypertrophy, move slowly.
“Muscles grow when they are under tension for longer periods,” Santiago says. “Slow and controlled reps mean longer time under tension for that muscle.” He adds, “Using slower reps also allows you to concentrate on using proper form and feel the muscle working.”
If you exercise regularly, you likely want to be sure you’re getting the most out of it.
One important benefit of exercise is gaining muscle and strength. Having a healthy amount of muscle allows to you to perform your best during exercise and daily life.
Three main criteria must be met for maximal muscle gain: eating more calories than you burn, consuming more protein than you break down and an exercise program that is challenging to your muscles.
While it’s possible to meet all these criteria without taking dietary supplements, certain supplements may help you meet your goals.
The 6 supplements listed below may help you gain more muscle with your exercise program.
Creatine is a molecule that’s produced naturally in your body. It provides energy for your muscles and other tissues.
However, taking it as a dietary supplement can increase muscle creatine content by up to 40% beyond its normal levels.
This affects your muscle cells and exercise performance, promoting muscle gain. In fact, a large amount of research shows creatine improves muscle strength.
This is good news if you’re trying to gain muscle. Greater strength allows you to perform better during exercise, leading to larger increases in muscle mass over time).
Creatine can also increase water content in your muscle cells. This may cause your muscle cells to swell slightly and produce signals for muscle growth.
Furthermore, this supplement may increase levels of the hormones involved in muscle growth, such as IGF-1.
Moreover, some research shows that creatine could decrease the breakdown of proteins in your muscles.
Overall, many researchers have studied creatine supplements and exercise, and one thing is clear — creatine can help increase muscle mass.
Creatine has also been studied extensively and has an outstanding safety profile.
If you are looking for a supplement to help you gain muscle, consider creatine first. All in all, if anyone wants to know how to build muscle naturally fast and considerng to buy a supplement, creatine is a MUST.
Getting enough protein is critical for gaining muscle. Especiall if you are looking for the answer of how to build muscle naturally.
Specifically, to gain muscle, you need to consume more protein than your body breaks down through natural processes (16Trusted Source).
While it’s possible to get all the protein you need from protein-rich foods, some people struggle to do so.
If this sounds like you, you may want to consider taking a protein supplement.
There are many different protein supplements available, but some of the most popular are whey, casein and soy protein. Other protein supplements contain protein isolated from eggs, beef, chicken or other sources (17Trusted Source).
Research shows that adding extra protein via supplements causes slightly more muscle gain in people who exercise than adding extra carbs (18Trusted Source, 19Trusted Source, 20Trusted Source).
However, the effects are probably largest for people who aren’t getting enough protein in their normal diet.
In fact, some research shows that consuming very high amounts of protein supplements doesn’t help increase muscle if you are already following a high-protein diet.
Many people wonder how much protein to eat daily. If you are an active individual trying to gain muscle, 0.5–0.9 grams of protein per pound (1.2–2.0 grams per kg) of body weight may be best.
Weight gainers are supplements designed to conveniently help you get more calories and protein. They’re typically used by individuals who struggle to gain muscle.
Some people find it hard to gain muscle, even when consuming large amounts of calories and lifting weights .
Although the calorie contents of weight gainer supplements vary, it’s not uncommon for them to contain over 1,000 calories per serving.
Many people think these calories come from protein since it’s so important for muscle building. However, most of the calories actually come from carbs.
There are often 75–300 grams of carbs and 20–60 grams of protein per serving of these high-calorie supplements.
While these products can help you consume more calories, it’s important to realize that there is nothing magical about weight gainer supplements.
Some research in physically inactive adults has shown that drastically increasing calories can increase lean mass like muscle, as long as you eat enough protein.
However, research in adults who weight trained indicated that consuming a weight gainer supplement may not be effective for increasing lean mass.
Overall, weight gainers are only recommended if you are struggling to eat enough food and you find it easier to drink a weight gainer shake than eat more real food.
Additionally, beta-alanine may help increase muscle mass if you are following an exercise program.
One study showed that taking 4 grams of beta-alanine per day for eight weeks increased lean body mass more than a placebo in college wrestlers and football players.
Another study reported that adding a beta-alanine supplement to a six-week, high-intensity interval training program increased lean body mass by about 1 pound (0.45 kg) more than a placebo.
While more research on beta-alanine and muscle gain is needed, this supplement may help support muscle gain when combined with an exercise program.
Branched-Chain Amino Acids
Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) consist of three individual amino acids: leucine, isoleucine and valine.
They are found in most protein sources, particularly those of animal origin like meat, poultry, eggs, dairy and fish.
BCAAs are critically important for muscle growth and make up about 14% of the amino acids in your muscles .
Just about everyone consumes BCAAs from food every day, but it’s also very popular to take BCAAs as a supplement.
A small amount of research has shown that BCAAs may improve muscle gain or reduce muscle loss, compared to a placebo.
However, other research shows that BCAAs may not produce greater muscle gain in those following an exercise program.
It’s likely that BCAA supplements may only benefit you if you are not eating enough high-quality protein in your diet.
Although they may be beneficial if your diet is inadequate, more information is needed before BCAAs are recommended as a go-to supplement for muscle gain.
Beta-hydroxy beta-methylbutyrate (HMB) is a molecule that’s produced when your body processes the amino acid leucine.
HMB is responsible for some of the beneficial effects of protein and leucine in the diet (39Trusted Source).
It may be especially important for reducing the breakdown of muscle proteins (40).
While HMB is produced naturally by your body, taking it as a supplement allows for higher levels and may benefit your muscles (40, 41Trusted Source).
Several studies in previously untrained adults have shown taking 3–6 grams of HMB per day can improve the gains in lean body mass from weight training (42Trusted Source, 43Trusted Source, 44Trusted Source).
However, other research shows that similar doses of HMB are probably not effective at increasing muscle mass in adults with weight training experience (45Trusted Source, 46Trusted Source, 47Trusted Source).
This may mean that HMB is most effective for those who are getting started with exercise or increasing the intensity of their workouts.
Several other supplements claim to increase muscle mass. These include conjugated linoleic acid, testosterone boosters, glutamine and carnitine.
However, the evidence is mixed.
- Conjugated linoleic acid
- (CLA): CLA refers to a group of omega-6 fatty
- acids that exert several effects on the body. Studies on CLA for muscle gain
- have produced mixed results, and it isn’t clear if it’s beneficial (48Trusted Source, 49Trusted Source, 50Trusted Source, 51Trusted Source).
- Testosterone boosters: Testosterone-boosting supplements include
- D-aspartic acid, tribulus terrestris, fenugreek, DHEA and ashwagandha. It’s
- likely these compounds only benefit those with low testosterone (52Trusted Source, 53Trusted Source, 54Trusted Source, 55Trusted Source, 56Trusted Source).
- Glutamine and carnitine: These are probably
- not effective at increasing muscle mass in young or middle-aged active
- individuals. However, studies have shown carnitine can have some
- benefits for muscle mass in the elderly (57Trusted Source, 58, 59Trusted Source, 60Trusted Source).
The Bottom Line
Supplements can’t provide you with maximal muscle gains if your nutrition and exercise programs are lacking.
To gain muscle, you need to eat enough calories and protein, as well as exercise, ideally with weights. Once your nutrition and exercise regimens are in check, you may want to consider dietary supplements.
Creatine and protein supplements are likely the most effective choices for muscle gain, but other supplements may be beneficial for certain people.
To conclude, we have covered how to build muscle naturally fast, and given some substantia tips.
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