What are some fitness and nutrition hacks to build muscle fast?
This is the third question that I’m answering this month of the 24 most commonly asked questions Mark and I receive.
Today, I’ll address five hacks to building muscle fast.
#1: Find a Trainer
Last night I was watching the Lakers basketball game where LeBron James didn’t have a great shooting night. One of the reporters tried bailing LeBron out in a post-game interview and said, “It’s all right, LeBron. It’s going to take a minute to get your legs back underneath you. Most of your shots tonight were short, so give it a couple games before you’re back in condition.”
James corrected him right away: “Mike (LeBron’s trainer) and I haven’t missed a day of training while in quarantine. I’m in the best shape of my life. It just wasn’t my night.”
I like this account for multiple reasons, but I want to highlight what a commentator said later that evening:
“I think everyone deserves a personal trainer. More than anything, the trainer just keeps you accountable.”
I couldn’t agree more. Step #1 to building muscle would be to find a trainer that holds you accountable. You increase your likelihood of success by measuring and reporting your progress.
#2: Exercise 5+ Week
Brushing your teeth once or twice a week, regardless of how long you do it, isn’t going to make your teeth whiter than if you do it every day.
The same goes for building muscle.
If you’re not in the habit of training five times per week, don’t worry about anything else. Get in the habit of going to the gym every day.
#3: Lift Heavy
Quantity first, then quality.
After you’re in the habit of showing up (at least) five times per week, it’s time to start working on the quality of those sessions.
Assuming you know how to lift weights properly, you must lift heavy. Work hard. Push yourself to the limits. Because you will be alternating muscle groups day after day, you can give your body time to recover while breaking down a different set of muscles.
Real, strenuous lifting is going to build muscle mass, not picking up the 12-lb dumbbell and pressing it overhead 15 times. In general, we want to be lifting weights that can’t be performed more than five reps in a given set.
#4: Eat More Protein
Admittedly, this is the hardest step for me — it’s very hard to eat enough protein when you’re trying to gain muscle.
If this is your goal, you’re shooting between 1.7 grams – 2.0 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight. So if you’re a female weighing in at 160-lbs, strive to eat between 272 grams – 320 grams of protein every day.
Always choose whole foods over anything else. But if you’re struggling to meet your protein goal, supplement with a protein powder in a smoothie once a day.
#5: Sleep More
Muscles surprisingly don’t grow during exercise. They grow during recovery. And no recovery practice is better than sleep.
You need to sleep at least eight hours a day. Everyone’s talking about the importance of REM sleep, but you actually need NREM sleep to build muscle (I’m talking here like you have a choice…).
You do, however, have control over your sleep opportunity (how much time you spend in bed). Schedule out 9 hours a day to lay in bed — this will ensure that you get at least 8 hours of quality sleep.
First, find a trainer to hold you accountable. You can find them anywhere, or you can choose one from RxFIT here.
Second, get in the habit of working out every day.
Third, stop doing easy workouts and start working hard and lifting heavy.
Then, eat more protein (1.7-2.0 grams multiplied by your bodyweight).
And finally, sleep more! Give yourself 9 hours a day laying down in bed.