There are a lot of people out there touting big changes in fitness and trying to force you to try something strange to get in shape. Here are the new rules of how to gain weight fast so you can avoid the fads.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a seasoned veteran of going to the gym or a total newbie, packing on muscle can be a serious challenge for just about everybody.
Bulking up and adding some extra muscle can require as much hard work and discipline as the more common goal of trying to lose weight.
It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that the keys to gaining muscle are a variation of eating more and lifting heavy weights. But, there are different ways of combining those two keys that you may not have thought of.
To help you out, here are the new rules for gaining muscle.
Diet Is Everything When Gaining Weight
You’ve probably heard this old saying more often when trying to shed some pounds for beach season, but the same rule holds true for how to gain muscle mass. The two most popular ways to go about gaining new muscle are variations of the same concept of bulking.
Some people swear by clean bulking while others prefer dirty bulking.
Clean bulking is the safer route, as you’ll only be eating up to 500 calories over your maintenance diet threshold. Dirty bulking can cause some gym goers to add too much extra fat, as they’ll be eating at least 500 calories more than their maintenance threshold.
This means they can consume as much as they want of whatever they want.
If you’re not careful, you’ll gain too much fat and begin losing your physique.
Typically, dirty bulking requires a serious cut at the end of a cycle. This means that you’ll need to go from eating whatever, whenever, to a strict low carb and high protein diet.
This sudden change can wreak havoc on your metabolism and is much easier said than done. Still, this is the quickest way to add more weight. Like we said before, clean bulking is the safer route.
You’ll only gradually add mass and will see a steady increase in your muscle growth.
This Is What And How To Gain Weight Fast
Eating extra can be just as hard for many people as eating less. You’ll need to eat, eat and eat some more to smash your maintenance caloric threshold.
Generally, whatever you need to maintain your current size will leave you full at the end of the day, so you’re going to need to eat well past the point where you feel full.
One of the better tricks for doing this is to change your meal pattern from the traditional three large meals per day to six medium-sized meals per day. You’ll want to choose meals that are high in protein.
That way you can constantly stimulate muscle growth. This will be vitally important if you’re working out every day, as your muscles will continuously be broken down and in need of repair.
Foods such as lean beef, tuna, skinless chicken breasts and cottage cheese will provide you with lots of protein and enough variation that you won’t get sick of eating them. Eating these proteins, along with a healthy dose of complex carbs will let you smash your caloric threshold while avoiding fats.
If you’re on a clean bulk, these foods will be a staple of your diet.
If you’re on a dirty bulk, you can eat these foods too or as many Big Macs as you want. In the case of your program, it doesn’t matter.
Gaining Muscle Means You Need To Hit The Gym
It should come as no surprise that if your on your quest to gaining muscle mass you’re going to need to lift weights. How you go about lifting weights can determine how much mass you’re going to put on. If you are absolutely lost in the gym you will need to start with a beginners gym workout plan.
Programs like CrossFit are great at building your overall physique and improving your general fitness level, but they likely won’t make you buff. Instead, you’ll want to use some tried and true bodybuilding techniques along with some newer age concepts to get the most out of your training time in the gym.
There are lots of options out there. What follows are some of the best.
The idea behind pre-exhaust training is to do isolation exercises before compound exercises.
That way you fatigue the primary muscle group of the compound exercise before starting that part of your training.
An example of this would be doing pec-flyes before bench pressing. Fatiguing your pecs before bench pressing may sound counter-productive, but it’s an effective way to stimulate muscle growth. In this example, you’ll more thoroughly work your pecs on the compound movement.
Using the bench press as an example, it’s usually your triceps that fatigue first during the lift.
By pre-exhausting your pecs, it’s more likely that your pecs will fatigue either before or at the same time as your triceps during the lift. This ensures a more complete breakdown of your pecs and will lead to greater growth in this area.
Pre-exhausting is not just limited to chest exercises. You can use it across a variety of muscle groups and see results for the same reasons. Don’t forget to make sure to avoid using your secondary muscles when you do your first isolation exercise or you won’t see the same results.
#2 Heavy Lift
This may seem like a no-brainer, but some people steer clear of trying it. Lifting heavy weights will break down your muscles more than lifting lighter weights and will let you see results faster. This doesn’t mean you should try to lift 1,000 pounds and expect anything other than injury.
But, lifting heavy weight relative to what you’re currently lifting will let your muscles grow.
Keep your weight under your one rep max, but high enough that you need to rest after three to five reps. This is generally considered the right rep range to optimally increase strength. One of the most beloved variations on this is a 5×5 plan that includes 5 sets of 5 reps.
Make sure the heavy weight you’re going to lift is something you can handle with proper form.
Otherwise you’ll be hurting your results and will inadvertently be doing more harm than good.
Remember, your weight increase should always be something you are comfortable handling. If you can’t handle it, then you should dial it back a bit and know that you’ll get there eventually.
#3 Partial Holds
One school of thought is that you should be doing the full range of motion on each exercise. While this is generally a good idea, partial holds go against this practice and require that you do no motion.
The partial hold technique requires you to take your weight and hold it in one spot for a few seconds. This forces the muscle to work when it is at its maximally contracted point, allowing for maximum growth. It’s pretty much a form of negatives that requires no movement of the weight.
You’re just going to overload your muscle at the specific point in the exercise where your muscle is weakest. Ideally this will strengthen your muscle at this point and allow for more growth.
Partial holds are not always applicable to all types of exercises. They are best used with isolation and machine exercise that allow you to hold and focus on the point of muscle contraction.
Not only will these exercises be effective at stimulating growth, but they’ll also help when you return to doing full range of motion exercises.
21s are an interesting technique popularized by Arnold Schwarzenegger. They’re a bit of a mix between pyramid lifts, negatives and full range of motion lifts. The technique is called a 21 because you’ll be doing 21 reps with each set.
It’s like doing three mini sets of seven reps within one overarching set.
The first seven reps of the exercise are full reps. This is followed by seven reps from the starting position to the halfway point. Then, you’ll do seven reps from the halfway point to the completion point of the exercise.
The most common exercise for these is biceps curls. But, you can use this technique for most other body parts/exercises as well. These will combine the benefits of partial holds and negatives to fatigue your muscles while also focusing on certain parts of the lift to strengthen it.
They’re a great way to overload a muscle group and break it down so that during your recovery period the muscles will see significant growth.
#5 Do Cardio After
This tip will seem like common sense. That’s because it is! However, most people still make this mistake and wonder why they’re tired partway through their workout.
Typically, gym goers will start their workout with cardio before heading over to the weights. While there’s nothing wrong with this, cardio is a great warm-up, it can be detrimental to your lifts and your quest for muscle gain.
Cardio will make you fatigued and not allow you to put as much into your lifts as you want to. This will prevent you from accomplishing the reps and weights that you’re capable of before becoming fatigued.
The best solution is to either tone down your cardio warm up (maybe walk instead of run) or better yet, save your cardio for after your lifting. You will still get all of the benefits of cardio, but it won’t impact your lifts. Again, this is not saying you should stop doing cardio.
You just might want to put it at the end of your workout so that your body is fresh for your lifts.
Last, But Not Least, When Gaining Muscle Take Supplements
Supplements by themselves won’t let you get large and in charge. You can’t just take whey or BCAAs and sit on the couch and expect to be the next Mr. Olympia.
That being said, supplements can do just what their name says and help supplement your workout and diet.
A simple whey protein will aid in repairing your muscles after a workout, granting them better recovery periods and being one the best workout supplements for overall growth. While many people are familiar with whey and other types of protein like casein, not as many recognize the effects of BCAAs.
Branch chain amino acids can help protect muscles from breaking down and can boost muscle protein synthesis. This helps your muscles grow without deteriorating as much after a workout. That means you’ll experience better recovery and, ideally, larger muscles.
Perhaps the most notorious and frightening supplement to many is creatine. For whatever reason, creatine seems to have a bad reputation and a negative connotation among uninformed gym goers. The fact is that if you’re trying to add size and promote muscle growth, creatine works, and it works very well.
Creatine helps your body produce energy and this lets you train harder, faster and stronger.
Much like doing cardio after your workout, having more energy for your lifts will let you put up more weight and make it so that you’re not fatigued as easily. This will lead to a more in-depth workout and will let you break down your muscles more than normal.
In addition to more energy, creatine will let you pack on the pounds fast by absorbing water into your muscle cells. This process not only lets your muscles but also to get swole, but also increases protein synthesis, letting your muscles rebuild faster.
Because you’ll have more energy from taking creatine, your muscles will be torn down to a larger degree and repair faster. The result is a large increase in muscle size and strength.
Keep in mind that while creatine can put you on the fast-track on how to gain weight fast, it is by no means a miracle supplement and you’ll still need to train hard with it.
By sticking to a rigorous diet and reshaping your workouts with these techniques, you’ll be able to mix in some supplements and really start growing. A strict diet and exercise regimen are keys to maximizing your gains, while supplements should be a secondary resource.
At the end of the day, gaining weight & muscle is like anything else in life, you can accomplish it if you stay dedicated and don’t cheat.
– By Mark Rubino
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I really enjoyed this post! It gives detailed explanations as to why the tips mentioned actually work. I particularly liked the use of 21s, you’ve come up with a brilliant idea by using the 21 technique for more than just biceps (which I previously only used 21s for).
Thanks for your compliments… yes 21’s are great.