5 Top Tips to Gain Muscle fast*
*note:Individual results will vary based on body type, age, existing injuries, etc..
By Rod Coulter Last updated March 13-2021
If your going to the gym, you likely have a goal that is either to loose fat, gain muscle or both, but basically you want to change the way your body looks and the way you feel.
Here I will share with you time proven quick methods to help you reach your goals.
Thats Not All!
If you follow these tips you will see results!
Although there are different types of muscles, such as cardiac muscle (your heart), for our concerns, we will talk exclusively about skeletal muscles.
Skeletal muscle is composed of thread-like myofibrils and sarcomeres that form a muscle fiber and are the basic units of contraction.
The 650 skeletal muscles in the human body contract when they receive signals from motor neurons, which are triggered from a part of the cell called the sarcoplasmic reticulum.
Motor neurons tell your muscles to contract and the better you become at having those signals tell your muscles to contract, the stronger you can get.
Here's the deal...But there is a Catch
After you workout, your body repairs or replaces damaged muscle fibers through a cellular process where it fuses muscle fibers together to form new muscle protein strands or myofibrils.
These repaired myofibrils increase in thickness and number to create muscle hypertrophy (growth).
Muscle growth occurs whenever the rate of muscle protein synthesis is greater than the rate of muscle protein breakdown. This adaption, however, does not happen while you actually lift the weights. Instead, it occurs while you rest.
So how do you actually add muscle to your muscle cells? This is where Satellite cells come in and act like stem cells for your muscles. When activated, they help to add more nuclei to the muscle cells and therefore contribute directly to the growth of myofibrils (muscle cells). Activating these satellite cells may be the difference between what allows certain genetic freaks are able to grow massive muscles and what makes other people hard-gainers.
In one of the most interesting studies in the past 5 years, researchers showed that those who were extreme responders to muscle growth, with an incredible 58% myofiber hypertrophy from an exercise, had 23% activation of their satellite cells. Modest responders, who had a 28% growth, had 19% activation of their satellite cells. What is interesting to note, though, is that some people known as non-responders in the study had 0% growth and had a concurrent 0% activation of their satellite cells. Therefore, it seems the more you can activate these satellite cells, the more you'll be able to grow.
So then the question becomes, how do you activate these satellite cells to increase muscle growth?
Here's the gold:
1. Muscle Tension
In order to produce muscle growth, you have to apply a load of stress greater than what your body or muscles had previously adapted too.
How do you do this?
The main way is to lift progressively heavier weights.
This additional tension on the muscle helps to cause changes in the chemistry of the muscle, allowing for growth factors that include mTOR activation and satellite cell activation.
TUT or Time under tension is an important factor to be mindful of while training. Load the muscle, be mindful of the muscle and keep the load for a period of time. This time varies according to your current program. For Hypertrophy time under tension on the eccentric motion can be about 3-4 beats, no rest at the top or bottom, then about 1 beat on the concentric motion to achieve optimal results.
Muscular tension also most dramatically effects the connection of the motor units with the muscle cells. Two other factors help to explain why some people can be stronger, but not as big as other people.
2. Muscle Damage
If you've ever felt sore after a workout, you have experienced the localized muscle damage from working out.
This local muscle damage causes a release of inflammatory molecules and immune system cells that activate satellite cells to jump into action.
This doesn't mean that you have to feel sore in order for this to happen, but instead that the damage from the workout has to be present in your muscle cells.
Typically soreness is attenuated over time by other mechanisms.
WHY DO WE SLEEP?
Sleep serves many vital functions. For bodybuilders the main functions are growth and mental alertness. Sleep provides these effects directly. Without adequate sleep, time in the gym could be, to a large degree, wasted. The following are important functions of sleep.
THE REPAIRING OF MUSCLE AND OTHER TISSUES, AND REPLACEMENT OF AGING OR DEAD CELLS
Sleeping for 8-10 hours per night is similar to fasting and this is catabolic to
Protein synthesis does occur under conditions of sleep but it occurs in the gastrointestinal tract, not the muscles.
Muscle is actually broken down under these conditions to provide our stomach with amino acids during this time of starvation.
Eating before bed is crucial in offsetting this. Some reports suggest waking up in the middle of the night to eat (nocturnal eating).
Human growth hormone is also released under conditions of sleep. In men, 60% to 70% of daily human growth hormone secretion occurs during early sleep which is typically when the deepest sleep cycles occur.
Poor quality sleep can negatively impact human growth hormone levels.
Research suggests that it's during REM (Rapid Eye Movement: explained later) sleep that the body is able to: restore organs, bones, and tissue; replenish immune cells; and circulate human growth hormone. Sleep has a profound effect on muscle growth and physical well being.
DURING SLEEP ENERGY CONSUMPTION IS LOWERED
Lowered energy consumption is a biological mechanism for resource conservation. We would need many meals per day (rather than the normal 4-6 for bodybuilders) if we did not get enough sleep.
With bodybuilders, the name of the game is increased size, so energy conservation out of the gym is paramount. Several meals throughout the day also assists growth, and sleep helps to ensure that food is used to replace energy and rebuild muscle (pre-sleep meals and nocturnal eating help to intensify this effect).
SLEEP TO RECHARGE THE BRAIN
Adenosine (a neurotransmitter that produces ATP, the energy-storage molecule that powers most of the biochemical reactions inside cells) is used as a signal to tell the brain that it needs to rest. Rising and declining concentrations of adenosine suggest that the brain is actually resting during sleep given that adenosine secretion reflects brain activity.
During sleep, levels of adenosine decline. Blocking adenosine in the brain has been shown to increase alertness, so this suggests that during sleep the brain is recharging. During the day heightened levels of adenosine, particularly toward the end of the day, suggest that the brain is getting tired.
Resting the brain has obvious implications for bodybuilders given that mental alertness is desired during the day, especially during training. Motivation levels are highest when mental alertness is highest. Studies suggest that it is during REM sleep that proper functioning of the brain and alertness is assisted.
4. Attention and Intention
Remember in school your teacher told you to pay attention? While this applies to your workout. This includes more then keeping your phone in the locker (unless of course your program is on it. In that case be disciplined enough to stay focused and watch your break times)
Paying attention has many levels, both to your surroundings to be safe and respectful to your fellow gym goers, but paying Attention to your workout will yield greater results in less time.
Intention to your exercise is vital, for example: If you are working on Bench press you will put your intention into your chest muscles and focus on them with every lift. You will put your Intention into the bar, on an outward motion, picture trying to pull the bar in half. With this process you connect your Brain to your muscles, activate more cells and have a more more productive workout.
I saved the best for Last
Eating right for muscle growth is essential. Often, there are a few things misunderstood in the process.
Creating muscle definition is hard work and requires excellent nutrition to make it happen.
Avoiding common mistakes will allow you to develop a proper nutrition plan and achieve those lean mass gains.
Going on a diet: Dieting is probably the worst mistake made when trying to build lean mass (muscle).
In fact, the body will seek out energy sources to consume when calories are restricted.
Guess what, muscle tissue is seen as fuel to the body and will provide energy when calories are down. When you don't eat enough to sustain your muscle, you are unable to grow lean mass.
In addition, starvation mode will increase fat stores and leave you wondering what the heck happened.
Not eating enough protein:
Protein is an essential macronutrient needed for muscle growth and repair. Not consuming enough can leave lean mass (muscle) screaming for attention.
Carbohydrates are important macronutrients and your primary energy source. Carbs provide needed energy for those tough workouts and also replenishing muscle glycogen (energy stores). Taking carbs out of your daily food intake will diminish your athletic performance and leave your muscles struggling for nutrients.
Not eating fats:
Healthy fats help boost metabolism and regulate hormone function. Keeping healthy fats from your nutrition can rob your body of peak performance and diminish function to grow muscle and lose fat. The old saying ‘eating fat makes you fat’ is a myth and definitely not a friend to improved muscle definition.
Toss the diet and eat for muscle. Your body needs healthy food to function efficiently. The physical demands of an exercise program will require even more calories.
This is no time to consider a diet leaving your muscles flat and energy tanked. Eating like a bird and following fad diets are not going to develop the muscle definition you desire.
Lean mass gains require you to eat a wide variety of macronutrients. In order to achieve a muscular body, it will be essential to consume lean proteins, healthy carbs, good fats, and drink plenty of water throughout the day.
Multiple experts agree that eating too little metabolizes (eats away) muscle while storing fat.
Eat protein to support your muscle mass. Protein is made up of amino acids that help with cellular function and muscle repair. Amino acids need to be available for muscle metabolism (energy) and for ongoing anabolism (muscle growth).
It will be the sufficient amount of protein intake keeping your body in a positive amino acid balance to build muscle.
A decline in the balance will mean a breakdown in muscle tissue. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends a general range of 10 to 35% of your caloric intake coming from protein determined on an individual basis.
Eat carbs to fuel muscle building workouts and keep blood sugar levels even all day. Consuming quality carbohydrates like veggies, fruits, and grains in proper portions is essential for muscle growth and reducing fat. Healthy carbs provide superior fuel for hard workouts and well-defined muscle.
There is a difference between good and bad carbohydrates and nutrient dense carbs are recommended. Carbohydrate (CHO) requirements will vary according to exercise demands. They have a very important job of restoring muscle glycogen (stored form of energy) after exhausting workouts.
Eat healthy fats to help hormonal function, especially testosterone for growing muscle. Did you know fat supplies 70 percent of your energy at rest? Also, essential fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K are obtained by eating healthy fats. Fat also has an important function of padding and protecting your vital organs. Your body simply doesn’t run efficiently without adequate fat intake. Similar to eating carbs, consuming more fat is typically required to meet the physical demands of intense workouts. Eating healthy fat in proper portion doesn't make you fat and is an important macronutrient the body requires to build lean muscle.
Best Diet for Muscle Growth
Eating a wide variety of nutrient-dense foods coming from proteins, carbohydrates, and fats have shown to be effective for optimal muscle growth. Lean mass diets are highly marketed and claim to enhance muscle building. Is this all hype? Is there a specific diet that should be followed for building muscle?
Many trainers, health coaches, nutritionist, and national academies agree that a specific diet isn’t recommended.
Instead, aim for a goal of maximizing protein intake and availability.
This means consuming foods that are high-quality proteins beneficial for muscle repair, and synthesis including:
Fish and poultry
Eggs and dairy
Nuts and seeds
Whey Protein Isolate shakes
There is also support that indicates protein timing has been shown to be important for optimizing Muscle protein synthesis (especially within the 24 hour periods following exercise).
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