How to build muscle FAST for natural lifters!

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If you’re looking to build muscle the natural way then you’re in the right place. In the last 4 years I’ve lost 50kg and put on a good amount of muscle. In this article i’m going to show you how to put on muscle fast, BUT put on muscle the RIGHT WAY!

I see a lot of people online teaching people the wrong way of gaining muslce. They will tell you to eat massive amounts of food and train hard each day of the week, but this won’t be benefitial at all. 

You will put on a lot of fat or you won’t grow, because you’re body doesn’t get enough rest. As I said earlier I want to teach you the correct way of building muscle so that you don’t lose years of your life doing things the wrong way!

The basics of building on muscle are quite simple. You need to be in a caloric surplus and train your muscles properly. Being in a caloric surplus will make you put on weight, this with with weigh training will make you eventually build muscle.

Building muscle requires dedication and hard work, but how does muscle building happen?  When you’re lifting weights you’re tearing your muscle tissue apart and to repair and grow this muscle tissue you need to eat protein rich foods or supplements.

If you want to know more about this keep reading!

Your body grows when you're resting!

Vincent Sorel

Table of Contents

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Eating for weight gain and building muscle (Bulking)

Eating properly and high in protein will make the body recover more quickly and grow faster. Your body uses protein to recover damaged muscle tissue and build new muscle. 

If you’re a beginner and just starting to look into your diet and training you will notice that if you make the right adjustments to your diet you will see great results QUICK. Over time you will need to adjust your diet and training to keep seeing results. I will go further in depth into the training part later.

High protein food sources:

  • Chicken
  • Beef
  • fish
  •  Eggs
  • Yoghurt
High protein food sources (vegan):
 
  • Tofu
  • Beans
  • Seitan
  • Tempeh
  • Peas
 
 
how to build muscle
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How much should you eat to build muscle

In order to build muscle, you should be in a caloric surplus. If you take the average caloric intake of a normal male then you should be eating around 2500 calories.

To gain weight you should start by adding 500 calories on top of your maintenance calories and see if this will make you gain weight after a week. If you don’t know how much your maintenance calories are you can find out more in this article I’ve written.

For hard gainers (people who don’t gain weight quickly) try to eat over 3500 calories and don’t worry about keeping everything super clean.

If you’re bulking you don’t need to track your macros as accurately as if you would be cutting. Most important is being in a caloric surplus, personally, I find it good to know how much food and macros I’m consuming.

When bulking keep your carbs and protein high and your fats normal or a bit higher than usual.

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How much protein to build muscle

Protein is essential when it comes to building muscle. 

You need protein to help you build muscle and to recover.

How much protein builds muscle?

For optimal recovery or muscle growth, you should consume 1.6 – 2 grams of protein per kilo of bodyweight to maximize muscle recovery and build muscle. This means you should consume at least 136 grams of protein and max 170 grams when your 85kg/187lbs. 

It’s best to get your protein out of your diet through meats, dairy, and other whole foods.

But sometimes it’s not possible and a very good and popular option is to supplement with protein shakes.

Protein shakes are a quick and delicious way to get in an extra 20-25 grams of protein per scoop.

maintain muscle during lockdown
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Weight training

In order to gain Muscle you’ll need to workout regularly, 3-5 times is perfect. Training more then 5 times a week won’t be beneficial, because your body needs its rest to grow and the risk of getting injured is way more likely.

Training 2 body parts each time you train is in my opinion the best way to gain muscle fast. This way you hit every body part twice if you train 5 times a week. 

If you decide to train 3 times a week then I suggest following a full-body workout plan focused on compound exercises. This way you train your muscles enough to make them grow.

The more often you train a muscle, the more you trigger it to grow. The more you do an exercise, the quicker your technique improves, and the heavier you can lift. Start Squatting, pressing, and pulling three times a week instead of only once.

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“The last three or four reps is what makes the muscle grow. This area of pain divides the champion from someone else who is not a champion. That’s what most people lack, having the guts to go on and just say they’ll go through the pain no matter what happens.” – Arnold Schwarzenegger

Arnold Schwarzenegger

How hard should you train

What I’m about to say is something I live by and hold so much value to. ‘Form is more important than the weight‘ It doesn’t matter how much weight you bench or squat if your form isn’t right. Bad form will only lead to injury and most importantly your not hitting and activating the muscle correctly.

If you’re already more experienced and you know how to keep good form then it’s important to keep challenging your muscles. What I mean by this is that you need to increase the weight to grow. Try to lift heavier then you did the last time. You’ll get stronger which will lead to more overall muscle mass. 

Getting stronger leads to more muscle. The best and most successful bodybuilders were always the strongest and trained the hardest. Of course, these bodybuilders use drugs to grow extremely fast, but for natural lifters, it’s even more important to lift heavy.

Conclusion: Train hard and lift heavyweight in order to gain muscle, but most importantly focus on your form first.

how to build muscle
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The best exercises for muscle growth

Compound exercises

Compound exercises are exercises where you use multiple muscle groups. For example, when you’re deadlifting you’re not just training your back, but your using and training your legs, abs, core.

You can go heavier on the Squat than leg extension because your hips help your legs lift the weight. You can go heavier on the Bench Press than flies because your arms help your chest. You can go heavier with compound exercises because several muscle groups are involved.

The heavier the weight you lift, the bigger the stress on your body, and the bigger the stimulus to grow stronger and bigger muscles. You lift big, you get big. You lift bigger weights with compounds than isolation exercises. That’s why compound exercises are more effective to gain muscle mass.

Compound exercises build more muscle symmetry. Since every exercise works several muscles at the same time, you can’t favor the mirror and beach muscles. 

So you don’t turn into a captain upper-body with big arms but no legs/back. You build a more balanced physique instead.

Compound exercises work your body the way you use it in the real world. You never use only one muscle group outside the gym. Your body always moves as one piece. That’s why the strength you build with isolation exercises doesn’t transfer outside the gym. They build fake gym strength.

And since compound exercises work several muscles at the same time, you don’t need to do more than three exercises per workout. This saves time compared to doing isolation exercises where you need double the amount of exercises to work your whole body.

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Benchpress:

When benching you’re not just training your chest. You’re using your whole body, primarily your chest, shoulders, triceps, and activating your core to press heavier weight.

Overhead military press:

Main Muscle: Shoulder

Secundairy Muscle: abs, triceps, core

Squat:

Main muscle: leggs

Secundairy muscle: abs, 

Bend over row:

Main muscle: Back

Secundairy muscle: Biceps, core

What are the best rep ranges and sets for muscle growth

The perfect rep ranges and sets differ per person and exercise. If you’re looking to gain strength then you need to do more sets and fewer reps per set and for muscle hypertrophy you need to more sets and more reps per set.

Reps and sets for muscle hypertrophy: The most common rep/sets range is 3×10 this is great to start out with, but you will notice after a while of lifting that for certain exercises you’re going to want different rep ranges and sets. 

For exercises where you use lower weights like dumbbell side raises you want to do 4 sets of 8-15 reps. For the bigger exercises like the benchpress or dumbbell press, you can use the 3×10 rep/set range.

Reps and sets for strength: If you want to get stronger you’re going to lift heavier weight, sound logical right. If you want a stronger bench press, you can follow a 5×5 rep and set range. Reasons for these ranges are because you’re not going to press that heavyweight for 10 reps each set. You want to challenge yourself each set, increase the weight each time. 

Another great rep/set range is 8×2 (8 sets x 2 reps), make sure you have a good build up to the last couple of sets. Don’t start off with your heaviest weight in the first 3 sets.

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Try supplementing with creatine..

Creatine doesn’t directly grow muscle. But by boosting your performances at high-intensity lifting workouts, the natural compound effectively promotes muscle growth, according to the  Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.

In fact, in one Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research review, researchers concluded that, at a given weight, supplementing with creatine can help you lift 14 percent more reps than you can sans supplements.

For the best results, opt for creatine monohydrate, the most thoroughly researched form of the supplement.

My favorite Creatine

Can you build muscle while losing fat?

Yes, you can build muscle while losing fat. Me myself was obese 4 years ago and build muscle while losing a total of 50kg. People who are overwight or obese use their fat storages as fuel.

 

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‘Skinny fat guys’ who are known to lift will have a harder time building muscle while losing fat because they either eat too much food to lose fat or not enough to build muscle. So what should you do, Bulk or cut first?

I usually recommend to start building muscle first, so figure out how many calories you should be eating every day to maintain your current weight, you can find out here

Then go into a lean bulk, this means you will be eating a couple of hundred calories over your maintenance. This will make you gain minimal fat but will gain you muscle.

build muscle first because losing fat is easier. And a low body-fat is useless if you don’t have muscles to show for. To build the muscle first by lifting heavy and eating enough. Then lose the fat later.

 

Post-workout carbs

Down the Carbs After Your Workout

Research shows that you’ll rebuild muscle faster on your rest days if you feed your body carbohydrates.

“Post-workout meals with carbs increase your insulin levels,” which, in turn, slows the rate of protein breakdown, says Kalman. Have a banana, a sports drink, a peanut-butter sandwich.

Read my full article on the best post-workout meal for optimal muscle growth

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You’re all set to start your muscle building journey, for any questions or meal plans don’t hesitate to send me a question at Vincent@liveforlifts.com

Vincent Sorel

Vincent Sorel

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