Who doesn’t want to build muscle as fast as possible naturally?
If you are just a beginner or intermediate, you want to maximize muscle growth as fast as possible. No one wants to waste their beginner gains and gain but a fraction of what they actually could have gained on a proper training program and meal plan.
Here are 5 things that are most important when it comes to maximizing muscle mass.
1) Protein intake
Not a lot of protein is actually needed when it comes to lean bulking. A meta-analysis showed that 1.6g/kg/BW was the upper limit for protein intake. Meaning, more than that amount will not necessarily lead to greater muscle gains.
Due to inter-individual differences that amount can increase to 2.2g/kg/BW, for some individuals for adding lean mass.
Due to some people being really overweight, it would be best to make the calculations according to g/kg/LBM instead of BW. For instance if someone weighs 80kg and has 70kg lean mass, he’ll have to eat 112g of protein and if another guy weighs a 100kg but also have 70kg of lean mass, he’ll also have to eat only 112g of protein. Whereas, if it were according to bodyweight, guy 1 would have to eat 128g protein, and guy 2 160g, although they have the same amount of muscle mass.
This way everyone eat the right amount of protein to support their lean mass and not their total body mass.
Eating more protein isn’t a bad thing, just as long as it’s not at the expense of carbs, because if too little carbs are eaten exercise performance will start to suffer.
2) Training intensity
In order to grow muscle you have to lift weights. We all know that.
The fastest way to build muscle is to lift weights above your 60% 1RM. If you’re not so concerned with hitting new 1RMxes, then you don’t have to train heavier than 85% of your 1RM, and going heavier will not necessarily lead to greater muscle growth than when staying only at 85% of your 1RM. This gives you a window of between 6-15 reps where you can play around in. Doing 6 reps is still great for building strength and muscle and doing less reps will not necessarily lead to greater hypertrophy, but mainly strength.
3) Training volume
A certain amount of volume is needed to give the muscle adequate stimulus for growth.
For absolute beginners, they can get hypertrophy from doing only 1 set three times per week, but that’s not necessarily optimal.
Everyone should start with the least amount of volume that will give them the maximum rate of growth. Doing too much will cause your body to adapt to it and then you just need even greater volume to stimulate growth. This is where most people just stagnate. You want to keep your body sensitive to the stimulus so that it keeps on growing.
If you’re designing your own program, beginners can start at around 5-10 sets per muscle group per week and intermediates can increase it to between 10-15 sets per muscle group per week.
My Ultimate Strength, Size and Skill Program utilizes overloading and deloading periods that will help to maximize growth while still keeping the body sensitive to the stimulus.
Although it’s quite possible to build muscle even when in a caloric deficit, it’s not optimal for maximizing muscle growth.
Everyone gains muscle at a different rate that’s why it’s important to track your weight.
The bigger the surplus, the faster you’ll be able to gain muscle. But then you also stand the chance of gaining more fat. That’s why the surplus got to be perfect for you. The way you find the perfect surplus is to track your weight.
This is explained in detail in my Ultimate Strength, Size and Skill Program.
Train is the stimulus needed to signal muscle growth, but how muscles grow is through repair. And for proper repair you need proper rest. Sleep is one of the most important aspects to building muscle. Not necessarily more sleep, but just better quality sleep. Be sure to get at least 8-9 hours of high quality sleep each night to maximize muscle growth.
A few tips to improve sleep:
- Go to bed at the same time each night, even on weekends
- Wake up at the same time even on weekends.
- Sleep in a cool dark room
- Block blue light at night
- Get sunshine on your eyes each morning
- Have a evening routine to help you switch off
- Write everything down that you want to do tomorrow so that your mind can relax
A few supplements to improve sleep
- Theanine (Amazon)(iHerb) – 200-400mg before bed
- Glycine (Amazon)(iHerb) – 5g before bed (will also help with growth hormone release)
- Magnesium threonate (Amazon)(iHerb) – 200-400mg
- Valerian root (Amazon)(iHerb)
If you truly want to maximize muscle growth while staying lean my Ultimate Strength, Size and Skill Program is for you.