Gaining muscle quickly is simply a matter of diligently applying the laws of muscle growth, which are as certain, observable, and irrefutable as those of physics.
When you throw a ball in the air, it comes down. When you take the correct actions inside and outside the gym, your muscles grow. It’s really that simple, and these laws apply regardless of how much of a “hard gainer” you think you are.
These principles have been known and followed for decades by people who built some of the greatest physiques we’ve ever seen. Some of these laws will be in direct contradiction of things you’ve read or heard but fortunately, they require no leaps of faith or reflection: they are practical. You follow them and you get immediate results. And once they’ve worked for you, you will know they’re true.
So, let’s look them over.
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This law may seem obvious and not worth stating, but trust me, most people just don’t get it. By lifting weights, you are actually causing tiny tears (known as “micro-tears”) in the muscle fibers, which the body then repairs and adapts the muscles to better handle the stimulus that caused the damage. This is the process by which muscles grow (scientifically termed hypertrophy).
If a workout causes too few micro-tears in the fibers, then little muscle growth will occur as a result because the body figures it doesn’t need to grow to deal again with such a minor stimulus. If a workout causes too many micro-tears, then the body will fail to fully repair the muscles, and muscle growth will be stunted. If a workout causes optimal micro-tearing but the body isn’t supplied with sufficient nutrition or rest, no appreciable amount of muscle growth will occur.
For optimal muscle growth, you must lift in such a way that causes optimal micro-tearing and then you must feed your body what it needs to grow and give it the proper amount of rest.
While many guys think a burning sensation in their muscles is indicative of an intense, “growth-inducing” workout, it’s actually not an indicator of an optimum workout. The “burn” you feel is simply an infusion of lactic acid in the muscle, which is produced as a muscle burns its energy stores.
Lactic acid does trigger what’s known as the “anabolic cascade,” which is a cocktail of growth-inducing hormones, but elevating lactic acid levels higher and higher doesn’t mean you build more and more muscle.
Muscle pump is equally worthless in terms of muscle growth. The pump you feel when training is a result of blood being “trapped” in the muscles, and while it’s a good psychological boost and isn’t a bad thing, it’s just not an indicator of future growth. High-repetition workouts fail to sufficiently overload muscles to trigger growth, even though they deliver quite a pump.
What triggers muscle growth, then? Overload. Muscles must be given a clear reason to grow, and overload is the best reason. Trust me on this one. High-rep drop sets, giant sets, supersets, etc., are for the magazine-reading crowd. Such training techniques simply do NOT stimulate growth like simple, heavy sets do.
The same goes for the confused crowd of “muscle confusion” advocates that say you need to change your routine every week or two. This is pure nonsense. You can make incredible muscle gains by doing the same proven, mass-building exercises every week, steadily increasing weight and reps (overload).
Most training programs have you training way too often. They play into the common misconception that building muscle is simply a matter of lifting excessively. People who have fallen into this bad habit need to realize that if they did less of the right thing, they would get more. Yes, I said that right: do less, get more.
How does that work? Well, muscles grow during the recovery period—the period of time between workouts of the same muscle groups. When you overload your muscles, your body gets to work adapting them to overcome future overloads, and to do the job correctly, it needs sufficient rest and nutrition.
If, every week, you wait too few days before training a muscle group again, you can actually lose strength and muscle size. If you allow your muscles enough recuperation time (and eat correctly), however, you will experience maximum strength and size gains.
How important is nutrition? Answer is one word: everything. Nutrition is everything. Simply put, your diet determines about 70-80% of how you look (muscular or scrawny, ripped or flabby). You could do the perfect workouts and give your muscles the perfect amount of rest time, but if you don’t eat correctly, you won’t grow—period.
Almost everyone gets this wrong. They just don’t give their body what it needs to rapidly build muscle. Sure, we all know to eat protein, but how much? When? What kinds?
What about carbs—what kinds are best? How much? When should they be eaten to maximize gains?
And fats…are they important? How much do you need and what are the best ways to get them?
And last but not least, how many calories should you be eating every day? How large should your meals be as the day goes on?
You must have the right answers for these questions and more if you want to get the most out of your training.
Quickly packing on slabs of rock-solid lean mass is, in essence, just a matter of following these four laws religiously: lift hard, lift heavy, get sufficient rest, and feed your body correctly. That’s how you build a strong, healthy, ripped body. As you see, it’s much simpler than the marketing departments of supplement companies and their magazines want you to think.