Gaining muscle mass with a fast metabolism is not impossible, as many "hard-gainers" believe. Hard-gainer types typically have an ectomorph body, with smaller bone structure and less natural muscular build than other body types. The simple equation for gaining muscle mass applies to those with a fast metabolism as well: create a growth stimulus and supply the body with adequate nutrition to repair damaged muscle and rebuild it stronger. The tricky part about gaining muscle mass with a fast metabolism is the "adequate nutrition" part. Hard-gainers often burn calories so fast that they cannot be stored as fat or used to build muscle. In addition, they also may have difficulty absorbing nutrients efficiently. The simple answer is that you must eat as hard as you train. Follow these simple guidelines to fast-track your mass gains.
Increase your daily caloric intake by 500 calories or more over your maintenance calories. Consult with a personal trainer or use the free online calculator to find your personal maintenance caloric intake, then add 500 or more to that total. Spread these calories out over 5 to 8 small meals throughout the day. Follow the "Muscle Nerd" Jeff Anderson's advice and take a post-workout shake consisting of 50 grams of protein, 100 or more grams of carbohydrates, and 30 grams of healthy fats, such as flax seed oil or medium-chain triglycerides. Be advised that figuring out maintenance is trial and error, and it could take you two to three months to figure out your calorie needs on a new training schedule.
Consume 55 percent of your calories from carbohydrates. With a fast metabolism you need more carbohydrates to gain muscle mass, according to Jeff Anderson. Good sources of carbohydrates are oatmeal, wheat bread and pasta, sweet potatoes, quinoa and/or brown rice. It may be hard at first to get all the calories in, but you must persevere if you want to gain mass. "Clean" or low-glycemic carbohydrates are better, but you can try fruit juices if you absolutely cannot get the solid food down. Two cups of grape juice for example is an easy way to get 50 grams of carbohydrates.
Take in more healthy fats. Fat is a powerful nutrient because it has more than double the amount of calories per gram, as compared to carbohydrates and protein. Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats are typically not stored as body fat and can be used by the body for energy. Monounsaturated fats include olive oil, egg yolks, avocados and nuts and seeds. Polyunsaturated fats are your omega-3, 6 and 9 fats, which are essential for overall health and wellness. Add a serving or two of these healthy fats to each of your meals. For example, two tablespoons of flax seed oil in a protein shake adds about 250 calories. One particular type of saturated fat, known as MCT or medium chain triglycerides, can be used by the body for energy and fat-burning, according to "Homemade Supplement Secrets" by Jeff Anderson.
Perform three full body workouts per week, focusing on the compound mass movements for each muscle group. Begin each workout with squats or deadlifts to create an anabolic surge of testosterone and growth hormone. For example, start Monday and Friday workouts with squats, and Wednesday workouts with deadlifts. Use a repetition range between 9 and 12 reps on every set to specifically target hypertrophy or muscle growth. Take each set to positive failure, meaning the point at which you cannot do another controlled repetition. Have a spotter help you re-rack the weight to prevent injury. Train progressively by adding weight incrementally from workout to workout as you get stronger.
Take an extra protein shake immediately before going to bed to give your body a ready supply of amino acids to repair your muscles while you sleep. Mix one or two scoops of whey protein with two cups of milk and two tablespoons of flax-seed oil. Make sure to get 7 to 8 hours of restful sleep every night.
Visit your local health store to pick up a few helpful supplements. If you struggle to get all your meals in, due to time constraints, purchase a weight gainer powder and use it one to three times per day in place of meals. In addition, purchase a multi-enzyme product to help with the breakdown and absorption of the foods you take in. According to the "Muscle Nerd" this very inexpensive supplement can drastically increase your absorption of nutrients, particularly protein. Lastly, consider combining creatine, whey protein and CLA or conjugated linoleic acid. "The Power of Three", an article in the January 2010 issue of "Muscle and Performance", recommends this combo for gaining quick mass.