How to Gain Muscle Quickly While Staying Slim

When you want to gain muscle but stay slim, what you mean is you do not want to gain fat. Two things need to happen to do this--you have to make dietary changes and you have to exercise. This is basically the same game plan for losing weight, but the approach is different. Even though you want to gain muscle quickly, you still need to be patient. Doing too much too quick will have a negative effect on your body and could result in injury.

A bowl of nuts, bananas, a measuring tape and fitness items on wood. (Image: alexkich/iStock/Getty Images)

Step 1

Increase your energy intake to fuel your muscles. Track all of your calories for five days, add the totals together and divide by five to get an average. Add 250 calories to this number and this is your new intake goal. Use an online resource like The Daily Plate if you need assistance.

Step 2

Eat muscle-building foods. Stay away from junk food, high-fat foods, high-sodium foods and high-sugar foods such as cupcakes, frozen dinners, spare ribs, deep-fried chicken, chips, cookies and pastries. Eat foods that are beneficial to muscle growth and energy production instead, including lean beef, chicken breast, low-fat cottage cheese, beans, whole grains, fruits, vegetables and nuts.

Step 3

Consume small meals throughout the day. Start your day with a balanced meal and eat every three hours thereafter. This will keep your energy levels high, your muscles well supplied with nutrients and it will also make it easier to meet your increased calorie needs. Prepare each meal with a portion of protein and complex carbs. Two hard-boiled eggs with whole wheat toast is a breakfast example. Baked halibut with steamed asparagus and brown rice is a nighttime meal example.

Step 4

Hydrate your muscles with water. Avoid beverages that are high in sugar, calories and caffeine, such as soda, slushies, processed fruit drinks, dessert coffees, regular coffee, beer and mixed drinks. Not only do they dehydrate your body, but they also promote the gaining of fat. According to the Institute of Medicine, women should get approximately 2.7 liters of water a day and men should get approximately 3.7 liters. This comes out to about 90 and 120 oz.

Step 5

Perform compound exercises that work more than one muscle group at a time. This will promote fast muscle gain. Exercises include bench presses, military presses, one arm rows, dips, chin-ups and deadlifts. Perform eight to 12 reps of each exercise and four to five sets. Use the heaviest weights you can handle and have a spotter on hand to make sure you can meet your rep ranges. Work out every three days.

Step 6

Run or do some other form of cardio three days a week to prevent fat gain. Exercise for 30 minutes at a moderate intensity. Perform another type of cardio like elliptical training, stair climbing, jumping rope or indoor cycling if you do not like running.

Step 7

Get the right amount of sleep every night. Depriving your body of sleep will not give your muscles adequate time to recover and you will also be low on energy when working out. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adults typically need seven to nine hours of sleep for proper function.

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