Gaining muscle quickly is a goal that many aspire to over the course of the summer. Reasons you want to gain muscle might include wanting to look good for trips to the beach or performing better when you return to athletic competition in the fall. Regardless of why you start, gaining muscle quickly requires consistency in your training program and attention to detail with your diet. Expect to gain roughly half a pound to one full pound of muscle each week; any more than that and you are probably gaining fat.
Eat a large breakfast upon waking up in the morning. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and will provide you with the energy necessary for your workout later on. Your meal should include eggs or milk, as long as you are not allergic, because they provide the body with quality protein, Melvin Williams writes in the book “Nutrition for Health, Fitness, and Sport.”
Consume one protein shake two hours after breakfast. Your body needs at least 1.5 to 2.0 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight to assist with muscle growth, according to the book “Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning.” This shake will help you meet this protein requirement.
Work out two hours after consuming the protein shake. The body needs ample time to warm up after sleep; an increased muscle temperature reduces the likelihood of injury. Your workout should consist of eight exercises, with each exercise performed for three sets of eight to 10 repetitions. Rest at least 30 to 60 seconds between sets. Stick to compound exercises, such as the squat and deadlift, because they target more than one muscle group.
Drink another protein shake right after your workout. This shake should consist of a four-to-one ratio of carbohydrates to protein. This is the optimal ratio for muscle recovery, Williams reports.
Eat a meal high in carbohydrates and with some protein within two hours of your workout. This will ensure that any depleted glycogen, one of our body’s natural storage mechanisms for energy, is returned to optimal levels. This will also ensure that the body has ample calories for muscle growth and repair.
Consume a snack two hours after the previous meal. This snack should consist of a small amount of carbohydrates, fat and protein — apple slices with peanut butter is an example.
Eat your final meal of the day one hour before bedtime. This meal should consist of more-fibrous carbohydrates, like vegetables, and a lean protein choice, such as chicken breast. Overeating at your final meal can pack on excess fat if your nutrition for the rest of the day has not been balanced properly.
Sleep at least eight to 10 hours each night. Muscle repair and subsequent growth occur mainly at night, when the body has a chance to recover. Neglecting your sleep can seriously impede this process and adversely affect your workout for the next day.
You can also use the supplement creatine to increase the intensity of your workouts, the American College of Sports Medicine concluded in 2000, citing research that appeared to show that this increased workout intensity can spur additional muscle growth.
Consult your doctor to ensure you are healthy enough to engage in weight training safely. Also discuss creatine and protein consumption, and any other new aspects of your diet and training regimen.
- "Nutrition for Health, Fitness, & Sport"; Melvin Williams; 2010
- "NASM Essentials of Personal Fitness Training"; National Academy of Sports Medicine; 2007
- "Optimum Performance Training for the Health and Fitness Professional"; National Academy of Sports Medicine; 2004
- "Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning"; Thomas Baechle and Roger Earle; 2008
- "Medicine and Science in Sport and Exercise"; The physiological and Health Effects of Oral Creatine Supplementation; RL Terjung et al.; March 2000