How Quickly Can I Build Visible Muscle?
Post at 10:13 - 11/04/2018

Gains not coming quick enough? This is what you need to know

 

The first 3-6 months of strict-form training are the most effective

The world we live in is getting increasingly impatient. We can get food delivered to our door, find new 'romance' and can get a cab in seconds, all at the tap of a button (or a swipe of the finger). We don't want to wait. But can these quick fixes apply to our training routines?

Well, we hate to be the bearer of bad news, but here's the thing – building long-lasting, clothes-straining muscle, takes weeks, months and even years. Sorry.

However, that’s not to say you won’t see improvements relatively quickly and safely, providing you do the simple things right. An essay published by The University of Washington found that the first 3-6 months of strict-form training are the most effective, but, especially after two years, muscle gain becomes significantly harder. 

Follow our advice and you will start seeing differences before the month is out. 

TALKING NUMBERS 

According to a McMaster University study, the average man, training four times a week for 10-12 weeks is able to gain around 3kg of muscle. That works out at a rate of around a quarter of a kilo every week.

Not sure how hard you should be going? It is widely agreed that 8-10 reps, for 5 sets, across a four-days-a-week-routine is most effective to help build noticeable muscle. 

Many gym-bros will advocate the use of using lighter weights when training for strength and endurance, but many people seem to disagree with this method. But you shouldn't. According to the same study, Phillips’ team found that new muscle was built more efficiently when subjects lifted lighter weights (30% of their one-rep max, to be precise) to fatigue, instead of hitting a PB time and again. So, don’t think going light will derail your efforts. It won't. 

 

 

Similarly, a case study published in Physiological Reports found — when comparing a group of men using low reps and heavy weights to low weights and high reps — that the group lifting for higher reps managed greater time under tension than the lower rep group.

However, that's not to say you should ignore your heavy lifts. Lifting for your 1RPM (one-rep max) has been known to trigger a greater amount of Human Growth Hormone (HGH), which is essential for muscle growth and development. 

HIITING TARGETS 

By incorporating several short-paced routines into your sessions — the backbone of high-intensity interval training, or HIIT — is an effective way to shed fat and build muscle. A study in The Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise journal found that a HIIT plan following a 20secs on/10secs off protocol, over a six-week period, saw participants’ VO2 max levels increase by 27%. Put simply, better oxygen intake means you'll be able to go harder, for longer.

 

 

Want more proof? Another study published in the International Journal of Obesity compared potential fat loss from a HIIT routine to a cycling protocol. After three months of training, three days a week, the HIIT group shed 2.5kg of subcutaneous fat. Beat that, cycling! 

 

 

EAT IT UP

As you’ll know (and as many gym bros and #MHTransform alumni will attest), a great body is made in the kitchen. Flex as hard as you want, but without the right nutrition, you'll never see those mirror muscles.

The goal of consuming more calories than your workouts burn is the aim of the game. But that doesn't mean chowing down on pizza after your workout. You need the right type of calories, split between fats, carbohydrates, and protein.

 

Not sure how to work out your nutritional split? Our guide to macros will help. 

Protein is something you can't ignore. They're the building blocks for muscle, and you need a lot. The general rule of thumb for both pros and bulkers is to eat 1g of protein per pound of bodyweight. So, if you weigh 187lbs (85kg, or 13st), then you need 187g of protein a day. For everyone else not looking for serious gains, however, 0.5g to 0.8g is recommended. And remember, this figure will change depending on your metabolic rate, goals, weight and training.

 

 

GET TO WORK

The best approach to getting serious gains? Hit the weights room 3-4 times a week, alongside two HIIT sessions for fat-loss and sleep for 7-9 hours a night. You recover best in the land of nod. Finally, work out your calorific deficit for your meals and use the above equation to pack on serious muscle. 

Then, eat some more. Seriously, you’re not eating enough. 

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