I was en route to work this morning and I bumped into my ex. He cheated on me every week for a year and I was dumped over the phone just before Christmas last year.
Anyway, where you come in… Looking at myself in the mirror, I think I have all the makings to have a fantastic body. I want to gain some muscle (but not too much!) and get as close as I can to a body like yours.
I promised myself I would look amazing if I ever bumped into him again and, well I failed. I am now giving myself untill the summer (not expecting miracles but a definite improvement) to look great.
What is the best way for me to gain muscle mass fast… and which exercises will give the best and quickest results?
I cannot bare to feel like I did this morning again. He looked great, and I looked… well, not.
On one hand, I want to tell you that exercising to make another person jealous or envious isn’t a sustainable motivator. And it’s not coming from a place of true power. I want to tell you to spend your energy looking at today and moving forward, rather than looking back an a relationship that lacked fulfillment. I want to tell you that the time you spend in the gym should be an investment in yourself and an improvement to the quality of your life.
But on the other hand, who am I to talk? When I first started working out, my motivations weren’t the purest. I wanted to look like the Abercrombie & Fitch models that I saw at the mall. I wanted a hard stomach and bulging muscles. It was only months (or perhaps even years) into my exercising that I came to appreciate the much larger, non-superficial benefits of an active lifestyle. Today, it is those benefits (like better health, increased energy, improved sleep, etc.) that are my primary motivators. The muscular physique, is still nice, too.
Now that I am done preaching, I’ll tackle your question. Building muscle mass quickly involves lifting free weights (dumbbells and barbells) in the low-rep range (usually 4 – 8 repetitions of each exercise). The weights should be heavy, and your muscles should be completely fatigued on your last repetition. Moreover, you’ll need to push yourself to constantly progress to higher amounts of resistance in order to increase the size of your muscles. Keep your sessions short – generally 45 minutes or less of lifting – and never train a muscle that is still sore from your previous workout (it makes sense to do different muscle groups on different days). Combine your strength training with a moderate amount of cardiovascular exercise.
Squat, barbell bicep curls, dead lifts, chest presses or other exercises that make use of free weights are where you’ll want to spend the bulk of your time. I generally do 4 sets of each exercise, but you’ll get most of the benefits from just one or two sets. So do what works best for your schedule and time commitments.
Know that you’ll need to increase the amount of food you consume, and especially increase your protein intake. Whey protein isolate is the best for muscle growth.
Since it’s the start of a new routine for you, you’ll probably want to limit yourself to 3 or 4 workouts per week. Over time, you can increase that – but don’t overdo it or else you may burnout.
For additional reading and details, check out my 8 tips for gaining muscle fast.
I’d say good luck but it’s really more science than luck!