How Fast Can I Build Muscle Naturally? A Step-By-Step Guide to Building Muscle Quickly

How can one build muscle fast? Doing deadlifts like this man will help.

There’s a lot of false information out there on “building muscle fast.”

There’s also A LOT of companies making money selling useless supplements, many of them promising “toned” muscle within weeks.

These two things are not a coincidence.

Today, we’ll provide the truth you so rightly deserve:

This will help you separate fact from fiction on building muscle when training naturally.

Make no mistake about it, this stuff isn’t easy.

Otherwise you wouldn’t be reading about it on the internet!

If you’re somebody that’s worried about wasting time, or you want to have an expert hand craft a workout and nutrition program that’s based on your current situation, consider checking out our really popular 1-on-1 Online Training Program! I’ve been training with an online coach since 2015 and it has been the biggest boost for me in the world.

Alright, onto “how much muscle can I build naturally?”

How Fast Can I Build Muscle Naturally?

Bruce Banner can grow muscle really quickly. You'll have to take a slower path.

You’re here for an answer, so I’m going to get the ugly truth (that will probably make you sad) out of the way.

How fast can you build muscle?

Under OPTIMAL conditions, you can expect to gain around 1-2 pounds of muscle per month.

We’ve found that for most Rebels here in the Nerd Fitness Rebellion (our community), closer to one pound per month is the reality.

“Optimal conditions” mean that you are:

Oh, and proper sleep is also absolutely necessary.

This also means you are trying to thread the needle of eating JUST enough to build muscle, but not too much that you put on a lot of fat, too.

Gaining a little fat while you bulk up might happen, but it's no biggie.

Yeah, you could go full hulk mode (“dirty bulk”) and just eat anything and everything, maxing out your muscle building… but it’ll be buried under fat, which you’ll have to trim again and restart the cycle.

While it is certainly one effective way to gain muscle and strength, we more often recommend fiddling with your diet and training so you can find that sweet spot where you’re building muscle and not gaining too much fat.

All of this to say: Yes, can build muscle quickly, but it will NOT be the crazy amount you read about in the magazines, unless you’re taking Dr. Stark’s super serum (ROIDS!).

If you had grand visions of looking like the dudes in the ads you see in muscle and fitness, don’t expect to do so in 90 days with a few days of training and protein shakes.

Remember: Expect 1-2 pounds of month of muscle gain…under optimal conditions.

The one possible exception to gaining strength and muscle fast? Noob gains.

How Fast Can a Beginner Gain Muscle? (Initial Gains)

Beginner's will often see lots of progress when they start their training.

Yes, we’ve all heard the stories of guys that have gained 40 pounds of muscle in two months.

We’ve also seen all the ridiculous ads about “the workout supplement doctors don’t want you to see” with a guy that looks like Bane.

99% of that stuff is absolute bullshit, so let’s just get that out in the open!

HOWEVER, If you’re really skinny, young, training hard, and eating all day every day, as a newbie you can produce results very quickly.

It is possible, in the first year of true strength training with intense focus and dedication, to gain 15-20 pounds of muscle. Combine that with 15-20 pounds of fat gain and you can drastically change your appearance if you started out very skinny.

When I started to take strength training serioulsy, I felt like I was invincible. I even gained 18 pounds in a month, and I foolishly assumed most of it was muscle.

A before and after of Steve in 2006.

But due to taking the supplement creatine (which allows your muscles to hold more water weight), almost all of it was water weight, along with some fat… and then probably 2 pounds of muscle!

I’ve since come to learn “TEH MUSCLE GAINZ” aren’t that easy. Fortunately, that’s only part of what I learned in that month.

You can learn a lot from trying to bulk up.

If you are new to strength training and you are eating right, you’ll not only pack on muscle, but you’ll see some incredibly impressive gains in your strength training:

  • Going from 1 pull up to 3 sets of 15?
  • Adding 100 pounds to your squat?
  • Adding 150 pounds to your deadlift?

I can’t predict what sort of results you’ll see in that first year, but it can be pretty epic if you attack it right!

Muscle growth might happen slower than you want, but I expect something different will happen along the way – you’ll fall in love with this idea of building STRENGTH! In fact, getting hooked on progress, and strength training is one of the best things you can do for yourself.

So, if you are young, growing, and brand spankin’ new to strength training, you’ll be able to pack on muscle at a decent clip. Our goal will be for you to do it in a way that’s sustainable!

Hopefully I didn’t put a big damper on your Captain-America fueled dreams! I just want to set proper expectations so you don’t get discouraged with slow progress, and instead get SUPER encouraged with any progress. Getting strong should be freakin’ fun!

Weirdly enough, once I stopped trying to get there quickly is when I started to actually make permanent progress.

Good?

Good!

Now let’s build you some muscle!

How Do You Make Your Muscles Grow Faster? (Strength Training 101)

How do you get muscles like these? Strength training will get you there the fastest.

We’ve covered this at length in the “How to Bulk Up Fast” Guide but I’ll give you the abridged version:

How to build muscle quickly and bulk up:

  1. Lift heavy things.
  2. Then, lift heavier things than last time (progressive overload).
  3. Specifically include squats and deadlifts and compound movements – they target the muscle building triggers in your entire body.
  4. Target sets and reps in the 4-5 sets of 6-10 reps per set.
  5. Sleep as much as you can.
  6. Eat more calories, especially on training days (with plenty of protein and carbs, and vegetables). Head here to calculate your caloric needs.
  7. Use a protein supplement if you cannot consume enough protein via regular sources.
  8. Consider supplementing with creatine.
  9. Repeat month after month after month.
  10. When in doubt, eat more than you think.
  11. If you put on too much fat, slightly cut back on calories on non-training days.

The goal here is to thread the needle where we pack on size and muscle but not fat. If we don’t eat enough (generally a problem for us skinny people), we will struggle to put on either.

However, if we overeat we’ll build muscle and add some fat. We can then trim the fat, if after a few weeks we notice our body fat percentage creeping up.

“But Steve, I don’t have access to a gym – can I pack on muscle with just bodyweight exercises?

Yes, you can pack on size while only doing bodyweight exercises. Look at any Olympic gymnast!

Proof that you can get big and bulky with just lifting yourself up.

I personally managed to pack on some weight while traveling the world.

However, this can feel like playing Halo on Legendary difficulty. It can be done, but damn it can be challenging – especially for lower body movements.

If your sole goal is to get bigger as fast as possible, access to a barbell for squats and deadlift is almost a requirement.

Note about all of the above:

If you’re confused about how to start with strength training, or you want to start with bodyweight training before trying a gym, or you just want to make sure you’re squatting and doing pull-ups right, we cover ALL of that in our free downloadable guide, Strength Training 101: Everything You Need to Know.

Get your free guide when you sign up in the box below, and we’ll show you exactly what to do:

Should I Worry About Getting Too Bulky?

How was Steve able to gain so much muscle on three months? Strength Training and proper diet.

“I want to put on muscle, but not too much I don’t want to get too bulky, Steve!”

We get this comment via email a LOT, from both guys and gals.

In fact, I heard this fear so frequently that I included it in our top 7 myths of strength training for women. Mostly, this comment comes from folks who are new to strength training and fitness, which makes sense.

The unknown is scary, and we’re scared to start something if we’re not quite sure how our bodies are going to adapt.

Combine this with mainstream magazines saying things like “lift light weights to tone arms!” and we conjure up visions of lifting heavy weights producing a Hulk-like response.

Here’s a before and after from Staci, a Senior Coach in our 1-on-1 Online Coaching Program, who picked up VERY heavy weights and actively tried to get bulky.

Let’s see the results:

Don't worry about getting bulky. Staci lifts constantly and doesn't look bulky.

Here’s the truth: YOU DO NOT GET BULKY WITHOUT DEVOTING YOUR LIFE TO IT! Unless you are training with hypertrophy (increased muscle size) as a focus, have superior genetics, take steroids, eat like a horse, and focus on nothing but muscle size for months/years, you are NOT going to get too bulky.

I run a fitness site. I have dedicated my life to health and fitness for the past twelve years, and I have actively been trying to put on weight and muscle throughout that entire time.

I am nowhere close to looking bulky, despite all of my efforts to do so, and dedicating my last 13 months to building muscle and size. 

Yes, genetically some people MIGHT put on muscle more easily than others, but even then it’s fractions of a degree, not DRASTIC sweeping differences. We tend to get this question from men or women who are so thin and have such fast metabolisms, they probably need to put on 40-50+ pounds of both fat and muscle, before they would ever even think to use the word “too bulky.”

So, remove this from your vocabulary! 

Build Muscle and Get Strong Now.

Whenever Rebels together, we start lifting weights to grow muscle fast.

 I want to talk about one final thing: all of the above info about muscle building is true, if you are 100% focused on muscle building.

Your results will vary if you are trying to build muscle while also:

  • Running regularly
  • Doing martial arts
  • Participating in sports that require endurance

Why? Well, because instead of using the calories from your food to grow big and strong, the calories are going to fuel an extra long run.

We dive deep into the subject here in “The Ultimate Guide to Building Any Physique.”

Now, all of this information comes with a caveat: do what makes you happy! If you love to run, or play ultimate frisbee 4 days a week, go for it. Just be sure to temper your goals if you’re ALSO trying to accomplish a billion other things too. Just temper your expectations as to what will be possible.

If you are looking for more specific guidance on how to build muscle naturally, or you’ve been at it for months/years without getting results and think you’re a lost cause, you’re not alone!

I honestly thought I was a lost cause because I spent 6 years training to bulk up and saw no results. Despite the story I told myself, it wasn’t because of my genetics. It was because I was following bad advice, had a bad training program, and didn’t have the right nutritional strategy!

If you are tired of not getting results, want to avoid trial-and-error, or you just want to be told exactly what to do to reach your goals, check out our popular 1-on-1 Coaching Program. You’ll work with our certified NF instructors who will get to know you better than you know yourself and program your workouts and nutrition strategy for you.

Nerd Fitness Coaching Banner

Now, if you are somebody that is more of the “do-it-yourself” type, check out our self-paced app, Nerd Fitness Journey.

Our fun habit-building program helps you exercise more frequently, eat healthier, and level up your life (literally).

Try your free trial right here:

What else can I answer for you about healthy strength and muscle building? 

We can become superheroes, and we have dozens of stories to prove it 🙂 – just remember it’s going to take time. Attack the problem with the right game plan, and your ascension to superhero status can come a bit quicker.

What do you want to know about building muscle and strength? Leave questions in the comments!

-Steve

PS: Not ready to commit to one of our programs?

That’s cool too!

Make sure you sign up for our email list so we can send you BOTH the “Skinny Nerd’s Guide to Bulking Up” and also our entire “Strength Training 101: What You Need to Know” ebook! You can get both free when you sign up in the box below:

###

photo source:[1]

Get The Rebel Starter Kit

Enter your email and we’ll send it right over.

  • The 15 mistakes you don’t want to make.
  • The most effective diet and why it works.
  • Complete your first workout today, no gym required.
  • These are the tools you need to start your quest.

201 thoughts on “How Fast Can I Build Muscle Naturally? A Step-By-Step Guide to Building Muscle Quickly

  1. In my quest to get back to reinvent myself, lose weight, get stronger, put on some muscle, I have managed to drop down from a bit over 400 pounds to 312 over the last year. Lifting weights has always been a part of exercise plan, but I have never made putting on muscle a goal. The goal from lifting weights was getting stronger. Just like my goal with rowing or biking isn’t to lose fat but increase endurance. If lifting puts on muscle that’s good just like if those other activities drop some fat that is great. The main goal of all exercise is to improve athletic performance at least to me. Of course as a big guy, maybe I have a different perspective.

  2. Hi Steve, great article as always. I had a question about creatine and the water weight you mentioned. Does this mean you recommend NOT taking creatine?

  3. Great article! The only thing I’d add, from experience, is a small part in the Newbie section about not trying to do too much, too fast. I did that and managed to injure myself and had to basically start over at zero.

  4. Thanks, Steve! I’d love to also hear about maintaining muscle. Let’s say you reach the physique you want, how do you maintain the muscle you have without adding/subtracting muscle or fat?

    Also, I know you’re a Tim Ferriss fan. What did you think of his “geek to freak” experiment?

  5. I really like this! Im all about puttin on muscle! Ive been following Occams protocol from Tim Ferris’s book and Ive put on five lbs in 8 days even if some is fat there has to be something there right?

  6. If you’ve put on 5 lbs in 8 days the result is most likely water weight. As mentioned above, 2lbs is ideal, while 1-1.15 is more realistic… per MONTH. If you are gaining something like 20 lbs a month (5x 4 weeks), and you are sure it is not water weight, then you are gaining a LOT of extra fat. Personally, my weight can fluctuate 5-10 lbs purely on water weight and weigh-in differences, so this is the most likely culprit here.

  7. You’re in good company! Overall health and athleticism is also a top priority of mine. (Of course, with improved strength and athleticism also comes the pure joy and love of the game – getting really into new activities and new things you can do!)

  8. What do I do? I’m Female, 67 years old, very sedentary, overweight, and flabby. Where do I start?

  9. Out of shape… I’m 10 years younger than you and we are probably some of the oldest people on NF. But I’ve been strength training with body pump, bootcamp and TRX at my gym four days a week. I do two days in a row, break midweek, then do two days more. And I swear I’m going to add a fifth day of just biking or swimming.

    I started this the second week of Sept. and it’s the first week of Feb. (five months) I fit clothes I haven’t touched in 5 years or more. My muscles are toned. I have more energy. I can eat more and I’m cooking and eating healthier foods. (saves money and you know what you’re putting into your own food)

    I’ve lost weight. (I use my clothes to gauge this.) But START.

    Walk a quarter mile three days a week. Work up to five. (and give yourself breaks… MWF, or MT break ThF break Sun. Breaks allow your muscles to repair and prepare for further activity.

    In three weeks you’ll find your mood has elevated and you might work up to half a mile walks. (buy a pedometer so you know how far you’re walking or mark off your route by driving it with your car first. mark off several routes so you won’t get bored…)

    Start small. Same with dietary changes. Look at the recipes on this site. Cut down on unhealthy fats and too much bread. Choose wheats and whole grains more often.

    But that’s enough. Walk first. START. It’s consistency and small changes that lead to bigger ones.

  10. I want a toned, trim body and that’s my goal. It’s happening. I’m five months in and fitting into clothes I couldn’t five years ago. And I’m cooking part paleo. Cooking! I was always ordering in. What a waste of money! I feel so accomplished when I cook that I’m going to start having friends over to dinner every six to eight weeks to treat them to the good new food I’m eating and to show them some healthy love. Still struggle with sweet tooth. But in moderation I can eat a little “bad” food. Diets have to be liveable! Cave people ate honey too!

    Thing is to develop healthy relationships with exercise and food. Not obsessive overdoing with either!

    I’m not young, so I’m not going to get fast-perfectly fit. But I don’t care. I’m going to get there. And I’m proud of what I’ve done so far. Couldn’t say that five months ago. And couldn’t do five pushups either. Can do loads more than that now!

  11. Hi Steve, great stuff as usual. I’ve been a fan of your site for a long time, but this article really speaks to me. As a fellow “always been skinny, struggled to gain weight” guy, patience really has to be the most important message here, and it’s one I struggle with frequently. In addition to visiting your site I’ve been going to crossfit regularly for over a year now ( a really good gym where the trainers care about your health and proper form ), and while I’ve gotten quite a bit stronger I’ve seen almost zero change in my actual weight. If anything I’ve dropped a couple of pounds, while going from a 100 pound deadlift to a 235 pound deadlift, and from an 85 pound squat to a 185 pound squat.

    I’m still seeing progress in performance but I don’t know how to get the needle to start moving on the scale (in the right way). Am I just not eating enough? Or is it something more subtle than that?

  12. It’s so fun reading over your old stuff — “never skip breakfast” says one of the guys (in 2009) who (in 2015) is probably the most-fun proponent of intermittent fasting.

    Just wanted to say “thanks,” this is a great article (says a guy who is looking to maintain where he is, as he wonders if he’s actually reached the point in life where he’s living something truly sustainable with schedule/budget/workouts/diet/measurements)

  13. I find the one-to-two pounds of muscle per month to be right in line with my gains though –– as a dude in his early fifties –– I will say that it takes an awful lot of effort to hit the “two pounds of muscle per month” benchmark. One pound of muscle every four weeks is much more realistic and very achievable, especially when equal amounts of effort are put into both the exercise aspects of fitness AND the dietary aspects. Keeping the protein intake elevated (along with plenty of water) is crucial.

  14. Great article. I’m a marathon runner. 175 lbs. Focusing more on muscle building this year, but I love the running community so I’ll keep running 3x week and balance it with my strength training.

    I understand the ‘when in doubt, eat’ , and I did that last year while putting on quality muscle. I’m doing the opposite now at least for 6 weeks to trim some fat. Couple inches off waist and/or taking 3-5% off body fat is a goal this year.

    Question: any other tips for endurance athletes taking a strong interest in building muscle? I’ve heard keeping the nutrition high is important. Training load is 9-10 hours a week (str + run)

  15. Good article. My question is, does getting stronger always mean building muscle mass? I don’t care how big my muscles are, just whether or not I can do muscle ups and handstand pushups (still working on those). I also do a lot of rock climbing, so I’m more interested in building a good ratio or strength to body weight than I am in building muscle mass.

    I’m not sure if there’s already an article on this or if it’s covered in other ones, but I’d love a comprehensive article for people who aren’t worried about appearance in any way and only care about getting stronger and more fit. Appearance is a consequence of fitness anyway, so that’s secondary to me.

  16. I started strength training 2 years ago – improved quick & started competing in powerlifting competitions & set some records – it was super awesome. I have an injury that is keeping me from lifting right now but I am continuing with body weight exercises & then added boxing as something new to learn. I ended up with about 10 extra lbs of fat & I’m not sure what I should be doing nutritionally – I kind of kept eating like when I was lifting trying to maintain muscle & now I’m not sure if I should base my calorie reduction on what I was eating or what iifym calculates & should I include the calories burned from boxing in my calculations.

  17. Hi Steve!

    I really liked the article – I’d really like to see something in the future about balancing weight training with running – this is where I’m getting stuck a lot in my training.

    Thanks!!

  18. Hi how many calories should I be eating I’ve been strength training for 2 years now and I’m 42 years old and all i seem to read is that once you hit 40 your metabolism slows down so you don’t burn so much fat so should I eat less?

  19. Fantastic intro to muscle building. Well done, Steve! I’d like to add one thing: For beginners it’s hard to believe that you don’t get fat by eating big while training only 3 times a week and not doing cardio. I hope enough people read this article so that they don’t fear calories anymore and embrace them for bulking!

  20. You can get stronger without getting much bigger. How much you eat will be a major factor.
    Additionally not all ‘mass’ is the same. A hypertrophy specific program will encourage different muscle fibres than a strength-endurance, climbing like program.

  21. Hey guys! I really loved your site and the infos are GREAT. Im logging on everyday to collect some more knowledge about the subject. I’ve been training over than a year now and your website helped me alot with things which basically revolutionized my way of think/eat/exercise. Im into IF, and alot of compound exercises. I also discovered ‘Calisthenics movements'(I would love to read some more info here :D) so in the past two months I’ve achieved pretty good muscle/resistance gains. Love the way you write your posts, thank you for sharing your experience and congratz for the best website about this subject i’ve ever seen 🙂

    Regards from Brazil.

  22. I would suggest focusing on doing a few compound lifts with heavy weights in 3 to 5 set 3-5 rep range. Then finish with some sprints. Non lifting days, just jogg as you normally would. I have managed to increase both my strength and endurance following a similar schedule.

  23. You are welcomed. If you use a gym that has rowing machines you might try using them for your sprints. I usually end my lifts with 10-15 cycles of 30 seconds rowing like a megalodon was chasing me then 30 seconds slow rowing. I used to wrestle and rowing is the closest exercise to pummeling drills I’ve found.

  24. This is a really great article! I just finished a 6 month bulk, and it was my very first. I have been doing a Lean Gains program since April last year and cut off all the fat to nearly single digit % levels. I am a former fatty so that was hard, I spent years doing things like P90X, which were good and taught me a lot about food, but nothing really compares (at least how my body reacts) to lifting. The reaction was fairly dramatic in terms of fat loss and strength gain.

    In August 2014 I bulked for the very first time. This was scary for a former fatty, I did not want to get fat again, I nearly didn’t do it. I was worried about some arbitrary number on a scale. But I am glad I did, I learnt a lot and my goals have totally changed. Now I want to be strong! Come February 2015 I finished my bulk and I decided to cut again, as I want to get leaner for summer. I gained 23lbs in 6 months, so I am pretty happy. It was hard work – turns out it is easy to get fat, hard to get big. I struggled with eating so much initially, but as Steve said, I think I towed the line pretty well where I didn’t gain a whole lot of fat. I am really hoping to have gained anywhere from 5lb-10lb of muscle, I see that as a nice return of investment for summer! More muscle = stronger = higher metabolism = win win. Now I figure if I drop of 10-12lb of fat I should be pretty set for summer….then the next clean bulk as I want to be strong!

    Excellent article!

  25. Google maps also has a ruler which is an easy way to track how far you have walked/runned.

  26. The main contractor behind designing and operating Maryland’s online health insurance marketplace, Noridian Healthcare Solutions, LLC, has recently been fired. The $193 million dollar contract was terminated late on Sunday, February 23rd, by the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange, whom oversaw the state’s exchanges. Audit and accounting

  27. The one concern I have is that I want to get into weight lifting but that leads to muscle soreness while my muscles are repairing themselves. This wouldn’t be a big problem but I work 6 days a week and anywhere from 10-15 hours a day in a job that includes heavy lifting. Being incredibly sore on these days would make work unbearable.

    Is there any way to manage this or time it so that it won’t have as much of a effect during my work hours? It’s pretty much the only thing putting me off.

  28. A ruler??? I don’t get how that works. You can’t measure as you walk. How is that different from a pedometer?

  29. For developing your new found love of cooking replete with dinner party suggestions (and an insane wealth of other unrelated info) I recommend 4 hour chef by Tim Ferris. I’m sure you know Ferris was the inspiration for NF.

  30. Did not know any of that. I’ll check it out. I want to feed my friends and a returning boyfriend too!

  31. Can you expand on this below? Particularly I tend to do some cardio in the am for a half hour or so. Nothing rough, walking on an incline or easy elliptical work, HR generally in low/moderate range (around 120 bpm). What impact will that have on putting on muscle? I’m just aiming to stay lean.
    Your results will vary if you are trying to build muscle while also:
    Running regularly
    Doing martial arts
    Participating in sports that require endurance

  32. Hi. What has been working for me due to my schedule is 3 full body strength workouts/week with rest days in between and a little hiit where I can squeeze it in. That’s a perfect week. My schedule is wonky and some weeks I can only manage 2 lifting workouts. I could do a third but I wouldn’t have a rest day. I usually chose to do some cardio on these days. But in the end I’ve only lifted twice that week. Is this a productive week? Am I benefitting can you see where I can tweak things? Thanks. Great post:)

  33. Great Article Steve. I have noticed that you have mentioned a lot about Squats and Deadlifts, which are must for anyone who wants to grow big. But It would be great if you can explain how someone with a severe lower back pain can build muscles and lose weight. I had been into bodybuilding but suffered a severe back injury which refrains me from doing squats and deadlifts. Can you advice how can I lose excess weight and put on muscles? Thanks a lot.

  34. There is a regular conversation that takes place between trainers and brand new clients every day in gyms everywhere. It starts with a picture, a request that sounds like a visit to the hair salon, and ends with the trainer explaining the bodies are not like haircuts. In truth, haircuts aren’t easily ordered up either, but this blow always comes hard to the newly motivated client. The upshot, once we get past the reality of things, is our bodies are kind of limitless, in so much that we don’t know where the finish line is. There is a digestible adventure for most in that reality.

  35. Here’s (what I assume is) a very, very dumb question: I’m a skinny guy, I do bodyweight workouts 3 days a week, and I want to put on weight and gain muscle. I’ve heard Steve say that he eats tons of white rice and sometimes olive oil to up his daily calorie intake. Why do this with (sort of gross sounding) foods? There’s an article in the NYT today saying that most burritos at Chipotle are over 1,000 calories. What’s the downside to just eating Chipotle for lunch and cooking regular, healthy meals for the rest of the day? Will that actually help me bulk up (in combination with exercise)?

  36. Hey Steve and all youall rebels
    My son is 18 and one of the fastest high school runners in the country. He came to me with a problem: he wants to put on 10 pounds of muscle in the next few months because he has to be a bit stronger to run faster times. Trouble is, he runs 75-85 miles a week, and no amount of weight training and eating has helped. We’ve obviously not found the right balance – any ideas?

  37. more calories 🙂

    Michael Phelps ate 8000+ calories a day due to his training. A growing high schooler who loves to run and runs a LOT but also wants to put on 10 lbs of muscle might be a tremendous challenge…long endurance cardio and trying to build 10 lbs of muscle simultaneously is like playing a video game on the highest level of difficulty, blindfolded.

    He could look into a strength training routine every other day, and instead of long distance running, try interval training and sprints on the off days.

    All of this comes with a caveat, he should speak with his running coach and work with him to put a plan in place. But some strength training (squats, deadlifts), lots of eating, and sprint training could help him pack on size!

    -Steve

  38. hey Mike

    I do all of that, in addition to eating at Chipotle daily 🙂 It’s expensive though, so for some people eating lots of white rice in addition to chicken, etc is a cheaper way to get enough calories.

    I eat about 4,000 calories per day, heavy strength train 4x a week, and have packed on 18 lbs since September ( http://www.nerdfitness.com/blog/2015/01/26/why-you-need-to-be-selfish-and-put-fitness-first/ )

    If you are eating chipotle post workout and then eating for dinner and not getting bigger, you need more calories and maybe more sleep. That’s where whole milk, olive oil, almond butter, rice, oats, etc. can help bridge the gap.

    -Steve

  39. hey Ronan!

    Was your lower back injury weight training induced? did you see a doctor who specifically mentioned not squatting or deadlifting? I have an issue with my spine: (http://www.nerdfitness.com/blog/2012/12/08/iron-man/) and thought I’d never squat/deadlift again – and now i’m squatting 200lbs and deadlifting 350lbs. I just had to slowly crawl back, build core, start with NO weight and build back up over the past 2 years.

    If you have spoken with a doctor and worked through that you cannot squat or deadlift (even light weights), then I would look into working with them on a program that includes machine movements for lower body (leg press, leg extension/curls, etc.) understanding that nothing quite replaces a squat or deadlift 🙂

    So, talk to a doctor/physical therapist and see what they say. cheers!

    -steve

  40. sounds like it’s pretty low key/low impact cardio. You’re just burning extra calories that might go towards building muscle, but if you enjoy the 30 minutes of cardio and it gets your day started, stick with it. If you’re not getting bigger, eat more! I can’t be more specific as everybody handles this stuff differently.

    I don’t do any cardio at all as i’m solely focused on getting bigger. I might go for walks or hikes but that’s it. The rest of my health comes from lifting weights quickly 🙂

  41. lifting heavy throughout the day sounds like a workout right there. have you tried upping your caloric intake and seeing if you are building muscle just by the nature of your job?

    You don’t need to be INCREDIBLY muscle sore from strength training – the goal is to stimulate, not annihilate your muscles – and then eat enough to promote muscle growth. So try doing a less intensive strength training routine and not going to failure. Diet is 90% of it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *