For some people, working out is its own reward. These lucky souls go to bed thinking about the session they’re planning for the next day, and can’t wait to get into the gym and start cranking those reps. For most of us though, hitting the gym is one big chore; more a means to an end than anything pleasurable. If you can’t wait to start seeing some results from all that hard work, here are some great tips for building muscle faster.
Keep Sessions to an Hour or Less
We’ll start off with some welcome news! Whatever program you’re following, you should aim to keep your sessions to an hour or less. Focus on the intensity of the workout, rather than how long you’re spending on it. There’s no research to show that long training sessions are better for developing muscle, but the intensity of your workout will certainly have a big impact on the results you see. Try to keep your rest periods to a minute or under, and limit chatting to other gym members.
Get into Good Eating Habits
We all know that what we eat will have an impact on our health and fitness goals, but a lot of people simply don’t pay enough attention to their diets. If you want to gain muscle mass, you need to start making your diet a habit, rather than an afterthought. Your body will work, to some degree, according to your genes. If you’ve always been pretty skinny, then you have a high metabolism, which means you process and burn calories faster than the average person. Make a point of eating 5 to 6 meals a day that are loaded with protein and calories, spaced 2 to 3 hours apart. This will ensure that your body is constantly being fed something to metabolise and build muscle with.
Make Sure You’re Progressing
As we covered earlier, your workout sessions should be an hour long, if that. However, a big principle you should bear in mind is that you should be making some measurable progress with your workout regimen. This is simple enough, yet a lot of people pile on more and more volume until their sessions last 2 hours or more. You’re much better off trying to increase the number of reps you do or the weight you lift, while sticking to shorter sessions. Take it gradually, and you’ll see better results in a shorter space of time.
Change your Rep Range
Unless you’re gaining muscle at a rate you’re more than satisfied with, it’s a good idea to change your rep range once every month or so. This will help you avoid plateaus. When you change your rep range often enough, you’ll throw your body out of its comfort zone, forcing it to adapt to a new form of stress, and prompting it to build muscle more efficiently. If you find you’re stuck in a plateau, even though you’ve been changing your reps often enough, talk to a trainer.