Adding Muscle Mass in 16 Weeks

I’m often asked by people of all ages, what is the quickest way to put on muscle mass in just a matter of weeks? Some people ask me if they can bulk up in as little as 2 weeks… my answer to that is: no way! 2 months could make some difference, but as a general rule of thumb, I wouldn’t expect to create any noticeable difference for at least 16 weeks.

And that’s what this article is about: what I believe is the best way for you to bulk up within 16 weeks.

Rather than be an exhaustive article – there have been entire e-books written on the subject – it’s going to be more of a bullet-pointed tip sheet. Without further ado, let’s see what we’ve got:

Lift 3 times a week, for an hour at a time: The key to putting great amounts of muscle mass on is intensity. That means a concentrated effort in a short period of time. Workouts should always be shorter than an hour, with few exceptions. And adequate rest time is needed between workouts, so I recommend working out 3 days a week with rest days in between.

Compound movements only: In the beginning, there really is very little need to do any other kinds of lifts other than compound movements. They are the real mass builders. Compound movements are so-called because they involve more than one muscle group at a time, which allows the body to work as it was designed to do, creating greater electrical stimuli throughout the body, which equals greater muscle mass. Compound movements will include squats, dead lifts, bench presses, bent over rows, upright rows and military press.

Eat more: In order to grow muscle, you need to eat more than your body needs. A surplus of calories. Many people choose not to count calories and instead count portions, and keep adding portions until they begin growing. However you do it, find out how many/how big the ‘portions’ of food, or number of calories are you need to grow, and consume them daily.

Don’t eat too much: Yes, you need to overeat to grow – slightly. But, don’t overdo it. Your progress in muscle growth will be slow… so if the scales start showing you’ve put on 2-3lb in the first week – particularly after the first few weeks – chances are you are overeating and setting yourself up for becoming fat. Slow and steady.

Eat little, but often: It’s better to split your meals up into smaller portions and eat them regularly (every 3 hours, say) than to eat them all at once. Your body needs a steady supply of nutrients to continue growth and repair, so give it what it needs.

All macronutrients are important, but protein is even more so: Try to stick to the traditional time-tested way of keeping your nitrogen balance positive by consuming protein every 3 hours, and also getting between 1 and 2 grams of protein per lb of bodyweight per day.

On your days off, rest: Rest is crucial. Not only for conserving calories you need for growth, but also to stop your body from breaking down the already damaged muscles even more. Without rest, you won’t make much progress. My advice is to lay off sports and other physical activities during your 16 weeks.

Don’t get disillusioned: We’ve all seen the incredible, miraculous transformations of some – particularly on the internet – and our hopes, dreams, and expectations for ourselves can often be very much influenced by those. It’s too easy to get disillusioned with your progress when you’ve seen these guys transform their physiques and lives in just weeks. But, like Public Enemy once said: Don’t Believe the Hype.

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