The Ultimate Muscle Building Guide:
12 Steps to Build Muscle Fast

 Subscribe in a reader

Why did we create the Ultimate Muscle Building Guide? The answer is simple.

We were tired of surfing the internet and finding site after site with confusing and misleading information about muscle building routines.

The fact of the matter is that most people do not need these special techniques and new tips and tricks to build muscle. They simply need a straight forward, easy to understand 12-step muscle building guide that provides the foundation for building quality lean muscle mass.

We have spent much time on this site talking about 3 core principles to building muscle: lift heavy weights, eat right, and rest. In the Ultimate Muscle Building Guide, we break these three principles down into bite size, easy to digest chunks so that you can easily get on the path to building muscle.

In each section are links for those that would like more information, but this article itself should be enough to get you started in the right direction and building muscle. So, enough with the formalities, let's jump right into the Ultimate Muscle Building Guide!

Muscle Building Guide Section 1: Lift Heavy Weights

1. Pick Up Some Weights. Before we even get to the heavy part of lifting weights, you have to get started lifting weights. In order to get bigger, you must work, stimulate, and put stress upon the muscle. The most effective way to do this is through weight training. It is next to impossible to build muscle without lifting weights. So, should you use machines or free weights?

2. Use Free Weights When Possible. Free weights (barbells and dumbbells) cause you to balance and control the weight, which in turn stimulates more muscle fibers. This does not mean that you cannot incorporate machines into your weight training routines, but they should not be the focus of your workout. Caveat: If you do not have a spotter, or free weights are not available, then machines are your next best option. So what types of weight training exercises should you do?

3. Do Compound Movement Exercises. To build the most muscle in the shortest time, you should use movements that work more than one muscle group and use more than one joint to lift the weight. Compound movements are:

  • Efficient – They allow you to use more muscles, but also the biggest muscles in the body (chest, legs, back/lats, shoulders) which allows you to build muscle faster.
  • Effective – You can lift heavier weights with these types of exercises, meaning you recruit more muscle fibers to complete the lift, which leads to more muscle building.

    The most popular compound movement is the bench press. The primary muscle involved in the bench press is the chest; however, the movement uses the shoulders and triceps to a large extent as well. It also includes two joints, the shoulder and the elbow to lift the weight. There are many more compound movements that are efficient and effective for building muscle fast. Once you have a good command of the compound movements, you should…

    4. Lift Heavier Weights. As you start weight training and become comfortable with the compound movements, start to increase the weights. Increasing the weight puts more stress on the muscles, causing you to use more and more muscle fibers to move the weights. The more fibers we use, the more there are to repair and grow. So how heavy is heavy?

    5. Use Sets of 4 to 8 Reps. Ask the average person in the gym how many reps they do, and more often than not, you are going to hear them say somewhere between 10 and 15 repetitions. For building muscle, this would mean that the weight you are using is too light. You should use a weight where you can do at least 4 repetitions, but not more than 8 reps. Heavier weights at lower reps will stimulate more muscle fibers than lighter weights at higher repetitions, which results in building more muscle. Many of our free workout plans recommend 6 reps to build muscle.

    Now that you have lifted heavy weights in your weight training session, you are ready to go home, right? Well, maybe not…

    6. Do Not Overlook Your Legs. This is one of the most over looked aspects of beginners. In fact, if we had to guess, 75% of beginners fail to adequately train the lower 50% of their bodies, and this is a huge mistake. Granted, the legs are not as flashy as the chest and arms; however, what many do not realize is that if you want a bigger chest and popping biceps, you must train your legs. What?

    To build muscle, you need growth hormones like testosterone. Your body's response to lifting heavy weights is to produce testosterone to assist in the repair and growth of your muscles. To lift the heaviest weights, you have to use the biggest and strongest muscles. Where are those muscles, you ask? Why, in your legs (are rear) of course!

    If you only had time to do one exercise, we would recommend the squat, followed closely by the deadlift. Heavy squats and deadlifts will cause every muscle in your body to grow.

    Muscle Building Guide Section 2: Eat Right

    7. Eat Enough. There is an old saying that goes something like this: You have to eat big, to be big. There is a lot of truth to this statement. In order to build muscle, you simply must eat enough calories. By enough, you have to eat more calories than you burn throughout the day. Heavy weight training burns a substantial amount of calories. Additionally, as your body repairs and builds muscle after your weight training sessions, you body also needs those calories and macronutrients (proteins, carbohydrates, and fats).

    Most people who call themselves "hardgainers" are actually missing the boat in this area. You have to eat enough to keep up with your natural metabolism and your muscle building routines. Fail to eat enough and you will not build muscle. Therefore, it is important for you to know how many calories you need to build muscle. You should be getting roughly 19 times your lean bodyweight in calories to build muscle. For a person with 200 pounds of lean body mass, that is roughly 200 x 19 = 3,800 calories. So, does that mean you can eat anything and build muscle? Not exactly, you have to…

    8. Eat Healthy. You cannot just eat anything. You do not see bodybuilders rolling through the drive through ordering extra value meals. You should get about 50% of your calories from carbohydrates, 20% of you calories from good fats (essential fatty acids), and 30% from protein. Each gram of fat has 9 calories, while each gram of carbohydrates and protein contains 4 calories. Speaking of which, to build muscle, you absolutely must...

    9. Eat Enough Fat. Not just any fat, but good fats, or essential fatty acids (EFAs). Fat plays an extremely important role in hormone production, in particular testosterone. Testosterone is a key ingredient in repairing and building muscle.

    EFAs are unsaturated fats that are necessary to keep the body running properly. They not only promote production of muscle building testosterone, but they are also anti-catabolic (prevents muscle breakdown) and they promote and increase in your HDL, or good, cholesterol. Good sources of EFA's are salmon and tuna, both of which are on the high protein foods list. Eating foods from this list will help us…

    10. Eat Enough Protein. The fact about protein is that protein is made up of amino acids, which are the building blocks of muscle. To build muscle fast, you are going to need to get at least 1 gram of protein per pound of your bodyweight (some people go as high as 1.5 to 2 grams per pound). So, if you weigh 200 pounds, you should get at least about 200 grams of protein per day. Protein makes up 25% of your lean muscle tissue, so it is essential for muscle growth. The other 75% of your muscle is made up of water; therefore, to build muscle, you must…

    11. Drink Water. You absolutely cannot build muscle unless you drink plenty of water. Water is essential for many reasons. Dehydration can set in rather easily if you train sufficiently hard. If you fail to drink enough water, not only will you be weaker if you do not stay sufficiently hydrated (you will not be able to lift heavy weights), but your muscles will not be as large. Part of the reason that creatine has been successful as a muscle builder is because it causes the muscle cells to hold more water.

    Muscle Building Guide Section 3: Get Enough Rest

    12. Rest. Now Rest Some More. This is probably the most overlooked section in any muscle building guide. Many people believe that their muscles grow during an intense workout. This misconception actually comes from something called "the pump" when blood rushes to the muscle being worked. However, what really happens during an intense muscle building workout is that your muscles suffer micro tears and are broken down.

    The repair process actually begins once you leave the gym. As you rest your muscles, your body uses your nutrients from your muscle building diet to not only repair the muscle but to make them stronger by making them bigger. If you do not get enough rest, you will be over training, and not allowing your body sufficient time to repair and grow your muscles before hitting them again in the weight room. In fact, those people that work the same muscles every day often see a decrease in muscle size over time. Therefore, rest is absolutely necessary to build muscle fast.

    To build muscle, you need at least 48 hours of rest between training sessions for a given muscle group for beginners. Advance trainers may need up to 5 days recovery. You also need to get 7 to 9 hours of quality sleep per night.

    In the Ultimate Muscle Building Guide, we have laid out a general plan to get you gain weight and building muscle fast. To build a specific plan, the supplementary articles provide the details you need to calculate your nutrition needs, and create your weight training plans. However, at the end of the day, it is up to you to make the commitment to build muscle. This brings us to the final tip in the Ultimate Muscle Building Guide. We'll call it "One to Grow On…"

    Muscle Building Guide: One to Grow On

    Stay Focused and Be Consistent. In the Ultimate Muscle Building Guide, we have provided a rough outline for you to follow in order to build muscle. But a plan, by itself, is not enough. To build muscle, you must have a laser like focus and use SMART fitness goal setting.

    Your desire and persistence will have to drive you to stick to your workouts and dietary needs on days when you just do not feel like going to the gym and would much rather have a pizza than a chicken breast. You can have the best plan in the world to build muscle, but it is all for nothing unless you consistently and ruthlessly apply that plan.

    Get started building muscle today with the Ultimate Muscle Building Guide.

    Leave the Ultimate Muscle Building Guide and Return to How to Gain Weight and Build Muscle

    Leave the Ultimate Muscle Building Guide and Return Home

    Did You Enjoy the Ultimate Muscle Building Guide?

    Let us know what you think about the Ultimate Muscle Building Guide. Based on many of the emails we have received, many of you have strong opinions on the best ways to build muscle. Have we left something out?

    [ ? ]

    Upload 1-4 Pictures or Graphics (optional)[ ? ]


    Click here to upload more images (optional)

    Author Information (optional)

    To receive credit as the author, enter your information below.

    (first or full name)

    (e.g., City, State, Country)

    Submit Your Contribution

    •  submission guidelines.

    (You can preview and edit on the next page)

    What Other Middle Managers™ Have Said

    Click below to see the opinions and comments from other Middle Managers™ on the Ultimate Muscle Building Guide...

    LoveThisGuide Not rated yet
    I love this guide so much! It has helped me soooo much!! So happy i found this, and thank you to whoever made this guide!!!!

    Good reminder Not rated yet
    I have read this content before, but sometimes you forget. People that sound like they know what they are talking about, but then that person never seems …

    Mike's Feedback Not rated yet
    tip-top information in this guide; the information provided helped to understand somethings I wasn't sure on. Cheers :)

    Awesome Review Not rated yet
    I like this review because not only does it tell of how to build muscle,eating healthy, but explains the role of testosterone in the building process. …

    Great Guide Not rated yet
    Had everything, nice job!

    Great Plan Not rated yet
    this really works! thanks!

    Click here to write your own.

    Share this page:
    Enjoy this page? Share It! Here's how...

    Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?

    1. Click on the HTML link code below.
    2. Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.