Before we get started, I want you to know that this will not be some gimmicky article about how to grow 10 pounds of muscle in a week. It will be an honest and applicable look at how to grow muscle quickly AND make the most out of it.
Let’s get started!
The Primary Difference:
Your body can only grow so much muscle mass in a specific amount of time. However, there are specific things we can implement to help speed the process up a bit.
The primary factor will be how many calories we are consuming. The optimal caloric intake environment for muscle growth is a calorie surplus. The big difference is how big of a surplus.
A 200 calorie surplus will yield much slower muscle growth than a 500 calorie surplus will. However, going to a 700, 800, or 900 calorie surplus won’t make much of a difference beyond 500 for actual growth of muscle.
If you want to stay at a very similar leanness while still growing muscle, a lower-calorie surplus will make sense. This is because your body won’t have an abundance of extra calories, but it will still have enough to facilitate the muscle growth process. This also means there won’t be an abundance of calories left over to be stored as fat.
If you ate in a 500 calorie surplus, your body would have all the available energy it needs for muscle growth, and it would have enough energy to optimize many other aspects related to muscle growth such as plenty of carbs for performance in the gym and plenty of fats to help with hormones. This of course assuming macronutrients are at the appropriate levels for this.
With that being said, a larger calorie surplus will also leave more available energy to be stored as fat. So while you may grow muscle quicker, you will also be putting on an added amount of fat with that muscle.
You may be thinking protein needs to get jacked way up if we want to optimize muscle growth. The truth is, 1.2 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight is where the peak of benefits is. Anything beyond that and you’re just consuming excess protein.
Matter a fact, when you are in a calorie surplus, even as low as 0.8 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight would be enough and there really wouldn’t be much of a difference compared to the 1.2.
I personally like to eat a gram per pound or just over to have my bases covered. If you weight training frequently, and especially if you have other activities, eating on this higher side isn’t a bad idea.
But, many people will way over-consume what they need. Maybe to the point of 2 grams per pound. What they fail to realize is that protein has a couple of properties associated with it that would make excessive consumption relatively inefficient for muscle growth.
First, it has a high thermic effect of food. So your body will burn more calories to process it. This is relatively insignificant when in a decent surplus of calories, but still, something to note.
The bigger picture would be how satiating protein is. If you are taking in a ton of protein and it is filling you up to the point where you find it difficult to hit daily calorie goals, it becomes a problem.
It’s a problem because you are missing out on a very big component of muscle growth, the calorie surplus. Whether you’re not hitting the surplus you want or aren’t eating in a surplus at all. The worst part is this would be due to eating something in excess amounts without any additional benefit from it.
There isn’t much different you can do here. If you are lifting with adequate volume and are in line with other hypertrophy training principles, increasing the workload won’t be of much benefit.
If you increase it to the point where you can’t recover from the training, then it’s doing the same thing as above with protein. More “harm” than good.
Who Should Do What?
Of course, you need to consider what you want.
However, in general, when looking to grow muscle and maintain a relatively lean physique, the leaner you currently are, the greater the calorie surplus can be. The higher the body fat percentage you have, the less the calorie surplus you would want.
This will help make the muscle growth process as quick as possible while not sacrificing much when it comes to body composition.
Of course, make sure protein intake is in check and that you are eating enough carbs and fat for fuel and hormones. It is also important that you abide by fundamental hypertrophy training principles. I will link some articles of mine below for further knowledge regarding these points.
Those are my thoughts on putting on muscle quickly. Not the gimmicky 10 pounds of muscle in 2 weeks you were looking for? Too bad. That’s not how it works. Small potential adjustments will be your friend when doing this legally, lol.
Got questions or comments? Leave em… well what the heck, you know where to leave em!
Here are some other articles that may be beneficial for your knowledge!
Until Next Time,
Please refer to my liability disclaimer to ensure you know who is responsible for the use of this information after reading.