Speed Up Muscle Gains


I am a 180cm (5'11") 79kg (173.8 lbs) man and I don't know my body fat percentage.

I have been strength training regularly (3/4) times weekly for around 3 years and despite following countless programs and dietary advice, I am still unable to increase my muscle mass significantly.

I have a slow resting heart rate of about 50-55bpm. If I stop training and maintain my calorie intake I lose weight. I have read that some people are 'slow responders' to muscle increase due to their metabolism.

I think this may be the case. Do you have any advice on how I can overcome this and speed up my muscle gains?

Answered By:

Mike Behnken, MS, CSCS ANswers the Fitness Question

Olympic Gold Medalist Swimmer Michael Phelps


The picture on the right is non other than Michael Phelps who has won a record 8 gold medals in swimming during the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

By looking at his picture it would be hard to tell that Phelps eats upwards of 12,000 calories per day which includes a pound of pasta and a large pizza for dinner while training.

It is highly unlikely that your level of training and / or metabolism are on the same kind of freakish levels of an elite Olympic athlete but it shows you that in order to gain muscle, you may have to consume large amounts of calories.

This being said, if you have been weight training and not been able to gain mass you have either not been training properly or not been taking in enough calories.


Your training needs to vary greatly. If you want to speed up muscle gains you should perform a mix of different styles of workouts.

Do not stick to a set routine. Perform heavy short duration workouts, as well as light, long duration workouts.

Work in explosive, strength and high repetition training. Make sure you perform exercises which work your very large muscle groups as they will help you increase your testosterone.

Dead lifts, squats, bench presses, clean & press, pull-ups are some of the exercises you should always include. You do not have to spend hours in the gym. Recovery and diet is most important.


Irregular sleeping patterns and not getting enough sleep is very bad for gaining mass. When you do not get enough sleep or stay up late at night your body releases the stress hormone cortisol.

Cortisol is not completely understood but when your body releases it, during periods of high stress, the rate of muscle breakdown and fat gain is accelerated. This being said, make an effort to get regular sleeping patterns and you will benefit.


You mentioned you don't know your body fat percentage and you don't know whether you're getting enough carbs and protein during the day.body fat measurement accumeasure BUY NOW from amazon

Wouldn't it be a good idea to find out?  It is too easy to find out, and too important for the success of your training program to neglect.

Determining your body composition can be very easy and quick with a skinfold tester. Even if your body composition is not important to you now, when you start gaining mass it will be important to know whether you are gaining muscle or fat.

Finding out how many calories you need is a matter of finding a calculator which does mathematical equations to estimate your caloric needs.

Don't just concentrate on protein and carbs. Fat has important hormonal functions as well as provides 9 calories per gram. Make sure you spread out your meals evenly throughout the day. Cottage cheese is great before bed but don't forget your essential fats such as salmon.

If you aren't taking a multivitamin, definitely get a multiple vitamin which is dosed in multiple pills every day. Drink plenty of water except directly after high protein meals.

If your diet and training are spot on and you still are not getting the results you want check out the two ideas below.

Extra Carbohydrates from Maltodextrinmaltodextrin

Maltodextrin is a tasteless complex carbohydrate which is used in many meal replacements and other products as a filler carbohydrate. It is high energy and made immediately for your body to use rapidly. It is available in powders in stores for cheap as well as online.

You can add maltodextrin to your post-workout recovery (extremely important for gaining mass) or drinking water to increase your caloric intake as well as frequency of fueling your muscles with energy.

Maltodextrin is added to Iditarod sled dogs water to give them enough fuel to mush across the snowy tundra and it will help athletes keep their energy levels up as well as maintain a caloric surplus for people who want to gain muscle mass. Maltodextrin has been used extensively in bodybuilding to speed up muscle gains along with diet.

Increase your Dietary Fat Intakemuscle milk gain mass

Fat is more calorically dense than protein and carbohydrates and has twice the calories. You can maintain the caloric surplus needed to gain mass easier if your diet has about 30% of its calories as fat.

Remember all fats are not created equal. You should avoid high amounts of saturated animal fats. Stick to primarily unsaturated fats. If you want to speed up muscle gains don't be afraid to have up to 30% of your daily caloric intake as fat.

Muscle Milk is a great supplement for people of low body fat percentages who want to gain mass. Muscle milk contains healthy fats and Medium Chained Triglycerides (MCTs) which are most likely burned as energy rather than stored as body fat.

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