How to Bulk up Fast (& the Proper Way): 14 Ninja Hacks

James Cunningham, BSc, CPT
Published by James Cunningham, BSc, CPT | Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Last updated: December 28, 2023
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Bulking up can be simpler than often thought, involving straightforward steps for quick physical transformation. A balanced diet is crucial, as our bodies require nutrients for muscle growth along with consistent workouts.

As a fitness instructor, I've witnessed clients gain muscle, notably within two months.

I'll share effective hacks that have personally helped me and others transform.

Yet remember, results may vary, so patience is essential as progress rates differ.

Quick Summary

  • To bulk up fast and effectively, focus on a balanced diet and consistent muscle-targeted workouts.
  • Incorporating compound lifts and working each muscle group twice a week are key strategies for muscle growth, further enhanced by using one of the 10 most effective protein powders for men to optimize recovery and muscle building.
  • A study in the Journal of Human Kinetics found that athletes consuming up to 2000 extra calories above their daily maintenance levels for 8 weeks experienced notable muscle growth, underscoring the importance of a high-calorie diet for fast bulking.
  • From my personal experience as a fitness instructor, patience and dedication to both diet and exercise routines are essential for successful bulking.

5 Workout Tips To Bulk Up Fast

Man picking up dumbbells in the gym

When trying to gain musclethe most important thing to do is, you guessed it, work your muscles!

This means spending plenty of time in the gym is the best way to build muscle. There is simply no other way to gain muscle.

And if you want to bulk up fast, that means doing even more exercise with your gym time.

To make the most of your time at the gym, follow these bulk-up workouts:

1. Get Strong On Your Compound Lifts

A man in the gym lifting a barbell

These exercises work several muscle groups simultaneously.

It's one of the best ways to bulk up.

One study that followed the progress of muscle strength and growth found that:


Hypertrophy took part in the further increase in strength, with hypertrophy becoming the dominant factor.

- Moritani T, US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health

Hypertrophy, meaning muscle growth, was directly linked to an increase in strength and compound lifts help you achieve that.

2. Work on Each Muscle Group 2x Per Week

From my professional and personal journey in fitness, I've learned that selecting the proper workout routine is crucial. I've experimented with both full-body workouts and split routines, and each has its merits depending on your goals.

Either way, your workout routine should target every muscle group at least twice a week.

Remember, muscles grow only when worked, so fewer frequent workouts could hinder your bulking progress.

3. Minimal Cardio

A woman lacing up her shoes

Drawing from my background in performance psychology, I advocate for minimal cardio when bulking up.

In my own training, I limit cardio to low-intensity activities like biking or running once a week, ensuring it supports rather than hinders muscle growth.

As far as the type of cardio to do when you are trying to get big fast, it is recommended to choose a low intensity cardio like biking or running, or even participating in sport activities.

4. Vary Rep Ranges

A strong man flexing his muscles

Forget muscle confusion; it's about overcoming plateaus and stimulating growth.

Alternate your rep ranges: try 5 sets of 5 reps and 3 sets of 10 reps on different days to engage various muscle fibers and energy systems.

5. Use Slow Negatives

A man bulking up in the gym

"Slow and steady wins the race" applies to lifting too.

Take it slow, especially when lowering weights. This not only ensures safety and perfect form but also intensifies muscle work for better growth.

A study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health also suggests incorporating supersets and pre-exhausting techniques for effective bulking [1].

5 Meal Plan Tips To Gain Muscles

A closeup shot of a sandwich

Next to working your muscles, changing your diet is one of the best ways to gain weight. Without the proper diet, you can work out as much as you can, but you won’t see results nearly as fast as with the proper diet and nutrition.

Here’s the kind of bulk-up diet you need to gain and build muscle fast:

1. Increase Your Calories

A person using a calorie counting app

Consistent eating is key. Aim for three hearty meals plus snacks daily, gradually increasing your intake by 200–300 calories until hitting at least 3800 calories.

In a study published in the Journal of Human Kinetics, elite athletes on a resistance training program consumed either 500 or 2000 calories above their daily maintenance levels for eight weeks, with the latter group seeing larger increases in fat-free mass compared to the first group [2].

2. Pile on the Protein and Calories, and the Macros Will Follow

A person slicing raw chicken meat

Protein may just be the most important macro you eat when trying to bulk up fast.

Protein is the building block of muscles, so naturally, you’ll want to eat plenty of protein to ensure your body has enough for your growing muscles, as per a study published in the Nutrients journal [3].

Shoot for consuming 1–1.5 grams of protein a day.

Each meal should include a good protein source, like meat, eggs, or protein powder. As you eat more, balancing fats and carbs will naturally follow.

If you're into numbers, our free macro calculator can help track your progress.

Made By: TotalShape

>> The Best Whey Protein Supplements <<

3. Take Creatine

A man holding dumbbells

While protein powder is popular, creatine is a game-changer, significantly boosting strength and muscle growth with regular strength training, as noted by the Cleveland Clinic [4].

It's a supplement I regularly incorporate to enhance strength and muscle growth, complementing my strength training routine.

The best part is that creatine is pretty cheap and all you need to take is 5 grams a day to get the job done.

Make sure you take creatine the right way.

See this page for our recommended creatine supplements.

4. Carb Up

Carbs are your energy fuel, increasing glycogen for more gym stamina. Load up on rice, potatoes, oats, bread, or pasta. And don't forget the fats from avocados, nuts, and oils for hormone production.


5. Take Mass Gainer Shakes

Mass gainer shake and other ingredients

Struggling with meal prep?

Premade gainer shakes are a quick fix, packed with essential macros.

Homemade versions with milk, oats, peanut butter, protein powder, and creatine are great for on-the-go nutrition.

Before taking mass gainer shakes, take time to read this post on how to use mass gainers.

Additional Tips In Bulking Up

1. Make Eating Your Job

A woman eating at a restaurant

You must commit to regular, hearty meals.

If pressed for time, gainer shakes are a handy option.

Remember, building muscle means eating big.

2. Track Your Calories and Lifts

A man lifting a dumbbell

Not seeing gains?

Track your calorie intake and lifting progress using apps like Noom or MyFitnessPal.

These apps can guide your daily calorie needs for weight gain.

You don't have to count your calories forever, just until you understand your dietary patterns.

3. Switch Between the Same Meals

Rotate between a few reliable recipes that meet your calorie, protein, and carb needs.

Even if you’re in a pinch or running out of time, already knowing what to make can make building muscle that much easier.

Try to have 3-5 go-to meals that have all of your essential macros in them, so you always have a meal that fits your needs.

This makes it easier to maintain a consistent diet.

4. Sleep

a woman sleeping

Your body needs sleep to perform and build muscle, as highlighted in a Medical Hypotheses journal study [5].

From both a scientific and personal standpoint, I can't stress enough the importance of sleep for muscle growth.

Aim for 7-8 hours a night for optimal muscle growth.


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About The Author

James Cunningham, BSc, CPT
Staff Writer & Senior Coach
James Cunningham, BSc, CPT holds a BSc degree in Sport & Exercise Science from University of Hertfordshire. He's a Health & Performance Coach from London that brings a unique blend of academic knowledge of health supplements and practical exercise experience to the table for his readers.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC
Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC is an ex-National Soccer player turned MMA and Kickboxing champion, with ACE CPT and PN1-NC certifications. His advice is rooted in education and experience, ensuring that readers receive scientific and battle-tested insights. His mission is to empower his clients and readers to realize their potential and become the best versions of themselves.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Dr. Harshi Dhingra, MBBS, MD is a published peer-reviewed author and renowned physician from India with over a decade of experience. With her MBBS from Bharati Vidyapeeth and an MD from Rajiv Gandhi University, she actively ensures the accuracy of online dietary supplement and medical information by reviewing and fact-checking health publications.
Learn more about our editorial policy

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