Total Shape is a reader-supported site. Purchases made through links may earn a commission. Learn more.

How to Bulk Up Fast
Our Top Workout & Diet Hacks

BULK UP FAST Featured Image
Isaac Robertson
Written by Isaac Robertson
Last Updated on

Bulking up can seem like a long, difficult process. But it doesn’t have to be this way! There are certain steps you can take to start building muscle up today.

In fact, you could bulk up rather quickly with our helpful guide.​​ So, stop dreaming about how to bulk up fast and finally start building muscle with quick results with our help!

5 ​Workout Tips To Bulk Up Fast

When trying to gain muscle, the 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.

man who wants to bulk up fast

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

1. Get Strong on Your Compound Lifts

Person Carrying Black Barbell

Compound lifts are exercises that work multiple muscle groups at the same time.

Doing more compound lifts means working more muscles with less work, instead of slowly targeting one muscle group at a time.

Working more muscles means strengthening more muscles and, in return, that means more muscle growth and the potential to get big fast. 

This is the best way 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. (1)

2. Work on Each Muscle Group 2x Per Week

Choosing the proper workout routine is an important step in bulking up. Some people prefer full body workouts while others choose to work different parts of the body on different days.

What works best for one person may not work great for you, so it is important to understand your own needs and preferences if you want to understand how to bulk up.

What is important to keep in mind when figuring out your workout routine is that you should be working each muscle groups at least two times a week. 

Since your muscles only grow when you work them, working any muscle group less than two times a week could result in sacrificing your growth and will not allow you to bulk up fast.

3. Minimal Cardio

Eating enough calories is key to bulking up.

So, if you’re doing tons of cardio in your workouts and burning off those calories, muscle growth is going to be a slow process. You won’t be able to get big fast.

Too much cardio could even result in muscle loss.

Most people do cardio 2-3 times a week, but for building muscle fast, it is recommended that you only do cardio once a week.

Woman Lacing Up Her Gray and Pink Nike Low-top Athletic Shoe

Cardio is still an important aspect of working out, especially for your heart health, but can work against your muscle gaining goals. 

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

man flexing

Varying rep ranges is important when you are trying to go big fast, but not for muscle confusion.

Muscle confusion isn’t even real. What is real is breaking through plateaus when you reach them and increasing muscle growth.

By switching up your rep ranges, you force your body to utilize different muscle fibers and energy pathways and, in turn, work more of your muscles.

Try doing 5 sets of 5 of an exercise and 3 sets of 10 of the same exercises on alternating days to bulk up fast.

5. Use Slow Negatives

Have you ever heard the saying, “slow and steady wins the race”?

The same principle can be applied here.

When you are lifting weights to get big fast, it’s not a race to go as fast as you can.

You want to go slow and steady.

man bulking up in gym

Not only is this safer than going as fast as you can, but it helps make to sure your form is perfect and also works your muscles harder, increasing growth.

Make sure to focus on slowly lowering the weights (this is the negative part of your rep) and hold the weight for a second or two before continuing into the next rep.

5 ​Meal Plan TIps To Gain Muscles

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 as nearly as fast as with the proper diet and nutrition. (2)

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

1. Increase Your Calories

When looking to get big fast, you need to keep eating. This means no skipping meals or snacks.

And shoot for eating 3 big meals a day, with snacks in between, instead of one big meal and two smaller ones. The more you eat, the better your gains will be.

To increase the amount of calories you eat, start by tracking the foods you eat normally for a week or two.

calorie counting app

 Once you have this number, or the number of your maintenance calories, start by adding 200 - 300 calories a day.

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

Person Slicing Raw 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 make sure your body has enough for your growing muscles.

Good sources of protein include meat, eggs, and protein powder. 

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

As you eat more protein and calories, the rest of your macros will come naturally, so don’t worry about counting them all out.

You don’t want to only eat protein when bulking up—fat and carbs are also important here. But as long as you increase the amount of food you are eating and focusing on making sure there’s a good source of protein with every meal that’s included in your bulking meal plan, then fat and carbs will fall into place.

>> The Best Whey Protein Supplements <<

3. Take Creatine

Many people see protein powder as a solution for bulking up fast, but don’t forget about creatine!

Several studies have shown that creatine can greatly increase strength and muscle growth when taken as a supplement and combined with plenty of strength training. (3)

Instead of gaining weight overnight like with steroids, you will start to see progress in your gains within a few days when you take creatine. 

man holding gym equipment

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. See this page of our recommended creatine supplements.

>>> The Best Creatine Supplements <<<

4. Carb Up

While protein is the most important macros you need to consume when building muscle, carbs may be the second most important. Carbs increase the amount of glycogen in your body which means you’ll have more energy in the gym and feel like lifting more and doing more reps.

When getting strong is the most important factor in building muscle, this can be a big plus.

Add more carbs to your meals by adding a large amount of rice, potatoes, oats, bread, or pasta to every meal.

​5. Take Mass Gainer Shakes

Mass Gainer Shake to bulk up fast

If you’re busy and find that you are having trouble sitting down to eat 3 big meals a day or keeping up with your calories and macros, you may want to try taking mass gainer shakes.

Mass gainer shakes are shakes that contain all of the essential macros you need to build muscle.

You can buy premade gainer shakes if you are pinched for time. Or, you can make them at home. A good gainer shake includes plenty of carbs and proteins, as well as any supplements you wish. Ingredients like milk, oats, peanut butter, protein powder, and creatine are perfect for your at-home gainer shakes.

>>> The Best Mass Gainers <<<

Additional Tips In Bulking Up

1. Make Eating Your Job

If you’re serious about learning how to bulk up fast, you need to be serious about eating.

This means no skipping meals or snacks, not even if you are too busy or forget.  You need to make the time to eat, just like it is your job.

If you need to, take the time out to plan out your day 

woman at restaurant

every day so you know you have the time to sit down and eat 3 big meals a day. 

Even if you are busy, there’s no excuse for not eating. Especially if you take advantage of the gainer shakes listed above.

If you are dedicated to building muscle, you will be dedicated to eating a lot.

2. Track Your Calories and Lifts

You may find it beneficial to track your calories and lifts, especially if you see little to no progress after working hard. 

Tracking your calories will help you know exactly how much you are eating a day instead of guessing.

You can track everything you eat with helpful apps like MyFitnessPal.

Some of these apps even have calculators that tell you a roundabout number of how much you need to eat in a day to gain weight.

And you don’t have to count your calories forever—just long enough to know what you’re doing right or wrong. 

Photo of Man Lifting Dumbbell

Sometimes, you can pinpoint mistakes in only a few weeks. Other times, it may take a few months of tracking.

3. Switch Between the Same Meals

The easiest way to know that the meals you are eating have the right about of calories, protein, and carbs is switching between the same ones. Once you find a recipe that you love with everything you need, keep making it!

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

4. Sleep

Sleep is essential for your body to perform at its best.

If you are not getting enough sleep, your body may be underperforming and all of the hard work you are putting into building muscle may not stick.

Sleep is also the time when your muscles are recovering, another important step in the muscle building process. (4)

Woman Sleeping

If you are not getting enough sleep, your muscles aren’t repairing properly. 

Make sure to get 7-8 hours of sleep a night for the best muscle growth results.

​How To Bulk Up Fast: The Bottom Line

Bulking up fast is completely possible, as long as you are dedicated, eat plenty of food, and work hard in the gym. With a little hard work and focus, you will see huge gains before you know it.

Why wait? Start doing your part to bulk up today for even faster results!


​References

1. Chris Beardsley, Explaining how hypertrophy works using only basic principles of muscle physiology, retrieved from https://medium.com/@SandCResearch/explaining-how-hypertrophy-works-using-only-basic-principles-of-muscle-physiology-48beda5fbf1b

2. Emily DiNuzzo, Kelsey Abkin, This is how you should eat if you want to build lean muscle, retrieved from https://www.thisisinsider.com/how-to-eat-for-muscle-growth-2017-11

3. Rudy Mawer, MSc, CISSN, How Creatine Helps You Gain Muscle and Strength, retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/creatine-for-muscle-and-strength

4. Research Gate, Sleep and muscle recovery: Endocrinological and molecular basis for a new and promising hypothesis, retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/51106123_Sleep_and_muscle_recovery_Endocrinological_and_molecular_basis_for_a_new_and_promising_hypothesis

About the author

Isaac Robertson

Isaac Robertson

I’m a personal fitness trainer and nutritionist living in sunny Indianapolis, IN. I’ve spent the last 8 years staying at the forefront of the health and fitness industry. In that time, I’ve helped hundreds of people shed the excess weight and get into shape, maintaining their healthy new lifestyle through proper training and eating habits. You can read more about me here​.

>