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‘Building muscle fast’: Is this an oxymoron?

“He that can have patience can have what he will”
-- Benjamin Franklin

Aspiring muscle builders type ‘building muscle fast’ in the Internet search engines. Accommodating marketers assure the investigative aspirers with promises that their bodybuilding products will make ‘building muscle fast’ practically a foregone conclusion.

But what is “building muscle fast”; ‘fast’ compared to what?

Does it mean ‘fast compared to the average Joe’ at the gym? Fast compared to what the aspirant has experienced in the past? Fast like a steroid user?

Building muscle fast
'Building muscle fast' is mostly a matter of making consistent muscle gains through optimized inter-workout recuperation.

If the eager searcher means “fast compared to the average Joe”, his/her request can be easily met with sound training and eating guidelines. I say “easily” because at least 95 percent of gym-goers aren’t making any progress due to ineffective training methods.

If it’s “fast compared to the past” that’s being sought, the current regimen needs improvement. This usually requires showing a trainee how to set a clear goal, implement a step-by-step strategy for reaching the goal, and utilizing mental training techniques for making it all easier and more effective.

Of course, the “fast compared to steroids” searcher is in for a long and inconclusive search. Those compounds are powerful drugs and no mix of nutrients or training protocols are going to match the increase in protein synthesis that steroids provide. That’s okay – the steroid user versus natural trainer begins resembling the ‘turtle and the hare’ story the farther you go out in time.

The phrase ‘building muscle fast’ is somewhat oxymoronic when one considers the two-step process involved in muscle building. To build muscle tissue, we need to first tear down that tissue with a weight training workout. The workout needs to be followed by days of waiting for the body to not only recuperate what was torn down – but to gain some compensatory tissue that will make the muscle just a bit stronger during the following workout. Naturally, the longest part of the process is the needed rest days between workouts. This requirement is what makes the ‘building muscle fast’ quest appear a bit ridiculous upon closer inspection.

It naturally stands to reason that ‘building muscle fast’, or at least ‘building it faster’, necessitates a speed-up in inter-workout recuperation so that rest days between workouts can be reduced in number. Whether this can really be sped up or merely optimized within the context of genetic parameters is open to debate as well as experimentation with better nutrition and more restful sleep.

But here’s my advice to all of the ‘how to build muscle fast’ seekers: Learn how to build muscle ‘consistently’ and you’ll be ahead of about 95 percent of the natural bodybuilders out there. Consistent and ongoing muscle gains will appear VERY FAST compared to what most gym-goers are engaging in.


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