Building mass: 8 basic rules for building your muscles

Are you just starting to build muscle, or maybe you have been trying to build mass for a while without success? Whether you’re just getting started, or have been training for your mass gain for a while, we’ve got all the information you need to know about building mass.

In our article you will find all the basic rules, tips and tricks about building mass. Furthermore, you will find training plans with which you can immediately start to build your muscles.

The most important things in a nutshell

  • Building mass, or more specifically, building muscle is a popular beauty ideal these days.
  • To build mass you have to roughly consider 3 areas. You have to eat right, train efficiently, but also pay attention to some supplements, so that the muscles can develop effectively.
  • Muscle building is not only good for aesthetics, but also has many other positive effects on our body.

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Definition: What is mass building??

Building up mass is about, as the name already says, building up muscle mass.

There is also often talk about a mass phase, especially in the bodybuilding scene it is a very common term.

Basically, it is about building muscle mass through an extra portion of calories. It is not about building fat, but only about gaining muscle.

In order to achieve this, there are some things to consider, because otherwise often some kilos of fat can sneak in addition.

You should definitely make sure you know your calorie needs so that you can consume the right amount.

But building mass effectively involves much more than meeting caloric needs.

Targeted diet, training or even supplementation are important components of the mass phase.

Most bodybuilders turn to protein powders in addition to help build muscle that way.

Backgrounds: What you should know about building mass

Building mass is not exactly easy for many people. This is mostly due to the fact that they do not deal with the subject enough.

So that you know what is important and what you need to pay attention to, we have answered all the essential questions for you in this article.

At the beginning we want to show you why you should build up mass at all, how you can do it best and at the end you will also find a training plan for the right start into your mass phase.

Why you should build mass?

On the contrary, there are those people, often women, who avoid strength training in order to avoid building muscle.

Basically, a slim and well-trained body is an ideal of beauty in our society nowadays, but that aesthetics is not the only advantage of muscles, few consider.

Because sufficient muscle mass can do much more than just look good. We have listed the most important reasons why you should build mass here:

  • Your muscles move you and your whole body
  • Strong muscles can strengthen your immune system
  • Muscles consume more calories even if you don’t exercise
  • Trained muscles can reduce the risk of various diseases
  • Healthy muscles can lead to an improvement in your brain function
  • Muscle can protect you from injury

To achieve these effects you don’t have to build muscles like a professional bodybuilder, it’s enough if you do strength training regularly to build healthy and strong muscles. How you manage this you will learn in the following.

How to build mass properly?

It always depends on its metabolic type and of course the starting point. So that you can better assess your type, we have briefly listed the different types for you.

3 metabolism types

Roughly, you can distinguish between three different metabolic types:

  • Endomorph (Softgainer)
  • Mesomorph (normal gainer)
  • Ectomorph (Hardgainer)

Depending on the type, the requirements to build mass are different.

For example, a softgainer should also do cardio in addition to strength training, because they can build muscle more easily, but these are not visible due to the equally easily formed fat.

In contrast to this are the hardgainers, who have a hard time building up mass.

Therefore, they should avoid cardio for the most part. But more about hardgainer you will find further down in this article.

How to build mass and reduce body fat?

Basically, you should not build mass and reduce body fat at the same time.

It is simply almost impossible to do both at the same time, because you would have to count calories meticulously and follow a plan exactly.

It is not possible because of the different processes, as fat loss is a catabolic process and muscle building is an anabolic process.

This means that when building mass, our body needs extra energy to build the muscles. In contrast, during fat loss, the body only accesses the existing fat depots when there is not enough energy available.

Therefore, our recommendation is to start with the mass phase and then move on to the definition phase.

This is how you build muscle first, by eating enough calories and thus often putting on fat as well. If you have enough muscle mass, you can focus on fat loss.

This is the way most body builders go, as they use the winter to build mass and before the summer they transition into the definition phase.

But of course you can also start the other way around and reduce your fat first, so that you can see the muscles that you build up afterwards faster.

How to build mass without putting on too much fat?

As you have probably already noticed, it is not easy to keep the right balance between muscle mass and fat.

Therefore, it is only possible to build mass without getting fat through targeted training and targeted nutrition.

This means that fat-free mass building only works if you are extremely strict and watch your calorie intake very carefully.

Also the nutrient distribution plays an important role. Therefore, as mentioned above, it is probably better to focus on one thing at a time to avoid disappointment.

Here is a video that briefly explains how to build mass without getting fat.

How long does it take to build mass?

It is also not so easy to predict, because each person has a different starting point.

How much mass you can build?

However, to give you an overview, we have included Lyle McDonald’s model in the next table.

It approximates the amount of muscle you can build per year.

Year Possible muscle gain in one year
1 up to 11 kg
2 up to 5,5 kg
3 up to 2,7 kg
4+ max. 1-2 kg

As you can see, it can go very fast in the beginning with enough discipline. In the first year you can expect to gain about one kilogram per month, but of course only if you consistently follow an effective training and nutrition plan.

In addition, you should be aware, as already mentioned, that it may look different depending on your starting point.

How to build mass quickly?

You will have already noticed that building mass fast is not that easy.

As seen in the model of Lyle McDonalds, a fairly fast muscle gain is possible but only if you are really strict and follow all the important factors for success.

So that you know exactly how you can reach your goal, you will find our 8 basic rules further down in this article. Tips. If you follow these, nothing will stand in the way of a fast mass build-up.

Which foods are good for building mass?

The most important building materials include, for example, proteins, good fats and the right carbohydrates.

In the following we have listed some foods that are very good for mass building for all important nutrients.


Carbohydrates not only provide energy, but also promote muscle building. They are found in many foods, either as short-chain or long-chain carbohydrates.

In the following table you will find some carbohydrate-rich foods that are good for your mass build-up.

Food Carbohydrates / 100 g
Oatmeal 59 g
Basmati rice 27 g
Quinoa 19 g
Lentils 17 g
Blueberries 8 g
Sunflower seeds 35 g

Especially the more complex carbohydrates are perfect for muscle building without additional fat gain.

Because they are absorbed slowly into the blood and thus let the blood sugar rise slowly, which prevents a build-up of fat deposits.

These are the foods you should include, especially before training, in order to have enough energy. After that they can also often lead to the buildup of fat.

Why you need carbohydrates during the mass construction, is explained to you here in this video once again briefly.


Our body needs about 1 gram of fat per kilogram of body weight per day to meet its needs. You can divide fat into saturated and unsaturated fatty acids.

Saturated fatty acids are mainly energy sources, which are very important in addition to the other nutrients in certain amounts.

Therefore, here are some foods that are rich in saturated fats.

Food Saturated fatty acids / 100 g
Coconut fat 85 g
Cocoa butter 59 g
Butter 50 g
Pumpkin seed oil 20 g

Besides the saturated fatty acids, you should also make sure to consume a certain amount of unsaturated fatty acids.

Together they play a very important role in your metabolism. For an overview you will find in the next table some foods rich in monounsaturated fatty acids.

Food Monounsaturated fatty acids / 100 g
Olive oil 71 g
Macadamia nut 57 g
Almond 34 g
Avocado 8 g

Roughly 5 – 10 g of unsaturated fatty acids should be on our plate every day. This way our metabolism is stimulated and we can dedicate ourselves to building mass.

Proteins (proteins)

As you probably know, adequate protein intake during training is essential.

Therefore, you should definitely include some of the following foods in your diet to achieve an effective mass buildup.

Food Protein / 100 g
Chicken/turkey meat 23 g
Beef 22 g
Deer meat 22 g
Trout 22 g
Zander 20 g
Eggs 13 g
Cottage cheese 12 g
Tempeh 17 g
Chia Seeds 17 g
Tofu 13 g

Proteins are the basic building blocks for human cells and have countless tasks in the body, such as the transport of oxygen or metabolic products.

Proteins ensure that your muscles are supplied with proteins and that your training is rewarded with success.

In addition to protein rich foods, we also recommend you to protein powder. Den this provides enough protein to guarantee optimal mass building.

What to do to build mass: 8 basic rules for building muscle

You have now already read the basics about building mass. So here are our 8 basic rules and tips for building your mass. With these tricks you will get closer to your goal step by step.

It would be best if you follow most or all of the rules and combine them. Because this way you can achieve the best possible result.

Tip 1: Consume enough calories

Before you start your mass phase, you should be aware of how many calories you need to build mass.

This varies according to gender, weight, physical activity, or the percentage of muscle mass. Because more muscular bodies burn more calories than untrained ones.

When building mass, you should always be in caloric surplus so you have enough energy to build muscle. You numerous calorie calculator on the Internet, so that you can calculate your personal calorie need.

Tip 2: Eat enough protein

As you learned above, proteins are essential for mass building. Therefore, you should pay close attention to the fact that you eat enough protein.

The DGE (German Nutrition Society) recommends 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. This is the guideline for non-athletes.

If you train regularly and want to build mass, you should set the value significantly higher.

If you do not manage for some reason to take the protein through your diet, for example as a vegan, then you can also reach for protein powder. Many manufacturers also offer a vegan protein powder variant.

For muscle building we recommend you to about 1.3 to 1.5 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight daily. If you reach for more protein-rich foods this should not be a problem.

Tip 3: Make sure you take the right supplements

To get the best possible results from your mass phase, you can help give your body the right nutrients with supplements.

Supplements provide your body with the perfect building blocks to build muscle, increase your performance or more.

Basically, we recommend the following supplements for your mass building:

  • Creatine
  • Glutamine
  • Maltodextrin
  • Instand oats
  • BCAA (Branch-Chain Amino Acid)

Tip 4: Get enough sleep

Getting enough sleep is just as essential as eating right and training to build mass. Restful sleep is the basis for everyday performance, but also for effective training.

Especially a hard workout poses great challenges to the body, for which it needs enough sleep.

But rest is also an important factor for muscle regeneration after training. If you want to achieve your maximum performance, you should sleep roughly between 6 and 8.5 hours a day.

Tip 5: Avoid overtraining

One of the most common mistakes is the classic overtraining. Obviously, when you have your goal in front of your eyes, you want to reach it immediately. But when it comes to training, there’s no point in overdoing it, because it’s not exactly effective.

Excessive training or too high intensity does not lead to optimal results. In such cases, the muscle gain may even decrease.

That’s why we advise you to avoid overtraining, because our body and also our muscles need regeneration times to develop optimally.

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