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Build mass: 8 basic rules for building muscle

Are you just starting to build muscle, or have you been trying to gain mass for a while without success? Regardless of whether you just want to start or have been training to gain mass for a long time, we have all the information you need to know about mass building.

In our article you will find all the basic rules, tips and tricks for building mass. You will also find training plans with which you can start building your muscles immediately.

the essentials in brief

  • Gaining mass, or more precisely, building muscle is a popular beauty ideal these days.
  • In order to build up mass you have to pay attention to 3 areas. You have to eat right, train efficiently, but also pay attention to some supplements so that the muscles can develop effectively.
  • The muscle building is not only good because of the aesthetics, but also has many other positive effects on our body.

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Definition: what does building mass mean?

Gaining mass is, as the name suggests, about building muscle mass.

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

Basically, it's about building muscle mass with an extra helping of calories. It's not about gaining fat, it's all about gaining muscle.

In order to achieve this, there are a few things to consider, otherwise a few kilos of fat can often sneak into it.

You should make sure that you know your calorie needs in order to be able to consume the right amount.

But in order to gain mass effectively, there is much more to it than meeting the calorie requirement.

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

Most bodybuilders also use protein powder to help build muscles.

Background: 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 topic enough.

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

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

Why should you build mass?

Muscle building is often only pursued or avoided because of the aesthetics. Lots of people want to look muscular and that's why they start building mass.

On the contrary, there are people, often women, who avoid weight training so as not to build muscle.

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

Because having enough muscle mass can do a lot more than just look good. We have listed the most important reasons why you should build up mass here:

  • Your muscles move you and your whole body
  • Strong muscles can strengthen your immune system
  • Muscles use more calories even when you are not moving
  • Well-trained muscles can reduce the risk of various diseases
  • Healthy muscles can improve your brain function
  • Muscles can protect against injury

You don't have to build muscle like a professional bodybuilder to achieve these effects, it is enough if you do strength training regularly to build healthy and strong muscles. You will find out how you can do this in a row.

How can you really build mass?

As mentioned before, there are many success factors to effectively building mass. To begin with, however, you should know that not everyone can do the same thing in order to gain the same amount of mass.

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.

3 metabolic types

A rough distinction can be made between three different metabolic types:

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

Depending on the type, the requirements for building up mass are different.

For example, a softgainer should do cardio in addition to strength training, as it is easier to build muscles, but these are not visible due to the just as easily formed fat.

In contrast to this are the hard gainers, who have a very difficult time building mass.

Therefore, you should for the most part avoid cardio. But you can find more about hard gainers further down in this article.

How can you gain mass and reduce body fat?

Basically, you shouldn't gain mass and reduce body fat at the same time.

It's just next to impossible to do both at the same time because you would have to meticulously count calories and follow an exact plan.

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

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

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

So you first build muscle by consuming enough calories and thus often also putting on fat. When you have enough muscle mass, you can focus on losing fat.

Most body builders go this way, because they use winter to build up mass and before summer they go into the definition phase.

But of course you can also start the other way around and lose your fat first so that you can see the muscles that you build up more quickly.

How can you gain mass without putting on too much fat?

As you have probably noticed by now, maintaining the right balance between muscle mass and fat is not exactly easy.

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

This means that fat-free mass gain only works if you are extremely strict and pay close attention to your calorie intake.

The distribution of nutrients also plays an important role. Therefore, as mentioned above, it is probably better to concentrate on one thing in order to avoid disappointment.

Here's a video that briefly explains how to gain weight without getting fat.

How long does it take to build mass?

At the beginning it should be said that building mass is more of a marathon than a sprint. You have to be prepared for the fact that it will take longer than you probably imagined.

It is also not that easy to predict, as everyone has a different starting point.

How much mass can you build?

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

It roughly describes the possible muscle growth per year.

yearPossible muscle building in a year
1up to 11 kg
2up to 5.5 kg
3up to 2.7 kg
4+max. 1-2 kg

As you can see, with enough discipline it can go very quickly at the beginning. In the first year you can expect 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 can look different depending on the initial situation.

How can you build mass quickly?

You will have noticed that building mass quickly is not that easy.

As can be seen in the model by Lyle McDonalds, muscle building can only be achieved fairly quickly if one is really strict and observes all the important success factors.

So that you know exactly how you can achieve your goal, you will find our 8 basic rules and tips further down in this article. If you follow these, nothing stands in the way of a quick mass build-up.

Which foods are good for building mass?

Proper nutrition is one of the most important success factors in building muscle. The body needs certain nutrients to make new muscle fibers.

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

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


Carbohydrates not only bring energy, they also promote muscle building. They occur in a great many foods, either as short-chain or long-chain carbohydrates.

Check out the table below for some high-carb foods that are good for building mass.

FoodCarbohydrates / 100 g
oatmeal59 g
Basmati rice27 g
Quinoa19 g
lenses17 g
blueberries8 g