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How I Gained 30lb of Muscle in Just 6 Months

I just gained 30lb of muscle in 6 months.

Sounds impressive? Oh and by the way – I gained almost no fat and was 100% steroid free. In fact, the strongest drug I took was caffeine (I love it!).

I just finished going through this transformation and it was by far the most muscle I have ever gained in one year. No newbie gains, no drugs and no fad diets.

How to Build Muscle Mass Quickly

It shouldn’t be possible to gain this much muscle this fast. Especially after training consistently for 10+ years. At 6’3 and 205lb, I was by no means a “small dude” when I started this program.

How Did I Do It?

First and foremost, I hired an awesome coach by the name of John Romaniello and entered his Swolepertrophy program. With his guidance, I dialed in my training and nutrition. The rest is history.

When I say dialed in, I mean I was religious about it. I set my mind to gaining as much muscle as possible and I did it.

But enough about me. What about you? You’re reading this post because you want to gain muscle too. And fast. So let’s help you do just that.

You’ve Been Doing It Wrong

You’ve tried bulking programs before but they just made you fat. Or maybe you’re just a “hard-gainer”? You can’t really put on muscle and you’ve been skinny all your life. Every time you try to gain a little weight nothing seems to work.

The reality is, you weren’t training right and you sure as shit weren’t eating right.

Oh… and the whole “hard gainer” and “I can’t gain weight” is a farce. You didn’t train with the intensity you needed, and you didn’t eat as much as you think you did.

I guarantee it. I thought I ate a lot too, but I was wrong.

Until you are actually tracking what you put in your mouth, you have no idea how much you’re really eating. And if you’re not gaining weight, you’re not eating enough. I don’t care if you think you’re a hard-gainer.

You. Are. Not. Eating. Enough.

The point is building muscle is not impossible. No matter your body type, it can be done.

The trick is, you have to be committed. I’m not talking about the walk your dog every day… oops, I forgot one day, NBD… kind of commitment. What I’m talking about is much deeper than that.

I’m talking about taking food into the bathroom to eat while you poop kind of commitment. Sound crazy? Well, it is… but so what? Building muscle is not easy.

Sure, there are some dudes who can just smell protein and put on muscle without gaining fat. But for most of us, it takes balls to the wall hard work.

What It Takes to Build Muscle

For me to achieve the results that I did, three things had to fall into place:

  1. I had to have a program that promoted muscle gain.
  2. I had to give 100% to that training regimen every time I stepped foot into the gym.
  3. Finally, I had to have my nutrition spot on… like not miss a single meal spot on.

Sounds simple, but it’s not easy. I literally had to adjust my whole lifestyle around the 3 mantras above.

Now, I am not saying I never went out. Or had some alcohol (which… with the amount of food I ate was pretty pointless anyway) or didn’t hang out with friends.

That’s not the kind of lifestyle anyone wants to live. But, no matter what I did, I was always conscious of my nutrition. The extra ribbing from my friends about tracking my alcohol calories didn’t bother me.

The Program

So what exactly does a muscle building program consist of? Now, my young padawan, listen closely. This isn’t the type of program you’ll find in most magazines. There won’t be any fancy exercises, drop sets or crazy set/rep schemes.

A muscle building program requires the basics. Squat. Deadlift. Bench Press. These exercises and their various iterations are all you need. Paired with other multi-joint exercises, they’re going to maximize the muscle building potential of your workouts.

I also like to train with multiple rep ranges to stimulate the different muscle fibers in your body.

First, you need to figure out how often you are going to be able to workout. I like to start my clients out with a 3 day a week program. This allows you to hit all the major muscle groups each weeks and still have ample time for recovery.

And here you have it. 3 days of simple, effective exercises:


A1) Barbell Bench Press – 4 x 4-6

B1) High Incline Dumbbell Press – 3 x 4-6

C1) Dumbbell Arnold Press – 3 x 6-8

D1) Dumbbell Squeeze Press – 3 x 6-8

E1) Overhead Cable Extension – 3 x 10-12

F1) Dumbbell Lateral Raise – 3 x 10-12

Tuesday or Wednesday:

A1) Deadlift – 3 x 4-6

B1) Chin Up – 3 x 4-6

C1) Barbell Bent Over Row – 3 x 6-8

D1) Neutral Grip Lat Pulldown – 3 x 10-12

E1) Barbell Curl – 4 x 10-12

Friday or Saturday:

A1) Barbell Back Squat – 4 x 4-6

B1) Dumbbell/Kettlebell Front Squat – 3 x 4-6

C1) Romanian Deadlift – 4 x 6-8

D1) Dumbbell Reverse Lunge – 3 x 6-8

E1) Swiss Ball Leg Curl – 3 x 10-12

F1) Leg Extension – 3 x 10 – 12

The goal for each week is either add weight or do more reps. Say you are doing deadlifts and you can do 225lb for 4 the first week. Next week, do 225lb for 5 and keep progressing until you hit the high number of reps in that range (which would be 6 in this case).

Do not add weight until you are able to do the “high” rep in that range.

As far as rest times, take the time you need, not that time you want. If you are resting through an entire song on your Justin Bieber playlist… that’s probably too much time.

In general, 2-3 minutes for the 4-6 rep range and 1-2 minutes for the rest is great.

Now, there will be some days that you feel tired… or unmotivated to do a workout. Keep going. Not every workout is going to be your best. But if you’re committed, you will see progressive, steady results.

Speaking of Motivation

Arnold Schwarzenegger Motivation

When you are at the gym, you need to bring your A game. Leave all the stuff that happened throughout the day outside where it belongs, feel the iron in your hands, and go to town on those workouts.

Training intensity is a vastly underrated device to maximize your results. Sure, you can milk it in during your workouts and still see some gains. But really giving your all to the program is how you get on the varsity squad.

Edmond Dantes did not get his revenge by half-assing his work and squandering the gifts that were bestowed upon him. No, he took his opportunities and doubled down on them. He gave 100% of himself to his revenge and what did he get? He performs perhaps the single greatest act of revenge in fiction and rides away into the sunset with his new love Haydee.

That is the same intensity you must bring with you into the gym if you want extraordinary results. Let others have their excuses, dare to be someone great.

Gotta Eat to Gain

Finally, let’s talk about nutrition a little bit. While last on that list, it was undoubtedly the most important factor in the success of my program.

Once I had a firm grasp of my calorie and macronutrient goals for the program, I created a couple mock meal plans to see how much food I actually needed to eat.

The results were staggering. Towards the end of the program, I was literally consuming upwards of four pounds of chicken a day.

4+ lb of chicken was just covering my protein needs, never mind the fats and carbohydrates I needed to make up the rest of my macros. It was easily the most food I have ever eaten in my life.

At my highest calorie count during this program, I was eating upwards of 4300 calories. Nearly half of that came from protein. I was consuming nearly 500 grams of protein per day, split up between 3-4 meals. As you can imagine, those were some hefty meals.

Nutrition is Key to Building Muscle FastSome nights consisted of me fighting to choke down the last pound of chicken I needed for the day. I would literally be so full that I had to wash down each bite with a gulp of water.

Ever taken food into the bathroom with you so you can eat while pooping? I have. It wasn’t sexy, but it was the only way for me to hit my calorie goals each day.

Wake up at 3 in the morning to cook food? Check. Eat the same meal day in and day out to hit my calories spot on? Check.

Fake my death, become the Dread Pirate Roberts, and amass the fortune needed to rescue the love of my life? Check, check, check.

If you have any kind of trouble gaining muscle and you think you are a “hard-gainer” then this is exactly the type of drastic measures you have to take.

Taking Home the Bacon

As I mentioned, I entered Roman’s Swolepertrophy program to start this transformation. The whole point of this program was to gain as much muscle as humanly possible in 6 months.

Now normally this would be accompanied by a decent amount of fat gain as well. It doesn’t have to be. I went from 12% to about 13% body fat on this program. A 33lb overall gain with only about 3lb being fat.

That is absolutely insane. It illustrates how important and effective dialing in your nutrition and workout program can be.

If you are tired of not achieving the results you want then give this starter program a try. Start counting how much food you actually eat and get a firm grasp of what you are putting into your body.

I thought it was hard for me to gain muscle at this point in my life… but I was able to achieve amazing results. You can too, I know you can, you just need to own it and get it done.

Become the person you have always dreamed of. You can do it!

Got any questions about my transformation? Post them below!

Chris Coulson

I'm a fitness nerd, US Navy vet, NYC celebrity trainer, and samurai. My passion is helping people lose fat, build muscle and become awesome. I'm here to help YOU get the body you've always wanted.