How To Get Swole: 4 Best Tips for Building Muscle

Man flexing swole meaning

Getting swole for some people might be easier said than done. Achieving actual “swole” status isn’t as simple as just going to the gym and doing some bicep curls. There are a ton of other major factors that must be accounted for.

It will also take some time to truly learn what works for you by using trial and error. There’s no one set in the stone way for how to get swole.

Think of getting swole like a science experiment. You have the three variables; independent, dependent, and controlled.

All of which play a role in building the body you’re looking for. You find the parts that work, i.e. diet, training, supplements, and keep those parts consistent.

Then slowly adjust the other aspects to see how your body responds.

If you’re not into science that’s okay because I am about to lay out some knowledge that will help you on your journey to getting swole.

Swole Meaning In Fitness

You’ve probably heard the term swole thrown around before. It’s classic gym bro language that most of us have said at some point in our lives.

When we call someone swole we aren’t talking about their grandma’s swole Bunyan.

No, we’re talking about the impressive amount of muscle mass that they’ve been able to obtain throughout their fitness journey.

Moreover, the Urban Dictionary’s definition summed up labels it as someone who is “very masculine… is the physical and attitudinal embodiment of strength.

One who possesses an intimidating amount of rippling musculature through intensive training.” Submitted by GraphicLexicographer in 2015.

With that being said, who wouldn’t want to be the walking talking representation of strength and masculinity?

The short answer is most people just don’t know how to get there. It requires a solid plan with two basic foundations engrained within it, nutrition and training.

With these in place, getting swole still won’t be a walk in the park, but your chances of succeeding become a million times more.

Patience is also a requirement because progress will not be noticed after a week. It’s important to be in it for the long haul.

Willing to put in the work.

If you’ve read this far you’re obviously still interested. Read on to see some of the ways that have helped me obtain a small level of swole. I know they will help you too.

1. Build A Training Plan

Training is the first variable that should be laid out in your journey to get swole. By training, I mean working out in the gym with the goal of filling the muscles with blood while simultaneously getting stronger.

There’s no one set in the stone proper way to train. It’s more of finding the proper way to train for your body type, goals, and schedule. The best training plan is the one that you can stick to consistently week after week.

Keep this in mind when you build your plan because consistency is the most important factor of all. Which will ultimately lead to long-term, worthwhile success.

There are a lot of different types of training plans. Whether your goal is bodybuilding, powerlifting, staying in shape, or something else.

The outline of most of these plans can be implemented for most performance goals.

No matter what plan you decide to go with, the volume, frequency, and exercise selection will all depend on your goals, experience level, and time availability.

Journal for tracking swole workouts

For instance, if you’re a powerlifter you can decide to do a bro split or push-pull-legs. One is not more effective than the other because it’s all about consistency.

So choose the outline of whichever one you’d prefer. From there choose the exercises and frequency that’s right for you.

Frequency would be the ratio of workout days to rest days each week. I recommend at least one rest day a week at a 6:1 ratio.

One of the most common plans is the Push, Pull, and Leg split. With this split, you would do push exercises on the first day.

This would include pushing movements. Such as bench press, shoulder press, and tricep extensions.

Then on Pull day you would do pulling movements like deadlift, bicep curls, and lat pull down.

Then on Leg day, you would brutalize your lower body with whatever your favorite leg exercises are. The selection would solely depend on your personal goals and preference.

Another plan is the classic bro split. This is one of my personal favorites. Instead of focusing on directional movement selection for each workout, it focuses more on working specific body parts within a session.

Here’s an example:

  • Day 1: Back and Bies
  • Day 2: Chest and Tries
  • Day 3: Rest
  • Day 4: Legs
  • Day 5: Shoulders
  • Day 6: Rest

Here’s another variation:

  • Day 1: Chest
  • Day 2: Back
  • Day 3: Legs
  • Day 4: Bies and Tries
  • Day 5: Rest
  • Day 6: Optional rest day or start back to Day 1

Be sure that your plan includes some form of progressive overload. This will help ensure that you’re making constant forward progress.

One way to achieve this is by shooting for one extra rep on the bench press with a certain weight each week.

Or by adding 5 LBs to your bench press while still maintaining the same rep range from the week prior. The goal should be to achieve progressive overload with one or two of the main exercises in each of your workouts.

A good way to monitor this is by tracking your progress. I recommend purchasing a training journal. This will help a ton for monitoring progressive overload and visualizing your goals going into every workout.

These are just a few principles of the training plan. The most important thing is to not overthink it when developing your plan.

Check out one of my free training plans here. Don’t be afraid to follow it and make adjustments to fit your preferences along the way.

Most importantly have fun! If you’re not enjoying your current plan it could be time to switch it up.

2. Own Your Nutrition

Nutrition is the variable that no one likes to talk about, but it’s a necessity to develop good eating habits in order to obtain the big swole physique we’re all striving for.

There’s one principle in regards to a diet that will always be the same no matter what your goals are.

That is that whole, real foods are always better than processed alternatives. For instance, fresh, raw, organic chicken is a much better protein source than frozen bag chicken breast.

The same applies to vegetables, fruits, and any other foods that most would consider a healthy choice for a nutrition plan.

Just because someone says they eat vegetables doesn’t necessarily mean they’re eating clean. Especially if those vegetables are in a quarter pounder from McDs. Just as an example.

When some people think of a nutrition plan they may think of a diet that they’ll adapt for a few months then stop cold turkey after they get the desired results. This won’t change anything long term. The goal should not be to find a “diet”.

Rather, strive to develop a nutritional lifestyle plan. Something that you will be able to enjoy and sustain for the rest of your life.

Not something that you’re gonna suffer on for three months because the food is terrible, but you need to do it because you’re going on vacation. Then once the vacation’s over you go back to just eating whatever’s around.

Rather, you want to develop one that allows for the occasional “cheat meal” on the weekends.

A good method is seeking recipes for healthy alternatives to your favorite foods. Such as a healthy ice cream recipe that’s high in protein, or a pizza recipe with a gluten-free crust, organic vegetables, and quality meats.

Healthy Pizza For Big Swole
Healthy pizza recipe to get big swole

Because then you’d be able to eat your favorite foods every single day without worrying about the processed ingredients.

Although eating can become expensive, I challenge you to avoid eating out for an entire month.

Cook all your meals at home and track the expenses. You will most often find that a whole week of home meals can cost less than one night of eating out. Sometimes even longer.

If you are really on a tight budget, stick to the great value brands that your store provides. These options are still healthy, at a cheaper price.

Moreover, eating shouldn’t be bland or require you to suffer. The meals should be something you look forward to eating day in and day out.

Add in enough variety to avoid food burnout from constantly eating the same three things.

There are plenty of good lifestyle nutritional methods out there.

Here are a few:

  1. Intermittent Fasting
    • A great option for the busy professional who doesn’t have a lot of time to eat throughout the day
    • Good choice if you have a suppressed appetite at certain times of the day
  2. Macro Tracking
    • Perfect for someone specifically trying to cut or gain weight at a more controlled pace.
    • Typically good for bodybuilders, powerlifters, and wrestlers
    • Tracks daily calorie intake broken down into carb, protein, and fat consumption
  3. Keto
    • Prioritizes fats over carbs to fuel the body
  4. Carnivore
    • Utilizes animal-based foods
    • Excludes fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, and nuts
  5. Vegan
    • Made up of plant-based foods
    • Lots of great alternatives to meat recipes

There are many more nutritional lifestyles to choose from. Just like building the training plan, there’s no one finite way to build a sustainable nutritional plan.

It solely depends on your food allergies, time constraints, personal health goals, and taste buds.

You can even create a crossbreed with the methods that you find most appealing and make a Frankenstein plan that suits you best.

It’s important to make a plan that allows for enough daily food intake to properly fuel your body.

This will take time to get right. You will often have to switch things up in the beginning, depending on how precise you’re trying to get.

However, don’t let this discourage you from getting started. Because eating a healthy, balanced diet, even if it’s not perfectly optimized for your current goal.

Will still be miles better than eating a large amount of heavily processed food. Especially for daily mental and physical performance.

Moreover, if you’re interested in getting a rough estimate of where your daily calorie intake should be to optimally achieve your goals, check out our calorie calculator.

Note that this number is just a baseline to start you off. Use it, but adjust as necessary.

3. Supplementation

Protein Powder for big swole

When thinking about supplements in the fitness industry. There are a few big ones that usually come to find; pre-workout, protein powder, BCAA’s, and creatine.

These are all very big hitters, and although they’re not necessary to build a big swole physique. They will help accelerate muscle growth, gym performance, and muscle recovery.

The downside of some of these supplements is the cost to obtain them. On top of the health risks, they may sometimes be associated with.

However, if you follow the health guidelines and limit consumption to a reasonable intake these risks are usually preventable.

Cost-wise, high-end supplements are typically pricey. The only way to get that to change would be to go on strike against the supplement companies.

But we’re too busy making gains, and more gains will hopefully bring more income to afford more supplements. Am I right!? 😉

In all seriousness, if you are on a limited budget, focus more on budgeting for the nutritional aspect.

That will breed much better results than trying to rely on supplements alone. In the game of getting swole, the nutritional side of things will always reign king.

If you do have a bit of extra money to spare, some less talked about supplements to look into are vitamins, omega-3s, and digestion products.

Just like the other supplements, these aren’t necessities, thus why they’re called supplements. They are supplementary for micronutrients.

Once that you may not get enough of in your main nutritional plan. A good way to know is to speak with a healthcare professional to see what vitamins your body may be lacking.

4. Rest And Recover

There’s a common misconception that building muscle takes place in the gym.

The fact of the matter is we actually break down our muscle fibers in the gym. Our time spent out of the gym is when muscle growth truly takes place.

This is why taking control of your rest, recovery, and nutrition are crucial factors to get swole.

Rest

Rest days from the gym are an essential component that should be part of your training plan. Having at least one to two rest days per week is a good base to allow your mind and body to rest.

There’s no need to do an intense workout every single day or train each body part more than once or twice a week.

As this will eventually lead to overtraining. Which will end up negatively affecting your progress. Some of the common symptoms of overtraining include:

  1. Long-lasting muscle soreness
  2. Digressing in the gym
  3. Feeling more sluggish and tired than usually
  4. Low quality sleep

If you do recognize any of these symptoms taking place take a few days off from the gym and come back refueled. You will be surprised by the boost in performance.

Nevertheless, it’s best to not get to this point in the first place. An adequate amount of rest days each week is a good starting point.

Then adjust from there based on how well your body recovers from each workout.

Pillows and blankets for how to get swole
Sleep to get swole!

Recovery

Recovery is a key component to truly making progress in and out of the gym. When I say recovery, I don’t mean just physically. It’s important to take mental breaks too by taking time for yourself.

There are a lot of different methods you can try for recovery. But there’s one that trumps all. The one you should put your focus on is sleep.

The majority of muscle growth takes place while we sleep. So if you’re truly trying to pack on quality mass, sleeping the suggested 7-9 hours per night is important.

Personally, I have experienced decent muscle growth on 6 hours a night over consistent periods. Yet 7-8 has always been the best for me not only mentally, but physically.

Quality sleep is an essential aspect of truly optimizing your muscle gains. Take it seriously.

Now You Know How To Get Swole!

Now that you’ve got a baseline strategy for how to get swole, I have full confidence in your ability to go out and make it happen.

Just reading this article won’t get you there. It’s important to take the necessary steps toward creating an optimal training and nutrition plan that suits your goals. Be consistent with this plan for at least a month.

Thumbs up for getting swole
Get Big Swole!

After the month is up evaluate your progress and if you’re happy with it then keep following that plan.

Because there’s one golden rule. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. However, don’t deter yourself from switching things up or trying something different.

Keep it spicy, the last thing you want is for the plan to get boring or repetitive. If you do decide to change something in your plan.

Change one small variable at a time, see how it goes, then reevaluate. The last thing you wanna do is change three things at once and see a new result. Then have no idea as to what variable caused the change.

Keep track of these changes, be patient, and enjoy the ride. Because getting swole is one of the best drives you’ll ever take.

Stay Wild!

Eric Decremer
Eric Decremer

Eric is an ISSA Certified Personal Trainer and competes in the USPA Powerlifting Association. Feel free to contact him anytime at edecremer@wildnswole.com!

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