In last week’s column we discussed some tweaks to training, supplementation and nutrition that can make a difference in your fat loss efforts.
Today, let’s address those of you who want to pack on some lean muscle mass.
Why do you want to gain muscle mass?
You have to admit that the average person has read so much about weight loss that actually admitting you want to gain weight is almost taboo.
Whatever the reason you want to bulk up, lose your preconceived notions to gain the body you want.
The building blocks of gaining muscle are simple. The two most important things to do are sleep and eat, but don’t just eat, eat right. Have you ever wondered how an infant grows so quickly? Think about it, all a newborn does is sleep and eat – and not just eat, parents make sure that their young growing children get the right nutrients.
Let’s get more into detail to kick-start your muscle-building efforts.
The number one overlooked factor in building a better body is rest. If you don’t rest, then how can your muscles grow? Of course if you are building muscle you will need stimulus such as intense training, which results in your body becoming ‘broken down’. Afterwards, your body will need proper nutrients and recovery time to grow bigger and stronger so that it can be broken down again. So if you’re not resting adequately, then I suggest you set aside a day or two of rest each week. And remember, rest days are rest days. Nothing more, nothing less.
Aim to consume about 1 gramme of protein per pound of body weight, which is roughly the maximum amount your body can use in a day, according to a landmark study in the Journal of Applied Physiology. For example, a 160-pound man should consume 160 grammes of protein a day. Proteins that are great for building muscle include beef, pork, lamb, tuna, salmon, trout, mackerel, poultry breast, from chicken, turkey, duck; eggs, especially egg whites and dairy like milk, cheese, cottage cheese and yogurt.
Split the rest of your daily calories equally between carbohydrates and fats.
In addition to adequate protein, you need more calories. If you are moderately active, you should be up to 2,500 calories a day to gain 1 pound a week. Give yourself 2 weeks for results to show up on the bathroom scale. If you haven’t gained by then, increase your calories by 500 a day.
Drink plenty of water
One of the most overlooked factors in exercise is adequate water consumption. This should be a no-brainer since water comprises up to 70% of the body and if you’re dehydrated, your muscle size suffers as well. I believe that one pound of muscle can hold up to three pounds of water. Now if you add it all up, that’s a lot of size.
Eat enough good fats
One mistake muscle builders make is to not eat enough good fats. When I first began lifting and eating seriously, I would try my best to steer away from fats. Little did I know that fats were actually important in growth. One good thing to know about good fats is that there is a direct relationship between fat and testosterone levels.
A perfect example of this is when bodybuilders diet down for a show, so to speak. They are limiting their caloric and fat intake to achieve that stage condition. However, when they are on this restrictive diet, it is impossible for them to grow.
Eat plenty of carbohydrates
Carbohydrates are needed to fuel exercise. The storage form of carbohydrates is glycogen. The idea here is to super saturate glycogen levels so that the body never has to dip into protein for energy production.
The higher the level of carbs in the body, the more likely you are going to remain in an anabolic environment. Carbs also play a role in the release of insulin. As you know, insulin is the body’s most potent anabolic hormone. It promotes gluconeogenesis, protein synthesis, and the formation of adipocytes. In short, the release of insulin is required to promote an anabolic environment and carbs help by releasing insulin.
So what are you waiting for? Start making those gains.