It’s time to bulk up and get on that quality muscle train. Here are 10 tips to get those mass gains that have been on your wishlist, so let’s get started.
Fuel Your Body with the Right Macros
The number one reason people struggle to gain mass is that they just aren’t eating enough.
If your goals is to gain weight, you have to be putting in more calories than you burn throughout the day. In other words, a caloric surplus. It’s this surplus that your body uses to repair and build muscle tissue broken down by your training.
Your caloric surplus will be individual to you but if you have had trouble gaining weight in the past, a good starting point for your macros is consuming 1.25 grams of protein and 2 grams of carbs per pound of body weight per day.
Don’t go over 1.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight; if you have to add more calories, make sure they are coming from carbs.
Meal timing is important when trying to put on mass. You need to make sure you’re eating at least once every four hours to keep your body in an anabolic (muscle-building) state with a steady supply of nutrients to your muscles.
Plus, with a higher calorie intake it’s much easier to spread your intake across multiple meals every 3-4 hours than it is to cram it into 3-4 big meals. It’s far more practical to consume six meals at 600 calories each than three meals at 1,200 calories each.
Supplement With BCAAs Between Meals And Around Training
To get the most out of the protein you consume throughout the day you should be supplementing with BCAAs. They provide an immediate source of fuel for your muscle tissue, and unlike food or even whey protein, BCAAs are easily absorbed into the bloodstream.
A study in The Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology showed that taking BCAA about two hours after a meal prolonged muscle protein synthesis. Although the study was conducted in rats, researchers saw no reason why this wouldn’t apply to humans as well.
Get Some Sleep
This makes a huge difference. When you sleep, your body is in a resting state that burns far fewer calories than when you’re up and about and doing things and it is when your body can devote a lot more energy to repairing damaged muscle tissue.
Plus, while you’re asleep your body releases a growth hormone and by missing out on your eight hours of sleep you’ll end up feeling foggy, lethargic, irritable, and possibly even depressed.
Train Less, Train Harder
A lot of people trying to build mass make one of these three mistakes, they either:
Perform way too many sets per workout,
Are not using a weight that truly challenges their bodies,
Or, are resting too long between sets.
If you’re in the gym for more than an hour and 15 minutes, you’re either doing too many sets or resting too long between sets so by correcting these problems you’ll find yourself with increased gains and less time spent at the gym.
Aim for 16-18 sets for large body parts and 12-14 sets for smaller body parts. Choose a weight heavy enough that you can stop 1-2 reps short of failure during your desired rep range, but light enough that you can get there using good form and truly feeling it in the muscle you are training. Never take longer than 90 seconds between sets (the only exceptions to this rule are squats and deadlifts).
Get Your Healthy Fats
If you are struggling to get your calories in fats can be a great way to push your count up. A gram of fat yields 9 calories, versus the 4 calories per gram that carbohydrates or protein contain.
Make sure as much of your daily fat intake as possible comes from fats high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Foods and oils containing these fats include avocados, olive oil, nuts, natural nut butters, seeds, and oily fish such as salmon and mackerel.
Never Skip Leg Day
Seriously, you are missing out on some serious growth if you don’t train legs at least once a week.
Research has shown that by doing exercises that use a large amount of your body’s skeletomuscular system you can trigger a hormonal response that boosts circulating free-testosterone levels and growth-hormone levels. Basically, more muscle tissue and fat burning.
Get a Training Buddy
Put simply, a good training partner holds you accountable to your training schedule. You’re more likely to hit the gym and put in your work when you know someone is relying on you to be there and train with them.
While eating whole foods is key to a healthy body build, there are benefits to using quality supplements.
The first must have supplement is a quality whey protein that is clean, hormone free and packs a hefty protein punch. This will give you rapidly digested and easily absorbed protein—perfect for right before training, right after training, or both.
Then there are BCAAs which we’ve already been over…
And of course, a good pre-workout. It delivers the power you need to get through your workout.
When you are in the gym, you are damaging and breaking down muscle tissue. It’s only once you’re outside of the gym that your body starts to repair the damage, and allows muscles to grow bigger and stronger so make sure you’re fitting an active rest day into your schedule.
Give your muscles and nervous system a break from the strain of weight training and actively promote recovery with foam rolling, light cardio, and static stretching. The key is to get your blood moving, work on getting the soreness out of your muscles.