On a daily basis I will receive emails asking what I recommend to gain muscle size, increase strength and shed body fat. These are three different topics, so I wanted to start this ‘mini powerpoint’ series with gaining muscle mass! Below I am going to list my 10 fundamental points which I believe will enable 95% of the people reading this to pack on some quality muscle size! Here goes!
- 1. Eat 1.5g of protein per pound of body weight!
The reason I say this is because over the last 5 years I have done this for periods of time and I have also eaten just 1g of protein per pound of body weight. Let me tell you from experience 1.5g is definitely the way forward, and if you are training intensely you need this to recover and grow! Do it guys! Eat quality cuts of meat like chicken breast, beef, white fish and egg whites! Be sure to get a quality slow release protein for before bed and a fast digesting protein for first thing in the morning and right after your workouts! That is absolutely essential!
- 2. Train basic!
So many people get caught up with looking for the latest way to ‘add a pound of muscle here’ or ‘add an inch there.’ The reality of the situation guys is that you need to be consistent and use the foundation exercises! Base your workouts around compound movements and variation of each compound movement. To add mass, doing cable cross-overs whilst balancing on a ‘balance board’ on one foot aint gonna do a lot! This is an exaggerated example, but instead of messing about with this kind of stuff, hit your basic exercises hard and you will grow! As a rule of thumb, for beginners I believe 8-12 reps to failure per set is ideal. I would also advise one HIGH rep week once every 3 weeks to hit your slow twitch muscle fibres! This will also decrease the chances of injury and enable your joints to recovery.
- 3. Don’t be a ‘carbophob!’
Since joining Team Monster I have had some great debates in regards to carbohydrates with other respected members of the team and forums. From experience I would strongly advise you to get plenty of quality carbohydrates in your diet in order to GROW!!! I fail to see how you can without them in all honesty! Aim for 1.5g per pound of body weight much like protein, and eat them from sources like potato, sweet potato, brown pasta, brown rice, brown bread and oats! Carbohydrates keep your muscle glycogen levels full which you keep you anabolic! If I eat junk I get fat, I am not someone who can eat what they want, and I eat loads of carbohydrates!
- 4. Train your muscles. . . .NOT your ego!
Sadly I would have to say over 50% of the people I experience in the gyms are training their egos, not their muscles. What I mean is that these guys lift weights I couldn’t lift, yet I am 3 stone heavier than them in muscle mass! Where is the sense in that? Always use a full range of motion as a beginner, don’t concern yourself with the weights and stimulate your targeted muscles!
- 5. Don’t be a swinger!
I’m not trying to influence your social life here; I am referring to your training technique! If you find you are excessive body movement when doing exercises such as bicep curls, side lateral raises or bent over rows, you need to STOP! This will only put strain on your lower back, increase the chances of injury and most of all it wont stimulate growth on your target muscles! Make sure you are lifting with your target muscles at all time! It is not a weight lifting competition, seeing how much you can shift from A to B. instead it is a case of making the resistance work your muscles whilst moving them from A to B!
- 6. Warm up silly!
Don’t be offended, I am referring to myself as ‘silly!’ For so long I neglected warm ups and felt that they were merely a waste of time. Now I HAVE to warm my shoulders up before any upper body workout otherwise they hurt too much to train! Take it from me, an injured athlete isn't a growing athlete! Take at least 10 minutes to warm up the muscles your working as well as the joints. To pack on serious muscle size you need to lift heavy, so you need to first of all prepare your joints for the assault! By increasing the blood flow into the area you will recover and grow better anyway, because there will be more nutrients available for the muscle cell to utilise!
- 7. Put your feet up!
To pack on slabs of muscle on to your frame you want to make sure you are resting enough. So many people think each rep completed equates to extra growth there and then in the gym!!! This is certainly not the case; in fact in the gym you are catabolic! To grow you need to be resting after an intense workout with all those muscle repairing and building nutrients in your system! Make sure you sleep at least 8 hours per night! To ensure it is deep sleep, don’t take any form of Caffeine on board after 7 PM!!
- 8. Don’t over train!
Don’t be tempted to do more than you need to. In order to grow, perform 9 working sets for smaller muscle groups like your biceps, triceps and chest. For larger muscle groups like back legs don’t do anymore than 15 working sets! The perfect workout gets you out of the gym in 45-50 minutes, with your muscles pumped with blood and primed to start recovering and then growing!
- 9. Be consistent!
When you put all of this together, your hardcore training, your eating and your supplement plan stick at it! So many people will tell me they have been this and that for 3 weeks and ‘’haven’t seen much change yet!!!’’ It doesn’t come over night, and it will probably take around 6 weeks to see some real changes in your physique! Believe me, the second you DO see the development of new muscle mass you will be hooked!
- 10. Watch and learn!
Above all else, learn from people who are more experience than you! To add on lean muscle mass you have to follow certain rules and by learning off people who have followed these ‘rules’ for years will teach you a lot!!! You will pick up on little tips and things you can do to aid your growth!
Obviously, I hope you can learn from me personally! One thing I can promise you is that when I started I was 10 stone. Today, 5 years later on I am 14 stone and lean, and I am certainly not an ‘easy gainer!’ It has been a case of following these 10 steps I have outlined for you which have enabled me to develop my muscle mass! You can do the same!