Mass gaining is usually the flavour of the month this time of year and at FitMag it is no different! Many people will claim getting ripped is the hardest part of achieving a dream body, yet adding QUALITY muscle seems to be even harder for many. Gaining weight and gaining muscle are two very different things as is losing weight and losing body fat. With the majority of people having fixed schedules due to work and family commitments it can be hard to get in extra meals through the day, so here are 5 top tips to gain muscle through making changes to your diet today without affecting your day to day life!
So for the last 2 months you have been as faithful to your diet as a Catholic is to Jesus yet you have failed to make any real significant gains. This is fine; you have a yardstick to work with here. With the current level of protein, carbohydrates and fats you are eating your progress is maybe only 1lb every other week. Let’s increase your protein intake by 20% and your carbohydrates and fats by 10%. For example if you were eating 30g of protein per meal, increase it to 36g per meal. This won’t really make you feel as if you are eating much more or cost much more. Yet, over a course of a week you will be taking in significantly more muscle building amino acids. With your carbohydrate and fat intake, only increase it by 10% to begin with so you can monitor your fat levels. If they remain the same but you find your muscle mass is increasing feel free to add another 10% to each meal.
When you find your meal frequency has maxed out and you couldn’t realistically add another one in, look at adding a couple of muscle friendly snacks between meals. This can mean having 4 Wheetabix with milk, almonds, raisins and chopped banana to get extra muscle building calories in. It could also mean having a couple of protein bars between meals as a very convenient and tasty way to add size. Whatever the snack, think of times in the day you could fit an extra feeding window in, to get a healthy muscle friendly bucket full of nutrients in the body.
Top Tip – try PhD Growth Factor 50 Brownies between meals to really take your growth to the next level. Another great muscle building snack is 5 caramel rice cakes smeared with crunchy peanut butter and ½ sliced banana!
Double up in the Morning!
A lot of athletes will look to really exploit their body’s hunger after the 8 hour fast otherwise known as sleep! Instead of just having one muscle pumping breakfast have two! The second your eyes open grab a shaker, load it with whey isolate and chug it down whilst enjoying 2 kiwi fruits or a tin of pineapple. The protein and carbohydrates in both of these food sources are both very fast digesting. Your body is like a sponge when you wake up and it will drive these nutrients right into the depleted muscle cells. Approximately 30-40 minutes later with your insulin sensitivity increased due to the fast sugars from the fruit you’re in a very anabolic state. Look to have a solid breakfast with foods like oats, egg whites, yogurt, whole eggs and even some lean bacon a couple days of the week. Breakfast is a very good time of the day to embark upon a feeding frenzy with the right foods because your muscles are craving the nutrients! Doubling up will also speed your metabolism up, helping you stay lean even when your eating like a starved pack of hyenas.
Top Tip – Reflex Native Instant Whey is possibly the best quality fast digesting protein product on the market which is why our Digital Editor, Adam Gethin has started using it during his mass gaining phase!
This may sound a little provocative but it is referring to your feeding intervals and nothing more, honest! Some people may find this excruciatingly blunt, but if you drink enough water then you will get up at least once in the night to relieve yourself! Any active athlete should be drinking a minimum of 3 litres of water a day, preferably 4-5. When you do get up have a protein shake ready mixed and waiting for you, knock this back before you put your head back down. This will help sustain the amino acid feed into your muscles, breaking up the 8 hour fast!
Top Tip – make the protein you drink in the middle of the night a multi-blend timed release formula. This way it will help drip feed the muscles for longer whilst you sleep! PhD 6Hr Blend is a great choice in this instance!
Sometimes it can really pay to cheat! Hard gainers in particular will benefit from having a few cheat meals a week. When you eat high quality slow digesting carbohydrates your body has plenty of time to utilise the calories. This is great, but for hard gainers it can also mean they never really gain. By adding in the occasional fast digesting, calorie bursting cheat meal your body will be shocked which can lead to growth. Cheat meals which are very high in protein are key so shoot for 2-3 quality beef burgers with oven chips and cheese for example! Try this 2-4 times a week to force your body into a state of growth!