‘’I am a hard gainer’’ I hear you cry, but is this really true or are you just a lousy eater!? One of the most frequented topics of conversation around gyms this time of the year is how one can aim to gain mass and what might they do, which maybe they haven’t done before. Before we delve into specifics let’s keep it simple – a lot of people fail to eat enough to grow, I myself am guilty of this on occasions and that is the simplest answer, eat more. Sometimes a basic ‘’reality’’ check is all that is required to get the scales moving in the right direction again and more importantly the muscles pushing up tight against the fabric of your clothes.
By applying the following 3 tips I feel you will be able to make headway once again – see if you can’t.
Before you get the wrong end of the stick I am not one to go on about slamming down calorie dense ‘’happy meals’’ before your bed time because Mr Olympia says that’s what he does. The average man with average genetics (without enhancement) won’t require such a luxury, and I call it that because who wouldn’t want to indulge in food like this with a conscious which was free of any form of guilt from doing so! Instead I am suggesting you eat more calories than you burn, then some. Although I do believe you can burn fat and build muscle at the same time (having seen it happen time and time again) when you are after large gains I feel you need to eat accordingly, especially if you have hovered around the same weight for a while. Personally I feel 18 calories per pound of lean body weight is a good yardstick to begin with and increase as needs be from there. Remember you do not want to gain too much body fat because the aromatisation of testosterone to estrogen occurs at a higher rate, leading to less anabolism.
Everyone has different macronutrient requirements, period. Any system which claims to hold the answer is limited, although it may be helpful to a point. Protein is obviously the most talked about macro and I will go straight out and say from experience I would recommend 1.5g per pound of lean body weight and as much 2g in some instances. From here the calorific deficit left needs to be surpassed by fats and carbohydrates. This is where things can get a little more complex and controversial. Personally I rather someone make up a lot of their calories from fats and the rest from carbohydrates, opposed to the other way around. There are cases where this changes, but I am talking about average Joe here. The bulk of my carbohydrate intake would be in the morning when insulin sensitivity is at its best and post-workout, for the following 1-3 meals (not including your PWO shake). When you consider every gram of fat has 9 calories opposed to 4 calories from carbohydrates and protein it makes getting your calorie intake up much easier!
Shakes Shakes are fantastic, I am a big believer in having one the second you wake, after training and before bed sometimes. However if you are having shakes back to back the body just isn’t getting enough whole foods to grow. Simple.
No more excuses, grow!