For those of you who donít want to read my seriously in-depth article on drug-free mass gains, or for those of you who want a more straight forward introduction into mass-building, this quick and easy 5-step plan is ideal. I always refer to mass-building as ďlean-massĒ and I think thatís important because body fat is no good to anyone, unless strength band power is your only aim. If youíre interested in building a great physique then you will at some time add some body fat, but if itís kept in check youíll still stay relatively lean whilst adding lbs of lean muscle. Remember! On a muscular physique 3-4lbs of solid muscle will look very impressive so itís important not to get too carried away with trying to add a similar amount month in, month out. If you are doing, chances are a large portion is body fat. To add lean body-mass, try these 5 easy tips.
If you arenít doing 2-3 of these, they maybe whatís needed to blast you through the sticking point:
1- Increase your carbs and donít be protein-obsessed.: Sounds straightforward but youíd be amazed at how many athletes are scared of carbs yet will cram protein down their neck like itís going out of fashion. Protein and carbohydrates consists of the same calorific value per gram, so why we look upon carbs as the enemy and protein as the savour often surprises me. Iíve coached numerous young natural body builders who are finding it hard to break through a certain weight. Upon analysis of their diet, I often find their protein intake up over 300 grams and their carbs about the same. Now I donít think this is bad if youíre preparing for a show and looking to strip body fat. I often begin my competition diet at about 250G Protein and 350G carbs, so thatís not far off. The first thing I always do is to take 100 grams off the protein intake and add 150 grams of carbs on. This makes 200 grams of protein (easily enough for muscle repair and new growth) and 450 grams of carbs (from good sources). 9 times out of 10 they will begin to add solid muscle. Itís not rocket science, the muscles are largely made up of water and intra-muscular cell volume relies on carbs and water. Eat and drink enough of both and youíll fill those muscles to bursting point and gain strength into the bargain.
2- Water- the vital nutrient: Ok, so there are no calories in water, doesnít matter. As touched on above the muscles are comprised of over 70% water. Training hard, eating well ands drinking a litre of water is taking 2 steps forward and 1 back. Why not take 3 steps forward and bump the water intake up to at least 3-4 litres daily. All the PhD athletes will drink at least 6 litres daily, both when preparing for a show and when looking to add mass.
3- The post-workout meal brought me instant gains: For the first 2 years of training I didnít really know what the post workout meal was. Iíd finish training and then have a protein drink made with milk, thatís all. As soon as I began getting serious about my training and mainly through articles written by Bill Phillips, Dan Duchaine and the MM2K gang, I added a huge post workout drink. I used 40-50 grams of Whey Protein (either WPC or WPI is ideal) with 100 grams of liquid carbohydrates all mixed together and drank down with 500ml of water. Worked instantly, I added a good few lbs of solid muscle and gained strength almost overnight. If youíre not doing this, try it. If you are having a post workout drink but not up to these levels (i.e. too few carbs) try it, I think youíll be pleased with what you see. (I mix 2 scoops of Strawberry Pharma-Wheyô with 5-6 scoops of Battery+/-3 when going for a big Post Workout drink)
4-You have to use Creatine Monohydrate: I always remember my first cycle of Creatine Monohydrate. It was 1996 and I was beginning my summer break from University. I went back to my old gym and decided I was going to train my balls off for the 8 week break and buy some Creatine Monohydrate (after reading about it in MM2K). So I bought a 300 gram tub and used it 5 times daily for the loading phase. I trained hard and heavy as Duchaine had recommended as ATP is the primary fuel source for short duration power work. The results were staggering. Only twice in my life as a natural body builder have I made gains that I could instantly see, the rest have come slowly and steadily yet constantly. This was different. I remember failing the week before on 6 reps with the 28kg dumbbells for over head press, so I was aiming for 7. Once I was past 12 I had to drop the dumbbells due to a mixture of shock and laughter. Adding 5 reps and more maybe a regular occurrence for some of you guys, but for me to add more than 1 rep to any pressing exercise is superb, 2 is amazing, but 5 and more was a joke. I gained 10lbs on the scales during my loading phase and a total of 14lbs in the 8 weeks I had off from University. I went back to Uni and to the gym I trained at and every last person asked me what I was using. I told them, maybe half believed me and half thought I was on the juice. Either way I didnít care, Creatine Monohydrate is a superb sports supplement.
5-Focus on the basics: Itís been said before and itíll be said again, the basics work. Most gyms these days are full of billy big benchers, but not many squat and dead lift hard. Cover the whole body with the basics and youíll be giving yourself the optimum opportunity for growth.
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