Thursday, October 9, 2014

How to build big muscles, gain weight or add mass to your frame

[This post is for those individuals who have no problems with losing fat, but experience life exactly the other way around, struggling to add weight!]

Since I joined Quora, as an adviser on matters related to health and fitness, I have seen and answered a couple of questions asked by individuals who want to know what they can do to build massive muscles or to add weight and mass to their frames. I give the same answer to every person, since the principles behind building muscle and adding weight stay exactly the same for each person looking to add mass. I'd like to post that answer here, so that everyone, looking to add mass and build muscle may read it, use it and benefit from the advice.

1. For adequate muscle growth, the muscle tissue will need building material, energy, nutrients and lots of water. Building material in the form of protein, energy in the form of carbohydrates and fats and nutrients in the form of vitamins and minerals. The muscle tissue simply will not grow without these inputs.

It has been shown that around 1 - 2 grams of protein is required for every kg of lean muscle mass, for optimal growth. What you want is an abundance of protein so that the muscle does not struggle to obtain enough protein. It is therefore recommended that you get around 2 to 3 grams of protein for every kg of lean muscle mass per day in order to build some quality muscle tissue.

If your goal is to add 10 kg to your frame for instance, then for 67 kg of lean muscle mass for instance (example of 57 kg + 10 kg = 67 kg) you will have to have a protein intake of close to 150 (67 kg x 2 to 3 grams/kg = approx 150 g protein) grams per day to ensure that enough building material is available for growth.

As far as the type of protein goes, try to add more red meats and nuts, like almonds and brazil nuts, in your diet rather than chicken and fish. Red meat contains more natural creatine and fats, which will also boost your testosterone levels more than chicken and fish. Higher testosterone levels means more muscle development.

For energy, it is advisable to match your protein intake gram for gram with carbohydrates.But if you want more growth, then going up as far as 1.5 grams of carbs for every gram of protein is not uncommon. When you eat carbs you must make sure that it is of the slow digesting variety. Carbs like sweet potato and oats are ideal. Why so many carbs? Because growing and developing muscles takes a lot of energy, which must be supplied by carbs. Also, you don't want the body to metabolize protein for energy. All protein must be used for developing muscle tissue. 

Then you have to give the muscles adequate nutrients like healthy fats, vitamins and minerals. These nutrients ensure that all metabolic and hormonal pathways always function at an optimal level for optimal growth. Invest in a good multivitamin and healthy fat supplement which will give your muscles all it needs to grow.

Finally, you can forget about growth if you neglect your water intake. For growth you're going to have to get in 4 to 5 liters of water every day. The reason for this is because water is the carrier of all the protein, carbs and nutrients to your muscles. Without water the building material, energy material and nutrients cannot adequately reach the muscle where growth is taking place. It is also known that in a hydrated environment protein synthesis and growth takes place at an improved rate, so make sure you drink up.

2. When you train, you systematically break down muscle fibers. It is only after training that muscle tissue starts to heal and grow larger and stronger. When you train I advise that you split your training into three sessions per week, spaced with at least a day of rest between sets. It's going to seem that you're training too little but stick it out like this for a week or two and gauge the results. Set your program up like this: Day 1: Legs and shoulders, Day 2: Chest and back, Day 3: Arms and calves.

When you train you need to place more focus on compound movements. Compound movements recruit more muscle groups for the execution of the movement which means you could lift heavier weights and train multiple body parts at the same time. You must definitely include the following in your regime: Bench press, Deadlift, Squats, Clean and presses, Barbell curls and Dips. When you train always start with the compound movements first, if you have energy left afterwards, fill in with one or two isolation movements.

Here's the most important part when you train: You must train each body part to failure. That means that you cannot even lift the weight one inch from the starting position. This is really important and I'll explain why. Our bodies never use more muscle fibers to move against a resistance than what is absolutely necessary. It only uses enough to get the action done. But if you want optimal growth, you need to make sure that every single muscle fiber in your body is used and exercised. That is why it is necessary to train to failure. As you move the weight more and more and more, more and more muscle fibers become fatigued and the body recruits more fibers to make the movement possible. Eventually you reach a point where all the fibers have been fatigued and there is just nothing left to move the weight. This point is failure and is what you should be shooting for in each set. If you're able to recruit and fatigue all your muscle fibers, then you'll be able to build the most muscle.

Also, when you perform a set, aim for a max of 6 reps per set. Your weight should be heavy enough so that you fail after rep number 6. If you can still move the weight after 6 reps, then your weight is too light my friend. You need to add more.

Finally, forget about cardio. If you need to do cardio do High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) but only enough to reach a goal. Not to be done every day.

3. With diet and training done, you have to make sure that you boost your efforts with supplements also. For growth, I would recommend that you invest in a good quality creatine, whey protein supplement, a good quality casein whey supplement, a pre-workout formulation, branched chain amino acids (BCAA's) and a natural testosterone booster. I also recommend a Zinc, Magnesium supplement to be taken at night right before bed time.

The whey protein supplement will give your body good quality proteins. Casein whey is a whey protein that takes longer to absorb. That makes it an excellent source of protein to be taken right before bedtime. During the night, when we sleep, an 8 hour period passes where no protein is fed to the muscles. By taking a casein whey supplement, there is a prolonged absorption of protein during the night, which means protein is available for longer and which then means more growth at night when you sleep.

Pre-workout formulas supply great energy for intense workouts and also places your body in an anabolic state for optimal muscle growth. BCAA's are really great because they prevent the body from metabolizing it's own muscle tissue for energy. This means you'll be able to hold on to muscle better and not lose is so quickly between workouts. A testosterone booster boosts natural testosterone in the body and a Zinc and Magnesium supplement helps you to sleep better while also stimulating the production of natural testosterone and growth hormones at night when you sleep.

And that's really it friends. Attempt to get it right in these three areas, diet, training and supplementation and your chances of adding bulk will increase dramatically. I wish you all the best and hope that your achieve your goals and even surpass them!

If you try this program and it works, let us know. Comment below!

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