Adding quality mass is the main goal for most bodybuilders and physique athletes.
Here are some rules to follow when looking to add that extra kilogram of quality muscle to your frame.
- Protein leads the pack. Nothing is more important than protein, it lays the foundation for growth by supplying the amino acids the body uses to repair and build muscle. Shoot for at least 1g to 1.5g per pound of body weight everyday. (Between 2g to 3.5g per kg body weight)
- Take carbs to tango. To maximize growth, you need carbs. Carbohydrates digest into glucose, which is used for fuel by your muscles. Surplus glucose is used as glycogen, the stored component of energy that influences stamina and recovery. Carbs also boosts insulin levels, which is important because insulin is the driving hormone that shuttles amino acids into muscle tissue to enhance muscular growth.
- Fat is not a four-letter word. Fat has always received bad press, but to anyone seeking greater muscle size, fat is your friend. Fat spares both the burning of glucose and amino acids, thereby giving the body access to more amino acids and glucose to build muscle. Fats are also very important in priming testosterone levels.
- Eat more frequently. Space your whole food meals and protein shakes into two to three hour intervals so that you are eating at least six meals per day. This supplies the body with non-stop nutrients to saturate the body with muscle building hormones, which encourage muscle repair and growth.
- Pre-training meals are key. Nobody wants to have a huge meal before hitting the weights, but a good sized pre-workout meal helps elevate insulin secretion, counteracting the tissue damage that comes with hardcore training. An increase in insulin, coupled with the presence of plenty amino acids, will slow down the tear down mechanism typically exerted during training.
- Shake it up during training. If a large pre-training meals does not work for you, try a shake comprised of about 20g whey and 20-40g of fast acting carbs, such as vitargo or a waxy maize product. Consumed during training, it can fight muscle breakdown and create an anti-catabolic effect in which glucose (carbs) and amino acids are used during the workout.
- Replenish post workout. Within 30 minutes of training nothing beats a shake compromised of 40-60g of fast acting whey protein, combined with between 40-100g of carbs. Another option is a combined all-in-one protein/carb shake. This quick muscle fix also shuts down cortisol, the muscle-wasting hormone that increases with training.
- N-O PRODUCTS. Short for nitric oxide. Nitric oxide products contain an amino acid called arginine, which not only supports growth hormone, but also helps with nitric oxide release in the body. Nitric oxide increases blood flow to the muscles, giving that “PUMP”, a major factor in muscle recruitment and growth.
- Activate GH. Growth hormone helps burn body fat, build muscle mass and increase insulin like growth factor-1 (igf-1). The body naturally boosts growth hormone levels during training and while sleeping, but taking 7-10g of arginine before bed can magnify sleep-induced growth hormone release. THE TRICK: avoid carbs before bedtime, as excess glucose can potentially blunt growth hormone output.
- Add branched-chain amino acids (bcaa). This supplement has the most impressive track record for the body. 5-10g before and after training will help block muscle breakdown, increase protein synthesis and suppress hormones that can interfere with muscle recovery. Branched-chain amino acids can also help testosterone levels from falling