If you are reading this article, chances are you have one goal on your mind – you want to build muscle, be bigger and stronger. Your desire to grow leads you to the gym, makes you aggressive and ruthless in the weight room, but if you want to build serious muscle mass, pounding the weights is not enough – you need to have a solid nutrition plan. Here are a few pieces of advice to help you reach your goal and build rock hard muscle.
1. Increase the calorie intake
Despite being the most basic and important rule, lot of young trainees seem to forget about it. It’s practically impossible to build muscle without the adequate quantity of calories. Eating for size is really a simple math – you need to eat MORE calories than you burn every single day. Without this rule being applied your workouts become meaningless.
2. Stimulate your anabolic hormones with high calorie consumption
When you eat more calories than you burn, your body has a better ability to support the secretion of anabolic hormones like Insulin, IGF-1 ( Insulin-like growth factor a.k.a. somatomedin) and Testosterone.
A greater caloric surplus that comes from carbohydrates will increase the production of IGF-1 and insulin – two hormones that control the uptake of carbohydrates into muscle cells.
On the other hand, you need to eat some healthy fats too, because they will help in increasing the testosterone levels. Testosterone is directly responsible for your strength and muscle mass.
3. Increase the protein
It is unthinkable to build muscle without protein. The minimum for building solid mass would be around 1 to 1.2 grams/per lb per day. Science has proved that the number of times you eat protein in 24 hours is not really important for building muscle, what is important is the quantity of that protein. However, for most of the trainees, eating very large amounts of protein in two of three big meals is hard. So eating 4,5 or even 6 meals can solve that problem.
As we mentioned, eating fats will help your body produce more testosterone. You can eat higher fat foods in one or two of your meals, but for the other meals it’s not a bad idea to eat lean protein foods like skinless chicken meat, chicken breasts, egg whites and protein shakes. Complex carbohydrates like potatoes, brown rice, dark bread, vegetables and fruits are the other important part of your nutrition plan.
4. Gain more muscle than fat
When you start gaining muscle, don’t think that you will stay lean, the chances are very low. The natural process of building muscle mass is tightly tied to gaining some percent of fats too. Don’t let this fact scare you. Since you are doing 3-4 solid work outs and 2-3 cardio sessions a week and eating balanced healthy meals, there is no place for panic. Let your goal be to gain 3-5 lbs a month. If you are gaining more than that, check your carbohydrate intake and reduce the carbs if you must.
5. The high caloric diet and the nitrogen balance
The Nitrogen is the little engine that gives the protein those unique characteristics of building material. The more nitrogen your body is able to absorb the better the results will be. Does that mean that you need to eat 500 grams of protein a day? No it doesn’t. While the body has enough calories to support its energy needs you will hold enough nitrogen to store the protein you eat.
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6. Eat more calories so you can cut more easily later
Cutting is an entirely different subject, but let’s look at an example to make things clear. Imagine two bodybuilders with similar genetic build and similar energy expenditures, and they both need 3000 calories to sustain their muscle mass. The fist one eats 4000 calories a day and the second one eats 5000 calories to bulk. Who will cut more easily?
Place your bet on the 5000 calorie eater, because they can “afford” to cut their calories drastically. The high calorie eater can cut 2000 calories and still maintain their muscle mass. If the other one decides to make such a drastic change they will quickly fall into a catabolic state and start losing muscle mass too.
7. Use the magic cycle
This is not actually a nutrition advice, but it’s a must when you want to build muscle. Use heavier weights – it’s that simple. Heavy weights + good nutrition + good recovery = bigger muscles. Enter the magic cycle : bigger mass = more strength, more strength = bigger weights lifted, bigger weights lifted = bigger muscle mass.