2. Track your progress
Keep a close eye on your progress by monitoring your body weight changes. This will give you more control over the process and help you correct any possible mistakes. Weigh yourself multiple times each week to make sure you’re neither gaining weight too fast nor too slowly – this is the only way to know if you’re on the right path. Also, remember the saying “that which gets measure gets improved”? Well, that one is more than true in the case of fitness goals.
However, scales rarely tell the whole story, so if you rely on the scale as the one and only indicator of your progress, you’ll probably get unnecessarily discouraged at a few points. Of course, if the scale isn’t moving at all after a longer period, that’s a good sign that you should increase your caloric consumption even further.
But in order to get a better picture of your achievements, you should also monitor the way you look and feel and track your macros and calories daily. Sure, it will take some time to develop the habit, but once you start practicing it regularly it gets a lot easier. If you’re serious about this, make sure to write everything down. Tracking your progress is one of the most underrated parts of success. If you find that you’re gaining weight too fast, resist the temptation to celebrate and take a step back and reduce your caloric intake to avoid storing too much fat. Patience is the name of this game, so aim at no more than a pound per week and remember that gaining weight too fast almost always means that either you’ve been eating too much or you’ve been eating the wrong kind of calories.
3. Lift. A lot!
Now that you’ve got your mass-gain nutrition in check, it’s time to assess your strengths and weaknesses and design a training regime that will produce the wanted results. Muscle building requires an optimal balance between your kitchen and gym efforts, so during your bulk you also need to train hard and heavy in a way that stimulates your muscles to focus on growing like never before. With this in mind, here are 5 tips on training for maximum mass gains:
- To achieve better hypertrophy, employ high-volume, multiple-set protocols instead of single sets. Also, consider splitting your routine for the same reason. Split routines which include multiple exercises for one or two specific muscle groups allow you to maintain the desired total weekly volume, while enabling greater activation of the targeted muscle groups and better recovery between two sessions.
- Stick to moderate rep ranges of 6-12 per set in order to get sufficient time under tension and fatigue as much muscle fibers as possible. Studies have shown that such rep patterns coupled with loads that are at least 65% of your 1RM optimize the hypertrophic response. In addition, training programs that use sets of 6-12 reps work the best at maximizing anabolic hormone production.
- Contrary to popular belief, causing excessive muscle damage won’t produce maximum growth. Instead, it can harm your gains by slowing the rate of recovery and interfering with training quality and volume in the long run.
- Emphasize multi-joint exercises such as squats and deadlift and perform isolation moves for the end of the routine. Multi-joint exercises are a crucial part of mass building because they recruit more muscle groups at once and cause a greater beneficial impact on hormone response.
- According to multiple studies, moderate intervals of rest (60-90 seconds) between sets are best for achieving maximum hypertrophy. Shorter rest periods will cause muscular fatigue too quickly and limit your total training volume, while longer rest periods reduce the metabolic stress caused by the training and thereby reduce its effectiveness.