Muscle, muscle and more muscle is every bodybuilder’s ultimate goal. What most of you don’t realize, however, is that many of the techniques you’re using today aren’t designed to increase mass and size, and yes…there are a few very specific things that you should be doing that you probably aren’t. In fact, a couple of things you’ve probably been told to avoid are necessary ingredients when building mass and size. Although muscle definition and overall body symmetry is important, let’s face it, when it comes down to the nitty gritty, it’s really all about who’s got the biggest muscles. While bodybuilding is not yet an exact science and your body may not react exactly the way someone else’s does, we’ve compiled a few tips for building mass and size that should help if you’re struggling.
To really build mass and size there are basically three things that you need to focus on.
- The type of training you’re doing
- Your diet
- The supplements you’re using
Training tips for building mass and size
First and foremost, stop overtraining and take a few days off and do it now! Make tomorrow the day you’re actually going to give your body the opportunity to recover from the torturous workouts you’ve been subjecting it too. Overtraining is one of the quickest ways to sabotage any attempt to build mass and size. Your body needs time to allow hormones such as testosterone and cortisol to return to optimal levels, to restore glycogen and increase anabolism. Taking a couple of days off won’t set your program behind but will, in fact, speed it up. Once you get back to the gym and your body has had a chance to regroup, you’re going to have to make a few changes in your training program.
Eliminate any and all aerobic exercise. (Some of you are probably very glad to hear this one!) Aerobic exercise burns up essential glycogen and branched chain amino acids. The loss of these elements are going to interfere with both strength gain and recovery. Eliminating aerobic exercise will help sustain these important nutrients.
If you’re not currently using negative training in your workout, it’s time to do some research and figure out how to add it in. Many of the professional and very successful bodybuilder’s already know that the most important aspect of any lift is actually the eccentric or negative rather than the concentric or positive. In a concentric movement, the muscle shortens while in an eccentric movement it’s actually being lengthened. Using negative training techniques will make an amazing difference in your ability to build mass and size. For more information on negative training, see _____________________.
Allow at least one week to experience the benefits of power lifting. While your current training program probably involves anywhere from 6-12 repetitions per set, take a week and drop your reps while increasing the weight substantially. Make it a point to do this on a regular basis. Not only will you increase strength but when you go back to your normal training routine, you’ll be even stronger than you were before.
Dieting tips for building mass and size.
The key to achieving mass and size rests basically on your ability to jump start anabolism and create a positive nitrogen balance. For the anabolic process to work, you need extra calories. One of the reasons your current training program requires 4-6 meals a day is to increase the infiltration of nutrients and provide a steady supply of carbs, proteins and fat. Add a protein drink in the middle of the night and you’ll actually be giving your body a little extra ammunition that will encourage additional muscle growth and size.
To build mass and size, you absolutely have to be taking in more nitrogen than you’re losing. If you’re currently on a low calorie diet, you need to toss it right out the window for at least three days. A bodybuilder simply cannot achieve a positive nitrogen balance if you’re not giving your body the calories it needs. The only things that are going to build new muscle and aid in the healing process are carbohydrates, fats and proteins. Increase your calories by at least 50% for a total of three consecutive days. By improving the muscle’s susceptibility to insulin and providing more carbohydrates for glycogen retention, you’ll compel muscle growth exponentially.
Things to add to your diet:
• Omega-3 Fatty Acids are essential (Fish! Fish! Fish!) – Eat salmon or swordfish three times per week . You can also supplement with 5-7 grams of fish oil taken on a daily basis.
• Sugar and Salt – Yep, that’s what we said. Sugar and Salt! While most of you have probably been told to remove the salt from your diet because it causes water retention, the truth of the matter is that sodium is actually an essential ingredient in building mass and size. It will enhance the storage of carbs and the absorption of amino acids as well as improve the muscle’s responsiveness to insulin. Simple sugars have also been off-limits to most bodybuilders. Adding simple sugars to your postworkout meal, however, will control the production of cortisol and encourage the release of insulin. Keep it to about 80-130g of carbs immediately after your workout but include things like fruit juice, white flour bread or fat free ice cream. In this case, the good far outweighs the bad.
• Protein – while you’re probably currently consuming about 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight, if you really want to build mass and size, you need to increase that amount to 1 ½-2 grams per pound of bodyweight. This will also enhance anabolism.
Supplements necessary for building mass and size.
If you’re serious about building mass and size and you’ve made the recommended changes to your diet and your training program, the final step is to get on a good supplementation program. There are basically three supplements that are essential to building mass and size.
- Branched Chain Amino Acids