Believe it or not, it is way harder to gain lean muscle mass than it is to lose fat. I know most of the girls, and some guys, who read this will be surprised as hell, but it’s a fact. Those who believe that they have the ability to gain muscle mass at an incredible rate are purely delusional or have some crazy gene mutation. Stop right here, no, you don’t have a crazy gene mutation.
People don’t seem to grasp the reality of how hard it is to gain muscle mass and especially to maintain it. Yes, steroids and bodybuilding magazines don’t help to fight that perception since people link weightlifting with huge muscles because of those mags. If only people knew that in order to get a reasonable muscle volume, every condition must be met. That includes the right amount of muscle stimuli, as much as everything else like nutrition, digestion, and regeneration. Nutrient timing and quantity are of the utmost importance. Your food intake must also match caloric demand every day, for a few months. Then, digestion comes as important because your body needs to be able to digest all the nutrients. Don’t forget to think about any factor that could affect your digestion, recuperation, etc. It’s way more complex than it might look. Once you got the gains, maintaining them is another full-time job.
While you can’t control everything, just do your best to control what’s in your hand and you’ll get to keep results coming. Here are a few easy (and some not so easy) tips to follow to keep the muscle gains coming.
1. Create a caloric surplus
You can’t be on a diet. However, it doesn’t give you a free pass to the buffet. Don’t go crazy on the bulk up phase bandwagon because you’ll end up gaining more fat than muscles. Think quality nutrients for the win. The golden rule is 500 calories. You need to calculate your basic caloric needs, including your physical activity, and add another 500 or even 1000 calories.
2. Maximize sleep!
You grow when you rest, and obviously while you sleep. Aim for a good 8 to 10 hours of quality sleep every night. How can you maximize sleep? Set the mood, dim the lights, grab a book and your mind will start winding down. You have a busy schedule tomorrow? Grab a pen and paper and write down everything you have to do. Therefore, you won’t wake up in the middle of the night thinking about something you are afraid to forget to do.
3. Increase in protein intake.
Proteins have all the building blocks to help you recuperate faster. On that note, I would also make sure that digestion is optimal. Chew your food correctly, use digestive enzymes if you have any kind of digestive issue such as heartburns, bloating or gas.
4. Alternate phases of hypertrophy and strength
One makes the other better. Increasing your strength will give you the ability to use heavier weights on your 8 to 10 RM, the hypertrophy goldilocks zone.
5. Use our B.C.A.A.’s
Leucine activates a pathway in the body that stimulates muscle protein synthesis. People who consumed a drink with 5.6 grams of BCAAs after their workouts had a greater increase in muscle protein.
6. Post-workout nutrition
Speaking of post-workout. Fast and easily digested carbs with protein should be a priority immediately after your training session for faster recovery and to replenish glycogen store.
7. More carbs
Your body stores energy as glycogen. The idea is to saturate glycogen stores so that the body does not use its own protein to produce energy.
8. Drink aqua!
No shit Sherlock! Such a no brainer. The body is made up of 70% water. If not hydrated properly, strength can plummet by 10% after only a few minutes into the workout.
9. Rest as hard as you train
2 days on, 1 day off has always been the best ratio in most books and protocols. Mid-day naps can also do wonders. The best ones are quick 20-30-minute naps called “power naps”. If you sleep longer, you’ll wake up groggy and more tired.
USE THEM! Of course, you will be all-natural! You must maximize recovery and workout performance by giving your body everything it needs: fish oils, amino acids, proteins, carbs, vitamins, and minerals. You might have to go the extra mile and do what most people are not willing to, which is invest in order to get a great physique and better health. You don’t need to become a pill-popping machine. Simple use the essentials: BCAA, fish oils, enzymes, proteins, and carbohydrate powders to add more to your plan. The reward will worth it.