How to Gain.. The RIGHT Way
Looking to gain muscle mass? If you think eating anything and everything in sight will help you to bulk up, you may want to think again.
Now that summer has come to an end and tank tops and shorts are replaced by baggy pants and sweat shirts. The next few months can mean only one thing…Ahh it’s bulking time.
- The Bulk: A period of time when the primary goal is building muscle, gaining weight, increasing strength, or all of the above. Calorie intake is increased so a caloric surplus is present.
- The Cut: A period of time when the primary goal is losing fat, losing weight, getting leaner, or all of the above. Calorie intake is decreased and/or calorie expenditure is increased so that a caloric deficit is present.
Every off-season, many individuals fall short of their goals. Why? You might ask. Below are some of the most common mistakes people make during the off-season that hinder their gains. If you can avoid as many of these mistake as possible, you will be on your way to a productive off-season.
1) Not Eating Enough
In order to add muscle to your body you need to make sure that you have an adequate surplus of energy. This means simply getting enough calories daily so that your body can recover from workouts and rebuild the stressed muscle fibers little by little.
Without the energy and the fuel, via a surplus of healthy food, you cannot make the improvements you need. Make sure that you are eating enough calories to enable you to make those improvements. Though you might put on a little (note I said a little) body fat, the body fat will come off once you diet down for cutting season.
2) Not Eating Enough Healthy Clean Foods
Above we talked about taking in enough calories so you can put on good size in the off season.
There is a lot of misguided information out on the internet on how to binge to gain muscle. Often there will be claims that eating this amount of protein or X amount of calories will lead to bigger muscles. We are here to clear all that confusion up.
You might say ‘fast food and junk food are calorie dense so why not have them once or twice a day so I can bump up my overall calories?” or “Because junk food is so calorie dense, I’ll have enough energy to make my reps and build more muscle, right?”
While you want to have excess calories while bulking, the majority of those calories should be from clean healthy foods: lean cuts of meat, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats. Although not as calorie dense, these healthy foods are energy dense. Clean energy is what is going to give you that extra push to do that extra rep. When you are trying to gain weight you do need additional calories, but diet riddled with junk food will result in little muscle gain and plenty of fat storage.
How many times have you heard people say how sluggish they feel after eating fast food?
This is mostly because junk food has nutritionally zero benefits; yes, you are getting your calories but no nutrients to fuel the body leaving you sluggish. Because junk food has the wrong kind of sugars it’s common to find yourself getting a “sugar high” followed by an immediate crash. The crash is due to the energy running out whereas clean healthy foods keep your energy going for a longer lasting effect. So think twice the next time you take a bite out of that 4×4 at In’n’out! Clean it up and you will beef it up!
3) No Cardio
This is a huge mistake that 99% of the time men fall victim to the no cardio approach in the off season. They justify it by saying “I don’t want to lose any gainz”. Well, we are here to tell you that three 30 minute cardio sessions a week will do wonders for your bulking phase. By incorporating a cardio routine into your workout program, your appetite will go through the roof, which will make it a lot easier to eat more clean healthy food.
“Staying aerobically fit is an important component of gaining weight. A strong and fit heart will help you to recover between sets more efficiently thus improving your overall work capacity (in other words: allowing you to do more sets in same the same amount of time).” Brian Tabor, personal trainer at ARC.
A big part of building more muscle means progressively doing more work (set/reps) in your training. If you want to put on that size then start doing some cardio.
4) Not Enough Rest/ Recovery Time
Many novice trainers don’t realize that you do all your growing outside the gym. Even some experienced lifters find it hard to stay away from the gym to get enough rest. They do everything else right: eat clean, workout out hard, but forget to give their bodies enough rest and recovery time between workouts so gains are negligible. Being sure to get plenty of food is one thing, but it’s important to get enough rest and sleep as well. You break down the muscle tissue in the gym, given that you fuel your body with nutritious food.
Article by: Reyanne Mustafa
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