Every guy who has ever stepped into a gym has had, at one point or another, some aspiration to gain muscle mass. Most men who seem incapable of putting on weight are simply eating and/or exercising the wrong way. Follow these seven steps to pack on as much as a pound of muscle a week.
1. Eat big, but clean: This is a must. Plain and simple. You have to understand that if you don’t intake more calories than the ones you burn at the gym, you will not gain mass no matter how hard you try. But that doesn't mean you can eat whatever you want; you don't want to be the biggest, fattest guy in the room. Egg whites, whey protein, chicken, tuna, veggies, and turkey are great foods to eat if you want to gain muscle mass.
2. Work your biggest muscles: If you’re a beginner, just about any workout will be intense enough to increase protein synthesis. But if you’ve been lifting for a while, you’ll build the most muscle quickest if you focus on the large muscle groups, like the chest, back, and legs. Add squats, deadlifts, pullups, bent-over rows, bench presses, dips, and military presses to your workout. Do two or three sets of 8 to 12 repetitions, with about 60 second rest between sets.
3. Water, lots of water: Learn to love it and drink lots of it. It makes up as much as 70% of your muscle. Doesn't it make sense that if you want bigger and stronger muscles, you should intake more water? Drink about a gallon of water a day.
4. Down the carbs after your workout: Research shows that you'll rebuild muscle faster on your rest days if you feed your body carbohydrates. Post-workout meals with carbs increase your insulin levels, which, in turn, slows the rate of protein breakdown. Have a banana, a sports drink, or a peanut-butter sandwich.
5. Have some milk before bed: Eat a combination of carbohydrates and protein 30 minutes before you go to bed. The calories are more likely to reduce protein breakdown in your muscles while you sleep. Try a cup of granola with skim milk or a cup of cottage cheese with a small bowl of fruit. For best results, eat again as soon as you wake up.
6. Change things up: Although we follow workout routines, there's always a need for variety. A workout shouldn't just be a weightlifting challenge; there should also be a level of complexity and variation to each move. Alternatively, try to work high-intensity interval training or cardio moves into each workout to make sure your body is constantly adjusting.
7. Eat something every 3 hours: If you don’t eat often enough, you can limit the rate at which your body builds new proteins. Take the number of calories you need in a day and divide by six. That’s roughly the number you should eat at each meal. Make sure you consume some protein, around 20 grams, every 3 hours.
LatinAmerican Post | Luisa Fernanda Baez
Copy edited by Susana Cicchetto