Saturday, September 12, 2009
10 ESSENTIAL MUSCLE GROWTH TIPS
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Ten tips to help you gain rock hard muscle mass. Now there are many other things that you can do to help you build mass, BUT these 10 things are the bare essentials. In other words, they are absolutely necessary for a successful program.
1. Weight Train
Weight training involves the use of equipment that enables variable resistance. This resistance can come in the form of "free weights" like barbells and dumbbells, machines that use cables or pulleys to help you lift the weight and bodyweight exercises like pull-ups or dips.
For anyone trying to gain muscle, several things must be done. One is to train with heavy weights. By heavy I mean a weight that is challenging for YOU. The average guy in the gym usually works with a weight he can lift for 10-15 reps. For mass gaining purposes, this is too light. Using an appropriate weight, you should only be able to do 4-8 reps. That's it! Using heavy weights and low reps puts your muscles and nervous system under much more stress than using lighter weights for many reps. This added stress causes the involvement and stimulation of more muscle fibers, which will cause rapid muscle growth.
For maximum muscle gain, the focus of your workouts should consist of free weight exercises. Not machines or bodyweight exercises. This is not to say that you should not use machines or bodyweight exercises, but they should not be the focus of your training. To get an effective, muscle blasting workout, you must stimulate the most muscle fibers as possible, and machines do not do this.
2. Eat More Calories
The most important thing that I cannot emphasize is that you need to eat to gain weight. You need to eat like you've never eaten before. If you are not eating enough calories, you will NEVER gain weight, no matter what you do. In order to build new muscle, you must eat more calories than your body burns off, creating what is called a caloric surplus. To gain mass, you should strive to eat around 18-20 times your bodyweight in calories. The extra calories will be used by your body to repair muscle tissue that is damaged during the heavy workouts, and to build new muscle.
Now, when I say eat, I do not mean just anything. All calories are not created equal. In other words, some types of calories are not equal to others for gaining muscle. For example, if I said that you need to eat 2,000 calories per day to gain weight, and you eat 4 bags of potato chips each day, do you think you would gain muscle? Not likely. The majority of your weight would be fat. Why? Because potato chips, like most processed junk food, contains empty, totally nutritionless calories. These foods do not provide you with the correct nutrient breakdown essential for gaining muscle.
3. Eat More Protein
Without protein, your body will not be able to build new muscle. Years ago, a higher carbohydrate and lower fat diet was the rage, recommended by professional bodybuilders and trainers. They claimed that this was the only way to eat for muscle gain. Unfortunately, the only people gaining muscle on that type of diet were a genetically gifted few. The rest just got fat.
Carbs serve mainly as energy for the body, while protein provides the necessary amino acids to build and repair muscle. For muscle growth, carbohydrates are not as essential as protein and fats. High quality protein, which the body breaks down into amino acids, should be the center point of all your meals. There are many studies that show intense exercise increases demand for amino acids, which support muscle repair and growth. To build muscle, you should try to get at least 1g of protein per pound of bodyweight.
Whether you believe it or not, the fact is: High protein diets build more muscle when incorporated with intense training. Low protein diets do not. Period. Only protein can build muscle. Carbohydrates and fat cannot.
4. Eat More Often
To gain weight, you will be eating a large amount of calories. Unfortunately, your body can only assimilate a certain number of calories at each meal. For our purposes, eating three meals per day is not beneficial. If you had to eat 3,000 calories per day, then you would end up eating 1,000 calories at each meal. The average person can only use a portion of those calories. The excess will be stored as fat or removed from the body.
To enable your body to actually assimilate and use the 3,000 calories you will ingest, you have to reduce your meal size and increase your meal frequency. Splitting your calories into smaller, more frequent portions will enable food absorption and utilization of nutrients . I always eat six meals each day, evenly spaced out at three-hour intervals.
My goal is to provide my body with constant nourishment throughout the day. So if it typically takes about 2.5 hours to digest most meals, want to be eating another meal just as my last meal is leaving my stomach. I do this because my body is constantly in need of nutrients to repair itself. I do a lot of damage during my workouts and completely stress my system. My body is trying to "adapt to the stress," but in order to do this, it needs consistent fuel.
If I ate only three meals per day, then my body would be without nutrients for about six hours between each of those meals! This is unacceptable for skinny guys. Without food, your body will quickly begin to breakdown muscle tissue for energy.
5. Eat More Fat
If you want to gain muscle mass, you must eat enough dietary fat. Dietary fats play an essential role in hormone production, which in turn is responsible for growth and strength increases. I have never gained muscle on a low fat diet, though many people still believe that eating fat makes you fat. This is absolutely false. In fact, there is a very popular muscle gain diet that been around for years, called the "Anabolic Diet" that requires you to eat only fat! Butter, bacon, and heavy cream are all on the menu. Though quite extreme, this diet does work.
Most people are overweight because of a diet high in simple carbohydrates, not from eating fats. If your diet is too low in fat, your body will actually make a point to store any fat it gets, because it doesn't know when it will get more. A low-fat diet will also lower testosterone levels, something we do not want when trying to gain weight. Studies have shown that dietary fat has a direct relationship with testosterone production. An increase in dietary fat intake seems to bring on an increase in testosterone levels. The inverse is also true. A decrease in dietary fat intake is usually accompanied by a decrease in free testosterone levels.
However, you don't want to increase your intake of saturated fats. Saturated fats are what cause disease and coronary problems. Though you will always have some saturated fats in your diet, your main focus should be to increase your intake of Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs).
EFAs are unsaturated fats that are necessary for thousands of biological functions throughout the body. Because they cannot be manufactured by the body, the must be provided by your diet. These fatty acids not only help increase testosterone production, but they also aid in the prevention of muscle breakdown, help to increase your HDL level (good cholesterol) and assist in hormone production. To get your recommended amount of EFA's, I recommend supplementing your diet with either Udo's Perfect Oil Blend (which combines omega- and omega-6), or Cold-Pressed Flaxseed oil (which is mostly omega-3).
6. Drink More Water
To make sure that your muscles stay hydrated, you must drink plenty of water. Dehydration can happen easily if you train hard. A dehydrated muscle, takes longer to repair itself than one sufficiently hydrated.
Drinking a sufficient amount of water not only increases your vascularity (more visible veins), but it will also help to quickly remove toxins from the body. Protein generates metabolic waste products that must be dissolved in water. Without enough water, the kidneys cannot efficiently remove these wastes.
7. Take a Multi-Vitamin
There are many supplements and specific muscle gain enhancing products that I recommend using
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