You try to gain mass and build lean muscle. You train for few months – or even worse – for years without seeing any significant change in your physique. What do you think is going wrong? Which essential key are you missing for muscle growth? Read on and find out.
Which key is most essential for muscle growth? Do you think it’s your training? Or is it your nutrition? Or what about supplements? Which of these keys will get you closer to your goals and to the physique you deserve?
Since you started lifting weight are you stronger? I’m sure you are if you have a good training program. But the big question is; are you bigger? Did you increase the size of your chest, back, or legs?
If not, I’m asking you to look closely your nutrition. From my own experience, nutrition is the key to your success. For muscle growth you need a lot of calories. If you are not consuming enough calories, you will become a little bit stronger, but not bigger. And it isn’t necessary to have a good physique to be the strongest person. But you do need to know how to train, and what and when to eat. Of course the workout program and supplements are important – but you will never be able to grow your muscles if your body doesn’t get enough calories. And those calories should come first from real food!
This is the plan I use for myself and with my clients and it’s working well. Sure, everybody is different and every metabolism is different. I start with those calories and I pay attention to see if we increase lean muscle or increase fat. If we increase lean muscle, we keep going, and if we see the body fat increase too much then we decrease the number of calories a bit. A good tip is to keep doing your cardio after your strength training session. You don’t need to perform your cardio for too long. I like keep my cardio sessions around 20 minutes and I use interval training. It keeps me lean all year round!
You need good lean protein – the best source of calories for muscle-building – and it should come from a variety of foods:
Chicken and turkey breast
Dairy (low fat)
I like to keep my protein intake to around 1.2g per pound of my body weight. For example, if your weight is 175 lbs you should consume (1.2g X 175lbs) = 210g of protein every day.
Carbohydrate is also important to keep your energy levels high which will help you push more weight.
Your carbohydrates should come from different sources like:
Whole grain (Cereals, Rice, Bread and Pasta)
Fruits and Vegetables
When it’s time to bulk up I need to increase my carbohydrates, and I usually eat 3g times my body weight in pounds: (3g X 175lbs) = 525g of carbohydrates per day.
Now, one important part of nutrition for building muscles is your fat consumption. Don’t be afraid of fat. Your body needs it. Fat can be good for you. But be careful – when I say fat I’m not talking about saturated fat. By taking the right amount of good fats per day, you’ll increase your calorie intake. It won’t affect your body fat if you eat the right fats in the right amounts.
The good source of monounsaturated fats are:
The good sources of polyunsaturated fats are:
Fish (herring, salmon, mackerel, halibut, sardine)
* Don’t forget to get your Omega-3 fats from oily fish and some flaxseed. A good supplement for this is ‘EFA Lean Gold’.
My consumption of good fats is around 0.8g per pound of body weight (0.8g X 175lbs) = 140g.
So, if I add up the calories from my example of a person weighing 175lbs, I get:
Protein: 210g X 4 calories per g = 840cal
Carbohydrate: 525g X 4 calories per g = 2100cal
Fat: 140g X 9 calories per g = 1260cal
For a total of 4200 calories per day. Do you see why fat is important to increase your calorie intake? It’s more than double the number of calories in protein or carbohydrate (9g for fat versus 4g for carbohydrate or protein).
It seems like a lot of food, but when you split your calories into 6 different meals it’s easy to reach those numbers. But remember 2 things:
Be consistent. You cannot do well for 1 week, and the next week not eat enough calories. You will not be able to grow like that.
Increase your calories if you increase your muscle mass. Re-calculate everything and do it again. This is the secret. Always stay on top of your game.
What about supplements for muscles growth? After the real food, supplements are very important to help you to build muscles. You should use some for sure. Sometimes we don’t have time to eat 6 perfect meals during the day. A protein shake like Lean Body Mass will be perfect to increase your calories, protein, carbs and fat during the day if you are too busy to sit down and eat a meal.
And to finish, if you really want push your workout to the next level you should try the Super Charge from Labrada. Wow! That will keep you going!
So, if you really want to see your muscles grow, you need to increase your calorie intake. It’s simple. It’s not rocket science. You just need to stay on top of your game and be consistent!
** Martin Bolduc is the author of the Ultimate Guide to Express Fat Loss and the winner of the Lean Body Challenge 2008. Martin is a Certified Personal Trainer ACE and BCRPA and a natural bodybuilder. Martin helps hundreds of clients to reach their goals. Get Your Special Report on Express Fat Loss