How to pack on muscle mass to a lean physique
Muscle mass, as seen on magazine cover models is many people’s idea of the perfect body; a balance of muscularity, athleticism and a low body fat percentage. Many of these extra-lean models also weigh in at around 175 – 180lbs, making it a challenging but ultimately realistic goal for genetically average trainers and hardgainers to achieve.
So all it takes is gaining muscle? For some, even building 10lbs of muscle mass can be a real challenge, due to factors such as; a fast metabolism, poor genetics, the wrong type of training, low quality nutrition – and not eating enough.
The key to hard-gainer growth is to maximise your muscle-building potential. How? By applying proven mass-building principles. Follow our tried and tested guide to effective muscle gain, including the benefits of weight gain supplements.
Getting your nutrition correctly suited to you is the first element of a mass building plan, so make sure you follow these simple rules:
- Consume sufficient calories for your size.
- Eat nutrient-dense foods.
- Consume 1.6 – 2g of protein per kg of body mass.
- Eat every 2-3 hours.
Without following these rules, it is almost impossible for most to gain muscle. However, for those with a faster metabolism, this can often mean consuming 3,000 – 4,000 protein packed calories per day before any muscle growth is triggered. MaxiNutrition's (Formerly Maximuscle) Mass and Size range can contribute, with Progain containing 500 calories and 30g of protein per serving.
A typical hard gainers eating plan:
|Meal 1:||4 poached eggs on 2 slices of wholemeal toast (with vegetable spread), 1 glass of fruit smoothie.|
|Meal 2:||1 serving Progain, 1 apple and a handful of nuts.|
|Meal 3:||Jacket Potato, tuna and a handful of grated cheese and a mixed salad.|
|Meal 4:||1 serving Progain, 1 medium banana and a handful of nuts.|
|Meal 5:||2 chicken breasts, 1 large jacket potato and vegetables.|
|Meal 6:||200g greek yoghurt.|
Nutrition consumed after a workout can have a major impact on mass building. Heavy weight training breaks down muscle tissue. Muscle fibres are composed of protein. Consuming easily absorbed protein (such as whey protein) after training helps these muscle fibres to be rebuilt. This is the process of making new muscle protein.
If your goal is to maximise muscle growth –consume at least 20-40g of protein, post exercise. Promax, a fast-absorbing protein shake, is perfect to consume after exercise.
Heavy Weight Training
Training correctly is essential when transforming your body with mass building techniques. Most trainers achieve excellent results by combining sets of 4 – 6 reps (strength focus) and 8 – 12 reps (growth focus).
Ensure to use a variety of rep ranges for your exercise.
Example of a 3-day training split, which allows plenty of time for recovery:
|Monday:||Chests, shoulders and triceps.|
|Friday:||Back, biceps and abs.|
You stimulate more overall growth through training legs!
Chest, shoulder and tricep workout example:
|Bench Press:||5 sets x 4-6 reps (2-3 minute rests between sets).|
|Dumbbell Flys:||3 sets x 8-12 reps (1 minute rest between sets).|
|Shoulder Press:||5 sets x 4-6 reps (2-3 minutes rest between sets).|
|Lateral Raises:||3 sets x 8-12 reps (1-2 minutes rest between sets).|
|Tricep Pushdowns:||2-3 sets x 8-12 reps (1-2 minutes rest between sets).|
|Lying Dumbbell Tricep Extensions:||2 sets x 6-8 reps (1-2 minutes rest between sets).|
Progression and Intensity of Mass Building
Progressing in every session is extremely important and something that some trainers fail to do. Intensity is the key to mass building. Increasing the weights used in each session and leaving the gym in less than an hour session is imperative. Hardgainers need to train intensely and then rest – think hard and fast.
Rest time is important to grow
Most hard-gainers lift too frequently. This means not enough time for rest, recovery and muscle growth. Many hard-gainers make more progress from switching from a typical training routine of five times a week to just two or three shorter, yet more intense workouts.
Don’t train too often
Training too frequently can reduce strength levels, due to nervous system fatigue, which starts to break down muscle tissue. Forget about the long routines advertised in muscle magazines – they’re not designed for hard-gainers.
More mass-building tips:
The simple rules above will put you on track to add muscle mass, but for maximum results, don’t forget about these all-important tips:
- Sleep is vital for muscle recovery and growth. Aim for 8 hours per night.
- Train for 45-60 minutes maximum. Testosterone levels fall if you train for too long.
- Excessive alcohol lowers testosterone levels and will stop muscle growth in its tracks.
- Train your legs to gain all-over muscle mass.
- Focus on getting strong in the core exercises - squat, deadlift, bench press and shoulder press.