Best way to gain muscle and stay healthy
My philosophy on the best way to gain muscle and stay healthy
I believe health is important and you should not sacrifice your health in order to ‘get big’. Most bodybuilders are fuelled by insulin from an overload of starchy carbohydrates, grains and dairy. Triggering insulin is anabolic but it is not healthy in the long term. I limit my grain intake to 3 portions a week (pre workout) and i will soon cut out grains completely. I also cut out dairy from my diet, i am not going to explain why in this article, i recommend you do some research and make an informed decision. I believe you can build a strong, muscular and lean physique without overdosing on carbs and putting your health at risk. This approach is better for you in the long term and you will not be looking chubby for half of the year. Many health experts and professional trainers believe this to be the best way to gain muscle.
The best way to gain muscle is to simply consume more calories than you expend, this surplus of calories will be shuttled towards muscle growth. I am not one for counting calories in minute detail, it is tedious and time consuming. I understand my body through a trial and error process, i weigh myself at the end of the week and if my weight stays the same, i know my maintenance level. I will then gradually increase my calorie intake by introducing more healthy carbs and more healthy fats. Protein intake should remain constant, you will need to consume at least 1g of protein per lb of bodyweight, if you weigh 200lbs, you will need to consume 200g of lean protein a day. You should eat every 3 to 4 hours, 6 meals a day, to keep your body in an anabolic (growing) state. Your carb intake depends on your body type and your metabolism. Some people can eat an abundance of carbs without getting fat, others have a low tolerance for carbs. Eat vegetables with every meal to keep a good alkaline balance. Your healthy fat intake should be reasonably high, you want to eat foods rich in omega-3s (or you can use something like Universal Animal Omega Supplement). It is important to keep hydrated throughout the day, drink plenty of water. Supplement with a good multi vitamin and whey protein for post workout. I recommend using Optimum Men’s Weight Loss Stack.
Fish, chicken, beef, lamb, pork, game, eggs and nuts
Sweet potato, squash, plantain, vegetables, yam, parsnips, chickpeas, banana, lentils and beans.
Salmon, flax seeds, grass fed meat, cauliflower, cabbage, scallops, cloves, avocado, walnuts
You will notice i don’t include grains in my recommended foods list, this is because i believe the argument for abstaining from grains is very strong, humans have evolved for millions of years without grains and consequently they are not ideal for human consumption.
The best time to eat the bulk of your starchy carbs is pre and post workout, for energy when you train and to refuel when your muscles are depleted post workout.
Stick to the basics, the big compound movements are the best way to gain muscle. Your training should be organised around the big 3 movements, the deadlift, the squat and the bench. Pulls ups, rows, press ups, dips, overhead presses, lunges and pullovers are exercises that you should include in your routine. 5 reps for the big 3 and between 6-12 reps for the other exercises. Train 3 x a week, this will give you plenty time to recover from the hard training. Full body training is ideal for gaining weight, it is functional, you will benefit from the frequency of training the big muscle groups 3 x a week and the hormonal response is great.
Pick a legs exercise, a back exercise, a chest exercise, a shoulder exercise and 1 or 2 isolation exercises. Your programme could look something like this:
Squats, rows, dips, lateral raises, bicep curls, shrugs
Deadlifts, pull ups, press ups, overhead press, tate press
Lunges, chin ups, bench press, rear flyes, hammer curl, overheard tricep extensions
Every time you step in the gym, your aim is to beat your previous workout, either by lifting more weight, more reps or by completing your workout in less time. Remember to change your workout every 3-4 weeks, you can change exercises, rep ranges, rest times, exercise order etc, small adjustments that will prevent your body adapting.Train hard for 8 weeks, take a week off and start again.
You do not grow in the gym, you actually break down the muscle fibres while you train, your muscle repairs and grows when you are resting, most importantly when you sleep. Make sure you get 8 hours sleep a day and a few power naps wont do any harm either. Relax and take it easy to allow your body to recover from the intense workouts.
It is important you keep your heart and lungs healthy, having poor cardiovascular fitness is not only unhealthy but it will have a negative impact on your weight training. The type of cardio you do depends on how you are feeling, if you have lots of energy, do a short and high intensity workout, if you feel low on energy, take a long brisk walk, ride your bike, go for a gentle jog etc. You should do cardio 2-3 x a week.
Many will eat what they like when ‘bulking’, it’s an excuse to get a little fat and eat bad foods, i believe this is the wrong approach and counter productive in the long run because you will be fat for most of the year and losing muscle when trying to lose the fat, not to mention the harm it will do to your self esteem, carrying a tyre of blubber around your stomach. Try to limit your cheat meals to once a week, eat whatever you like and enjoy it!
I have explained the basics in gaining muscle, if you get the basics right and you are consistent, you will get the results you want. Remember, dont give up, the best way to gain muscle is through DEDICATION. No matter what you eat or how you workout its no good giving up after 3 months because you dont look like Mr Olympia.
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