Gaining muscle mass is a pretty straightforward process. By following a sensible weight training program combined with a diet high enough in calories to feed muscle growth, you will start to add muscle to your body.
Muscle. Most guys want to have as much of it as they can, or at least more of it than they do now. Gaining muscle is not that difficult to do. The process of gaining muscle is actually pretty straightforward. It all boils down to a very simple equation: high intensity weight training combined with sufficient caloric intake to feed muscle growth! That is the whole process in a nutshell. There is nothing complicated and/or mysterious about it. If you train hard with the weights, and if you eat enough food, you will soon start to add muscle mass to your body. But the results will vary considerably from person to person. Depending on your individual genetic makeup – which includes your metabolism, your individual body type, and your natural ratio of lean body mass to fat mass – how much muscle you gain and how quickly you gain it will vary.
Some people are born with bodies that are more conducive to gaining muscle mass. And many people can gain a significant amount of muscle without spending too much time training or worrying about their diet. These are the genetically gifted people that I can’t stand! And then there are the folks who train like a power-lifter and micromanage their diets – only to find that their gains are much more modest. That’s simply a function of an individuals’ genetic makeup. You can either blame or thank Mother Nature for that! We are all born with a unique body type, and while we can alter that body type and modify it to a degree, we can’t entirely change it. Folks who tend to be skinny and wiry, the same folks who seem to be able to eat like a horse without gaining much weight, tend to be the one’s who have the hardest time putting on muscle mass. On the other hand, the stockier and thicker individuals, the one’s who seem to have a hard time keeping their weight down, are the one’s who generally gain muscle mass the fastest. It’s all in the genetic cards.
But no matter what your body type or genetic blueprint is, you can gain muscle mass. The key is to train hard, incorporating as many multi-joint exercises – bench press, squat, overhead press, military press, e.t.c – into your training, as these “big” exercises tend to stimulate muscle growth the best, while at the same time eating enough calories to fuel your workout and to repair the damaged muscle fibers that result from intense weight training. Contrary to popular belief, your muscles don’t get bigger in the gym; they get bigger during the breaks between workouts, when your body repairs the damaged muscle fiber and the muscle grows back bigger and stronger. But you have to eat enough calories for this to happen. Without adequate caloric intake, it’s like trying to start a fire with no spark!
Now, I could go into great detail breaking down the different types of nutrients and macro-nutrients that you should be eating, along with when you should eat them and whether or not you should combine certain foods and take certain supplements. But that’s too complicated. And there’s too much disagreement and conflicting data in terms of what works, what works the best, and how to go about implementing it all. So, to keep it simple, you should focus on eating as clean of a diet as you can, and by clean I mean foods that are as natural and unprocessed as possible. Foods such as lean meats, grains, vegetables, complex carbohydrates, and lean dairy products are great. Don’t waste calories on junk food – pies, cakes, cookies, simple carbohydrates, e.t.c. The idea is to take in more calories than you burn from good, whole foods; not junk!
And be prepared for some fat gain. It’s almost impossible to gain muscle mass without gaining some fat as well. Certain genetically gifted people might be able to, but the majority of “normal” people will gain some fat along with any muscle gain. Any time you take in more calories than you burn – something that you have to do to fuel muscle growth – you are going to gain fat as well. But you can keep the fat gain to a minimum by sticking to that clean diet I told you about.