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Summer is coming up.
That’s when the guns come out.
This post is dedicated to all my guys out there, and girls too, who want to gain MUSCLES.
First of all, I can bombard you with all information about anabolic and catabolic processes, insulin and glycogen stores bla bla.. But this is not a biology lesson right? I’m going to tell you the top few things YOU can do to gain muscle mass!
1. The most important thing you need to know before you start is your body type.
There are 3 main body types:
Ectomorphs, Mesomorphs and Endomorphs.
As an ectomorph, your main focus would be gaining muscle mass and eating a high calorie surplus for growth. They tend to have a smaller built and find it hard to gain muscle.
A mesomorph would be able to gain muscle quite fast and easily, so a balance of weight training and cardio would be good, with a high calorie surplus as well.
An endomorph’s main goal would be to gain lean muscle, but also to lose body fat. Generally bigger built and main concern would be building muscle but also fat loss.
So depending on your goals, you should train and nourish your body accordingly.
Take the test to determine your body type here.
2. Food is important!
You need to be consuming a sufficient amount of carbohydrates, protein and fats.
You need to be consuming a calorie surplus in order to build muscle. Muscles require protein and carbs to build, and you will need to eat a lot of them!
There are many protein and carb calculators online, but you would generally want to aim for about 1.5 grams of protein for every kilogram of body weight. That means, about 25-30g of protein for each meal, if you’re consuming 5 meals a day. 25-30g of protein means 1 chicken breast, 1 fish fillet, a palm size of steak, ect.
For carbs, you should be aiming for about 200g a day, meaning having a significant portion of carbs per meal. For example, 1/2 a cup of oats in the morning, 1/2 cup of rice in the day, and 2 slices of rye bread at night, and maybe 2 crispbreads for a snack!
Remember, carbs are very important for muscle growth! Without sufficient carbs, the body breaks down your muscles and converts them to amino acids to use for glucose. Meaning, less gains bro!
Healthy fats are also very important: omega-3 supplements, fish, avocados, chia seeds and nuts should be a part of your diet and you should aim for about 50-70g a day. They aid in reducing inflammation, reducing the risk of heart disease and also keep you fuller for longer!
You would want to aim for about 2200-2800 calories a day for men, and about 1600-1900 calories for women, in order to facilitate muscle growth. Remember, when you’re doing this, you will most probably be in a “bulking” phase, where you will see significant gains, but not be as defined or lean as you wish to be. That’s where HIIT and CARDIO come in, but we’ll talk about that later!
Your macronutrient profile would be: 40% carbs, 25% protein and 35% healthy fats.
Don’t worry with all the numbers, just keep in mind to always have 1) a serving of protein for every meal 2) a serving of carbs for every meal 3) add in healthy fats to your meals here and there, eg. olive oil, coconut oil, a handful of nuts, ect.
Your daily food intake should look something like this!
-Breakfast (1/2 cup porridge oats, 3 eggs scrambled, 1/4 avocado)
-Lunch ( 2-3 slices of bread, 1/2 can tuna, 1 slice cheese, 1 turkey slice, salad)
– 1 hr before going to the gym (1/2 cup rice with a chicken breast)
– post-workout meal (protein shake + fruit)
– Dinner (salad with olive oil, chicken, feta cheese, 1/2 cup quinoa)
-Breakfast (1/2 cup porridge oats, 1 cup of fruits, 15 protein powder)
-Lunch ( 2 slices of bread, 1/2 can tuna, 1 slice cheese, salad)
– 1 hr before going to the gym (one banana with 100g greek yoghurt)
– post-workout meal (protein shake + fruit)
– Dinner (salad with olive oil, chicken breast, feta cheese, 1/2 cup quinoa)
I hope you get the idea now!
So, as we all know, in order to gain muscle, you have to be lifting.
But how and exactly what types of workouts should you do?
To make it simple, aim for compound workouts which target multiple muscle groups.
These include things like rows, overhead presses, squats, bench presses, deadlifts, ect. These exercises do not focus on a particular muscle (which is what we call isolation exercises) but focus on many muscles at one time.
An example of a good arm and shoulder workout would be:
– 8- 10 reps of overhead shoulder press with bar (4 sets, 1 min rest between sets)
– 8 – 10 reps of rows with bar (4 sets, 1 min rest between sets)
– 8 – 10 reps of dumbbell flies (4 sets, 1 min rest between sets)
– 8 – 10 reps of dumbbell shoulder shrugs (4 sets, 1 min rest between sets)
– 8 – 10 reps smith machine overhead presses (4 sets, 1 min rest between sets)
– finish off with 8-10 reps of bicep curls, with reverse hammer curl (4 sets, 1 min rest between sets)
Make sure the weight is really heavy that you can only do 10 reps and no more! If you can do more than that, then you have to up the weight!
Focus on using free weights when you’re starting out. In my experience, they’re the best for gaining overall muscle growth and allow you to focus on multiple muscles at one time, rather than machines, that are generally isometric exercises, focusing on a specific muscles at one point of time.
What if you don’t have access to a gym?
There are TONS of bodyweight exercises you can do to increase muscle growth. Things like plyometrics – sprints, squat jumps, plyometric push ups, pull ups, burpees, are all GREAT for not only reducing body fat, but also gaining muscle, believe it or not!
4. LIFTING but also getting DEFINED MUSCLE
Ok, so now we know how to lift.. But how do we really get defined, chiselled looking muscles? And abs?!
You have to lose body fat to really gain a lean muscular appearance.
That’s where cardio and HIIT come into your workout regime.
Aim for cardio/HIIT 2-3 times a week, and lifting about 4-5 times a week. The lower your body fat is, the more defined your muscle will look!
So now I hope you guys get an idea on what it takes to make gains bro! Ok why do I keep saying that? Haha!
Till next time my bro-sephs!