Five Tips For Gaining Muscle Mass

Stick with these five tips to gain more muscle mass:

Many people who are enthusiastic about bodybuilding often forget how important good nutrition is in the mass-building equation.

Never underestimate this aspect of bodybuilding – eating for muscle is just as important as lifting for muscle. The foods you grab in the morning on the way to work, the meals you pack for lunch and mid-afternoon, what you put into your body immediately following your workout, and your final meal of the day impact your results as much, if not more than, the number of reps you squeeze out at the end of a set. Realistically however, it is difficult to stick to a healthful diet in today’s hectic way of life. It is important to try anyway.

Tip #1: Calories are Important, But Aren’t Everything

It is okay to munch on the occasional fast-food choice for convenience, but a mass-gain program isn’t an excuse to binge on pizza and chocolate sundaes. You need calories to help you repair and grow, but many people overestimate the energy needs for gaining mass, and encourage extreme high-calorie intakes. This often leads to an increase in body fat, making you bigger, for sure, but still fat. In general, aim for 300-500 more calories every day than your body burns through exercise and normal functioning (multiply bodyweight by 17). And divide by six meals a day.

Tip #2: Focus on Protein

Protein is important in gaining muscle because it’s the only nutrient that is capable of stimulating muscle growth. You should consume up to 2 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight daily. Eating every three hours will help ensure you’re absorbing and assimilating enough protein to support muscle growth.

Tip #3: Eat After Training

It is really important to eat a carb- and protein-rich meal immediately after a workout. Immediately after training, your body converts carbs into fuel and promotes growth instead of storing it as fat. If you add protein to these carbs, you’ll be kick-starting the muscle growth process because the carbs will assist in delivering amino acids to the muscles by boosting insulin levels. Insulin in turn triggers growth in muscle.

Tip #4: Stay Hydrated

Drink plenty of water throughout the day, especially in the hours leading up to your workout. This can help you feel full and reduce hunger pangs. While training, drink about 8 ounces every 15-20 minutes, even more when it’s hot and humid. If your body is even slightly dehydrated, your performance will go down. Don’t wait till you feel thirsty to drink water. Sometimes a flavored, low-calorie sports drink is also a great way to stay hydrated. Try drinking fluids stored at cooler temperatures; studies show that people tend to drink more when the liquid is colder.

Tip #5: Mass Gains Vary by Individual

Gains will differ from one individual to another depending on body size and level of experience in the gym. You want to be sure you are gaining muscle and not fat. So don’t simply rely on the weighing scales to measure. Instead, make observations in the mirror and use a tape measure twice a month to keep track of your waist and hips (you don’t want to gain there) as well as your biceps, chest and quads. Don’t think that you have to gain a set amount of weight weekly or monthly. It is okay not to gain uniformly. For example, you could gain 1/2 pound one week and 1 1/2 the next, none the third week, and still be on course.

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