How do I increase bulk or muscle mass?

How do I increase bulk or muscle mass?

If you want to increase bulk or muscle mass, there are three real requirements for muscle gain in order of importance:

-Genetic potential, how big are your parents?
-A good strength program
-A high energy diet

There is no magic food or protein powder that will provide a short cut to the results you want. If you are not getting enough energy your body will be unable to lay down extra muscle, making use of the training. I am going to show you how to maximize your muscular gains with minimal fat gain. Start by increasing your total energy intake, which will help to provide extra carbohydrate to fuel your training, and plenty of protein and other nutrients to build on the result.

Depending on your metabolism you should take your weight and multiply it by 15-20 and that will give you your calorie goal for the day. So for instance, since I weigh about 250lbs my goal caloric intake for the day should be about 5000 calories.

Macronutrient Breakdown
Here is the breakdown of macronutrient intake when bulking:

PROTEIN – A lot of people drastically reduce their protein intake when bulking and it is true you do need less protein during bulking than you do when cutting. However, if you are training intensely you still need a lot more than most people. I would recommend at least 1g per pound of body weight.

CARBOHYDRATES – Carbs are protein sparing and they give you energy to fuel your workouts, so you need a lot of them. Carbohydrates also increase your glycogen stores in your muscle cells. High muscle glycogen levels are associated with increased protein synthesis and anabolism. Carbs also stimulate a greater insulin response than any other macronutrient. An insulin spike after your workout has been clinically shown to increase your protein synthesis and recovery. Sugars elicit the greatest insulin response so consuming sugar after you workout can have a very anabolic effect. However this does not mean that you should eat sugar all day. I’m sure you’re asking yourself “why not, if sugar stimulates insulin and insulin is anabolic, why not try to stimulate insulin release all the time?” First of all hormones don’t work that way. If you continually bombard your body with sugar it will react by decreasing its insulin sensitivity. Over a long period of time this can lead to type II late onset diabetes. (Obviously not good). Also, insulin is very anabolic but it is also the most fattening hormone in the body when it is over-secreted. The reason you can get away with a large insulin spike after your workout is because your body needs most of the calories you are giving it for muscle repair and glycogen storage. Because of this your body will most likely not store those calories as fat. During the rest of the day however you should try to stick with complex carbohydrates. I recommend consuming at least 2.5g-3.5g of carbs per pound of body weight.

FATS – Fats are involved in hormone production and also have a protein sparing effect. About .3g-.4g per pound of bodyweight good fats are about all you need in the off season. I know a lot of guys that consume massive amounts of fat when bulking. My question is why? Your body can’t do anything with the extra fat. If you are having trouble putting on weight take those extra calories and add them into your protein count for the day. If you are still having trouble making gains add more carbohydrates. They are both more usable by the body than fats and are more adept at helping the muscle building process. Only as a last resort would I add in extra fat.

Bulking Tips
Now here are some bulking tips to help put on the mass and keep the fat from piling on.

Your breakfast should be your biggest meal of the day, besides your post workout meal. I normally eat 50-60g protein at breakfast, 90-100g carbs, and about 12g fat.

Post workout is definitely the most important meal of the day. After your workout you have two goals: refuel and rebuild. You need to refuel your glycogen stores and rebuild the damaged muscle tissue. I usually drink 50g whey isolate protein (fast acting protein) with 120g simple carbs. I take this meal in liquid form because it is easier for the body to absorb. Then an hour later I eat 50-60 protein, 85g complex carbs, 8g fat with 2 glasses of milk.

Before bed is also very important. You will be going 8 hours without protein so you will want a slow digesting protein, I usually drink low carb casein protein shake because it is a slow digesting protein. The carbs in the shake will spare the protein while you sleep.

Don’t go more than 3 hours without protein. You want to keep a positive nitrogen balance and eating every 3 hours ensures this. This is where the dedication part comes in to play. I always brought protein shakes to everywhere I go so I could get my protein fix. I also bring weight gainer shakes sports to prevent calorie deficit. If you play football, basketball, valley ball, soccer or any kind of sport that requires you to burn a lot of calories you’ll need to make sure you account for these burnt calories in your daily totals.

Eat 6-8 meals. This gives your body a steady stream of nutrients and it also tricks your body so it stores less fat.

Get 8 hours of sleep. Drink at least a gallon of water per day. For every 10 grams of glycogen , the body must store almost 30 grams of water, so when your cells are hydrated, your protein synthesis increases.

Contradictorily drinking alcohol will decreases your protein synthesis, because alcohol dehydrates your cells. So if you’re going to have a couple of drinks at least take water with you and sip on that as well.

Finally, I know eating more food can be a difficult task, whether it is lack of time or too much food bulk that troubles you the most. My advice is to Be organized. Have some dedication to your eating, plan exactly what and how much you should be eating and suck it up!

Train hard but be smarter!

Fadi Malouf

Lawrenceville Personal Trainer