The secret to eating for mass is finally revealed. Yes, go on read further. This diet secret will empower you to pack on lots of muscle mass like all those pros do. Of course, you can certainly get big and full like them if you follow this little secret.
Well now that I have got your attention let me tell you that THERE ARE NO SECRETS OR SHORTCUTS FOR EATING FOR MASS. I know it kind of hurts but believe or not that’s the TRUTH. There may not be any secrets as such but there are some guidelines which when followed can give you the mass you have waiting for all your life. Here are those ten commandments of eating for mass –
1) You shall Count Calories (every time)
Packing on pounds of muscles can never be possible without keeping a track of total calories consumed throughout the day. When it’s about eating for mass, the only thing you should see first is – CALORIES and MORE CALORIES.
Irrespective of what you are consuming is in the form of protein, carbs or even fat; your body will first see it as nothing but energy to drive various body processes which include repair and recovery of muscles.
For an intense bodybuilder who trains at least an hour a day has to have at least 20 calories per pound of body weight – roughly 3300-3500 calories which are just enough to maintain the muscles for 175 lbs of bodyweight bodybuilder.
However, for someone who is eyeing to build serious muscle mass and gain lean muscle, he has to consume more than the maintenance level calories – 20 to 25 calories per pound of bodyweight is a must. While on rest days, eat no more than 15-18 calories per pound of bodyweight so as to keep a check on body fat level.
You should also read – Q&A: Top 4 Reasons your Body Fat Percentage is High
2) Thou shall get more protein
This commandment rightfully justifies its position on the list. Out of the three top macronutrients – Carbs, Fats and Protein, only Protein helps in building up lean muscle mass.
For gaining ample amount of lean muscle mass, we would suggest protein intake of at least 2 grammes per pound of bodyweight on workout days and 1.6 grammes on recovery days.
You can get your daily protein requirement fulfilled from sources like chicken, fish, beef, eggs and of course along with your favourite whey protein shake.
You should also read – A Complete Diet Strategy to Grow Lean Muscle
3) Thou shall embrace Carbs
For a moment, forget every bad thing you have ever heard about carbs and keep in mind only these things – Carbohydrates are essential for building mass. The very first thing carbs do is to increase the level of anabolic hormone insulin and secondly they glycogen storage in the muscles.
Moreover, glycogen has its benefits. Not only does glycogen fill your muscles with water and make them look big and full but also determines whether you have enough energy to grow muscles and pack on mass.
You should know that the body breaks down the muscle (which you have already built) to use as a fuel when glycogen levels are low than required.
You should ingest at least 2-2.5 grammes of carbs on training days and cut it down to half – 1gm on rest days. But hey, carbs don’t mean doughnuts and fries.
4) Thou shall eat fats too!
Mass gain plan = Increase fat (healthy ones) intake. Simple enough isn’t it? Eating healthy fats is advantageous in two ways – First, higher the intake of fat higher the testosterone levels and you have already heard enough about the importance of testosterone in bodybuilding.
Secondly, fats can help protect and speed up the recovery of joints which can get over-stressed in heavy training sessions. Most of your fat intake should come from Walnuts, Salmon, Olive Oil and everyone’s favourite peanut butter.
Consume at least 20-25% fat of total calorie intake of the day on training days while on rest days eat 30-35% fat of total daily calorie intake.
5) Thou shall first eat in the morning
Waking up early in the morning can be quite lazy at times especially after the soreness from the previous workout. Getting up from the bed and chewing the first bite of the first meal of the day can take quite some time. But that’s where you miss the first opportunity of the day to get some morning gains.
When you wake up in the morning, your body is obtaining all the energy to work from burning up your hard earned muscles which are also known as the catabolic process. To terminate this process, the first thing you need to do after waking up is – EAT!
Now arises a question – What should I eat first-up in the morning?
For which the answer is – Grab a whey protein isolate or whey protein hydrolysate shake in the morning along with amino acids.
Along with the shake, ingest some waxy maize starch which will refuel your depleted glycogen stores after night’s fast.
Once you have finished this meal, do your chores and after that prepare some oatmeal and hard-boiled eggs as your second breakfast.
6) Thou shall cut down calories on rest days
According to the simple rule of thumb – You need to keep in check your calorie and carbohydrate consumption on rest days as your body does not require much energy when it’s not working.
And if you don’t heed our advice and keep on eating the same amount of calories on rest days, you will certainly pack on mass but with unwanted fat.
However, as we said in commandment 4, you should look forward to increasing the fat consumption on rest days so that you get enough calories even on recuperation period.
7) Thou shall eat slow carbs before workout and fast carbs after the workout
For most time of the day, you should always choose slow carbs in your meals. Even for pre-workout, eat slow carbs, such as oatmeal along, a large piece of fruit along with whole-grain bread.
The reason behind eating slow carbs before a workout is that not only it will provide you more energy during the workout but also burn increased amount of fat during the training session. Moreover, you will feel less hungry throughout the day if you get a good amount of slow carbs in your diet.
On the other hand, post-workout meal – the one that’s right after your workout has to be done with different rituals. One among them is – ingesting fast carbs such as dextrose monohydrate instead of slow carbs.
Fast carbs will increase the level of anabolic hormone insulin which will refuel your glycogen stores in the muscle to make sure that you have enough energy for the next workout. Moreover, fast carbs also help in the efficient delivery of amino acids, whey protein and other nutrients to the muscles.
8) Thou shall consume whey protein shake – before and after the workout
Before your training session, around 30-45 minutes, you should consume fast digesting protein such as whey. Various studies have proven that drinking whey before workout help in efficient blood flow. It will ascertain that you get a good pump during the workout session.
Furthermore, ingesting whey protein in pre-workout have also shown great results for muscle protein synthesis. A step further, you should also mix some soy protein to your pre-workout shake to further increase the blood flow to your muscles during the training session.
No wonder that Whey Protein is the supreme of all for the post-workout nutrition. Several types of research have shown that consumption of whey protein immediately after the workout speeds up the protein synthesis rate and thereby promote muscle growth.
Another very significant advantage of whey protein in the post-workout shake is that it fights with Cortisol aka stress hormone (produced after prolonged intense workout) and thereby reduces muscle breakdown and boosts up recovery.
9) Thou shall incorporate other supplements too
BCAA – BCAAs form an important part of the protein and are thus highly responsible for protein synthesis in the muscle cells. They are also known for promoting lean muscle growth along with a better recovery after an intense training session. Furthermore, BCAAs are highly recommended for increasing strength and endurance by decreasing muscle fatigue.
Creatine – Creatine is nothing but an essential fuel that helps bodybuilders and athletes by supplying much-needed energy for intense workouts and exercises. Apart from providing energy, creatine also promotes the growth of lean muscle mass.
Glutamine – Glutamine or L – Glutamine is a non-essential amino acid which is known for improving the immune system and thereby enhancing muscle growth and protein synthesis. It also strengthens the immune system and reduces port workout muscle soreness.
10) Thou shall consume casein before bed
As we mentioned earlier, the body switches to fasting mode while you are asleep. During the entire night, the body uses muscles as a fuel for your body.
And while whey protein is the king for pre-workout and post-workout, casein protein is best in class for bedtime as it gets digested very slowly and thereby keeping a steady supply of nutrition to muscles throughout the night. It minimises the body’s inclination towards muscles as fuel.
Also published on Medium.