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‘Hardgainers’ are not the only individuals that have difficulty in adding muscle mass to their bodies. Lots of people want to add more size to their frame but being able to add bulk is extremely hard; if you are following the wrong diet and training plan!
You may feel like you are cursed, in that you just can’t add any more muscle. Your measurements don’t add up to the amount of effort that you are putting into the gym.
Well, most definitely all is not lost and your diet and training plans might just need tweaking.
Everything in the muscle building world is always fixable and by following these essential tips will help you on the road to gaining some hard core muscle mass.
#1 – Time your nutrient intake right
A good nutritional approach is to supply the body with the right fuel ready for your work out.
Research has determined that insulin sensitivity peaks in the morning and straight after your work outs.
For many athletes eating more clean carbs in the morning and straight after the work-out has brought improved muscle gains.
In addition, research has indicated that the pre-training shake is more important than the post training shake, in terms of protein synthesis. However the post training shake is required for muscle growth, recovery and injury prevention.
Everyone is different and what time you eat can impact on your body composition, the same as what you eat and the amount that you eat. It is a trial and error situation but once you get the right timings of your nutrients, you will achieve dramatic muscle gains.
#2 – Train your weakness
Do you dislike performing lunges, squats and deadlifts? This could be an indication that you should be making them a higher training priority, and moving them up the exercise list.
Training these potential areas for development can make huge changes to your physique, in a relatively short period of time.
Many top bodybuilders tend to train the weak points and turn them into features that stand out, it is this wining mentality that improves full body muscle gains.
A good strategy is to start your training session by fatiguing the muscles that you feel are the weakest, and then progress into training your stronger muscle groups. This is training at full capacity and will increase your muscle mass gain potential.
#3 – Eat clean carbs & fats
Most experts agree that to build mass you need to eat your clean carbs.
If you have been aiming to bulk up with a low carb diet, then you may need to change your nutrition plan.
A great source of clean carbs are quinoa, brown rice and oatmeal, these are also low in GI; which is an important factor in controlling insulin levels.
Fruit intake in moderation is also a sound form of carb intake and in addition they are high in antioxidants; which help with muscle growth and repair.
Eating healthy fats boosts your testosterone levels and this is a catalyst for muscle gaining. Try to eat about 15% of your daily calorie intake in the form of Omega 3-s e.g. Tuna & fatty fish and saturated fats e.g. Coconut oils, avocados, nuts & seeds.
#4 – Invest in a mass gainer supplement
Weight gainer supplements are a tried and tested approach to gaining muscle mass. They are packed with good calories in the form of carbs, proteins and essential fats.
However, before you go and buy some mass gainer you will need to be aware of your body shape or somatotype. As this plays a key role in the selection of the products and should dovetail into your ultimate physique goals.
Investing in some muscle mass gainer will give you the best tools for bulking up, and will enable you to achieve your long term weight training goals a lot quicker.
#5 – Have a good night’s sleep
Both quality and quantity of sleep are as important as each other, and the main aim is to achieve a good night’s sleep that is uninterrupted.
A good night’s sleep of around 8 hours has the following key benefits:
- Increases the body’s basal metabolic rate and increasing fat burning potential
- Increases glucose metabolism which is an important element in building muscle mass
- Increases human growth hormone levels which is essential for muscle growth & recovery
- Decreases cortisol levels which when spiked this hormone reduces muscle growth and recovery
#6 – Train with real intensity
Many people go the gym without any real purpose and without giving 100% effort. Keep your focus and avoid all of the social distraction and give it your all. Being half arsed will not get you the results that you want!
Next time you go to the gym, when you are pumping iron feel your muscles tightening at the top of each rep and this squeezing technique, will add some focus to your work out.
This extra focus could be the fundamentally difference between poor and excellent results in muscle gains. However, it is very important to be patient, have fun whilst training hard and your goals will be realistic.
#7 – Incorporate variety into your routine.
If you perform the same exercises every time that you go the gym, you will get the same the results; as your body has adapted to the stimulus of exercises.
The trick is to shock your muscles into growing by incorporating a large variety of exercises into your regime and this will keep your body guessing. A good example is use a variation of the full body squats e.g. Sumo or Goblin Squats, as these small changes or variations will add up quickly in terms of enhancing muscle mass.
#8 – Monitor your progress
By keeping a log of your activity in the gym will enable you to keep on track of your physique changes over time.
From this you will be able to determine any trends and body changes. You can also evaluate which part of the training program produced the best results.
Your body will react to new stimuli when training and using a training log is an excellent reflective tool.
This log will highlight any successes and/or areas that need tweaking. This assessment procedure should be an integral part of your goal setting strategies.
#9 – Keep up to date with the research
You should never stop learning and your quest for gaining muscle should be kept up to date with the latest research in work out techniques, new nutrition practices and new muscle gaining supplements.
The most successful muscle gainers are those who strive to push the bar higher, and having your finger on the pulse of the latest sport science research is definitely the way forward!