Probably the most trending question amongst us men is ‘How to gain more muscle mass?’; ‘What supplements should I take to gain more mass?’; ‘What is the secret to gaining more mass?’. It’s like for the past couple of months the three main words that I have been hearing are ‘How’ and ‘Muscle mass’. I mean, I totally understand the problem of the matter – men just want to get bigger so they could have more impressive physiques like Mike O’Hearn, Simeon Panda, Steve Cook, Christian Guzman and many other famous fitness models that have, without doubt, impressive and developed bodies.
The problem however is that most of members the internet community expect to receive some sort of a secret, a button if you will, that will enable their bodies to grow to the point where they could finally say that they are happy with themselves. You can technically do that if you decide to start taking augmenting tools such as steroids, however, I really do not recommend that you do – we are trying to keep it healthy here people and a well-known fact around the block is that steroids are going to cause a lot of internal issues and overall health problems in a future aspect.
Bodybuilding/Fitness has a whole lot more science wrapped around it than you might possibly think, it’s not just following somebody’s techniques on the internet and waiting for the results but actually using logical and analytical tools to reach to a final decision that will ultimately lead to your muscle development. I know that sounds very hypocritical but just bare with me here.
The reason why I am writing this article in the first place is because I know how hard it may be fore most of you out there to find a valid source of information. I have been training for approximately 10 years now and if there is anything that I’ve learned from bodybuilding is that the best way for you to learn is through your own mistakes. You try something, you fail, you read up about why you failed and any potential information that might help you understand what is it that you need to change in order to reach your final goal, you modify or improve your technique and try again, and again, and again until you reach to the final destination and finally understand the mechanic hidden behind it. And I am not going to lie to you, it’s frustrating, it takes time, nerves and stresses you to the point where you start wondering ‘What the hell is wrong with my body!?’ it’s like your body refuses to grow in size, right ? That is why I am here, to help you learn of this, not through trial and error, so that you can not waste approximately 2-3 years of your training lifestyle.
Ok, I have been blabbering long enough. Let’s get down to the actual topic and discuss the three things that you need to do in order to gain serious muscle mass.
1. Examine your body type
For some reason, not a lot of people seem to be doing step. Understanding what your body type is probably the most important place from where anybody going into fitness and bodybuilding needs to start from. You need to understand your body in order for you to grow or to lose fat, there is no other way to put it.
The three different body types that can be examined are: Ectomorph, Mesomorph and Endomorph.
Ectomorph body type defines the skinny people. Long limbs (arms and legs), small joints, overall tall individuals (there are exceptions of course), smaller shoulders width. Representatives of this body type would usually find it very difficult to gain any sort of body mass, to be honest, let alone muscle mass due to their very rapid metabolic rate – what this means is that their body uses every single calorie that goes into their body fast enough not leaving it enough ‘breathing-time’ for them to be considered as a supply for the secondary source of energy (lipids/fats).
Mesomorph body type are the so-called born athletes. They are relatively short individuals (there are exceptions) , short limbs (arms and legs), medium length of joints, broad shoulders, small waist. If you go on to any of the famous bodybuilders (who need to be mesomorphs you would notice that they have a very ‘compressed’ looking body with an average height amongst most modern bodybuilders coming at around 160-180 cm or 5ft 3in – 5ft 10in. You would rarely hear any representatives of this body type complain about gaining muscle mass because it is like their second nature. They put on mass very easy, which is why they depends so strongly on their diet (making sure they do not overindulge).
Endomorph body type are the guys that get the short end of the stick. They have very slow metabolisms which is why they are considered as overweight. Large joints, sometimes tall sometimes short (average height being 1.80 cm – 5ft 10in), depending on their height they would usually have long or short limbs (arms and legs). Their muscles mass gaining capabilities are not hindered like the ectomorph, as a matter of fact endomorphs gain muscle a whole lot easier. The problem, of course, is that endomorphs gain fat way too fast. Due to fast fat levels they would also show signs of high levels of estrogen and the higher the levels of fat the higher the slower your overall metabolism gets, which can cause problems associated with your growth hormones such as your insulin.
There are also combinations between body types with Mesomorphs (not an actual fact, I think, just something that I have come across and believe to be true) resulting in body types such as: Ecto-mesomorphs, Endo-endomorphs.
Taking negative aspects from the ectomorph and endomorph body type and taking the positives form the mesomorph body type is what I perceive to be combination of body types.
For example, Ecto-mesomorph, is what I usually consider myself to be at, is where the individual can gain muscle relatively easy but can lose muscle relatively easy as well. Loses and gains fat easily as well. Small joints and long limbs and I am overall tall at 182cm. So there are combinations of good and bad from both ends.
By taking a look at all of the different characteristics and aspects that define a body type as a body type you can assess your own body construction to evaluate your body type. Here is a pretty accurate body type calculator that will make your life a whole lot easier.
2. Align your diet and supplementation with your body type
Once you have evaluated your body type you can finally make some game-changing decisions. Usually, anybody that has Ectomorph ‘in them’ would find it hard to gain any sort of muscle. Doesn’t matter if we are talking about a pure form or, an alleged, combined form. Endomorphs and mesomorphs gain muscle relatively easy, without much effort when compared to ectomorphs, this is especially true for mesomorphs, you know who you are, you lucky SOBs.
The first and logical thing that we need to consider is the anabolic to catabolic ratio. Catabolic meaning losing and breaking down muscle and anabolic meaning gaining and developing muscle.
As an ectomorph you would lean towards the more ‘self destructive’ catabolic state, due to your heightened metabolic rate. In order for you to correspondingly set up your diet and supplementation you have to aim for ways in which you can reduce your catabolic state and promote your metabolic state.
The times when your body is at its peak points of catabolism is early in the morning (this is understandable considering that early in the morning your body is running on very low levels of glycogen in your blood stream because you have not consumed any sort of carbohydrate during your 7-9 hour sleep + 1-3 hours before your sleep leaving you at a 8-12 hour window where you have not consumed anything containing carbohydrates) as well as during and after your workout (you have depleted your glycogen levels due to the physically tensing workout you just went through).
Diet: You need to make sure that you are consuming enough carbohydrates to properly fuel your training expectations and your overall metabolic hunger, this comes especially true for anybody who is either a pure ectomorph or a combination where ectomorph is involved.
Enough protein to fuel muscle reconstruction during your recuperation period – I would usually recommend about 1.5 – 2 grams of protein per bodyweight in kilograms and 1 gram of protein for every pound of bodyweight in pounds depending on your working intensity and overall lifestyle. Make sure that you spread out your protein consumption evenly and do not overindulge on protein in specific meals – your body will not be capable of taking bigger loads of protein at once consuming what it can and rendering the rest as a secondary source of energy and storing it for later uses (body fat). I would recommend 5-7 meals a day, depending on your work-life regiment.
Fats of course are equally important and should be consumed no matter what body type you are. Fats are a good way to boost your overall testosterone production as well as your Human Growth Hormone (HGH) production. A proper diet consisting of polyunsaturate and monounsaturated fats rich of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids will also provide you with a lot of health benefits and help you maintain a healthy low body fat percentage, as well as regulate insulin levels.
Speaking of HGH, Testosterone and Insulin – those are your muscle building hormones. The better the levels of these babies, the better muscle hypotrophy you are going to achieve. I am an advocate of the idea that the main drivers of muscle development are in fact our hormones, fact. This is why Steroids, which increase your testosterone and HGH levels, make people grow so large.
Insulin promotes protein synthesis, which in turn increases your muscle growth. Insulin is also associated with maintaining muscle glycogen levels, which means that you will have more powerful workouts and lower levels of catabolism through your day. Insulin is activated through carbohydrate consumption, meaning that every time you eat a carb your body releases insulin. However, excess insulin production can lead to storage of body fat and overall hinder your health. What you need to do is to “manipulate” your insulin through a proper carbohydrate consumption strategy – involves you eating carbs at the right time of the day. This would usually be at peak catabolic levels – early in the morning, before your workout and after your workout.
Your HGH levels are shown to be at their highest during sleep, late at night. The problem with HGH is that it does not cope with Insulin, or in other words if you want to have good levels of HGH late at night you must make sure that you do not consume or at least consume low levels of carbohydrates. I would recommend consuming carbohydrates about 2-3 hours before going to bed giving you an opportunity to fully reap the muscle growth effect you will get from heightened levels of HGH.
Supplementation: you need to follow the same rule of thumb as you did with your diet when it comes to supplementation – using supplements to decrease catabolism and increase metabolism.
I have already written an article about supplementation where I explain everything in more debt so go check it out.
BCAA, Whey Protein, Creatine, Fish oil and Vitamins is the best place to go when it comes to increasing muscle hypotrophy. BCAA early in the morning (your breakfast, especially if it is something healthy and rich in complex carbohydrates, will take about 2-4 hours to break down by your body, meaning that you will increase catabolism and decrease metabolism), before your workout so you can maintain good energy levels during your workout and minimize catabolism during your workout. Whey protein after your workout, some people may prefer taking BCAA as whey protein still takes about 20-30 minutes to be absorbed. I would recommend taking whey protein as it still contains BCAAs as well as the fact that you can increase the amount of protein that you take after your workout because your muscles are pretty much expunged at that point. Late at night, no carbs, focusing attention at fats and protein so consuming fish oil and vitamins and minerals to promote proper muscle recuperation.
3. Modify and align your workout to your body type
Once you have taken care of your diet and supplementation comes the time to take a look at the fun part – your workout regime.
Again, we are focusing on implementing the same notion as with diet and supplementation – increase metabolism and decrease catabolism. The way that you are going to do that is by strategically arranging your workout to pass with your body type. Due to the fact that you find it hard to gain muscle then that means that you are aiming to minimize catabolism – catabolism is at its highest during your workout and after you workout meaning that the shorter your workout is the better.
You need to properly spread out your muscle groups and your training days to ensure that you are not missing out from muscle synthesis – it ranges at around 48 hours meaning that if you do not train your muscle groups at least twice a week you are missing out from about 2-3 days of muscle synthesis/muscle growth.
The best way, in my opinion, to spread out your workout is to do a one-muscle-group-day workout regime. The name itself implies the strategy in place. You train one muscle group per day, simple as that. This gives you enough time for your muscles to rest properly, your workout sessions are very short (about 30-45 minutes), you are capable of hitting your muscle from various of angles and work under very high intensities (4-6 exercises per muscle group). The one that I was working with lately (keep in mind it’s always good changing it up and having variations of it) was:
- Monday: Back (if you put chest before back you need to remember that during certain back exercises you are hitting the chest, by stretching it – lat pulldowns, rolls, etc). It should be noted that you are training your bicep muscle group here, believe it or not. Not a lot of people acknowledge the potential that back exercises have on working the bicep, especially if you are doing 4-6 exercises.
- Tuesday: Chest again same logic, you are still targeting the triceps here. And the reason why I am putting these here is that you need to pay attention to these when coming up with your own workout regime and in order for you to achieve good muscle synthesis and not miss out on any potential muscle gains.
- Wednesday: Leg day I would usually not train legs for a specific day, but sometimes I would. Legs are a pretty large and powerful muscle group and need to be trained quite often if results are desired. I would usually incorporate 1-2 exercises amongst the other days and just do them as super sets, but considering that you might be starting out that would not be promoted by me as a preferable technique to start with as it is higher intensity.
- Thursday: Shoulder day
- Friday: Biceps
- Saturday: Triceps
Overall what you need to focus on is understanding what your body truly wants from you. Even after you know your body type and you have aligned and incorporated all the information from the article perfectly, you are still going to have to change things up and try out and see what works best for you. What I am providing you with here, however, is a universal formula that should be understood and available for everybody to read and understand on their own will. Hopefully, you are going to reap the benefits from the article and you are going to notice imPECcable results in no time, get it?
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