Even though summer is finally here for many of us, that doesn’t mean we get to take a break from training and can take things easy until it begins to get a little cooler in a few months. If you lift weights, there’s a good chance that you do so because you want to build muscle. Increasing your muscle mass is not an easy task, just ask any pro bodybuilder and they’ll tell you the exact same thing. Even those with fantastic genetics, the best diet plans, and amazing gyms and training routines find themselves struggling to gain mass, and so for people referred to as “hard gainers”, increasing their muscle mass can seem like an impossible task. Hard gainers, are referred to as such, because they find it notoriously difficult to gain muscle mass, no matter how hard they train and diet. If you’re a hard gainer, or are simply struggling to increase your muscle mass, take a look at these seven tips and see what they can do to help you.
Get your nutrient timing right on point
Think about it, when are you most and least physically active during the day? Chances are that from midday up until around 6pm, you’ll be at your most physically active, and from then onwards you may find yourself relaxing and taking things a little easier in the evening. Flooding your body with a shed load of calories at 8pm whilst you lay on the sofa is not going to be beneficial as it may contribute towards mass, but the mass it contributes towards with be the soft and blubbery mass on your belly. To get the best results from your nutrients, you need to time then just right so that they fuel your workouts and make you more efficient whilst pumping iron. With insulin sensitivity for example, you’re most sensitive when you first wake up, and immediately following your workout due to depleted glycogen stores. Because of this, you may want to consume your carbs early in the morning, and immediately after your workout.
Don’t ignore your weaknesses
If you have a weak chest and a strong and powerful back, it can be tempting to focus on your back and neglect your chest, because obviously you’ll enjoy training back far more than training chest. This however, is not the way you should be training if you’re trying to pile on the mass. Rather than avoiding and neglecting your weaknesses, you should instead be focusing on strengthening and improving them. If your chest is weak, training it twice as hard and twice as frequently. When you play the mass game the idea is to be big all over, not just on certain body parts.
If you enjoy your carbs then you’ll enjoy this next tip. Quality mass requires quality food, and if you choose the right sources of carbohydrate, you’ll most certainly be getting top quality, with carbs providing almost as beneficial as protein. Stay away from simple carbs such as candy and sugary beverages and instead opt for complex carbohydrates such as oatmeal, brown rice, sweet potatoes, pasta, and wholemeal bread. Even though fruits do contain simple fructose sugars, they’re still very beneficial as they’re rich in vitamins and antioxidants so don’t cut them out altogether, just be wary about consuming too many.
Mass gaining supplements
Not surprisingly, anybody looking to increase their mass should really try a mass gainer supplement and see how they get on after a month or two. Mass gainers are enriched with protein, fats, carbohydrates, as well as added vitamins, amino acids, and minerals, and are ideal for quickly increasing your calorie consumption without having to eat your way through a mountain of food. There is no substitute for wholesome food so don’t rely solely on mass gainers for your macros, but if you supplement your diet with one or two shakes per day, with regular training and smart nutrition, you should start seeing improvements over a relatively short space of time.
Get enough rest
It can be tempting to spend every spare hour you have in the gym, pumping iron in an attempt to grow but that can lead to overtraining which is exactly what you want to avoid. When we don’t allow our bodies enough time to rest and recover, we simply don’t build enough muscle. Our bodies grow when we rest, particularly when we sleep, so getting enough sleep each night is absolutely essential. Not only that, but studies have also found that going to bed and getting up at the same time each day is far more beneficial than having an erratic bedtime routine. That means no staying up late watching cheesy Netflix movies, because if you’re serious about growing, you’ll need your 8 hours each night.
Don’t ignore fats
As far as gaining mass is concerned, healthy fats are essential and they should most certainly be consumed on a daily basis, in the correct ratios of course. Healthy fats include: olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, grass-fed beef, nuts, organic whole eggs, natural nut butters, and oily fish. These fats help to maintain healthy testosterone levels, which means we build muscle far more easily and effectively. They’re also ideal for increased metabolism and energy production, which can help you whilst in the gym as well.
Say goodbye to your abs
Serious about bulking up and adding quality muscle mass to your frame? If so then you’ll have to mentally prepare yourself to say goodbye to your abs, at least for a few months until you decide to start cutting after hopefully adding some quality muscle. Many people trying to bulk up are wary of losing their abs as they feel they’ll look fat and unattractive. If you want to build muscle, you need to consume more calories than you burn off, which means you will gain a little fat, there’s no way around that. If you’re strict with your diet and do things correctly, you should be able to keep fat gain to a minimum, but if you want to remain vascular and super-shredded whilst bulking at the same time, that’s just not going to happen.