To maximize your efforts in the gym you need to eat properly. Many trainees make the huge mistake of going gonzo with the weights, but eating like a ten year old girl. This won't cut it. To get big, you have to eat big, and eat smart.
Another cornerstone of the muscle building puzzle is proper supplementation. There are literally thousands of supplements on the market aimed at you...the muscle builder. A good supplement plan can help you maximize muscle repair and growth, speed up recovery, reduce muscle soreness, provide you with more energy in and out of the gym, and bolster your overall health.
The Power Muscle Burn training approach isn't easy. It isn't for the meek. It is an aggressive push for strength and muscle size, and includes crazy-intense burn sets that will leave you crawling out of the gym. It is at this point that the true battle for muscle growth begins. Once you leave the gym, you had better be prepared.
What follows is a simple bulking and supplementation approach aimed at equipping you with the tools to grow and recover. It is impossible to create a perfect plan that fits everyone, but I tried to create a plan that will help everyone. The sample eating plan is just that - a sample plan. You are not required to follow it to the letter.
To grow you need to eat more daily calories then it takes to maintain your body weight. If you eat 3000 calories per day and don't gain weight, 3000 calories is your maintenance level. You are "maintaining" your weight by eating this amount of food each day.
To GAIN weight (muscle!), you must simply eat more then it takes to maintain your weight. It really is as simple as that.
Now I know what your next question is...how do I know what my calorie maintenance level is? The answer...you don't know. Yet. But we are going to find out. Learning how your body responds to food intake requires some trial and error. Here is what you need to do:
- Start at 3500 Daily Calories. Eat 3500 calories per day for 2 weeks. You must count calories during this period. Eat no more, and no less.
- Not Gaining Weight? If you did NOT gain weight by eating daily 3500 calories during this two week period, eat 3800 daily calories for the next 2 weeks. If you are still not gaining weight after 2 weeks, add more daily calories.
- Gaining Too Much Weight? If you gained more then 3-4 pounds during this 2 week period, bump your daily calories down to 3200 and try that for 2 weeks. If you are still gaining weight too rapidly, lower your daily calorie level again.
How Much Weight Do I Want To Gain?
A beginning natural bodybuilder who is training hard and eating right should gain at least 10 to 16 pounds of muscle during his first year of hardcore training. An intermediate to advanced lifter will gain fewer pounds as the years progress. According to Casey Butt, this is the muscle progression that an average natural bodybuilder can expect:
- Year 1 - 16 pounds of muscle.
- Year 2 - 8 pounds of muscle.
- Year 3 - 4 pounds of muscle.
- Year 4 - 2 pounds of muscle.
- Year 5 - 1 pound of muscle.
When bulking, you will also gain some fat. Some fat. Keep in mind that this bulking protocol will not turn you into a sumo wrestler, but you may add 5 to 10 pounds of fat during a given year. Some will gain slightly more, and some will gain slightly less fat. If you have fat fear and undereat, you will be limiting your gains. Bodybuilding requires building, or eating more. You simply can't maximize muscle mass by trying to eat less. There will be plenty of time to see your abs once you are a muscular beast!
Here are some general guidelines on how much weight gain you should aim for based on your training and muscle growth experience:
- Beginners. Beginning lifters who have gained no prior muscle mass should set a goal to gain about 2 pounds a month over the course of their first training year. In a perfect world this would equate to 16 pounds of muscle and 8 pounds of fat.
- Beginner to Intermediates. Second year lifters (or someone who has gained about 16 pounds of muscle mass) should set a goal to gain one pound per month over the course of the next year. In a perfect world this would equate to 8 pounds of muscle and 4 pounds of fat.
- Intermediates. Third year lifters (or someone who has gained about 24 pounds of muscle mass) should set a goal to gain two pounds every 3 months over the course of the next year. In a perfect world this would equate to 4 pounds of muscle and 4 pounds of fat.
- Intermediate to Advanced. Fourth year lifters (or someone who has gained about 28 pounds of muscle mass) should set a goal to gain one pound every 2 months over the course of the next year. In a perfect world this would equate to 2 pounds of muscle and 4 pounds of fat.
- Advanced. Fifth year (plus) lifters (or someone who has gained about 30 pounds of muscle mass) should set a goal to gain one pound every 2 months over the course of the next year. In a perfect world this would equate to 1 pound of muscle and 5 pounds of fat.
A Note About "Skinny" Guys
If you are underweight, it may be beneficial to eat a bit more until you reach a more normalized weight. Skinny guys should make it a goal to gain 3 to 5 pounds a month until they are no longer considered underweight. The following table details normal weight ranges based on frame size:
|Weight Chart for Men|
|Height||Small Frame||Medium Frame||Large Frame|
Sample Bulking Eating Plan
- 6 am - Wake up! - Have a whey protein shake immediately upon waking up. Whey protein digests quickly, and will allow you to "rush" amino acids and nutrients into a hungry body.
- 6:30 am - 4 egg omelet with cheese and chopped tomato and onion, oatmeal with fresh fruit, large glass of whole milk.
- 9: 15 am - Weight gainer shake, or a whey protein shake blended with a banana, whole milk and peanut butter.
- Noon - Filling lunch of choice. Make sure to include some veggies! Possible combinations include a cheeseburger with a large baked potato (with sour cream) and broccoli, or chicken tacos with rice and refried beans. Wash down lunch with juice or milk.
- 2:30 pm - Pre-workout - Casein protein shake with fresh fruit.
- 3:30 pm - Workout! - Make sure to drink plenty of water.
- 4:30 pm - Post-Workout - Immediately after completion of your workout, have a whey protein shake that contains 30 to 50 grams of protein, along with dextrose/waxy maize - a fast digesting simple carbohydrate source that will induce an insulin spike and replace glycogen in muscle cells which is lost during training.
- 5:30 pm - Big meal! Eat your biggest meal of the day. Make sure to include a veggie and a healthy carbohydrate source.
- 8:30 pm - Hit the hay! It's time for bed. Have a casein protein shake right before bed. This will furnish your body with a slow-digesting protein source while you sleep.
Keep in mind that to build muscle, it is recommended that you:
- Eat Enough Protein. Try to eat at least 30 to 40 grams of protein every 2.5 to 3 hours. Increasing your daily protein intake while on a resistance training program helps to increase lean muscle mass.
- Eat Fruits and Veggies. Make sure you eat a variety of fruits and veggies each week.
- Eat Healthy Fats. Do NOT avoid healthy fats. The body requires fat intake for numerous functions, including vitamin absorption and the regulation of numerous bodily functions.
- Eat Healthy Grains. Eat several servings of healthy grains each day. Healthy grains include oatmeal, brown rice, and quinoa.
- Eat Dairy. Dairy foods such as milk and cheese are high protein, and nutrient and calorie rich foods.
Sample Supplement Plan
The following supplement plan is provided as a template, and is meant to be run along side the provided bulking template. Adjust it as needed:
- 6 am - Wake up! - 5 grams of BCAAs and 5 grams of glutamine.
- 6:30 am - 1 gram fish oil, multivitamin.
- Noon - 1 gram fish oil.
- 2:30 pm - 40 grams of waxy maize (with casein protein drink).
- 3:00 pm - 30 minutes Pre-workout - 5 grams of BCAAs, 5 grams of creatine, nitric oxide supplement.
- 3:30 pm - Workout!
- 4:30 pm - Post-Workout - 5 grams of BCAAs, 5 grams of glutamine, 5 grams of creatine, 40 grams of waxy maize.
- 5:30 pm - 1 gram fish oil.
- 8:30 pm - Hit the hay! 5 grams of glutamine, ZMA.
Optional - Beta- Alanine. Promising research is revealing a synergistic relationship between creatine and beta-alanine. Beta-alanine must be taken every 4 hours at approximately 750 to 800 mgs. It also also a good idea to supplement with taurine when using beta-alanine. For more information on the beta-alanine/creatine stack, please read: Stacking Creatine and Beta-Alanine For Better Results.