fitness, Men's Physique, NPC
Winter is coming! Well, in some parts of the country winter is already here. Regardless of where you live, you might be thinking that now is an ideal time to pack on some mass for 2013. After all, the beaches are closed so who is going to notice a couple of extra LBs, right. Toss on a loose fitting sweater or sweats and your secret is virtually safe, unless you live in a warm climate that is. If so, then you’re just out of luck because hiding isn’t an option.
If you’re anything like most, you want to add lean muscle while minimizing fat accumulation. Notice that I didn’t say you were going to avoid getting fat because that’s nearly impossible as some fat accumulation will be unavoidable. The goal should be to control the accumulation to the best of your ability while packing on muscle.
Creating a caloric surplus
Adding mass is about creating a caloric surplus. In short, you need to take in more calories than what your body really needs to run itself. Some of the additional calories will be used to repair muscle damaged during your intense training sessions, while some will be stored as fat. But how many calories should you add to maximize lean muscle growth while minimizing fat? Well, I’m glad that you asked.
In general, you need to add 500 additional calories to your daily caloric totals.
If you haven’t taken the time to figure out your daily caloric needs yet, then maybe we should pause here for a short video from Greg Plitt. If you’re unaware of the name, Greg is a fitness model and actor that has appeared on the covers of more than 100 fitness magazines and 25 romance novels in the last 4+ years. In short, this man knows his stuff.
In the video (http://vimeo.com/17389252), Greg provides calculations to help you determine how many calories you need to run your body. Once you determine your Base Calories you simply add 500 calories to that number. (Note: Base Calories are the sum of Static Calories plus Metabolic Rate Calories). Of course, you will need to continue adding calories as your body grows and your weight increases.
Before starting the video you might want to grab a pencil, paper and even a calculator if your math skills are rusty. And, if you’re anything like me you’ll need to stop and rewind the video a few times to get the calculations correct.
Eating to Grow
Once you determine your adjusted caloric goals (Base Calories + 500) you need to ensure that you are reaching your totals consistently AND with the right foods. Calorie trackers, like MyFitnessPal, are an excellent way to monitor your caloric intake.
MyFitnessPal, accessible online or via smartphone app, makes it relatively easy to log your meals. If your goal is to increase lean muscle then ideally you are consuming quality protein, carbs and fats, however, with a database of over 1 million foods you can also log your all-important cheat meals.
The process of increasing your calories is relatively straightforward in the beginning but can become increasing difficult as the calories begin to add up.
To illustrate my point, let’s just say that your base caloric intake is 3,400 calories per day. At this caloric count it’s relatively easy to add-on an additional 500 calories with a cup of rice here and an ounce of meat there. But as your weight increases it may become harder to add cups of oatmeal and ounces of lean meat on a consistent basis. There are only so many hours in the day and you might not always have a hardy appetite. So, what are you to do when your aspirations are larger than your appetite? Well you supplement of course.
The goal should be to consume solid foods but the reality is that this isn’t always possible. And, this is why protein powders and mass gainers are critical. Depending upon your caloric goals, nutritional requirements, preferences and budget, you will want to find a supplement that is right for you. Bodybuilding.com has a really nice feature that allows you to perform a side-by-side comparison of up to three products at a time.
I recently had a chance to use this “compare” feature when I was shopping for a mass gainer myself. I’ve had great experiences with Dymatize products in the past, however; I didn’t want to assume that they offered the best product in this category. Using the website, I was able to determine that a four scoop serving of Elite Mass delivers 600 calories with 55 grams of protein along with 77 carbs and BCAAs. After ordering and using the product I came to realize that it didn’t upset my stomach and also had a great taste.
If you follow the strategies outlined in this article then you’re going to pack on size. So, what’s my last piece of advice as you embark upon this mass building journey? Buy sweats. Trust me, you’ll need them.