Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Gain Muscle Mass Quickly - Part 2

As promised, here is part 2 of how to gain muscle mass quickly. As mentioned earlier, this program is designed for skinny guys who want to pound on some serious muscle mass. If you are overweight and want to put on some muscle mass, you may not need to consume as much as i am recommending here. You can follow the general guidelines, but i would recommend just lift heavy to burn off the fat first. Once you start losing significant body fat, you can switch on to this program wholly. But where there is doubt, please leave a comment and i will be glad to answer.

Breakfast, Pre work out & Post work out

There are 3 very important meal times that you need to be aware of when you want to gain muscle mass. 1 is breakfast, 2 is before your workout (usually about 60 to 90 minutes before your work out) and the other is right after your work out (30 to 45 minutes after your workout). Lets go into these meals in more details one at a time.


Ah yes, “breakfast is the most important meal of the day”. If you heard you mother preaching this a million times, it’s only because it is true and like they always say, mother knows best. Breakfast is very important because it is the first meal after a long fasting period. If you eat your dinner at about 8pm everyday and breakfast at 7am, that is almost 11 hours of fasting that your body has endured. Because of that, you need to replenish your body with foods that it can use and also important to give it food that will not be turned into fat. Whenever you eat breakfast, remember these 3 simple rules

Avoid simple carbohydrates – Simple carbohydrates are all the starches that are white. White bread, croissants, noodles, white rice etc. Because your body has been starving itself for so long, the insulin level in your blood will be really low. The second you put any food into your mouth, it will automatically raise the insulin level in your blood. Simple carbohydrates get turned to sugar almost immediately once it enters your system. Because of this, you insulin will spike when there is a sudden introduction of sugar in your bloodstream, and insulin spikes will promote fat storage within your body. The insulin is going spike no matter what… what you want to do is minimize the spike to a gradual raise.

Go for high fiber, high protein breakfasts – If you can, skip all your sweet breakfast cereal and go for eggs and whole meal toast or a ham sandwich on whole meal bread or even oat cereal with milk (no sugar). Things such as pancakes, frosted corn flakes, roti canai, nasi lemak etc is just bad news for your belly in the mornings… so avoid them at all costs. You want to build muscle, so you will need loads of protein and breakfast is the one of the best times to replenish your supply.

Drink something that isn’t sweet – one of the worst things you can do in the morning is get a cup of coffee, load it up with sugar and milk and down it to wake yourself up. No doubt you will wake up almost immediately because of the sudden sugar rush, but this will also make your waist line grow. If you have to drink something sweet, try artificial sweeteners that don’t have as many calories or go for fresh fruit juice or lightly sweetened Soya Milk. The worse breakfast drink I have seen is having a can of Soda just after waking up. No nutrition and loads of fat building potential. So unless you are aiming to become a Sumo wrestler, please don’t drink soda in the morning. It’s just wrong.

Pre Work out

The next most important meal of the day is your pre work out meal. Before you go for your work out, you want to essentially load yourself with complex carbohydrates and protein. You essentially want to get this food in 60 to 90 minutes before your workout so that your body has time to digest this food and make all the nutrition you need available for your training. In essence, you are giving your body the ammunition it needs for the forthcoming assault… which is your heavy workout. So examples of pre work out meals that are good to have would be:

  1. Peanut butter sandwich on whole meal bread
  2. Thick Milk shake blended with fruits like banana or berries
  3. Tuna sandwich on whole meal bread
  4. Chapati with egg and chicken curry (small portion)
  5. Turkey ham sandwich with egg on whole meal bread

I think you get the idea. Avoid oily, heavy or fattening food like mee goreng, roti canai or rice with curry as this will only make you feel lazy and sluggish... the last thing you need when you hit the gym for a heavy lift. Although carbohydrates have been constantly bashed and given a bad name for making people fat, if you want to gain muscle mass, you need carbohydrates. Why?

When you train heavily, your body will actively look for fuel to power your activity. What your body does is revert to a process called glycolysis. Glycolysis is a process of turning sugars (usually provided by carbohydrates) into ATP and if you remember your biology lessons, ATP is a energy that is used by muscle cells to complete movement. So if you starve yourself of carbohydrates, it's simple to see that you won’t be providing the fuel you need for your work out heavily and to your full potential.

Another important tip is to have a glass of something sweet (not to sweet) about 20 minutes before your workout. If you are not a big eater, this is a great way to help you boost the sugar your body needs before the workout. The reason why it is 20 minutes before the workout, is because the drink is sweet and is already in the form of sugar… so there isn’t any breaking down required to convert it to sugar. This way, you load your body with fuel ready substances to power your work out. This is good for people who are skinny and just can’t seem to pound on that additional weight. If you are overweight and looking to lean up with muscle mass, you may skip this.

Post work out

Once you are done with your intense work out, your body will attempt to rebuild and repair the damage caused by your work out. The reason I use the word attempt, is because you body can only repair the damage if it is given the right raw materials. Imagine building a house without bricks or wood… you can’t do it can you. The same way, your body only can build muscle if it is provided with the right tools and of course the right raw materials. So you want to once again ensure your post workout meal is heavy in complex carbohydrates and heavy on protein. Your body’s ability to build muscle depends a lot of how fast it can exit the catabolic stage (the breakdown during work outs) and enter the anabolic stage (where it recovers and repairs the damage done during the workout). So as you can see, post workout nutrition is very important.

Post work out meals is also what people like to call the Free Zone… meaning almost anything you eat, will get utilized by the body immediately… so there is no risk of fat storage. Notice that pang of hunger that has just struck you after your work out. Yeah, its your body crying out to be fed. But again, if you eat more than your body can use (even if it is just pure protein), you will put on the wrong kind of weight. The best post workout food to have is similar to the ones mentioned in the pre workout meals…heavy on protein and heavy on complex carbohydrates. If you are drinking protein shakes etc, now would be the best time to drink it as it will be most efficiently used at this time compared to any other time.

Eat every 3 hours that you are awake

Besides the three important meals mentioned above, I would like to recommend adding in three more meals per day. Ideally, for maximum muscle gain and weight loss, you want to eat something every 3 hours that you are awake. So if you eat breakfast at 7am, you want to chow down something at 10 am and then go for lunch at 1pm and so forth. The idea is, to keep the additional meal portions small so that you don’t end up consuming more than you need. Eating additional meals not only raises your metabolic rate and prevent insulin spikes which result in fat storage, but eating additional meals provides your body with the continued supply of raw materials it needs to rebuild and repair your muscles. The problem with our body is, when you give it nutrition, it takes what it needs for that moment and then discards or stores away the rest. It is similar to a child who if you gave him or her pocket money by the month, chances are they will spend it all within a few days and be broke after that. Because of this, you probably have to give the child money on a daily basis and the same goes for our body… not daily but on a more regular basis. So if you want your body to maximize its protein usage, eat many meals and keep the portions smaller.

Ideally, your post and pre work out meals should be additional meals besides your lunch and dinner. So on top of lunch and dinner, you now have an additional 2 meals which is your pre and post workout meals. But if you lack the time and comfort to feed yourself in such a manner, you need to make some modifications while still abiding by the basics. For example, if you are going to workout in the morning before work, your breakfast will have to follow the pre-workout meal plan instead of the normal breakfast mentioned above. If you are working out after work, then your dinner will have to follow the post workout meal plan. So adjust your food accordingly based on your progress and your goals.

How much protein should I consume?

Since protein is the building blocks for muscle, you are going to need lots of it for muscle gain. But just how much protein does you body need to really build muscle? Well depending on the amount of muscle you have and how heavy you lift, your need for protein will vary. But in essence, you should aim to have 1.6 to 1.8 grams of protein for every kilogram of body weight. So if you weigh 70kg, then you want to aim for 112 grams to 126 grams of protein per day. This is just a rough guide of how much you should be consuming. This amount may also vary depending on how hard and heavy you are lifting.

Wouldn’t it better to eat a whole lot more protein just to be safe? Not really. Since protein has the same amount of calories as carbohydrates, eating too much of protein will also mean too many calories in your system… and we all know what too many calories translates to. This is why it is important to follow the scale given above. You can vary your protein intake depending on the results you are getting and hence adjust to get the results you want. If you lift really heavy and weight 70kg, you may need a lot more protein that someone else who is lifting lightly and weighs 70kg.

It is also important to point out here that 112 grams of protein a day refers to 112 grams of pure protein. So if you eat a chicken breast that weighs 112 grams, it doesn’t mean you are done with your protein intake for the day. Chicken breasts have loads of other nutrition as well, and though it may be high in protein, it is not made up of 100% protein. To give you a better gauge of what I mean, 1 can of tuna has about 20 grams of pure protein. So in order to get 100grams of protein, you will need to consume about 5 cans tuna a day. Seems like a lot to consume doesn’t it. To get about 112, you will need to consume 6 cans of tuna. This is of course on the premise that you are not eating or drinking anything else. Just plain tuna. Do you think you get hungry after the 6 cans? If you were 70kg and lifted very heavy and going for muscle gain, yes, you would probably finish the 6 cans by lunch or by tea.

The thing is, everything we consume has some amount of protein in it. Whether it is milk, rice, bread, cheese and even chocolates, they all have some amount of protein in them. So consuming all that other stuff does count towards your daily protein intake. What you want to do is reduce the other unhealthy things like fat and increase your protein intake so that you put on the right kind of weight.

So if you are serious about putting on some serious muscle mass on your skinny frame, or if you are serious about loosing weight and gaining some good muscle mass, you need to follow the guidelines here. If you are thinking “It’s a lot of good stuff, but not so practical for me. So how much can we deviate from this plan and still get results?” Well it really depends on what you want and how much of it you want. If you want to maximize your muscle gaining potential, you need to be a dietary boy scout and train like there is no tomorrow each time you hit the gym. If you want less, then you just follow it less. The more you follow this, the faster and bigger gains you will see. So it really is up to you. Once you are decided, we hope we have helped you in some small way to achieve what you want.


lalayon said...

It's a nice post. Their are other items that should be discussed such as intensity and volume and how they correlate. Also, do you have any specific exercises training tips? I like this blog also, for general overviews.http://how-to-build-muscle-tips-and-tricks.blogspot.com

anfield devotee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
anfield devotee said...

eat more than three meals a day? (*burp*) ok . . . Boss, tambah nasi bryiani lagi sini . . .

mozHASturnedINTOaMartian said...

hi rajen: glad to see you back full steam mate. as always, very interesting stuff and informative.
advanced new year greetings. keep on steamin' chief.


p.s. i ain't got much new reso's. lose weight? quit smoking? YEAH RIGHT. mine would be to er..cut down rambling nonsense on the blogs of kindred souls la. i think that one also dunnow whether can achieve or not. oh yeah, heard from the AD's blog yu got yer hands on AC/DC's lates...*slurpslurp* will grab it as soon as i can ...pirate la kot..see how..mwhahahah.

Rajan said...

lalayon: What kind of specific exercise tips are you looking for? Let me know and i will do my best to post something more specific for you.

AD: Yes... more meals, but each meal should be about half of what your normal meal is. basically eating the same amount of food you normally eat in a day, but instead of three, try to divide all that up into 5 or 6 meals.

Moz: Yeah, do check out AC/DC's latest album. I honestly thought it kicked ass man.

2nd Hand Sale said...

rajan, i just discovered ur blog, n i know this post is 4 yrs old. i have a very serious problem , im thin, skinny as most ppl will say 50kg to b exact, my waist measured around the navel is 30 cm. I think the thickness of abdominal fat is at least 6inches. I eat a healthy bfast, no junk food or drink, hardly any white food, dont drink or smoke, xercise at least twice a week, but i still cant get rid of the fats there. i can eat as much as i want n not gain any weight at all.
Any idea what the problem is here?

MusclePro said...

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john smith said...

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