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5 Muscle Building Tips for Hard Gainers
There is a lot of bro-science that goes around that claim what works to help pack on muscle. Most hard gainers think that steroids are the only way to pack on muscle. This is not completely true. Before considering any kind of performance-enhancing drugs or supplements here are 5 muscle gaining tips for hard gainers.
When most bodybuilders talk about eating you always hear many of them eating 5-6 meals a day. This might be ok for a bodybuilder who is going to compete but for the average guy, this is impractical. While eating is important its best to stick with 3-4 manageable meals during the day.
Meals should consist of an abundance of lean protein such as fish, chicken, lean beef and turkey. You should ensure you are getting plenty of quality carbs like brown rice, oatmeal, green vegetables. You do not need to complicate things just use common sense.
Not only is eating the right food important if you are going to gain muscle you need to make sure you are eating enough. A simple way to calculate how many calories you need is to multiply your body weight by 17 if you weigh 160 lbs you would need approximately 2720 calories. You should take into consideration metabolism, if you have a slow metabolism you may need less than someone with fat metabolism.
Of those calories, you should be getting at least 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight. I personally prefer 1.5 grams anything higher is not going to make a difference. Excess protein ends up broken down as waste by the body. The rest of your calories can come from carbs and fat.
Everyone reacts differently to carbs, after eating carbs some people feel tired and bloated while others feel energized. This is one of the aspects of dieting that you need to pay close attention to and adjust accordingly.
2. Stick to Compound Movements
Sticking to compound training methods is the best way to gain muscle mass. When building muscle you want to focus on major muscle groups. Deadlifts, squats, front squats, rack pulls, bench press shoulder press, these exercises will target all major muscle groups and will help you grow dense muscle. Stick to training one muscle group per day.
3. Lift Heavy Weight
Some of the greatest bodybuilders had one thing in common, they had huge legs and massive backs. Dorian Yates, Ronnie Coleman, Jay Cutler all lifted heavy. Keep your sets between 6-8 reps and your sets between 4-6 once again, go by feel.
I personally like to implement HIT training (High-Intensity Training) Slow controlled movements stimulate more muscle fibers. With HIT training you do 2-3 sets with (moderate weight) followed by 2 heavy sets to reach momentary muscle failure. This was Dorian Yates training style and there is no doubt he was a mass monster with thick dense muscle.
4. Keep your training sessions brief
This is not hard to do at all if you focus on one muscle group per day and implement HIT training you can easily get what needs to be done in less than an hour. If you are training longer than an hour you are not training hard and heavy enough.
5. Cut back on the cardio
I realize that cardio is important but you can actually get a good cardio workout with weights. if you are training with compound movements you should already be getting your heart pumping. For example, if you train the following on back day:
Deadlifts 60-80% of your 1 rep max 4-5 sets
Rack Pulls 70-80% of your 1 rep max 5-6 sets
Barbell rows 60-70-% of your 1 rep max 4-5 sets
T-Bar Rows 70-80% of your 1 rep max
Try that workout resting between 1-2 minutes between sets and tell me if you are not winded.
When bulking you want to try and maintain as much muscle as possible. Long cardio sessions not only burns fat it burns muscle. If you do insist on doing cardio try keeping your sessions to around 15 minutes 3 times a week should be plenty to keep your heart in good condition.
What about taking supplements?
I personally believe the best fuel your body is by eating quality protein and whole foods. I am not against taking supplements. I also believe you should only use them under certain conditions including:
- You are unable to get enough protein with a regular diet
- You don’t have time to eat 3-4 regular meals a day
- You are vegetarian and need a way to increase protein
- You are older and suffer from fatigue and weakness
- You have a fast metabolism and need an effective way to increase calories
If you feel your body is lacking nutrients or you are not getting enough calories through regular meals by all means. Certain supplements like pre-workouts can help older men boost energy and reduce fatigue. Legal steroids can help add additional calories you might not be getting with regular meals.
Gaining lean muscle mass is not so much a science as it is listening to your body. The basic principle is to make your muscles adapt to heavier loads. Loading your muscles with heavy weight stimulates new muscle growth, feeding your body adequate amounts of protein, carbs and fat will help your muscles grow fast.