My desire to gain muscle mass and build big muscle began when I was 16. At the time, I desperately needed to gain muscle fast for rugby as I realized how much more physical the game was getting as I began to get older.
I found it harder and harder to make tackles and get past people as I didn’t have the strength or size to do so. I stood at 5’10” and a measly 132lbs (60kg).
So in the late spring, when the rugby season finished up, I decided to do the hard yards in the gym for the summer months until rugby began again in winter.
I was very positive and optimistic that I would be successful in my endeavor of building muscle fast as I was going to be very disciplined to my weights training… which I was!
At the time, when I had I very little knowledge of how to build muscle quick. I had a lot of misconceptions (as everyone who begins does!) on how to actually gain size and muscle mass. The worst and most humorous mistake I can distinctly remember to this day!
Back then, when I was about to begin my off-season training, I caught wind that a lot of professional rugby players took protein shakes on a regular basis. So I decided to “do as the professionals do”.
Consequently, I went to the local supplement store and inquisitively asked the sales clerk “What protein shakes do most rugby players take?” He then handed me over this big paint pot like tub of protein with an impressive, eye-catching yellow and red label with 2500Cals in the center of it.
Content, I bought it and left the store without realizing that 2500Cals was over my daily requirement of calories alone! Then when Monday morning (my gym day) arrived, I ate my breakfast, filled up 1 of 2 of my 1250Cal strawberry protein shake with full fat milk as indicated and drank it just BEFORE the gym…Big Mistake!
Twenty minutes into my jog that I did at the start of my gym session (Mistake no.4) I ended spewing up a pink liquid all over the treadmill at the gym. For a 16 year old it felt like the world was going to end with the embarrassment! Here are some of the mistakes I made starting out that you shouldn’t have to make…
Mistake No 1: Carbohydrates Where Irrelevant!
This was a dyer mistake for me, especially because my high metabolism which burned energy extremely fast. This resulted in my body using the valuable proteins in my diet which was used to gain muscle mass. It also meant that I was fatigued a lot of the time and had very little energy for any activity. As those of you who have experienced a low carb diet would understand.
For some reason though I had the mentality that carbohydrates would result in fat being stored which of course would not have been the case. Both High and Low G.I Carbs at different times throughout the day were essential for me to be able to grow.
Mistake No 2: Fats Make You Fat… Right?!
WRONG! Only saturated fats and trans fats eaten in excess are the real contributor of putting on fat. Fats can even help to accelerate fat loss if consumed in the proper way in your diet to build muscle. At that time, for me, fats would have played an essential role in my diet. Not only would they have been the best energy source, fat would also be used to transport fat-soluble vitamins — vitamins A, D, E and K — from the food I ate your my body.
Another reason why healthy fats would have been so important is the increase in testosterone I would have experience if I had ate more oily fish such as salmon or even taken a fish oil supplement every day. It is scientifically proven that a Diet with 30% of its calories made up with fat helps to increase testosterone which is a hugely beneficial thing if you’re trying to gain muscle mass fast.
Mistake No 3: Calorie Consumption
Probably the biggest error in my quest to build muscle mass fast was not eating enough calories. In fact, I had no idea how many calories I was eating! What most people will tell you is to eat 500cals over your Calorie intake for maintenance of body weight. However, I believe for hard gainers over 1000 cals is required and even more if you undertake other calorie burning activities. I find this the best way to gain muscle fast.
It is essential for everyone though to find their Calorie intake for maintenance of body weight.
The same principal applies to losing weight as they do for gaining weight. If you want get smaller eat fewer Calories than your daily intake of Calories for maintenance of Body weight. If you want to get bigger eat more Calories than your daily intake of Calories for maintenance of Body weight. Simple!
Mistake No 4: High Intensity Cardio
I used to run for about 25 minutes at a high intensity. This of course would eat away at my value muscle. Cardio when gaining size and muscle mass should be done at a rate of less then 70% maximum heart rate for no more than 30 minutes. For all of you involved in sport, size and muscle mass should ideally be done in the off-season when little cardio is being carried-out and no injuries can hinder your objective.
Personally, whenever I’m attempting to gain muscle mass I usually choose a period of 4-8 weeks where I just lift weights 3-4 times per week and do no cardio. That means no running, swimming, rowing and so on. I always find this works and would usually expect to gain anywhere from 3-6kgs of solid muscle mass. Obviously, I would put on a bit of body fat, may be a 1-2% increase but this usually goes pretty fast when I engage in Cardio again.
Muscle Gain Workout
Weights session will be the main focus for building size and muscle mass. The sessions should be short (no greater than an hour) including many heavy compound lifts such as squats, deadlifts etc.
If you are someone who is trying to keep their body fat down and just gain lean muscle mass then I would advise keeping the intensity really high in your weight lifting workout by incorporating lots of supersets in your workout and also keep the rest period between sets no longer than 40 seconds.
Here some of the typical exercises ordered by muscle groups that will be apart of your muscle gain workouts:
|Flat Bench Press
|Inclined Bench Press
|Single Leg Squats
|Single Leg RDLs
|Single Arm Rows
|Dips with Bench
Muscle Gain Diet
The diet should have a high protein content in all circumstances. Approximately 1½ grams per pound of bodyweight.
Carbohydrates are difficult to gauge as they depend on the individuals body fat, weight, goals and level of activity.
- 2-3 grams of carbs per pound of bodyweight for gainers who have a high level of activity (i.e training 2/3 times a day) or who are unconcerned about putting on body fat.
- 0.5 to 1.5 grams of carbs for those who wish to build muscle and lose fat.
Fats should be kept at a relatively high level with a big emphasize on healthy fats such as polyunsaturates and mono-saturates.
|45g Oats and Low Fat Milk + 100% Waey
|2 Boiled Eggs
|Protein Shake (600Cals)
|2 Slices of Wholemeal Bread
|10ml Extra Virgin Olive Oil
|Lean Steak & Veg
|10ml Extra Virgin Olive Oil
|Protein Shake (600Cals)
|30g Quick Oats & Low Fat Milk
|2 Boiled Whole Eggs
Points to Note
- Have your protein shake after your weight training i.e have meal 1-train-then meal 2 or have meal 4 and then meal 5
- Drink 5-6 litres of water. A hydrated muscle recovers quicker!!
- Take a good weightlifting multivitamin.
- Try and eat your meals at the same time everyday