EAT! YOU MUST CONSUME MORE CALORIES THAN YOU USE FOR ENERGY
This means you need to eat as much as possible, and as often as possible. You may think you eat a lot – but if you’re not gaining any weight you need to eat more. And this means everyday – not just on your training days or when you remember. No amount of training is going to help you gain mass unless you are eating enough food, and eating consistently. This may sound simple but is one of the most common mistakes that “hardgainers” make.
Truth is – there are no hardgainers – just people who don’t eat enough, or often enough, on a consistent basis. You should aim for at least 6 meals per day, eating every 2 to 3 hours, with protein and carbs with every meal. By eating more often, your body utilises food more effectively, your energy levels will remain more stable, your recovery rates will be faster, and your muscle and strength gains will be maximised.
PUT SIMPLY – If you’re not gaining weight, you’re not eating enough.
CALCULATE YOUR REQUIRED DAILY CALORIE REQUIREMENTS AND STICK TO IT
An easy way to calculate your required daily calorie intake is to multiply your bodyweight in kilo’s by 2.2 x 16 i.e. 80kg x 2.2 x 16 = 2816 calories per day
For mass gain, add an extra 20% to this: 2816 x 0.20 = 563 extra calories per day
Add these together: 2816 + 563 = 3379 calories per day
This is the minimum amount of calories required for mass gain at 80kg bodyweight (activity level also effects this – if you do a labour intensive job you may need to add extra calories to this – if you still find that you aren’t gaining any mass, add an extra 10% calories per week until you start gaining). If you tend to gain bodyfat easily, and would prefer to gain mainly lean mass, add fewer calories to your maintenance intake. Aim for around 10% rather than 20%.
EAT QUALITY PROTEIN WITH EVERY MEAL
Use a quality Whey protein or muscle gaining protein formula. Muscle tissue is made up of proteins. Every time you train you break down muscle tissue (protein). Your body then repairs this damage using protein from your diet. This results in increased muscle size, density and strength. If you don’t eat enough protein, your body can’t repair this damage and so you won’t grow. Always make sure to eat within 45 minutes of finishing training – an easy to digest Whey protein like Balance 100% Whey or Pharmasports 100% Whey or Mass gainer is your best bet to help aid muscle repair and growth.
For best results eat at least 2g to 3g of protein per kilo of bodyweight per day (everyday – not just on your training days) – eg: 80kg bodyweight x 2 = at least 160grams to 240grams of protein per day, 7 days per week.
Good quality wholefood protein sources include – Chicken Breast, Turkey, Lean red meat, Fish, Tuna, Salmon, Whey Protein, Eggs (Egg white and whole eggs), Cottage Cheese, and low fat Milk.
Some good all in one mass gainer formulas are Pharmasports GROWTH, Leppin BulkPro4, Cytosport CytoGainer. High quality Lean Mass gainers with a higher protein to carbohydrate ratio are Cytosport Muscle Milk, and Leppin Muscle Pro4.
BREAKDOWN YOUR DAILY CALORIE INTAKE INTO PROTEIN, CARBS AND FAT
Now you know how much protein you should eat you need to calculate how much fat and carbs you need to eat.
You should aim for approx 20 to 25% calories from fat. Take you daily calorie count – 3379 x 0.25 = 844 calories from fat. Each gram of fat contains 9 calories so divide this figure by 9 to get grams of fat – 844/9 = 94g of fat per day. So at 80kg you are eating at least 160g or protein. Each gram of protein equals 4 calories, so you are getting 640 calories from protein, plus 844 calories from Fat. Subtract this from your total calorie intake and you have you total required carb intake, then divide by 4 again (each gram of carbs contains 4 calories) to get the grams of carbs per day that you need 3379 – (640+844) = 1895 cals from carbs/4 = 474grams of carbs per day
So for an 80kg male this is how your daily diet should break down:
- Protein – 160g (640 calories)
- Carbs – 474 (1895 calories)
- Fat – 94g (846 calories)
TRAIN REGULARLY AND CONSISTANTLY
Regular and consistent weight training is required for you to gain quality muscle mass without adding excessive amounts of bodyfat. You should be weight training at least 3 or 4 days per week, for around 45 to 60 mins each session. Make sure to use a training diary and plan out and record every training session – including day and date, time of day, muscle group trained, exercises, weights and repetitions, and weekly bodyweight measurements. For maximum muscle and mass gain limit your cardio and aerobic exercise.
USE SUPPLEMENTS – STICK WITH THE BASICS AND USE PROVEN PRODUCTS
- CREATINE – The most effective and proven product available for increasing explosive power, strength and lean mass gains. Most suitable for enhancing explosive power for increased muscle strength, speed, and power in the gym.
- HMB – Helps to suppress protein/muscle tissue breakdown for enhanced recovery and faster muscle and strength gains
- GLUTAMINE – this is the most abundant amino acid in the body and is depleted through heavy training. The use of glutamine can enhance the immune system, improve recovery, reduce muscle soreness, and also aid with increasing muscle cell volume for enhanced strength and muscle gains.
There are many other supplements on the market, however get the basics right first as these will give you the best gains.
ALLOW ADEQUATE RECOVERY BETWEEN TRAINING SESSIONS
Allowing your body to recover is vital. If you spend your weekends partying, or are up all night watching TV and not getting a minimum of 8 hours sleep each night, your mass gain, muscle growth and muscle recovery will be impaired. Aim for at least 8 hours of quality sleep each night and watch your body grow.
For maximum muscle gains, allow 72 hours between training the same body part. Never train a muscle group that is sore from a previous training session
POST TRAINING – YOUR MOST IMPORTANT MEAL OF THE DAY
If you’re not doing this right you’re not doing anything right. Immediately after training you need to have a fast digesting protein and carbohydrate based shake. Aim for a higher carb intake than your normal meals – this should be made up of simple carbs (dextrose, waxy maize starch) and complex carbs (maltodextrin). The mix of simple carbs to complex should be 1 to 1 i.e. 30g maltodextrin to 30g dextrose. The amount of protein and carbs to use depends on your bodyweight – aim for 0.80g of carbs per kilo of bodyweight and 0.4g of protein per kilo of bodyweight – i.e. 80kg b/w = 64 grams carbs (32g Dextrose/32g maltodextrin) + 32g protein preferably hydrolysed whey, whey protein isolate or a good whey protein concentrate.