Grow Or Perish!

Sure you have to murder yourself regularly in the gym. Of course you have to rest and do all that you can to maximize your recovery. It does, however, necessitate some structure, prioritizing, and a little bit of common sense.
Size. That is the name of the game. You must first build your body to truly be a bodybuilder. To expand the boundaries of your genetic predisposition, there is one mighty rule that must be obeyed at all times. Sure you have to murder yourself regularly in the gym. Of course you have to rest and do all that you can to maximize your recovery.

But the bottom line for gaining mass, for packing on slabs of rugged beef, is so simple it often gets overlooked in this the age of high tech and big talk. You want the secret? Drum roll please. Eat.

Yeah that's right, eat. Don't laugh. You'd be surprised at how many out there bleed the bodybuilding ethic but still seem to overlook this the most basic of bodybuilding's tenets.

To obtain pants-splitting, shirt-tearing, stretch-marking proportions, you've got to win the battle of the knife and fork. Sounds easy enough. And you know what? A lot of the time, it is. Eating in the off-season can and should be enjoyable. It has none of the monotony or blandness that makes the pre-contest period such torture.

It does, however, necessitate some structure, prioritizing, and a little bit of common sense. Pay attention and you just might end up huge.

It's The Protein...

No shit. This is a Bodybuilding 101 lesson. To get big you have to eat a shitload of protein, day in and day out. Steak, chicken, ground beef, fish, turkey, whole eggs, egg whites, milk, yogurt, cottage cheese... these should be the backbone of your daily nutrition. These foods come first.

The more of these that find their way down the hatch, the bigger and better a bodybuilder you will be. Believe that. Prioritize these in 3-4 meals a day aiming for 50g of protein per meal. Take note of how big that list of protein-dense food is.

Use some variety. Change shit up from time to time. Your eating will be far less arduous if you incorporate several different protein sources into your daily repertoire.

Low Carb My Ass...

F*&@ what you heard. Carbs are your ally, especially in the quest for mass. Obviously eating a bag of sugar each day will make you a fat bastard, but if you turn your back on carbohydrates altogether, you better get used to being small. Eat your oatmeal every morning.

Add rice, pasta or potatoes to your whole protein meals. Devour fruits and veggies. Carbs will add much needed calories to your daily total, fuel your heavy training, help you recover post-workout, keep your digestive system functioning properly and provide antioxidants, phytochemicals and vitamins to strengthen your immune system and contribute to your overall health.

Fat Fetish...

Eating fat does not necessarily make you fat. Somebody needs to come up with a new word to distinguish between the healthy fats that provide endless benefits and artery-clogging lard. There is a big difference, especially when it comes to muscle building.

Even in the off-season, transfats and saturated fats should be limited when possible, but the consumption of other fats like MCTs and Omega-3s should be encouraged. Olive oil, Flax Seed oil and fish oils are calorie-dense (9 kcals per gram) and can actually help you to burn fat and lower your bad cholesterol. Add them to your daily regimen and reap the physique rewards.

The X Factor...

This is what separates the men from the boys, the winner from the runner-up. Supplementation. And no matter what the ads in the mags say, supplementation doesn't have to be rocket science. Cover your bases with the nutritional basics. For starters, take the Animal Pak.

Drink three or four 50+ gram protein shakes a day. Try using protein blends that include a mixture of whey, micellar casein, egg, milk, all of which digest at different rates. Add creatine and glutamine to recharge post-workout. Choke down a couple handfuls of aminos and liver tabs each day to improve recovery.

Cheat To Win...

Remember, this is the off-season, so make the most of it. The cheat meal is the reward for busting your ass in the gym and eating good everyday. Knowing your body type, you may only be able to get away with it once a week. Then again maybe you can do it twice a day. Keep in mind, even at the fast food drive through, that you are a bodybuilder first and foremost.

Always opt for the more nutritious, calorie-dense foods. Avoid soda and candy, chips and fries, all of which contain nothing but empty calories. Grub on your pizza and burgers, ice cream and lasagna. This is your rare chance to truly love eating.

Plus, it's a great opportunity to kick start your growth by shuttling in an abundance of calories and protein to flood your hungry muscle cells. Enjoy it while you can, because the rigors of the pre-contest diet are always just over the horizon.

There is nothing more anabolic than food. Get your mass eating in order and the world is yours. Worry about seeing your serratus when it is time to step onstage... You ain't no underwear model. Before the great sculptor chisels his masterpiece, he needs to start with a big ass block of granite. Alright, enough bullshitting. Shouldn't you be eating right now?