I don't know how many times I've heard this line working at GNC. "I just can't seem to put on any weight because my metabolism is too fast." When I ask them how often they eat, they supply me with the universal answer: all of the time. Next I ask them how much they eat and once again, I once again get the universal answer: a lot. Well, when I talk more and more with this person, I make them realize that they're not consuming near enough calories to put on quality mass. The average person thinks eating a lot is eating 3-4 times per day with a main staple consisting of burgers, fries and cokes. Hey pal, I've got news for you. If you want to be big, you have to eat big. This is one of the absolute truths of bodybuilding. To be big, you MUST eat big! End of story! No ifs, ands or buts about it here.
Bodybuilding is really a simple formula. Train hard, train consistently, eat a lot of healthy foods, rest, and GROW. I am always coming across new articles with a new twist on muscle growth but I think these people have too much time on their hands. I guess you can say I'm old school because if you follow this simple formula, muscle growth is guaranteed unless you have a condition which causes muscle deterioration. However, the odds of this are very slim to none, so I suggest you read the rest of this article, stop whining about being a hard gainer and start doing your homework. After all, spring break is around the corner.
STEP ONE: POUND THE CALORIES
I've said it once and I'll say it again, calories are key. If you're not eating enough calories, you WILL NOT grow. Sure, reduced calories are great dieting down but if you're looking for size, you have to go the other way and up your calories. It may be difficult for you to pound back those calories initially but I promise that after 2 weeks of eating more than you're used to, it becomes almost second nature. You should aim for around 20-25 calories per pound of bodyweight. So if you weigh 200 lbs, you should strive to consume 4000-5000 calories per day. I know it sounds like a lot but if you eat the right foods, it really isn't that bad.
STEP TWO: MACRONUTRIENTS
Now that we've established your daily caloric needs, we need to consider the macronutrient break up of your calories. There are several schools of thought on this subject but I've found what works for me and a few others and I will dispense this information. In my experiences, one should strive to consume approximately 50% carbohydrates, 30% protein and 20% fat. Your numbers may vary slightly but this is of no concern. So this translates into 500-625 grams of carbohydrates, 300-375 grams of protein and 88-111 grams of fat per day. This takes a lot of planning but once you've been doing it for a week or two, it becomes second nature once again. You see a pattern forming here?
STEP THREE: PLANNING
Now that we've established the first two steps, we now have to come up with a plan of attack. Ever heard the saying: he who fails to plan, plans to fail. Well, the old saying holds true here also. If you know where you're going but you don't know how to get there, what's the point? So my advice to you is to write it out on paper. Better yet, keep a journal. I know it's tedious but it works. It also helps because it allows no room for discrepancies in your eating and training. If you're not making gains, you know exactly where to look to correct the problem. Without a plan, you will be walking blindly into a maze.
STEP FOUR: CONSISTENCY
If you have a nutrition plan and you know where you're going and how to get there, that's great. However, if you aren't consistent with this plan then once again, you are merely spinning your wheels. Another absolute about bodybuilding is consistency. Ever heard the phrase: consistency is key? Well, it is another important aspect of bodybuilding. Days build on weeks, which build on months, which build on years.
Now that you know the four steps to eating intelligently for mass, I will outline my daily mass building diet.
This translates into roughly 4500-5000 calories per day with minimal fat intake and high carbohydrates and high protein which is the ideal bodybuilding diet for myself. You can use this or alter it according to your needs. I try to get most of my protein from real foods rather than supplemental protein and I also try to eat red meat at least once a day. Sometimes on the weekends, I will even eat red meat up to three times a day. This tentative eating schedule that I outlined is based on my schedule which requires school and work. If you're really serious about packing on quality size, you will make ends meet. It just takes a little planning and a lot of dedication.
PROVE IT !
If bodybuilding were easy, then everyone would be 240 lbs with 5% body fat with an overabundance of trophies in their possession. But it isn't and it takes only the most dedicated and disciplined individuals to succeed in this sport. Are you one of these individuals? If so, prove it.