I graduated from high school a scrawny 126 lbs. at 5'10." I gradually built myself up to 200 lbs. plus, with appreciable muscle, if I do say so myself. It has been a slow, tooth-and-nail drill. I was in college in the late 1980's, an era marked by bad music and bad nutritional supplements! Weight gainers were sugar-packed, low-quality, foul-tasting sludge, with low-quality protein.
I used the classic approach to gain weight—gallons of milk! For a period of years, I consumed at least a gallon of whole milk a day. In addition, I ate 4-5 huge meals of lasagna or a couple of pounds of hamburger, topped off with numerous yogurts. I used to eat a half-gallon of chocolate ice cream before bed.
Needless to say, consuming all that sugar and lactose made me produce more gas than Kuwait does.
Calories and Gaining Muscle
Daily calorie intake is the amount of energy ingested from protein, carbohydrates and fat. The basal metabolic rate (BMR) is the calorie load just to keep our metabolism running. Consuming additional calories are dependent upon whether you are a lumberjack, computer worker or go out clubbing 2-3 nights a week! Stress from divorce, legal hassles, school, finances, family or job further bumps up calorie needs.
A starting point to gain muscle is 20 calories per pound of bodyweight. For example, a 150-pound male would need, 3000-calories a day. To gain muscle weight, eat 6-8 meals each day. You will utilize nutrients better with smaller, more frequent meals.
Typically, diets are designed by listing a precise ratio of protein, carbs, fats and serving sizes. Every meal you eat should be rich in protein. For a weight gain diet, I recommend 2-2.5 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight from eggs, beef, chicken, turkey, fish and quality protein powders (a 150-lb. man should take in 300 to 375 grams). Fat intake should be about 20-25% of your calorie intake. Good sources of fat are olive oil, omega 3 supplements, canola oils, nuts, flaxseed oil or special blended oils, and peanut butter.
Carbohydrates provide work energy. But, depending on your sensitivity to carbs, too many carbs can lead to fat accumulation. Adjust your carbohydrates for steady gains with acceptable increases in bodyfat. A moderate amount of fiber is essential for muscle weight, optimizing digestion. A serving of oatmeal, green beans or steamed fibrous veggies will help.
Example: If you eat 8 times a day, you should average 40 grams of protein each meal.
For Those Training In The Morning:
- 7:00 Breakfast/pre-training meal
- 8:00 Training
- 9:30 Post-training shake
- 10:30 Post-post-training meal
- 1:30 Lunch
- 4:00 Mid-day snack
- 7:00 Dinner
- 10:30 Bed snack/shake
- Your 7-8 Meals
- 7:00 Breakfast
- 10:30 Mid-morning snack
- 1:00 PM noon lunch
- 4:00 Pre-training meal
- 6:00 Training
- 7:30 Post-training shake
- 8:30 Post-post-training meal
- 10:30 Bed snack/shake
Breakfast: Your body has just been catabolic for 4-9 hours without nutrients (depending on if you get up in the middle of the night). I recommend Ultra Size from Beverly and Dorian Yates Approved ProPeptide. [Editor's Note: Optimum Pro Complex and Labrada Lean Body are also good]. These are mixtures of protein for immediate influx of amino acids and sustained slow protein absorption. Also oatmeal and whole eggs.
Mid-Morning: A protein snack.
Pre-Workout: Believe it, this is an ideal time to dose up on protein. I recommend a big protein meal (50g) before training! This can be a protein shake, (as above) an egg omelet or even meat and it should be entering your muscle cell about the time when you are just finishing training!
Post-Workout: Here again, I recommend that you give yourself a bigger protein dose (60g) of protein, consisting mostly of quickly absorbed proteins such as whey isolate and hydrolysate. (Muscle Provider by Beverly and Bioplex are two good ones). This is the single most important time to get muscle fuel. You can also combine (4 scoops of two proteins like Beverly's Muscle Provider and Ultra Size). Glutamine, BCAA and creatine (as are found in Beverly Muscle Synergy) are powerful add ons. Try to get it all down within 15-25 minutes after your last set!
Post-Workout Meal: After my post-workout protein shake, I drive home, shower and then immediately prepare a whole-food protein meal. For me, this is roughly an hour after my post-workout protein shake. This is surge of slow protein. Steak, eggs, cottage cheese (a great source of casein), or lean grilled hamburger.
Before Bed: Before bed is another crucial time to pound the protein. You want a slow protein, either in the form of an egg white or milk protein/casein shake (Dorian Yates Approved ProPeptide, Beverly 100% Egg or Beverly Ultra Size). Adding some fats into your shake (in the form of added flax oil or half-and-half cream) will give you concentrated calories for growth.
Middle Of The Night: If you choose to try a middle of the night feeding, go for a smaller but nutrient dense protein with some fat (once again, flax oil or cream) added and have it pre-made.
Besides calorie load, to gain maximum lean muscle, use proteins! Additional supplements can be glutamine, creatine, BCAA, omega 3 fats, liver and a vitamin-mineral supplement, in this order.
Three For Total Thunder!
1. Whey isolate and peptides
Whey is a fast protein. It's absorbed quickly. Use a whey protein that contains high quality whey (isolate/hydrolysate/high quality concentrate). To make sure the whey concentrate is high quality, use a ranked company in PLANET MUSCLE because they all have been tested!
2. Micellar casein, caseinate proteins, milk protein isolates and egg protein
Micellar casein and caseinate are slow proteins, a sustained source of amino acids for growth. Micellar casein or caseinates are great before bed, on an empty stomach and middle-of the night protein. Egg white protein powder is also a moderately slow protein.
3. Glutamine Powder
This cell-volumizing amino acid is also a potent muscle-builder. A healthy 5 to 10g dose once or twice a day will reinforce your immune system and dramatically decrease muscle breakdown.