The most common problem sited in lack of weight gain is insufficient calories. No matter what training method you use if you do not consume sufficient calories your mass-gaining phase will be in vein. Calorie requirements will vary between individuals. Bodyweight is only one factor in determining your calorie intake. There is a great deal of info in magazines that give you a bodyweight and then your maintenance level of calories. To determine your maintenance level of calories other information is needed in addition to bodyweight. This information includes body fat %, activity level, and gender. As you can see this chart in the magazine is worthless.
Tips To Enhance Your Ability To Pack On The Mass
1) Eat Above Your Maintenance Level Of Calories!
There are a number of ways to determine your maintenance level, but I would recommend you seek counsel with a qualified professional to determine your proper maintenance level. Increase your caloric intake 20% above your maintenance level. Eat every two to three hours. The nutrient profiles will vary depending on the person. Skinny physiques should eat basically whatever they desire, but being sure to consume adequate protein. Thin physiques are usually thin because they don't really like to eat.
It would be very difficult for a person who doesn't like eating to consume enough calories from eating clean foods. It is easier to consume the required calories from high calorie foods. When consuming high calorie foods less quantity is required. A big mistake people make when trying to gain mass is thinking they need to stay ripped. Staying ripped year round makes it difficult to pack on the mass. A little fat tissue added with muscle tissue is not a problem. Don't take it overboard and walk around looking like a sumo wrestler.
Mesomorphic and endomorphic physiques need to be a little more precise with their mass-gaining plan. These types of physiques have potential to become obese easier than thin (ectomorphic) physiques. In most cases I would recommend a diet that consists of eating every two to three hours; consuming high protein, moderate fat, and moderate carbohydrates. Don't worry about packing on some fat as long as you are stacking on the muscle. Your strength levels can be as good if you monitor your progress. If you are stacking on the pounds, but your strength is at a standstill or decreasing you are putting on too much adipose tissue. A certain percentage of body fat can increase strength , but once it becomes too high muscular contractions become weakened . This varies between individuals.
2) Emphasize Compound Movements.
Compound movements allow you to use multiple body parts to achieve the movement. Exercises that allow you to use multiple muscle groups increase testosterone levels. Elevated testosterone levels enhance protein synthesis, which leads to increased muscle. Don't perform endless sets of push downs and curls. It wouldn't matter how much mass you put on your arms they wouldn't be able to match the mass potential of the back and legs. Stick with squats, dead lifts, shoulder presses, and bench variations during your mass phase. Secondary movements such as arm work should be kept to minimum.
3) Each Muscle Group Gets Hit Once Per Week.
Abdominals, calves, and forearms are exceptions to the rule. Other body parts should be hit once per week. When a muscle group is sufficiently hit it will usually take about 6-7 days to fully recover. Muscle growth takes place once recovery has occurred. Training should take place 3-4 days per week. Training 5-6 days per week is very taxing on the nervous system. Central nervous system fatigue is detrimental to training goals. Even if you train different body parts everyday you are training the same nervous system you only have one. When neural fatigue occurs the impulses from the nerves to the muscles become weaker.
Muscle contracts because the nervous system tells it to. If the muscle does not receive the message that has been sent by the nervous system or it receives a weak signal the reaction by the muscle will be weak. Ian King's book GET BUFFED gives detailed information on the role of the central nervous system and it's relation to force production. This would be a good reference to use if you would like further information on this subject. Use the priority principle and work the weaker body parts earlier in the week when you are the freshest.
4) Emphasize The Negative Portion Of The Exercise.
Some studies suggest that for hypertrophy purposes the negative is the most important part of the exercise. The negative portion of the exercise should usually last 2-4 seconds. This increases the time under tension as well as limiting the momentum effect experienced in exercises that de-emphasize the negative. In other words the mechanical advantage is lessened, which makes the muscle fibers work harder. To heighten muscle fiber recruitment even more, pause 1-2 seconds at the end of the negative. This will completely eliminate the stretch reflex. When maxing out avoid slow negatives. The idea behind a max it to use your mechanical advantage and everything else you can to get up the weight.
5) Use Creatine Monohydrate , L-Glutamine And A Multi-Vitamin/Mineral
When purchasing these supplements be sure to research the company that produces the product. More expensive is not always better, but at the other end of the spectrum to good to be true prices are usually too good to be true.
I will not go into great detail into the functions of these supplements, this would be another article or you can learn more by clicking here. Creatine monohydrate basically increases intracellular fluid which enhances mass, strength, and endurance. L-glutamine enhances immune system function, growth hormone levels, protein synthesis, and cell volume. L-glutamine is often used in hospitals to prevent muscle breakdown in sick patients that are unable to take in sufficient calories. Vitamins and minerals regulate muscle contraction and relaxation, as well as regulating nerve impulses and metabolic activities.
By following the guidelines above you should begin to stack on the mass. If you are following these guidelines, but you still can't pack on mass something is wrong. Seek professional help.