Article #5 - The Ultimate Mass Gaining Program
Hello again fellow readers. Your knowledge now about bodybuilding supplementation is much better since you have read my previous articles about what supplements can help you get bigger and what supplements can help you get leaner. But most of you have another question from what l understand from the emails that you sent me. And this question is: "John, l am a hard gainer and whatever l do, l can not get even 1 pound. What do you suggest?"
Well here is what we are going to talk about today. l will give you one of the best nutrition programs for serious quality mass that will help you all.
First of all, you should remember that everyone is different, so results might vary. Some of you might get 10 pounds (most of them muscular of course), and some others more. But the point is that every one of you will get bigger while at the same time your body fat levels won't have increased more than 2%-3% for sure. So here we go!
1) As l said, you have to understand that everyone is different, so you should adjust my program according to your needs. In order for you to do that, you must know EXACTLY how many calories (and from what they are consisted of) you consume everyday. Remember, the point is not to eat anything your fridge has inside in order to get bigger. The point is how you can get the best quality mass, when at the same time you give the maximum protection to your body and you don't feed it with dangerous and harmful macronutrients.
So the most important thing you have to remember is how many calories the "good" foods for bodybuilders have. lf you don't know them, let me write for you the most basic. Of course l can not write all of them that you might eat, but l think you will learn the "20 best". Also remember that my estimation is for every 100 grams of roasted or boiled food (Approximately 3 1/2 oz), except egg whites and milk. l will write them, first with portion (l wrote for 5 egg whites), and for milk l wrote for 1 lit (33.8 fl.oz). Also l used approximate numbers for the weight gainer that you will use, but most of them in the market are very close from the numbers l am writing. l did the same for vegetables (tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, carrots, cabbage). For cereals, l preferred the ones that have actually a very good taste and a much higher amount of protein from the others (Protein Plus Cereal, from Miracle foods). Also other cereals, where the quantity of sugar is no higher than the 1/3 of the quantity of total carbs is another good option. (For example if the total quantity from carbs for every 100 grams of cereals is 60g, the sugar should never be higher than 20g which is exactly the 1/3), and finally oatmeal is another very good option.
|Tuna (in water)||120||26||-||1|
|Egg whites (5)||100||18||-||-|
|Extra lean steak||170||28||-||4|
|>Milk (1 lit skim
with 1% fat)
|(with 2% fat)||100||15||4||2|
|Pasta (5-10 min
|Rice (10 min
|Olive oil (1 tbs)||130||-||-||14|
|Protein Plus cereal (M.Foods)||350||30||60||2|
|Bread (whole- wheat per slice)||70||3||13||1|
Ok so far? So what you have to do next is to buy a cheap scale for foods. lf you want to get bigger you need more help. lf you try to estimate all the time what you eat, most likely you will be + - 500 calories, and that number is huge, but after some period of time it will be easier for you to estimate with your eye if you put the adequate amount of food on your plates. Also, it's very important to know what you eat now! Take 20 minutes from your life and find how many calories you eat everyday. (This site has great info about food nutrients here)
2) The program sounds simple, but always words are easy and actions are difficult. So the next step is to start your mass diet from a specific point. Maybe many people have told you that if you want to get bigger, you should try around 4000-5000 calories per day. But that's not the case because if your body has not adapted to eat so much, so fast. Two things will happen:
a) Your body will find it very difficult to digest all at once this extreme amount of calories that you will try to provide to it. The final result will be that you will end up with a bloated stomach, you will feel sick and nauseous, and you will stop this kind of diet from the very first day.
b) Even if for some of you it will be ok to digest this extreme amount, and to get on some pounds, most from these pounds will come from fat. Also don't forget that your body is an extremely adapted machine. Of course, as l said before, your body will find it very difficult to go from small calories to huge, but if you overcome the digestion problems, and your gains will stop very soon. Why? Because after a few weeks, your body will feel it's normal of eating 4000 calories per day and it won't give any more signals to grow more. So what you can do?
Here is the most important part of the article today! You have to "trick" your body! How are you going to do that? Very easy. You will provide it more calories in a specific period of time, using the right progression, until it will give a "signal" that it has regulated its own system again. Then you will supply it with even more calories. Some scientific research has shown that your body can get easily adapted with many variations that have to do with food every two weeks. So that's what's going to be your target point! Every second week, you will increase your calories by 300!
Why 300 and not 1000 or more? Because with a bigger than 300 calorie quantity your body will start to realize that "something is wrong here". End result? Even though you will get some pounds, they will be based again on fat. And in contrast with a less than 300 calorie quantity you won't get the full advantage. lt's like you will try to "cheat" your body every second week.
So here is the dieting program. ln order to make the whole process more understandable to you, l will use an example. Your job, based on this example, will be to use your mind and make the right modifications.
Remember also that cardio workouts are never good when you want to pack on mass. But some of you want the necessary cardiovascular protection that only cardio exercise can provide to you. And some others are obliged to do cardio because their major sport is not bodybuilding, or some other people have very active lifestyles and they burn more calories than people that are focusing only on bodybuilding. My program can also make these people estimate precisely what they have to do.
3) l will use as an example a guy that weighs 200 pounds who wants some serious mass, but without getting like a "sumo" wrestler. He finds out from my example that he eats as much as 2,400 calories per day, he is working so he is "moderately" active, but he is not much into sports and he is not doing cardio now since he wants mass. He is more focused on bodybuilding. So here he has to do two things.
a)To increase his caloric consumption by 300 every 2 weeks
b)To multiply his bodyweight by 24 (he is working so he is moderately active, 25 for more active friends that are either playing sports or they don't want to eliminate cardio exercise, and 23 for less active, and they don't do any kind of cardio).
Pay close attention here. He weighs 200 pounds, so his target point is to reach 4,800 cal. (200 x 24=4,800 He can not go more than that number. Make the right adjustments to yourselves. But as l said before, he can not go from the 2,400 that he eats now to 4,800. So he increases his calories by 300 every 15 days. Like so:
Weeks 1 & 2 = 2,700 cal
Weeks 3 & 4 = 3,000 cal
Weeks 5 & 6 = 3,300 cal
Weeks 7 & 8 = 3,600 cal
Weeks 9 & 10= 3,900 cal
Weeks 11& 12= 4,200 cal
Weeks 13& 14= 4,500 cal
Week 15 = 4,800 cal
.So this guy in just 15 weeks gained 10-20 good quality pounds. The same will happen to you. Now if you are going to take 10 or 20, remember, everyone is different and total results might vary. But l can guarantee that you will see a dramatic difference on your bodies for sure. But let's take his last week from his program and see what (and when) he was eating in order to be so good. Now instead of writing every second week differently, let's see his last week, since it has the most calories and maybe it sounds the most difficult for you to adopt. (lf you understand what it takes in order to eat as much as 4,800 calories per day, it will be much easier for you to understand what you have to eat when you want 3,000-3,500 or 4,000 per day)
Don't be scared with the numbers you will read because these are not the numbers that you will start, but the numbers that you will finish, after almost 4 months. Remember finally that every meal should be seperated from each other in a 2-3 hours distance period, and also you don't have to follow strictly the food regiment that l gave as an example. lf you want to make some modifications (but at the same time remember to keep the calories/protein/carb/fat, around the ratio l gave), feel free to do it. Of course remember that if someone consumes 4,800 calories per day and every meal consists of around 60 grams of protein and 120 grams of carbs, it is a total of 800-900 cal per meal. For you that will start at almost half those calories, you will consume 30gr of protein, and 60gr of carbs in a total of 400-450 cal per meal.
This program also supposes that the 200 pound guy, is training around 8-9 hours after he has woken up. lf you train later, or earlier on this day, eat smart! Substitute one meal with some other. Just remember always that the pre and post workout meals must be the same and the meals that are close to bedtime have to have less quantity of carbs, because you are less active that time, and you won't be able to burn the extra carbs for fuel. (You want to get mass, not fat). Also if you consume so many calories, unfortunately you should eat 7 meals per day, but don't worry too much because you won't do that for more than 2-3 weeks. For at least 12-13 weeks, you will eat your regular 6 meals per day.
Breakfast: 1 large bowl of cereals (100gr), with 0.5 lit (16 oz) skimmed milk, and 6 egg whites with 30gr of cottage cheese with 1 tbs olive oil. Calories:800, Protein:50, Carbs:95, Fat:25
(Don't worry because breakfast has the biggest fast of the day, your body will burn it very soon).
Lunch: 200gr of pasta with 150gr extra lean steak, and 2 whole wheat bread slices. Also one small bowl of salad, with 1 tbs olive oil. Calories: 830, Protein:57, Carbs:83, Fat:22
(A typical traditional bodybuilding meal).
Pre-workout (90-120 min before): 100gr chicken breasts (3 1/2 oz), with 100gr of rice. Calories:300, Protein:31, Carbs:30, Fat:4
(The perfect pre-workout combination is to eat equal amounts of protein and carbs, because your pre-workout meal needs to be moderate-calorie, highly digestible and without an extreme amount of carbs since you don't want a rapid rise in insulin).
Also something very important the 300cal with that ratio (1:1 between carbs and protein) remain the same from the first untill your last week. (You don't want to go to train with a bloated stomach of course and eat more particularly at that time). So this pre-workout meal is the only one that does not change.
Also if you are at work and you can not eat normal food, it's totally ok if you replace it with a good protein bar, that provides almost the same ratio between carbs and protein (1:1). Another good option might be to make your own chicken, turkey, or tuna sandwiches. Just remember to stay around the same numbers l gave.
Post-work out (immediately after): 200gr from your weight gainer powder, with 0.5 lit (16 oz) milk. Calories:975, Protein:60, Carbs:144, Fat:13 (At that time your first post-workout meal must be a supplement so that it can get into your system rapidly to start the process of glycogen storage and recovery).
2 Hours later: 200gr baked potatoes (7 oz), with 150gr turkey breasts. 2 slices of whole wheat bread, and one small bowl of salad, with 1 tbs olive oil. Calories:910, Protein:60, Carbs:121, Fat:19
(You still want to take the full advantage of the window of opportunity since your body needs many calories after your intense weight training).
Dinner: 200gr rice (7 oz), with 100gr tuna in water, 50gr of cottage cheese, and 1 slice of whole wheat bread, and one small bowl of salad, with 1 tbs olive oil. Calories:650, Protein:40, Carbs:80, Fat:17
(Now you start dropping progressively the calories, fat, protein, and carbs). lf you think that 80gr of carbs are too many, remember you are on the last week of your mass program, and actually you reduced drastically your carbs when you go from 121 to 80. Your body won't say that 80gr of carbs are so many at that time, but it will understand that you cut your carb consumption by 2/3).
Before sleep: 75gr from your weight gainer powder, with 0.25 lit (8 oz) milk. Calories: 390, Protein:25, Carbs:57, Fat:5
(You reduce even more your calories, fat, protein, carbs. Your metabolic rate is at its' slowest this time).
TOTAL: CALORIES: 4,855 PROTEIN:323 GRAMS CARBS:610 FAT:105
And finally the ratio is: PROTEIN:27.6 % CARBS:52.2 % FAT:20.2 % (TOTAL 100 %)
Don't be scared about the high amount of fat. Most of it consists of the essential fatty acids. You need them if you want to have a good diet. And if you wonder why l am saying that, read my previous articles that l have written specifically about EFA's. (Olive oil is one of the best also for your heart. People that use it often in the Mediterranean, have some of the smallest percentages of having heart attacks in the world).
Also the consumption of protein is high, because without a sufficient amount of protein you can not build muscle, (around 1 to 1.5gr for every body pound that he weighs), and the carbs have the right ratio with the protein for someone that wants to get bigger (almost 2:1).
One last but very important thing. When you will add 300cal every second week, it should be based from the same amount of your total consumption. (For example these extra 300 calories should be consisted from 50%-55% of carbs, 25%-30% of protein, and 15%-20% of fat). For better results try to add 50-60 more calories to all of your meals, except the pre-workout meal, (for example 50-60 cal X 5-6 = 250-360 more calories), in which the calories remain always the same. (Around 300). This is the Perfect Mass Diet Program.
4) Some other very important factors that you should always remember!
a) Your recuperation. You should sleep at least 7-8 hours every day for maximum results.
b) Not to skip a meal. As l said don't be scared with that program, because you won't do it for more than two weeks. Maybe it's hard to eat 7 times a day (every 2-2.5 hours), but if you do for your last 2-3 weeks, you will be happy with the results for sure.
c) Lift heavy. The heavier that you can lift, (but always with very good form), the easier for your muscles to get bigger since they will have to adapt always to higher and higher levels. (Does that sound familiar?) That's the best way to avoid stagnation.
d) Remember to make the right adjustments. l repeat that l just gave you a sample that is based on someone that found he needed to eat 4,800cal per day in his FINAL WEEK. ln order to find the maximum amount of calories that you will reach after some period of time, remember: lf you are not active, multiply your weight by 23, if you are moderately active (like the guy l gave you the example), by 24, and if you are more active by 25.
e) You don't have to follow this program step by step. Don't get me wrong, l don't mean you should do something completely different, but l mean, you don't have to eat the exact same foods for lunch or for dinner that l wrote. Taste plays also a very important role so if you like some foods more than others you can replace them. Just remember always to make the right replacement. (For example you can not replace the turkey breasts with rice, but you will replace it either with tuna or with chicken breasts. The same also for carbs. You won't replace your baked potatoes with steak but with rice or pasta. (Carbs with carbs, protein with protein). Just don't replace the pre and post workout meals, and finally don't replace the salads with anything else. Fiber is one of the most important nutrients for your body, and you can get a very good amount of it, only if you eat enough vegetables every day.
f) You can have one day per week as your junk day. Of course l realize that very few people could follow a strict program like that for 15 weeks in a row, so it's ok if for one day per week, you eat whatever you want, in order to praise yourself that you did everything right the previous 6 days.
g) For taste variety you can add some very low calorie sauce to your foods. (Up to 30cal). Just don't exceed 1-2 tbs. Also add your favourite spices (black pepper, oregon), for an even better taste.
h) Remember to drink lot of water. lt's not easy for your stomach to digest so much food if you don't drink enough water. Shoot for 1 1/2 to 2 gals per day.
i) The days you don't train, skip your pre-workout meal, and continue with your next.
j) As l said at the last 3 weeks you will have to eat 7 times per day when you train. (6 when you don't), but when you start your mass diet, you might start from 5 meals per day in order to give your bodies a sufficient time till it will get adjusted. Just remember that the right ratio of your foods, must be consisted from 50%-55% of carbs, 25%-30% of protein, and 15%-20% of fat.
k) And last but not least, it's very important never to forget your right supplementation. lf you supplement your bodies with extra nutrients, such as Creatine, Glutamine, and Multi vitamin/mineral formulas, you have an extra advantage.
This was my 5th article, I hope it provided you with one of the best programs for serious mass. ln my next week's article we will cover exactly the opposite, because most of you might wonder: "Ok John, and after we reach the highest amount of food that we should eat, what's next? Do we stay for more weeks on that or do we change it?" You will change it because you will want to avoid some unavoidable fat pounds and keep ONLY your muscle pounds. How are you going to do that? Just wait for one more week, and you will learn everything. Stay tuned!