Doctor's Orders: Junk the Junk
The temptations are everywhere—soft drinks, fast food, chips. Even when you're on a mass gain diet, you need to limit these sugary and fatty foes. Most of these foods provide a lot of calories, but are low in quality nutrients. In fact, some of the nutrients can wreak havoc on your progress in gaining lean muscle.
One culprit is trans fat. This man-made fat is problematic because your body doesn't really know how to use it due to its chemical structure. Research shows it not only increases the risk of obesity and heart disease, but it can increase muscle breakdown and limit muscle growth.
Another culprit is fructose. Many junk foods use table sugar, which is half fructose—or worse, they use high-fructose corn syrup, which is more than half fructose. Your body can not use fructose efficiently. Most of the fructose you consume must be converted to glucose in the liver. Sounds simple enough, until the liver decides otherwise. If the liver decides that you have ample glucose, it converts the fructose instead into fat! And even the fructose that does make it all the way to your muscles is problematic. Fructose inside muscle cells literally gunks them up, potentially causing them to function less efficiently.
Remember that every rest day should be an active rest day. Rest days are for recovery; they're not an excuse to be lazy. Get out and hit 15-30 minutes of HIIT cardio today, or perform 30-60 minutes of your favorite activity: hiking, biking, walking, playing a sport, etc.