Although many would argue that bodybuilding is a sport which only the most crazy and deprived compete in, many of us know that it can also be a hobby, a health enhancers and even a lifestyle. You do not have to step onto a stage to call yourself a bodybuilder as I am sure many of you can testify to. One aspect of bodybuilding which I think a large number of people miss is that bodybuilding is an education. It is like a subject at school, however this subject has no final exam and never ends. Bodybuilding is a continuous education which will need to continue as long as you lift.
What do I mean?
In this article I will discuss my two most controversial theories, both regarding hard gainers. And the first relates to this education theme. First let me ask, who are you?
Now how many answered three time Mr. O Ronnie Coleman, none. How many answered the late Mike Mentzer, none. You see my point in its crudest form is you are you, you are not Ronnie or Arnie or even me. You are you and only you know what's is best for you. How do you know what is best for you?
Let me tell you, you don't wake up and say "HIT works best for me and I need to eat 1.5 grams of protein and 5 grams of carbs per pound to gain weight." You need to learn and educate yourself about what works best for you. You need to experiment. We live in the age of the information superhighway. Hundred's of training programs, supplement reviews and nutrition articles are at your finger tips via the web. There are at least 10 muscle magazines at you newsagent and hundreds of books and videos available. You must have the desire to devour all this information and learn everything you can. I check most bodybuilding sites at least for nightly for new content and I buy several magazines a month. I don't buy them to follow their routines of the pros or anything but I devour all the information all the same. You may find a one paragraph blurb on nutrition in a copy of Ironman that you may find useful or perhaps find a program that looks like the goods or you'll find nothing but I'm sure you would have learnt something.
How does this relate to the theory?
It is very simple. People see what others do and imitate it. Take the pros. Lots of people will follow their routines in the hope of size. Hell it probably works for some you. I know that I need a volume orientated program to gain, I don't take drugs and I rarely get sore. My recovery is good.
People say the pros train the way the do because of all the 'roids. That is bullshit. It is partially the roids but the also have great genetics to begin with. Look there are 100 IFBB pros and you expect me to believe only 100 people in the world take steroids. No way. People at your gym probably take twice what Lee Priest takes and I don't see them on the stage alongside him.
The pros train the way they do because that is what works for them. They themselves all train differently some use volume, some use Weider principles and some such as New Aussie pro Nick Schilko claim to use HIT.
The bottom line with training just like nutrition or supplements is everybody is different. Muscle twitch, past injuries etc all play a role and you must become the master of yourself and decide what works for you. Whether it be HIT, Max-OT, POF of any other system give them all ago. However when you do find the gold standard make sure you have a break from it every so often otherwise it will become a dud like the rest of the systems you have tried.
The second theory: The age of the bitchy whiny hard gainer was born at the same time as the age of whey protein. Now this one is controversial. Whey protein- Until a few years ago whey was a by-product of the dairy industry and considered useless. Then some genius said let's market this as a protein powder and rake in the big ones. Don't get me wrong whey isn't all bad but I feel it is bad by itself. Being high in BCAA's whey is probably best before training so it gets in the system quick but as for post training I want repair and growth to take place and I want protein to repair muscle not see how fast it can get through my system. And If you use only whey before you go to bed, give up. Go find a running track and start training for a marathon you will never get big. Caesin is actually the best before bed and chuck in some EFA's as well to slow the digestion process. Casein also improves your teeth a bonus side effect with muscle growth. The best protein I have used are Vital Strength Total Protein (sorry but is an Australian brand) It has whey for bcaa's, soy for glutamine and egg for its complete profile of aminos and is also glutamine boosted one 30g serve provides 6g of glutamine and another 6 of precursors. I would not recommend this in the last weeks before a show however because of its high sodium levels as a result of the soy. The next best is milk. My favorite MRP.
In Australia our milk seems to have higher protein levels than in other countries. For example a liter of my favorite, Physical No Fat has 50g of protein, 60g carbs and less than 1 g fat. Milk is probably the best mass building protein. Show me a hard gainer who downs 2 liters of milk a day and I'll show you a guy who must be running marathons every afternoon.
Again experiment and find what's best for you especially with carbs try high and low carbs if you wanna lose weight try lowering them and vice versa.
Keep Training and learning,