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Mass gain: the success factors

Mass gain is almost a must for anyone who wants to build muscle for a long time. It is generally a phase that is approached at the beginning of the cycle, which will then be followed by a cutting phase to obtain salient muscle, thanks to a good muscular definition. The best time to gain mass is between September and February, a period when the body remains hidden under clothing! Here are our tips for a successful and fast mass gain.

A high-protein, high-calorie meal plan

caloric intake

For rapid mass gain, the caloric balance must be in excess. Conversely, the caloric balance must be in deficit during the muscle definition phase. For mass gain to be effective, calories must be distributed throughout the day. For it, eat 5-6 times a day, 3 meals and 3 snacks. Gradually increase your calorie intake to avoid storing too much fat.

Protein intake

In mass gain as in the phases of muscle definition, proteins are decisive. In addition to energy intake, protein plays an important role in building muscle. It makes muscles grow and repairs them after intensive workouts. This is why it must be consumed in large enough quantities: from 2 to 3g/kg. The foods richest in protein are meat, eggs, fish and dairy products.

Carbohydrate intake

It should constitute about 50% of the total caloric intake. It is therefore the amount of carbohydrates that should be varied to increase or reduce calories. Consume carbohydrate-rich foods with a low glycemic index such as brown rice, sweet potato, quinoa or whole wheat.

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Intensive training adapted to mass gain

The importance of core exercises

Favor the basic movements because they are more traumatic for the muscles and they lead to better results. Load more and heavier and try to surpass yourself with each session, the goal being to increase the loads regularly: from one session to another or, ideally, every 2 to 3 weeks.

Intensification techniques

Add intensification techniques to your sessions, such as forced reps on basic big movements or low sets. Adding intensity will ripple through your results. Tell yourself that the calories you ingest should be used in the best possible way for mass gain. But you must first give the right signal to your body.

The right amount of training

Train hard, but avoid multiplying your training sessions and doing lengthy sessions. Increasing intensity does not mean increasing training volume. Do 4 training sessions per week, and take advantage of the other 3 days to recover. For example, train on Monday and Tuesday, then rest on Wednesday. Then resume your cycle on Thursday and Friday, then recover on Saturday and Sunday. Don’t hesitate, during your recovery days, to do some basic endurance cardio (very gentle, over a period of 20 minutes), followed by stretching. Stretching will help you gain mass faster by softening the fascia, in addition to protecting you against injury.

Food supplements: supplement yourself with proteins and amino acids

Proteins and amino acids are the building blocks of muscle fibers. Supplement yourself with gainers, proteins and amino acids to optimize your mass gain.

The proteins

As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, it is essential to consume at least 2g of protein per kg of body weight to succeed in mass gain. Meats, eggs and fish should be on your plate every day, but to hope to provide enough protein to the muscles, dietary supplements can help you more easily reach your daily protein quota. Various protein sources are offered by food supplement brands: whey, whey isolate, casein, egg protein and vegetable protein. Not all of them have the same mode of action, but all are proteins and can help you achieve your mass gain. That said, whey is a good compromise because it is light, digestible and quickly assimilated. It is thus possible to accumulate the catches in the day, something infeasible with a casein or a vegetable protein.

Choose your protein for mass gain according to your preferences and once you have established the goals that are most important to you.

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Gainers

Weight gainers are high calorie mixtures of protein and carbohydrates. They are to be preferred for mass gain, because they allow you to eat in liquid form: the meal is more digestible and better assimilated.

They provide a large number of additional calories and allow you to gain weight very quickly.

Be sure to gradually increase the intake of gainer, however, because their caloric load could make you gain fat.

To avoid storing too much fat, gradually add gainer shakes as a snack.

Amino acids

Amino acids are the result of protein digestion. They are therefore the building blocks of muscle. Why add it to a diet that is already high in protein?

Because certain amino acids have specific functions when consumed alone. BCAAs, for example, are essential amino acids that stop muscle catabolism and optimize protein synthesis in muscle fibers. But when mixed with other amino acids, their anti-catabolic and pro-anabolic action is less, because the other amino acids compete with them.

It is the same for arginine, which is a precursor of nitric oxide, but whose action is limited when it is diluted in a complete aminogram. For optimal mass gain, consider adding BCAAs and arginine in addition to your gainer.

Our tips to facilitate your weight gain

Mass gain tips

Remember to rest

Ectomorphs (those who, like you, have trouble gaining weight) recover less quickly than heavier body types. Know that muscles grow when you are at rest. Sleep at least 7 hours a night, 9 hours being ideal. Training without having properly recovered is detrimental to muscle development.

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Eat better

Ectomorphs tend to consume too many industrial foods and snack on sweets or cookies, precisely because they do not gain weight. This is a mistake because these foods only provide unnecessary calories, which have a negative impact on muscle building: in addition to providing only bad calories, they prevent the assimilation of proteins. Even in mass gain, eat a balanced diet. Choose animal proteins and complex carbohydrates, and do not hesitate to add good vegetable oils such as olive oil, rapeseed oil or walnut oil. These are easy-to-add calories that enhance (good) weight gain.

Drink your calories

Drinking calories are more digestible than solid foods. Plus, it’s easier to hit your calorie quota with a few gainer shakes. You can also mix fruits, nuts and oats with a whey. These are good calories that are added easily, and won’t overwhelm your stomach.

More weight, less reps

In the weight room, push hard and do sets of 5 to 8 reps. Dense muscle is only built with progressive overload. You have to force the muscles to adapt to this type of training in order for them to grow.

Longer rest times

Handling heavy loads is traumatic for the muscles. That’s why iIt is necessary to take longer rest times between sets, 2 to 3 minutes. Attacking a new series when you have not yet recovered from the previous series will not help you succeed in your mass gain.

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