Hardgainers aren’t the only ones who struggle to add muscle to their frames. If you train and eat with the goal of packing on muscle, but can’t seem to see any results, make sure you’re incorporating all the strategies listed below.
1 DON’T FEAR CARBS
When it comes to building quality muscle, quality food is the key. On a weight gain program, at least 20-30% of your calories will carbohydrates. Glycogen, derived from carbohydrate-rich foods (like sweet potato, rice, pasta, oats) gets stored in the muscles for energy. Carbohydrates will also fuel your workouts, allowing you to train harder.
As long as your calorie surplus is not to extreme, adding a small chunk of carbohydrates to your diet will do you more benefit than harm, and certainly give you more variety and diet sustainability.
2 TRY AN ALL-NATURAL HOMEMADE PROTEIN SHAKE
No I’m not referring to your typical protein shake – 20+ grams of protein packed with aminos and glutamine, but also some sneaky chemical, synthetic flavors and preservatives.
I’m talking about a real-food based shake. Drinking calories gives you less satiety (the feeling of fullness after a meal), allowing you to consume more calories.
I recommend an all-natural homemade protein shake that I used to put on 35 pounds of muscle in my teenagers. I’d carry it with me to college everyday, so I was fueling and feeding my muscle even while I was busy.
The ingredients of the shake are – 200ml almond milk, 50g plain Greek yoghurt, 4 tablespoons mixed seeds (chia, flax, pumpkin, watermelon seeds will do), 3 tablespoons oats, 1 banana, 3 tablespoons peanut butter. This shake will give you 30g of protein, and every macronutrient needed to build muscle.
3 GET ADEQUATE SLEEP
Recovery is one of the most underrated elements of gaining quality lean muscle mass. If you aren’t sleeping enough, you rob your body of the primary time it uses to repair muscle damage so you can hit the gym feeling stronger than you did before. Research has also shown that a 20-minute nap before the gym increased trainee’s focus, stress levels and physical performance significantly.
4 DON’T FEAR FATS EITHER
Some people also stay away from dietary fat when they bulk because they’re afraid eating fat will make them fatter. This just isn’t the case. Fats are vital to maintain optimal hormone levels and functioning. Testosterone is dependent on adequate saturated fat intake. Omega3 fats improve your joint health. Most fatty foods also contain tons of vitamins and minerals.
Again, make sure that your calorie surplus is not to drastic and you can be flexible in your diet without worrying about packing on fat.
5. HAVE FUN WHILE YOU’RE AT IT
No program in the world will give you results if it isn’t sustainable, enjoyable and challenging enough for you. Every once in a while, change your form of workout or invite a friend or family member to train with you. Break the monotony, and keep things challenging and interesting.