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General Philosophies of Muscle Mass Gain

Because of the primary focus of my books and many of my article topics I tend to get tagged as the fat-loss guy more often than not; but nutrition and training for muscle gain is actually a primary interest of mine. Having worked with bodybuilders, powerlifters and other athletes over the years, figuring out how to put muscle mass on them (in terms of both training and nutrition) is obviously important.

In this article (which will actually form an introduction to a series of articles I’ll be doing over the next several weeks and months), I want to talk about some basic concepts related to mass gaining nutrition, primarily looking at some of the different philosophies of mass-gaining that are out there. As usually, I’ll look at each in my normal way, looking at the various pros and cons of each approach.

And, of course, I’ll give my own recommendations for what I think is actually optimal for most trainees under most circumstances. Please note my use of the word ‘most’ in that sentence; there are always exceptions, situations where I might do something different. Here I’m speaking more in generalities.

 

Old School Bulking/Cutting

In the olden days of … Read More

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Muscle Gain Mistakes

Although it may seem strange to talk about how to gain weight as we approach the holidays (where people typically gain weight without trying very hard), the simple fact is that, for athletes and bodybuilders, the winter (when it’s cold outside and you’re covered up) has always been one of the primary times that trainees focus on muscle gain.

You can worry about being lean and having a six pack when it’s warm and you don’t look stupid being mostly nude. The winter is a good time to pack on some muscle mass and justify all that Halloween candy (“I’m bulking, bro”).

But in the same way that many diets fail for a lot of reasons, there are equally common reasons that trainees fail to make the muscular gains that they desire. I want to look at several of them, addressing potential solutions along the way

Not eating enough

Outside of poor training (which can be either too much or too little), not eating enough is the number one mistake I see most trainees making who can’t gain muscle. This is true even of individuals who swear up, down and sideways that they eat a ton but no matter what … Read More

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Protein Requirements for Strength and Power Athletes

Introduction

Possibly one of the longest standing debates in sports nutrition (not that people don’t argue about stuff constantly) is over protein requirements for athletes. Traditionally, there have been two primary and opposing views to this topic.

In the first camp are mainstream nutrition types, usually registered dieticians who maintain that the RDA for protein is sufficient for all conditions, including individuals involved heavily in sports. Their bible, the RDA Handbook mirrors this stance. So what is the RDA? Currently it’s set at 0.8 g/kg (0.36 g/lb) protein per day. For a 200 lb individual that’s a mere 72 grams of protein per day. I bet most of the people reading this eat that at a meal.

As a sub-argument to what I wrote above, some will point out that, even if protein requirements in athletes are higher, since most strength athletes already eat more protein than the supposed requirements, there is no need to worry about it in the first place. That is, strength athletes already consume enough protein and needn’t focus on trying to get more.

At the other extreme are the athletes themselves who have long felt (and therefore argued) that high proteins are absolutely necessary for … Read More