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4 Common Muscle Gain Mistakes

As winter approaches and many athletes consider covering up and gaining weight, it seems prudent to discuss four common muscle gain mistakes that I see people making.  So let’s get to it.

#1: 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 they can’t gain weight. It’s been said that “hardgainers tend to be overtrainers and undereaters and there is much truth to that.

Almost invariably, when you track these big eaters, they really aren’t eating that much. Research has routinely shown that overweight individuals tend to under-estimate food intake (e.g. they think they are eating much less than they actually are) but in my experience ‘hardgainers’ are doing the opposite: vastly overestimating how much they are actually eating in a given day, or over the span of a week.… Keep Reading

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A Guide to Calorie Partitioning

The Ultimate Diet 2.0 by Lyle McDonald

Note: This is an excerpt from The Ultimate Diet 2.0 that acts as a guide to the topic of calorie partitioning.  First I’ll describe what calorie partitioning refers to along with examining the P-ratio.

This leads into a discussion of the hormonal changes that occur in response to both dieting and overfeeding.

Finally I’ll look at how the seemingly contradictory goals that we have in terms of changing body composition can be addressed via cyclical dieting.

Calorie Partitioning

At a very fundamental level, the problem that natural bodybuilders and athletes have is one of partitioning; that is, where the calories go when you eat more of them or come from when you eat less of them.

In an ideal universe, every calorie you ate would go to muscle tissue, with none going into fat cells; you’d gain 100% muscle and no fat. In that same ideal universe, every calorie used during dieting would come from fat stores; you’d lose 100% fat and no muscle.… Keep Reading

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Eric Cressey’s Maximum Strength

Eric Cressey's Maximum StrengthI hadn’t done a product review in a while and Eric was nice enough to send me a copy of his new book so I thought I’d finally sit down and review the thing, having read it last week.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Eric Cressy, he sort of started as a “rehab/shoulder” guru but has established himself as an overall performance enhancement coach. His articles on shoulder health and posture on T-nation.com are excellent and I’d highly recommend them to anyone with shoulder issues or who is having the types of postural issues endemic to modern society.

You can find links to all of Eric’s articles here. I strongly suggest reading the Neanderthal No More series.

He’s done previous products including Magnificent Mobility (essentially a “catalog” of various warm-up rehabby types of movements, I think it lacked in not showing trainees how to put things together in a coherent routine) along with his Ultimate Off-Season Training Manual e-book.… Keep Reading

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Examining Some Popular Hypertrophy Programs

In this article, I want to look at three of the more popular hypertrophy programs that are out there on the internet. The first is Doggcrapp (or DC) training which is the brainchild of Dante Trudeau (he also runs Trueprotein.com). The second is Bryan Haycock’s Hypertrophy Specific Training or HST.  Finally, of course, I have my own approach to muscle mass gains which I’ll talk about a bit too.

Each program share several fundamental similarities, as all programs that work should.    All are based around the idea of progressive muscular tension overload, for example.  But each also has its own distinct approach to generating hypertrophy.  This reflects the realities of training.  All programs have to find some balance between frequency of training, intensity and volume.

So if you want to use a higher volume of training, either frequency or intensity have to be decreased.  If you want to use a higher frequency, either intensity or volume have to be decreased. … Keep Reading

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The Impact of Bodyfat Percentage on Body Composition Changes

For many years (decades?) a common suggestion was that one should attempt to gain some muscle mass mass (through resistance training and possibly overeating) prior to beginning a diet. Well meaning individuals would suggest you spent 3-4 weeks or more training hard and eating well to gain muscle mass. The goal was to raise metabolism so that the diet would go more effectively.

In that current data indicates that each pound of muscle might burn an additional 6 calories (as opposed to older values of 25-40 cal/lb or even higher), this argument is no longer tenable; to significantly affect metabolic rate would require a monstrous gain of muscle mass, far more than you could gain in 3-4 weeks.

Even if you gained 10 pounds of muscle, that would only add up to an additional 60 calories burned per day, hardly enough to worry about and certainly not enough to affect the following diet.… Keep Reading