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 bodybuilding, the standard approach to gaining muscle mass was to get big and fat in the off-season and this was called bulking. In modern terms this is generally referred to as GFH which stands for Get Fucking Huge

Both approaches revolve around the same concept: trainees train their balls off and eat as much as they can force down, gaining weight (and body fat) rapidly. In the old days, guys would then diet like maniacs and there are stories of guys bulking up to over 300 pounds before dropping to sub-200 pounds for their contest. Yes, insanity. Dieting is a little bit more sane now and it usually takes a good 6-12 months for the fat boys to get lean again.

(more…)