Adding lean, hard muscle mass is no easy task. It takes hard work, dedication, discipline, desire, and an openness to learn the real aspects to improving your body.
Hard and intense training is one half of the key to adding lean muscle mass. Now, I’m sure most of you reading this page understand that training is not where you grow.
In fact, weight training actually tears down the muscle tissue and breaks the body down. Training is often mistaken with growth. Which of course, it’s not.
The real growth happens afterwards. That is, what you do from the moment you stop training until your next training session will dictate how much muscle mass you gain. Remember this, it is the recovery period from training that leads to muscle growth – Not the actual training itself.
You must understand this concept if you ever want to add muscle mass. You see, when it comes to weight training, your body works is cycles. The body encounters a stress point, such as weight training, and based on this stress, the body builds and breaks down in a sequence or cycles.
If you can learn how to reduce the amount of muscle breakdown from weight training, you can capitalize on these cycles and keep your body in a constant state of growth. What I’d like to do is give you some key strategies on how you can greatly improve your recovery periods, and keep your body growing.
Here are 9 easy steps you can add for more muscle growth:
This one is a must. As soon as you wake up in the morning, stumble over to your kitchen and mix yourself up a whey (Isolate if possible) drink mixed with 5 grams of glutamine. Your body is in starvation mode and desperately needs protein in order kick start the growth process. If you can, try adding 1 to 2 tablespoons of honey with your drink. This way, you can get some carbs into your nutrient starved body.
Also, glutamine is a much needed nutrient at this point. If you can shuttle some glutamine into your muscles, first thing in the morning, you can help stop the muscle breakdown process and get your body back into growth mode.
Here’s a drink I use:
Here’s a great breakfast protein smoothie for you to try.
Add all the ingredients to a blender and mix. Try and blend the mix until all the ice cubes are chopped up, usually about 30 to 40 seconds.
This is a fantastic breakfast “wake up” protein drink to get your body growing. Give it a shot, I’m sure you’ll love it.
This is so important. Approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour, after you’ve taken your morning protein drink, have a high protein, high carb breakfast. What you want to do here is give your body the magic of food synergy that only quality foods can provide.
Oatmeal is a great choice. You can’t go wrong with oatmeal because it is such a wonderful fuel souce. I had a buddy one time say this to me “Oatmeal is all horses eat and they weight 1000 friggin’ pounds of pure muscle!” Think of this breakfast as giving your body “time released” recovery throughout the day. Here’s a sample breakfast:
Peel one apple and using a cheese grater, grate the apple. Prepare 1/2 cup of oatmeal, using either milk or water. I personally use 1% milk because it makes the oatmeal creamier. As the oatmeal is cooking, I add about 4 to 6 egg whites to the pot and mix it up. I will also add some raisins as well. Now, if you want, try adding a scoop of protein powder to the mix. Serve the oatmeal and have one whole wheat toast with a glass of juice.
You might want to think about having a pre-workout shake 40 minutes to 1 hour before your workout. Believe me, taking in a pre workout shake is one of the most critical things you can do to enhance your growth and recovery. If you want to get some body mass, your gonna have to take in a pre workout shake.
Basically, your filling up on amino acids and quality carbohydrates in order to get the most from your workout. You see, during a hard workout, your body uses up a lot of carbohydrates and protein. You want to “stock up” and make sure you have enough of these nutrients to keep the bodies engine going at top speed.
Try adding 40 grams of whey protein and have one banana prior to your workout. If you can, try having a small bowl of oatmeal – You’ll see what I’m talking about if you try this before your intenst workouts over the next week or so!
Here’s a simple pre workout shake to try:
Mix it all up in a blender and you have yourself a power protein drink. Remember, if you can, try and fit in a small bowl of oatmeal. If you can’t, try using Prolab’s Mass Matrix Complex which uses 40 grams of complex carbs from oat flour. It also uses 40 grams of whey protein powder. This sounds like a fantastic drink!
Approximately 10 minutes before your workout, try having a glutamine and creatine drink. It has taken me a bit of practice but I personally found that this works best (for me), right before a workout. I personally use NOZ supecharged (Lemon lime flavour!), or Dymatize Xpand (Cherry limonade flavour). I have gotten mind blowing results from this combination. By stuffing your muscles full of creatine and glutamine, you keep your muscles cells filled with fluid.
Now, if you can afford it, I strongly recommend that you also take some Endothil CR. I’ve used this supplement for over 5 months and I am blown away by the results.
Do you really want to give your weight training program a huge boost? Try ingesting a quality protein and carbohydrate drink
Pounding back a drink packed with high quality protein and carbohydrates immediately after your workout will be one of the more important things you can do to start the recovery process. Remember this, the faster you can get the recovery process started, the faster you will build muscle – Simple as that.
If there is one thing that I try and tell everyone who wants to build muscle is to make sure that as soon as you’ve stepped into the locker room, even before you take your shower, drink a protein/carbohydrate drink. Why is this so important? The reason is pretty simple and straight forward. After a hard and heavy workout, your body is pretty much depleted of all glycogen and amino acids, specifically branch chained amino acids. What you MUST do is take in at least 30 to 40 grams of whey protein, and 50 to 60 grams of fast acting carbohydrates such as dextrose or maltodextrin.
This is very important! Make sure to have at least 50 grams of quick acting carbohydrates with your protein drink. You need carbohdyrates to replenish lost glycogen that you’ve lost during your workout. Protein alone is not enough!
Here’s a drink you may want to try:
If you want to get bulk whey isolate for the cheapest price anywhere, try going to the following address:
You can get about 5 pounds of whey isolate for about 40$ compared to $90 at your local GNC.
In addition to your post workout shake, you should add 5 to 10 grams of creatine. Personally, I’d add 5 grams of tri creatine malate. For some reason, I get awesome results with this kind of creatine. After your workout, your muscles are starving for nutrients, creatine included.
Uptake of nutrients from muscle cells after a workout is so much better after a workout so stuff them full of creatine. The result is more creatine in each muscle fibre at saturation and a bigger, tighter muscle.
Leucine has been shown to help in the muscle recovery process. If you can get more leucine into the muscle immediately after your workouts, the better off you’ll be in terms of your recovery period. Lately, more and more supplement companies are catching on to this fact and are adding more leucine to their formulas. I’m sure you are all familiar with Muscle Tech’s Anator P-70.
This supplement’s main active ingredient is Leucine and at 7.2 grams per serving, it’s at about the right proportion for optimal growth. However, for anyone over 200 pounds, this is simply not enough. Personally, I’d like to see at least 15 grams + of leucine per serving. You can usually get bulk leucine or branched chain amino acids for pretty cheap.
Try going to www.bulknutrition.com or www.purebulk.com for more selection. At last check you can get a 500 gram bag of leucine for 20 bucks.
I think taking antioxidants is important for two reasons. Firstly, weight training (in theory) helps create free radicals which helps destroy muscle tissue. Of course, this hasn’t been proven but there is some evidence to suggest that immdiately after weight training, more free radicals are created in the body.
Now, if it is possible, try taking some antioxidants to helps ward off these free radicals immdiately after your workout. Secondly, after training, your body is very open to viruses that cause sickness (this may tie into the free radical theory). Your body is probably at it’s weakest after a hard weight training session. Why not build up it’s defences by taking in some antioxidants? You can’t train if you’re sick so keep your body and immune system strong with antioxidants.
What you want to do here is give your body, slow acting nutrients that will help prevent the hormone, cortisol from doing it’s job on your body. Cortisol will help with the muscle breakdown process and will increase over the course of the night.
You want to keep cortisol levels down to a minimum and the only way to do this is to keep nutrients flowing into the muscle cells. Try having a small bowl of slow acting oats with a casein based protein drink before you go to bed.
Try Dorian Yates’ Pro Peptide which uses micellar casein as it’s main protein source. Have one serving of this drink with a small bowl of oatmeal.
Each tip outlined here will greatly enhance your recovery periods and therefore, more muscle mass and strength. If you can, try implementing all of the above noted recommendations, if you can’t, try to follow as many as you can.
For those of you who are looking for a complete 9 week program, I highly recommend checking out Kyle Leon’s program called Somanabolic Muscle Maximizer. I’ve actually purchased this program and use it on a regular basis. The reason I enjoy this program is because it is the first of it’s kind to use body type profiling to create a truly custom nutritional and weight training program. It’s an all natural program that is designed to help build maximum muscle mass while at the same time, burn optimal levels of body fat.
You can also read my review at:
All the best,
Blake has been weight lifting for about 28 years now. He's 45 years of age and started seriously training when he was 18 years old.
Blake is the founder of Building-Muscle101.com, a successful fitness website that has been around for more than 15 years.