Monday, September 14, 2009

The Top 10 Ways to Pack on Muscle Mass (Part 2)

Picking up where we left off in my last post, here is PART TWO of "The Top 10 Ways to Pack on Muscle Mass", by Anthony Riccuito, B.Phed, C.F.T., S.P.N., F.T.

If you haven't read Part One of this series yet, check it out first by clicking the link:
-->Top 10 Ways to Pack on Muscle Mass, Part One

---------------------Part 2-----------------------

Tip #4: Consume Enough Protein

“I eat enough protein. I probably ate around 50 grams today.” Now if this sounds like you, we are in some serious trouble. That is unless you are a 60- pound child whose major energy expenditure for the day is playing with your Tonka Trucks. Ok, down to the serious stuff here. If you don’t eat optimal amounts of protein, you will never put on the muscle mass that you so much desire. You are also hindering your strength gains as well.

If you are going up a weight class and you aren’t eating the proper amount of protein, guess what? You will put on a nice extra layer of fat around your waist, instead of gaining lean muscle tissue. When trying to put on size, you have to make sure you constantly supply your body with essential amino acids throughout the day.

You should consume at least 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight per day. If you just jack up your carbs and fat without supplying your body with the protein that it needs, you will end up looking like “Mr. Marshmallow” instead of a strength athlete. Amino acids are the building blocks that you will need to gain lean muscle tissue and to ensure that going up a weight class will be muscle, not fat.

Protein helps in the recovery of your muscles from the intense training you perform as a powerlifter. As you probably already know, protein is the main nutrient responsible for increasing lean muscle tissue. You can work out all day long but if you don’t eat the right amount of protein for your specific needs and activity expenditure, than you will never reach your peak in strength, that’s guaranteed!

Use a Protein Supplement

In a time when most of us live very busy lives and are constantly are on the go, a protein supplement in the form of a meal replacement or protein shake is essential. If we take a look at one of the rules in part one of this series, it was to eat 5-6 small meals per day. Now, eating 6 solid meals of food per day for most people would be a major problem.

One way to make this much simpler is to eat your regular breakfast, lunch and dinner and have a protein shake in between each of those meals. I just made your life a lot easier didn’t I? The fact is that we need at least one gram of protein per pound of bodyweight as powerlifters, especially when we are trying to go up a weight class. Now if you have ever looked at a macronutrient breakdown chart of different foods you will notice that to consume all the protein that you need on a daily basis is almost unrealistic, that is unless you have an appetite like mine.

When you look at the protein content of different foods and then you calculate how much you have to eat at your bodyweight, you then ask yourself, “How the heck am I supposed to get in all that protein without feeling like I just inhaled half of the country’s livestock?” Having 2-3 protein shakes per day will help you fulfill your protein needs and will make your life in the kitchen a lot easier as well.

Tip #5: Maximize your Carbohydrate Intake

Carbohydrates…You gotta love them. Yes we all know that they are definitely the tastiest of all the macronutrients, but how do we incorporate them in putting on size. In my previous articles “The Carbohydrate Manifesto” series, I describe the different types of carbohydrates and their function. Make sure that when you are trying to gain solid weight, you consume plenty carbs. Now, there is more than one way to do this. I have had great success with my clients using diets that include both carbs on a daily basis, and plans that restrict them for a certain number of days and then super-compensate for a specific number of days. What you need to know is that there is more than one way to get the job done.

The majority of carbohydrates that you should consume when you are trying to go up a weight class should come from complex carbohydrates. These include oatmeal, whole wheat pasta, yams, brown rice, ancient grains including quinoa, amaranth, millet, and teff. I strongly suggest you look into getting more information on these ancient grains. What’s nice about these grains is that they provide variety in your diet and are an excellent source of complex carbohydrates.

Let’s not forget your fibrous carbs including your salads and vegetables. These are very important and should be consumed with at least 3 of your daily meals. Fiber is very important in the digestion process and eliminating toxins from the body. If you are not getting adequate amounts of fiber in your nutritional plan, it is now time to increase your daily intake. It’s hard to pack on size if you have a severe case of constipation. You may laugh, but this is one of the first things that happen to someone trying to gain weight. Many individuals increase their caloric and protein intake yet, they forget to do the same with their fiber and water.

Tip #6: Consume Your Healthy Fats

Fat is where it’s at, especially if you are a strength athlete. I know you get as sick and tired as I do of all those aerobicizers telling you that you should eat 10grams of fat per day. Your fat intake is definitely associated with how strong you will be. Fats should consist of 30% of your total caloric intake. This is not written in stone, as I have had my clients on programs that were higher and lower than the above. Good sources of Omega 3 fats are salmon and other cuts of fatty fish.

Now don’t get the wrong idea here. This doesn’t mean put extra Mayo on your tuna sandwich, or a quart of gravy on your turkey breast. Nor does it mean to put some extra non-dairy creamer in your coffee, or load up on fatty cuts of bacon and sausage. Yes, you want to increase you saturated fat intake slightly when trying to pack on size and gain muscle mass, but the majority should come from your polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, what is known in layman’s terms as “Healthy Fats”. These healthy fats include your Omega 3-6-9. The Omega 3 and 6 are known as polyunsaturated fats and the Omega 9 is known as monounsaturated fat. The Omega 3’s are one of the most important since they have many benefits for the powerlifter. They increase insulin sensitivity, and reduce inflammation of your joints and tendons.

Your Omega 9’s are important since they contain oleic acid which is known to keep the arteries of your heart supple, and they have a positive effect on your testosterone level. Carbohydrates and protein contain 4 calories per gram; while fat has over double that at 9 calories per gram. Not only will healthy fats help in many areas for health and strength, but they will provide an excellent source of calories. One tablespoon of flax or olive oil contains 114 calories and 14 grams of fat. Just say yes to healthy fats to keep your weight and total climbing!

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Stay tuned for the third and final part of Anthony's article in my next post!
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