Monday, September 14, 2009

The Top 10 Ways to Pack on Muscle Mass (Part 3)

Welcome the the third and final part of Anthony's guest post on the best ways to gain muscle mass... enjoy!

Note: If you haven't read Part Two of this article yet, check it out first at this link:
-->Top 10 Ways to Pack on Muscle Mass, Part Two

---------------------Part 3----------------------

Tip #7: Eat a Big Breakfast

You must be thinking that the only thing on this guy’s mind is food. Being a sports nutritionist, I usually eat 6-7 meals per day and in between I am discussing and counseling my athletes about proper meal planning. Yeah, I guess you are right. All I think about is food!

Breakfast is without a doubt one of the most important meals of the day. You should always eat a large breakfast as it is the base that will fuel you for the rest of the day. You have gone 8 hours during your sleep without food, so now is the time to fill up the tank with fuel once again before another long day of work and training.

A lot of people either skip their breakfast or eat such a skimpy breakfast it makes you wonder how they can even think and function at their job. Having a cup of coffee and a muffin is not considered a breakfast, especially not for a strength athlete.

At breakfast time you have to supply your body with a hearty source of complex and simple carbohydrates, and a nice portion of lean protein. A good example would be a large bowl of oatmeal with an apple and an egg white omelet. This is a breakfast, not that muffin and coffee joke that so many people fall in the trap of. The quality of your breakfast will have a direct effect on how efficient your metabolic rate works for the rest of the day.

Tip #8: Make sure your meals are balanced

“What type of balance are you talking about?” This refers to your macronutrient breakdown in each meal. Just as a refresher your macronutrients are your proteins, carbohydrates and fat. Each of your meal should be balanced in its proportion for each of the “Big Three”.

Now don’t think that there is only one macronutrient ratio profile that is going to be optimal for everyone because there isn’t. This is where a customized nutritional plan comes into play. Each person’s metabolic rate, energy expenditure, insulin resistance and insulin sensitivity level are different, just to name a few variables.

These all play a major role in designing a customized nutritional plan that is right for you. I can give one athlete a specific ratio of macronutrients and he will get ripped by following it. Yet another individual that I give the exact same plan to will cause an increase in his body fat level.

With this stated, I will at least give you something to start with as a base. First off, never just eat one macronutrient and consider it a meal. This means in layman’s terms, don’t go out and eat a pasta dinner with a nice half loaf of Italian bread. As you can see you are lacking protein and healthy fats in the meal. At the same time don’t scarf down a can of tuna and call it a meal either.

A good example to follow for dinner would be a lean steak, a yam, and a serving of broccoli with olive oil. This is a balanced meal. Now, I would play with the ratios of the macronutrients to exact specifications and amounts to help you achieve your future goal according to your personal data for the different variables. See, I know how to make it look easy!

Tip # 9: Avoid Processed and Junk Foods

I know I will get a lot of flak for this one but I had to say it. When I hear most powerlifters discuss that they are going up a weight class it reminds me of children talking about how they are going to Disney Land. It’s like they have just won the lottery. Just because you are going up a weight class doesn’t mean you have a blank check to eat all the junk that you can get your hands on. I know this may sound funny, but it is a reality among a lot of powerlifters. Plain and simple, processed foods are not healthy for the body.

When you look back to our ancestors they ate mainly foods in a natural state. They didn’t eat things like potato chips, chocolate tacos, ice cream, chocolate bars, deli meats, candy, and all the other junk foods that people go crazy for. Let’s face reality for a second here, these “nutritious foods” may make you stronger in “Bizarro World”, but I am sad to tell you they won’t help your total in this one! Not only will these foods add an extra roll of fat around your waist, they will also increase your chances for a whole slew of health conditions including heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes among others.

Tip #10: Optimize Your Post Workout Nutrition

Now when I say the words post workout nutrition, what comes to your mind? Is it go home and eat what ever you like? Is it to hit the local Ice cream shop for a double scoop of chocolate fudge layered in marshmallows and sprinkles? Or is it something you have systematically and scientifically planned out to make sure that you are providing your body with the nutrients that it needs to gain benefit from that crazy workout that you just did?

Now from most of the lifters that I have talked to, they don’t have a clue what to eat after their workouts. They just go with the flow and eat whatever is lying around their house when they get home from their workouts, or whatever fast food drive thru is closest to the gym. This may sound funny but if this is you I will tell you straight. You are destroying all the hard work that you just performed by not supplying your body with what it needs at the most important time of the day. Post workout nutrition is much more complicated than just simply eating your piping hot dinner (what ever it may be) when you get home from the gym.

You have to supply your body with quality protein and carbohydrates along with a multitude of micronutrients and nutrient partitioning agents if you are looking to get the most from your training. In a future issue I will be discussing post workout nutrition and how it applies to the powerlifter. Just remember if you don’t think that your post workout nutrition plan is optimal, it most likely is giving your competition a major advantage come contest day!

Stay Strong,
Anthony Riccuito

Stay Dedicated

Without dedication to not only your training but your nutritional and supplementation program, you will never see the results that you deserve. I hope you enjoyed this guest post and found the information useful. If you have any questions for Anthony in regards to this article you are invited to write him at You can also view more of his articles at

Now let's starting packing on that lean muscle mass!

Stay Fit and Never Quit,



Jason Rundell said...

How soon after you wake up should you have a large breakfast? Is there a prime time to wake up in the morning if you're strength training?


Unknown said...

Hey Jason,
Ideally try to eat within half an hour of waking, in order to start your metabolism, refuel your glycogen stores, and provide your muscles with amino acids (from protein). The same is true after a workout. After several hours asleep without food, your body needs to "break the fast". If you are not a morning person, start with very small servings and gradually increase your breakfast portion sizes.

Jason Rundell said...

Thanks man!