Many body-builders, weightlifters, CrossFitters and people wanting to gain muscle mass rely too much on carbohydrates. To add muscle mass, you have to increase your total calories so that you’re taking in more than you need for maintenance. The easiest way to do this is through carbs, but that can be a mistake. Let’s look at how to gain weight and build muscle the proper way.
When you eat an excess of carbs, they really help you put on weight but a lot of that is water and body fat. Carbs spike your insulin levels, making it easy for your body to store those excess calories into fat stores. Carbs also carry water with them, so they can make you look bloated and soft. You might end up several kilograms bigger but most of what you’ve added won’t be muscle.
The secret to muscle gain is to increase calories, but to keep carbs moderate while increasing protein and healthy fats such as flaxseed oil, fatty fish, peanut butter, avocados and olive oil.
These are beneficial because instead of being easily stored as body fat, they enhance several processes in the body, such as muscle growth and fat loss. They also enhance cognition and mood, as well as heart health, and they help prevent muscle breakdown and inflammation as well as play an important role in hormonal structures.
When attempting to gain mass, the most common pitfall confronted by most body-builder or any type of athlete is that they simply do not consume enough protein. If you ask them about how much protein they eat per day, they aren’t sure. However, they are sure that they eat a sufficient amount.
That’s a real logical leap! Once I have reached this point in the “interview” process (as I like to call it), I realize what I am dealing with and I stop asking stupid questions that I definitely know the answers to.
Instead, I help these individuals to construct a muscle gaining diet that will fit their particular needs. Remember: the main goal is to gain lean muscle mass while minimizing fat gains.
Another very important aspect of gaining mass is that, while frequent protein consumption is important, over-consumption of protein can also be detrimental to muscle gains. Because your body can only process so much protein at one sitting (and we all know that this amount varies from individual to individual), consuming too much protein
taxes the liver and kidneys (since these organs need to eliminate, detoxify, and excrete this extra protein) which invariably will stunt the body’s ability to create new muscle.
What we have being doing over the years is wasting most of this protein and causing our bodies have to have to work extra hard to break all that extra protein down.
Most people have been deprived of essential and non-essential fats such as linoleic acid and linolenic acid (for essential fatty acids), primrose oil (for GLAs), cholesterol-fats (such as the type found in egg yolks and red meat) for steroidal hormone synthesis, and monounsaturated fats (like olive oil, cashew nuts, and walnuts) for muscle cell membrane repair.
What these athletes were essentially doing was consuming huge amounts of protein and getting their fat requirements indirectly by way of all the protein they ate (all animal protein sources also contain fat). The problem was that they were only getting animal fat protein. This still left them in a fat deprived state. If you fail to eat fat in your diet, the end result will be stifled muscle gains (if on a bulking cycle) or reduced fat losses (if on a diet).
A Take-Home Message
The body does not like to be deprived of protein or fat (both are required nutrients for optimum lean muscle gains). On the other hand, carbohydrates (of which I have not even mentioned once) are completely unessential nutrients.
If we were never to eat another gram of carbohydrates, our bodies would continue to grow muscle and metabolize fat with not a single hesitation (and most of us would find that we got much leaner, as well).
To reiterate, carbohydrates are not considered essential nutrients in the muscle building process. However, they are a very necessary source of energy when in a muscle gaining stage, since we do not want to use all the essential muscle-building fat to fuel our workouts. In a gaining stage, carbohydrates are a great energy source to preserve the protein and fat for muscle-building purposes.
While in a dieting stage, fat becomes a much more desirable energy source since it suppresses insulin release (carbs stimulate insulin release), it helps the body to maintain energy levels while on a reduced calorie diet (carbohydrates being the reduced calories), it provides essential fatty acids to the body which prevents protective “starvation” modes from occurring (whereby fat mobilization is halted), and it helps to stabilize blood sugar levels (thus reducing food cravings and satiating the appetite). Take these points into consideration and gain weight and build muscle the easy way.
What methods do you use to gain weight and build muscle?