Muscle Growth Rules - Training & Nutrition
Chapters 8 & 10 - Muscle Growth Rules
The following is a small excerpt from parts of chapters 8 and 10 of my step-by-step muscle building course Massive Muscle Building
...Muscle Growth Rule #1: Eat Plenty of Quality Calories to Grow.
In order to be able to train heavy and intensely, you’ll need to eat more calories than someone who does not weight train. Not eating enough calories is the number one reason why most beginner trainees fail to build a significant amount of muscle size and strength within their first year of training.
Anyone can pack on a lot of weight in the form of useless body-fat. That’s not our goal here; after all, you can’t flex fat. To build quality muscle, you need to eat quality calories.
This means eating whole foods that are dense in nutrients and that will also provide you with enough energy to make it through intense training sessions.
So what exactly is a calorie?
Simply put, a calorie is a unit used for measuring the energy stored in food.
Scientifically speaking, a calorie is the amount of energy required to raise the temperature of 1 kilogram of water to 1 degree Celsius.
It’s how the human body obtains energy to function - without calories, you wouldn’t be able to do anything at all.
All calories are comprised of the 3 macronutrients; protein, carbohydrates and fats.
Here is how many calories are in each macronutrient:
1 gram of carbohydrates = 4 calories
1 gram of protein = 4 calories1 gram of fat = 9 calories
In a nutshell, in order to grow muscle tissue you MUST eat more calories than your body requires for maintenance EVERY DAY.
This means increasing you calorie consumption by at least 20% above your body-weight maintenance level. In chapter 9, we’ll calculate exactly how many calories you will need for maximum muscle growth without gaining excessive body fat.
Muscle Growth Rule #2: Focus on Eating Whole Foods
As I mentioned above, most of your calories should come from whole foods. Simply put, whole foods are foods that are as close to nature as possible and contain all the essential vitamins and minerals your body requires.
This means no junk food like candy, pizza, ice cream and other processed and pre-packaged foods such as frozen dinners and deli meats.
You might be able to build some muscle while eating these junk foods full of empty (useless) calories, but you will pack on more fat than you’d like and your health will start to deteriorate.
Whole foods are free of chemicals, preservatives and artificial sweeteners and colors. And if you can afford to pay a little extra to eat organic - pesticide free foods, than I recommend you do so.
There is no point in building a stunning muscular physique on the outside, while ignoring your health and well being by eating foods that do nothing to help you build muscle.
After all, our goal is to build a natural, healthy looking physique while avoiding illness and disease.
Muscle Growth Rule #3: Eat Plenty Of Protein
Protein is made up of four elements; carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen. One gram of protein contains about four calories.
If you don’t eat enough protein, no amount of training or calories will allow your muscles to grow. Complete protein sources contain the entire essential branch chained amino acids necessary to promote hypertrophy (muscle growth).
For optimal muscle growth, strive to consume at least 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight from quality animal based sources such as lean beef, chicken, turkey, fish, eggs, shrimp, veal, lamb and other meats.
Simply put, without enough quality protein in your diet, your muscles will NOT grow - PERIOD!
Proteins are made up of amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins. There are 20 amino acids that must combine to form a complete protein. These are:
Of the above 20 amino acids, there are 9 that cannot be made by your body and must be consumed in your diet. These are: Leucine, Isoleucine, Lysine, Phenylalanine, Methionine, Histidine, Threonine, Valine and Tryptophan.
Complete protein sources support muscle growth and are of higher quality than incomplete protein sources such as vegetables, wheat and soy.
It’s important to understand that all protein sources are not created equal and that some complete protein sources are better than others.
A protein rating and net utilization percent is classified by approximately how much of a particular protein source can be utilized and absorbed by your body.
Here is a chart to show you how well your body utilizes different protein sources as well as the rating for each protein food.
As you can see, eggs and whey protein are some of the best protein sources that your body can utilize efficiently. Foods like rice, beans and potatoes give you much less usable protein than eggs, whey protein and chicken.
Getting an adequate amount of high quality protein from a variety of different sources ensures that your body has everything it needs to maintain proper bodily functions and build muscle tissue.
For optimal gains in size and strength, approximately 30% to 40% of your total daily calories should come from protein.
Muscle Growth Rule #4: Consume Plenty of Healthy Fats
Dietary fat is made up of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. All fats are found in both plants and animals and are insoluble in water. Fat is the most calorie dense of any nutrient as one gram of fat contains about 9 calories.
Healthy fats are also known as Omega -3 fatty acids. They provide a whole host of muscle building benefits, in addition to decreasing your LDL (bad cholesterol) and raising your HDL (good cholesterol) by clearing out plaque from your arteries.
Omega- 3’s also support your immune system. Consume plenty of healthy fats each day from foods such as salmon, almonds, flaxseed oil, natural peanut butter, walnuts, eggs, olive oil and avocadoes.
In addition to consuming plenty of healthy fats in your diet you should also consume a decent amount of saturated fat. Saturated fat has gotten a bad rap by the medical industry over the past few decades due to the increased number of heart disease cases in the United States.
Excessive consumption of saturated fat can lead to elevated cholesterol levels and an increased risk for developing heart disease. Therefore, you should stay away from foods that contain excessive amounts of saturated fat.
However, saturated fat does contain cholesterol, and cholesterol is a direct pre-cursor to testosterone. As you know, testosterone is the number one muscle building hormone in the human body. Make sure that you are consuming at least 5 to 7 grams of saturated fat at each meal to support your bodys natural testosterone production.
With regular exercise and a balanced diet that’s high in fruits, vegetables and omega-3s, you can safely consume anywhere from 30 to 50 grams of saturated fat every day without worrying about your cholesterol levels being affected.
Some good sources of saturated fats are: Egg yolks, beef, pork, whole milk, cheese, chicken, shellfish and butter.
Fats should make up approximately 20% to 30% of your daily caloric intake.
Muscle Growth Rule #5: Consume Slow Digesting Carbohydrates
The role of carbohydrates is to provide energy to the body. Unlike proteins, their main function is not to build and support tissue. They are the body’s main source of energy and are necessary to carry on normal bodily functions.
All carbohydrates are molecules that contain hydrogen, oxygen and carbon. There are 3 basic categories of carbohydrates, these are:
Carbohydrates, once consumed, are stored in the body as glycogen. Glycogen is stored in the muscles and in the liver for later use. Muscle fullness is increased when your body stores water and glycogen inside of muscle cells.
Carbohydrates also have a “protein sparing” effect by keeping the body from using excessive amounts of protein for energy.
Once consumed, all carbohydrates are converted into glucose, which is your brains main energy source.
Slow digesting carbohydrates, also known as ‘complex’ carbs, take much longer to digest and are released more slowly into the bloodstream than fast digesting carbohydrates or ‘simple’ carbs.
How quickly carbohydrates digest is measured by the glycemic index. The higher a food is on the glycemic index, the faster it will digest and the lower a food is on the glycemic index, the slower it will digest.
Here is a glycemic index with some common foods:
Keep in mind that the glycemic index becomes somewhat irrelevant when you consume carbohydrates with fat, protein and fiber.
Eating other macronutrients such as protein and fat will slow down the digestion of high glycemic carbohydrates in the stomach and their release into the bloodstream.
For example, if you were to eat a plain baked white potato which has a glycemic index rating of 95, along with lean cuts of steak which contain approximately 12 to 20 grams of fat per 8 to 12 ounces, then the absorption of the carbohydrates from the potato will be much slower than if you were to eat the potato by itself.
Complex carbohydrates that will give you the most time-released energy are: oatmeal, sweet potatoes, brown rice, apples, beans, whole wheat pasta, quinoa, whole wheat and whole grain breads.
High Glycemic or simple carbohydrates that are found in fruit juice, non-diet soda, white bread, white pasta, white potatoes, doughnuts, ice cream and other sugary foods will be released very quickly into your blood stream and should therefore be mostly avoided.
All carbohydrates both simple and complex, contain about four calories per gram. For muscle growth, energy and recovery, your total daily carbohydrate consumption should be about 35% to 40% of your daily caloric intake.
Muscle Growth Rule #6: Always Eat Breakfast
When you eat breakfast, you’re doing just that: breaking your fast. When you wake up you must to strive to consume a whole food meal as soon as possible.
This is the perfect time to eat a large number of calories without worrying about gaining fat. When you wake up from a long night sleep, your body is like a depleted tire that needs to be filled with air (nutrients) to kick start the muscle building process.
Remember to always consume quality protein, complex carbs and healthy fats every morning. Simply put, breakfast should be your largest meal of the day.
If you train in the morning, avoid eating more than a few grams of fat at breakfast. (Dietary fat digests very slowly and can cause nausea and bloating during training).
Obviously, that’s not a good feeling at all when you’re trying to complete a heavy set of squats on leg day.
Never train on a full stomach as I guarantee you that this will be a very unpleasant experience. It generally takes anywhere from 3 to 6 hours for food to completely digest and empty out of your digestive system.
Rather, eat a large amount of slow-digesting carbohydrates along with protein and no more than 15 grams of fat.
Muscle Growth Rules - Training
Muscle Growth Rule #1: Use Free Weights
For optimal muscle growth, free weights must be the cornerstone of your muscle-building routine. Machines do have their place but in order to pack on maximum size and strength free weights are king and here’s a good example why:
When you curl a dumbbell you mimic your biceps natural range of motion, therefore you’re stressing your biceps muscles to the maximum. However, if you’re doing curls on a machine your range of motion is fixed and linear, thus your biceps muscles won’t be stressed nearly as much.
This applies to every body part from upper body exercises to lower-body exercises.
Remember that the easier an exercise is to perform, the less you are stressing the target muscle. Free weights are difficult to balance and thus will build strength, muscle balance, muscle size and small stabilizer muscles much more effectively than machines or cables.
Muscle Growth Rule #2: Train Heavy to Stimulate Muscle Growth
Heavy does not mean using weights you can hardly move from point A to point B. Your repetitions should fall into the 8 to 12 range for upper body and the 15 to 20 range for the lower body. For example, using proper form you should reach temporary muscle failure at the 10th rep on the bench press.
Simply put, if the weight is too light then you won’t break down enough muscle fibers to trigger growth and if the weight is too heavy, then you’ll hardly be stimulating your muscle fibers to grow, therefore, no muscle tissue breakdown (which results in muscle growth) will occur.
Heavy training causes micro-tears deep inside the muscle tissue. This is exactly what you want when you’re trying to build massive muscles.
It is when your muscles re-build and repair these micro-tears that they get bigger and stronger. And like we’ve already discussed, the only way to grow muscle size is to train with heavy weights.
Muscle Growth Rule #3: Keep Your Rest Periods Short In-Between Sets
If you go to the gym to socialize as much as you workout, then you’re probably losing out on some serious muscle growth. Rest times in-between sets are often overlooked by many trainees.
The amount of rest time that you need between sets largely depends on your overall goal. For muscle endurance, 30 to 60 seconds is optimal, however if you’re looking for maximum muscle strength and size, then 2 to 3 minutes is optimal.
After a heavy and intense set, it typically takes your muscles about 2 to 4 minutes to recover and replenish their stored fuels such as adenosine triphospate (ATP), glucose, creatine phosphate, amino acids and fatty acids.
So for muscle strength and size, you’ll want to wait at least 2 minutes for your muscles to re-fill so that you can perform another heavy and intense set.
I highly recommend that you time your rest period’s in-between sets at the beginning of your training to ensure that you are resting sufficiently and that you don’t end up taking too long of a break in-between sets.
Muscle Growth Rule #4: Train EVERY Body Part
I have a question for you...
Which guy would you rather look like?
The guy who’s got sleeve stretching biceps but small triceps and tiny forearms, a huge chest and a small weak back and no shoulder width or leg size to speak of. No calves, a flat stomach but no noticeable abdominal development?
Or would you rather look like the guy…
who’s got equally developed body parts, a wide and thick back complimented by an equally impressive chest. Fully developed biceps and triceps, calves and forearms. Great leg development, brick thick abs and thick, wide shoulders?
Just picture how stupid the guy with only a big chest and biceps would look standing next to the guy who’s got every body part developed.
Not only will you look dumb only having a big chest and biceps, but you’ll also develop some major muscle and strength imbalances which will only lead to injury.
You might not like training legs and back as much as biceps and chest, but in order to have a complete and balanced physique, you absolutely have to put in as much effort on training legs and back as you do on training chest and biceps.
To avoid developing strength imbalances and to avoid developing an awkward looking physique, you absolutely MUST train every body part.
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