Gaining muscle mass takes work. Anyone who has ever tried will know that. Gains, however, are not just made in the gym; they’re made in the kitchen. If you are training four, five, six days a week, but aren’t eating properly, you will go nowhere. Worse, in fact, you’ll probably go backwards. There is a common myth that going to the gym will help you lose fat. While this is true, to a small degree, it is not the correct way to think about it. Here’s why.
Based upon your weight, there will be a specific number of calories that you need to consume in order to gain, maintain, or lose weight. If you weigh 80kg, you’ll need roughly 2000 calories per day. If you want to gain at a reasonable rate, you’ll need a minimum of 3500. Where most people falter at this point is by not knowing what calories they should be eating, and what calories they should stay away from. This hurdle is even larger if you want to gain muscle without gaining fat, or while simultaneously losing fat.
Basically, the calories you need to be taking in will come from wholegrain rice, porridge, wholegrain pasta. There are more exotic options, but these will be your staples. In addition, if you want to have any hope of making gains, you’re going to need protein, and lots of it. It is recommended that you get your protein from a variety of sources, i.e. milk, red meat, fish, eggs, broccoli, peas. On top of that, you will benefit greatly from supplements. These are not strictly necessary, but there are no good reasons why you shouldn’t, and by not taking them, you’ll only be making it that much harder for yourself. The average gym goer, looking to gain muscle, should be taking in at least 150g of protein, per day.
Recommended supplements are:
· Omega 3,6,9
Pre-workout is also extremely helpful, though it’s not for everyone, and it is important that you follow the dosage closely, and remember to cycle off at regular intervals, to avoid any withdrawal like side effects.
It should go without saying, but you need to drink water, and a lot of it. Being under hydrated will negative effects everywhere. You will feel fatigue more easily, your body will take longer to recover, you will struggle to process food normally, resulting in loss of muscle weight.
Once your diet is sorted, and you’ve set foot in the gym, it is important that you push hard. As I said, if you are looking to gain muscle, you have to eat more, and if you do this, but then skip sessions, or don’t push yourself, you will gain fat. The harder you push, the better your results will be. Also remember to vary your workouts. If you stick with the same routine for too long, or only use weights, ignoring the cables and machines, you will soon find yourself at a plateau, not getting any stronger, or more muscular, while continuing to gain weight, which will come to you in the form of fat.
In order to see results at the gym, you have to be a bit of a nerd about it, if you’ll excuse the term. It will take a fair amount of thought and planning to reach your goal, and there’s no shortcut.