Ok, so for many of us, our favourite time of year is fast approaching, nope, not Halloween, or the Holiday season, we’re instead talking about a far more enjoyable and productive season – Mass gaining season. The nights are drawing in, the days are growing shorter, the air is turning cooler, and the weather itself is becoming far more unpleasant. This means that whereas over the last few months, you may have walked around in shorts, T-shirts, and tank tops, you will instead be wearing far more layers, and covering far more of your body up. Bulking season, or mass gaining season, is not just an excuse to be a little more lenient on your diet, it is instead where all of your gains are made. You want to bulk up, get bigger and add some quality muscle to your frame, which means that you need to get serious, both in the gym, and in the kitchen as well. Contrary to what some may tell you, bulking isn’t just about eating more food and lifting heavier weights, although wouldn’t it be great if that were true? No, gaining mass is instead far more complex and complicated than that, and if you don’t take it seriously, or if you approach it incorrectly, it can harm your physique a great deal. For anybody out there trying to pile on the pounds of quality muscle over the colder months which lie ahead, take a look at these 4 mass gaining hacks and see how you can implement them into your mass gaining routine.
Don’t use it as an excuse to get fat
Of course, when gaining mass, it is necessary to consume more calories than you’re able to burn off, but even so, that doesn’t mean you should use your off-season to get overly fat. Your physique will of course change over the coming weeks, and you will indeed gain a little fat, as well as a lot of water in the process. You will look far less ripped and defined, but again, make sure you keep your weight under control. A lot of bodybuilders use the off-season as an excuse to eat copious amounts of food, mainly unhealthy food that they deprived themselves of over the summer. A little treat now and then is perfectly fine, heck, with the right routine you may even be able to get away with a cheat meal each week, but don’t simply eat everything in sight, whenever you feel like it, as that will cause you to gain too much fat, too quickly, which will then set you back several weeks when you have to diet down. 90% of your food should be fresh, clean and healthy, with the occasional treat thrown in for good measure, not the other way around. If you eat too much junk, you will gain too much fat, which will only make life harder for you as time goes by.
Limit workouts to one hour max
The idea behind gaining mass is building new muscle, stressing your body in order to pile as much muscle mass and size onto your frame as possible. Because of this, a lot of bodybuilders think that they should spend countless hours in the gym each workout, pushing their bodies to the absolute limits in order to stimulate new growth. In reality however, studies have revealed that the optimum length of any resistance-based workout is between 45 and 60 minutes, no matter what your goals and targets may be. The main reason for this, is, not only will training excessively put you far more at risk of overtraining, in which your body will fail to recover following a workout, but you will also reduce the potency of testosterone, which is key hormone in regards to muscle growth. If you feel that that is perhaps too short amount of time, you can increase the time slightly, although you’d be better just cutting back on your rest periods so you can fire through your workouts quicker.
Get plenty of quality sleep
If you’re a fan of staying up late at night, watching Netflix, or playing video games, then you may wish to change your lifestyle if you want to truly be able to pack on good quality muscle mass. When we lift weights in the gym, we’re destroying our muscles and damaging our bodies. It is mainly when we sleep, that we grow, as our bodies repair the damaged caused in the gym, building bigger and stronger muscle fibres in place of the old ones. If you aren’t getting enough sleep however, how can you expect to grow properly? Studies have found that around 7 – 9 hours of sleep each night is ideal, especially if you’re in a regular routine. Not only that, but not getting enough sleep leaves you feeling tired and cranky, meaning that you won’t want to go through an intense workout in the first place.
Ramp up your protein consumption
Protein builds muscle, therefore, the more protein you consume, the more muscle you will build, within reason of course. In order to maintain lean muscle mass, experts recommend 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight, but you’re not trying to maintain, you’re trying to grow. Because of this, aim for 1.5 – 2 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight instead. Obviously there are many different variables regarding muscle growth: training, sleep, diet, lifestyle etc, but the one consistency in study after study, is the fact that protein is vital for building muscle. Aim for 30 – 40 grams per meal, with one – three of these servings coming in the form of a convenient protein shake. On top of that, make sure you space your protein consumption out throughout the day, making sure that the majority of it comes from fresh, healthy, and natural sources.