We get it. If you're new to working out or trying to overhaul your physique and add all-over mass, you want it to happen sooner rather than later. A transformation over a year's time is great and all, but if you can expedite the process, why wouldn't you?
Shawn Arent, Ph.D., C.S.C.S.*D, a Medical and Science Advisory Board member for Blueprint for Athletes and the director of Rutgers University's Institute For Food, Nutrition, and Health Center for Health & Human Performance has created a roadmap that highlights how your nutrition and training need to change over the next five weeks. If you're a skinny guy struggling to put on the pounds or a bigger guy looking to cut back on fat and gain lean mass, we've noted where your regimen will differ to address those goals. Ready for a transformation?
The Most Important Factors For Gaining Muscle
"In short, it's the intensity and volume of your workouts, how often you’re training, how many sets you’re doing, in total, per body part, and whether you're getting sufficient protein quality and quantity," says Arent. We'll go into the nutrition specifics in a bit; but if you’re aiming for at least a gram of protein per pound of body weight, that’s a good place to start. Though, Arent notes, recent research says a little more protein might even be better. Rest and recovery is also a huge component. Give your muscles time to repair and give them the nutrients necessary to do that. Protein gives your body amino acids that repair, build, and maintain muscle; and carbs replenish your energy stores and get you ready for the next intense workout.
"Let’s clarify what we mean by bulking up," Arent notes. "If you’re just adding weight, which is muscle, a large portion of the process is going to be eating," he explains. You need to eat a lot of food to stay in a positive calorie balance.
"If you’re just trying to build muscle without putting on fat, three very critical aspects are your volume of training, the amount of protein you’re taking in, and your recovery—how much you’re sleeping," Arent adds.
And now for the nitty-gritty details: