How to Increase Body Mass Quickly and naturally
Last edited by PLBFitness; Oct. 01/12 at 02:40 PM.
Reason: removed link
Eat, (Not Junk).
Workout (Hard, Short Intense Sets)
Agree with everything but number 3.
Cardio, minimally 20-30 minutes 4x per week will keep the appetite stimulated and will keep additional fat off of your body while gaining weight. Let's face it, gaining size naturally is about consuming more calories than you utilize during your daily activities. Doing cardio helps rid the body of excess fat caused by macro-nutrient overload.
Think of it like this...is it better to gain 20 and net 2 or do it right and gain 3 quality pounds of lean muscle? Lee Labrada once told me that it is better to gain 2-3lbs of lean muscle per year, in 10 years thats 30lbs of quality muscle! Anyone would sign up for that!
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^ I agree with the point on appetite (at least partially -- training reduces appetite within the workout and spikes appetite afterwards, be it strength training or cardio), however controlling how much fat you gain during a bulk is a matter of how much you bulk up by, how fitting your resistance training is and the quality of your nutrition. Beyond a gain of about 0.5-1lb bodyweight per week, you don't tend to gain increased amounts of muscle mass per week, so gaining weight too quickly will have you gaining mostly fat for no extra benefit.
A different point in favour of doing cardio is that increasing vascularisation of the muscles (not the appearance of vascularity, but the actual capillary bed feeding the muscles) can increase the amount of nutrition that makes it to muscles and the rate of recovery, which is all beneficial to building more muscle mass. This doesn't have to be running for 20min, btw, it can simply be take one of your strength exercises, do your normal work sets, then back off the load by a lot and do one set of 20-100 reps.
I actually don't agree with the first two points, but if you're novice enough to benefit from reading a list of 7 tips on how to build muscle, then adhering to those first two points will work for you regardless.
So, on the first point, it's not about how much weight is on the bar and how fast you can move it, it's about how much tension is placed on the working muscles, and how much of the working muscle is used. As someone with a background in powerlifting style training and olympic lifting style training (though I've never competed in either sport), I know that a lot of force can be produced without having a huge influence of hypertrophy. In fact, many powerlifters and olympic lifters are extremely selective in what techniques they use on their competition lifts as well as assistance exercises, so as to avoid building any muscle mass that won't contribute well to their lifts (either by directly improving the lifts or by preventing injuries to enable ongoing progression). So, a powerlifter probably won't be seen doing leg presses, because they'll put more muscle on the thighs but won't necessarily improve his/her squats or deadlifts. Back to the original point of force production, while it's true that to get bigger you must get stronger, let me just say that I can out-squat plenty of people with thighs as big as mine, and some people with bigger legs. That's because I prioritise strength over size, while others prioritize size over strength.
On the second point, dumbbells are good. I won't deny that for a second. My training mostly focuses on barbells, followed by dumbbells and cable machines. But those smooth, shiney machines aren't bad for hypertrophy. The most popular reason why freeweights are tooted as supreme over machines is because they involve greater volumes of musculature, especially support/core muscles. For overall development, this is great, and again anyone who's novice enough to benefit from a list like this will benefit from sticking to freeweights (and at their level they probably are better off sticking with freeweights over machines so as to get the msot bang for their buck). However, this great benefit of freeweights is also the downside to them.
I'm used to doing heavy squats, bench presses and deadlifts. And the better I get at them, the more the load gets dispersed across the entire body, instead of just in one or two muscle groups. For putting a bit of muscle everywhere, this is great. But make no mistake, by now my squats -- even my front squats, which are one of the most quad-dominant squat variations -- are not simply a quad/glute exercise, my deadlifts are not simply a glute/hamstring/back exercise, and my bench press is not simply a chest/tri exercise. As much as I would have mocked myself for saying this a year or two ago, good machines (that are properly maintained and fitted) can allow for specific overload in specific muscles that freeweights often cannot.
The bottom line, really, is that everything you do in the gym has to have a good reason behind it. There are times in your training career when there is no good reason to use machines. There are other times when half of your program should be machine-based. There are times when you should go for as much weight as you can handle, and drive the weight up as forcefully as possible. And there are times when this is anywhere between unideal and actually a bad idea. There are times when cardio helps build more mass, and there are times when it only interferes with things.
At the end of the day, I'll back FAMAS's comment 100%: lift, eat, sleep , repeat.
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