In the first two parts of this gaining muscle series I talked about the things that you can do in the gym to jump start muscle growth, everything from types of sets and reps to the amount of time per workout. Now it is time to look at the factors outside the gym that can help you in gaining muscle.
Fist of all most people that are serious about lifting will tell you that the gym is at most half of the factor important for gaining muscle, the rest is rest and diet so I will deal with them here.
Rest to help muscle gains
Most people know that there is an important correlation between rest and muscle recovery but there is more to recovery than getting a lot of sleep, in fact getting eight hours of sleep per night is only the first part of your gaining muscle rest and recovery. One of the things that you must do to allow your muscles to recover is to watch your amount of exercise. You heavy workouts are very important to help you gain muscle but other things like cardio or extra exercise can be a very dangerous factor toward overtraining your muscles.
You want to make sure that you workouts are really great in stressing your muscle but if the next day you do a tough cardio workout it will be very difficult for your body to heal your muscles in your off time. If you are concerned that this lack of cardio may lead to some gain that is fat and not muscle than you are right.
Eating to gain muscle
There are two phases to a bodybuilder and therefore a lifters training schedule. There is the bilking up phase and the reduction phase. In this series of gaining muscle articles we are most concerned with gaining muscle and with that you will be gaining some fat as well but this will be lost later through carb depleting and a change in focas in the gym.
To gain muscle you must feed your body a lot of food. Make sure that you are eating at least six meals a day with at least 30-50 grams of protein (100 grams like the magazines say will just give you expensive poo) and keep your carbohydrates high. What you want to make sure of is that you are taking in at least all of the building blocks of muscle that your body requires so that you are not having any problem with recovery between workouts.
Your body can assimilate between 30 and 50 grams of protein in a meal but there is no firm data on how much in the way of carbohydrates you need, just remember that your body has to recover from depleted glycogen stores after your workout so make sure that you are getting lots of protein and carbs right after your workout and hopefully in liquid form that your body can use right away.
One thing that is bound to happen is that in addition to gaining muscle you are also going to gain some fat. Watch your gain because come spring when you are trying to lose it can be tough to lose the fat and keep all of that hard fought muscle. If you find your fat level going up too quickly make sure you cut back on some of those carbohydrates but keep up the six maybe slightly smaller meals per day.
Conclusion on Muscle gaining
Gaining muscle fo most people is a very difficult task and with so many magazines making money on supplement advertising you can really get burned but also think that you need to work out harder than your body can recover from. When you are spending a lot of time in the gym pounding away at building your muscles you want to make sure that there is no problem with recovery. Make sure that you rest well and eat well so that your body will have an opportunity to recover between workouts and you can see the results by really gaining muscle.