A piece of advice you commonly hear from top bodybuilders is that you should stay within 10 pounds of your contest weight. Most of the stars don't actually
come anywhere close to achieving this, and those who do, like Shawn Ray and Lee Labrada, haven't gained much size since they turned pro years ago.
The fact is, it's very difficult to put on mass when you're eating a very low- fat diet and doing regular cardiovascular work. For most people the only way
to pack on major muscle is by bulking up getting your body-weight up there. You accomplish this by eating big, training big and resting big. Here are some
key points for embarking on this get-big program:
Eat every two hours, come hell or high water
If you're serious about putting on size, you have to be serious about getting a continuous supply of nutrients into your body. If you don't get hungry every
two hours, keep a constant vigil on your wristwatch. Two hours after you finish eating, it's time to eat again. You must never go into a catabolic state, in
which your body begins to feed off your muscles for their protein content. it may seem impossible to get that many meals down, but with plastic containers
and a cooler it's fairly simply. Just cook all your food at the same time, pack it up and carry the cooler with you all day.
Take in plenty of high quality proteins and carbs
Don't mistake bulking up for an excuse to eat all kinds of junk. It's fine if you have a treat every day or two, but the majority of your food should be
high-quality proteins like poultry, fish, eggs and lean red meat; complex carbohydrates like potatoes, yams, rice and oatmeal; and fibrous carbs, which are
raw vegetables. A good rule of thumb is to make your meals about one-third protein and two-third carbs, and be sure that your total protein for the day
comes out to approximately 1 1/2 grams for each pound of bodyweight, including protein from supplements, such as weight gainers and amino acids.
Have a shake after every training session
Training depletes your body of protein and glycogen, so the perfect time to put nutrients back and speed up your recovery is immediately after training. Your
body is much more receptive to absorbing nutrients at this time. if you haven't been doing this, you'll be amazed at how effective it is. A good choice for
post workout nutrient loading is nonfat milk mixed with either weight-gain powder, Met-Rx or any of the metabolic optimizer products like Metabolol. It's
faster than eating and much easier on the stomach.
Eat lean red meat at least once a day
Even back in the old days the strength-building benefits of red meat were well known. It's packed with protein, iron and creatine, a strength and
energy-enhancing substance that is the latest rage in bodybuilding supplements. While red meat in general is loaded with cholesterol, you can minimize the
intake by eating only the leanest cuts, like sirloin, London broil and filet mignon.
Use the basic exercises
Very little of the world's muscle was built with cable crossovers, concentration curl or leg extensions. These so-called shaping movements should only be
used by trainees who are refining existing mass. If you want to put on inhuman size, go with the heavy basic barbell exercises. Movements like the squat,
bench press, deadlift, barbell row and military press will pack insane amounts of muscle on anyone who has the guts and the discipline to stick with them
and work up to very heavy poundages.
Stick to a low volume of training
Thanks to Dorian Yates and Mike Mentzer, the Heavy Duty concept from the early '80s is making a tremendous comeback, Rather than performing eight exercises
and 40 sets per bodypart, these men advocate just two or three exercises per bodypart with only one or, at most, two sets. With this low volume you'll be
able to use heavier weights and pour on the intensity rather than saving your strength, so to speak, for more sets. Select the absolutely heaviest weights
you can use to get out four to six reps on upper-body exercises and six to 10 reps on leg movements, a time- proven strategy for building maximum size in
the shortest time.
Rest between sets
To use the heaviest weights possible, you must not run from one set to the next, huffing and puffing. You need to rest and let your body recharge. For
bodyparts like arms or calves a minute is all you need, but if you're squatting or deadlifting heavy, you definitely need three to five minutes to recover
for your next set. If you want to develop cardiovascular fitness, do cardio work occasionally, but don't try to get your cardio benefits by training fast.
If raw size and strength are your goals, take your time and rest.
Train with a partner
While you don't need to train with a partner, it's highly recommended. Not only can partners spot you and help you get forced reps, but the rivalry between
training partners can make for better gains than you can imagine. Some days you can't get motivated, and that's when your training partner can get you back
on track and fired up.
Get plenty of sleep
With the pressure of work, school and family problems life is stressful enough. Add the stress of heavy training, and it's very easy to burn out physically
and mentally. To combat this, you need to sleep as much as possible. eight hours per day is the minimum, and nine or 10 would be even better. If your schedule
is free on the weekends, take advantage of it and load up on sleep. It's an absolutely essential element to putting on muscle, so avoid going out or staying
up late at all cost-unless you have the next morning to sleep in.
Never train more frequently than two days in a row
If you want to continue progressing and avoid overtraining, you need to recover from your workouts. Working out three days or more in a row will make this
nearly impossible. You just can't beat up your body like that and expect it to grow new muscle tissue. For maximum recovery never train more than two days
in a row. Take a full day of rest after this, and for even better recovery take two days off after every second or third two-day run. You'll be hilly rested
and ready to go every time you hit the gym.
Eliminate aerobics and other sports
Aerobic exercise and sports like tennis and racquetball might be great for your heart and fun to play, but they sap precious energy and recovery reserves that
you need to build muscle. If you want to get huge, drop them. If you're concerned about the health of your heart, do moderate aerobic exercise two to three
times a week, but don't do it so hard that your legs burn or you're out of breath. When that happens, you're burning glycogen, not bodyfat. You may lose size
in your legs as a result, and who wants that?
Important Guidelines for Bulking Up
Don't get fat
Yes, the objective is to put on weight, and, yes, you'll gain a little fat along with the muscle, but the key word here is "little." You should still be able
to see the outline of your abs in favorable lighting. Anything beyond that and you're becoming a slob. You can have a great physique, but if you let too much
fat cover it, you'll just look fat, So keep a close watch on that gut and butt.
Give yourself time to gain weight
Gaining muscular weight is a slow process
. If you have your heart set on putting on 50 pounds in a month, one of two things will happen. Either you'll hit
that goal and be fat, or you won't hit it and you'll be devastated. Five pounds per month is a reasonable amount of weight gain when you're in a full-blown
bulk-up phase. Obviously, you'll hit a sticking point eventually-that's why we don't have 500- pound bodybuilders populating the gyms. Five pounds a month
will probably work for the average 180-to-2l0-pound bodybuilder, enabling him to put on muscle with a minimum of fat. And as you know, little gains quickly
add up to huge gains.
You now have the tools to take your physique to a level of size and strength you've never known, Do you want to become one of the world's most massive men or
women? Take a season to bulk up, and you'll pack on the size you've always wanted.