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Is it a day-to-day struggle for you to build the muscle mass you desire so badly? Do you spend countless hours in the gym, in
the kitchen and at the nutrition center with very little to show for it? Do you step on the scale only to find that it's your
enemy instead of your friend? Do you entangle yourself in a mass of measuring tapes and flex yourself into measureless oblivion
only to realize that a much smaller measuring tape is in order?
If you can answer yes to any of the above questions, then, my friend; this article is for you. You don't have to be confined to the prison of the average. Muscle mass beyond your wildest imagination awaits you if you read, understand and practice the information that follows. We're going to chart your path to success.
First of all, let's examine some things that you can change, factors that can keep you from putting on quality weight:
1. Worry and stress. Yes, you read correctly. Negative mental states and high degrees of anxiety burn off much-needed calories.
2. Undereating and overtraining. These are cardinal mistakes that are all too common among bodybuilders at all levels. In fact, one problem creates another. You must learn to tailor your training to your nutrition. Too many sets over too long a period of time coupled with too few nutrients will inevitably result in a loss of quality weight.
3. Excess aerobic activity. Don't misunderstand this point. Aerobic exercise brings you benefits on a year-round basis, but if you're biking to the gym, playing a half dozen games of racquetball and then putting in 30 minutes on the stair machine before you train, your priorities aren't in order.
One of the most important things that you can do from this point forward is to accept the fact that bodybuilding is about 75 percent nutrition. The next most important thing you can do is to start recording your nutritional intake on a daily basis. The difference between gaining and just maintaining could be as little as 300 calories per day. If you're not recording your intake, you won't really know where you are; and if you don't know where you are, how are you going to get where you're going?
You should record your daily intake of calories as well as the grams of protein, fat and carbohydrate. You can get good, consistent results with a program that includes 25 percent protein, 65 percent complex carbohydrate-not simple carbs-and 10 percent fat. Your protein intake should be a minimum of 1.25 grams per pound of bodyweight up to 1.5 grams. After charting your nutrition for a brief period of time, you can make this determination on your own.
Eat five to seven meals spaced evenly throughout the day, every day, including weekends. Each meal should consist of at least one protein source, one to two starchy carbohydrates and one to two fibrous carbohydrates. For your protein sources choose egg whites, skinless chicken breast, skinless turkey breast and fish. Some lean red meat is permissible and even necessary on occasion.
Starchy carbohydrates are contained in foods like oatmeal, grits, potatoes, sweet potatoes, brown rice, corn, lima beans, kidney beans, peas and lentils. Fibrous carbs are found in broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, green beans and other salad vegetables. Your preference should always be for fresh foods, but frozen will do. Avoid canned items that contain sugar, salt and preservatives. Also, limit the amounts of processed carbohydrates, such as pasta and breads, that you eat and avoid dietary fats and simple sugars.
To avoid adding bodyfat, use a carbohydrate-tapering scheme, in which you replace your intake of starchy carbohydrates with fibrous carbohydrates as the day wears on. For example, if your breakfast is a huge serving of oatmeal and six to 12 egg whites, then dinner should be 14 to 16 ounces of fish, a small potato or one cup of rice and loads of fibrous vegetables.
How do you know where to start as far as total calories are concerned? Well, if you're giving your food as much attention as you're giving your training, you really won't need much help with that. Nevertheless, here's a formula that will help you determine your total daily calories:
Current bodyweight x 1.25 x 16 = total daily calories
For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, the equation looks like this: (150 x 1.25) x 16 = 187.5 x 16 = 3,000
The product of the first two numbers, 187.5, is the amount of protein grams that you should be eating every day. This means that 750 of your daily calories (187.5 grams x 4 calories) should come from protein, which is 25 percent of your 3,000-calorie total. All you need to do from here is fill in the remaining 2,250 calories with other foods, preferably eating the carbohydrates listed above.
At the end of the day total your carb, protein and fat grams; multiply your carb and protein totals by 4 calories and your fat total bye calories; and divide each of those numbers into your calorie total. This will give you the percentage of each nutrient. For example, let's say that you're eating approximately 190 grams of protein, 450 grams of carbohydrate, 50 grams of fat and 3,010 total calories. You figure your percentages as follows:
1) Protein: (190 x 4 calories) + 3,010 .25
2) Carbohydrate: (450 x 4 calories) ÷ 3,010 .60
3) Fat: (50 x 9 calories) ÷ 3,010 = .15
So your 3,010 calories come from 25 percent protein, 60 percent carbohydrate and 15 percent fat. Your goal is to gain one-half to 1 pound per week for every 100 pounds of bodyweight. Remember that your calorie requirements increase as your weight does. If you don't gain any weight during one week, then during the following week increase your daily calorie intake by 300 with protein and carbohydrate foods, and you should start gaining again.
You must flood your tissues with nutrients every 2 1/2 to three hours to facilitate recuperation and to expedite the growth process. Don't eat just because you're hungry; eat when the clock says it's time to eat. Even so, your meals don't have to be minimeals, as minimeals will only assist you in attaining a mini-physique.
Fortunately, you don't have to be a Ph.D. in biochemistry to use this program for maximum gains. All you have to do is be as committed to your food intake as you are to your training. Too many people train intensely on a regular basis with only minimal results. This usually happens because they think that all they have to do to grow is work out. Wrong! What you do in the gym is tear the muscle down. It's what you do during the other 23 hours of the day that dictates what happens to the weakened muscle. You must have a surplus of nutrients in your system in order to recover and grow. The human body is much more likely to get what it needs when it receives an abundance of food than when it receives just enough. If you're training sufficiently hard to evoke an anabolic response, then do yourself the justice of providing your body with the nutrients that will complete the anabolic process.
Now that you're convinced that bodybuilding is 75 percent nutrition-you are what you eat; garbage in, garbage out-start paying as much attention to what crosses your lips as you do to your bench presses and squats. The hardest squat workout you've ever done was easy compared to what it often takes to get down the necessary calories for gaining quality weight.
There's no reason for you to have any more unproductive workouts. The scale and measuring tape are about to become your best friends. Get off your duff, get a calorie counter and swing by the grocery store. You're on your way to new muscle mass.