Bulk Up and Throw Down

Whether you’re looking to move up a weight class or just aiming for a more defi ned physique, adding lean body mass requires a strategic training and nutrition schedule. Use the following tips to optimize muscle growth and recovery.

Lose unwanted body fat fi rst

It is NOT physically possible to add muscle and lose fat simultaneously. Think about it. Losing weight means creating a calorie defi cit, and creating muscle tissue requires extra calories to build new mass. Cardio blast the fat away and cut down on calories before you focus on weight training.

Design the right resistance training schedule

In order to achieve “muscle hypertrophy” (muscle growth), pick a weight lifting program that incorporates a heavy load, with fewer reps but multiple sets. While lighter loads with more reps are great for toning and building strength, heavier weight training is necessary for the greatest lean body mass gains. Remember that due to genetics, everyone builds muscle at different rates; so don’t get frustrated if it takes you longer than some of your buddies.

Include enough quality protein and extra calories in your diet

In order to put on 1 pound of muscle per week, you require an additional 100 grams of protein in that week, which breaks down to an extra 14 grams per day. You’ll also need more calories to support the workout and tissue growth, generally around 500 to 1,000 calories above current intake for the week or around 70 to 150 extra calories each day.

Choose meals/snacks with optimal nutrients

The perfect muscle-boosting foods should offer quality (complete) protein, with a few grams of carbohydrates. The protein helps build new muscle, and the presence of carbohydrates signals the hormone insulin to oversee the process of building tissue.

Include protein before and immediately after weight training

Wait no more than 30 minutes after a workout to consume quality protein. While research is not conclusive about the benefi ts of a pre-workout protein-rich snack, it can’t hurt to cover your bases.

Don’t overdo it on calories

Extra protein does not mean extra muscle! Any additional calories that your body doesn’t burn off — whether they come from protein, fat, or carbs — will just lead to gains in fat mass.

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