How do you increase muscle mass as fast as possible, is a completely sound question! Because you want to make the most of your progress and one way to do so is to eat more than your body needs! Because there is no worse feeling than working out intensely and not seeing a worthy return on your investments! In addition, no matter how heavy you lift or how hard you push, insufficient calories results in minimal if any muscle gain. This is a very common problem for many beginner bodybuilding enthusiasts out there. Yet beginners when compared to intermediates or advanced trainees can have a very generous calorie surplus with minimal fat gain. This is due to hypersensitivity to muscle growth! The more muscle we build the lower the calorie deficit should be.
My response to ‘how do you increase muscle mass’ always starts with, ‘are you eating enough’? And their reaction is typically ‘I eat so much food, I couldn’t possibly eat more’. However, this issue is two fold. Firstly, they usually aren’t logging calories so actually have no idea where their calories are nor what their maintenance calories are. And this is key because maintenance calories dictate how much of a surplus is required to elicit muscle growth. Secondly, if they are tracking accurately, they aren’t eating enough calorie dense foods to maximise calories consumed whilst minimizing food volume. Calorie dense foods that are low in volume (size) will enable you to get more calories in per pound of total food without feeling as full. This is the opposite to fat loss goals where we want low calorie dense foods that are high volume to maximise fullness.
How do you Increase Muscle Mass Optimally with the Correct Calories
In the same way you can’t build a house without the workmen to stack the bricks. Neither can you build muscle without the calories lay down new muscle tissue. Thus, you can do all the bicep curls for the girls in the world. But you won’t see any muscle growth unless you give your body enough food (the bricks) to build with. Then, it can repair the damage created by your gym session and build more muscle tissue. So, if your body isn’t receiving more calories than it burns each day you’ll have no extra energy available for more growth. As a result, your body will only repair the damage from training to baseline levels. Moreover, there are no magical super foods. Except for the magic that comes from quite literally feeding those gains via consuming enough calories and protein!
Similarly, like a car journey requiring sufficient petrol to reach it’s destination. Eating randomly may have you in a surplus some days but not frequently enough. Therefore you will see some progress here and there. But sooner or later you will come unstuck. And when this frustrating time comes, you won’t know what to change because you haven’t tracked or measured anything so far. So, many just continue to train hard and hope muscle will grow without a smart, calculated approach. As a result, they spin their wheels and eventually stop altogether. But all that was needed was an eat more to build more approach! Moreover, would you go to the shop without cash? So why keep questionning ‘how do I Gain Muscle Mass’ when you aren’t consuming adequate daily energy!
What is Measured Can Be Managed!
Important to note, some people simply decide to not track calories but instead eat excessively to ensure they are in a surplus. But the problem with this is they gain body fat too quickly resulting in less time building muscle and more time trying to drop body fat! And when we are trying to drop body fat we are in a calorie deficit which makes building muscle even harder (no bricks at all)! Then if fat loss is done incorrectly we may lose the muscle gained in the first place. So, tracking your calories and protein is a really good idea. Because it means that you can mass for much longer periods and at optimal speed to keep your motivation intact.
Now, you’ll need to go through a trial and error period to try and figure out what your maintenance calories are. After 2-4 weeks of doing this you’ll have a good estimation of where they need to be. The goal of the above blog is to consume a certain amount of calories to not gain weight. Hence, finding your weight maintenance calories. Then, most people interested in building muscle must consume around an extra 250-500 calories above their maintenance calories. For example, the typically recommended 10% calorie surplus is a good place to start. So, a male maintaining weight at 3,000 calories, multiplied by 0.10% equals 300 calories. And totals 3,300 calories to enter into an effective muscle building surplus. Although, beginner’s with muscle mass in mind are recommended to start right away at a 500 calorie surplus. Because your body is brand new to building muscle and therefore will use the calories almost exclusively for muscle building!
So, now you know the importance of calories, you can go to the gym KNOWING you’re progressing every session! Because when that burn arrives, you have the energy to fully facilitate the muscle building process!
Here’s another great article by Relentless Gains for further learning on a calorie surplus!
Do you wing it or are you in a definite calorie surplus every single day?