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Tips to Help You Gain Mass

  • Gaining mass is by far one of the most common goals for any person lifting weights either casually or as a bodybuilder. While your genetics has a lot to say about how easily or how much mass you are able to put on, there are plenty of tips to help make the process just that little bit easier for you, so you can focus most of your attention on your workouts. Here are some of these tips:
  • Eat! Simple mathematics of growth. Energy Intake has to be greater than energy output. Muscles will not grow without food. You must ingest high calories at every meal. Without this, you simply will not gain weight. Spread this over 5-6 meals with a mix of protein, carbs and fats to enhance the absorption of all the important nutrients. Protein shakes and meal replacements can be useful substitutes if eating this many solid foods is difficult. If you really want to add mass, a shake in  the middle of the night may even kick start your muscle growth. Fibre, while being good for health is often bulky and can make you feel fuller with less food overall. While it is still important to have high fibre foods, during the mass gaining period, consider reducing it so that excess caloric intake is made easier.
  • Increase Sodium. Sodium is an important mineral and electrolyte needed to drive the sodium-potassium pumps, which are important for contraction and stimulation of muscles. Sodium also helps increase water retention, giving you almost instant mass gains. Sodium improves the storage of carbs as well as amino acid absorption, and improves the muscle’s responsiveness to insulin, a key anabolic hormone.
  • Drink Water. Water is the ultimate supplement. Not only does it hydrate you helping your performance in the gym by delaying fatigue, but it helps regulate food, vitamins and minerals. It also helps your body absorb protein and carbs.
  • Take Creatine. Creatine will help you gain mass without negative side effects. Creatine is a well known supplement able to help you increase muscular strength and performance in high intensity exercises over a short duration such as weight lifting. New studies have also indicated creatines ability to affect satellite cells in your muscles which are vital for muscle growth1. Ensure that you increase your water intake when on creatine.
  • Rest. Rest is essential to gaining mass. Without recuperating and recovering, you will not gain size. Ideally 8-10 hours is best. Make sure you don't train the same muscle everyday. Twice per week on the same muscle is sufficient as it needs maximum recovery time otherwise, otherwise damage can occur rather than gains.
  • Stop Aerobics. While you are gaining your lean muscle mass, your metabolism is also going up, depleting you of the calories you need to add size. Adding in extra aerobics, or cardio will rob you of this. While cardio is still beneficial in terms of overall health, consider slowing down during your mass gaining periods.
  • Train to Exhaustion. Damage to the muscle fibres is what forces the muscle to grow. You have to get to the point of muscle failure each session. This is when your gains will take place as the muscle repairs itself and grows. However, while a certain level of muscle damage is important for muscle growth, you do not want to overdo it. Again, do not train the same muscle group on consecutive days and avoid overtraining, which can negatively affect your gaining potential.
  • Lift Hard. Without pushing yourself in the gym, you will not stimulate muscle growth. Used controlled movements during exercise, and force out the extra rep where possible for added effect. Be aware of limits and always have a spot to ensure you don't suffer any injuries which may set back your growth time.
  • Mix it up. Don't do the same workout week after week. Instead do different exercises, different weight levels and just keep mixing it up so your body does not become complacent. Also, choose to reverse your workout routine every second week or month so that each muscle group has the benefit of being first to be worked each session. By ensuring these changes, the muscle is constantly stressed helping them to grow.
  • Eat Meat such as tuna, beef and steaks. These are the ultimate muscle building foods as they are rich in protein. Your muscles are made of protein and ensuring that you have will help you reach your ultimate goal weight faster and more effectively.
  • Use Only You. Rather than using a spotter, straps, gloves etc, use yourself to get the weight up. This should enhance the stimulus on the body to grow additional muscle. A spotter should not be there to lift your weights anyway, he/she should only be there as a safety precaution.

How to Gain Muscle Mass

There is a series of interdependent aspects that must occur simultaneously for you to gain mass. By ensuring that these take place, you will be well on your way to gaining the muscle that you are so eager to achieve.

1. Olsen, S; Aagaard P, Fawzi K, et al. (2006). "Creatine supplementn augments the increase in satellite cell and myonuclei number in human skeletal muscle induced by strength training". The Journal of Physiology 573atio (Jun 1): 525–34.

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