you've had sand kicked in your face. Maybe you've lost one too many attainable
women to beefier guys. Or maybe you've read so much about weight loss that
actually admitting you want to gain weight is a societal taboo. Whatever the
reason, you want to bulk up. Now.
forget about your alleged high-revving metabolism, says Doug Kalman, R.D.,
director of nutrition at Miami Research Associates. "Most lean men who
can't gain muscle weight are simply eating and exercising the wrong way,"
your fix: Follow these 10 principles to pack on as much as a pound of size.
The more protein your body stores—in a process called protein synthesis—the
larger your muscles grow. But your body is constantly draining its protein
reserves for other uses—making hormones, for instance. The result is less
protein available for muscle building. To counteract that, you need to
"build and store new proteins faster than your body breaks down old
proteins," says Michael Houston, Ph.D., a professor of nutrition at
Virginia Tech University.
Shoot for about 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight, which is roughly
the maximum amount your body can use in a day, according to a landmark study in
the Journal of Applied Physiology. (For example, a 160-pound man should consume
160 grams of protein a day—the amount he'd get from an 8-ounce chicken breast,
1 cup of cottage cheese, a roast-beef sandwich, two eggs, a glass of milk, and
2 ounces of peanuts.) Split the rest of your daily calories equally between
carbohydrates and fats.
In addition to adequate protein, you need more calories. Use the following
formula to calculate the number you need to take in daily to gain 1 pound a
week. (Give yourself 2 weeks for results to show up on the bathroom scale. If
you haven't gained by then, increase your calories by 500 a day.)
Your weight in pounds.
B. Multiply A by 12 to get your basic calorie needs.
C. Multiply B by 1.6 to estimate your resting metabolic rate (calorie
burn without factoring in exercise.
D. Strength training: Multiply the number of minutes you lift weights
per week by 5.
E. Aerobic training: Multiply the number of minutes per week that you
run, cycle, and play sports by 8.
F. Add D and E, and divide by 7.
G. Add C and F to get your daily calorie needs.
H. Add 500 to G. This is your estimated daily calorie needs to gain 1
pound a week.
Your Biggest Muscles
If you're a beginner, just about any workout will be intense enough to increase
protein synthesis. But if you've been lifting for a while, you'll build the
most muscle quickest if you focus on the large muscle groups, like the chest,
back, and legs. Add squats, deadlifts, pullups, bent-over rows, bench presses,
dips, and military presses to your workout. Do two or three sets of eight to 12
repetitions, with about 60 seconds' rest between sets.
a Stiff Drink
A 2001 study at the University of Texas found that lifters who drank a shake
containing amino acids and carbohydrates before working out increased their
protein synthesis more than lifters who drank the same shake after exercising.
The shake contained 6 grams of essential amino acids—the muscle-building blocks
of protein—and 35 grams of carbohydrates.
exercise increases bloodflow to your working tissues, drinking a
carbohydrate-protein mixture before your workout may lead to greater uptake of
the amino acids in your muscles," says Kevin Tipton, Ph.D., an exercise
and nutrition researcher at the University of Texas in Galveston.
your shake, you'll need about 20 grams of protein—usually about one scoop of a
whey-protein powder. Can't stomach protein drinks? You can get the same nutrients
from a sandwich made with 4 ounces of deli turkey and a slice of American
cheese on whole wheat bread.
a drink is better. "Liquid meals are absorbed faster," says Kalman.
So tough it out. Drink one 30 to 60 minutes before your workout.
Every Other Day
Do a full-body workout followed by a day of rest. Studies show that a
challenging weight workout increases protein synthesis for up to 48 hours
immediately after your exercise session. "Your muscles grow when you're
resting, not when you're working out," says Michael Mejia, C.S.C.S., Men's
Health exercise advisor and a former skinny guy who packed on 40 pounds of
muscle using this very program.
Carbs After Your Workout
Research shows that you'll rebuild muscle faster on your rest days if you feed
your body carbohydrates. "Post-workout meals with carbs increase your
insulin levels," which, in turn, slows the rate of protein breakdown, says
Kalman. Have a banana, a sports drink, a peanut-butter sandwich.
Every 3 Hours
"If you don't eat often enough, you can limit the rate at which your body
builds new proteins," says Houston. Take the number of calories you need
in a day and divide by six. That's roughly the number you should eat at each
meal. Make sure you consume some protein—around 20 grams—every 3 hours.
One Snack Ice Cream
Have a bowl of ice cream (any kind) 2 hours after your workout. According to a
study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, this snack triggers a
surge of insulin better than most foods do. And that'll put a damper on
post-workout protein breakdown.
Some Milk Before Bed
Eat a combination of carbohydrates and protein 30 minutes before you go to bed.
The calories are more likely to stick with you during sleep and reduce protein
breakdown in your muscles, says Kalman. Try a cup of raisin bran with a cup of
skim milk or a cup of cottage cheese and a small bowl of fruit. Eat again as
soon as you wake up. "The more diligent you are, the better results you'll
get," says Kalman.
Credit goes to: Gain a Pound of Size Every Week