Many people overcomplicate the issue of getting bigger by eating more calories. Most who seek to “get big” are probably trying to gain muscle. Do remember that the act of increasing calories alone can make you bigger. In fact, you may even gain muscle just by overeating. However, to promote muscle gain and avoid adding body fat as well, you will need to do resistance training. Training against resistance is the stimulus that prompts your body to use excess calories to build muscle. Follow a few basic steps to get bigger with more calories.
Things You'll Need
- Whey/protein powder
Begin a 5-day, low-calorie, low-carbohydrate diet. According to the “Mad Scientist” of exercise, Nick Nilsson, cutting calories primes your body to gain muscle. Think about what happens when people yo-yo diet; cutting calories often leads to weight gain once “normal” eating habits resume. A perfect analogy is a slingshot being pulled back and released. In his book “Muscle Explosion,” Nilsson recommends a 5-day low-carbohydrate diet to prime the body for big gains. To do this, take in only 30 to 50 grams of carbohydrates per day, making up the rest of your calories from proteins and healthy fats. Be sure to get plenty of fiber, which is often missed when cutting carbohydrates.
Increase caloric intake to signal the body to gain and provide the raw materials from which you will build new muscle. Per the slingshot analogy, you have pulled back the elastic band and now you must let it fly. To calculate how many calories you will need, consider using an online resources or smart phone app; there are many free ones available. According to PCMag.com, MyFitnessPal, CountEat, and The Eatery are a few of the best calorie-tracking apps around. There you can set your calorie goal based on your unique needs and track your progress. Remember that those with a faster metabolism may need to take in a lot more calories in order to gain muscle.
Eat plenty of proteins, carbohydrates and fats as part of your caloric increase. For proteins, look to eggs, chicken, beef, pork and fish. Get plenty of low-glycemic carbohydrates, such as beans, quinoa, sweet potatoes, brown rice and fresh fruits and other vegetables. One very important yet often overlooked factor in gaining muscle is fat intake. Healthy fats like olive oil, egg yolk, avocado, nuts and seeds provide important nutrients for producing anabolic (muscle-building) hormones like testosterone.
Do resistance training workouts that promote hypertrophy, which is also known as muscle growth. There are many workouts that would be highly effective for achieving your goal. Make sure your workout emphasizes the fundamental compound movements for major muscle groups. Examples include leg presses, squats, dead lifts and bench presses. Bodyweight exercises like push-ups, pull-ups and dips are also highly effective. According to “The Ultimate Power-Density Mass Workout 2.0” by Jonathan Lawson and Steve Holman, you should make sure to get 40 to 60 seconds of time under tension with each set, in order to achieve muscle growth.
Go shopping for a protein powder to add to your diet. While not required, this simple step can make your life a whole lot easier. Many trainees use protein powders like whey protein as effective post-workout nutrition to help their muscles recover from weight-training workouts. To get your post-workout nutrition, try taking in 30 grams of quality protein and 40 to 60 grams of carbohydrates immediately after training. In addition, you can use protein powders as convenient sources of high-quality protein in your day-to-day life.
Tips & Warnings
- Always consult with your doctor before beginning any new diet or workout program.
- Muscle Explosion: 28 Days to Maximum Mass; Nick Nilsson
- Man 2.0 Engineering the Alpha: A Real World Guide to an Unreal Life: Build More Muscle. Burn More Fat. Have More Sex; John Romaniello and Adam Bornstein, 2013
- The Ultimate Power-Density Mass Workout 2.0; Jonathan Lawson and Steve Holman, 2013
- PCMag.com; The Best Apps for Losing Weight; Jill Duffy, January 13, 2012
- Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images