When it comes to general health and fitness, most people will concern themselves with the number they see on their scale and then put in place (or try to) daily practices to lower that number. When it comes to bodybuilding, with the goal being to pack on as much muscle as possible, the reverse of this approach is true. Seeing that number on the scale rise daily is what we’re after and doing all that we can to keep it rising for as long as we want is our main focus. Depending upon your body type, putting on significant size and mass can be either very easily attained or very difficult to accrue. For those who are struggling to add on some serious size, take heed to the following strategies that are very simple yet extremely effective when followed.
Strategy #1: If you’re not gaining weight, you’re not eating enough
I can’t stress this enough when packing on mass is your goal. If you want to get big, you have to eat big; plain and simple. That means you have to set up your diet so that you’re eating every couple of hours and stuffing yourself to the brim with each meal you consume. If you have difficulties shoveling in the amount of food necessary for extreme growth, too bad. That’s what it’s going to take to force your body to do something it doesn’t naturally want to do. Are you going to get sick and tired of having to each so much? Yes! Will you look at the clock in disbelief that it’s time to eat again? Yes! Will you spend the majority of your day cooking and eating leaving less time for other activities? Yes! This is what the mass monsters in your gym are doing on the daily, so if you want to join them, you have to make sure you are eating plenty of calorie dense foods all throughout the day.
Strategy #2: Don’t be afraid of gaining some fat
The trouble with today’s bodybuilding enthusiasts is that they always want to look stage ready (or close to that) so that daily posts on their social media pages will get lots of attention. I understand this strategy simply for the fact that when marketing yourself, you want to look your best so that you can create opportunities for yourself. However, with that said, the ones who are going to hand your ass to you on stage when you compete are the bodybuilders who have covered up, eaten tons of food and have allowed their body to gain both muscle mass and fat during the offseason because that’s what it takes to pack on size. You will never be as big as you can possibly be if you’re always trying to stay super lean. I’m not saying get sloppy, because if you’re a bodybuilder you should always resemble that, but there’s no way you can ingest the amount of calories you need to grow as much as you want and maintain a low body fat percentage; it just doesn’t work like that. If you’re a competitive bodybuilder and are trying to reach the pinnacle of the sport, then you know all that matters is what you look like on competition day. Moreover, if putting on some fat in the offseason allowed you to come back bigger and better than ever, then it was well worth it in my books.
Strategy #3: Train Heavy
There’s no denying that the pump you get in the gym from lifting weights is one of the most satisfying feelings that comes from training. There’s also no denying that if you make the pump the primary principle for all of your training strategies, then you’re never going to be a mass monster. Here’s the thing, you can achieve crazy pumps using light to moderate weight for higher rep counts per set. What you can’t do with that is break down muscle tissue at the rate needed for significant hypertrophy to occur in the days that follow. You have to lift heavy and with a surplus of intensity so that you can break down the muscle. The progressive overload approach to training, where you’re constantly asking your body to do more and lift more with each successive training session, is the key to ultimate growth. My suggestion is to perform your working sets in the six to eight rep range using near maximal weight to break down the tissue and then allow your warm up sets to provide the pump for you. You’ll still get a pump from the heavy sets as well, but you’ll be doing much more than just blowing up your muscles for the duration of the workout.
Big is beautiful but it ain’t easy. If you’re willing to go to the extremes it takes to pack on serious size, then there’s no better place to start then right here using these three strategies. So if you’re ready, lace up those Super Shifts, grab your fork and your weight belt and let’s get huge!
Author: Dana Bushell
AST Sports Science sponsored athlete/writer, sponsored by Schiek Sports Inc.