1) EAT! YOU MUST CONSUME MORE CALORIES THAN YOU USE FOR ENERGY
This means you need to eat as much as possible, and as often as possible. You may think you eat a lot – but if you’re not gaining any weight you need to eat more. And this means everyday – not just on your training days or when you remember. No amount of training is going to help you gain mass unless you are eating enough food, and eating consistently. This may sound simple but is one of the most common mistakes that “hardgainers” make.
Truth is – there are no hardgainers – just people who ON whey protein don’t eat enough, or often enough, on a consistent basis. You should aim for at least 6 meals per day, eating every 2 to 3 hours, with protein and carbs with every meal. By eating more often, your body utilises food more effectively, your energy levels will remain more stable, your recovery rates will be faster, and your muscle and strength gains will be maximised.
PUT SIMPLY – If you’re not gaining weight, you’re not eating enough.
2) CALCULATE YOUR REQUIRED DAILY CALORIE REQUIREMENTS AND STICK TO IT
An easy way to calculate your required daily calorie intake is to multiply your bodyweight in kilo’s by 2.2 x 16 i.e. 80kg x 2.2 x 16 = 2816 calories per day
For mass gain, add an extra 20% to this: 2816 x 0.20 = 563 extra calories per day
Add these together: 2816 + 563 = 3379 calories per day
This is the minimum amount of calories required for mass gain at 80kg bodyweight (activity level also effects this – if you do a labour intensive job you may need to add extra calories to this – if you still find that you aren’t gaining any mass, add an extra 10% calories per week until you start gaining). If you tend to gain bodyfat easily, and would prefer to gain mainly lean mass, add fewer calories to your maintenance intake. Aim for around 10% rather than 20%.
3) EAT QUALITY PROTEIN WITH EVERY MEAL
Use a quality Whey protein or muscle gaining protein formula. Muscle tissue is made up of proteins. Every time you train you break down muscle tissue (protein). Your body then repairs this damage using protein from your diet. This results in increased muscle size, density and strength. If you don’t eat enough protein, your body can’t repair this damage and so you won’t grow. Always make sure to eat within 45 minutes of finishing training – an easy to digest Whey protein like Balance 100% Whey or Pharmasports 100% Whey or Mass gainer is your best bet to help aid muscle repair and growth.
For best results eat at least 2g to 3g of protein per kilo of bodyweight per day (everyday – not just on your training days) – eg: 80kg bodyweight x 2 = at least 160grams to 240grams of protein per day, 7 days per week.
Good quality wholefood protein sources include – Chicken Breast, Turkey, Lean red meat, Fish, Tuna, Salmon, Whey Protein, Eggs (Egg white and whole eggs), Cottage Cheese, and low fat Milk.
Some good all in one mass gainer formulas are Pharmasports GROWTH, Leppin BulkPro4, Cytosport CytoGainer. High quality Lean Mass gainers with a higher protein to carbohydrate ratio are Cytosport Muscle Milk, and Leppin Muscle Pro4.
4) BREAKDOWN YOUR DAILY CALORIE INTAKE INTO PROTEIN, CARBS AND FAT
Now you know how much protein you should eat you need to calculate how much fat and carbs you need to eat.
You should aim for approx 20 to 25% calories from fat. Take you daily calorie count – 3379 x 0.25 = 844 calories from fat.
Each gram of fat contains 9 calories so divide this figure by 9 to get grams of fat – 844/9 = 94g of fat per day. So at 80kg you are eating at least 160g or protein. Each gram of protein equals 4 calories, so you are getting 640 calories from protein, plus 844 calories from Fat. Subtract this from your total calorie intake and you have you total required carb intake, then divide by 4 again (each gram of carbs contains 4 calories) to get the grams of carbs per day that you need 3379 – (640+844) = 1895 cals from carbs/4 = 474grams of carbs per day