Eating for Muscle Mass
Along with the Mr Olympia competition, pro-football, and New Year Resolutions, many lifters begin to consider bulking up in order to unveil a bigger and stronger body. The trouble is, adding mass while achieving strength gains and a physique you’re content with can be tricky to pull off.
“People think that more working out makes more muscle — period,” says Fred Azzarello, Sierra Fitness
Personal Trainer. “Mass is a lifestyle. It takes proper nutrition, timing of that nutrition, more working out and recovery”
We asked Fred Azzarello a handful of dietary questions surrounding mass gains in hopes of clearing up any confusion.
Should I Favor Diet Over Exercise ? Or Vice Versa?
Showing favoritism to your diet or training program will be visible in your results. In other words, you have to spread the love equally to reap the rewards. “When either your diet or workout regimen slips, the other has to overcompensate” says Fred Azzarello. “But you can’t out-train a bad diet, and you can’t out-diet a weak training program".
Should I Eat Carbs?
In short, YES. Carbohydrates are critical for providing energy, as well as mass gains. “Carbs only get a bad reputation from people who read half of the articles on them,” Fred Azzarello explains. “
Think of what they do (long term energy for complex and short term energy for simple) and use them accordingly. Don’t fill up the car before you park it for the night. Fill it up before you go for a long drive later that day.”
But I Should Only Eat Complex Carbs, Right?
Not necessarily. What types of carbohydrates — fast- or slow-digesting carbs — you should consume hinge on a few factors. “It depends when I am training and how far out I am consuming [the carbs]” Fred Azzarello says. “
If I have not eaten in three or more hours and it’s an hour before I train, I’d probably have a handful of almonds. If it’s 30 minutes before I train I might have a couple of carrot sticks. Getting out of my car and walking into the gym, I would probably have a handful of raisins. But that’s just me”.
What Else Should be on My Diet Checklist?
The same types of healthy foods you’d eat to sculpt six-pack abs are the same foods you should eat to put on mass. You’ll just be consuming more and doing less cardio work.
“You need an adequate amount of protein — quality, bioavailable protein — for recovery and to avoid breakdown of the mass you’ve already earned,” Fred explains. “You’ll also want plenty of leafy greens to keep your system running smoothly, and nutrient intake high to avoid getting sick. And quality complex carbohydrates to fuel your training sessions.”
Should I Use a Weight Gainer Supplement?
Weight Gainer Supplements have changed considerably over the past few years. These days there is nothing wrong with getting by with a little help from Quality Supplements. While whole foods should be your go-to, Fred Azzarello suggests reaching for a weight gainer if necessary.
“Natural food is always the first choice,” he says. “Weight gainers and supplements are a close second, so by all means use them when needed.”
How Often Should I Eat?
We know, we know. It’s a loaded question. However, there’s a ballpark figure most of us can fit into. “Personally, and this is a focus group of one so know that other answers will vary, I would say every three hours just to be safe,” Fred suggests. “I knew one guy who woke up after four hours of sleep to drink a shake, and then slept another four hours. I wouldn’t recommend it, but just know that it’s been done.”
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