Next is a series of questions: How many meals are you eating per day? How many calories? How many grams of protein? Carbs? Fat? When’s the last time you ate fruit or vegetables? How much water are you consuming on a daily basis. If you’re an average lifter (and want to stay such), your answer is probably ‘Umm, I don’t know.’
In this article (which will actually form an introduction to a series of articles I’ll be doing over the next several weeks and months), I want to talk about some basic concepts related to mass gaining nutrition, primarily looking at some of the different philosophies of mass-gaining that are out there. As usually, I’ll look at each in my normal way, looking at the various pros and cons of each approach.
Although it may seem strange to talk about how to gain weight as we approach the holidays (where people typically gain weight without trying very hard), the simple fact is that, for athletes and bodybuilders, the winter (when it’s cold outside and you’re covered up) has always been one of the primary times that trainees focus on muscle gain.
Of all athletes in the world, bodybuilders (and other physique oriented folks such as fitness and figure girls) tend to be the most anal compulsive and neurotic about their food intake. Nowhere is this seen more than during contest dieting where folks that are already on the far edge of what most would consider sane turn batshit crazy about their food intake.
In that current data indicates that each pound of muscle might burn an additional 6 calories (as opposed to older values of 25-40 cal/lb or even higher) (1), this argument is no longer tenable; to significantly affect metabolic rate would require a monstrous gain of muscle mass, far more than you could gain in 3-4 weeks.
I finished the second part by giving some volume recommendations for both training and maintaining loads for the different components (4 of them) of training: pure strength, intensive bodybuilding, extensive bodybuilding and really extensive bodybuilding. Without recapping that entire article, I’ll simply summarize the loading parameters for each below.
In his original holistic training schema, Dr. Hatfield proposed using three different intensity/rep ranges to optimally stimulate a muscle. This included sets of 4-6 done explosively, sets of 12-15 done rhythmically and sets of 40 done fairly slowly. Different types of workouts were done in a fairly complicated cycling pattern (Hatfield called this ABC training) and, frankly, keeping everything straight was a huge pain in the ass.
Periodization is one of those terms that gets thrown around a lot and can have many many many meanings, depending on who you’re talking to. From fairly generic approaches to cycling training to meticulously planned out programs where ever set and rep is set ahead of time, you can find many different intrepretations of periodization and what it means. In this article series, I want to discuss periodization as it applies to bodybuilding specifically.