Most of the time, people go to the gym to lose weight. Although it is a challenge, through time, hard work, and proper programming, they get their results and they see the pounds melting away. However, it’s not the same for the thin ones. I’ve known a lot of people who have been so frustrated with their thinness and they’ve tried every single program out there to bulk up and get some muscle but to no avail.
Sometimes it’s simple biology, the same way that some people get big or fat easily, some people also have a hard time gaining muscle. This is because of a number of reasons (metabolic rate, hormones, hypethyroidism), some might even require you to take special medication. But most often, the problem lies on two areas: improper programming and insufficient nutrition.
One thing that you shouldn’t do when you want to train for size, you should NOT overtrain. Overtraining is one of the worst things that you can do. You want your body to conserve muscle mass, not use it up as energy for your workouts. The most that you can do is a 2 day split with 4 a week training sessions. This means having either a push and a pull split or an upper body lower body split. As much as possible have 2-3 rest days during the week. Sometimes this is the hardest part but you have to remember, muscle grows during recovery.
Aside from that, nutrition plays a vital role in trying to get big. I’m sure that most thin guys and girls who want to get bigger have tried increasing their food intake with the hopes that it will increase their muscle size but they end up increasing their pants size. In terms of nutrition, I believe that NUTRIENT TIMING is just as important as NUTRIENT CONTENT. Meaning it’s not only WHAT you eat, but WHEN you eat it. As a rule, and this came from my mother who has a masters degree and nutrition and is a registered nutritionist and dietitian as well as board member of the Philippine Association of Nutritionists (watch out for her 360 podcast episode coming soon):
Eat breakfast like a king (heavy)
Eat Lunch like a prince (moderate)
and Eat dinner like a pauper. (light)
However, before your exercise session, some rules change. You have to have at least a small meal 1 hour before your workout. Then 15-30 mins before a workout, take a pre-workout shake composed of fast acting carbohydrates and protein and if you want, some beta alanine and creatine. I like using Neurocore although you can make your own or try other brands. Then after the workout, take a post-workout shake composed of fast acting carbs and proteins that will help facilitate the recovery and muscle building process. If you want to add more, try taking a casein shake before you sleep, this is a slow acting protein that will help conserve your muscles while you sleep (this is the longest time when you do not eat anything).
Now in terms of your meals, try to have a heavy breakfast composed of eggs, red rice, lean protein like chicken breast of tuna, and a healthy serving of fruits and veggies. This heavy meal should help your body get through the first half of the day. Even if this is the only tip that you apply, it will help you tremendously. Try to have 5-6 meals a day. with breakfast being the heaviest and snacking between breakfast and lunch; and lunch and dinner.
Now for the workout. Follow the rules in the following table:
Supersets are 2 successive sets done on the same muscle group with no rest in between. Here’s the workout. Again this is jut a sample workout, and this is general, this may or may not work for you if you have certain considerations. However, this was designed with the essential theories and ideas in mind and should be effective for most people.
Alternate between workouts for a 3-day-a-week program. So if you do MWF, you will do workout A on Monday, then B on Wednesday then A again on Friday. Then next Monday do B and so on.
Here’s the video, Enjoy!