Almost every male client we see at Strength & Performance (and most female clients too) secretly have the desire to pack on a little muscle, lose the gut and get some abs! How do we know this, well, in a roundabout sort of way they always end up at the old ‘I just want to look good naked’ adage. After 5 minutes of waffle about getting fit, losing weight and ‘toning up’ whatever the hell that means? it always comes back to having more muscular arms or chest and no matter how you dress it up, we know what you actually mean so for those of you who want to know the secret, this will be right up your alley.
Now we train a lot of ‘regular’ average-jo-public at our gym and we tend not to go too deep into the science behind the theory on lean bulking so for that reason we’re not going to bamboozle you with over-complicated scientific mumbo jumbo terminology. Instead we’ve gone for the simplest route that actually makes sense to the laymen. So don’t worry, you won’t need a calculator handy to work out exactly how many grams of this and how many millilitres of that you’re going to have to consume per day. We’re in the real world here and I fully appreciate that most of you actually have busy lives to lead, and let’s face it, all you really care about is results at the end of the day and that is what you will get if you follow the simple guidelines outlined below.
In my opinion Carb Cycling is a must when trying to pack on a bit of muscle and staying lean in the process. You may have heard the term before if you’ve ever visited T-nation or any reputable bodybuilding forums lately. I’m not talking about getting stacked here; this is an entirely different concept, nor am I referring to simply getting shredded. Again, this requires more of a fat-loss specific diet and training routine, not one that actually allows for mass gain.
Carb cycling simply refers to the way you manipulate the starchy carbohydrate intake on certain days of the week. This will vary depending on whether you are training or if you’re on a rest day. Cycles can generally last a couple of days. On training days you will have significantly more carbs/calories than on non training days when you will eat much cleaner i.e replace the starchy carbs with good fats and protein so calorific intake will be lower. That is the concept in a nutshell – not rocket science I think you’ll agree?
So what about training to increase lean mass? Well, this needn’t be too complicated either, really. All you need is a solid training programme that works for you and a little time in order to put in some hard work at the gym. The bottom line is you have to lift weight fairly regularly if you are going to achieve your goal of sticking a bit of meat on your bones and staying lean in the process. If you are looking to put on some serious size then forget carb cycling and just focus on eating big and putting the hours in under the bar.
As far as training goes, then, there are many different ways to get to the same goal. All that really matters is that it actually works. Like I said before, all you really care about is getting results so as long as you get them then job done!
So for example, you could break your training week down like this:
Monday – Total body
Tuesday – OFF
Wednesday – Total body
Thursday – OFF
Friday – Total body
Saturday/Sunday – OFF
This is just one example – Remember, if you are adopting a total body approach, your body is going to come under a lot of stress and will need replenishing accordingly so on Monday, Wednesday and Friday you will need to load up on starchy carbs (sweet potato, brown rice/pasta etc) but on your rest days you will be aiming to eat fairly clean so you will be looking to get your carbs from fruit and veg over the starchy food sources and you will need to add plenty of lean protein (chicken, fish etc) and good fats (Omega 3 Fish oil, peanut butter) to your diet on these days.
The same applies for if you are adopting a split training routine. However, your carb intake can be tweaked slightly depending on which days you train upper body and which days you train lower body. Simply put, if you are training the big lower body lifts such as squats or dead lifts then it is important to load up on starchy carbs before and after training but if you have only trained a comparatively less taxing upper body bench session then you should drop the carb intake slightly and try to eat a little cleaner. You don’t have to get all scientific, just experiment with what works and what doesn’t. We are all made differently so reading a ‘one-size-fits-all’ manual based on precise mathematical equations can sometimes prove to a fruitless waste of time!
Here is an example of a split training weekly plan which some of you may be following:
Monday – Squats (plus assistance work)
Tuesday – Bench (plus assistance work)
Wednesday – OFF
Thursday – Military Press (plus assistance work)
Friday – Dead Lifts (plus assistance work)
You can see the obvious difference between the two weekly plans but if executed effectively and followed through properly without flitting aimlessly from programme to programme for a decent period of time i.e 8-12 weeks, then both will certainly yield great results. Providing you stay focussed on the task at hand, push hard in training, don’t slack and you can’t go far wrong!
It is important that you fuel your body in order to fully maximise your gains in the gym and enhance recovery in between and after training. In order to do this, we recommend the Strength & Performance Top 4 must have supplements:
1) Omega 3 Fish Oil
2) BCAA/L LEUCINE
Follow these simple guidelines and prepare to get in the best shape of your life!
For more information on our cutting edge training programmes visit the Strength & Performance website: www.strengthandperformance.co.uk
Discuss on the MP Forum.