Many factors influence the growth of muscle mass in individuals. Genetics, testosterone, muscle fibre types, training history a good training program, supplementation and a high energy diet providing adequate protein, can be incorporated together to enhance muscle mass and size. If all are optimized gains of 0.25-0.5 kg per week can be achieved initially but will depend on genetics and training history. If you follow my tips below I would expect you to gain weight
Tip 1 - Increasing energy intake
· In order to gain muscle effectively, a positive energy balance needs to be achieved. This means that what you put into your body must exceed its BMR and physical activity level. Any excess energy available can then be used for muscle growth. Focus should be on good quality carbohydrates and protein together with plenty of fruit and vegetables for vitamins and minerals and dairy.
Tip 2 – Increase your meal/snack frequency
· This will help you to increase your energy intake without having to bulk up your main meals. By increasing your frequency of meals to 5-6 per day you will achieve a steady flow of nutrients/fuel to keep up your energy levels.
Tip 3 – Make sure your getting high quality protein
· You need to be getting in all the essential amino acids. These amino acids are found in most animal products such as lean meats, dairy and eggs. You need to include high quality protein in each meal, everyday.
Tip 4 – Nutrient timing
· Pre- and post-workout nutrition is crucial for muscle growth and recovery. Pre-workout snack should consist of moderate to high GI carbohydrates + protein to give you the fuel to get through the session. Post-workout snack needs to contain both carbohydrates and protein to aid in recovery and muscle growth (20-30 g carbohydrates & 10-20 g protein (e.g. tub of yoghurt + fruit; bowl of cereal + milk; sandwich with lean meat & salad).
Tip 5 – Be consistent
· Try not to skip or miss your meals or snacks as this will reduce your energy intake which will lead to a decline in muscle mass and growth.
If you are still having trouble, I would recommend a visit to a local Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD) or Accredited Sports Dietitian who can help you formulate a diet that suits you and your training needs. To find an APD log onto the Dietitians Association of Australia's website (www.daa.asn.au) or www.sportsdietitians.com.au
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