In order to gain muscle mass we must eat more than we burn off.
This means different things for different body types.
Let me explain...
If you are a person who has great propensity to acquire body fat easily, then you must be more precise and calculated with your macronutrients. Meaning, you have to ensure your caloric surplus is just enough over your maintenance to hopefully gain and support lean body mass, while minimizing adipose tissue accumulation (body fat gain).
The naturally high strung, thinner athlete that is small boned and struggles to gain weight will have much more liberty in his plight for gaining maximum muscle mass. I will be focusing on this type of person in this article and give insight to objectives that inevitably come up, and how to deal with such roadblocks.
We should all know what the term “eating clean” means. To Bodybuilders this will mean lean protein sources like chicken breasts, turkey breasts, white fish, lean cuts of beef, and egg whites. For carbohydrates we rely on potato varieties, rice, pasta, oatmeal, vegetables etc.. Fats typically come from the protein sources and supplemental essential fatty acids.
Bodybuilders use these foods to get lean and “shredded,” and these same foods in a surplus to accumulate muscle mass. Issues start to arise for our naturally “skinny” Bodybuilder when attempting to pound these clean foods in copious amounts. They quickly realize their appetites rapidly slow down, and they cannot ingest another bite without gagging.
You see -- these hard gaining body types simply partition (direct) foods into building muscle rather than shove excess nutrients into body fat cells. A faster metabolism needing upwards of 5000-7000 calories per day to be in a positive energy balance will tap out quickly with their desire to eat.
This is exactly why eating more loosely is actually a viable option for overcoming this roadblock. These people need utmost consistency , which entails their daily routine being etched in stone so that their meal timing works out perfectly.
Here is an approach that could be considered for this type of person:
Four (4) “clean” meals during the day of something like 8-10 oz chicken or fish plus 2c rice or 14 oz potato. This ensures the majority of their meals are healthier and what is deemed as “clean.” Then they would train and afterwards ingest a fast digesting whey protein isolate (50-75g) then rest the stomach and prepare for the nightly feast.
You would want a time gap of at least 2-3 hours after your post workout shake so you build up ample appetite. Then you would cheat on something protein based, but calorically dense. Load up on burgers from a few joints to add variety (yes, I’m actually talking about making rounds to drive-thrus of various fast food places for different burgers to make it fun). I rather avoid fries and shakes, but if you have the metabolic rate and proper hormonal environment (testosterone, GH, etc..) then this might not hurt. I like to see 2000-2500 calories consumed here at least to add onto your previous calories ingested earlier in the day.
Some people (like myself) are busy and have difficulty even consuming the four (4) healthier meals prior, which makes having 2-3 liquid shakes ideal. The shakes would consist of 50-75g protein & 150-250g carbs from waxy maize or something easy to digest. You can also do homemade burgers that are more calorie dense or go get some meaty wings etc… this is a valid and honest way to go about mass gaining if you fit the criteria. If you do not -- you will have the fattest lower back, and awful side boob crap you could imagine. I am sorry my naturally husky/chubbier folk -- you cannot go about your offseason like this or you will hate the way you look!
Of course monitor blood work and vitals to ensure you aren’t truly hurting yourself with this type of heavy eating approach, and do these health checks all throughout your offseason mission.