Not only was I not eating enough calories for my fast metabolism, but I was also eating too many carbohydrates and not enough high quality protein. To build muscle you must eat the right foods in the right quantities. If you are not getting at least 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight, then you will not gain muscle, period. In the past, I would just skip over this part. It seemed too difficult to grasp. That was my biggest mistake.
Only protein can build muscle tissue!
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To make sure I was eating enough, I had to learn to measure and calculate my daily food intake. If you don't do this, you will never know what you are actually eating. I used to guess, but judging by my previous failure, I was guessing incorrectly.
In addition to eating more calories, I also had to eat more often. Eating three meals per day did not cut it! It did not provide my body with the constant flow of nutrients and energy it needs to grow. So, I increased my meal intake to 6 per day - eating every three hours. Yes, six meals per day.
Eating six meals per day takes planning, and this is where nutritional supplements have helped me the most. Now, I know that this is a very sensitive subject with many people. Some say that they are a waste of money, but actually they are wrong, These supplements are just designed to give you maximum advantage gaining muscles.
Do Supplements Really Work?
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There is a lot of type in this industry. It is true that some supplements are a complete waste of money, but there are also a few great products out there that can really help you achieve your goal. Remember, supplements are not a magic pill. They simply supplement your existing diet and training program. If you are not training and eating correctly then they will not help you. You will be wasting your money! Supplements are not a substitute for proper nutrition and training.
Supplements don't make the program, they are only there to help you. You will still get results without them. The most important element is the diet and weight training, not supplements. A good strong diet with plenty of protein is essential. For protein intake I suggest Whey protein or Weider weight gainer which I used, Because it is very difficult for me to eat 6 real food meals per day, the protein supplement was essential.
The supplement that has helped me the most has to be the Meal Replacement Powder (MRP). MRP's consist of whey protein powder and maltodextrin (a carbohydrate). They are designed to be quick meal substitutes, which take the place of a real food meal.
Since it represents one meal, that's one less meal I have to worry about preparing. Also, MRP's help me reach my daily protein requirement by providing me with one of the best types of protein for muscle building - whey protein. In this respect, it is much better than meat or poultry, not to mention far more convenient. If you have a busy schedule, being able to get a complete, high-protein meal quickly and conveniently throughout the day can mean the difference between success or failure.
Over the years, I have tried hundreds of different supplements, but only a few have actually proven to help me put on muscle mass. One of those is the MRP described above. Another product I recommend is Creatine Monohydrate. I have had incredible results with this form of creatine. I know many skeptics question its effectiveness and safety, but it has absolutely worked for me. That is why it is the number one selling sports nutrition supplement for amateur and pro athletes. Creatine has been proven to increase strength and muscle endurance, which will enable you to lift heavier weights, and ultimately stimulate more muscle growth.
How to Weight Train for Maximum Muscle Gain
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Not only did I have to change my diet, I had to learn the correct way to weight train for muscle mass as well.
The best way to gain muscle mass quickly is to use free weights. You must focus on compound free-weight exercises, and lift heavy/challenging weights. This will stimulate the largest amount of muscle fibers. Your body responds to this stimulus by increasing your muscle mass.
In the past, I used mostly machines. I was always told that free weights were a waste of time, and machines were much more effective. Boy, was I mislead!
Most machines are a waste of time for us. They will limit our development, because they help to support the weight. On the other hand, free weights make you support the weight along the entire path of the movement, which helps to stimulate more muscle fibers, while also strengthening smaller/weaker muscles. If your smaller supporting muscles are weak, your larger muscles won't grow. To build size and strength quickly, pro bodybuilders and professional athletes do not use machines - they use free weights almost exclusively!
Though some people will be able to gain muscle and lose fat at the same time, most WILL NOT. The fact is, there are no magic pills, powders, foods or exercises that will allow you to gain muscle and lose fat at the same time. It all is determined by your genetics and metabolism. If you are naturally thin and have a difficult time gaining weight of any kind, it would be silly of you to think that you will be able to gain muscle while trying to keep your body fat low.
Most skinny guys want to gain more muscle, but are afraid of gaining body fat. They see all the bodybuilder photos and read the stories about people gaining pounds of muscle while losing pounds of fat -- They want to do the same.
When looking at these photos, you have to remember that most of these people do not have your body type. The majority of them are overweight and want to lose fat. So their training is focused on losing fat. If you went on a fat loss diet, you would lose fat, but not gain much muscle. The low calorie diet combined with your fast metabolism will give you very little muscle gain and possibly some muscle loss.
For maximum results, you either have to train and diet to gain muscle or lose fat. One or the other. The most effective way for hardgainers to build a large amount of muscle mass quickly is to focus on gaining the weight first, then later on, go on a short-term fat loss diet to lower your body fat levels.
I also had to stop training so often, and understand that for hardgainers, "less is more". Some people still believe that the more you train the bigger you will get. If that were true, all I would have to do is workout 8 hours a everyday, and I would be huge! Unfortunately, it's not true, it doesn't work that way. You do not get bigger while working out.
Your muscles do NOT grow in the gym; they only grow when you are resting!
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Weight training is needed only to stimulate growth. After that, your body needs rest and food to build the muscle. Hardgainers, of course, need more rest and food than others.
That took me a long time to understand. Working out too often does not allow your muscles the necessary time to recuperate. Not only will you not grow, but you will also be setting yourself up for chronic injuries from over training, and possible muscle loss.
Improper diet and over training are two reasons why most people never get beyond an average physique. I see guys at the gym that workout 5-6 days per week for 2 hours or more each day - but they always look the same. They have the right motivation, but the wrong information. In other words, they're wasting their time, effort and money doing the wrong things.
The Best Kept Secret of Success
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The final item that helped me achieve these incredible results was consistency. I followed my plan consistently day in and day out without fail. I did not skip workouts or meals. If you cannot do this, then forget about getting incredible results. Working out, and dieting on an inconsistent basis will not bring a significant increase in size. I know this because that's what I had been doing most of my life.
Do it right or don't do it at all! To be successful in anything, you must commit yourself and follow through. It is that simple. Once I became consistent, results came quickly.
I began to see results in less than 3 weeks!
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Using these simple concepts, I created a training program that I believed would work for me, and it did!! Finally, I began to gain weight. After years of wasted effort, I began to see amazing results in less than 3 weeks! I began to gain weight so quickly that I reached my goal of 170 lbs. in only 10 weeks, and I have to say that I was extremely happy with this ("happy" is an understatement!).
Unfortunately, I also gained more body fat than I would have liked. Even though I knew from the beginning that I would gain some body fat, it still bothered me. It is impossible for someone who does not use steroids to gain so much weight without gaining some fat along with the muscle.
So, for the last two weeks of my 12 week program I decided to change my diet and workout routine. I wanted to lose my excess fat, while retaining as much muscle mass as possible. This was fine, because I had also been doing a lot of reading and research on the best ways to lose body fat. This would give me a chance to test some of that information. Two weeks later I weighed 167 lbs. and ended up cutting my body fat from its high of 11% down to 7%! Though I managed to reduce my body fat substantially, I still felt too "smooth". So, I decided to make a few alterations to the fat loss program and continue fat loss dieting for four more weeks. I was slowly beginning to lose the excess fat.
Hassan Hanif Madni
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