By: Matt Weik
How many different muscle-building or bodybuilding workouts (bro splits) have you tried only to find yourself frustrated and ready to break the gym mirror? Week in and week out, you feel like you've busted your tail in the gym only to see minimal, if any, changes to your physique. What are you doing wrong? By making a few tweaks and changing your focus over to two specific concepts, you'll be able to make better gains and see some massive muscle growth.
What are these two things you should put your focus on? Food (putting yourself into a caloric surplus) and progressive overload. Let's unpack these focal points so you can start applying these principles and finally start getting the results you desire.
It's no secret or shocker that you need to eat in order to achieve massive muscle growth. The problem arises when people THINK they are consuming enough calories or, on the flip side, don't THINK they are consuming enough, which one will not help you progress while the other could cause you to add body fat instead of quality lean muscle. It's a fine line, and if you don't know your numbers, it could cause you to pull your hair out (or pull out bigger pants).
The first thing you need to understand is your maintenance calories. Let's say they are 2,000. If you wanted to maintain your weight, 2,000 calories per day would do it. Anything more you would theoretically gain weight, and anything less would have you lose weight. In essence, you put yourself in a caloric surplus or deficit. To put on massive muscle growth, you're going to want to be in a surplus – but not too high.
How high should you take your calories? The answer is very individualized as each person responds differently to a caloric surplus. Some will put on muscle fairly easily, while the same increase with others could cause their body fat levels to start rising. That's why there are no size-size-fits-all nutrition plans out there.
Some people say to increase slowly by starting at 250 calories per day, which could help you put on around 0.5 pounds per week (your daily caloric intake would bump up to 2,250 calories). If they don't see results, they can then add an additional 250 calories, which bumps the total surplus up to 500 calories over the maintenance level.
Another method that some have success with is when they increase their calories by 20% from their maintenance. A 20% increase from a 2,000-calorie maintenance would take the total calories up to 2,400.
Which method is best? There's no definitive answer to the question since it's based on the individual and how they respond. Therefore, you may want to try both. Start with a 250-calorie increase and check your weekly progress. Re-evaluate at the end of the week and if you don't see any progress, try the 20% model.
The take-home message from this principle is to put yourself into a caloric surplus. However, there's a caveat. Here's the part where most people fail. How do you know you're in a caloric surplus? Most people give it the old "eyeball it" approach with food portions, which rarely ever works. You need a means of tracking your nutrition, so you know your numbers. You don't know what you don't know, and "guesstimation" is not a good strategy.
A recommendation would be to utilize something like MyFitnessPal. All you need to do is download the app onto your smartphone (it's free) and input your information to get set up and started. From there, all you need to do is take a second before each meal to enter the foods and amounts you're going to eat. This will keep a running tally all day long that you can reference, so you know how many calories you have left as well as a breakdown of the macros.
Something else you can look at is your macronutrient ratios. Most will tell you to consume 1g of protein per pound of body weight, 20% of your calories coming from fat, and then fill in the rest of your calories with carbohydrates. With so many different methods of altering and manipulating your macronutrients, you simply need to play with them or hire a professional such as a nutritionist who can oversee your nutrition plan and help make tweaks. Nailing your nutrition is key so that you can see massive muscle growth from your efforts in the gym.
This transitions us nicely into our second concept you need to focus on to see massive muscle growth – progressive overload.
To achieve massive muscle growth, you're going to need to apply a progressive overload technique to your training and workouts. What exactly does this mean? It means you're going to constantly want to push your muscles past previous thresholds. For instance, if you were benching 225 for 10, the next time, push for more reps or increase the weight slightly and strive to hit 10 reps at the increased weight.
The key is to stimulate the muscle and effectively break down the muscle fibers to force massive muscle growth. However, this can't be accomplished without implementing what we spoke about above regarding putting yourself into a caloric surplus.
There are many ways you can utilize progressive overload in your workouts:
You're going to want to push your body to the limit each time you work out and force your muscle fibers to break down and then repair to help see massive muscle growth. Through a progressive overload methodology, you're going to call in and recruit more muscle fibers to help finish a rep or set.
If you walk into the gym and simply go through the motions, you're not going to notice hardly any muscle growth, if any at all. Your body adapts quickly to the stimulus you put it under, and if you don't take things to the next level, your muscles are basically yawning while you work out. Push yourself!
After you crushed a workout and pushed your body to new limits, it's time to rest and recover. Feed the muscles by providing them with the nutrients needed to achieve massive muscle growth (as mentioned earlier). Follow up your workouts with a post-workout shake consisting of a quality protein source and carbohydrates.
In addition, make sleep a priority. You should be getting a minimum of seven hours of sleep each night. This will allow your body ample time to rest and recover so you can see some massive muscle growth.
Remember, the gym is where you break down the muscles… proper rest and nutrition helps build them. Combine them all, and you'll set yourself up for success.
If you want to build some serious size onto your frame, you need to increase your protein intake. If you want a quick, simple, and delicious way to do that, look no further than MPA IsoSolve. This 100% cold-filtered whey isolate is slammed with 25g of protein per serving, 120 calories, less than 1g of fat, 2g of carbohydrates, and 0g of sugar.
With the lactose removed, those who are sensitive and are lactose intolerant may be able to utilize this whey isolate without any digestive issues. That said, MPA IsoSolve comes in a mouth-watering graham cracker pie crust flavor that will have you craving your next protein shake.
Use it post-workout or whenever you need to take in more protein to achieve your daily protein requirements. MPA IsoSolve protein powder creates a milkshake-like consistency that is thick and creamy – sure to satisfy your sweet tooth and cravings.