Training for mass can be a daunting task if you don’t do it right. Training day in and day out and seeing little results can be frustrating and cause some people to rain even harder. As you will see, this may very well be the problem in the first place.
When you exercise you create soft tissue damage to mainly your muscles and tendons/ligaments. In order to repair this damage and to replenish the glycogen stores (your energy supply) your body needs the building blocks to do its job: carbohydrates, protein (that supply amino acids) and fats. Eating every 2-3 hours is ideal to give your system a consistent supply of nutrients the entire day. A lack of supplies can lead to a “starvation” mechanism taking over and your body starts storing energy in fear that it will not have enough later on and to start eating your muscle tissue to feed itself properly.
Doing a lot of isolation exercises will not give you big gains very quickly because they are inefficient moves. Doing compound movements that work several muscle groups will help make your workout efficient over fewer sets. Squats, bench press, and deadlifts are three of the best exercises to use when training for mass. If you are using isolation exercises, do them last once your muscles are already partially fatigued from the compound lifts.
Less is More
This relates to the previous section. Keep your workouts to a maximum of 30 sets and preferably less. Training too much in a day can lead to excessive fatigue and overtraining. This will prevent your muscles from growing during recovery time.
Muscles grow during recovery time not while you exercise. Without proper recovery, your muscles will not be fully recovered for the next workout session. Training more than 2 days in a row can result in fatigue both physically and mentally. Your muscles and your nervous system need a break to recuperate.
Post Workout Drink
Research has proven that eating immediately after exercise will boost your insulin levels and increase muscle protein synthesis for faster recovery. Waiting more than 45 minutes can be disastrous to muscle recovery. The sooner you supply nutrients the better. Most experts suggest eating again 1-2 hours afterwards as well. Muscle will peak in development 24 hours after your exercise session so eat well the next day too.
Take a Break
One of the best things you can do is to take a break from intense workouts for a week every 4-6 weeks. I find that I get better results when I also change my workouts at the point in time as well. Different exercises or routines can promote new muscles growth from hitting the muscles from different angles and methods.