So you've finally made it to the gym, and you're perfectly executing Physique By Sharad's step-by-step workout program.
But there's one problem; it's been a month and you haven't gained any muscle mass. All that hard work and motivation in the gym and your body still resembles a twig.
So what do you do: Blame the program? Go harder with your workouts? Grab the creatine? Or blame it on your genetics and give up? If you're experiencing this issue then welcome to the club, but don't feel ashamed, you are in the company of those who don't realize just how much they are undereating (aka eating at a deficit).
But what do you mean? "I eat 5 meals per day full of protein, healthy carbs, and healthy fats! What more do you expect from me!" I'm here to tell you that if you haven't correctly calculated your calorie limits, then get used to that frail frame because it's not going anywhere anytime soon.
"So if those five "large" meals I ate each day weren't enough, what is it going to take?" My question to you is, How large is "large"?
Are you eating a carton of eggs along with a whole grain bagel spread with peanut butter and a side of steel-cut oats for breakfast, lunches that consist of 1 pound of lean ground turkey along with a large bowl of mixed vegetables, and dinners consisting of two to three hundred grams of pasta and lean ground beef or chicken alongside two sweet potatoes and a large spring salad?
If your eyes are popping out of your head due to the amount of food I just described, it's very likely that you are eating at a calorie deficit. If you want to pack on some pounds, you're going to have to go above and beyond the norm regarding your food intake.
If you really want to bulk up, you will have to eat like an Olympic trainer and monitor your progress like an analyst. It's easy to jump online and see the all too common weight gain remedies like "Eat 20-25 calories per pound of bodyweight".
Although that may sound viable, this does not consider your daily activities and training routines which both cause you to burn calories. Simply adding your RMR (resting metabolic rate) into play can result in a calorie deficit,
To obtain your true calorie consumption calculations, you will need to calculate your RMR and your TDEE (total daily energy expenditure taking exercise into account). Once your daily caloric needs have been calculated you can now add a surplus to develop your calorie intake goal (we recommend starting with a daily surplus of 300 calories).
Once your goal is set you will need to monitor it and make adjustments along the way. A great way to monitor your progress that we learned from John Berardi and Michael Mejias' book From Scrawny to Brawny, is to evaluate your progress on a two-week basis.
At the two-week mark, you will check your body weight and body fat measurements to see if you have reached your goal. If you have you will continue with your current plan; however, if you haven't then you will need to make a gradual increase to your food intake.
We suggest increasing the intake by 250 calories, for starters. After making the adjustment you will go another two weeks and again evaluate your progress.
After evaluating your body weight and body fat measurements check to see if you've reached your goals. If you have you will continue the plan and if you haven't you will increase your food intake by another 250 calories. Continue using this process until you've hit your target.
Once you're on track with your body weight and body fat goals, you will then need to time your calorie intake so that you can not only maximize your performance in the gym but maximize your body's recovery as well. Our ebook How to Eat to Optimize Your Fitness Performance will help you do just that.
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Please leave your questions and comments below letting us know what's on your mind and how we can help you go from skinny to plenty!