10 Tips To Increase Muscle Size by Chris Aceto
Published in Flex Magazine
November 1997 issue
To contact Chris Aceto:
P.O. Box 557
Old Orchard Beach, Maine 04064
Muscle mass is the straw that stirs the drink in the sport of bodybuilding, it is the defining element of a physique. The mass building equation has three components:
- - Hardcore training
- - High tech supplementation
10 tips to jump start anabolism and create a positive nitrogen balance to increase muscle mass, you need to take in more nitrogen via protein and training than you excrete through the natural metabolic process.
1. Emphasize the Negative
Muscle growth is the byproduct of muscle contraction. Much emphasis is placed on the concentric phase of a lift where the muscle shortens as it contracts. But the stretching of the muscle during the eccentric, or negative, phase where the muscle lengthens while maintaining tension can directly cause muscle hypertrophy. Emphasizing the negative is an easy technique to overload muscles and promote radical gains in mass.
2. Eat Fish
Fish containing higher amounts of fat - salmon, for instance, provide us with popular omega-3 fatty acids. The omega-3s make the muscle more sensitive to insulin; hence, they fuel glycogen storage and amino acid entry into muscles while also preserving glutamine stores.
3. Increase Sodium Intake
I'm not kidding. Sodium is an essential mineral that is an absolute must for muscle growth. Sodium has a bad rap because it can cause water retention. On the plus side, sodium enhances carbohydrate storage and amino acid absorption while also improving the muscle's responsiveness to insulin.
4. Stop All Aerobics
Aerobic exercise has a detrimental effect on mass building. Aerobics interfere with strength gains and recovery while burning up valuable glycogen and branched chain amino acids (BCAC). Adding mass is the best way to upgrade your resting metabolic rate (RMR), when the RMR is elevated, more calories are burned and it is easier to stay lean.
5. Lift Explosively
The amount of force a muscle generates is proportional to the amount of muscle growth you'll be able to create. Force is defined as mass (the weight you use) multiplied by acceleration (the speed at which you push a weight against resistance). To generate more force, progressively increase your pounds while lifting explosively.
6. Dramatically increase your calories for three days
You will never achieve a positive nitrogen balance with a low- calorie diet. It takes raw materials - carbs, protein and fats - to build new muscle mass and support recovery. Increasing your calories by 50% (from 2,000 to 3,000 per day, for instance) for three days can spur growth while adding little if any bodyfat. The key is to limit the increased calories to a designated three-day period; you'll be able to stimulate growth by improving muscle sensitivity to insulin and by providing more carbs for glycogen storage. After that time, return to your typical intake of daily calories; you'll have stimulated new growth without adding unwanted fat.
Many bodybuilders are unable to pack on mass because they are always training and, therefore, always recovering from those grueling workouts. Taking a couple of days off can restore glycogen, increase anabolism and allow hormonal indexes such as testosterone and cortisol to return to optimal levels.
8. Eat in the Middle of the Night.
Anabolism depends on an excess of calories. As you are well aware, bodybuilders eat four to six times per day to increase the absorption of nutrients and to provide a steady influx of carbs, protein and fat. Expanding on the four to six meals per day plan is to include a protein drink in the middle of the night that can encourage additional growth.
9. Increase Strength Through Powerlifting.
Your muscles respond to training in three ways. When you train with high reps (more than 15), there is an increase in endurance with no substantive improvement in size or strength. The six to twelve rep range promotes an increase in both size and strength. Powerlifters generally stay with low reps, two to four per set, which supplements strength with slight variances in size. Here's the formula: More strength equals more tension on the muscle equals more growth.
10. Supplement with the Big Three: Glutamine, Creatine and BCAA
Glutamine is known as the immunity amino. If you are overly stressed from dieting or training, the immune system kicks in, releasing glutamine into the bloodstream. Having low levels of glutamine will inhibit muscle growth - that's why supplementing with glutamine is important.