• Mass Building Mistakes



      by Charles Poliquin Iron Magazine

      Everybody loves lists and the fitness industry is no different, which is why articles like “6 Ways to Turn Calves into Cows!” and “12 Tips to Lose Your Belly!” are so popular.

      However, when it comes to packing on lean mass, it can be just as important—if not more—to know what NOT to do. Here are 13 mistakes many trainees make when trying to add lean body mass.

      1. Buying into bulking up.
      The old school practice of bulking-up in the offseason and then dieting down for contests (or the beach) is a waste of time. Ingesting more than the ideal amount of nutrients only leads to fat gain and greatly increases your risk of developing insulin resistance, which makes it harder in the long run to gain muscle or lose fat. (For more on that see point #12.)

      Not to mention the fatter you get, the more aromatase enzyme your body produces, meaning your testosterone will be converted into the hormone estrogen while also downgrading thyroid hormone production, which is essential for fat loss.

      Stop chasing a meaningless number on the scale and focus instead on practices that add lean, functional bodyweight.

      2. Performing too many isolation exercises
      Any resistance exercise can build muscle—some just do it far better than others. A large, muscular physique is built from squats, dips, chin-ups, and deadlifts—not triceps kickbacks and pec dec flyes. It has to do with what the German strength physiologists call the scale of motor unit recruitment.

      The more you stick to what we were genetically designed for (lifting rocks, carrying carcasses, and generally just fighting against gravity), the better off you are. Always use free weights in preference to machines.

      3. Burning too many calories outside the gym
      How you spend your time when you’re not working out matters. You won’t gain much muscle mass if you’re out at the clubs until the wee hours or if you play 4 hours of basketball on your “rest days.” Adjust your schedule and your hobbies to support your muscle building goals.

      4. Keeping the reps too low
      Heavy, low rep sets are great for teaching the nervous system to lift big loads but they’re not ideal for hypertrophy. To get stronger and bigger fast, alternate cycles of low reps (4-8) with cycles of moderate reps (9-12). Even occasionally doing a few high rep sets (20-50) can boost mass gains in muscles with a greater proportion of slow-twitch muscle fibers, like the quadriceps.

      Save the low rep, relative strength protocols for athletes in strict weight classes who need to get stronger but not necessarily heavier.

      5. Skipping the post-workout shake
      Post-workout shakes are a must for mass gaining. The rate of protein synthesis and possibly muscle growth can double when protein is consumed immediately after a workout. Furthermore, researchers at the University of Connecticut at Storrs found that a protein/carb shake also helps increase the number of testosterone receptors.

      Your post workout shake should contain 0.25 grams per pound of bodyweight of protein along with (for leaner athletes) one gram per pound of bodyweight of carbs.

      Glutamine can also be added to the shake to facilitate recovery and muscle glycogen resynthesis, along with glycine and greens to help lower post-workout cortisol.

      6. Failing to stay hydrated
      Water is very important for gaining mass as dehydration can lead to increased cortisol output and a host of other negative repercussions.

      As a rule you should drink 0.6 to 0.7 ounces of water for every pound of bodyweight. In other words, if you weigh 200 pounds, you should drink 120 to 140 ounces of water a day. An easy way to ensure that you’re drinking your quota is to measure your prescribed amount into containers for the day, every morning. By bedtime, all the containers should be empty.

      7. Drinking stimulating drinks all day
      Stimulants increase cortisol. This is a good thing if you’re on your way to the gym as it can help you lift more weight. Once the workout is over, however, no more coffee or caffeine containing drinks.

      8. Not getting enough sleep
      Lack of sleep can interfere with muscle mass gains. Sleep deprivation can lead to suppressed androgen and growth hormone levels, thereby robbing you of potential pounds on your frame.

      9. Not eating enough protein
      Most stereotypical “hard-gainers” fail to consume enough protein. A good general recommendation for putting on mass is to consume at least 1.5 grams of protein for every kilogram of bodyweight. A helpful rule is, if you don’t know how many grams of protein you eat in a day, it’s likely not enough.

      10. Not eating enough carbs
      Carbohydrates can be your best friend if you’re lean enough—they lower cortisol post workout, help restore muscle glycogen, and minimize protein breakdown. Your subscapularis and suprailliac body fat measurements will let you know if carbs are right for you, just remember—you have to earn your carbs!

      11. Not eating enough smart fat
      You need to eat fat to build muscle. Good fats support cellular health while aiding insulin sensitivity but the type of fat matters. Emphasize your intake of “smart” fats from omega-3s (fish oil, wild meat) and other healthy fats such as coconut oil, olive oil, nuts, and avocados.

      12. Not taking steps to improve insulin sensitivity
      Your ability to build muscle is directly correlated to your level of insulin sensitivity. A body that’s very insulin sensitive will partition carbohydrates preferentially into muscle cells, whereas one with poor insulin sensitivity will drive nutrients into fat cells.

      Strength training, a high protein diet, and choosing the right smart fats all increase insulin sensitivity, but other things that help include resveratrol, probiotics (improve glucose uptake and energy use), and carnitine (supports fat burning).

      13. Not maintaining an alkaline environment
      A low pH is linked with a loss of muscle mass, not to mention greater risk of diabetes, heart attack, osteoporosis, and cancer. The typical Western diet of processed foods, refined sugar, corn, sugar, gluten, alcohol, and soda lowers pH, but eating lots of green vegetables and high-antioxidant fruits helps restore alkalinity.

      If you find eating vegetables inconvenient, try green drinks to help you get alkaline. Drinking water with a higher pH works as well. You will recover faster, detoxify better, and feel more energized.


      Source: http://www.ironmagazine.com/2013/thi...ding-mistakes/
      Comments 29 Comments
      1. fueledpassion's Avatar
        fueledpassion -
        I have to agree with #7. This is one of my problems currently...
      1. lexmuscle's Avatar
        lexmuscle -
        Tell me how fruits boost your body's alkalinity? Fruits are acidic, no? I would think a teaspoon of baking soda would boost your body's alkalinity 10x higher than any fruit. A small amount of calcium hydroxide (pickling lime) should send it through the roof.
      1. Magdalena's Avatar
        Magdalena -
        Good read...
      1. Quatie's Avatar
        Quatie -
        You don't need a shake straight after the gym. You have about 8-12 hours to get your shake in. And what about doing 10x3 with short rest periods for size instead of high reps, high reps result in the weight being too light, you need to lift heavy and fast to recruit both fast and slow twitch muscle fibres for size and strength.
      1. Magdalena's Avatar
        Magdalena -
        ^^^ I disagree.. U do need some type of protein within a half hr post workout.. High reps work for women... To build lean mass... And if I lower my reps I'm twice as strong.. It's nice to switch it up..
      1. fueledpassion's Avatar
        fueledpassion -
        When you guys start approaching your genetic limitations you'll understand that mass isn't about lifting low rep heavy weight at all. It's about form, volume and intensity.

        Sorry to annoy people on here but 3 X 5's are not as intense as 3 X 20's. I'm also appalled at the notion that you guys think to lift higher rep ranges means to lift sssoooooo much lighter. Relative to what? I can squat 225 for almost 30 reps..does that make it light? I've done more growing in the trunk area of my legs than ever before when I moved exclusively over to higher rep ranges and more intensity. Leg muscles have lots of slow twitch fibers so its important to bang out the reps to see the real potential in your thighs. There are many ways to add volume without lowering the weight. Supersets, dropsets, giant sets, partials, pauses, and even using a number of these at the same time. I like to to pauses and partials with full range of motion and in some cases I'll use multiple gripping angles - usually starting with the most difficult first, then as I fatigue I switch to easier grip angles and keep going. I can do all of this in the 75% range of my 1RM.

        Another thing to be careful about is to think that you only need one or the other. You need BOTH. But from my experience, if you are further along in training, you'll need more volume than you will weight. You simply can do more work in any given period of time when you stick around the 60 - 80% of your 1RM. If I had a perfect cyclical schedule, I'd spend a 1/3 of my year training for strength and 2/3 training for volume and mass.

        Without that "pump", you just aint gonna grow beyong a certain point. You need to fill the muscle up with blood, stretch the heck out of the fascia, and tear the fibers to the max to grow continously.
      1. Ironwill42's Avatar
        Ironwill42 -
        I just lift.
      1. lexmuscle's Avatar
        lexmuscle -
        Originally Posted by Ironwill42 View Post
        I just lift.
        Congrats
      1. twiztid7's Avatar
        twiztid7 -
        Originally Posted by Magdalena View Post
        ^^^ I disagree.. U do need some type of protein within a half hr post workout..
        Good lawd do some research before you make blanket statements.
      1. Magdalena's Avatar
        Magdalena -
        What ever works I guess.. A 3 type protein blend post workout works, for some good gains.. That's just my opinion ;)
      1. fueledpassion's Avatar
        fueledpassion -
        Originally Posted by Magdalena View Post
        What ever works I guess.. A 3 type protein blend post workout works, for some good gains.. That's just my opinion ;)
        I'm a fan of Syntha-6. Stuff tastes great. Ever tried it?
      1. Magdalena's Avatar
        Magdalena -
        I love the French vanilla , chocolate cake batter , etc. ^^^^
      1. Magdalena's Avatar
        Magdalena -
        I'm a big fan of the dessert stuff too.. That chocolate coconut? Soo good..
      1. fueledpassion's Avatar
        fueledpassion -
        Originally Posted by Magdalena View Post
        I'm a big fan of the dessert stuff too.. That chocolate coconut? Soo good..
        Yeah they r all really good. I use the Lean Dessert ones in my pancakes. Like whoa.
      1. HardCore1's Avatar
        HardCore1 -
        Solid read!
      1. Quatie's Avatar
        Quatie -
        Originally Posted by Magdalena View Post
        ^^^ I disagree.. U do need some type of protein within a half hr post workout.. High reps work for women... To build lean mass... And if I lower my reps I'm twice as strong.. It's nice to switch it up..
        http://pocket.co/sksWx

        http://www.menshealth.com/nutrition/...rkout%20Shakes

        http://www.bornfitness.com/the-meal-timing-myth/

        http://www.niashanks.com/2012/06/8-r...trength-train/

        http://anabolicminds.com/forum/conte...ut-women-4008/

        http://bodybuilding.about.com/od/wom...womenmyths.htm

        http://www.nerdfitness.com/blog/2013...n-should-know/

        http://www.huffingtonpost.com/courtn...b_4003117.html

        There is no reason woman shouldn't train like a man. And we all know that size is related to strength so why lift light. And 225 is not light but is sure is light to you.
      1. Magdalena's Avatar
        Magdalena -
        Not conclusive enough for me.. ^^^.. With my diet n timing the shake ( with BCAA's and other add in's), is my second meal..and it just happens to b shortly after my workout... I'm not the only one that this works for... Anyway good luck on ur lean muscle mass building, it's what ever works for u...
      1. Quatie's Avatar
        Quatie -
        Originally Posted by fueledpassion View Post
        When you guys start approaching your genetic limitations you'll understand that mass isn't about lifting low rep heavy weight at all. It's about form, volume and intensity.

        Sorry to annoy people on here but 3 X 5's are not as intense as 3 X 20's. I'm also appalled at the notion that you guys think to lift higher rep ranges means to lift sssoooooo much lighter. Relative to what? I can squat 225 for almost 30 reps..does that make it light? I've done more growing in the trunk area of my legs than ever before when I moved exclusively over to higher rep ranges and more intensity. Leg muscles have lots of slow twitch fibers so its important to bang out the reps to see the real potential in your thighs. There are many ways to add volume without lowering the weight. Supersets, dropsets, giant sets, partials, pauses, and even using a number of these at the same time. I like to to pauses and partials with full range of motion and in some cases I'll use multiple gripping angles - usually starting with the most difficult first, then as I fatigue I switch to easier grip angles and keep going. I can do all of this in the 75% range of my 1RM.

        Another thing to be careful about is to think that you only need one or the other. You need BOTH. But from my experience, if you are further along in training, you'll need more volume than you will weight. You simply can do more work in any given period of time when you stick around the 60 - 80% of your 1RM. If I had a perfect cyclical schedule, I'd spend a 1/3 of my year training for strength and 2/3 training for volume and mass.

        Without that "pump", you just aint gonna grow beyong a certain point. You need to fill the muscle up with blood, stretch the heck out of the fascia, and tear the fibers to the max to grow continously.
        It depends what training you do to what type of muscle fibres you have. Most people have 50/50 fast and slow twitch muscle fibres (even in their legs). If you train with high reps you will be using mostly slow twitch fibres. Marathon runners have around 80% slow twitch whereas sprinters have around 70% fast twitch. So it depends on what type of training you do that dictates what muscle fibres you have. That is why I like to do 10x3 to train both fast and slow twitch.

        Read these...

        http://pocket.co/skjGg

        http://pocket.co/skbU8

        http://pocket.co/skYnL
      1. cumminslifter's Avatar
        cumminslifter -
        i lost it at #5
      1. fueledpassion's Avatar
        fueledpassion -
        Originally Posted by Quatie View Post
        It depends what training you do to what type of muscle fibres you have. Most people have 50/50 fast and slow twitch muscle fibres (even in their legs). If you train with high reps you will be using mostly slow twitch fibres. Marathon runners have around 80% slow twitch whereas sprinters have around 70% fast twitch. So it depends on what type of training you do that dictates what muscle fibres you have. That is why I like to do 10x3 to train both fast and slow twitch.

        Read these...

        http://pocket.co/skjGg

        http://pocket.co/skbU8

        http://pocket.co/skYnL
        Kinda like what the lady said to ya, whatever works for you.

        Slow twitch, fast twitch..to have a well-rounded look and development you need any and all of the different styles and ranges. But one thing I have experienced first hand is the need to lighten the weight, slow the rep down and squeeze the muscle for max contraction. I dont need to argue about what does and doesn't work man. I've studied all the science and the difference here is that I have also applied it too. Turns out, alot of crap you read about doesn't pan out in the gym.

        This might be because of the endless variables associated with the human genome and our environment, diet and social factors. Either way, I've tried the low rep ranges vs the higher ones and I personally know which works best for me. Been doin this religiously for 6 years. Haven't missed a single week since and I've progressed further than most in the gyms that I've trained at. The comforting thing is that I have a similar opinion as the biggest and baddest bodybuilders in the world. That makes me think I'm on the right track.

        Experience trumps text books. Not to say text books aren't valuable - they are, just not as much as we'd like them to be. And if I recall, my post didn't trash heavy lifting. You should do heavy lifting. I reserve the opinion that heavy lifting and powerlifting are appropriate for a season at a time and should play a moderate role in a much larger goal.

        And by the way, there is more than one way to recruit max muscle fibers. It doesn't have to be just super heavy weight. A simple pause and explosion can increase fiber recruitment without having to add a single pound.

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