One of the hardestnutrition programs to put together is a mass-gaining plan for the formerly fat guy or the person who continually wrestles with bodyfat. The problem: whenever the individual’s mass gains start to kick in, lo and behold, he starts to balloon up and add too much bodyfat. It’s a never-ending struggle and exercise in frustration.
So just how do I put together a mass-gaining plan that promises mass without the unwanted blubber? It requires three carefully honed steps.
The first step is divided into two separate menus: one to be followed on training days and another to be followed on rest days. This takes into consideration the fact that the person who struggles to add clean, blubberless mass has to eat less — fewer carbohydrates and calories — on days he is not training or he’ll add too much bodyfat. On training days, I’ll set the bar at 2 grams of carbs per pound of bodyweight along with 1 g of protein per pound of bodyweight divided over five or six meals. Therefore, a 200-pounder would eat 400 g of carbs with 200 g of protein. On rest days, I’ll lower the carb amount down to 1 g of carbs per pound of bodyweight. That means he’d switch to 200 g of protein and 200 g of carbs.
Follow step 1 for three weeks.
Step 2 calls for an increase in both carbs and protein — to 2.5 g of carbs per pound of bodyweight and 1.2 g of protein per pound. The aforementioned 200-pound man will move up to 500 g of carbs and 240 g of protein. However, too many carbs can quickly ramp up fat storage, so a bodybuilder may have to incrementally move up to that level by increasing his carb intake on two of every five training days for the first four weeks. In other words, if he trains five times a week, he would simply increase the carbs and protein to the prescribed level twice in those 5 days.
On the other three training days, daily carb consumption would remain at 400 g outlined in step 1 (2 g of carbs per pound of bodyweight). On the off-training day, he would continue to keep carbs relatively low at 1 g per pound of bodyweight. Protein consumption in step 2 is kept at 1.2 g daily. After four to six weeks, it’s 2.5 g of carbs per pound of bodyweight on all five training days, remaining at this level of carbs for two to three weeks straight.
Step 3 is readjustment time. By the end of the third consecutive week of a steady carb intake of 500 g a day, it’s time to drop the carb intake. The reason: when muscles remain saturated with carbs for an extended period of time, the body becomes extremely efficient at storing bodyfat.
Therefore, I always suggest lowering carbs, to deplete the muscles of excess carbs. This helps reverse potent fat-storing mechanisms associated with a continual higher carb intake. When carbs come down, the body also starts to burn some fat — especially if the carb intake had been relatively high for a few weeks. During this carb downsizing, it’s important to adjust the protein intake portion of the diet.
Carbs can make you fat, but when they are consumed in higher amounts for an extended period of time, they also support muscle growth. When you reverse gears and lower your carb intake, your body often finds it a challenge to retain muscle mass. That’s where extra protein comes in. I suggest dropping carb intake down to 1 g per pound of bodyweight on training days and only .5 g on nontraining days. At the same time, increase daily protein intake to 1.5 g per pound of bodyweight on training days and 2 g on nontraining days. That is 200 g of carbs on training days along with 300 g of protein, and 100 g of carbs on nontraining days along with 400 g of protein. After 14 days, return to step 1 and rerun the entire process. FLEX