If you are seriously involved with weight training, bodybuilding, or any athletic endeavor involving muscle mass and strength, then you surely have pondered the question “How do I gain the most size in the least amount of time?”
The first and most commonly practiced approach is to “bulk up“ by eating any and everything you can get your hands on, with, of course, a priority on protein. But dietary fat and carbohydrate control? Forget about it! This approach could be extremely effective for an ectomorph somatotype with a blazing metabolism and forgiving insulin sensitivity. However, for the mesomorph and especially, the endomorph somatotype, this method could be a complete detriment to their goals.
The second protocol for size would be a slow and gradual approach involving “dieting” all year long, staying lean, and in a single-digit body-fat range. This involves crunching caloric values, macronutrient values, and constant manipulation to your nutrition and training regimen. Usually the folks who can’t stand losing their abdominal muscles and sharp facial features utilize this approach, which is effective, but will not truly maximize their muscle mass potential.
When making the switch to the “conditioning phase” or muscle growth period, the trainee would begin weight training again, meaning four to six times a week. Begin consuming copious amounts of protein, complex carbohydrates, and essential fatty acids to induce anabolism. Begin a supplementation plan and regimented sleep schedule to ensure recovery is optimized. This method should allow a person to do the “impossible” and gain muscle and lose fat simultaneously if the nutrition is strict with smart food choices, training is brutally intense, and no deviations manifest. Of course, you will be gaining back lost size from the layoff, but often times you will supersede your previous size with a lower body-fat percentage.
This sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? Well…it’s not quite that easy. The key to making this protocol work for you is having substantial muscle mass from previous “bulking phases,” where you have already been through the rigors of excessive, gluttonous eating, and performed basic, heavy exercises to have put on solid size, setting the stage for your physical foundation of muscle mass. After reaching ultimate size, you can implement the unorthodox protocol of deconditioning and shrinking in size, then flling back out with lean muscle mass gains.
Every individual will differ in how they respond to each method of gaining muscle mass. Listen to your body, and keep records of how each approach works. If you get blood work done and can ensure your health is not in danger, forcing extreme caloric intake is probably the fastest way to accrue appreciable muscle mass. – FLEX