- Try to drink one to two gallons of water per day.
- Every morning with breakfast, take a multivitamin; 1,000–2,000 mg vitamin C, 400 international units vitamin E.
- An hour before bed, take a zinc/magnesium/vitamin B6 (ZMA) supplement.
- This plan was created with a wide variety of foods to keep you interested in sticking with the diet. If you’d rather eat the same foods at every meal for simplicity’s sake, you can — if you stray from the above samples, just make sure your meals equal the same amounts of proteins, carbohydrates and fats as set up within them.
- Follow the plan as outlined Monday through Saturday. On Sundays, eat the same breakfast as listed in the charts. Throughout the rest of the day, eat three meals spaced four hours apart, which can be anything you want, with one caveat: don’t go overboard! If you have pizza, don’t eat the whole pie — two slices will do. If you want ice cream, have a sundae instead of a banana split with the works. For your last meal on Sunday, have a cup of cottage cheese or a scoop of casein right before bed.
- Although this nutritional program will set you well on your way to reaching your goal, an overhaul of your current workout program may be needed. Try these tips.
- Build your workouts around basic mass-builders such as bench presses, close-grip presses, squats, military presses, rowing movements, stiff-leg deadlifts and barbell curls. Using these elementary movements with heavy weights, keeping reps around eight to 10 per set, will allow you to add size to your body while staying lean.
- Use good form and a controlled, full range of motion.
- Give yourself plenty of rest between sets. A good rule of thumb in this case is to begin your next set when you feel the burn from the last set dissipate from your muscle. Usually, two minutes should suffice.
- Work on improving your sleeping habits. Sleep is imperative to promote muscle growth and the healing process of muscle breakdown. ZMA can help you sleep better and recover more completely.
- Take plenty of time off between training muscle groups. A four-days-on, one-day-off, or even a three-days-on, two-days-off training split will allow plenty of time for muscle rest and repair.
ADAPTING THE PROGRAM FOR YOU
Determine your bodytype. Science has observed three primary somatotypes, or varieties, of the human physique: ectomorph, mesomorph and endomorph. Knowing which category you generally fall into will help you determine your metabolic makeup.
An ectomorph is usually a hardgainer — an individual of slight build and skeletal structure, possessing a very quick metabolism. An ectomorph carries little bodyfat coupled with a slight amount of muscle, and finds gaining weight difficult.
A mesomorph is usually the most athletic bodytype, possessing a naturally well-developed, muscular build. This person can radically alter his or her physique, gaining muscle or losing weight quickly with the help of a moderate-to-fast metabolism. This type is ideal for quickly building lean muscle mass.
An endomorph has a preponderance of bodyfat. This individual also has a characteristically slow metabolism, which, on a good note, leads to quickly adding muscle. The downside is a higher chance of acquiring more bodyfat while adding that muscle.
Some people might fall neatly into one of these three categories, but most individuals are a cross between two categories (such as an ecto-mesomorph or an endo-mesomorph). Honestly assess yourself and make the appropriate adjustments; if you don’t take this crucial step, the diet as it appears will not work optimally. The program as outlined, including the changes made from week to week, is based on an ecto-mesomorph bodytype. Here’s how to adapt it to your own bodytype.
If You’re an Ectomorph Increase your protein an extra 10-20 grams at each meal. In addition, your carb and fat intake will need to be much higher. Start off with 20-30 g of carbs per meal. Fats can be increased to approximately 15 g per meal.
Monitor your physique changes closely when radically altering your program. If these amounts turn out to be too much, back down to an amount at which you’re still making gains while remaining somewhat lean.
The primary concern for this particular bodytype is to stay on a strict eating schedule — every 2 1⁄2-3 hours. Not staying on a rigid eating schedule and missing meals is the root of ectomorph weight-gain problems.
If You’re an Endomorph You’ll need to monitor your diet more strictly. If your weight falls in the range of 150-200 pounds, your protein levels should stay the same each meal. Carbohydrates will need to be lowered to 10-30 g per meal, and fats should stay under 6 g per meal. This particular bodytype will need to stay on the base diet for at least three weeks before indulging in free days.
If You’re Already Heavier than 150 Pounds or If You’re a Mesomorph Although the sample program has a 150-pound male in mind, the diet may also be adapted for a larger person. If you’re in the 200-250-pound range, the foods within the base diet will remain the same, although the amounts of protein, carbs and fats will increase. For example, your protein intake should go up by about 10-20 g per meal; carbohydrates, depending on your bodytype, can go up by about 10-20 g per meal for endomorphs and by about 20-30 g for ectomorphs and mesomorphs; fats should range around 9-15 g per meal.
ADJUSTMENTS TO THE BASE DIET
Weeks 1–2 Adhere to the base diet for the first two weeks of the program (with alterations based on your bodytype; see “Adapting the Program for You”). During this time, keep track of what changes your body goes through: Are you gaining weight or losing weight? Are you looking leaner or softer? Also jot down how you feel between meals: Are you still full when it’s time for your next meal, or are you hungry long before that point? This information will help you manipulate the diet in the following weeks.
Weeks 3–5 For the last three weeks, tweak the base diet, depending on how you’re progressing. Changes to this program will vary for everyone — alterations should be made to suit your specific bodytype needs. Here are some situational examples.
If you’re quickly losing weight during weeks 1 and 2, and you’re extremely hungry more than 30 minutes before your next meal, increase your protein and carb intake, either with bigger portions of foods or by adding a protein and/or a carb food to some meals.
If you’re rapidly gaining weight and beginning to notice a softer appearance to your musculature, cut out some carbs while maintaining the same amounts of protein. Do this by reducing portion sizes of carb-rich foods, and/or cutting carbs from one or two meals per day. Reduce slowly — not drastically — and stop when your fast weight gain levels off.
If you’re making steady progress, implement the following changes to the base diet (these changes do not carry over week to week).
Week 3: Add 30-40 grams of carbs to meals 1, 2 and 3.
Week 4: Add 10-15 g of protein at meals 1-5. Also increase your carbs by 20 g in meals 1-4. Follow these changes on Monday through Thursday; follow the regular base diet on Friday and Saturday.
Week 5: Increase the carbs in meals 1-4 by 20-30 g. FLEX