How to Gain Lean Muscle

Posted: March 21, 2014 in fitness
Tags: , , , ,

I recently re-read this fantastic article by Tom Venuto where he breaks the quest for added mass into 3 parts: Calories, Macronutrients and Training.

I found it interesting that he split up calories from macronutrients where most (including myself) would lump them together under “diet”.

I like that he sticks to the basic philosophy of a moderate caloric surplus with a 55/30/15 (carb/protein/fat) macronutrient split complemented with a hypertrophy-based progressive overload training routine that centers around compound movements (as per Tom: “Out of all these basic mass building exercises, no exercise is better for packing on pounds of quality muscle than the squat.”).

Regarding calories he even suggests the following: “The secret to gaining lean bodyweight is calories. Most people who want to gain weight and are having a difficult time doing so just aren’t eating enough.”

I think Tom has hit the nail on the head here. Speaking from experience, especially as someone who has dieted extensively in the past, it is a challenge to get eat as much as is needed for noticeable gains. And what happens with a lot of people is they resort to eating junk to fill in the caloric gaps. That becomes problematic because instead of using the calories to build muscle your body has to digest and remove waste, and you tend to add weight as fat.

My friend and mentor Rob Regish figured this out. He created the massively popular program “The Blueprint” which was an extremely innovative way to utilize nutrients. He realized that by limiting your food initially you create both a hormonal response as well as setting you on the right path from a psychological standpoint as well.

Personally I’ve found that the only way I can hit my needed calories in a surplus is to follow a pre-designed diet, which can be as simple as an excel table. But even that becomes a challenge after a while. Within a week of following a diet like this I found myself actually dreading eating if you can believe it.

So this is where having clearly defined goals comes in, and I’ve found that re-writing my goal every morning was the best way to accomplish this. If you as me, THIS is the “secret” to gaining muscle.

It’s just about diet season for me, but I’m actually excited by all of this and may even head into a third gaining phase when I’ve sorted out an injury I’ll be posting about shortly. Stay tuned 🙂

Keeping Lean in a Caloric Surplus

Isolating Compound Movements

SuperHero Physique
superhero_physique by Shawn Buffington

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