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CHAPTER 7 - EAT TO GROW - HIGH CALORIE, MASS DIET
I have some bad news for some of us. Muscle doesn't come from the void and just appear on our bodies out of nowhere! Even with our following all the HIT principles in our guide so far we are not going to get huge quickly if we're eating like rabbits. Calories, protein and frequent meals are the building blocks that our high intensity training and dedicated rest and recovery will carve a Herculean physique out of.
Keep these broad based mass building diet tips in mind and expect to have to buy a new larger wardrobe fast!
Raise Your Calories. Okay, first the obvious. When looking to put on mass, you need to boost your calorie intake. My suggestion is to start with an even 1000 extra calories a day. Does this sound like a lot? Well it may, but it works. In fact if you see your weight rising without putting on an excessive amount of body fat tag on another 500 calories a day the following week. Some of us can even go an extra 500 calories beyond this point.
Genetics and our eating habits all play a role here, so individual needs vary greatly in this area.
Eat Frequently. Splitting your calories up over six evenly spaced meals (while you are awake at least) provides the best meal schedule for mass building. Your body is kept constantly fed which boosts recovery. A welcome side effect in this eating schedule is that it actually works against fat building as long as your diet is relatively clean. Junk food makes you fat - not eating more frequently.
Protein is King. Your primary muscle builder is protein. A good target is 1.5 to 2 grams of protein per pound you weigh. Divide this between all six meals. Food protein is best, but a shake or two a day won't hurt and is certainly preferable than missing your target amount. When in doubt eat (or drink) more protein!
Consider Creatine. I've purposely avoided the minefield that is today's supplement industry, but there are two supplements for mass gain nearly every expert agrees works and works well. The first is creatine monohydrate. For about 85% of us (the other 15% can't digest it properly) creatine will help us build quick muscle and speed recovery. Take five grams a day with grape juice and food for best results.
Add Fish Oil When Bulking. My final supplement suggestion - add three to five grams of fish oil to your diet every day. Recent studies have shown a solid dose of fish oil not only works near miracles for reducing the amount of time you need to rest between training sessions, but also tremendously boosts a man's hormonal levels on par with some formerly legal pro-hormones and testosterone boosters. Fish oil is much safer than any of those types of things as well!
Final Tip: Eat (Relatively) Clean. A mass building phase is not the time to be cutting out all carbs or following excessively strict diet protocols beyond those you have already read here, but it isn't the time to overdose on fast food either. Eat clean six days a week focusing on lean proteins and moderate carbs and fats. Pick one day as your cheat day and eat as you please, within reason.
HIT means short and infrequent gym sessions. It doesn't mean you can ignore basic mass building diet discipline. Stay focused, pay attention to what's on your plate and watch yourself grow big time.
CHAPTER 8 - TO DO CARDIO OR NOT TO DO CARDIO?
Cardio and high intensity training. Believe it or not a somewhat controversial subject in HIT circles through the years. Both Art Jones and Mike Mentzer have spoken for and against it at various times. Current experts on HIT have given radically different views on the subject as well. So what follows is both a middle of the road approach to cardio as well as my own opinion based on personal experience and the experience of the many people I've trained with great results.
Ideas on Cardio and HIT
Pass on the Cardio if Already Lean. First things first. We are not endurance athletes we are body builders, for the most part, striving to put on quality lean muscle. What this means is that we need to focus on our primary goal of mass building and reject the ridiculous habits of mainstream body builders (most of whom only get truly big while on anabolics or if they possess seriously good genetic gifts!). One of these foolish habits is doing cardio while already lean and trying to bulk up. Not even professional body builders attempt to do this. I've found ten percent body fat a nice number to avoid any cardio at all while under, if getting bigger is a goal.
Do the Minimum Amount of Cardio Possible. If we do need to add cardio to our high intensity training sessions we need to do so in a way that doesn't drive us into over training. Six days of hour long step master cardio ala Muscle and Fitness programs will melt away our hard earned muscle. Rest days need to be free of high intensity cardio or else they aren't rest days. Remember adequate recovery is a pillar of getting the most out of HIT.
Do Your Cardio after your HIT. Higher intensity cardio, should you need or want it, before your HIT sessions is a bad idea that can make your training intensity suffer. Schedule your cardio after HIT or, better yet, follow the low impact "Dorian" / HIT cardio method in our next tip.
Follow the Example of Dorian Yates. Famously, Dorian Yates packed on a level of muscle unseen in body building in the 1990's following a full on HIT program. He also became lean enough to secure multiple Mr. Olympias. His cardio solution? Waking up a bit earlier in the morning and taking a brisk low impact walk four days a week before breakfast. When combined with HIT in the gym, a clean diet and fat burning supplementation this was more than enough to get Dorian ripped. Now we probably don't possess Dorian's one in a million genetics, but I've used the same plan and leaned out. So have the majority of my training clientele while following HIT. This is accomplished without losing any of our lean muscle, over training or shackling us to a treadmill at the gym. Try it and see what you think!