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Mass Gain Diet & Training Tips


Have distinct goals-
both short term (2-4 weeks) and long term (3 months-year). This helps keep your training and diet focused, and something to aim for. 
Write up a plan- writing a detailed plan of what you need to do to achieve your goals helps you identify precisely what you need to do, sacrifices you'll have to make, etc. Failing to plan is like planning to fail.
Keep motivated- keep inspirational pictures in places you see them regularly for motivation, dream of your ideal physique, take pictures so you can see improvements.
Get lots of rest- sleep is when you grow the most, get plenty to allow complete recuperation.
Don't train sore muscles- Never train a muscle that isn't fully recovered, could take anywhere from 2-10 days. The longer you wait, the stronger you'll be, and the less likely you'll overtrain.
Keep workouts short- This prevents testosterone levels from dropping, keeps you from getting bored, running out of energy, and risk of overtraining.
Avoid lockout- on pretty much all exercises, don't let your joints 'lock out'. This keeps the muscle under constant tension and lessens the risk of injury.
Don't forget to stretch- stretch a bit after warming up, stretch a little between sets, stretch a lot after working a muscle. It improves blood flow for quicker removal of lactic acid, and encourages growth. See my stretching page for more info.
Use a full range of motion- partial reps may be OK ( though I don't see much material on these ), but accompany them with sets of full reps to prevent muscle imbalances.
Forced reps and eccentric failure- shouldn't be practiced to often, as this puts some serious strain on your muscular and nervous systems, and can quickly lead to burnout. They are a great way to activate more muscle fiber, but allow more time between workouts for full recovery.
Keep the 'pump' localized- when working several muscles, try to work muscles in the same area, since the blood is already there.
Don't neglect basic exercises- these compound exercises: squat, deadlift, bench press, chin-ups, etc. are great for building mass and power, and help keep workouts short.
Use strict form- poor form can lead to injuries which can set your training back weeks or even months. Use a weight that lets you use good form. Perform each repetition slow and deliberately. Momentum may help you lift more weight, but it won't help you build more muscle.
Use free weights- free weights are better at preventing muscle imbalances, especially when stabilizer muscles are concerned. You can use machines too, just not exclusively.
Do cardio sparingly- if mass gain is your true goal, then limit the amount of cardio. Also be weary of doing more than 30 minutes, because the body begins to break down muscle protein for energy.
Adjust diet for growth- This means more protein (1g/lb), more often, and plenty of calories to give you energy from your workouts, and nutrients needed for muscle repair.
Take foundation supplements- these are supplements necessary for survival, and when you train with weights, you tend to need more than if not. They include vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids (flax oil).
Consume carbs+protein after workouts- Consuming a shake or sport drink after your workout replenishes muscle glycogen, and releases insulin which halts catabolic processes.
Don't eat less than 1hr before workouts- eating too close to a workout will direct blood to the gut for digestion, and cause insulin release, both impeding performance.
Consistency- commit yourself, do it regularly, have patience, and success will surely be yours, if not, evaluate your program, try and figure out what's missing, and maybe send me an email!
Periodization- if you keep doing the exact same program, your body will adapt, and stop growing. Every 2-8 weeks, change your program considerably, i.e. switch from 6-8 reps to 10-15, 5 sets to 2 sets, slow reps to fast reps, 4 workouts/week to 2 workouts/week. Don't be afraid to take a full week off for full recovery every 2 months.
Be courteous- you have something in common with everyone in the gym, so be kind, let people work in with you, put your weights away, etc. It makes the whole thing I nicer experience.

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