So far, my goal has always to achieve a lean, fit and athletic build. Now, I'm going to set a goal of gaining more lean mass. Although I'm quite lean now, I'm not satisfied with my muscle mass and size. The narcissistic side of my wants to look more impressive
- Stay focused on my goal. This is crucial as every meal and workout is driven to achieve my goal, which is to gain more lean mass and minimize any fat gain, or even lose some fat in the process (desirable but not always achievable). I can be very indecisive at times, but now that I've decided on my new goal, I need to stay determined and focused on it.
- Lift hard and heavy 3-4 days per week. Naturally, I will need to crank up the intensity and change the program to fit my goal. I will basically be following the similar 4-day spilt program in the past and will need to monitor myself to avoid over-training or prevent any injuries, which I've experienced in the past that put a stop to my progress. I might change or tweak the routine as need to make sure I'm making progress and don't over-train or injure myself.
- Eat, eat and eat some more. Yes, I will need to eat more, but within reason and my meals should still consist mostly of clean foods, not stuffing myself with anything I can get my hands on. Wanting to gain muscle is not an excuse to loading up on junk/fast foods that are high is saturated/trans fat, sodium, sugar or processed carbs. Gaining muscle doesn't mean compromising your health, period! So, I'll still be closely monitoring my food intake based on my progress. I need to eat enough for growth and recovery from training. Besides, gaining 10 pounds of muscle along with 10 pounds of fat doesn't look nice at all. In fact, it'll only make you look worse! How many fat and bulky people do you see at the gym? I rest my case.
- Eat more protein. This is a no-brainer if you wanna gain lean mass, since protein is the primary building block for your body. This goes hand in hand with #3, as most of my extra caloric intake will come from increasing protein consumption. Of course, I don't wanna overdo it, since any protein that is unused will just be flushed out or stored as fat. I'll keep protein to about 1 gram per pound of body weight.
- Getting plenty of rest. I will need at least 8 hours of sleep daily so that I can recover and grow. Besides my muscles, my body and nervous system needs to rest and recover so that I don't overtrain as well.
- Keeping cardio to a minimum. I'll need to cut back to 1-3 days per week, just to keep fat gain at bay and helping myself recover faster, usually done on non-lifting days. If I need more rest of non-lifting days, I might just skip it on that day. I also need to conserve more glycogen and calories to fuel my workouts. My muscles are fuller when I keep cardio minimal.
I have a good muscular base to begin with, and I'm not a hard gainer. Once I eat right, get enough rest and lift hard, I find that I can gain muscle pretty easily, but I need to watch it as since I gain fat easily too. Aside from injuries limiting my progress in the past, I'm was also too afraid of gaining fat. When my clothes get tighter as I get bigger, I become psychologically affected and slide back to my old goal. As a former fat guy, I'm so used to trying to get my clothes to fit looser, not the other way around. It's a psychological barrier that I need to get past in order to evolve. I feel as if I'm not achieving my full physical potential, since I can gain lean mass easily but I'm not doing it. I really need to stay focused and determined and not let this affect my progress. Wish me luck!