Question: I am 18 years old and I want to build muscle. I train 4 to 5 days a week and I have really come a long ways from where I was when I started. My progress has stalled and I feel like my training is as good as it can be, but I can't seem to get past the amount of weight I have been using for the past two months. Should I try one of the prohormone supplements? Could you offer some advice on how to build both strength and muscle?
Answer: If you're not getting the correct amount of food and rest no supplement will give you the results you want. Food and rest are the most overlooked components of productive workouts. If you are getting the necessary amount of rest, and that is simple to determine, then the only other thing impeding your progress is food or rather the lack of food. Disregard the whole prohomone idea until you have the other necessary ingredients correct. Besides, you're so young that your body is producing more testosterone than at any other time in your life.
Rule #1: My old training partner Lee Haney, 8-time Mr. Olympia always says, "If you want to be big, you have to eat big." That's Rule #1. Divide your body weight by 2.2 and multiply that number by 35 to get a starting point for the amount of calories you need each day to grow. From those calories you need about 35 to 40% carbs, 35 to 40% protein and 25 to 30% fats: those are ballpark figures. If you are an endomorphic individual, meaning you tend to gain weight easily, then you would adjust your carb and fats and the type of carbs you primarily eat.
Rule #2: Tomorrow's workouts are built on today's fuel. It's not just what you eat on the day you're training, it begins the day before due to the digestion process to turn food to fuel.
Rule #3: Protect your muscle with protein. For a hard training athlete you need 1.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight. During workouts you breakdown muscle and protein is the most abundant substance in muscle other than water.
Rule #4: Eat before you train. A lot of guys have a whey protein shake prior to training but others prefer food. Of those that would rather eat, they primarily choose beef. Be careful when you begin training after eating. The results, depending on the person, might be messy. So if you are one who needs to train on an empty stomach then focus on Rule #5...
Rule #5: Eat after you train. Post-workout food is most effective when consumed 45 minutes to one hour after training. Whey protein shakes are the most easily digested which have 40 to 50 grams of protein and 50 to 70 grams of carbs from fast digesting carbohydrate sources. Usually after a post-workout shake, within an hour you'll need real food because you'll be hungry again.
Rule #6 says that dietary fat in moderate doses can be effective for growth and repair. Fats like those rich in omega-3's aid in joint repair and athletes who maintain healthy levels of saturated fats maintain higher levels of testosterone. As stated earlier, get about 25 to 30% of your calories from fats and of those only 10% should be saturated fats.
To make any training plan effective you need to be consistent with both your workouts and your food intake. Remember, small gains over a long period of time grow into large gains.
God bless and keep training,
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Posted by Daryl Laws on September 16, 2008 | Printer-Friendly