Gain Mass

6 Biggest Nutritional Problems, Solved

Whether you're trying to gain mass or get lean, you may be making one of these common dietary mistakes.


Bodybuilding Diet Tips

Mass-Gaining Mistakes Cont.


Mistake #5: Slacking Off on Preworkout Nutrition

Muscle growth is a pretty simple equation. You lift weights to break down muscle fibers, and you rest and eat afterward to repair and grow. As such, the postworkout meal is a vital part of gaining appreciable size. But recovery doesn't start the minute you leave the gym, especially when you're training 4—5 days a week. When you work out hard and often, your body is in a constant state of repair, meaning you can't ignore the importance of the preworkout meal. What you eat before training plays a monumental role in growth. A large meal eaten 1 1/2—2 hours preworkout causes a slew of hormonal changes that protect the muscles during the forthcoming training session. Start with maybe a small chicken breast and medium sweet potato, and build the portion size from there as your body adapts. That's step one of your preworkout meal. Step two is to take 20 grams of whey protein and 40 grams of slow-burning carbs, such as oatmeal, fruit or whole grains, right beforehand.

Mistake #6: Keeping Your Protein Intake Too Static

We touched on this in No. 1, but how much protein do you really need? One gram per pound of bodyweight is a nice start, yes, but it's a ballpark estimate that can fluctuate slightly from person to person and week to week. So while a structured plan is great for progress, don't lock yourself into a particular amount of this macronutrient every day. Listen to your body and you'll be better off. Let us explain.

After a harder-than-normal workout or one that included unfamiliar movements, you may find yourself particularly sore. While the exercise variables are certainly a factor, nutritionally this is a sign that you need to push your protein intake higher to match your level of soreness. In a desire to bring up a lagging bodypart, for example, you might hit it with far more sets than usual. The higher the volume, the higher your protein needs for repair. In this case, 1 1/2 grams per pound of bodyweight per day is a good estimate, including at least 60 grams after workouts.

The Right Track

What's left? Deciding whether you want to be the cautionary tale or the success story. Of course, we recommend the latter. We know that diet can often prove to be the hardest thing to get right as you strive to build a better physique, but with diligence, consistency and a willingness to zig or zag when circumstances call for it, you'll be well on your way to throwing your "cautionary" side to the wind.