• Protein shakes are key, all-in-ones and gainers will up your calories alongside a protein hit.
• You need to reach calorie surplus – meaning more meals and healthy snacks throughout the day.
• BCAAs and CLA are a valuable support to training, they deliver essential amino and omega-6 fatty acids.
• Creatine is powerful fuel for your workout, as it’s scientifically proven to increase physical performance.View Full Range
To build muscle, you should aim for 1g of protein per pound of bodyweight (or 2.2g per kg). For example, someone weighing 180lbs should eat at least 180g of protein a day.
It’s important to get a sustained release of protein throughout the day, especially after training, to help with muscle recovery and the growth of new muscle tissue. Shakes are an easy, convenient way to do this wherever you are, without the fuss of preparing a whole meal. High-protein snacks are also great to keep things interesting and satisfy cravings throughout the day.
Calorie surplus is when you eat more calories than you burn – and it’s essential for gaining mass and building muscle. Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean you can just binge on fast food with a clear conscience…
These calories should come from protein and carbohydrates, and you should minimise your daily fat and sugar intake to avoid simply storing surplus calories as fat.
When you’re trying to have 6/7 meals a day, we know that it’s not realistic to be prepping and cooking all of them from scratch. All-in-one and gainer protein shake formulas are quick and convenient meal replacements that are high-protein and high-carb.
You can also add whey or egg yolk powder to your porridge, shakes and baking, or use peanut or almond butter to liven up food whilst increasing calorie count.
You need to give your muscles time to recover after your workouts in order for them to repair. When you’re lifting weights you’re essentially tearing muscle fibres in order to make way for new muscle growth – so working them intensely everyday will do more damage than good.
Your joints are also put under a strain whilst working out, so rest days are important to prevent over training injuries in that department too. Plus, taking a break can be great for your mental health as it allows you to return feeling refocused and refreshed. Feeling positive about going to the gym will definitely help you perform well once you’re there.
Creatine is a supplement that can help you work harder. It can be utilised by your body as a quick form of energy during high-intensity, short-burst activities, such as lifting heavy weights or starting to sprint.
By providing your muscles with extra energy in this way, you’ll begin to be able to get more from your training – it’s not the magic formula that will instantly have you packing on pounds, but it’s a great support to help you on your way.
New creatine users should begin with a loading phase to saturate their muscles. This means taking a 5g scoop four times a day at regular intervals, before commencing with a standard 5g a day recommended use.
You should focus your training around compound exercises, as these work several muscles at once rather than isolating one muscle group. These include the Squat, Bench, Deadlift, Chin-Ups, OH Press and Rows.
Set yourself goals in order to keep a track of steady progress, rather than going in full-force on the first session expecting instant results, and putting yourself at risk of injury. The most effective way to build muscle is through ‘progressive overload’, which means gradually upping your training over time.
Just when your body starts to get to grips with the weights you’re lifting, step back out of your comfort zone and raise the amount of reps you do or increase the kilograms. This is when your body will begin to grow muscle in order to adapt to the new load.
Supplements can’t replace a healthy, balanced diet or the hours you put in at the gym. They can assist with both of these though – making it that bit easier to get to your goals.
• Whey protein – this should be the first thing in your basket. It’s an all-natural, high-quality protein that contributes to the growth and maintenance of muscle mass, making it an essential part of your journey to gain.
• Creatine monohydrate – a boost for your training sessions, it’s been proven to increase physical performance in successive bursts of short-term, high-intensity exercise.
• BCAAs – key for gaining as they’re made up of essential amino acids – leucine, isoleucine and valine. These are the building blocks of protein, which make up the structure of new muscle tissue.
• Beta alanine – a naturally occurring, non-essential amino acid which is ideal for sports that require explosive movements and prolonged endurance exercise.
• Multi-vitamin powder/tablets – convenient way to hit daily recommended intake and maintain general good health which will help you return to the gym day after day.
• Omega supplements – the perfect way to get essential fatty acids into your diet without the expense or effort of having to eat fish every day. The EPA and DHA in omega 3, 6 and 9 have been shown to contribute to the normal function of the heart.
It’s important to keep track of what you do in your workouts, as this will help you carry out the ‘progressive overload’ approach to training. Simply noting down the exercises, weights and reps you’ve done will mean that next time you’ll instantly know exactly what you’re aiming for – whether you’re matching the last session or slightly raising your game.