I gained 32 pounds of lean muscle in 32 weeks. Here are a few things I did to get there.
If you’re a naturally skinny guy like myself – or an ectomorph (bodytype) – then you need to have everything going your way if you’re going to build the body you want. And, if you’re like me (or like I was), the body you want it stronger, faster, leaner, and has about 20-40 extra pounds of lean muscle.
We, the skinny guys who work harder but see fewer gains than our mesomorphic (naturally muscular) friends, need to make sure our workouts, nutrition, and even our hormones are all helping us reach our goals, not hindering our progress.
Getting ze Hormone’s on Board
An anabolic state is when your body is repairing muscle tissue. When your body is headed in the opposite direction, it’s catabolic.
A part of building muscle is first breaking it down, which is essentially what occurs when you’re lifting weights. But when you train for more than an hour for example, you release a hormone called cortisol. This results in lowered testosterone levels – not good – and a ‘burning’ of muscle.
Hormone’s like Testosterone and Human Growth Hormone (HGH) aid us in recovery and building lean muscle mass, cortisol does the opposite. It’s triggered by a few factors like fasting, a lack of sleep, heightened stress, and over-training.
How to Get Your Hormone’s on Board
1. Get at least 8 hours of sleep.
This is when you repair the muscle that you’ve broken down during exercise. A good sleep means elevated testosterone and HGH. A bad sleep means elevated cortisol. So, a good sleep means great recovery, a bad one not only means bad recovery, but is actually detrimental to your goals. Whether they’re fat loss or lean mass focused.
2. Don’t over-train. I spend 45 minutes or less in the gym.
Also don’t over-do the cardio, it will have the same negative effects. By spending too much time in the gym, you’re putting your body into that catabolic state. With a faster, more intense workout, you’re increasing testosterone levels which means better recovery. You’ll also have a more focused workout, be out of there and doing other productive things.
A workout doesn’t, and shouldn’t take a massive chunk out of your day.
3. Give your body something to burn.
When you’re training, your body needs a fuel source. If there’s nothing readily available, it will burn muscle. By having a sports drink you’re supplying your body with the necessary fuel (I mix mine with protein powder), but you’re also spiking your insulin levels.
Insulin is an absorption hormone, have a good meal within an hour and a half after your workout while your muscles are still primed, and the rise in insulin will help you absorb everything better and to the right places.
4. Eat enough food.
I run into this A LOT when I’m working with clients or even answering emails, guys who flip flop on their goals. They want muscle, but they think they’re going to get fat by eating a lot. They eat solid meals for a while, then decide to pull the reigns back and eat less.
If you want to build lean muscle, even without fat, workout your ass off, but eat enough as well. Eat clean, but eat enough. If you’re not eating enough, you’re not going to gain the muscle mass you want.
5. Fats before bed.
Having fats when you wake up and before you go to bed have been shown to increase testosterone levels. Try having a few Brazil nuts or walnuts with a few hard boiled eggs before you hit the hay.
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